The 2,850-passenger ship ripped up the rulebook with its numerous firsts at sea. Some of these ground-breaking firsts include a giant tree suspended in the atrium, a wine cellar taking center stage in the main dining room, a real grass lawn on the top deck, quirky, original art adorning the walls, and liberal use of Apple technology throughout.
Today, all of Celebrity's Solstice-class ships have been through a refit and still dazzle cruisers. Many of the innovations that have proven so popular on the line's newest ships have been retrofitted to Celebrity's older Millennium-class ships as well: Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit.
All this is to say that Celebrity Cruises' ships are not only enjoyable for all in countless ways but they're also exceptionally unique. Here are seven things you can only find on Celebrity cruise ships.
Yes, Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas have Central Park -- covered in some 12,000 plants, 60 of which are trees -- but only Celebrity's Solstice-class ships have real grass lawns on which you can sit, try your hand at lawn bowling and, on some ships, even eat a meal.
Did you know that the grass isn't actually grown in soil? It's instead grown in a layer of lightweight, porous material that includes volcanic pumice, among other things. Fun fact: If it was indeed grown in soil, it would wash away and make the ships too top-heavy.
Another fun fact about these lawns is that they were originally meant to be putting greens, but former Celebrity boss Richard Fain suddenly decided he wanted to feel the grass between his toes -- and here we are today with the real grass lawns.
The Lawn Club Grill is only available on two of the Solstice-class ships -- Reflection and Silhouette. On both of these ships, the space where glass-blowing formerly took place was transformed into a gorgeous glass-fronted restaurant overlooking the lawn called The Lawn Club Grill.
The twist is that the passenger becomes the "grill master," selecting the meats, applying the marinade and doing the grilling, all under the guidance of a chef. One example starter is the made-to-order pizza, where the passengers do the kneading and add the toppings.
Another first at sea is Celebrity's tie-in with Apple, allowing an iStore onboard, where you can purchase Apple products and enjoy free tutorials.
There are also daily lectures at the iLounge on technology-related topics, similar to what you'd find in an Apple Store on land. As with anything Apple-related, the space is calm, welcoming and modern, complete with young tech-support employees helping you to get online. You'll find this on Solstice-class and Millennium-class ships.
Luminae is a special dining experience aboard Celebrity ships for two enticing reasons: the menu is never the same, and it's exclusive. It's solely available for suite passengers with just 92 covers.
Luminae centers its offerings on where the ship is sailing and changes according to what the head chef fancies cooking that day. Luminae has its own galley, and the menu is limited intentionally to ensure the selections are always fresh. It features four appetizers, five mains and three desserts. The food, service and ambiance are truly all outstanding.
A 2015 refit saw the Molecular Bar replaced with the World Class Bar on Celebrity Eclipse, following a tie-in with drinks manufacturer Diageo, which sponsors the bartender competition of the same name.
World Class Bar is all about "craft cocktails," which are hand crafted with some unusual liquors. For example, Bulleit Infusion uses tropical fruits infused with Bulleit Bourbon and Ketel One Strawberry Fields as a vodka base, then is topped with Cocchi Americano (a dessert wine) and grapefruit juice. There are also cocktail-making classes with expert mixologists.
Craft beer is all the rage now, but in reality, the revamped space on Solstice-class ships consists of just two fridges full of different types of craft beer. But there's a good choice: 45 different beers from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe.
A beer sommelier will guide you through what's on offer. There is also a nice selection of food available here, including small plates of cold cuts and larger pub grub, such as beer-battered cod and fries.
Like it or loathe it, Qsine is still groundbreaking -- both at sea and on land. The restaurant that pioneered sushi lollipops ordered via iPad has been accused of style over substance. But for sheer whimsy and fun, exciting, unexpected tastes, Qsine still gets our vote.
The decor is intriguing -- upside-down chairs and chandeliers -- and the food is a mix of tapas-style tastes with gourmet twists on popular Asian dishes, such as Kobe beef sliders and "disco" shrimp (poached tiger shrimp). You'll find Qsine on Solstice-class and Millennium-class ships.