Celebrity Opens Bookings for Solstice

Bookings opened on June 21 for Celebrity Cruise’s first new ship since 2002

By: Ana Figueroa

Bookings opened on June 21 the summer solstice for Celebrity Cruise’s first new ship since 2002, Celebrity Solstice.

“We are thrilled with the early interest and enthusiasm we’re receiving from our guests and travel partners about Celebrity Solstice,” said Celebrity’s President Dan Hanrahan.

Celebrity Solstice will offer the award-winning service and dining experience the brand is known for providing, along with a variety of compelling new features. One of those features is the line’s new AquaClassSM category of veranda accommodations expressly designed for spa enthusiasts. Guests booked in AquaClass will receive unlimited access to Celebrity Solstice’s new AquaSpa relaxation room and the Persian Garden, an exotic aromatherapy and steam room, as well as exclusive, complimentary dining in Blu, an intimate, 130-seat specialty restaurant whose design is likely to be as inviting as the cuisine. AquaClass will comprise 130 of the ship’s 1,425 staterooms. A full 85 percent of all staterooms onboard Celebrity Solstice will have verandas, and all staterooms will be equipped with flat-screen TVs, smarter storage and closet space, spacious bathrooms, and plush European bedding. The ship will offer wireless Internet access throughout.

Following several weeks of inaugural activities, Celebrity Solstice will make its maiden voyage December 14, 2008, on a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The itinerary will be offered on Sundays through April 5, 2009, with an alternating itinerary calling on San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Tortola, B.V.I.; and Labadee, Haiti, through April 12, 2009.

Celebrity Solstice will be the line’s first in a class of four 122,000-ton 2,850-passenger vessels that includes Celebrity Equinox, due in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse, due in 2010 and a fourth Solstice-class ship set for delivery in 2011.

Celebrity is also making culinary news. The line has partnered with Las Vegas-based Blau & Associates, a strategic restaurant planning and development firm, to serve as the line's new culinary consultancy across the fleet. Widely credited with transforming Las Vegas' dining from ordinary 24-hour buffets to a top-tier culinary destination rich with Michelin-starred chefs, Blau & Associates was founded by the Cornell- and Georgetown-educated Elizabeth Blau, who has worked in the food service business for more than 23 years.

"Celebrity has long been known for providing outstanding cuisine, as has Blau & Associates, so we're confident our guests will be delighted with the results of our partnership," said Hanrahan. "The Blau team brings incredible expertise, and clearly shares our passion for food and genuine dedication to exceptional guest service, which will translate beautifully to the dining experience on every Celebrity ship."

Celebrity sails in Alaska, California, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal and South America, and will begin cruising in Australia and New Zealand in November. The line also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Canada, Europe and Australia through its cruisetour affiliate.