Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Celebrity Solstice - A Preview of My Upcoming Pre-Inaugural Cruise

Next week, after my attendance at the Global Superyacht Form  http://www.superyachtevents.com/gsf/gsf2008.asp) in Amsterdam, I am flying to Ft. Lauderdale to board the brand new Celebrity Solstice for a two day pre-inaugural cruise.

What I am most interested in, other than the technical innovations such as the use of solar panels, is its AquaClass (spa) cabins with its private Blu restaurant, as well as its hopefully true ability to make this large ship classy, comfortable and anything but a mega-ship experience.

I will be checking out the Persian Gardens (an oasis of steam baths, saunas and such); access for which is included in the AquaClass cabins, but is extra cost for other passengers.  Also the Solarium and various private lounges (such as Cellar Masters) and restaurants are tickling my interests. 

I will leave to others to right about the "common" and will focus on what makes, or is supposed to make, this ship special.  I do, however, feel obligated to check out the Lawn Club (putting green and all), the Hot Glass Show (in the glassblowing studio) and the dancing waters by the main pool.

One thought that greatly interests me is, does this focus on the ship actually play well for Celebrity as Americans look for closer cruises (shunning Europe due, in large part, to the the higher cost of airfare)?  Does the Solstice provide passengers with an upscale experience where the ship is truly "the destination" as it cruises around the Caribbean?

What I do plan on doing, fair or not, is make a head-to-head comparison between the Seabourn triplets, the new Seabourn Odyssey and the Celebrity Solstice.  It might not be competition, but if the Solstice can provide a sufficiently upscale experience, it might just give luxury passengers who look to the ship rather than the itinerary...and are looking harder at their cruise budget...a pretty interesting option.

The jury is not yet out.  Court will be in session next week and the evidence will be examined and deliberations begun on November 19th!  The verdict will be reported hopefully by next weekend.

If you have anything in particular you would like me to check out, please leave a comment or email me.