Considering that Celebrity Cruises last two announcements took place at New York City's famous Tavern on the Green and Per Se, I was a little disappointed to note that the setting for today's press conference -- a conference room in Ft. Lauderdale's convention center, the setting for CLIA's annual cruise3sixty travel agent event -- was rather ho-hum. Despite the lack of gourmet hors d'oeuvres, the news was still A-list: New entertainment options for Celebrity Solstice, the hotly anticipated first-in-class new-build due out in December.
What exactly is on tap? Here's a look at some of the offerings that were announced:
For the main show venue, the 1,115-seat Solstice Theater, Celebrity has partnered with Poet Theatricals, a Ft. Lauderdale-based theatrical circus troupe, to create three different original shows. "Solstice" will be an acrobatic review a la Cirque du Soleil, with a theme of the battle between day and night; "Ghost Light" will bring classic Broadway song and dance routines to the stage, set around a narrative of a closing theater putting on one last show of best of's; and "Pulse" is a modern dance production starring a being called "Rhythm Man," who will dance and shout to a variety of hot beats.
In terms of design (see above photo), site lines, often a problem on older ships, appear completely unobstructed. And aiming to bring the performers closer to the audience, the space will feature a U-shaped stage, which will project into the audience (slightly reminiscent of a "theater in the round").
Celebrity Central is an intimate 200-seat venue that will feature chef and cooking demostrations (in line with Celebrity's focus on dining options, late-night comedy shows and other specialty entertainment. Will the small venue mean reservations might be required? Celebrity says they plan to repeat shows often enough so that all guests have a chance to attend. So at this point, issuing tickets isn't in the plan -- but if they have to, based on demand, they will.
The Entertainment Court is a small connective venue between Celebrity Central and Quasar, Celebrity's first dedicated nightclub. During the day, this area will have interactive offerings, such as caricaturists and tarot card readers.
The top-deck Sky Observation Lounge will feature nightly themed dance entertainment. The minimalist decor was done on purpose, a bland canvas that can be transformed at night by lighting effects: reds for a night of Tango, dark blues for a more sedate evening ball room dancing performance. During the day, Sky will host dance instruction, giving guests a primer on each night's featured dance.
Both the pool area and Lawn Club will also have entertainment. The pool deck will boast animated water features that can be synchronized to light and music for evening open-air activities. As for Lawn Club entertainment -- apart from bocce, golf putting and picnicking -- Celebrity is still in the planning process. They tell us they need to make sure anything they ultimately decide on won't destroy the lawn.
The Ensemble Lounge will be conveniently situated near many of Celebrity's eateries, and will serve as a spot to have evening cocktails, accompanied by jazz and blues, before and after dinner.
The 118,000-ton, 2,850-passenger Celebrity Solstice will make its maiden voyage December 14, 2008, a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale visiting San Juan, St. Kitts and St. Maarten.
We'll continue to post new details as they're revealed, so check back often.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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Celebrity Reveals Entertainment Options for Solstice
March 7, 2008