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Firsthand sneak peak at Solstice (Merger of Several Threads)


Richard Stein

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Celebrity sets a Solstice sneak peek

18/9/2007

If you could design your own room at sea, what would it look like? What would it feel like?

 

Those are the questions posed by Celebrity Cruises in advance of this week’s sneak peek into the stateroom plans for Celebrity Solstice.

 

On Wednesday night in New York, Celebrity president and ceo Dan Hanrahan and members of the Celebrity design team will preview the accommodations for the first of the line’s new four-ship 122,000gt Solstice series, under construction at Meyer Werft.

 

Until now, Celebrity has shared scant details of the newbuild that is due to debut in a little over a year. What has been announced is that 85% of staterooms will offer verandas, and all accommodations will come with flat-screen TVs, spacious bathrooms and plush European bedding. The ship will provide wireless Internet access throughout.

 

There also will be an AquaClass category of veranda accommodations for spa enthusiasts, to comprise 130 of the ship’s 1,425 staterooms. Customers who book AquaClass will have unlimited access to the AquaSpa relaxation room and the Persian Garden (an aromatherapy and steam room), as well as exclusive, complimentary dining in Blu, a 130-seat specialty restaurant.

 

Celebrity Solstice is due to emerge next fall from Meyer’s Papenburg shipyard. Following several weeks of inaugural activities, on Dec. 14, 2008, the ship will begin its maiden voyage, a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale.

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Why didn't they invite ME??? I'm in NYC. Sure hope they invited Cruise Critic so they can post some photos!

 

Or they could have waited until next week when we'll be in NYC on our way to our Brilliance Med. cruise.

 

I think the rooms will be similar to the slightly hipper style of the Century rooms. I'm wondering if the Aqua Spa rooms will be different.

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Or they could have waited until next week when we'll be in NYC on our way to our Brilliance Med. cruise.

 

I think the rooms will be similar to the slightly hipper style of the Century rooms. I'm wondering if the Aqua Spa rooms will be different.

 

I'm pretty much thinking you are right about being similar to the Century Cabins. They're actually really nice. I would be pretty sure the color scheme of the Aqua Class would be different (as are other classes). Would make sense for them to add a massage shower head, or something similar in the bathrooms. OR even better, if AC cabins got a jacuzzi jet tub.

 

When is your Med Cruise? We embark in Barcelona on October 7th. Wonder if we will overlap in any ports.

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I'm pretty much thinking you are right about being similar to the Century Cabins. They're actually really nice. I would be pretty sure the color scheme of the Aqua Class would be different (as are other classes). Would make sense for them to add a massage shower head, or something similar in the bathrooms. OR even better, if AC cabins got a jacuzzi jet tub.

 

When is your Med Cruise? We embark in Barcelona on October 7th. Wonder if we will overlap in any ports.

 

Close, actually. We're one day off in Rome but we're on our way back to Barcelona at that point. I really like your itinerary and it was down to Brilliance, yours and the new Princess ship when we chose but we wanted to try a new ship and we've been on Constellation and had't been on a Radiance Class yet. Mike also wasn't as wild about Greece as I was and we both could agree on ours. We go to Barcelona, Villefranche, Livorno, Naples, Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Rome and back in 12 days.

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My understanding is the cabins are supposed to be of a completely new interlocking design, which really maximizes space. The diagrams we have seen online are apparently of existing Celebrity ships and do not accurately represent SOLSTICE.

 

I'm anxious to hear more about the presentation this evening. I'm sure it won't be long before details emerge.

 

Celebrity is making a pretty big deal out of this, so I have to believe they are announcing a radical new cabin design, and not just what the decor will look like.

 

Ernie

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My understanding is the cabins are supposed to be of a completely new interlocking design, which really maximizes space. The diagrams we have seen online are apparently of existing Celebrity ships and do not accurately represent SOLSTICE.

 

I'm anxious to hear more about the presentation this evening. I'm sure it won't be long before details emerge.

 

Celebrity is making a pretty big deal out of this, so I have to believe they are announcing a radical new cabin design, and not just what the decor will look like.

 

Ernie

 

I tend to agree with you. If they were just a different color palate, then it would be an underwhleming event.

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The classification of Sunset Veranda: what makes this cabin different from the rest of the verandas? I was hoping that something re the different veranda staterooms would be explained? Guess I can wait a little longer!:D

 

The Aquaspa class sounds wonderful.

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They're the aft ones and sometimes that means a bigger balcony. The tough bit is not knowing until we see the ship if that's true.

 

The classification of Sunset Veranda: what makes this cabin different from the rest of the verandas? I was hoping that something re the different veranda staterooms would be explained? Guess I can wait a little longer!:D

 

The Aquaspa class sounds wonderful.

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Thanks for the link. Nice to know that the balcony dividers will open. Traveled with friends on Freedom of the Seas and had the cabin stewart open the divider and we had four rooms worth of balcony. Thought that Celebrity would opt for the same design. Pat

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Here is a picture from USA Today but these don't seem interlocking to me.

 

http://blogs.usatoday.com/cruiselog/2007/09/celebrity-plans.html?csp=34

 

Celebrity plans bigger cabins on future ships . . .

 

Cruisexlarge . . . and that's not all that will be different when the line launches its first new series of vessels in eight years.

 

Celebrity CEO Dan Hanrahan says veranda cabins on the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Solstice, the first of four "Solstice Class" ships that begin launching late next year, will be 15% larger than their counterparts on the line's current vessels.

 

The 122,000-ton ship, the line's biggest ever, also will have a new category of cabins for spa lovers known as AquaClass. Situated next to the ship's AquaSpa, as Celebrity calls its spas, the cabins will come with unlimited access to the spa relaxation room and aromatherapy/steam room.

 

Still, perhaps the biggest news is that vacationers who book one of the 130 AquaClass cabins (which make up less than 10% of the 1,425 cabins on the ship) will dine in their very own, exclusive dining room dubbed Blu. That'll make Celebrity the only line besides Cunard that has two classes of dining on its ships (passengers who book Cunard's most expensive cabins have long eaten in separate, more exclusive dining rooms -- a tradition that goes back years at that line).

 

Unlike on Cunard ships, however, access to Solstice's exclusive restaurant won't be based on how expensive your cabin is, says Hanrahan. Indeed, the AquaClass cabins won't necessarily be the most expensive on board, he says. Instead, the restaurant and AquaSpa cabins taken together offer a package aimed at people with a "spa mindset" who want to focus their vacation on pampering and wellness.

 

As for the improvements slated for cabins shipwide, it's not just that they're bigger but also more streamlined and user-friendly, says Hanrahan. Celebrity convened a panel of "leading ladies" -- everything from a frequent cruiser to a travel agent to a hotelier -- to come up with ideas, and they had a big impact, he says. Among the changes that are coming:

 

-- A foot rail in showers for easy leg shaving. "It was one of the first things (the panel) came up with," says Hanrahan. "I never would have thought of it." Bathrooms also are 22% larger, on average, and have glass-walled showers, eliminating the need for hanging shower curtains.

 

-- Better storage. Celebrity has raised the height of beds to allow passengers to store bigger suitcases underneath them, leaving more room in closets. The line also is moving life jacket storage to the space under beds, freeing up yet more closet space.

 

-- More soothing colors. Bright colors are out; neutral is in. It was a big point with the leading ladies, says Hanrahan, noting the line was told to "tone it down and make it easy on the eyes."

 

We'll have more details tomorrow. Tell us, Cruise Loggers, what do you think of the changes so far?

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Tsk, tsk... where are the vanity drawers??

There aren't any.

 

Looks like your storage is over the bed... and perhaps some under the sofa.

The cabinet next to the "vanity" looks to be holding the safe and minibar.

 

Ugh..beige..how boring.

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Last evening in New York City, I was fortunate to attend a presentation by Celebrity Cruises executives, the cabin designer, and the five women selected to provide input on the Solstice cabin design. There was a photo of the new cabin design and it was discussed in some detail.

 

The five women chosen were a frequent cruiser who has been cruising for 25 years, a woman who had never taken a cruise, a hotelier, a travel agent, and a travel writer. They were asked by Celebrity to provide ideas for the new cabin design, and then Celebrity and the designer attempted to include some of those ideas.

 

Here are some of the details from the presentation:

 

- the standard balcony cabin will be 15% larger than the standard balcony cabin on the M-class ships due in part to the relocation of plumbing, air conditioning and electrical systems (the square footage was given as 195 square feet, but I wasn't able to determine which category of cabin this applied to)

 

- the bathroom is 24% bigger and includes a glass shower with a bar for easier leg shaving, and a fog-free mirror

 

- the bed has been raised (termed the "floating bed") to better accomodate luggage storage

 

- the layout is similar to the Royal Caribbean Radiance-class balcony cabins, i.e., sofa with vanity/desk and minibar across the room followed by the bed next to the balcony doors (DH and I prefer this layout because it opens up the room)

 

- there will be a vestibule at the entrance where, if I understood it correctly (it wasn't indicated in the design photo), any connecting door will be located

 

- the bathroom will be on one side of the vestibule and the closet has been moved into the room rather than located across from the bathroom

 

- the vestibule angles out as you enter room

 

- the colors of the sunset will be used as the palette for the furnishings and soft goods but in muted tones

 

- there will be individual reading lights on each side of the bed, and there appeared to be a halogen reading light in the ceiling above the sofa

 

- there will be a 32" flat screen television located on the wall across from the bed that will be visible throughout the cabin

 

- the sofa contains a trundle bed, although there will be pullmans in some cabins

 

- the balcony will have adjustable chairs that can be used as loungers

 

- unlike the Radiance-class balcony cabins, there will not be a dividing curtain between the sofa and the bed

 

General information: at least initially, fares will be 10-20% higher than fares on other Celebrity ships; 90% of the cabins are outside and 90% of those are balcony cabins; there will be WiFi in all cabins

 

Most importantly, ship construction is currently on schedule.

 

It was an interesting evening and heightens our anticipation of the delivery of this first of four new ships in this class.

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Here is a picture from USA Today but these don't seem interlocking to me.

 

I was wondering what that means also. If you take a real close look at the cabin picture in the news article, you will see that the ceiling opposite the bed extends further than the ceiling over the desk area. Could that portion of the cabin be 1-2 feet wider and then the adjacent cabin have the reserve configuration with the bed closer to the door in a wider section??? Hope that makes sense.

cruisexlarge.jpg.60207a877df1090cedfef34486bd0a54.jpg

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Schplinky -- see, I was right about AquaClass offering a different shower head. The designs look AMAZING. The Solarium is beautiful. Looks like they took a lot of their cues from contemporary Miami hotels...which is exactly what I was hoping for.

 

It's exactly what we were hoping for, too. The Century re-design made us want to sail Celebrity again and this direction for Solstice is exactly the right one, for us at least.

 

It's all so nice! It looks like the balcony is large, too, given the table and chairs depicted.

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