Celebrity Silhouette sailing past IJmuiden after het maiden visit to Amsterdam at the 3rd of may 2015. She was just about to enter the north lock at IJmuiden. As one of the largest ships that has ever visited the Dutch capital (only Navigator Of The Seas and Celebrity Reflection have been bigger visitors untill now) the captain already had it nerves about this lock at this moment below...
The Solstice-class of Celebrity Cruises was the first step for the company to follow Big Mom Royal Caribbean International with ships over 100.000 tons. This started with the name-giver of the class Celebrity Solstice that entered service in 2008, followed in 2009 by Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse came in 2010, Celebrity Silhouette in 2011 and in 2012 the slightly larger Celebrity Reflection. The last ship recieved one extra deck and very cool outside showers in two cabins above the bridge.
The Solstice class was originally ordered in 2005 and was actually just one ship with an option for a second. The ships were ordered from the Meyer Werft in Papenburg, northern Germany, mainly because Celebrity Cruises had ordered almost all of their ships from this yard, with the exception of the Millennium-class The background of that story can be read on the page of the lead ship of those. For Meyer, the order for the Solstice-class was a very important step towards the building of bigger cruiseliners. The wharf is restricted due to the long riverpassage for the ships from the inland yard towards the sea over the river Ems. This is always very spectacular and passages are widely covered in media and visited by tourists. With their 122.000 tons and lenght of over 317 meters, those monsters were the largest ships untill then built by the Germans and the fairly small riverpassage was just a tight squeeze.
Entering the soon-to-be-retired lock at IJmuiden, for many years the largest lock in the world since in opened in 1929. Celebrity Silhouette is post-Panamax and just about IJmax. Especially with the winds that you cannot see on the picture, my compliments to her captain. MSC Splendida was expected in Amsterdam too on this 3rd of may 2015, but with their still larger ship MSC didn t dare to gamble and kept her in Rotterdam instead for another day, skipping Amsterdam.
Celebrity Silhouette is 317,20 meters long, 36,8 meters wide and she has a draft of 8,30 meters. She was built by Meyer Werft, as said, and her yardnumber has been 679. The 122.210-ton ship is powered by Fyra MAN diesel engines, giving her a normal speed of around 24 knots. She has accomodations for 2885 passengers on her 17 decks, that is some 35 more then her earlier sisters. At the 29th of may of 2011, the ship docked out of her building shed and was moved to the fitting out basin of the wharf, that she left at the 30th of june of 2011. The ship was delivered to her owners, Celebrity Silhouette Inc. at the 18th of july of that year, of course that is a part of Celebrity Cruises. Her homeport became Valetta, Malta.
The ships of the Solstice-class have several new features within the fleet. They were the first ships to go to sea with a fresh lawn of half an acre that is cut almost every day. On the lawn, several games can be played and around it are several bars and shops. On Celebrity Silhouette, this so-called Lawn Club is accompanied by a grill named the Lawn Club Grill and a restaurant named Porch At The Lawn. Those came in place of the Hot Glass Show glassblowing theater at the earlier ships. Also, this ship is the first in the Celebrity Cruises fleet where there is an Art Studio next to the lawn. The staterooms at the ships of this class are also larger then aboard other ships within the fleet and about 80% of those have a private verandah. The ship had 12 restaurants, next to of course the normal lounges, theaters, entertainment, swimmingpools and sportaccomodations normally found aboard large cruiseliners. New aboard is the ilounge, which is a combination of an internetcafé and an Apple-store. Which is not where you can buy fruit, by the way.
Above, Celebrity Silhouette is seen between the inner pierheads of IJmuiden harbour at the 26th of may, 2016.
Environmentfriendliness is a very important part of the ships within the Solstice-class. So was the hull designed after 90 model tanktests and a special paint and coating are used on the hull to reduce resistance from the water and improve speed. The ships also have 215 solarpanels, providing enough energy to drive all passengerlifts. Next to this, only LED-light is used and the ships waste-water is cleaned aboard.
There was a slight indication of a problem, though, when a sudden noise rose up from the water when the ship entered the lock. The cause was a part of wood of about 10 meters in lenght that is normally protecting the lock wall. The piece of wood came loose and got stuck in the ships rightside pod. It seemed there was no damage done to the ship, as she continued her way. Pictured below is the piece of wood when it surfeced from below the ship's stern. Also, you can see in this picture how close the ships hull is to the locks wall.
It is a very cool place for photography though, as you can nearly touch the hull or shake hands with people onboard.
The Celebrity Silhouette was named at Hamburg by Michelle Morgan. During the ceremony, the Greek crewmembers of the ship sang their national anthem for an extra personal touch. With the cutting of a pink ribbon from the ships theater, delivered there by acrobatics through the ship, a bottle of champagne was released agains the forward funnel of the ship. It was a pink ribbon, of course, because Celebrity Cruises has a strong bond with the Breast Cancer Foundation and all godmothers of the Solstice-class ships have survived this disease. As a Solstice-class tradition, also the godmothers from the three earlier ships within the class were present at the Celebrity Silhouette naming.
After her naming ceremony, the ship settled in for a scedule of summersailings in Europe and wintercruises in the Caribbean. From the summer of 2015 onwards, the ship is homeported in Amsterdam for the summerseason, replacing the Celebrity Constellation that had been homeported in Amsterdam for summer cruises in northern Europe since the 2006 season. She had become a favorite for Dutch cruisers and everyone expects that Celebrity Silhouette will become very popular too.
With the ship safely in the lock, a sudden mist came about within minutes...
...so when she left, there was just a silhouette.