By Michael Coleman
NAPLES, Italy — The food and beverage component aboard Celebrity Solstice, like the ship’s striking contemporary design, is a feast for the senses.
Port calls to ancient locales, many featuring wine and food tours like those offered here, almost pale in comparison to the gastronomic journey found onboard.No fewer than 10 restaurants greet passengers daily, from the two-level Grand Epernay main dining room — serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – to several stylish, casual venues, including the Oceanview CafÃ© and Grill. Look for a host of buffet-style serving stations here and, because of excellent functional design, few lines.
Look also for three intimate, nominal-charge specialty restaurants serving contemporary French cuisine (Murano, $30 per person); Italian (Tuscan Grille steak house, $25); and Asian (Silk Harvest, $20). Excellent wine choices abound and pairings are made all the more enjoyable thanks to friendly and knowledgeable sommeliers.
Murano guests may also choose from a six-course menu, complete with a different glass of wine for each course. The service and ambience in this cozy venue is unequaled onboard and reminds guests that while Solstice provides a premium cruise travel experience, the specialty dining venues easily rival those offered aboard many of today’s luxury cruise lines.
For those enjoying the ship’s AquaClass suites, there’s Blu. For just $5, look for the venue to serve lighter fare.
As one settles in to enjoy all that Solstice has to offer — don’t forget there’s a Lawn Club with real grass and a glass blowing studio – a host of cozy retreats reveal themselves on decks 3, 4 and 5. It is here where one finds wine bars, a casino, lounges and a dance club.
Cellar Masters, an upscale wine bar, features wines by the glass and bottle. Look also for enrichment programs complete with wine tasting seminars.
The nearby Ensemble Lounge is an ideal setting for pre-dinner cocktails, complete with either jazz, a string quartet or pianist performing each night. One actually has to walk through this warm venue to gain access to the specialty restaurants so it’s a great place to see and be seen.
Look also for the Passport Bar, located next to the ship’s sweeping Grand Foyer, and The Martini Bar & Crush, an enclave which features an alluring frosted bar. Passengers can enjoy some 100 varieties of vodkas from around the world.
For guests who love the mod, futuristic designs of the ‘60s and ‘70s look no further than the pulsating Quasar dance bar. It’s open late.
And, since this is a Celebrity ship, don’t forget to look for the line’s private and intimate locale – Michael’s Club — with its classic, English leather back chairs, dramatic black glass chandelier and a grand Michelangelo marble fireplace paired with contemporary artwork and accessories. Single malt scotch and cognac tastings are the norm amidst a backdrop of soothing piano and jazz music.
Meanwhile, on Deck 14, the ship’s new signature lounge features a myriad of dance options. Passengers in the Sky Observation Lounge enjoy multiple styles of dance thanks to a live band, nightly, plus panoramic views of the sea.
Solstice, at 122,000 tons, is the first in a class of four 2,850-passenger vessels that will be delivered to the Celebrity fleet by German shipbuilder Meyer Werft. The company constructed the line’s Century-class fleet — Celebrity Century, Celebrity Mercury, and Celebrity Galaxy.