Originally Posted by You
What I mean is this - newer ships generally have adults only serenity spaces, station-style buffets rather than lines, three to five alternative dining spots and flat-screen TV and decent Internet access.
These elements are not what makes a ship "premium" in the cruise industry. Rather, the distinction between a "premium" cruise line and a "mainstream" cruise line is in quality of service and cuisine and in the manner of treatment of passengers -- generally far fewer announcements during the course of the day, additional touches sometimes characterized as "grace notes" (like Celebrity's complimentary champagne at embarkation and cold towels when returning from shore excursions), and a willingness to let passengers relax rather than trying to recruit passengers into activities.
But let's take these items point by point.
>> "Adults Only" Serenity Spaces: The Millennium
class has the Persian Garden in the spa and The Conservatory that fall into this category.
>> Layout of Buffet: Princess's Sun Princess
class and all subsequent Princess newbuilds since have had station-style buffets, yet I don't recall anybody saying that Celebrity's ships were somehow no longer "Premum" tier because Princess had adopted this design. In fact, just the opposite -- the discussion six or seven years ago was whether recent changes at Princess, including the changes intstited as part of the parent company's "cost cutting programme" prior to its merger with Carnival Corporation, had dropped that line down to the "mainstream" segment.
>> Three to Five Alternative Dining Spots: All of the ships of the Celebrity Millennium
class have this -- the Aquaspa Cafe, the poolside grill (lunch), the buffet (lunch), pasta and pizza stations, "alternative casual dining" in the buffet restaurant (dinner), the sushi bar (dinner), and the specialty restaurant (dinner).
>> Flat Screen Televisions and "Decent" Internet Access: What exists aboard the ships of the Celebrity Millennium
class reflects the state of the art at the time of construction of these vessels. They probably are due for the typical midlife upgrades.
Originally Posted by You
Just like some of the Holland America ships built back in the 1990s have become somewhat dated while the newer ones are really beautiful - the Millennium class is getting pretty old.
Since most cruise ships have a service life of about twenty years for their original owners, these ships are about reaching the middle of their expected service for Celebrity. They are undoubtedly very well maintained, but nonetheless in need of some updated systems. They are, nonetheless, gorgeous ships.
The worst thing that happened to two of these ships was the Cirque du Soleil "Bar at the Edge of the Earth" debacle, which redecorated the disco/night clubs of the former GTS Constellation
and GTS Summit
in a manner that exhibited all the class and style of a freshly "toilet papered" college dorm room -- but that happened when these vessels were relatively new. With the "Bar at the Edge of the Earth" draperies and seat covers mostly gone (there are still some rags hanging in the overhead aboard GTS Celebrity Summit
and probably also aboard GTS Celebrity Constellation
, but most passengers probably would not notice them), these spaces actually are looking respectable again.
[/quote="You"\They just announced a major upgrade to the ships - which sort answers my question. The ships are in need of an upgrade.[/quote]
As best I can tell, most of these "upgrades" amount to little more than (1) normal replacement of carpets and upholstery and replacement of equipment that normally happens during a major yard visit and (2) rebranding some of the spaces to match the corresponding facilities of the Celebrity Solstice
class. Unfortunately, the press release describing the uprade
gives the locations of only a couple of the new facilities and the post-renovation deck plans for GTS Celebrity Constellation
do not reflect the changes, so we are left to speculate. Nontheless, taking the deck plan of MV Celebrity Solstice
as a guide, it's a reasonable guess that the Café al Bacio and Gelateria (which, according to the press release, will replace the Cova Café di Milano) will be in the atrium area on Deck 5. The location of new the Tuscan Grille is more of a mystery unless it will replace the existing specialty restaurants. But on the whole, most of these changes appear to be typical midlife renovations.