It has been a long time since I posted anything in the blog; it’s hard to find much to say in winter other than “I wish I was on a cruise!”
However, one significant event that has happened since I last posted is that Celebrity Solstice has entered service. She’s Celebrity’s biggest ship, and is obviously the first ship of a new design, and we have already booked a cruise on her for next September.
I’ll admit that during her first week or so in service as the initial reports came back, we were wondering if we had done the right thing. The problem is with the lifeboats and tenders. Thanks to their position they block the view from the promenade; indeed, Solstice doesn’t have a real promenade, it’s basically an outdoor passage-way to give access to the lifeboats, which are down at deck level. We already knew that she didn’t have a traditional ‘wrap-round’ promenade, but we had been expecting that we would at least be able to walk along each side, enjoying the views and getting the fresh air, but it turns out we won’t. That is, we’ll be able to walk, but as all we’ll see is the lifeboats on one side and the superstructure on the other, it won’t be worth it.
Then it also turned out that three of the lifeboats on each side are actually ship’s tenders. These have a greater height than the standard lifeboats; in fact they’re so much higher that they obstruct the view from the cabin balconies on the deck above. Celebrity has very recently changed the categorisation of those cabins – they are now officially ‘Obstructed View’ cabins. Fortunately we aren’t in one of those, but we are in a balcony cabin just one deck higher. So we’ll have no promenade, and lifeboats immediately below our cabin balcony: should we switch to a different cruise? we wondered.
We decided not to, and now we’re glad we didn’t. Shortly after the first written reports came in, the photographs started appearing on various websites, and the truth is that Solstice is simply stunning. There seem to be a lot of really impressive design points all over the ship, and everyone refers to the quality of the interiors. The best set of images that I’ve seen are by David Pierce, and he posted them here. The picture at the top of this entry is a sample of his work, and he has kindly agreed to let me use it here (the copyright remains with David, of course).
It will be a different cruise from the one we enjoyed on Ventura, but I think it’s one we will enjoy. Even without a Promenade Deck to walk around.