Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Solstice

The biggest ever build cruiser in Germany, Celebrity Solstice, leaves the Meyer Papenburg shipyard en-route to Hamburg via Emden on September 28, 2008 in Papenburg, Germany. Having a length overall of 315 meters, the Celebrity Solstice will be three times longer than a soccer field. The large diesel engines will provide sufficient propulsive power to reach a speed of 24 knots, approximately 45 km/h. (MARKUS HANSEN/GETTY IMAGES)


Like several other new ships, Celebrity Solstice features 130 veranda staterooms designated as AquaClass spa staterooms. Guests in them get upgraded cabin amenities and nightly access without charge to Blu, the specialty restaurant dedicated to healthy cuisine. They also get complimentary use of the relaxation room and the Persian Garden thermal beds in the spa. What they don't get: Complimentary spa service. For those, everyone pays extra.


Most have verandas, and more than 120 can be connected for families who want more closeness. Additionally, Celebrity invited five women -- including a cruise writer and a woman who had never cruised -- to consult on the ship. Many of their recommendations are offered on other ships, but new is the bar in the shower where you can rest your leg while you're shaving it. (It's a girl thing.)


The top deck features both the Lawn Club (for croquet, bocce, putting and picnics) and the Hot Glass Show, a glass-glowing exhibition presented several times daily by experts from the Cornell School of Glass.


The elegant Ensemble Lounge, near the specialty restaurants, is your pre-dinner drinks venue. During the day you might head to the bar behind the Lawn Club or to the panoramic Sky Lounge. Cellar Masters focuses on wines; Michael's, once a cigar and whiskey bar, retains its clubby feeling sans the smoke. The frosty -- literally and attitudinally -- Martini Bar is raucous and chic; Bond meets Austin Powers and Barbarella in the Quasar disco.


Think diamonds -- Celebrity has commissioned it's own cut; artisan jewelry by Miamian Elaine Silverstein; glass art from the Cornell School; fine watches; cosmetics and perfumes; luggage and travel accessories. Artwork offered for sale leans toward art photography, though other media are offered. Don't worry; you'll find some fun, less expensive souvenirs as well.


The ship incorporates solar power, energy efficient lighting, heat-reducing window glass and hull coating that reduces resistence.

Capacity: 2,850 passengers, double occupancy
Length: 1,033 feet
Beam: 121 feet
Tonnage: 122,000
Staterooms: 85 percent with verandah; 121 connecting staterooms
Itineraries: After a winter-spring season of seven-night Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, the ship moves to the Mediterranean for the summer and early fall.
Fares: In January, seven-night cruises start at $829 inside, $909 for an oceanview cabin.
Contact: www.celebritycruises.com, 800-647-2251.