The Ship- The Celebrity Solstice

19 Apr

Solstice: the precise moment that the sun is the farthest North or South of the equator. Well, the aptly named Celebrity Solstice is one ship that is so innovative it is truly light years ahead of the cruise ship pack.

Launched in 2008, this ship takes the best of just about every cruise ship out there, made it a tad bit better, and even incorporated some unique interior design ideas.  Carrying 2,850-passengers (plus 1255 crew), the 122,000-ton Solstice is the first in a series of five “Solstice-class” ships. The vessel offers a number of seagoing firsts: a half-acre Lawn Club with real grass and full-time groundskeeper and the Hot Glass Show presented in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass.  But what really set the ship apart for us was the ship’s style and design – it’s unique and unlike anything out there.

The Grand Foyer in the center of the ship...At night, a live band played and the whole area became a dance floor...

At a price tag of $750 million (YOWZA!), no small detail was overlooked or spared in creating the Solstice. The atmosphere onboard is ‘Zen-like’- centered on a theme of incorporating the four elements of nature — earth, air, light and water.  Throughout the ship, colors are subdued whereas furniture is big, bold, and surprisingly comfy.  The lighting helps emphasize it all.  The whole thing is just very modern, chic…Right up our alley :).

Speaking of cool lighting...The Solarium (indoor adult pool)

Despite the ship’s size, it’s surprisingly intimate and offers tons of nooks and crannies for passengers to escape the masses.

The library

But don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of spots where the good times roll- countless bars, nightclubs, theaters, arcades, etc.   Oh, and there’s a big casino and the ‘Quasar Disco’ that incorporates a ’70s theme with retro furniture and hanging ball chairs.  Very cool!

The theater

Quasar Disco

The Lawn Club- yes, it’s just like being in your own backyard (well, if your backyard was surrounded by crystal blue waves and warm coconut-scented breezes, but still!)- is a great place to gather with friends for a round of croquet, ring toss, putt putt and bocce ball. Right next to the lawn, there’s glass blowing where artisans create their art right in front of you.  And, of course, you’re never more than a few steps from a great bar for that perfect bucket of beer (John and Dad) or fruity frozen concoction (Mom and me) :).

Our 'backyard' for the week 🙂

The two-story spa and fitness center are integral parts of this ship- and some of the major selling points for me!  These really add to the healthy spa-resort fitness feeling, especially since there are ‘healthy, all natural restaurants’ adjoining them.  The gym itself is every bit as nice as traditional gyms back home- more than 100 cardio machines, weight machines, multiple huge sets of free weights and even daily classes ranging from pilates to spinning (yes, I did 2 spinning classes and they rocked!)  One of my favorite perks was finishing each day’s workout in the adjoining sauna to help sweat out just a tad more of those darn little toxins!  The pools are cool, too- sectioned off with architecturally placed canvas, creating areas of privacy. Guests can lounge in comfy sun loungers, plush wicker ottomans, and hammocks.

Just a few steps from the Lawn Club is the main pool deck

Inside the Solarium

Comfy sun loungers 🙂

There are 1425 spacious staterooms on the Solstice, 85% of which have private balconies and 90% have ocean views.  It’s the coolest shower I’ve seen on a ship.  Queen-sized beds, pullout sofas, a small working desk, mini-fridge, 32-inch flat screen TV with all kinds of live channels (including free on-demand movies and music) and even live GPS tracking with current speed and wind directions, just like on a plane!  Each TV is actually an Apple Mac-mini, which means that guests can book services, excursions, preview menus, order room service, view photos (there are photographers roaming around taking your picture each day), or even check your email (for an exorbitant fee 😦 )  But who had time to play around with the TV when there were so many other options?!  Not us!!

Our Stateroom, taken from the balcony...

Interestingly stateroom design was influenced by a panel of five women with unique travel and hospitality insights. While professional designers were responsible for the overall design, the five boomer-aged women made suggestions about what they would like to see on board. Among the design features they suggested: more storage space above and below the bed, double doors that opened up to the adjoining cabin, and footrests in the showers for shaving legs.

Another view of our stateroom, toward the balcony...

Now, being the closet-hippie that I am (OK, there’s not much of a closet, but I’m definitely not as crunchy as some!), I LOVE that Celebrity took plenty of steps to be more of an eco-friendly ship.  The Solstice is the first cruise ship to use solar power. There are 216 solar panels throughout the ship and energy collected becomes part of the ship’s power grid — enough to operate 7,000 of the vessel’s 25,000 energy efficient LED lights. Additionally, Solstice’s hull design and coating make the ship more fluid dynamic, which means less fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

They have recycling bins throughout the ship and each room has high-glazed glass windows, which reduces heat transfer and filters out nearly 100% of UV rays. The most impressive feature to me is the advanced wastewater purification system which allows them to treat all wastewater to drinking-water quality before discharging it into the ocean. Apparently, this costs $100 million to install on all of their 10 ships (something they’re still in the process of doing) and that it has no real financial return other than to minimize their environmental footprint.  Kudos to you, Celebrity!

Some of the solar panels...

Well there you have it- my full review of our home away from home for my birthday week.  You’d think I worked for Celebrity the way I’ve sold it, right?!  Nah…I just wanted to give you the best overview I could and not waste time on the minor drawbacks like moody crew members, absence of public trashcans, and crappy toilet flushing pressure (no pun intended 🙂 ).  Overall,the Solstice made for the perfect home base for us to celebrate my big 3-0 in style…for 8 days straight! 🙂

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