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Celebrity Solstice Unveiled

Written by: Paul Motter

Celebrity Solstices sails out in Germany.

The brand new Celebrity Solstice, the first of a new generation of new-build ships, sailed out of it ship yard in Papenburg, Germany yesterday. Celebrity says the ship is 98% complete as pictures from the media attest.

solstice1 Celebrity Solstice Unveiled

So far, the parts of Solstice I like best are the beautiful pool  and Solarium areas. The Solarium is a spacious water area with extensive glass walls for a wintergarden effect in any weather. There is a beautiful fountain and a huge thelassotherapy pool for soothing aching muscles. The pool area features spacious sunning areas with plenty of room to walk around the deck chairs interspersed with tall private cabanas. Another beautiful fountain offsets the decor.

solstice2 Celebrity Solstice Unveiled

In fact the decor of Solstice may be the most impressive aspect of the ship. Soothing light tones abound, white, cream and beige fabrics are offset by silver railings (not copper or bronze) with glass partitions everywhere. The overall impression is space and harmony. This is a very tasteful and relaxing decor, just opulent enough, without being the least bit garish.

solstice3 Celebrity Solstice Unveiled

The first “what’s that?” aspect of the ship in my mind is the extensive lawn area. Okay, it’s an interesting idea to have grass on a cruise ship, but it is it a “draw?” I mean, I have yet to hear anyone say “I sure am looking forward to seeing a lawn on a cruise ship and a rousing game of bocce ball.” The grass area looks nice, but I wonder how much attraction it will have to passengers in terms of spending time there.

This is also the location of the glass-blowing museum. I have been to Corning Museum of Glass in upstate new York and it is a fascinating place. I hope the shipboard version on Solstice does it justice. It is great fun to watch a glass blower create a crystal vase, but once you have seen it – perhap an hour of diversion, you have seen it. I suspect a big part of this museum will be the sales that accompany the demonstrations. There will be people taking orders for custom-blown table settings at dear prices, I predict.

A similar Solstice exclusive will be the “Solstice Diamond.” This is said to be a diamond with a new cut that features even more facets than the traditional “ideal” cut for round diamonds that is said to be the most brilliant of all. The cut is a patented design by Harding brothers of London who will operate some 6500 square feet of retail space aboard the ship. The diamonds will be available for earings, pendents and of course, rings. Costs start at $2000.

My other “what’s that?” is the design of the cabins. Celebrity extolled the fact that five “leading ladies” led the design of the cabins focusing on storage space and a way to shave your legs on the shower. One thing the ladies obviously didn’t care for is watching television from the bed. Every stateroom design I have seen has the TV on the wall opposite the couch and way off-center if you are in bed, something like a 45 degree angle for the person nearest the set, and worse for the other person. I see this as a major faux pas, but I admit I love watching movies in bed on ships. Perhaps the ladies would rather be shopping?

Disney takes “The Suite Life” to Sea.

Next season on the the Disney Channel’s “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” the two twins will be spending a semester at sea, traveling on the ship owned by their heiress friend London Tipton. Known at the SS Tipton, the show will most likely be filmed on a sound stage in Burbank with some shots taken aboard the real Disney cruise ships, Magic and Wonder, when they need them.

The cruise ship (in the show) will cruise around the world while London hosts tourists from around the world. All the children will be attending “Seven Seas High School.”  The show will air Firdays at 8:00 pm on the Disney Channel.

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Comments

Pingback from Cruise News Updates | Cruises
Time September 29, 2008 at 7:24 am

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Comment from Todd De Haven
Time September 30, 2008 at 3:05 am

Paul, were you to be proven right on your take of the “lawn” on the Solstice as well as the “glass blowing” demonstration as well you might be, I should think RCI would have well researched the issue.

RCI may look at these two things, in view of your observations, thusly:

It would be quite a number of years before even the curiosity of these two venues wore off. Despite approaching ten years of age, current reader reviews reveal there is still a tremendous “wow” factor with the public areas on the Voyager Class vessels.

Secondly, to those who are repeat cruisers on the vessel and thereby set the vessel’s own “loyalty program” they won’t in any case be considered a detriment.

Finally, when you think about it, one of these venues will in all probability generate income and the other will be, all factors considered, not really high maintenance.

Just as it is in other industries, a whole lot of people do a whole lot of homework prior to decisions being made and I for one, can’t believe that any and virtually all downsides haven’t been taken under consideration.

Time of course will tell. Should Paul, your observations become fact in a relatively short time, we’ll certainly know it when something “disappears.”

Comment from Paul Motter
Time September 30, 2008 at 8:49 am

Wow Todd… you certainly take a comment seriously. ;-)

I just meant I personally don’t see how a simple lawn will be a “wow” factor on a ship. It isn’t active, it is just decoration, and something that almost everyone has at home. I don’t tend to think there was that much research into how well a lawn would be received, but I could be wrong. There has never been a lawn on a cruise ship before, so it is hard to say.

To me, the main “huh?” factor is that it is just a lawn. On Oasis there is a “park” with trees, tivoli lights, walkways, al fresco dining, etc. For the most part on Solstice it is more “just a lawn.” So the question becomes “what can you do with it?”

1) play bocce ball
2) have a picnic
3) feel it with your toes

These seem to be about the only answers they have come up with. So, my point is that is nice, but I just don’t get the “wow” out of it.

I do think the glass-blowing idea is interesting. I like glass. Corning in New York is the number 3 tourist spot in the state after NY City and Niagara Falls. But that is for the glass museum as much as the glass blowing. You also get to see the entire factory which is hugely impressive.

All they have is a relatively small glass-blowing demonstration – similar to the last Renaissance Faire I attended. The difference is that you go to Corning or Murano to see the places that are famous for the glass they created, whereas a glass-blowing demonstration is interesting, but I don’t get the connection between it and the experience of being at sea. It isn’t as if ships and liner through the ages have a history of glass-blowing.

It’s nice, not a “wow” factor for me.

I do love the looks of the pool and solarium areas. I like the overall decor of the ship very much – very light and balanced, not garish at all.

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