Steak your claim on funafloat
Travel editor Brian Crisp gets a taste of life on the new Celebrity Silhouette
THE management team at Celebrity Cruises may not realise it but they are taking a lead from Australia when it comes to designing new ships.
The Celebrity Silhouette is the fourth Solstice series ship off the production line. It sailed from Germany to Italy on its maiden voyage last month. I travelled on board last weekend on a two-day cruise to nowhere from the port of Rome (Civitavecchia).
It looks impressive floating at the dock – 324m in length, 37m across the beam, and 122,200 ton of floating luxury. It can sleep 2886 guests and has a cruising speed of 24 knots. There are 12 restaurants and 12 bars, an iLounge selling all things Apple, a casino and a wellness centre with solarium and Persian garden.
Celebrity Cruises will be basing its original ship, Solstice, in the Australian market from the 2012-13 season. With each ship, as you would expect, additions have been made to the original design.
This ship’s two big extras couldn’t be more Australian – an outdoor barbecue area on a grassed lawn and a pub (Michael’s Bar) that sells more than 50 bevvies, including craft beers.
I’mon the 15th floor of the Celebrity Silhouette and I’mgetting a grilling. The heat is well and truly on. Imagine the irony of a true-blue Aussie being taught how to cook a barbecue by a foreigner. It doesn’t matter that the teacher is a trained chef, a barbie is what we do better than just about anyone else in the world.
The Lawn Club grill is very much like being at an outdoor Aussie barbie. It’s the perfect backyard set-up with a huge grill under a pergola and people standing around offering free advice.
You can either sit back and wait for someone else to cook you a steak, or grab the tongs and take control. The Lawn Club itself is a fantastic concept. Laze about on hammocks, book some private time in a cabana or just take your shoes off and dig your toes into a beautifully manicured lawn which any Aussie would be proud to have in their backyard.
‘‘ There’s a real focus on dining on this ship,’’ CEO Dan Hanrahan says. ‘‘ At the Lawn Club you can learn how to grill. And Michael’s Bar is recognising the world trend towards craft beer. These things are helping us stay light years ahead of what other holidays offer, not just other cruise lines, but all holidays.’’
Hanrahan is right. This ship does feel different. The general opinion among guests was that this is the type of ship that will attract younger passengers. Growth in the cruise industry continues to be strong across all markets.