Returning to her Sydney summer home port after an $11 million makeover in Singapore, Celebrity Solstice today welcomed its first load of passengers joining the ship in Australia to experience a host of brand new features newly installed on the ship.
Now based in the NSW capital until April 2017, Solstice will spend this time cruising up and down the Australian coast, to New Zealand and the South Pacific islands. Today, she opened her doors for Cruise Advice to go onboard to see the new offerings. Here’s what we found.
Sushi on Five
Occupying the space formerly held by ‘Bistro on Five’ comes the new ‘Sushi on Five’ and as the name and decor suggests, it is a Japanese dining outlet serving up authentic oriental cuisine on an a la carte basis.
The menu is quite extensive with a wide array of starters including Spicy Tuna, Beef Ramen Sliders and more. Guests can then move on to Hot Pots and Noodles, choose from a variety of sushi rolls such as Seared Scallop, Shrimp Tempura and Vegetable Yamagobo. Sashimi and Nigiri are also on the menu, as are desserts including Green Tea Tiramisu.
Diners can also order Japanese cocktails, sake varieties and teas by the glass or bottle, as well as Western wines, premium and specialty beverages such as Junmai Nigori.
Tiffany & Co Boutique
Following its introduction onto Royal Caribbean ship Oasis of the Seas earlier this year, iconic jewellery brand Tiffany & Co has now come to its first Australian ship on Celebrity Solstice. It’s also the first time the brand has featured on any Celebrity ship, meaning local customers have first access to its shiny wares before any of the brand’s other ships around the world.
Located on Deck 4 as part of the ship’s boutiques, Tiffany & Co is more of a pop-up venue, sitting in the middle of the gallery floor and therefore unmissable by the ladies. The whole set-up is in place, with necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings all wrapped up in the distinctive blue box. Some exclusive designs will also be available on the ship, capped off by the extra benefit of being available with tax free and duty free savings.
Digital Photo Gallery
Gone are the walls of printed photos which you need to scour meticulously to find yours before having to physically pick out the ones you wish to purchase. In its place is a fully digital system with 25 touch screen kiosks on which you can view and manage your images.
In a futuristic step, the system also employs facial recognition technology, so all you’ll need to do is look into the reader, which will compare your facial features to those it identifies in its photo inventory, delivering your professionally taken images as a result. A variety of photo formats are available for purchase, which can be electronically charged to your onboard passenger account as normal.
One such format includes digital images, which when purchased can be downloaded straight to your smartphone for sharing on your social media networks. They can also be emailed or transmitted to friends and family via supported instant messaging platforms.
In a different type of imaging, the Art Gallery has also been updated to include a dedicated location for auctions to take place.
Lawn Club Cabanas
Perhaps the biggest and most noticeable change made to Celebrity Solstice is in place on the top deck. While in dry dock in Singapore, the Lawn Club was completely stripped back and replaced with fresh new lawn, but on top now sit six lavish alcove-style cabanas, each with comfortable seating for up to six people. They can also rotate to modify the view as needed, whether to face the ocean or the new ‘A Taste of Film’ movie screen in the lawn’s centre.
Passengers can rent a cabana, with each one priced at USD$99 for a port day (USD being the onboard currency used on Solstice) or $249 for a sea day. Rentals run from 9am to 9pm, however timings can be flexible on request, and can be booked in advance through Guest Services or through your stateroom television.
For that fee, cabana occupants receive a morning fruit platter and a cheese selection in the afternoon, with crackers and biscuits able to be delivered with that on request. A further room service menu is also available on top of that, with items delivered to the cabana. Guests also receive their choice of a bottle of wine, champagne or Grey Goose vodka. In addition, six beers and four litres of Avian still water come included with every rental.
The ‘A Taste of Film’ concept makes its debut in Australia on Solstice. Running at least once, if not twice or even three times per cruise if demand dictates, the event sees guests lay out on the lawn to watch a movie themed around a food, cultural or destination relevant to that particular cruise. At different points during the film, the pause button is pressed and guests are treated to a selection of food items paired to what is appearing in the movie. Currently, the two movies screening are ‘The 100 Foot Journey’ and ‘Chef’, both of which will rotate.