Shipyard Snapshots: Celebrity Solstice

As of Saturday, September 27, Celebrity's innovative new Solstice is 97 percent completed, according to company sources. The ship will leave its shipyard, Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, on Sunday.

And Cruise Critic will be on hand to provide a bird's-eye view of the ship! Stay tuned this weekend and into next week for the latest on Solstice -- photos, stories and even video.

The 122,000-ton, 2,850-passenger Celebrity Solstice is an evolutionary new design for the cruise line and features new-to-Celebrity styles of restaurants, spa amenities, stateroom designs and pool areas.

Slated for debut in mid-November, Celebrity Solstice will -- as do all ships built at Meyer Werft -- transit most unusually from the yard to the North Sea by going backwards! This ship presents even more of a challenge for its marine team as it's the largest ever to cruise down the Ems River and the journey is highly dependant on calm weather conditions.

Once Solstice reaches Eemshaven, in the Netherlands, it will dock for outfitting. That's a term used to describe the final processes of getting a ship ready -- loading on furnishings, completing artistic touches and other chores. The ship will also undergo sea trials, which test its readiness on more technical levels.

As noted, Cruise Critic's Carolyn Spencer Brown is onboard the ship -- and will be contributing photos, video and commentary; look for a whole raft of new features from Celebrity Solstice in the next few days.