During one of its preview cruises for travel partners, press and other dignitaries on its new Celebrity Solstice this week, Celebrity Cruises announced that sister ship Celebrity Eclipse – the third in the five-ship Solstice class series – will be based in Southampton, England, in summer 2010, offering cruises to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. The ship also will also hold its launch celebrations in Southampton, where the trend-setting new vessel will be showcased extensively to UK and Ireland consumers and trade partners during a week-long event.

“Celebrity Cruises has enjoyed a strong relationship with the UK and Ireland market and experienced steadily increasing guest numbers in recent years,” said Celebrity’s President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. “Investing in the future of that relationship with Celebrity Eclipse homeporting in Southampton is an exciting development for our business. In 2009, we have an enormous opportunity with our two newest ships – Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox – both based in Europe. Our presence will significantly increase in 2010, as Celebrity Eclipse leads the charge to further maximize the potential of the UK and Ireland market.”

Among the ground-breaking features guests can anticipate onboard each 2,850-guest Solstice-class ship include:

The Lawn Club, a half-acre recreation area featuring real, growing grass.

A Hot Glass Show in partnership with The Corning Museum of Glass, offering live glassblowing demonstrations.

Ten widely varied restaurants, including the main “Grand Epernay” dining room, inspired by old Hollywood glamour, and several specialty venues whose unique ambience is expressly designed to complement the first-class cuisine.

A new category of accommodations, AquaClass, presenting a range of spa-inspired amenities, including dream-enhancing TV programming, a welcome kit with teeth whitening sample, exclusive access to the Mediterranean-influenced specialty restaurant, Blu, and complimentary access to the Persian Garden within the extensive AquaSpa facilities onboard.

Veranda-category staterooms whose design was inspired by five women selected for their unique travel and hospitality insights.

Like its sister ships, more than 90 percent of the accommodations onboard Celebrity Eclipse will be outside staterooms, and 85 percent will have a veranda.

A wide variety of boutiques and shops, such as the by-appointment-only “Boutique C,” featuring the 86-facet Solstice Diamond, available only on Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships.

“The UK and Ireland remain one of the fastest growing cruise markets in the world,” said Robin Shaw, vice president and managing director of Celebrity Cruises’ UK and Ireland operations. “Having the newest Celebrity ship based out of Southampton in 2010, and dedicated to the UK and Ireland, offers a fresh and contemporary alternative to traditional players. Celebrity Eclipse will set new standards in the large ship luxury market and clearly show the ongoing and industry leading commitment of Celebrity Cruises to the UK and Ireland travel industry.”

Bookings for Celebrity Eclipse will open in March 2009. Itineraries for the new ship are expected to offer traditional Mediterranean favorite destinations, popular northern European cities, and shorter cruise options.