Why Does Celebrity Still Name its Ships after Popular Automobiles?

It has been a while since I had thought about it, but there was an old review online about Celebrity that poked a little fun a the cruise line for “naming all of their ships after cars”. Ship names like Horizon, Mercury, Infinity, Summit and Century come to mind. However it wasn’t until today that I realized that Celebrity is continuing this tradition, though probably unintentionally, with its newest generation of ships.

Today I was out walking my dogs and my neighbor drove up in his sports car. I was not familiar with this particular car and I asked him what it was. Imagine the internal laughter, when he told me it was a Pontiac Solstice. I hadn’t realized that there was a vehicle named Solstice until that moment. Then my mind started going through the names of the other new Solstice class ships: Equinox, Eclipse, and Silhouette. Sure enough the names are also names of automobiles.

Solstice: The original Solstice ship shares its name with the Pontiac Solstice, a small sports car from the Pontiac division of General Motors, introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.

The Solstice ship featured many innovations not seen on previous Celebrity ships including a Lawn Club with live grass, a Hot Glass Show by the Corning Museum of Glass, an expansive atrium with multiple glass elevators, a selection of specialty restaurants, multiple beverage and entertainment venues, and innovative interior design and stateroom furnishings.

The Solstice roadster began production in Wilmington, Delaware, starting in mid-2005 for the 2006 model year. The exterior styling of the production Solstice is similar to that of the 2002 Solstice concept car. The vehicle had been a hit with customers with over 7000 orders placed in the first 10 days, and 6000 more in the same year. GM had to increase planned production from 7000 to 10,000 in the first year. GM ceased production in 2009 when it closed the Wilmington Assembly plant.

This second ship in the Celebrity Solstice lines features the same innovations as the original and shares its name with the Mid-size SUV the Chevrolet Equinox.

The Equinox ship was launched at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany on June 19, 2009. The Equinox entered service with Celebrity Cruises on July 31, 2009. In Summer 2010, Celebrity Equinox sails out of Rome offering Mediterranean cruises. In Winter 2010, Celebrity Equinox offers Caribbean cruises out of Ft. Lauderdale.

The Equinox vehicle debuted in 2004 with the 2005 model year. The vehicle is manufactured GM/Suzuki joint venture plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada. In 2007 Chevrolet introduced a fuel cell version of the vehicle that produces zero emissions.

Eclipse: The Eclipse, Celebrity’s newest ship shares its name with the The Mitsubishi Eclipse, a coupe that has been in production since 1989.

The Eclipse ship made its debut in Spring of 2010 and shortly there after Celebrity altered plans for a gala inaugural cruise in order to utilize the ship to transport British tourist who had been stranded on the continent by the Icelandic volcano European airport closures. In addition to the features of the other Solstice class ships, this ship replaces the Asian themed specialty restaurant with the new Q-zine which will features innovative twists on old favorites. The ship will sail out of South Hampton in the Summer months with itineraries including the Baltic and Mediterranean.

The popular Eclipse vehicle is currently in the 4th generation model. The vehicle has proven to be one of Mitsubishi’s most popular and enduring vehicles.

Silhouette: The Silhouette ship which will debut in in 2011, shares its name with the Oldsmobile Silhouette minivans that debuted in late 1989 as 1990 models.

The first pieces of steel were cut at Meyer Werft of Germany in March of 2010. When the ship premiers in 2011, it will provide cruises out of Rome for Mediterranean itineraries and then will reposition to out of Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ during the Winter season for Caribbean cruises.

With the introduction of the Silhouette mini-van and its sister vehicles, GM hoped to capture a share of the Mini-van market dominated by Chrysler. The Silhouette failed to capture a significant share of the market. The Silhouette was a close competitor in many of the categories deemed of importance, but was a winner in no categories, the minivan market had become significantly more crowded with competing products that proved to be more desirable and throughout its production it was widely considered a second-tier competitor. The final Oldsmobile Silhouette rolled off the assembly line on March 31, 2004.

Most cruise lines utilize some theme when naming their cruise ships. While the running joke seems to be that Celebrity names their ships after automobiles, a serious look might reveal that they tend to name their ships after extraordinary features and phenomena of the earth, solar system and the universe like the earth’s Horizon, the Infinity of the seas, the Constellations that can be seen at night when sailing, the summer and winter Solstices, the spring and autumn Equinoxes, the lunar and solar Eclipses, and the Silhouette of the Moon on the the Earth or vice versa during those eclipses. Celebrity is trying to convey the idea is that a Celebrity cruise transcends the ordinary and transports passengers to something extraordinary. Here’s hoping that your next cruise is more like that extraordinary ideal rather than a cross country drive in a mini-van.