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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

Celebrity Cruises Losing a CEO

If a cruise line was losing money — it has happened — and the top executive took another job, the temptation would be to say he or she abandoned a sinking ship.

But when the top executive is Dan Hanrahan and he leaves Celebrity Cruises to run a hair company, the temptation is to say "What's up?" Or "Gone today, hair tomorrow."

Hanrahan announced a few days ago his term as Celebrity's boss will end in two weeks. He's taking his CEO title with him, to the hair care giant known as Regis Corporation (Supercuts, MasterCuts, Sassoon Salon, etc.). It's a good thing he's not (yet) follically challenged.

More money, you say?

His total compensation for 2011 was almost $2.5 million, according to regulatory filings. Granted, in this era of annual athletic contracts of $20 million or more that's chump change, but most of us wonder how much these "celebrities" really need.

Okay, maybe it's geography.

Celebrity is in Florida. Regis is in Minnesota. Maybe he prefers cooler winters.

What speculators are likely to focus on is the climax of Hanrahan's Celebrity journey. He oversaw the fleet of Solstice Class ships, a brand so popular that it's being passed on to lesser siblings that are being "Solsticized." The last Solstice ship, the Reflection, is almost ready for delivery.

Maybe Dan Hanrahan just thought it was time.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
7 nights
September 7, 2012
Copenhagen (return): Oslo, Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger, Bergen
Inside: $589
Cost per day: $84

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