Celebrity Silhouette indulges the soul – ‘The Alcoves’ generating a buzz

The City of Hamburg, Germany, provided the backdrop this week for the launch of Celebrity Cruises’ latest vessel, the 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette. It’s the fourth new ship launch for Celebrity in as many years. Image courtesy Celebrity Cruises

By Michael Coleman

HAMBURG, GERMANY, Friday, July 22, 2011 — Among the host of soul-stirring indulgences afforded passengers aboard the new Celebrity Silhouette, few compare to the luxurious cabana setting unveiled aboard the vessel here this week.

The ship, like her sisters Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse, oozes sophistication and warmth, no easy task when building a 2,886-passenger vessel.

The Lawn Club aboard Celebrity Silhouette features a number of eye-popping amenities, among them: real grass, a grill, plus eight, private, Wi-Fi-equipped cabanas dubbed “The Alcoves”. Image courtesy Celebrity Cruises
And, while she boasts a series of nuances not found on her sisters – a Lawn Club Grill; The Porch, a casual outdoor dining locale; The Hideaway, a relaxation area with seating reminiscent of a childhood tree house; and even an Art Studio where passengers can participate in hands-on courses — it’s the eight, private, Wi-Fi-equipped cabanas dubbed “The Alcoves” situated on real grass high above the sea, no less, which is generating a buzz.

Designed to allow for relaxation and seclusion within a hip ambience, just steps from the lively vibe of the Lawn Club and Lawn Club Grill, the chic cabanas comfortably accommodate two to four guests each.

Just steps from the Lawn Club, perched high atop Deck 15, is the Lawn Club Grill aboard Celebrity Silhouette. Passengers can select and grill their own meats side-by-side with Celebrity’s chefs — a cruise line first at sea - or have them cooked to order. Image courtesy Michael Coleman
Alcove guests enjoy views of the lawn and sea; ambient mood lighting for cozy, romantic evenings; complimentary amenities including a fresh fruit plate, hand-held fans, chilled towels, four bottles of water, and all-day use of an iPad loaded with a variety of music, movies, games and magazines.

Additionally, fresh, themed picnic baskets with selections from Silhouette’s three specialty restaurants, as well as a la carte beverages, are available for an additional charge, and just a phone call away via the ship’s dedicated Alcove attendant. Wine and cheese evenings under the stars can also be arranged.

The Alcoves can even be booked online via Celebrity’s website either for full-day — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – or entire voyage rentals. Rates are $99 per Alcove per day on days in port, and $149 per day on days at sea. Special values are available for guests who book one of The Alcoves for several days or for an entire cruise.

Adjacent to The Alcoves, guests will find eight inviting hammocks and two whimsical, oversized Adirondack chairs, each offering complimentary, additional opportunities to relax amidst the atmosphere of the lawn and sea.

In addition to her innovative new venues and experiences, Silhouette also offers many of the attributes found on each of her sisters:
– The hip “Celebrity iLounge” that made Celebrity Cruises the industry’s first Authorized Apple Reseller

High-tech and food-as-theater combine for a memorable culinary experience in Qsine aboard Celebrity Silhouette. It’s the first restaurant at sea to feature a menu and wine list on an iPad. Image courtesy Michael Coleman
– Uniquely unordinary “Qsine,” the first seagoing restaurant to feature a menu and wine list on an iPad, plus an engaging food-as-theater dining experience
– Ten unrivaled restaurants – in addition to the Lawn Club Grill and The Porch
– Modern, stylish interiors
– Trendy nightclubs and lounges, including CellarMasters, complete with the industry’s first installation of the innovative Enomatic wine serving system
– A broad wine selection served by one of the world’s largest staffs of certified sommeliers
– One of the world’s largest permanent collections of original contemporary art, and the industry’s first self-guided art tours to be presented on an iPad
– Top-tier entertainment, including custom aerial production shows and live music
Silhouette, which will spend the summer here in Europe, begins Caribbean voyages from New York/New Jersey in the fall.

The paint is barely dry aboard the vessel yet company officials are already gearing up for the launch of yet another sister-ship, Celebrity Reflection, set to debut in fall 2012.

On the web: celebritycruises.com

Celebrity Silhouette features a host of new amenities compared to her sisters - Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse — including a Lawn Club Grill; eight, private, Wi-Fi-equipped cabanas dubbed “The Alcoves”; “The Porch,” a casual outdoor dining locale; “The Hideaway”, a relaxation area with seating reminiscent of a childhood tree house; and a new Art Studio where passengers can participate in hands-on courses in beading, sculpting, painting and more led by professional artists. Image courtesy Celebrity Cruises

New Ship Launch: Chic Silhouette sparkles

The 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette debuted today in Hamburg, Germany. The outdoor Lawn Club Grill on Deck 15, just steps from the real grass growing beneath your toes, is sure to be a hit with passengers. Photos by Michael Coleman

By Michael Coleman

HAMBURG, GERMANY: Thursday, July 21, 2011 — It may very well be Celebrity Cruises’ finest hour.

Today, here in this industrial port city, the chic 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette debuted, slightly overshadowing her impressive sisters — Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse – each launched in successive years since 2008.

The new ship sparkles with the best features from her sisters plus trendy changes to Celebrity’s iconic Lawn Club, a Deck 15 refuge complete with real grass under your toes where one can celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling or unwind in a cabana-style haven.

The Alcoves, one of eight cabana-styled havens aboard Celebrity Silhouette, is situated front and center on Deck 15’s Lawn Club.
Passengers at the interactive Lawn Club Grill can select and grill their own meats side-by-side with Celebrity’s chefs — a cruise line first at sea – or have them cooked to order. New, too, are eight, private, Wi-Fi-equipped cabanas dubbed “The Alcoves” for the ultimate in at-sea relaxation plus, steps away, look for the “The Porch,” a breezy, casual dining spot offering sandwiches, coffees and captivating views during breakfast and lunch hours.

Inside Silhouette you might want to take a culinary adventure in Qsine, one of the ship’s specialty restaurants, where you order food and wine from an iPad menu; enjoy an intimate, quiet space – “The Hideaway” – reminiscent of a childhood tree house; or taste some 50 beers from around the world in “Michael’s Club.”

Celebrity Silhouette’s Lawn Club features, among a host of outdoor delights, these oversized chairs.
There’s even a new “Art Studio” onboard where passengers can bring out their inner artist by participating in hands on courses in beading, sculpting, painting and more led by professional artists.

Tonight, Michelle Morgan, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, will officially christen Silhouette as the ship’s Godmother.

Following today’s unveiling, Silhouette will set sail from Hamburg, Saturday, on a seven-night cruise to Civitavecchia (Rome), where the ship will then feature roundtrip 12-night Mediterranean/Holy Land sailings until November when she will offer Caribbean cruises from the New York/New Jersey market.

On the web: celebritycruises.com

– Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman will take a closer look at Celebrity’s new masterpiece here in this space tomorrow.

The spacious Celebrity Silhouette pool deck features plenty of room to enjoy a dip or relaxing time in one of four hot tubs.

Carnival Magic makes her debut in Europe

Little kids and big kids alike will love the Waterworks area. Get dumped on by hundreds of gallons of water, then go down one of three large slides. Carnival Magic has their longest twister waterslide of any ship.



By Jackie Roseboom

Living up to her name, the christening of the brand new Carnival Magic was indeed magical.

The ceremony took place onboard while in port in Venice, Italy. Carnival’s CEO appeared out of nowhere on stage in a helicopter to start the festivities. The sailing away party, with breathtaking views of Venice was a perfect way to start off a first cruise on a brand new ship.

The ship’s Godmother, Lindsey Wilkerson, was diagnosed with cancer as a child. She credits her survival to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is dedicated to raising funds for St. Jude to ensure more children are helped the way she was. Carnival has taken a pledge to raise three million dollars in three years for St. Jude. On each cruise there is a “Groove for St. Jude” dance party/fundraiser.

In addition to the parties, there are so many fun activities onboard. On Carnival’s new fun ship you can climb high and mighty on the new Sky Course. The views from this rope course on the top deck are amazing as you test your tightrope walking skills (while being tethered to a safety line). The Sports Square features a miniature golf course, a billiards table, foosball, ping-pong and outdoor workout equipment. There is also an area up top to play basketball and many other sports. The oversize board games are also a big hit.

The full service Cloud 9 Spa supplies everything you will possibly need to relax and rejuvenate. The gym classes and equipment are top notch and the spas’ thermal suites are not to be missed. They consist of heated lounge chairs, different kinds of steam rooms and a large, wonderful hot tub with a view! Here’s a little hint: to add to experience, get the custom scrub while you are in the steam room. It will leave your skin baby soft and it’s only about $9 extra. It’s the perfect thing to add to your spa treatment.

There is no shortage of dining options and nightlife on the Carnival Magic. Of course, there’s the “always aimed to please” the main dining rooms, but the Lido deck has many different options to choose from, including tandoori, sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs, pizza, a burrito bar, Mongolian wok and so much more. The new Cucina Del Capitano is an extra fee Italian restaurant by night and a free made to order pasta bar by day. The Prime Steakhouse also has an extra fee, but it is so worth it due to the mouth-watering steaks.

The fun new hangout onboard is the RedFrog Pub. It’s Carnival’s first ever pub. It has a comfortable neighborhood bar feel with a Caribbean flair. There’s an extra cost of $3.33 for each of the yummy things on the menu. You’ll probably want to try the Thirsty Frog Red. This house brew is made just for the pub and isn’t available anywhere else. It sold out on the first cruise and they had to ship some more in. There’s live music nightly and a fun outside area. In addition to the Red Frog for nightlife, there are also lounges, a piano bar, karaoke with a live band and dancing. Of course the shows in the Showtime Theater are something to see and don’t forget the big-screen movie on the pool deck. Kids, and kids-at-heart will love the three water slides and large water dump bucket and splash play area. With all this, you’ll have a hard time being bored, but if that’s what you’re looking for, the Serenity deck is perfect place to unwind with its soft lounge chairs and inviting hammocks.

The cabins onboard the Carnival Magic are very comfortable and available for most sizes and budgets. The Carnival Magic will be sailing the Mediterranean for the summer and in the Caribbean, sailing out of Galveston for the winter. The Magic’s sister ships are the Dream, which debut in 2010, and the Breeze, which launches in 2012.

For more information go to carnival.com

Here’s video of the naming ceremony:

Follow us on the Carnival Magic during her inaugural cruise, May 1-10

Cruise News Weekly staff will be boarding the newest ship at sea next week and you can follow along on our social media sites.

We’ll be boarding the brand new Carnival Magic in Venice, Italy on Sunday, May 1 for a 9-night European cruise. Port stops include Messina, Civitavecchia/Rome, Livorno, Dubrovnik, Naples and Monaco. The cruise ends in Barcelona.

We’ll be posting live photos, information and videos (Internet connection willing) right from the ship throughout the cruise. Look for a full review in the coming weeks.

Here’s where you can find our updates.
Twitter: Twitter.com/cruiseguide
Facebook: Facebook.com/cruisenews

In addition to our coverage of the Magic, you can watch Carnival’s official videos of the christening and around the ship on their Facebook page. You can can also participate in a Facebook quiz based on their videos for a chance to win a seven-day Carnival Magic cruise for four to the Caribbean.

Watch Carnival Magic’s launch videos and enter to win a free cruise

Carnival Cruise Lines is inviting their Facebook fans to experience the excitement of Carnival Magic’s May 1 launch from Venice, Italy, with a series of videos that showcase the ship’s inaugural activities along with its many unique features. Then fans can participate in a Facebook quiz based on the videos for a chance to win a seven-day Carnival Magic cruise for four to the Caribbean.

A series of 11 videos will be posted every half hour between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. (U.S. Eastern time) on Sunday, May 1. The videos take viewers on a journey as they enjoy a front-row seat at the Carnival Magic’s naming ceremony, tour the ship’s bridge, and learn more about the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, WaterWorks aqua park, and Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant, with insight from company executives who helped create these exciting new spaces.

The videos also offer an in-depth look at the ship’s European ports of call and a recap of the day’s events, including a chat with the ship’s godmother, Lindsey Wilkerson, a former patient of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who now serves as an employee and an ambassador of the organization. Carnival Magic’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald will also answer questions submitted by Facebook fans as part of an informative “Ask John” segment.

“Only a handful of people get to witness a ship launch in person so by using Facebook we’re enabling fans from all over the world to be right there with us as we welcome Carnival Magic into the fleet,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “Those who are not already among our 725,000 and growing Facebook fans can visit us at facebook.com/carnival and simply hit the “like” button.”

Fans can also follow Cruise News Weekly staff as they attend the inaugural activities and first sailing. Just visit Facebook.com/CruiseNews and click the “Like” button. You can also follow even more updates from May 1-10 on their Twitter account at Twitter.com/CruiseGuide.

The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic will spend its inaugural season in Europe with a series of seven- to 12-day Mediterranean cruises operating May 1 through October 16, 2011. Following a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Magic will begin seven-day Caribbean cruises out of Galveston, Texas, on November 14, 2011, becoming the port’s largest year-round ship.

Oceania Cruises unveils stately Marina

The stately 1,250-passenger Oceania Marina, the fourth ship in Oceania Cruises’ fleet, debuted this week in Miami. Image courtesy Oceania Cruises

By Michael Coleman

Oceania Cruises christened Marina this week during a lavish ceremony in Miami.

The unveiling brings the vision of Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises and chairman & CEO of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings, to reality with the line’s first newly-built ship measuring 66,000 tons and accommodating 1,250 guests.

“The saying goes, ‘good things come to those who wait’ although Marina’s arrival has been long awaited she’s more than just good,” said Del Rio at the christening ceremony. “She’s the most beautiful, sophisticated and stylish ship launched in the modern era of cruising — a span of some 50 years.”

Marina is a ship of firsts featuring the first Bon Appétit Culinary Center; Master Chef Jacques Pépin’s first namesake restaurant at sea; Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner’s Suites; luxurious accommodations by Dakota Jackson; a Wine Spectator wine program and a Lalique grand stairway.

“Marina is not just another ship, she is special in so many ways,” said Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises’ president. “When we set out to design and build our first new ship, we wanted it to set new standards for comfort, service and culinary excellence.”

The ship’s godmother, Entertainment Tonight anchor Mary Hart, helped host the christening ceremonies.

Marina arrived in Miami last week following her maiden voyage from Barcelona. The ship has been purposefully designed to carry guests to the world’s most alluring ports in elegance and style. Marina is full of rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and lustrous leathers which adorn public rooms.

Facilities include 10 dining venues — six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants, an array of bars and lounges, a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

She will soon depart on the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco and San Diego, both new ports for Oceania Cruises. Marina then operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season.

Marina is the fourth vessel in the Oceania Cruises’ fleet consisting of Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, each carrying 684 passengers, to locales around the world since 2002. Her sister ship, Riviera, will be christened in April 2012.

The line bills itself as an “upper-premium’’ brand offering “gourmet cuisine, gracious service and award-winning itineraries at an exceptional value’’.

On the web: oceaniacruises.com

Disney Dream launches with fanfare and flair

Fireworks light the sky over the Disney Dream Jan. 19 as the newest Disney Cruise Line ship is christened in a gala ceremony held at Port Canaveral. Walt Disney Company president and CEO Bob Iger and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts chairman Tom Staggs joined a host of Disney characters to officially christen the 130,000-ton ship. Photo by Disney/David Roark

By Matt Roseboom

Those of you familiar with Disney theme parks wouldn’t expect their cruise line to launch their third ship with just a boring speech and a small bottle of champagne. The grandest of expectations were met recently during the christening of the Disney Dream with characters, celebrities, singers, dancers, fireworks and a 16-foot-tall champagne bottle.

A helicopter hoisted a huge bottle full of “dreams” across the bow of the ship during a christening ceremony on Jan. 19 at Port Canaveral, officially welcoming the new 4,000-passenger Disney Dream.

Academy and Grammy award winner Jennifer Hudson performed at the ceremony, along with Disney characters and dancers. Hudson is the Godmother of the Disney Dream – a fitting choice, as she got her start as a singer aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship in 2003.

Some 3,000 people were gathered for the christening ceremony including celebrities, media and members of the public. The ceremony concluded with the bottle smash and fireworks shot from the portside ship.

Besides being a bigger version of Disney’s other two ships – Wonder and Magic – the Dream features a number of innovations including art that comes alive, a full-blown shipboard fireworks show, interactive video floors and gigantic video game screens.

Other new features include:

– Video “portholes” that provide inside staterooms with an ocean view. The screens allow guests to see a real-time view outside the ship. High-definition cameras placed on the exterior of the ship feed live video to each Magical Porthole. As guests observe the views, they may glimpse animated characters such as Peach the starfish from “Finding Nemo,” the flying balloon house from “UP” or even Mickey Mouse going by the “window”.

– Aquaduck is a cruise first: a shipboard water coaster featuring twists, turns, drops, uphill acceleration and river rapids. Spanning four decks in height, AquaDuck utilizes high-powered water jets that push riders upward and forward — and at one jaw-dropping point – takes guests 12 feet over the side of the ship in a translucent “swing out” loop allowing them to look down on the ocean 150 feet below.

– An updated restaurant from Disney’s other two ships, Animator’s Palate seemingly becomes immersed in an undersea environment. Crush, the surfer-dude sea turtle from “Finding Nemo,” makes a special appearance, swimming around the restaurant and engaging in live impromptu interactions with diners.

– Remy, Disney Cruise Line’s first premier dining option, made its debut on the Dream. The French-inspired, gourmet restaurant offers a sophisticated new dining concept exclusively for adults.

– In addition to the many expected children’s areas and activities, adults can escape into The District, a nighttime entertainment area with five unique venues. There’s also Senses Spa & Salon, which offers 17 private treatment rooms, spa villas and Rainforest, a special section offering steam, heat and hydrotherapy.

In 2011, the Disney Dream will sail three, four and five night itineraries to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The Dream will be followed by a new sister ship, Disney Fantasy, in 2012.

Disney Dream coverage on Orlando Attractions Magazine – The Show:

Follow us onboard the new world’s largest cruise ship – Allure of the Seas

The Allure of the Seas is shown here with her sister, Oasis of the Seas. Allure is mere centimeters longer than Oasis.

Cruise News Weekly staff will be boarding Royal Caribbean’s brand new Allure of the Seas on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010 for a special two-day voyage and you can follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

We’ll be posting live photos, videos and information right from the ship (Internet access willing) as we check it out. Look for a full review of Allure in the coming weeks.

Here’s where you can find our updates.
Twitter: Twitter.com/CruiseGuide
Facebook: Facebook.com/CruiseNews

Cunard launches Queen Elizabeth

Cruise travel brand icon Cunard launched the 2,068-guest Queen Elizabeth this week in London. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth officiated at the naming ceremony. The Queen christened Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 in 1984 and was on hand in 1967 for the naming of Queen Elizabeth 2. Image courtesy Cunard Line

By Michael Coleman

Cruise travel’s most famous brand name paired with the world’s most famous monarch this week.

Her Majesty The Queen officially named Cunard Line’s newest ocean liner, the 2,068-guest Queen Elizabeth during ceremonies in London. The new vessel — estimates peg the total cost at $634 million – features 1,046 staterooms, 71 per cent of which have balconies.

Look for the ship’s lobby to showcase her grandeur complete with links to Cunard ocean liners of the past. With its finishes of light mahogany and marble, stunning art deco chandelier from the era of the first Queen Elizabeth, cantilevered balconies and magnificent, two-deck high original artwork on the grand staircase, the Grand Lobby is the social focal point of the ship. Plaques detailing the Captains who have served on the two previous Cunard “Elizabeths” celebrate the continuation of the “Elizabeth” name, and a third plaque will record over time the names of the future masters of the newest Queen Elizabeth.

The main dining room, the Britannia Restaurant, spans two decks at the stern of the vessel and offers an art deco feel. It evokes memories of classic ocean liner restaurants with a unique sweeping staircase and marbleized backlit decorative ceiling among the focal points. Breakfast and lunch are served by open seating and guests have the option of either early or late sitting for dinner.

Both the Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants are located on top of the ship (Deck 11), enclosed by graceful and gently curving panoramic glass walls on the seaboard sides, and cantilevered out over the side of the vessel above Deck 10. Both Grills offer a single seating, so guests can enter at a time of their choosing, and the restaurants themselves, although architecturally similar, are decorated distinctly to create an individual feel. Grills guests also have exclusive use of their own private bar and lounge conveniently located next to the Grills restaurants, and complete with resident Concierge.

The ship also features a number of alternative dining venues: The Garden Lounge hosts occasional evening ‘Supper Clubs’ with musical entertainment and dancing; The Lido Restaurants, up on Deck 9, offer breakfast and lunch buffet style; Café Carinthia continues the popular venue introduce on Queen Victoria – furnished in art deco touches and rich décor – offering guests sweet pastries, fine teas and coffees; Golden Lion Pub offers English pub food for lunch in a traditional British pub setting.

The ship’s three-deck Royal Court Theatre, with tiered seating for 832 guests, is the focal point for evening entertainment. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth’s two-deck Queen’s Room ballroom, another Cunard signature feature, is designed for dancing, cocktail parties and traditional English afternoon teas complete with finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones with jam and cream.

Look for a host of bars and clubs to suit a wide variety of tastes.

The ship’s outdoor space on Deck 9 aft, meanwhile, will feature garden parties reminiscent of those held at British country houses, while the forward Games Deck, named after the same deck on the original Queen Elizabeth, offers paddle tennis and introduces croquet and bowls under a canopy to shield players from the sun.

On the web: cunard.com

Queen Elizabeth to name the next Cunard ship

Cunard Line just announced that her majesty the Queen will name the company’s new Queen Elizabeth, the third Cunard ship to bear the name.

The naming will be a milestone in British maritime history and is sure to spark interest worldwide.

Her majesty was present at the age of 12 at the launch of the first Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 27, 1938, when she accompanied her mother, Queen Elizabeth, to Clydebank for the launch.

“The naming of a Cunard Queen is a very special occasion and this will be a historic event in the true sense of the word,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The Queen launched Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and named our current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004. We are both honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name our new liner, Queen Elizabeth,” added Shanks.

The Naming Ceremony will take place in Southampton on Monday, Oct. 11 and Queen Elizabeth will set sail on her maiden voyage on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010.