Many US-based cruise lines plan the gala naming ceremonies for new ships upon their arrival in US ports, but Celebrity Cruises is doing something a bit different this year. And that's why my husband dropped me off at the airport yesterday to make my way to London and then Southampton. I won't be among the first guests on board Celebrity Cruises' 122,000-ton Celebrity Equinox, but I will be there for her naming and christening to share the excitement when founder of the breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, Great Britain's Nina Barough, smashes the bottle as part of her Godmother duties tomorrow.
The only cruise ship celebrating its launch in the UK this year, Celebrity Equinox actually arrived in Southampton on July 19th for nearly two weeks of introductory events. Pre-inaugural highlights included the first ever Pro-Am croquet tournament to take place on the high seas with ten of the world’s best players participating on July 25th. On the same day, female classical super-group All Angels were slated to perform for VIP guests on board as well.
Celebrity Cruises is giving UK cruisers a taste of what's to come by launching the new 2,850-passenger Celebrity Equinox in Southampton ahead of basing its sister ship Celebrity Eclipse, which is currently under construction, from the port in the summer 2010. The newest Solstice-class ship, Celebrity Equinox features a real grass lawn on board that is larger than eight tennis courts for boules, bocca, putting, and outdoor events. Built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany the first Celebrity Equinox sailing for paying passengers will depart Southampton on July 31st for an 8-night Norwegian Fjords cruise. Sadly, that's the day I disembark.
However, I'll be reporting daily during my 2-day sailing and from London afterward, so watch for more details as I get on board tomorrow!
What's a Solstice-class ship like? Get the inside story from Cruise Diva's inaugural season preview cruise aboard Celebrity Solstice.