Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Celebrity Solstice

Whenever a cruise line debuts a new “class” of ship a current of anticipation flows throughout the industry. It is expected that the newest member of the fleet will retain some of the tried and true features of its predecessors, but add enhancement and innovation that will bear interest and excitement. The Celebrity Solstice does just that, and more than 25,000 experienced travelers agree. The prestigious Conde’ Nast Traveler magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards for 2009 ranked Celebrity number one in the new Mega-Ship Cruise Line category, recognizing the widely acclaimed Celebrity Solstice.

At 122,000 tons, accommodating 2,850 guests, Solstice is largest ship in the Celebrity fleet. Her design has an upscale, contemporary feel infused with natural light. Expansive open gathering spots flow seamlessly into one another through the use of color and complimentary design. The airy atrium has a glass ceiling and is circled by places where you can grab a bite or have a drink. Similar venues are grouped together; all four specialty restaurants can be found in one area, while the bars and clubs are clustered in another.

The dining experience that Celebrity has always been known for has been taken to the next level with an amalgamation of restaurants that offer everything from casual to fine dining.

The two-story Grand Épernay main dining room offers traditional seating or open seating dining, but is anything but traditional! A glass wine tower that spans both levels, along with crystal chandeliers, bedazzles the diner. The cream and sable color palette that is highlighted by accent lighting gives this dining room a glamorous feel.

Murano, a specialty restaurant found on other Celebrity ships, offers classic and modern continental cuisine. Riedel stemware, bone china, and tableside service make this restaurant a stylish and romantic dining spot well worth the additional charge ($30pp).

The Tuscan Grille, with its panoramic ocean views, is a steakhouse with an Italian flair ($25pp). It serves Kobe beef, homemade pastas, along a variety of fine Italian wines.

Silk Harvest has a casual Asian inspired décor with its contemporary red upholstery and cherry woods ($20pp). Feast on cuisine from Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, India and China, served family style.

Continuing to move in a more casual direction, the Oceanview Café serves a buffet breakfast and lunch, with plenty of room for outdoor dining. It was designed to have the feel of a European marketplace and will serve foods that reflect the ships itinerary. At dinnertime the tablecloths go on and the space becomes more refined.

Bistro on Five serves light, delectable crepes as well as soups, sandwiches and much more. It is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between ($5pp).

Right across the way is Café al Bacio & Gelateria, a perfect place to meet for an afternoon snack. Or, stop by for a chocolate croissant and cappuccino instead of a full breakfast.

If you’re poolside and don’t want to venture far from your spot in the sun, the Mast Grill & Bar serves up quick and casual options such as hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, etc.

The AquaSpa Café, located in the solarium, is the perfect spot for those guests looking for lighter options.
Last but not least there is Blu, the exclusive restaurant for AquaClass guests. The menu accentuates fresh and healthy, but by no means should this sophisticated restaurant be confused with AquaSpa cuisine!

The posh clubs of the Solstice offers something for everyone. Warm and inviting, Cellar Master offers more than just a cozy spot to savor a glass of vino. Wine tastings and classes are hosted here, as Celebrity continues to expand their enrichment programs. The Martini Bar offers up more varieties of this drink then thought possible. Adjacent is Crush, done in a frosty blue and white decor and featuring an ice filled table. The quickest way to shake off the chill is to sample one of the 100 selections of vodka that is available! Head to the urban feeling Ensemble Lounge or Michael’s Club for live music and an after dinner drink. The Passport Bar, with its subtle and relaxed nautical feel is a great place to meet up with friends. Quasar is a futuristic looking nightclub where you can dance the night away. Spherical lucite chairs hover near the entry, and along with the pulsating sounds, beckon you inside. For a view like no other, head up to the Sky Observation Lounge. The gorgeous vista make it is as beguiling in the daytime as it is at night

The staterooms on the Solstice are on the average, 15% larger than other Celebrity ships with 85% boasting private verandas. A new category of cabins called AquaClass will appeal to those looking for a spa getaway at sea. Guests are provided with additional health and wellness amenities such as complimentary bottled water, flavored teas, and a television channel with special programming including music to foster relaxation. In the bathroom Hansgrohe shower panels with multiple jets and a rain showerhead is heavenly. AquaClass guests also enjoy unlimited access to the AquaSpa relaxation room and the Persian Garden, an exotic aromatherapy and steam room. As mentioned above, Blu is the exclusive restaurant for AquaClass guests.

An industry first, on the top deck of the Solstice is an innovative new country club environment known as “The Lawn Club.” This half-acre patch of real grass invites guests to enjoy bocce ball and croquet, practice their putting, or simply feel the grass between their toes. The area also features the Hot Glass Show, another first in the industry, developed in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass.

The Celebrity Solstice will sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida year round. She begins 2010 sailing seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries, and then in summer months will alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

“The extraordinary response from our guests to Celebrity Solstice has created a corresponding demand for the ship to sail year-round in the Caribbean, and we’re thrilled to meet that demand,” said Celebrity’s President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. “This move offers guests in North America a phenomenal closer-to-home vacation option whenever they’re ready to get away, and similarly, our international guests now will have year-round Caribbean vacation options with Celebrity that are second-to-none.”

Book your 2010 cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice between February 16 and March 7th and Direct Line Cruises will include free travel insurance. In addition, get up to $100 onboard credit per cabin on select Celebrity Solstice sailings. Call for details:Direct Line Cruises (1-800) 352 -8088 or visit

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