Celebrity Solstice Takes Baby Steps

October 11, 2006

Celebrity Cruises, whose Celebrity Solstice will become the fleet's (and one of cruising's) biggest ships ever when it debuts in the fall of 2008, underwent its first construction milestone today. On any ship, that step is the creation of the ship's first steel plate, cut by a computer-powered plasma machine.

As is usual, company honchos, including Dan Hanrahan, Celebrity's president, and Harri Kulovaara, the company's ship-building maestro, were on hand. Hanrahan got to press the start button for that first cut.

The ship's next milestone will be the laying of its keel, followed by other major events in the life of a newbuild, such as its floating out -- and move from a drydock to a regular one -- sea trials, and then, ultimately, its launch.

Celebrity Solstice, the first in a class of three, is being built at Papenburg, Germany's Meyer Werft. The 117,000-ton, 2,850-passenger ships will feature larger-than-usual standard verandahs and other new services and amenities -- to be revealed at a later date.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor