Onboard the Celebrity Solstice

Senior Contributing Editor Susan Young has traveled to Germany to board the brand new Celebrity Solstice cruise ship.

Travel Agent got a sneak peek at the new 122,000-ton Celebrity Solstice in Papenburg, Germany, on Saturday. We were part of a small media group comprising the first guests to ever stay onboard.

Our impressions? We would describe the 2,850-passenger ship— not yet finished and not yet delivered to the line— as incredibly elegant and classy, much more so than other new ships we've seen of late. Simply put, the design "shines" and the public areas are extremely spacious. Among the highlights is a 23,000-square-foot, top-deck Lawn Club, consisting of a specialized type of live grass and several soaring white canvas coverings; the area will be used for golf putting, picnics in the park and bocce ball.

Multiple alternative restaurants range from Asian to a steakhouse with an Italian flair. We dined in the casual Oceanview Cafe & Bar, featuring food islands separated by plenty of space for good guest flow during peak periods.

An elegant stunner is the Grand Epernay Dining Room, a dramatic two-story space with a massive glass wine tower as well as dramatic and elegant ceiling art. We also particularly liked everything to do with the spa— with its cool and pleasing blue-and-white color scheme including glass touches.

The ship also features new AquaClass staterooms; guests in those specialty accommodations have their own dedicated, intimate dining venue aptly called Blu. Our standard balcony stateroom was larger than the typical Celebrity staterooms on the line's other ships; the bathroom really was a star— with a large shower (by cruise ship standards) and an attractive vanity with several  small drawers and glass-enclosed shelving.

For more on our impressions of the new Celebrity Solstice, stay tuned for the October 13 issue of the magazine.

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