In a major announcement at Ivy in Sydney, Royal Caribbean Cruises revealed that Australia would be home to yet another “top-of-the-range” cruise ship when the 3,145-passenger Celebrity Solstice arrives in Australia for her 2012/13 season deployment.

Billed as the “biggest, newest and most luxurious cruise ship ever to be based in the region,” the three-year-old Celebrity Solstice is set to homeport in Sydney for a full season of 12- to 18-night voyages in Australia and New Zealand, including a circumnavigation of Australia.

With the recent announcements that Celebrity Cruises would also be deploying the 2,150-passenger Celebrity Century to Australia in late 2011, and Carnival Cruise Lines would be doing the same with 2,680-passenger Carnival Spirit in 2012, it’s clear cruising in Australia is coming into a new phase.

Celebrity Solstice will turn Australian cruising on its head, offering an unparalleled cruising experience for Australian cruisers and introducing a modern style of cruising that they would usually have had to travel overseas to experience,” said Gavin Smith, managing director of Celebrity Cruises Australia.

Like Carnival Spirit, Celebrity Solstice will be too tall to fit under the Harbour Bridge and, for those of you who ventured to the harbour foreshore to see Cunard’s new Queen Elizabeth last week, Solstice is more than 30,000GRT bigger.

Speaking of the new White Bay Cruise Passenger Terminal, Smith said the most important thing is that the facility gets built to ensure smaller ships have a place to berth when in Sydney.

Reasons why you should be “solsticised”?

  • Celebrity Solstice boasts:
  • A staff to passenger ratio of 2:1
  • 85 per cent of her cabins have balconies
  • There’s a Lawn Club with real grass to relax on and play lawn games
  • Spa-class accommodation
  • Numerous restaurants and bars
  • Age-specific kids’ clubs
  • A comprehensive onboard enrichment program

Bookings open later this month, will you be onboard in 2012/13?