|In a move that surprised even industry insiders, Celebrity Cruises announced today that it would add another Solstice- class ship to its existing three vessel shipyard order. The new ship will enter into service in fall 2011.|
The original order, placed with Germany's Meyer Werft Shipyard in 2005, called for three 118,000-ton, 2,850-passenger vessels. The first, Celebrity Solstice, is due in fall 2008; Celebrity Equinox will debut in summer 2009; and Celebrity Eclipse is slated to launch in 2010.
The new ship will be identical to the other ships in the class in most ways -- but not all. For instance, the price has gone up: Celebrity paid $640 million for Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse; it will pay nearly $800 million for the fourth, as-yet unnamed ship. As well, the new vessel will be ever-so-slightly roomier than the other three; it'll measure 122,000 tons instead of 118,000 and yet carry the same passenger capacity.
Celebrity's Solstice class of ships will be distinctive beyond the fact that they're significantly larger than any other vessels in the fleet. Though few concrete details have been revealed, the ship will, according to the cruise line, feature larger-than-average standard staterooms; 90 percent of cabins will be outsides and of those 85 percent will have balconies.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor