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Old February 7th, 2013, 01:52 PM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
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If you were at my press conference I think you would have come to the same conclusion I did - that they see Oceania's new ships doing extremely well and they feel their Solstice class ships are every bit as nice.

And in many ways I would not argue with Celebrity about that. I also love the S-class ships.

However - in terms of image the cruise public KNOWS that Celebrity cut ties with Michel Roux and that he has been replaced not with a "name" but with dining concepts.

Concepts may work to a limited extent - (arguably better for Carnival) but nothing quite matches the "buzz" one gets from hearing you will be eating cuisine from a true "star" chef (Jacques Pepin) on Oceania, and com pare that to Celebrity where the conversation goes "well, they used to have Michel Roux, then they had a different chef (Jacques Van Staden - who actually has a decent reputation) but he was replaced by a chef John Sulley who has no awards.....

But, putting that aside, The S-ships are beautiful. The entertainment is first class, the food is excellent in many ways - but it's too complicated to get that message out.

So - getting back to Oceania. I believe Celebrity's target is the Oceania Audience, and well it should be. However, when you charge $35 for a premium dining experiece (Oceania has a name chef and no extra charges for premium restaurants) then you have a challenge.

Celebrity might do well to raise its fairs but make the premium dining restaurants included on the cost. The dining packages are just the trial balloon to see if they can get there.

But to be sure, the term "modern luxury" tells us what they want us to think about them. They want us to compare them to luxury (Crystal Cruises) but modern (Oceania).

I think Celebrity can get there, but it will take some daring changes in policy. It would certainly help if the economy is better.

And as far as itinerary planning - 2013 is already a done deal, but they will figure it out and 2014 will have those ships' itineraries far more diversified, as they should be.
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