Celebrity Cruises’ five Solstice Class ships have set new standards of sophistication and elegance in contemporary design. Their key differentiator for exterior spaces was the grassy top deck Lawn Club—first at sea, and striving for country club exclusivity on this ship, whereas its three predecessors were more inclusive to all cruisers. For-fee restaurants and pricey cabanas called the Alcoves now set the tone for this ship experience, which aims to please the same travelers who might go to the Hamptons for a week.
The high proportion of balcony cabins is broken out into a few categories: ConciergeClass just like regular balconies, except in more desirable locations across the ship; and AquaClass, which grants access to certain spa perks.
The Celebrity experience can be had for a reasonable rate, if you’re okay with an inside cabin and only the included meals/entertainment. Everything from an outdoor grill lunch to top deck access will cost. However, because of how many balcony cabins there are, you may be able to upgrade to one of those without breaking the bank.
The Lawn Club Grill is only on Silhouette and one sister ship, and is an “interactive” grill experience, meaning at least one person per table will volunteer as “Grill Master” and be expected to assist the chef. For starters, there’s a salad bar and flatbreads. Order a classic flatbread or DIY your toppings at the salad bar. Pizza-making classes are occasionally held here. There is a fixed surcharge per person.
The other notably new venue is The Porch, which styles itself a raw bar, but is actually a casual al fresco serving sandwiches, burgers and salads plus half a dozen raw seafood selections.
The main restaurant on this ship is called Grand Cuvee, in an obvious reference to the 1800-bottle wine tower that is its centerpiece. This room accommodates flexible seating and two fixed services for dinner. Breakfast and lunch are open seating.
The buffet is set to satisfy all tastes, with its array of specialty stations ranging from Asian to fish ‘n’ chips to pizza. There’s also a poolside burger grill. For those with healthier tastes, this ship also recently added Sushi on Five casual sushi and sashimi bar. The spa cafe has a spa cuisine menu—included to cruisers in certain cabin classes, with nominal surcharge for others.
All the rest of the dining options are for-fee “alternative dining” in familiar fleet-wide concepts. Murano, Tuscan Grille and Qsine are the formal dining options. Bistro on Five is a casual creperie.
Bars & Lounges
Of the posh bars, Celebrity fleet-wide favorites are the Martini Bar and CellarMasters, which has self-serve enomatic wine dispensers. For a laid-back drink, try the Sunset Bar or Slush, the pool bar. Pre-dinner or post-dinner and before a show, sip a cocktail in the Ensemble Lounge or Passport Bar.
The most talked-about bar concept on this ship, ironically, is the craft brew pub Gastrobar, known not for cocktails but for 40+ craft beers and gourmet-ish bar bites.
Hideaway is a relaxed and spacious two-deck lounge-meets-café that’s a first-in-fleet. The swinging chairs are the VIP seats as long as you don’t fear heights.
The main show lounge is the Silhouette Theater, and it hosts a variety of Broadway and modern circus-inspired revues.
Smaller live acts perform at the Lawn Club, Sky Observation Lounge, Gastrobar and Passport Bar.
The ship’s nightclub is called Quasar. The pool bar and the Solarium are two other spaces that sometimes come alive late-night with DJ music and/or some sort of party theme are
This cruise line is known for its art collection, which includes some interesting mixed media and interactive pieces on every ship. On Silhouette, it’s the “living tree” in the Atrium. A self-guided tour of this and every other notable on-ship art work can be facilitated with a loaner iPad.
The other element that gets a lot of promotion is CelebrityLife, which is really just a contemporary take on typical shipboard enrichment and recreation programs—modernized by some mainstream brand partnerships. More popular programs include Top Chef at Sea Quickfire Challenge, The Living Room Games and Dancing with the Stripes. There are also typical cruise offerings like a mixology class and pool volleyball.
If shopping is your preferred pastime, there are nearly two dozen retailers on this ship. The latest boutiques to join the designer-heavy offerings are Michael Kors and Bulgari.
Spa travelers have this line in their sights from the start, thanks to its partnership with Canyon Ranch. The entire spa experience on this ship is excellent if you have the money to splurge on everything from a spa suite to the many signature treatments to the customized cuisine.
The pool facilities are split between the main pool deck and the fleet-wide signature Solarium adults-only area. The main pool has an activity area, splash zone and wading pool plus four whirlpools.
- Surcharges for almost all the dining venues and many of the best public spaces add up very quickly.
- Approximately half the “included” experiences are only included to people in suites.
- It’s not easy at all to know which of Celebrity’s fleet-wide experiences will be available on a sailing or when or at what cost.
- The menus in the main dining room have not changed over the years.