Celebrity is supposed to be premium mass market. I think the furnishing of the ships, space ratio, cleanliness level, style of service to a degree, lack of announcements, can help them meet the minimal requirements of the industry's watered down standard of the premium mass-market category.
I think those who say the food preparation and menus distinguish Celebrity are the problem. Sorry. The food isn't what it was, isn't what it should be. As Babette has said the menus are dumbed down, currently. The food is one of Celebrity's biggest problems and from what I can tell from all those who have inside info on Celebrity's food budget, the problem is NOT going to fixed anytime soon. If at all.
Celebrity's prices are too low, lower than Carnival sometimes. Celebrity's offers still too many cheesy aspects such as picture with pirates in the dining room and also they appear with at some docks, souvenier glasses, Park West "art" auctions, inch-of-gold sales, and other such cruising staples -- Let me say, here, that HAL and Princess do as well and HAL and Princess also meet the minimal requirements of premium mass market, IMO --
Cruising has changed. It is more a mass market, adult camp, oversaturated experience. The industry is selling the new to the point that people refer to what would be considered at least modern ships in the mid-80s now old or older ships. Galaxy, Mercuy, older ships. Ridiculous. People now want to sail on ships no more than 2 years in to service and often need to sail on ships that are a few months in service. People say that can't sail without a balcony, but balconies are nothing special. They are akin to terraces in low-cost housing, IMO. They used to be special. Now they are ubiquitous. Pick any new ship from the major lines, all of them have tons of them, clearly seen above the hull line.
There's no huge demand for a Celebriy of the early 1990s, no discerning pax to know about the quality of food, of service, right now. Quantity is stressed over quality. Keep the prices down so I can sail 3 times a year, I just want to have fun is often expressed. Fine for RCI, but that's not supposed to be the point for a line like Celebrity. It's more lets get the hot itinerary and bargain. Celebrity, like HAL and Princess, stress bargains over quality. The bang for the buck may be there, but an experienced that seems distinguished and an escape from everyday life, is not.
I'm not high on cruising right now.
If you want upscale, have to go to Crystal or Radisson, and even they are cutting back and maybe going closer to what used to be defined as premium, albeit with smaller ships with higher passenger space ratios.