(1:35 p.m. EDT) -- Celebrity Cruises is bringing one of its uber-popular Solstice-class ships to Alaska for the first time ever in 2013 -- another sign that Alaska is once again a hot cruise destination after a bit of a slump. The 2,850-passenger, 122,000-ton Celebrity Solstice will make its debut up north next summer.
Celebrity Solstice will join Celebrity Century and Celebrity Millennium in offering cruises to Alaska in 2013. Solstice will sail seven-night cruises roundtrip from Seattle, with visits to Victoria, Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, as well as scenic cruising in the Inside Passage and Tracy Arm.
Bracketing the Alaska season, Solstice will offer Pacific Coastal cruises, including a nine-night wine-themed cruise from Ensenada to Seattle in May and a 10-night wine-themed cruise in September that also includes an overnight in San Francisco and a view of the America's Cup finals.
While the weather in Alaska may preclude you from taking full advantage of the ship's Lawn Club (featuring a real grass lawn) and sumptuous pool areas, cruise travelers will certainly be able to access the ship's multiple dining venues, AquaSpa and CelebrityLife enrichment programming.
Plus, 85 percent of the ship's cabins have balconies -- a boon in this scenic destination.
--by Erica Silverstein, Features Editor