Royal Caribbean Adds a Second Ship to Sail from Tampa

The Tampa Port Authority and Royal Caribbean International are pleased to announce that the cruise line will be deploying a second ship at the Port of Tampa beginning in the fall of 2014. Royal Caribbean International has been operating one ship at the Port of Tampa, during winter cruise seasons, since January 2002. Brilliance of the Seas, which will sail seasonally four- and five-night Western Caribbean cruises, will now be joined by a second Royal Caribbean ship, Vision of the Seas, which will offer seven-night Western Caribbean cruises, sailing from Tampa throughout winter 2014-15. Vision of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas’ winter 2014-15 cruises from Tampa are now open for sale.

Vision of the Seas will sail a nine-night Southern Caribbean itinerary from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on November 6, 2014, to Tampa, with calls at Aruba, Curacao, Grand Cayman and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise on the north coast of Haiti. Beginning November 15, Vision of the Seas will sail every Saturday from Tampa to destinations in the Western Caribbean, including Grand Cayman, Cozumel (MX), Costa Maya (MX), Roatan (Honduras) or Belize. The 915-foot ship has a capacity of 2,000 guest, double occupancy, and a crew of 742. Previously announced, Brilliance of the Seas also will sail from Tampa in winter 2013-14 and 2014-15 on four-night cruises to Cozumel, and five-night Cozumel itineraries, which additionally call at Grand Cayman or Key West.

“We look forward to having two of our most recently revitalized ships, Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas sail from Tampa in 2014,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “The Port of Tampa has been a great partner for more than a decade and we look forward to continued growth with the Tampa Port Authority in the future.”

There will now be six cruise ships that homeport in Tampa. The projected passenger throughput with the sixth ship will be just over 1 million passengers, the largest throughput in the port’s 31-year history as a cruise port. Port officials are excited to welcome an additional ship to Tampa, which has been home port to Royal Caribbean ships since the first ship, Rhapsody of the Seas, called in January 2002.

With Brilliance of the Seas having just undergone an extensive revitalization in May 2013 and Vision of the Seas to also be revitalized in September 2013, guests will enjoy more dining options, exciting entertainment and innovative amenities for which Royal Caribbean is known. In addition to Broadway-style musical revues in the main theater, guests also will be WOW’ed by the new aerial-acrobatic entertainment production, which spans throughout both ships’ multi-story Centrum. All staterooms and bathrooms will be completely refreshed and new Royal Family Suites will offer another stateroom choice to cater to every member of the adventurous family. Vision of the Seas’ guests will enjoy eight restaurants, including new Park Café gourmet deli, which is complimentary, and Chops Grille, Izumi Asian Cuisine, and the exclusive Chef’s Table experience for 16 guests, which include an additional charge. Brilliance of the Seas’ guests also have choices of Rita’s Cantina and Vintages Wine and Tapas Bar, as well as the King and Country Pub, for an additional charge.

Through the cruise line’s ongoing fleetwide revitalization program, Vision of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas offer guests some of the more popular concepts that were introduced aboard Royal Caribbean’s ground-breaking Oasis-class ships, such as new digital signage, bow-to-stern Wi-Fi service, new flat-panel televisions in every stateroom, an oversized LCD movie screen overlooking the main pool, Concierge and Diamond Lounges for suite and Crown & Anchor Society loyalty member guests, and the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery for the youngest guests ages six to 36 months.

For more information call your travel agent or go to RoyalCaribbean.com

NCL Plans to Develop an Eco-Friendly Destination in Belize

Artist representation of the proposed destination. Provided by Norwegian Cruise Line
Artist representation of the proposed destination. Provided by Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it has purchased approximately 75 acres in Southern Belize for the planned development of an eco-friendly cruise destination. The land, called Harvest Caye, is made up of two adjoining islands in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts that had previously been approved for a resort development with an air strip. Norwegian plans to invest $50 million in the project.

“As our fleet continues to grow to 15 ships by 2017, we expect that we will double the number of guests sailing on our Western Caribbean itineraries and, once this new destination is complete, bring four times as many guests to Belize than we do today,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and CEO. “In our quest to continuously look for new and exciting destinations for our guests, we plan to develop a cruise destination focused on sustainable design and eco-friendly principles that will retain the natural beauty and local culture of this tropical paradise.”

Norwegian has retained IDEA Inc. of Orlando, Fla. to design the destination and bring the project to fruition. IDEA is an industry leading designer of branded ports of call and branded destinations for the hospitality, entertainment and tourism industries. IDEA has worked with private developers, government ministries, and independent agencies to create branded destinations in Alaska; Florida; St. Lucia; St. Maarten; Mexico; St. Kitts; Honduras; Bahamas; and Jamaica.

“This project will set a new standard in the development of an eco-friendly destination. Rather than an imposed plan, we are focused on a design approach that is determined by the local environment to ensure that the unique surroundings and features of the area will be protected and showcased for all to enjoy,” said Hugh Darley, president of IDEA, Inc.

“At Norwegian, we have a strong commitment to the environment through our Eco-Smart Cruising philosophy. We will continue that commitment as we develop the Belize project and ensure that we are socially responsible in everything we do,” said Colin Murphy, vice president, destination and strategic development for Norwegian Cruise Line.

While the master plan for the 75 acres is still under development, the vision is to create a world-class cruise destination, consisting of two locations: an island destination with docking/tendering facilities and a mainland connection point for inland tours. Major components of the project are anticipated to include a floating pier, island village with open-air structures on raised platforms, marina, transportation hub for tours to the mainland, a lagoon for a variety of water sports and a relaxing beach area. The goal is to design an authentic experience grounded in the storyline of nature, ancient culture, art, adventure and music that celebrates Belizean, Mayan and Garifuna history and culture.

The Government of Belize and Norwegian have signed a memorandum of understanding on the development that calls for adherence to Belize’s environmental standards, creation of jobs for Belizeans, as well as significant economic impact, among other items.

Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow has said that Belize needs to decentralize cruise tourism in an effort to reduce overcrowding and improve the visitor experience. Prime Minister Barrow also expressed confidence in Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to responsible development that will have a positive economic impact while maintaining the integrity of natural resources.

The new destination is expected to benefit Belize directly with significantly increased head tax revenues, and at a local level with up to 1,000 new jobs. The creation of the new destination will also help relieve cruise tourism pressures in Belize City which has been called for in Belize’s National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.

Norwegian plans to employ a majority of Belizeans in the construction and operation of the destination in Belize. The company has also created a hiring program specifically for

Belizeans who want to work in the immediate future on its vessels while the project is under development. Once the destination is ready to open, those Belizeans will have priority preference for the numerous staff positions needed to run the day-to-day operations.

To learn more about the project, visit the Belize tab on the company’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/norwegiancruiseline.

Second Breakaway Ship Announced

Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines
Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has confirmed an order for a second “Breakaway Plus” cruise ship with MEYER WERFT GMBH of Papenburg, Germany for delivery in spring 2017. Along with the first Breakaway Plus ship, which is scheduled for delivery in October 2015, these two new vessels will be the largest in the line’s fleet at approximately 163,000 gross tons and 4,200 passenger berths each and will be similar in design and innovation to the line’s current Breakaway class, the first of which, Norwegian Breakaway, launched in New York in early May.

The combined contract cost of the two Breakaway Plus class ships is approximately €1.4 billion. The company has export credit financing in place that provides financing for 80 percent of the contract price.

“The incredible response we’ve received from guests, travel agents and media regarding Norwegian Breakaway only reinforced our decision to add a second Breakaway Plus vessel to our fleet,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “With groundbreaking elements, yet to be announced, and an additional deck to incorporate further innovations, our two Breakaway Plus ships will provide guests even more ways to experience all that the new Norwegian has to offer.”

MEYER WERFT delivered Norwegian Breakaway, the first of Norwegian’s two new 146,600 gross ton, 4,000-passenger Breakaway class vessels on April 25, 2013; and will deliver Norwegian Getaway, in mid-January 2014.

“We’re very pleased to build all these innovative ships for Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of MEYER WERFT.

Prior to the Breakaway class ships, MEYER WERFT built Norwegian’s four Jewel-class ships – Norwegian Gem delivered in 2007, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jade delivered in 2006, and Norwegian Jewel delivered in 2005. These two new Breakaway Plus vessels on order will be the tenth and eleventh that the Company will build with MEYER WERFT.

For more information contact your travel agent or go to breakaway.ncl.com

Brilliance of the Seas ready to wow after emerging from drydock

A favorite ship among cruisers, Royal Caribbean International’s Brilliance of the Seas has reemerged from a $30 million drydock ready to wow guests. The 2,100 guest ship will now offer cruisers signature Royal Caribbean amenities first introduced aboard Oasis-class ships including five new dining concepts, an exhilarating aerial entertainment experience and technology advancements allowing guests to stay more connected than ever before. Brilliance of the Seas will debut her newest innovations this summer as she sails from Harwich, England, offering Northern European itineraries that visit some of the Baltics’s most sought after destinations such as Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland.

Doubling her dining options, Brilliance of the Seas now offers guests a wide variety of culinary experiences from family-style festivity at the Italian trattoria, Giovanni’s Table, to the intimate and exclusive multi-course Chef’s Table. Guests can expand their palettes at a multitude of other dining venues including Royal Caribbean’s signature Izumi Asian Cuisine, Park Café and Rita’s Cantina.

In addition, the five-story Centrum – which is the focal point of the ship – has been transformed into a spectacular new space featuring the Centrum experience, which includes the addition of the 60’s-inspired R Bar as well as a multitude of entertainment experiences including enriching daytime activities, dazzling nighttime entertainment and a new high-flying entertainment experience where aerialists glide through the vertical space of the atrium.

The ship also features a new locatin for the Concierge Club for suite guests, a Diamond Club for Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program members, a new English pub and the popular Royal Babies and Tots Nursery giving parents more opportunities to enjoy the ship’s amenities with peace of mind that their babies are being tended to by qualified care givers. Guests also will find that staying connected at sea will be easier with Wi-Fi access throughout the ship and enjoy a host of technology enhancements that include flat-panel televisions in all staterooms, an outdoor LED movie screen on the pool deck, as well as an interactive digital way-finding system. Old favorites such as the self-leveling pool tables, the adults-only Solarium and the Vitality Spa and Fitness Center can still be found onboard and are sure to delight guests of all ages.

Beginning today, Brilliance of the Seas’ Northern Europe season includes eight sailings that offer the best of the North and Baltic seas, calling at Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Talinn, Estonia; Gothenburg, Sweden; and offering an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. An 11-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland itinerary, sailing July 27, will call at Bergen and Geiranger, Norway; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; Klaksvik, Faroe Islands; with an overnight in Reykjavik, Iceland. Brilliance of the Seas departs for Boston, Mass. on August 31 on a 15-night itinerary, calling at Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), France; Portland, Dorset, UK; Cork (Cobh) and Dublin, Ireland; Klaksvik; with an overnight at Reykjavik.

For more information contact your travel agent or RoyalCaribbean.com

Silversea buys the Galapagos Explorer II, will be refurbished and renamed

The Silversea Group has purchased Canodros S.A., the premier Ecuadorian tourism company that operates in the Galapagos Islands, and their upmarket expedition ship, Galapagos Explorer II.

Silversea plans to add Galapagos Explorer II to its ultra-luxury fleet of six ships next year, after the all-suite, 100-guest vessel undergoes a major refurbishment in September 2013 and is given a new name, steps that will ensure consistency with the standards of the Silversea fleet.

Until that time, Galapagos Explorer II will continue on its planned schedule of cruises and will continue to be operated by Canodros, which is based in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Canodros will also continue handling reservations for Galapagos Explorer II, as well as sales and marketing through its established network of travel companies and tour operators.

Its existing expedition ship, Silver Explorer, is regularly deployed in the polar regions, and the addition of a second vessel, offering year-round unique luxury expedition cruises in the Galapagos archipelago, means Silversea will have the opportunity to offer the adventure traveler a broader portfolio of itineraries, encompassing some of the world’s most desired and least explored regions.

The 4077-ton Galapagos Explorer II offers the stylish elegance of a mega-yacht, attentive onboard service and an enriching naturalist education program. All of its 50 spacious suites feature ocean views and 24 include private balconies. Public spaces include a restaurant, piano bar, library and Internet station, main lounge, outdoor bar, two outdoor whirlpools, and a marine observation deck.

Guests sailing aboard Galapagos Explorer II will continue to enjoy the same exciting itineraries, luxury accommodations, shipboard amenities, informative lectures and sustainable tourism for which Canodros is known.

Potential guests and travel agents interested in booking a Galapagos Explorer II voyage should visit galapagosexplorer.com for more information.

Guests currently booked on Galapagos Explorer II, and travel agents or tour operators with clients booked on the ship, should continue to liaise through their normal channels with Canodros for any needed assistance with their reservation.

In the coming months, Silversea will announce more details concerning plans for the ship after it is renovated and renamed.

Carnival launching Fun Ship 2.0, a $500 million dollar fleet-wide transformation

Carnival Cruise Lines has started an initiative they're calling Fun Ship 2.0, which includes new dining and entertainment options, many of which enhance guests' poolside experience.

By Jackie Roseboom

Carnival Cruise Lines has unveiled what they are calling Fun Ship 2.0. Guests will be able to enjoy new dining choices, bars and lounges, and entertainment options through partnerships and new branded spaces. In the first phase alone, which extends through the end of 2015, Carnival will invest more than $500 million across its fleet of cruise ships.

– Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez will be coming to Carnival Liberty this month and fleet-wide next year.  Lopez will act as a consultant on the hiring of comedians and will advise on décor, lighting, music and more to enhance the comedy club experience. Lopez will pre-recorded his voice and video messages to welcome guests, and a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch will keep diners laughing with live comedy in the main dining rooms.

– Playlist Performances will have guests singing along and dancing in their seats during 30 minute hit-packed shows such as “Motor City” which celebrates the R&B Motown sound of the 1960s and ‘70s, and “Divas” which combines music, dance and fashion to feature tunes from iconic female entertainers. “Latin Nights” offers a fusion of Latin culture, rhythmic music and choreography while “The Brits!”” features tunes from the UK’s most famous artists of all time. The new shows will premiere on Carnival Breeze when it enters service next summer, followed by other vessels.

– Award-winning DJ Irie was named the official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines.  In this new role, he will create and lead “DJ Irie’s Spin’iversity” to train and develop the musical skills and personalities of on-board DJs to boost the overall music experience for guests of all ages.

An artist's rendering of celebrity chef Guy Fieri's new onboard restaurant, Guy’s Burger Joint.

– Carnival has partnered with celebrity chef Guy Fieri to offer a free shipboard dining venue called “Guy’s Burger Joint”, featuring the Food Network star’s hand-crafted burgers, fresh-cut fries and special recipes created exclusively for Carnival. This laid-back, poolside dining venue will be modeled after a road-side burger.

– “Hasbro, The Game Show” is a new series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the popular Family Game Night television show on The Hub. The games include: “Sorry Sliders” which involves a giant shuffleboard court; “Simon Flash” where two teams of four guests wear giant light-up color boxes and must shuffle themselves quickly to repeat a color sequence; “Yahtzee Bowling” with a giant ball and larger-than-life-sized bowling pins; “Operation” which is set up like a skee-ball board where contestants try to get the balls into different slots on the patient’s body; and “Connect-4 Basketball” which uses a basketball setup rather than the traditional checkers.

– EA Sports and Carnival have configured an exciting new sports bar concept. Designed to be the ultimate hangout for sports fanatics, guests can play their favorite EA Sports video games, watch live sports on a massive video wall, and keep up with real-time sports scores 24/7 live on a ticker. Guest can enter the daily trivia contests, compete in EA Sports video game tournaments. Other new bar concepts include: RedFrog Rum Bar offers guests the Caribbean vacation vibe with a pool-side version of the popular Caribbean themed RedFrog Pub, which debuted on the Carnival Magic; The Library Bar is a new intimate cocktail lounge featuring bar service and automatic wine dispensers,ideal for guests seeking a quiet venue; The BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a Mexican-themed atmosphere with tequila-based frozen drinks and Mexican beers and complimentary poolside dining.

For more information go to Carnival.com/funship2.

– Jackie Roseboom is a regular contributor to Cruise Guide, “Orlando Attractions Magazine” and CruiseNewsWeekly.com.

MSC Divina is afloat and ready to be primped for her 2012 debut

MSC Divina, floating out of dry dock B of the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France on September 3, 2011. Image courtesy of MSC

By Jackie Roseboom

MSC Divina, the third and latest addition to the MSC Cruises’ flagship Fantasia class, was ceremoniously floated out of dry dock on Sept. 3. She was transferred to a different dock at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France for final fitting and furnishing ahead of her christening in May 2012. The occasion was witnessed by a select group of guests who gathered to applaud the ship which will become the 12th and most magnificent of the MSC Cruses fleet. It was a major milestone in the build of the new 140,000 ton, 4,363 passenger MSC cruise ship.

As the most advanced of the trio of Fantasia Class cruise ships, cutting edge technical changes on MSC Divina include more powerful propulsion motors (rated at 21.8 MW each. That’s 1.8 more than the motor on the MSC Splendida), brand new alternators and a state-of-the-art air-conditioning system. The ship will also feature a new reverse osmosis system for fresh water production that requires 40 percent less power, therefore assuring less environmental impact.
Construction of MSC Divina started over a year ago. A complement of 74 mega-blocks, each consisting of a set of large pre-fabricated hull components were used in assembling the ship. Work on the keel is nearly completed. Fifty percent of the fitting out has been done which includes completion of the electrical networking, plumbing and public areas. Work has also already started on 400 of the 1,751 cabins. That’s one hundred more than her sister ships.

She is named in honor of Sophia Loren, modern day Italian film legend and patron of the MSC Cruises fleet. MSC Divina will be appropriately themed as a divine goddess.

The ship’s 18 decks (13 of them for passengers) will be named after the gods of Ancient Greece; among them are Urano, Afrodite, Aurora, Giunone, Artemide, Zeus, Mercurio, Cupido, Iride, Minerva, Apollo, Saturno and Elios.
The aft Garden Pool will enhance the “sent from the gods” feel of the ship. It’s being designed and decorated as a heavenly upscale area for a quiet retreat. It will provide a great place to watch the sunset or to star gaze at night.

Regular mediterranean cruises start in June 2012. For more information contact MSC at msccruisesusa.com or call a travel professional.

Breeze beckons Carnival enthusiasts

Artist rendering courtesy Carnival - The 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze, a sister-ship to the recently-launched Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, will debut in Europe in June 2012. She will feature an expansive pool deck, contemporary furnishings and tropical décor in staterooms.

By Michael Coleman

Carnival has launched “Carnival Breeze Life’’, a campaign to inspire potential passengers to celebrate a Caribbean island mindset year-round in anticipation of the debut of their new tropical-infused ship.

Carnival Breeze, a 3,690-passenger vessel, sets sails in Europe in June, 2012. After a summer in Europe she will then sail year-round from Miami beginning November 24, 2012, offering port-intensive six- and eight-day cruises that showcase the best the Caribbean has to offer.

By visiting the new Carnival Breeze tab on the company’s Facebook page ( HYPERLINK “http://www.facebook.com/carnival” www.facebook.com/carnival), potential passengers can enjoy an engaging social experience with exclusive opportunities, videos and giveaways — all while learning more about the new 130,000-ton ship. The tab includes a “Meet the Carnival Breeze” area with detailed renderings offering a sneak peek at the ship’s public spaces.

Just as Carnival Breeze is designed to provide guests with the breezy feeling of the tropics, the campaign encourages potential passengers to infuse the Caribbean spirit into their everyday lives.  By visiting the Carnival Breeze tab on the company’s Facebook page, fans can declare “I Will Live the Carnival Breeze Life” to join the movement. For each person who joins, Carnival will donate $1, up to $20,000 total, to its charitable partner, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the world’s premiere centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other childhood diseases.

“As we gear up for the introduction of our tropical-inspired Carnival Breeze, we encourage Carnival fans to celebrate the spirit of the Caribbean in their everyday lives,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. “Whether it’s donning flip-flops to a business meeting or adding a drink umbrella to your morning orange juice, we invite visitors to regularly explore all the fun, interactive experiences and videos about Carnival Breeze and island life on our Facebook page.’’

The ship will feature a number of open areas to highlight the sun, sea and sky complemented by colorful interiors and public spaces that take their cues from the region’s cool island breezes and warm tropical sunsets.

Through dramatic artist renderings, fans can also get a first look at Carnival Breeze’s design on Facebook and at HYPERLINK “http://www.carnivalbreeze.com/” www.carnivalbreeze.com. From the sun-splashed ambiance of the Lido Marketplace restaurant and a palm tree-lined indoor/outdoor café and live entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza to the Lanai outdoor wraparound promenade with sweeping ocean views and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, ship designers seek to bring the Caribbean ambience inside. The breezy tropical surroundings will even extend to the ship’s staterooms which incorporate a palette of pastel hues.

Potential passengers are also encouraged to turn to the Carnival Breeze Facebook tab where each Thursday from 3-4 pm EDT the company will feature an hour-long Carnival Breeze Break. During these weekly sessions Carnival fans can chat with each other and the Carnival team to share their tips and stories of Caribbean fun plus receive giveaways — from island-inspired food and drink recipes to Carnival Breeze desktop wallpaper and more.

The new Facebook tab also features an exclusive photo gallery where Carnival fans can showcase how they are inspired to live in the spirit of the Carnival Breeze. Here, visitors will also find tips to Live the Carnival Breeze Life plus enjoy a comedic Web series featuring “Mr. Breezie,” a character who is transformed by the Carnival Breeze lifestyle.

Visitors to the ship’s website will also find a “How It’s Made” section featuring a construction timeline with images and videos of the shipbuilding progress.  The site also offers a countdown clock for the ship’s U.S. arrival, consumer testimonials, port-of-call and itinerary offerings, and information on the many dining, activity and entertainment choices available.

On the web: http://www.carnival.com” .

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.