I have recently had an update from one of my many travel contacts who partly lives in Sri Lanka and who owns the delightful Estate House there and helps Designer Travel arrange fantastic tailor-made holidays to this region. The undeveloped East of the country – great for our Summer School...
Millennium Class Ships
Four cruise ships were created by the new owners to celebrate the new Millennium: Summit, Millennium, Infinity and Constellation, all driven by gas turbine instead of diesel engine. The ships introduced many special features, such as the Millennium’s Olympic Restaurant which was constructed with wooden panels and fittings from White Star’s original Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, built in 1911. Staterooms and suites were larger than the industry average, many with verandas.
Solstice features added to earlier Millennium Class ships
The Millennium class ships are being refurbished with new colour schemes, renewal of soft furnishings and new flat screen TVs. At the same time Celebrity are introducing some of the most popular venues found on the new ‘Solstice’ class ships; Tuscan Grille Steakhouse, Bistro on Five (creperie), a ‘cool’ new ice-topped Martini Bar and the inviting Cafe al Bacio and Gelateria and Cellmasters wine bar, complete with state of the art wine serving systems known as ‘Enomatics’, allowing guests to select and serve wines by the glass, at the touch of a button. As well as the addition of more suites, all cabin furnishings were upgraded including new bedding and flat screen TVs. Celebrity Constellation was Solsticised in 2010, Celebrity Infinity in November 2011, Celebrity Summit in January 2012 and Celebrity Millennium in April 2012. All Millennium Class ships are over 90,000 tons with a capacity of just over 2000 guests and carrying 1000 crew.
New Challenger Class or Solstice Class
Celebrity’s latest offering, the Solstice Class, is quite magnificent; the stylish architecture and advanced design is already a big hit with many passengers. Introduced in 2008 with the Celebrity Solstice, eventually there will be five built in this class: Celebrity Equinox introduced in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, Celebrity Silhouette in 2011 and a fifth ship planned for 2012. These ships have been totally redesigned and feature larger cabins and bathrooms. This has set a new standard in prestige, large ship cruising, with the ships being very spacious, light and airy. The open decks include the lawn club with real grass on deck 15; a great area for relaxing and playing a gentle game of bowls. There is a great emphasis on healthy living with its vast Aqua Spa area with dedicated cafe and Blu restaurant with organic wines.
There are several wonderful upmarket dining options onboard, including speciality and casual restaurants. The range of upmarket restaurants, Qsine, Tuscan Grille, Blu and Murano, all carry a cover charge. The main dining area more than suffices, which includes the magnificent main restaurant dominated by its signature two-deck high wine tower. For internet surfers there is the Apple iLounge with 26 MacBook Pro laptops including white leather seating. For couples there are private chill out zones, double cabanas, a vast spa and solarium, and jogging track. Celebrity describes itself as offering high end American service standards in a modern and comfortable environment which is giving the more traditional cruise companies something to think about.
Solstice saw the introduction of the AquaClass balcony staterooms which offer clients a health and wellness cruise experience with unlimited access to the Aqua Spa relaxation room and Persian Garden. Many other extras are included with an emphasis on health and wellness, including guaranteed complimentary dining in the Blu restaurant. All Solstice Class ships are over 120,000 tons with a capacity of just over 2,800 guests and carrying 1500 crew.
As well as offering conventional dining in the main restaurant, either first or second sitting, Celebrity have introduced a new flexible dining option called ‘Celebrity Select’ for the same venue allowing guests to choose the time they would like to dine. Reservations can be made for their preferred dining times each day prior to sailing or whilst on board, subject to availability; gratuities must be prepaid to allow you to use this option. A more casual open dining option and dining at speciality restaurants (which carry a supplement) are still available to all guests. The line also offers various beverage packages including wine or non-alcoholic only packages to clients.
Different features on Silhouette and Reflection ‘Solstice Class’ Ships
A Lawn Club Grill where passengers can join in with the cooking is replacing the glass-blowing exhibition on Celebrity Silhouette which launched in July 2011 and also on Celebrity Reflection, the last of five Solstice Class vessels on order, which entered service in November 2012. The Lawn Club complex includes The Porch, for complimentary casual breakfasts and lunches, an Art Studio for painting, mixology and other activities, and The Alcoves – eight Wi-Fi-enabled cabana style retreats for up to four people that can be rented for the day. Passengers are able to order picnic baskets and drink to be delivered. A restyled bar in Michael’s Club serves more than 50 beers. The Hideaway, a new hi-tech quiet spot where passengers can relax with iPads, iPods and other Apple goodies, replaces Team Earth, an environmental awareness exhibition. Also Celebrity Reflection has an extra deck with 42 more suites, including 34 spacious Aqua Class spa suites with butler service and eight Sky suites. The ship also includes an extra 19 Concierge Class cabins and 11 extra inside cabins. Reflection has 1,515 suites and space for just over 3000 guests based on double occupancy. More loungers will be made available on deck and increased seating capacity in public rooms.
Celebrity do not cater for families in the same big way as their sister brand, Royal Caribbean, however they do have a Fun Factory onboard and it would be suitable for those families wishing to have a more sophisticated environment and more time with their children whilst on holiday.
New Suite Class experience
Celebrity Cruises new ‘Suite Class’ experience will be fully introduced during April 2015. New benefits will include suites-only restaurant, VIP Lounge, complimentary premium drinks and personal butler service. These guests will enjoy priority check in and embarkation, daily high end afternoon tea service served in the suite. Premium bedding and Bulgari bathroom products will be provided.
Excursions by Ben Fogle
Celebrity Cruises have introduced excursions created by destination expert Ben Fogle; great adventures include speedboat rides, gastronomic tours and kayaking trips.
Contact Simon at Designer Travel Tailor-made Holidays & Cruises
All details quoted are thought to be correct at time of posting but are always subject to confirmation at time of booking
Photo: Equinox at Istanbul (Celebrity) 71
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