Ten of 2008’s hottest new restaurants will open this autumn, but diners won’t need special connections to book a table.
In fact, they won’t even need directions, since the GPS coordinates will change daily. That’s because the 10 restaurants are all on one of the world’s most eagerly awaited new cruise ships: Celebrity Cruises‘ Celebrity Solstice.
“The dining experience has always been central to our guests’ cruise experience, and on Celebrity Solstice, we’ll present the extraordinary service the brand is known for, in venues designed to perfectly complement the spectacular cuisine,” said Celebrity’s President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. “The larger size of Celebrity Solstice allows us to offer more options for our guests, with menus created by some of the best talent in the business.”
“Celebrity has long been recognized as a leader in the culinary arena, and we’re clearly taking it to the next level with Celebrity Solstice,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Celebrity’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “In addition to outstanding cuisine, we believe the brand also will be recognized for some of the most impressive design work in the industry when Celebrity Solstice sets sail.”
Celebrity partnered with some of the world’s best designers in the hospitality business to create the restaurants on-board Celebrity Solstice; among them, preeminent restaurant and hotel designer Adam Tihany, who created such lauded restaurants as Per Se, Jean Georges, Le Cirque, The Sea Grill and Osteria del Circo in New York; Aureole, Bouchon and Seablue in Las Vegas; and Monte’s and the chic Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London.
In his first foray into design onboard a cruise ship, Tihany created Celebrity Solstice‘s dramatic, two-level Grand Epernay dining room; the classic steakhouse, “Tuscan Grille,” and the stylishly casual “Oceanview Cafe and Grill” on the ship’s lido deck. His sophisticated, often groundbreaking design is evident on Celebrity Solstice in the Grand Epernay’s two-story wine tower, to the Napa-meets-Old-World-Italy ambience in the ship’s inviting Tuscan Grille.
Driving the creation of the tantalizing menus for each venue are Celebrity’s Vice President of Food & Beverage Jacques Van Staden, in conjunction with Celebrity’s culinary consultant Blau & Associates. Van Staden was previously one of the top chefs and restaurateurs in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas. Blau & Associates is credited with shaping the dining experience at high profile destinations such as the Bellagio and Wynn Resort and Casino, and developing the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s Simon kitchen + bar, named one of the best new restaurants in America in 2003 by Esquire magazine.
Together with Celebrity’s highly experienced Food and Beverage team at its Miami headquarters and across the fleet, Van Staden and the Blau & Associates team have carefully created menus for each restaurant onboard Celebrity Solstice based on a pairing of thorough studies of guests’ culinary preferences and the latest dining trends from around the world. The team will take their creations into test kitchens later this month to ensure each selection meets Celebrity’s discerning guests’ tastes.
Top 10 restaurants on Celebrity Solstice
1) The Grand Epernay
Old Hollywood glamour meets stunning contemporary design in this refined, sweeping main dining room created by Adam Tihany, highlighted by a distinctive, dramatic, two-story glass wine tower. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, evening entree options include peppered bison filet with red onion preserve; smoked filet with lentil stew, sultana caper and beef jus; and taro- crusted salmon filet with glazed Brussels sprouts, turnip hash and apple cider sauce. A champagne collection from the region inspiring the venue’s name includes Perrier Jouet Grand Brut, Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon, Heidsieck and Monopole, Champagne Pol Roger, and Louis Roederer Cristal.
2) Tuscan Grille
The Old World charm of Italy is the inspiration behind this Tihany-designed specialty venue, where guests enter through an archway reminiscent of a fine Napa Valley wine cellar. There, diners can enjoy Caesar salads prepared tableside, antipasti bar, Kobe beef, and a variety of steaks, all paired with a robust list of fine Italian wines.
3) Silk Harvest
Exotic Asia is the theme of this contemporary, casual specialty restaurant designed by RTKL. The menu serves up a fusion of hot and cold, spicy and mild Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and Indian selections, while the specially-selected libations include a variety of sakes, Asian-influenced martinis and beers, and cocktails created with ginger root and acai berries.
“Clean cuisine” is served in this soothing specialty venue designed by Celebrity’s own Newbuilding and Design team. A venue exclusively for guests booked in Celebrity Solstice’s new AquaClass category of accommodations, Blu is open for other guests on a space-available basis. The menu features savory appetizers such as roasted beet salad with goat cheese; Mediterranean chopped salad with pita chips and pomegranate vinaigrette; and entrees including blackened ahi tuna, pan-seared filet mignon, and herb-crusted rack of lamb.
A twist on the restaurant of the same name on Celebrity Century, and reflective of the specialty restaurants on the cruise line’s Millennium-class fleet, Murano presents a blend of classic and modern Continental cuisine. The warm, elegant restaurant designed by BG Studios of New York features dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows, with romantic ocean views that pair beautifully with the fine Riedel stemware, exquisite bone china and gleaming silverware. The wine cellar offers options from around the world, with a focus on boutique-style and limited-production vintages. Appetizers include warm goat cheese pancakes with sweet bell pepper nage; salads include a combination of Maine lobster, white asparagus and black truffle lobster aioli; and entrees run the gamut from spice-roasted duck with raisin-apple compote to pan-seared turbot with Alaskan King crab ragout.
6) Bistro on Five
A variety of specialty crepes highlight the menu in this casually-chic location, where guests are welcome to take out selections, but the ocean views are likely to entice them to stay. Designed by Wilson Butler Associates, the venue’s creperie is complemented with sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts and entrees including quiche, fish and chips, baked ziti and chicken pot pie nearly around-the-clock.
7) Cafe al Bacio & Gelateria
This upscale coffeehouse radiates all the energy of a popular European cafe, highlighted by a sophisticated gelateria serving authentic gelatos and Italian ices, as well as signature and specialty coffees, teas, fresh-baked pastries, chocolate truffles and petit fours.
8) AquaSpa Cafe
The AquaSpa Cafe is the perfect option for guests seeking quick, lighter fare. A signature venue introduced on Celebrity’s Millennium-class fleet, and designed by RTKL, the soothing, airy setting invites guests to dine at comfortable tables while soaking up the tranquility of the Solarium, or enjoy their cuisine while nestled in the comfort of the lounge chairs.
9) Mast Grill & Bar
Comfort food is the focus of this ultra-casual, poolside venue, where the simple, fast and tasty options include burgers grilled to order, tacos, nachos, hot dogs, bratwurst, chicken wings, lamb gyros, Reuben sandwiches, and onion rings.
10) Oceanview Cafe and Grill
Embodying the casually chic atmosphere of a European marketplace, this Tihany-designed restaurant offers extensive menus with international flavors that change to reflect the regions in which the ship is sailing. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the venue offers plenty of outdoor seating for dining al fresco and soaking up the sun and sea air. Inside, during evening hours, a special section of the venue features tables draped with linen tablecloths for yet another casual dining option.
Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Canada, Europe and Australia through its cruisetour affiliate. Noted for “The Top Cruise Ships in the World,” as voted by the readers of Conde’ Nast Traveler (February 2008 readers’ poll), Celebrity’s current fleet will be joined by Celebrity Solstice in 2008, Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, and a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011.