Celebrity Silhouette debuts to rave reviews

Celebrity Silhouette debutsCelebrity Cruises new 2,886 passenger Celebrity Silhouette debuted this week in Hamburg, Germany. Initial reviews indicate the line’s fourth new ship in less than three years offers far more than a cookie-cutter version of her three older sisters.

“The most striking change was replacement of glass blowing with the Lawn Club Grill, allowing more passengers to enjoy 1/2 acre of real grass in an engaging and tantalizing culinary experience with views of the lawn and the best oceanviews available” cruise expert Stewart Chiron, CEO CruiseGuy.com, told Gadling late Thursday from Hamburg.

Fans of Celebrity Silhouette’s three sister-ships will find familiar features including the signature Lawn Club, an on-deck area with actual growing grass. New in this part of the ship is the 48-seat Lawn Club Grill, replacing the Corning Glass Works feature on earlier models. The open-air outdoor restaurant allows guests to select and grill their own meats, barbecued pizza or fresh vegetables by themselves or with the help of the ship’s chefs at night for an additional fee. Accompanying beverages include wine, frosty buckets of beer and pitchers of sangria.”I’ve been on the new ship for about 12 hours now, and already love the few changes Celebrity has made to this ship” said Linda Garrison of About.com.

Another change, a new complimentary breakfast and lunch venue called The Porch, serves lighter fare including sandwiches and soups. Not far is The Art Studio where guests are invited to explore the artist within them with a Master Artist from the ArtCenter South Florida via a variety of activities including jewelry making, learning to sketch, make a mosaic or travel journal of their vacation.

“The enhancements on Silhouette over her three predecessors are striking. The Lawn Club received six cabanas and hammocks” said Chiron.

Those cabanas can accommodate up to four guests and are WiFi-enabled in what the line calls “your own cabana-styled haven” called the Alcove. Cabana rental includes the use of an iPad, continuing a partnership/program with Apple offered on other Solstice-class ships that also enables self-guided tours of the ship’s extensive art collection.

“Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class ships were game changers when Solstice debuted in 2008” concluded Chiron “With the introduction of the fourth ship in the series, Celebrity further changed the game into uncharted territory.”

Celebrity Silhouette joins her three older sisters Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox, and Celebrity Eclipse. Thursday’s naming ceremony of the 122,000-ton ship, the largest to be officially named in Germany, was streamed live on Celebrity’s Facebook page and officially named by US travel agent and Cancer survivor Michelle Morgan following a Celebrity tradition in supporting breast cancer charities.

Compared to her younger sisters, Celebrity Silhouette was also built with 17 additional cabins. Upcoming Celebrity Reflection, due in 2012, will add 89 cabins on an entire extra deck, increasing capacity to 3,030 passengers. New 251 square foot Aqua Class suites will be added with all the current amenities plus butler service.

Celebrity Silhouette debuts
with sailings to the Holy Land and eastern Mediterranean from Rome’s port of Civitavecchia before repositioning to Bayonne, New Jersey to sail Caribbean itineraries through the winter. New Yorkers can enter to win a free ride on the new ship in the line’s NYC Celebrity Silhouette Sweepstakes through August 31, 2011.

Flickr photo by madle-fotowelt.de

Grill your own dinner on new cruise ship, get free apron

Grill your own dinnerCelebrity Cruises new 2,886-guest Celebrity Silhouette will debut soon with all the bells and whistles of her previous 122,000 ton Solstice-class sister-ships. Look for iPad art tours, a “trendsetting onboard experience and larger than normal staterooms. Sailing from New York, a whole lot of New Yorkers and tri-state area residents will be on board, starting their vacation without taking a flight, maximizing their vacation time. Also on board will be something new and unique to this vessel; the industry’s first interactive, open-air grilling restaurant The Lawn Club Grill.

“People tend to associate grilling with the relaxing, carefree mood of summer – exactly what a Celebrity vacation is all about,” said Jacques Van Staden, Vice President, Culinary Operations. “What can be better than experiencing something that’s popular among so many cultures around the world, while relaxing near a lawn of growing grass, surrounded by an endless view of the sea?”

The highlight of the dining experience at the 58-seat Lawn Club Grill will be the opportunity for guests to serve as their party’s “Grill Master,” by being paired with a Celebrity Cruises chef to assist in preparing the menu for their table over custom-built, ventilated grills. This unique, one-on-one interaction will give the Grill Master a one-of-a-kind, firsthand lesson in proper grilling techniques and other tricks of the grilling trade.
“Our guests consistently tell us that fresh, exciting culinary experiences are essential to their enjoyment of their vacation, and we are always looking for new ways to deliver that to them,” said Van Staden.

All guests will have the opportunity to choose from a gourmet salad bar, a la carte “build your own” pizzas and more than 12 grilled specialties. “Grill Masters” will receive a complimentary apron as a memento.

“Just as we introduced the ‘uniquely unordinary’ experience of using iPad-based menus to design individual culinary journeys featuring dishes presented in unexpected ways in Qsine on Celebrity Eclipse, we are introducing customized, open-air grills to the cruise vacation dining experience.”

By combining a premium culinary experience with the sensation of relaxing on the top deck of a ship, surrounded by live grass and cool ocean breezes, Celebrity’s aim is to celebrate the passion people have for grilling, as they enjoy their precious vacation time.

I think they might just get that done when guests grill their own dinner at The Lawn Club Grill.

2 unique new cruise ships sailing in 2011

new cruise ships2010 was a good year for new cruise ships. Highlights included Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic that set the bar solidly higher for at-sea entertainment, highlighted by a Cirque Dreams and Dinner experience that was well received. Answering that call for improved entertainment, new largest-ship-in-the-world Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas followed nicely in the footsteps of older sister Oasis, clearly establishing herself as a unique ship of her own.

Looking forward to 2011, more new ships are on the horizon including Oceania Cruises new Marina, nearly double the size of the line’s existing three ships; Celebrity Silhouette, the fourth Solstice-class ship from Celebrity Cruises and another new yacht from Seabourn, the Seabourn Quest among others. Today we focus on two different ships by two different lines that will probably be the most talked-about of the bunch.

Disney Dream – at 128,000 tons, Disney Cruise Line’s new entry, the first of two with Disney Fantasy coming out next year, promises to steer Disney in a unique new at-sea direction. Sailing from Port Canaveral, the new ship will more than double the size of the Disney fleet carrying up to 4000 guests. Called “the most anticipated ship of 2011” by CruiseCritic.com editor Carolyn Spencer Brown

Carnival Magic – the second of Carnival Cruise Line’s Dream-class ship and will offer 3,693 guests a 7 to 12 day Mediterranean sailing in the Summer followed by a unique first for Carnival; home-porting a new ship in Galveston Texas. 130,000 ton Carnival Magic will make a total of 23 ships in the fleet. Look for this one to be launched with some unique, social ways capitalizing on Carnival’s signature “fun” element.

New Celebrity cruise ships to be bigger and have more features

New Celebrity ShipsCelebrity Cruises president Dan Hanrahan announced today some big changes to their popular Solstice-class ships. As an evolution of the Solstice-class signature Lawn Club, an on-deck grass area, the line will add several new features on upcoming Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection.

Calling the new Celebrity cruise ships an “evolution of what we’re doing” Hanrahan outlined the upcoming changes.

While Celebrity Silhouette will be the same 122,000 tons as her three younger sisters, the new Celebrity Reflection will be wider, taller and weigh in at 126,000 tons with the addition of another deck of staterooms.

Among other features that will shake things up on the new ships:

  • The new Lawn Club Grill, an open-air restaurant and display kitchen will take place of the grassy area on other Solstice-class ships. A $30 charge per person will apply.
  • Continuing parent-company Royal Caribbean Internationals focus on the arts, The Art Studio allows small, intimate hands-on interaction and instruction with experts.
  • The Gathering Table will be where culinary activity becomes part of the art experience. Cabana-style private retreats called The Alcoves will offer the popular adults serenity experience for an additional charge. Picnic baskets will be available for an extra charge also.
  • Continuing the serenity focus, The Hideaway will an indoor, tree house like ambiance for casual dining.
  • Signature lounge Michael’s Club will evolve into beer tasting venue with 50 international beers with a Rascal Flats feel by day and a Kings of Leon feel at night.

Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships feature larger than normal staterooms including spa-focused AquaClass accommodations. These premium staterooms include the line’s Concierge-class amenities, priority seating in Blu, a specialty restaurant created just for AquaClass guests. Other Concierge-class amenities include priority check-in, evening hors d’ooeuvres, a menu of pillows to select from, Egyptian cotton over-sized towels, complementary shoe-shine service, use of a golf umbrella and binoculars and more.

Celebrity Cruises currently operates 10 ships world-wide sailing itineraries in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal, South America, and year-round in the Galapagos Islands.

Flickr photo by mascardo1