About Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises is entering a new era of larger ships and higher capacity from the likes of Carnival Cruise , but don't mourn just yet for the little cruise line that offers personalized service. After all, no one believed that Celebrity could maintain its standards with the birth of Millennium-class ships — and it managed quite nicely, adding a series of enhancements that pleased even the most stalwart fans of smaller ships.
Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Eclipse — debuting in 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively — will come in at 122,000 tons, bigger than even the largest ships in Carnival's fleet. With these 2,850-guest ships, Celebrity aims to rock the notion that a cruise line that positions itself in the "premium" market must keep its ships small and cozy. Celebrity has also announced it will build a fourth Solstice class ship. That new vessel will enter service in the fall of 2011. Like its sister ships, Celebrity's fourth Solstice-class liner will have larger standard staterooms, 90 percent of which will be outside; 85 percent of all staterooms will have verandahs. All are about 30 percent larger than the line's newest Millennium-class ships.
Aside from these "new ship" developments, Celebrity Cruises has spent the past few years, pretty much since the launch of its last Millennium-class ship, Constellation, in 2002, upgrading onboard services and amenities. The goal in turning its attention inward was to introduce enhancements that would position the cruise line as a competitor to Crystal, albeit with a younger passenger demographic.
In 2007, the line engaged culinary consultancy Blau & Associates to work closely with Celebrity's culinary staff across the fleet to maintain the line's most popular items, and complement them with fresh, contemporary and creative concepts that will continue to deliver an exceptional dining experience onboard. The entire fleet's casual dining and buffet areas are receiving a facelift. Celebrity has increased the number of options to include delicious new items.
Celebrity Cruises offers an exceptional level of personal service, accommodations that are among the most spacious at sea, and a wide variety of activities and amenities. Onboard, you can attend an informative onboard lecture or discover unique gifts in the upscale boutiques. Other features and services include enhanced adult enrichment programs, more interesting shops in the Emporium complex, "welcome aboard" sparkling wine and mimosas, a spa cafe dinner option, wine tastings (and the first Riedel comparative wine workshops at sea), a revamped sports deck, extensive golf programs, and the innovative Acupuncture at Sea program (taking over the space once occupied by Notes on the Millennium-class ships).
Other features and services include enhanced adult enrichment programs, more interesting and tempting shops in the Emporium complex, "welcome aboard" sparkling wine and mimosas on embarkation, a spa cafe dinner option, and wine tastings, a revamped sports deck, extensive golf programs, and the innovative Acupuncture at Sea program (taking over the space once occupied by Notes on the Millennium-class ships).
With the launch in 2004 of its wildly successful Celebrity Xpedition program, the line has been able to offer its upscale, active passenger base a new option: a once-in-a-lifetime, up-close-and-personal Galapagos Islands experience. Celebrity has become the only big-ship cruise line to offer year-round sailings there. But you won't find Celebrity Millennium or Celebrity Galaxy trawling these small-ship waters. Instead, the company acquired the former Sun Bay I, a 2,329-ton 98-passenger vessel, and transformed it into the 92-guest Celebrity Xpedition. The aim? To combine the line's big stylishness with more adventurous destinations.
Celebrity was founded in 1989 by the Greece-based Chandris Group, which established the line's reputation as an upscale big-ship operator. Celebrity was acquired by Royal Caribbean in 1997 and now operates as its sister cruise line. Celebrity Cruises launched Azamara Cruises in 2007.
The Celebrity fleet currently consists of eight ships with four more joining the fleet by 2011. Celebrity Zenith joined the company in its earliest incarnation (the "vintage" ship left the fleet in 2007). The later addition of Celebrity Century, Celebrity Galaxy and Celebrity Mercury reflected the first real evolution — vessels that were sleeker and larger, and possessing intriguing design elements and impressive collections of contemporary art. The Millennium class followed with Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Constellation, all measuring 91,000 tons and carrying up to 2,500 passengers. This newest (until Solstice) group of ships carries through the company's art and culinary visions while also achieving firsts in their own right, from all-glass elevator banks to spa cafes to new alternative restaurants that pay homage to history's great ocean liners.
Celebrity Century, which entered service in December 1995 as the first of its class, has emerged from a stem-to-stern refit with the addition of 314 verandahs, 14 new suites and 10 new staterooms, plus the addition of many of the "tastes of luxury" accents that define the Millennium-class ships. It debuted with a new specialty restaurant, Murano.
From the beginning, the company has shown enthusiasm for blending the innovative with the classic — for instance, decorating with both contemporary and traditional art.
Beyond its general increase in enhancements, Celebrity offers Concierge Class accommodations. The gist of the program is a unique class of oceanview staterooms which offer guests extra amenities, from service-related additions (priority luggage service) to plusher furnishings (luxurious bed coverings, some balconies with dining tables). Originally available only on Millennium-class ships, the innovation has proved so popular that it is now available on most of the ships in the fleet.
All Celebrity ships have cabins/suites that are standard in size and amenities. (A minimum category stateroom at 172 square ft. is a plus for bargain seekers.) Celebrity has also upgraded amenities in all cabin categories to include terry cloth robes and in-room service from the dining room menu. The Celebrity fleet's AquaSpa transports guests to a whole new world with treatments inspired by rituals from exotic cultures. Guests can discover a state of complete tranquility in the Persian Garden or pamper themselves with a host of indulgences.
All standard cabins have a TV with closed circuit movies and Sony's interactive features; direct dial telephone; minibars; safes; hair dryers and convertible twin/queen beds. A large number of cabins have private balconies (56 percent of all accommodations on Millennium-class ships). Suites have verandahs and an outstanding private butler service. Additional in-suite amenities include DVD player or VCR, personalized stationary, whirlpool bath, afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapes. In addition to alternative restaurants on Millennium-class ships (specialty restaurants levy either a $30 per person service fee or a la carte charges), Celebrity has launched an evening casual dining program fleetwide. These are in addition to the traditional main dining room.
Key features on the new Solstice-class vessels include the Lawn Club, a freshly manicured lawn on the highest deck of Celebrity Solstice. Guests can enjoy casual outdoor activities in a decidedly country club atmosphere, and let the grass between their toes take them places no cruise has gone before. Inspired by the vineyards of Napa Valley, Celebrity Solstice also will feature Cellar Masters, which brings to life the experience of a global wine tour while you learn about and taste a large variety of wines from around the world. A welcoming and unique onboard environment, you'll discover new wines, receive recommendations and enrich your knowledge of the world of wine. Celebrity Solstice also will offer ten dining venues, a new AquaClass category of staterooms catering to spa enthusiasts, the first hot glass show at sea, and much more.
Though Celebrity does not offer a world cruise, it is a worldwide cruise line visiting unique and exotic destinations including Antarctica. Throughout the year, there are voyages in Europe, Canada/New England, Alaska, the Panama Canal, South America, Hawaii, Australia/New Zealand and the Caribbean.
Celebrity attracts an extremely diverse passenger base, targeting in particular baby boomers and their families, but also seniors and honeymooners. In addition to U.S. travelers, the cruise line also draws guests from Canada, the U.K. and other European countries, and South America. Longer voyages in more distant locales, from Europe to South America, tend to draw an older crowd while weeklong treks to places like the Caribbean and Alaska are magnets for families. In an effort to attract more multi-generational groups, Celebrity's family programs have expanded to include teen centers, and more enrichment and educational programs for children.