Live From Celebrity Silhouette: What, No Fireworks?

July 21, 2011 | By | No Comments

On a day like today, you may see a singing Greek captain, an aerialist who floats over you carrying a long red ribbon, bagpipers who materialize from the ground and a pair of old scissors. No, we’re not talking about your nitrous oxide experience at the dentist. Celebrity Silhouette, the fourth in the Solstice class, was christened in Hamburg during a wide-ranging marathon of a ceremony loosely themed on the Bryan Adams ballad “On a Day Like Today.”

The evening ceremony was black-tie for those in attendance in Silhouette’s main theater, dress-code-free for those watching via a live Facebook stream and kilts for the Royal Air Force Halton Pipes & Drums, who led the introductory procession.
In what has to be a first in modern cruising, Silhouette’s captain, Dimitrios Kafetzis, directed the ship’s officers in a jaunty, shouted version of the Greek national anthem (a nod to Celebrity’s roots). Following the spirited performance, top RCCL exec Richard Fain quipped that, had he known of Kafetzis’ talents, Celebrity’s parent company could have saved a lot of money on entertainment costs. Other performances included an operatic rendition of the German anthem and the aforementioned Bryan Adams tune performed by the ship’s director of entertainment, director of hotel operations and Celebrity’s vice president of food and beverage operations.
Dual invocations from a rabbi and pastor proved equally notable. After Rabbi Walter Rothschild wryly called Noah’s ark the first cruise ship and God the first naval architect, Pastor Frank Englebrecht encouraged passengers to look out for the pointy steeple of the beautiful church where he works — St. Catherine’s in Hamburg — as the ship sails down the Elbe en route to the North Sea.
Michelle Morgan — chairman and CEO of Signature Travel, a $5 billion travel agency — served as godmother. Morgan sat through an introductory video montage showcasing her love of family, success in business and victory over breast cancer before accepting a special pair of inaugural scissors from Fain. The scissors, Fain explained, were the same used to cut the celebratory tape for Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse. A great way to save money, he joked (sense a theme?), but the downside is that they get dull and rusty.
An aerialist then floated down from the balcony bearing a long, red streamer. Backed by a support team of the three previous Solstice-class godmothers, breast cancer survivors all, Morgan snipped the ribbon and triggered the release of a special Champagne bottle designed by the Corning Museum of Glass. Ironically, Corning’s hot-glass show, a Lawn Club staple on Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse, has been weed-whacked from Silhouette’s greenery in lieu of a grill-centric restaurant.
With the audience awash in streamers, the first night of Silhouette’s lone pre-inaugural, a two-evening cruise to nowhere, hit full swing.
We’re on Silhouette through Saturday, so don’t miss any of our other reports from the ship.
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