From today’s Daily Mirror print edition:
For a cruise ship christening, the ceremony on board Celebrity Silhouette this week was a low-key affair. There were no big star names, no fireworks, and the whole event took place 50 miles from the sea in the middle of Hamburg.
But it was not short of emotion. All the Solstice-class ships – and Silhouette is the fourth – have been named by women who have fought back from breast cancer.
Daily Mirror Pride of Britain award winner Nina Barough, who named sister ship Equinox in Southampton in 2009, and British yachtswoman Emma Pontin, who named Eclipse last year, were there to watch top US travel exec Michelle Morgan cut a pink ribbon to send a Champagne bottle crashing into one of the ship’s two funnels.
The ship’s director of hotel operations and its head of food and beverage were among the scratch band which sang Bryan Adams’ On A Day Like Today, and Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis led his fellow officers in a rousing rendition of the Greek national anthem.
Then the ship, with 1,800 VIP guests on board, set off down the River Elbe for a two-day party – crowding the ice-topped Martini Bar, relaxing in private cabanas (or on the giant Adirondack chairs like me, pictured above) on the real grass lawn, and shopping in the ship’s Bulgari boutique.
Next year’s delivery of Reflection, the final ship in the class, will mark the completion of a €3 billion investment which has transformed mid-market cruising.
You don’t have to be on a big bonus or a lottery winner to cruise on Celebrity Silhouette. Virgin Holidays Cruises have a £999 deal for a 12-night cruise departing September 15. Fare includes return flights from London to Rome, and a cruise to Alexandria in Egypt, Ashdod and Haifa in Israel, the Greek island of Mykonos, Athens, and Naples. (Based on two sharing an inside cabin). Go to www.virginholidayscruises.co.uk, call 0844 573 4398 or visit one of Virgin’s 60 stores in Debenhams and House of Fraser nationwide.