Reflecting on the Solstice Class


Cruising's nostalgia buffs will be tracking the path of the Celebrity Reflection over the next few weeks. It's ship No. 5 in the Solstice Class, which many consider the finest class of ships in the business.

Joining the Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse and Silhouette — in that order — the Reflection was delivered to Celebrity in the Dutch port of Eemshaven this week. After a two-day invitation-only trip to Amsterdam, it leaves tomorrow on its inaugural cruise, a 9-night journey that ends in Barcelona. That will be followed by a couple of two-week Mediterranean cruises before heading for North America.

The official "naming" ceremony will be in Miami on December 1, and presiding over it will be four Godmothers — four women who work for the corporate (Royal Caribbean) giant that owns Celebrity and who have been touched, directly or indirectly, by breast cancer.

The Reflection will spend the winter in the Caribbean, then return to Europe next season. While the Solstice ships all set the bar high, this is apparently the pick of the litter, tweaked with what few minor flaws were discovered in its predecessors and enhanced with a handful of energy efficiencies. It is called an "extremely eco-friendly ship" and while it was still under construction Frommer's knighted the Solstice Class the "best cruise ships."

For now the Western World watches, and waits, for the end of a great class.

Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas
7 nights
December 9, 2012
Galveston (return): Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

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