Get Away With Fran

July 10, 2009

Celebrity Equinox will be the spunky sibling

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:39 pm

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It’s hard to wax poetic about a cruise ship that’s not yet quite furnished, but as the Celebrity Equinox left Meyer Werft and got pulled by tugs on the River Ems to the Netherlands, and to sea for the first time, those of us onboard for the “conveyance” from the shipyard learned one thing: This ship will have its own personality. While year-older and very successful sibling Celebrity Solstice exudes cool, the Equinox will be a little more spunky, a little more whimsical.

The Equinox is on its way to sea trials (during which time finishing touches will be done; furniture added) before debuting to passengers on July 31. The ship will do a season in Europe before heading to the Caribbean for wintertime cruises from Fort Lauderdale.

Thousands of people lined the banks of the river in Germany to watch the Conveyance, some docking their RVs on the banks, making a holiday of the occasion. The 122,000-ton, 2,850-vessel shares the title of largest ship built in Germany with its sibling.

Onboard, most of the changes from Solstice are merely cosmetic. Celebrity Cruises officials know better than to mess with a good thing. So, for instance, the main dining room on Equinox still boasts a design by Adam Tihany (of Le Cirque fame) and still has a striking two-deck glass wine tower, but instead of being cool white (as on Solstice) it’s done up in white, red and black.

Sometimes the “changes” we were shown seemed a bit of a stretch. For instance, will passengers really notice that the martini bar is aquamarine on Equinox rather than blue on Solstice? Or will they care?

Minor tweaks have been made – room safes have been moved from closets to cabinets to allow for slightly more hanging space. But fans of Solstice will find all their favorite features on Equinox: a half-acre of grass on top; the Hot Glass Show with master glassblowers from the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, 10 restaurants (including a creperie and Asian fusion venue); a wonderful spa and big oceanview gym; resort-like pool spaces including one in a solarium; a big variety of lounges and bars and intimate spaces.

There will be new modern artwork including a room-size installation and video art – already hung in one corner is a Sol LeWitt, in another a Lichtenstein. Already growing in the sun from the skylight of the 12-deck atrium is a ficus tree in a huge and sparkly pot, created by a team of American bead artists.

Underneath the pot, painted on the atrium walls will be the words “Here comes the sun.”

There will be wows on Equinox, no shy younger sibling this.

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