There’s something extraordinary about just gazing from the shore and seeing a multi-storey behemoth lurking just out to sea. Daily these massive floating hotels disgorge packages of passengers on tender after tender, visiting Cayman on a day trip to paradise.
Up close, these huge white beasts sway and creak, seeming to stare at their temporary hosts, gazing over all Cayman has to offer and demanding attention. If you’ve never been on a cruise ship, they’re quite an experience, and Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships are no exception.
The journey over on the small boat is full of camaraderie and life, with the excitement at getting a chance to enjoy the cruise life – or at least, for an hour or so.
After a quick security check we’re on the ship. But it feels like we’re not. Yes, it’s a cliché but the carpeted foyers open up into what really does feel like a hotel. Within minutes we’ve forgotten we’re on a ship at all, as we head through a classy-looking cocktail bar that makes us feel like we ought to be wearing smoking jackets and listening to Noel Coward tunes.
Here on the ship there’s a choice of several restaurants
. They range from the luxurious Grand Epernay Dining room that serves world and continental cuisine to the Murano restaurant – classic and modern continental – via the healthy and exclusive Blu and the eastern cuisine of Silk Harvest. Not to forget Tuscan Grille, a speciality steakhouse that features Italian wines and a table-side made Caesar salad.
Grand Epernay is something to behold – its two-storey wine tower is stocked to the brim. Nobody’s going to get thirsty here, that’s for sure.
Cellarmasters offer a global wine tour whilst on board, where guests can apparently taste a large variety of worldwide wines. It’s a mixture of new discoveries, informed recommendations and knowledge enrichment. We wish we had time to learn as much as we can without falling over, but sadly time is against us and it’s time to groove on.
Celebrity Central is the next stop, an entertainment area where comedy shows, live performances and movies take place. The auditorium is well-decked out and the seats are extremely comfortable. To satisfy the retail nag there are also shops selling everything from watches to clothes, and another place to eat – the Bistro on Five creperie. Delicious.
One of the most innovative aspects of Solstice is its topmost deck which features a real grass lawn; surprising and most welcome, no doubt, after a long day’s sailing. A quick peek into one of the more opulent guest suites, with its ocean view and welcoming-looking bed only adds to the attraction – this small taste of what Solstice can offer has made us eager for more. We’ve not even begun to explore, really, from the spas to the artwork, the games and fruit machines room to the ping pong tables. With so much to do on board, it’s a wonder that passengers get off the boat at all.
Within minutes we’ve forgotten we’re on a ship at all, as we head through a classy-looking cocktail bar that makes us feel like we ought to be wearing smoking jackets and listening to Noel Coward tunes.