By SARAH JAQUAY
Anyone who has done a home renovation knows how transformative it can be—and how expensive. Well that’s what Celebrity Cruises is embarking upon for its legacy ships, including their Millennium and Solstice class vessels. Their $500 million “Revolution” renovation plan started this year and is slated to be complete by 2023. Celebrity launched its newest class, EDGE, in November of 2018 to enhance the guest experience with a particular focus on state-of-the-art technology, luxurious accommodations, culinary concepts designed by Michelin-starred chef Cornelius Gallagher, and reconfigured public spaces. Now it’s bringing the rest of Celebrity’s fleet to EDGE standards.
“The Edge class was launched to elevate on-board technology and be more sustainable.
We want to be better stewards of the environment,” notes Letitia Johnson, Celebrity’s regional marketing manager for the U.S. central region. She explained Edge class technology means streamlining the process to get on board via the internet before guests even step on the ship; facial recognition and being able to unlock your rooms with your smart phone.
Johnson says one example of enhanced sustainability is replacing all plastic water bottles on board with aluminum cans, which she notes are “100% recyclable” by Celebrity.
But what cruisers may notice first are “the unexpected venues to enjoy solitude and the water.” Johnson explained one of Celebrity’s hallmarks is distinctive design that provides guests the ability to feel away from the crowd yet still connect with surrounding waters. Indeed, Celebrity Eden’s floor-to-ceiling windows bring “the outside in,” she says. “We’re known for creating smaller, carved-out spaces to get away from the crowd.” The Hideway spaces offer relaxation spots that look like “hanging baskets you can climb into and feel away from it all.”
Another first for Celebrity is Flora, a 100-passenger, all-suite ship that travels exclusively to The Galapagos Islands. Guests will revel in the lavish attention afforded by the two-to-one staff to guest ratio. Flora will launch this spring.
What Johnson thinks guests might enjoy most on EDGE class vessels is that everything is “fresh and new”– from the cashmere mattresses to the sophisticated entertainment. The renowned American Ballet Theatre (ABT) has partnered with Celebrity to bring professional dancers onto certain ships where guests may enjoy performances and even opportunities to join the dancers for intimate seminars and ballet barre classes.
Celebrity’s culinary programs are being “revolutionized” as well. Michelin-starred Chef Cornelius Gallagher is Celebrity’s associate vice president for food and beverage operations for their entire fleet. He’s perhaps best-known as the former executive chef at Manhattan’s Oceana restaurant. Celebrity is about to welcome another New Yorker to the family: Daniel Boulud, owner of acclaimed DANIEL. As Celebrity’s Global Culinary Brand Ambassador, Chef Boulud will design signature dishes for Luminae, the private restaurant for suite guests.
And Celebrity is continuing its tradition of featuring a Chef’s Table that Daniel Boulud will design, complete with a private galley tour and five-course dining experience. Plus, there will be guest chef appearances, and Boulud will oversee a culinary mentorship program where the most talented up-and-coming chefs will hone their craft by learning in Celebrity’s kitchens and in Boulud’s.
Customers may choose a variety of destinations from the Caribbean (where Edge is right now) to the Mediterranean (where Edge will be this summer) and Bermuda, Canada and New England (where Summit will be this summer and fall) to the Galapagos (where brand new Flora will be this May.) Most guests spend an average of seven nights on board, but serious cruisers may want to choose longer cruises lasting between 11 and 21 days. The bottom line is: Celebrity has cruises to fit everyone’s choices with more than 240 destinations and touching every continent.
Johnson wants experienced cruisers (and first-timers) to know this renovation program is way beyond cosmetic. “It’s a major investment. We’re going down to the studs. Each stateroom costs approximately $75,000 to complete.” She also wants readers to know they can determine which ships have been “revolutionized” by checking their website. Millenium, Summit and Equinox are slated for 2019.
So join the Celebrity Revolution. See www.celebritycruises.com for more information.