With all-new cruise ships come the latest and greatest ideas to entertain passengers on sea days. Gone are the days of just swimming pools and hot tubs. In recent years, new mega-ships come with ice skating rinks, bumper cars, zip lines, climbing walls, and skydiving simulators.
However, Celebrity Cruises hot glass class allows passengers the opportunity to create their own works of art. Having enjoyed this unique experience on the Celebrity Eclipse, I’d recommend you not miss this unique cruise experience.
Celebrity has created a new partnership with Hollywood Hot Glass. Brenna Baker Brown, the founder of Hollywood Hot Glass, was excited to bring a fun and educational glass-making experience to beautiful Celebrity ships.
The hot glassblowing class is offered on three of their cruise ships; the Eclipse, Solstice, and Celebrity Equinox. It is not available on all Solstice-class ships or its newest ships.
The addition of Hollywood hot glass class adds to the appeal of the ships, which have natural grass, and Le Petit Chef, a dinner presentation show.
While the live demonstrations have been on the Celebrity ships for about ten years, the concept of participation is relatively new.
Only in 2018 were cruisers allowed to work with experts to make their own piece of art. Having sailed on the Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Solstice, I watched the glassblowing several times.
I was fascinated that this experience is available on a cruise ship, as fire is a ship’s worst nightmare.
This unique class and Celebrity’s other features make it a top cruise line in the industry.
Celebrity Cruises Hot Glass Demonstration
Once on board your ship, check your daily newsletter for the live glassblowing demonstration times. On the Solstice class ships, head to deck 15 (Lawn Club) near the aft. You’ll find the hot glassblowing class by the real grass, around the corner from the Sunset Bar.
If you’re already booked on either of the ships offering the hot glass class, the class is found in the Celebrity excursion section online. The hot glass class program generally operates on sea days or after your ship has left a port.
Individual sections are 20 mins, which is plenty of time to create your one-of-a-kind art piece and special souvenir from your cruise. This unique activity is available for both adults and children over 8, so long as an adult accompanies them.
If you’re unsure about participating in this new experience, it’s best to watch a hot glass show first. After I watched the hot glassblowing demonstration in the Eclipse, a free draw allowed one lucky audience member a chance to book a class at a 50% discount.
In the glass blowing spacious studio, a furnace keeps the molten glass liquified and ready for use. The furnaces don’t shut down as it would take too long to fire them up each day. The elements are turned down at the end of the day but not turned off.
Hot Glassblowing Class
Passengers can select from a variety of unique pieces, from ornaments and paperweights to vases with contemporary designs.
During my 12-day itinerary from Vancouver to Hawaii, it was evident this was a favorite activity. The 20-minute classes fill up fast, especially as some passengers blow several pieces of glass.
The heart paperweight and the pumpkin ornament were especially lovely. The starfish paperweight is extremely popular amongst cruisers.
Due to the popularity of the class, the cost has skyrocketed. Prices start at about USD 120 for a small ball ornament to approximately USD 175 for a sizeable fluted vase. Just four years earlier, prices began at USD 59.
However, if you want to book your own hot glass class, you’ll benefit from a small discount if you pre-book two sessions online. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, consider making a beautiful gift to commemorate it.
The Hot Glassblowing Studio
The hot glassblowing studio has three large pieces of essential equipment. First, the glass melting furnace melts the glass at 2,100F (1,150C).
Secondly, molding glass must be done using the glory hole. The glory hole keeps a constant temperature of 2,050F (1,120C). The annealer’s cooler temperature, at 950F (510C), allows the freshly blown glass to cool slowly for 12 hours before you can collect them.
Working With Hot Glass
Once you have selected your art piece, you must choose from a variety of colors. You can select up to two colors from a choice of about fourteen.
It’s important to note that most colors look the same orange tone when hot. The authentic colors of glass shine through once your art piece has cooled. The only exception is white, which still looks white when heated.
While you work with a hot glass instructor to blow your glass piece, you must wear safety glasses for protection. After all, that hot glass is over 2,000F.
Be prepared to get a little sweaty, especially on a warm, sunny day. I watched a few glassblowing sessions during my cruise and noted that some pieces did not allow a cruiser to participate too much.
If you’re doing your class in a cooler destination, wear a jacket because it’s cool and windy on the top deck.
The ornament required the instructor to do the majority of the work. However, the starfish paperweight allowed cruisers to do a fair amount of work, from shaping the starfish’s arms and elongating them to the required length.
Shaping The Hot Glass
You blow glass on a stainless-steel rod which conducts heat poorly. The rods are preheated to 1,000F, so the glass will stick to it.
Once your chunk of glass is heated and shaped, the colors are added. Color oxide is added to small glass chips, which are rolled into the molten glass.
The glass cools down quickly, so the instructor will continuously reheat it in the glory hole to mold it. Should the molten glass drop below 1,000F, there is a high chance the glass will crack.
Should the glass crack, the used glass is discarded and cannot be reused. Only clear glass is reusable again.
As you work with the glass, the heating process creates air bubbles. By blowing air into the rod, the glass expands. To control the temperature of the glass, the piece is rolled on a marver which is a steel-topped table.
Once you have molded, shaped, and completed your masterpiece, the instructor will remove it from the stainless steel rod. Then, it’s placed in the annealer overnight to cool.
When it’s time to collect it, the glass studio will bubble wrap your gorgeous finished product so you can safely transport it home.
The onboard experience is unique, fun, and only available on certain ships in the Celebrity fleet. While I first enjoyed the experience on the Eclipse, I later sailed her sister ship, the Solstice, where I got to watch the event again.
During my Solstice cruise, I met fellow passengers who made a souvenir piece on every vessel with a glassblowing studio. What an excellent idea to remember their sailing!
The hot glass class with Celebrity Cruises allows you to try a unique activity at sea. If you’re looking for other sea day activities, I have lots more ideas to keep the boredom away.
Happy travels ~ Karen