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The Celebrity Solstice: A Huffington Post Travel Cruise Ship Guide

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CELEB SOLSTICE
Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Solstice is a popular floating resort. The waters are crowded with sea-worthy vessels, so to make planning easier, we've done all the prep work for a cruise vacation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on cruise ships, here is a tip sheet offering all the key information one could ever need to know about the Celebrity Solstice.

Destination

The Celebrity Solstice all but circumnavigates the globe, offering spring and summer cruises in the Mediterranean before sailing west to cruise the Caribbean during the winter. In April the Solstice sails back across the Atlantic and resumes its Mediterranean schedule. As the weather cools, the ship passes through the Suez Canal, traveling through Asia and the Middle East in the winter before sailing to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and French Polynesia.

Solstice Class

The Solstice is the first of the Solstice class ships in the Celebrity fleet. This class of ship is the largest and most luxurious Celebrity has to offer, yet it nonetheless provides engaging kid-friendly entertainment, including an arcade, a basketball court and a "youth cluster" that comprises three age-specific activity centers.

Special Features

Celebrity's Youth & Teen Program offers age-appropriate activities to children ranging from toddlers to teens. But adults have plenty to do as well, with Fortunes Casino, CelebrityLife classes on painting and mixology, and the Lawn Club, which features spectacular views from 15 decks above the open sea.

Accommodations

The inside staterooms offer a seating area in addition to the sleeping space. More than 85 percent of all the outside accommodations have private balconies. For a more luxurious stay, the Solstice offers Aquaclass sailing. This premium package includes a balcony stateroom and access to the Aquaclass lounge and restaurant.

Cost

Because of the varied nature of the destinations, prices for Solstice passage vary dramatically. A one-night Sydney getaway cruise costs as little as $269 per person for an interior stateroom ($649 per person for a suite). An 18-night Australia and New Zealand cruise starts at $2,549 per person for an inside cabin ($5,299 per person for a suite).

Excursions

One passenger recommended the "A Taste of Rome" excursion. This trip started early to give passengers the most time in the city as possible and included such sites as Vatican City, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon.

Dining Experience

There is a dizzying range of dining options on the Solstice. The main dining area is called Grand Epernay, which provides seating on two decks. Murano combines classic and modern cuisines, while Silk Harvest offers casual family-style dining with Asian food options. Blu is the AquaClass premium restaurant, providing a specialty health and spa cuisine.

Maiden Voyage

Celebrity Solstice made its maiden voyage November 23, 2008, three weeks earlier than the projected date. The ship's godmother is Sharon L. Smith, an American marine biologist.

In The News

In February 2011, more than 100 passengers and 10 crew members contracted Norovirus. An 80-year-old passenger that contracted the illness died while aboard the ship, and the victim's family alleges that the man received inadequate medical care.

WATCH:

Passenger video of the AquaClass stateroom.

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