Steak your claim on fu­nafloat

Travel edi­tor Brian Crisp gets a taste of life on the new Celebrity Sil­hou­ette

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - CRUISE 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.

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