Celebrity Cruises is beaming about the approach of summer solstice.

The term for the longest day and shortest night of the year, summer solstice traditionally marks the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but at Celebrity Cruises, it also marks the opening of bookings for Celebrity Solstice, the top-rated premium cruise line’s first new ship since 2002.

Bookings for Celebrity Solstice will open exclusively for members of Celebrity’s loyalty program, “Captain’s Club,” on June 21, the date of this year’s summer solstice. Beginning July 5, all other cruise enthusiasts are welcome to book a Celebrity Solstice vacation.

“We are thrilled with the early interest and enthusiasm we’re receiving from our guests and travel partners about Celebrity Solstice,” said Celebrity’s President Dan Hanrahan. “As a special gesture of appreciation to our loyal Captain’s Club members, we’re pleased to offer them the first opportunity to set sail in the ship’s inaugural season.”

Celebrity Solstice will offer the extraordinary service and dining experience the brand is known for providing, along with a variety of compelling new features that will be revealed over time.

One of those features is the line’s new AquaClass category of veranda accommodations expressly designed for spa enthusiasts. Guests booked in AquaClass will receive unlimited access to Celebrity Solstice‘s new AquaSpa relaxation room and the Persian Garden, an exotic aromatherapy and steam room, as well as exclusive, complimentary dining in Blu, an intimate, 130-seat specialty restaurant whose design is likely to be as inviting as the cuisine.

AquaClass will comprise 130 of the ship’s 1,425 staterooms. A full 85 percent of all staterooms onboard Celebrity Solstice will have verandas, and all staterooms will be equipped with flat-screen TVs, smarter storage and closet space, spacious bathrooms, and plush European bedding. The ship will offer wireless Internet access throughout.

Following several weeks of inaugural activities, Celebrity Solstice will make its maiden voyage December 14, 2008, on a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The itinerary will be offered on Sundays through April 5, 2009, with an alternating itinerary calling on San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Tortola, B.V.I.; and Labadee, Haiti, through April 12, 2009.