My dh and I are booked aboard the Constellation for a 14 day cruise in April 2005. We have heard that a new feature of this cruise will be Cirque du Soleil. What exactly is this and is there an extra charge to take part in this? I am really interested in finding out any info.
The Cirque de Soleil brand, in general, refers to a highly produced performance that features circus-like acts (contortion, dance, fire-eating, etc.) in a decidedly non-circus-like atmosphere. It's something like a cross between the circus, Marcel Marceau and the Blue Man Group. They've been around for ages and ages in various iterations, and now have permanent shows in Vegas and some other places. In general, they're fascinating to watch, and the production values of their shows are legendary.
To what extent these production values will be duplicated aboard ship remains to be seen, but since many people who see them on Celebrity will not have seen a CdS show elsewhere, they won't have anything to compare it to.
It stands to reason that there will be extra charges, as the cruise industry moves more and more to features that can bring in profits over and above the low (compared to other resort vacations) base fares.
Assuming that they do a good job of adhering to CdS quality levels, the shows will be a cut above Celebrity's generally mediocre production reviews in the theatre. I understand that CdS will be performing in redesigned space that once was the deck 11 disco on the Millie class ships.
I sent an E mail to Celebrity asking about charges to use the Bar at Edge of the World and the Ball, when they are implemented.
All I got in reply was a standard "form letter" giving no information other than these will not be on board until spring of 2005.
In other words no one at Celebrity HO can actually read or think about the reply they write, it is all "pre programmed, punch key X or Y or Z" regardless of enquiry.
We will have to wait until someone actually travels on the first ship to be fitted out. My personal feeling is that I will stay away from the "new atraction" . just as I refuse to buy pictures, bottled water or attend those phoney "ART" sessions.
I really enjoyed sitting in those chairs in the Navigator lounge in front of the huge picture windows. What a loss that will be. I spent hours in there on my Infinity Inside Passage cruise. That was one of the most relaxing and scenic places on the ship during the day. What a loss that will be. Shame on Celebrity for taking that beautiful space away and putting up a circus tent with a toll booth.
I am hoping this space will still be available for daytime lounging--it was such a great area on Summit (in the Carib) & on Constellation when we did the Saguenay River in canada... just a nice place to sit & read. & at noight we enjoyed the live band just after dinner. At night--hope there will be a live music dance club for us before midnight. Will not pay for cirque on gen . priciple & am already tired of Cirque re-runs on A & E...the music tends to drive you nuts after a short while--not my idea of fun! I agree that the huge space may have been wasted & could have divided into a small club & larger one--but hope it's not all a pay for cirque venue....Still time to cancel our Hawaii 06 on Summit!
I'm reasonably sure it will be available. All the advance advertising by Celebrity indicates that the Cirque activities are definitely nighttime affairs, with the big show taking place between 11pm and 2am.
I can't imagine they'd close the room off to your daytime lounging activities.
I think people should decide for themselves whether to attend a Cirque show, and whatever they decide is fine.
But I don't understand advocating a boycott just because the show is an extra charge proposition. By what birthright do you suppose people are entitled to everything aboard a ship at no additional charge? The mass market cruising public will fight, scream and kick to get the lowest possible base fare (and they often succeed), and then they'll fight, scream and kick just as hard to avoid paying a penny extra for anything onboard. Witness the endless posts about hauling water (for God's sake), soda, wine and booze aboard.
What's more, they'll get mad at people who DO pay for these extra charge activities. I remember the same gripes when Celebrity opened the Olympic specialty restaurant aboard Millennium (and the subsequent ones aboard other M-class ships). People who never intended to darken the doorstep of this extra-charge restaurant were complaining to the skies because others were enjoying them. Now, it seems that these restaurants are doing well, despite those who cried the blues so long and so loud on this board.
I couldn't care less whether anybody buys a ticket for Cirque du Soleil. The marketplace will dictate whether or not it succeeds aboard ship. But to condemn it just because there's a surcharge is plain silly. Might as well condemn shore excursions, the bars and the casino.
To charge for fine dining in an intimate setting is totally different than closing off what used to be a public area of the ship and then charging people to be entertained. If Celebrity took the money they spent on Cirque du Soleil and actually revamped its existing mediocre entertainment program that might have been money better spent.
Oh, what do you say we get a little perspective, huh?
Read the Celebrity website. The "big show," which is what I gather carries the surcharge, is only going to happen once per cruise, and from 11pm to 2am at that. Hell, half the ship is beddy-bye at that hour, and those who aren't can easily find someplace comfortable on the ship to drink other than deck 11. And again, this only happens ONE NIGHT PER CRUISE. The other nights, according to the website, there will be a Cirque-type theme in the lounge, but no show. I doubt that they can get away with a $30 cover charge when there's no big show.
I think the complainer contingent should keep their powder dry until we see how it works out in practice. I predict that you'll be able to relax, drink and be merry in that saloon every day and most nights without paying surcharges.
It all starts next Saturday, so I'm sure we'll hear all about it before long.
Its just another nail in the coffin. Whats next? Pay toilets in the cabins? Deluxe housekeeping where you have to pay for better sheets and pillows and a cleaner cabin? maybe they should start deluxe tender service for a fee. They could have the Cirque du Soleil tender service. My point is where does it all end?
Celebrity is setting a precedent in the cruise industry by charging for entertainment. If they get away with it then it wont be long before all the rest follow along. The all inclusives in Mexico and the Caribbean are looking better all the time. I am really getting tired of paying 3000.00 for a cruise and then being nickle and dimed to death every step of the way.
It all ends with the cruise industry filling more beds than ever, sailing more ships than ever, and having more repeat business than ever.
The industry is recovering nicely from 9/11, and while newbuilds are on hold these days mainly because of the weak dollar (which makes the foreign-built ships more expensive), when the dollar regains strength you'll see another major round of ships, many of which will have even more a la carte services, and which will usually sail full.
The "entitlement" crowd--those who complain about all extra-charge services--will always be around, will always complain, and will probably continue to cruise despite their threats not to.
Finally, does AR own stock in cruise lines? I have, over the years, owned a number of them and done very well, thanks.
1. Airlines are having difficulty because culturally they've never been able to adjust to a post-deregulation environment. Is there a parallel situation in the cruise industry? No.
2. Airlines have always suffered because of having to serve unprofitable markets. Do cruise lines cruise where only a few people want to go? No.
3. Some airlines are in trouble because of union contracts that pay rank-and-file staff huge wages, completely out of proportion to the value of the jobs. Is there a parallel in the cruise industry? Not by a long shot.
4. Airline seats are commodities; cruise berths are luxuries. Are they the same thing? No.
About the only valid comparison I can come up with is that ships and planes both move people around. Hardly a factor that would lead to any sort of equivalency.
Oh, and by the way, many of the most profitable airlines are the ones that give you nothing but a seat and a safe flight. No food, no frills. If you want a drink, you buy it. If you want a better seat, you pay for it. No entitlements beyond transportation. The unprofitable airlines, historically, have wined and dined you and given you all sorts of extras.
I can't see throwing money into slot machines, it's a matter of what you want to spend money on.
I would give the Cirque du Soleil a try at least once. I would give up a night in the specialty restaurant if my budget needs to be balanced and trade it for the Cirque show.
It's all a matter of is it worth the money to you.
I agree, I wish Celebrity would put the money into it's theater shows. Although I just came off the Constellation on a 13-night Canada/New England and the entertainment was fabulous. I hope they keep this up.
I'm on the Millenium in January, and I'm curious to see if the basic entertainment has improved.
AR seems to have missed the point entirely. All an airline is supposed to do is transport people from one place to another. Drinks, and food and extras are unneeded and as far as I'm concerned unwanted on an airplane
A cruise on the other hand is supposed to be an all inclusive vacation. Traditionally, about the only thing that was extra on a cruise was booze. Now it seems that the cruiselines are nickle and dimeing us to death with extra charges. Every opportunity they can come up with to charge extra, they charge extra. If I want to see Cirque du soleil I can watch A&E, it's on that cable channel regularly, and frankly I find it boring and pretentious. I'd much rather have a place where I can dance or just sit and have a drink and listen to music, relaxing and enjoying myself with out extra charges.
It's turning nasty so this will be my last comment. At several thousand dollars per cruise which is our average tariff before paying for the the extra services we enjoy like the spa etc., there should be at least some free public, indoor, space on board that cruisers can enjoy. To begin with ,the M class ships have limited indoor venues to enjoy either for music or hanging out. On Constellation, we were told that the NOTES area would be converted for the acupuncture practitioner, thus taking away more free public space, the conservatory area could have been a lovely green area to sit & read in but it is really a floral & trinket shop that is closed during non-business hours. I guess once we paid for better dining experiences (even casual) that was the beginning of the end...For me I'd prefer to see them raise cabin prices & give more included in the trip--those who get the really inexpensive cabins and don't take any extra services are really being supplemented by the rest of us! Anyhow--IMHO instead of this big cirque de soleil thing they could have continued to upgrade the general & special guest entertainment offerings. But everyone has a right to an opinion so let's not get mean here!
This is how I see the situation. After paying the cruise fare and port charges. We are expected to subsidise the cruise lines payroll under the guise of a gratuity. For a person who drinks, alcohol can be a major expense and has a huge profit margin for the cruise lines. On most every public space on the ship there are people trying to get you to buy something. The Spa takes up a huge amount of space and can be very expensive. The casino is also very profitable and takes up lots of space. I dont mind paying for extra services and I definately have no issue with the 100.00 per person payroll subsidy (gratuity) but with this new charge for entertainment idea I think the balance has shifted. The way things are now there is a good balance of public space and pay for use space. The pay for use space is now encroaching on the public space and this is a problem for me.
Cirque de Soleil strikes me as something as a misguided attempt for Celebrity to innovate. When Celebrity innovated with the Century class ship's Michael's Clubs, martini/champagne bars, provocative art, and extensive spas with thellasotherapy pools, they had something that distinguished their ships from others. Soon, the other lines followed. With the Millie ships Celebrity added specialty restaurants, but that's the only major addition, other lines followed as well. The Notes listening library thing did not work out and the plant conservatory is just another shop. The high-end shops in the Emporium have turned into typical cruise shops.
So, the Millie ships have to come up with something. Somewhere from left field, someone came up with the idea of adding Cirque de Soleil and putting it in the oversized observation lounges of the Millennium ships. Now, when has Celebrity been associated with entertainment? Never. Why a circus? Anyone's guess. And the meet and greet characters remind me of RCI's Voyager class promenade cruise comics. I thought the aim of Celebrity was unobtrusiveness and letting the pax entertain themselves.
I'm not a fan of that observation lounge area on the Millie ships. I've always found it stadium like, and not divided well into different functional areas. I welcome the redesign, though I'm not particularly encouraged by the themed sketches I saw in the CC newsletter. The most interesting aspect of this so called "bar at the edge of the earth" are the drinks and food available. If the drinks are creative and extraordinary, this is within the Celebrity brand profile. Same is true of the food. If it is just standard fair, and the emphasis is on just creating a themed activity, then this is Celebrity morphing into something uncharacteristic of what it defines itself as.
I am brand new to these boards and have just recently booked my first Celebrity cruise for this spring on the Constellation. Adding and charging for Cirque seems to be a polarizing issue for many. I figured I will throw my 2 cents in because my perspective seems different than many of you.
First, the facts as I know them about the Cirque venue and shows. There is an extra charge for the Masquerade Ball on one night during the cruise. It is $30/pp and reservations can be made before you board. All other times the space is open to the public without a charge. This includes each evening having some Cirque peformers and atmosphere available to those who want to come in and enjoy it while they have a drink or whatever. These night are a come and go as you please type of deal. I would assume they have dancing or music or something to entertain people when the Cirque stuff is not happening, but I don't know that part for sure. The number of tickets sold is being limited to 360 per sailing.
As far as this being a gimmick, there is no doubt that some consider it that. But, just as the spa, pretty flowers, top notch service, towel animals, quality food, good ports, etc each draw certain customers to the ship, this will as well. I have yet to hear the arguement to include all spa services for free or any complaints about the space designated to the spa. The spa is something they have put in place because customers want it and will pay for it. I beieve I will enjoy all of these features to one extent or another, however, as a fan of Cirque, it is one of the main reasons we chose this particular cruise. The quality of entertainment put out by Cirque is consistently high and I am sure will be a nice addition to Celebrity and I am looking forward to the experience.
When, you book a celebrity cruise you pay for what they list you get. If anyone reads the contracts and booklets, they pretty much tell you what is included and not. It makes no reference to being an all-inclusive cruise. If you want to pay more and go on an all-inclusive cruise then i may suggest Crystal or Seabourn. Radisson is close to all-inclusive.
I like to think of a cruise ship as a nice ferry/hotel. You spend the night there, they feed you and give you some entertainment but you can not really expect more from them. However, like I mentioned before there are different cruise lines for each person. Plus if you want a close to all-inclusive cruise on Celebrity, you should try Expeditions as the shore excusions and drinks at meals are included.
Cruising has now become something that you have to budget those little extras. Nobody is forcing you to attend the show, but if you want that something extra (which frankly not everyone has to pay for in their ticket) then you can purchase it.
I agree that cruise lines have cut back on services but then I have noticed that new services have been added. Maybe most will believe those services do not compensate for the old ones, but that can be just matter of opnion.
While it may be true that you don't have to participate if you don't want to pay the extra fee, there is another side to the coin.
You are pretty much a captive audience while you are on the ship. Each time they take away a space that used to contain a "Free" activity, and replace it with something you have to pay for that's one less thing that is "Included" in your vacation. We used to enjoy going to the Observation Lounge/Disco/Bar for drinks and dancing and listening to music in the evenings after dinner. If this venu is taken over by Cirque I am assuming that it will no longer be available for dancing, relaxing and drinks. Wheather I choose to pay for this "Service" or not is irrelevant, it is no longer available to enjoy as in had been before. Will they set aside another area for an activity that we once enjoyed? I think not, not unless they can come up with a way to charge you for the pleasure. While I realize that a cruise was never a truly 'All Inclusive" vacation, it used to include alot more activities than it does now, and if the current trend holds true will include far fewer activities in the future. This I refer to as "Nickle & Diming" and I believe it springs from pure greed on the part of the cruise lines.
I was on the 12/4/04 Constellation sailing. The lounge has been totally redecorated and is open for no extra charge with some cirque du soleil perfomers on most nights. One evening during the cruise they had a perfomance for which they charged $30. I did not attend, but heard it was terrible. So many angry people they refunded their money.
Although it is dangerous to generalize, I think the majority of the present Celebrity clientele are not necessarily going to be Cirque fans. Perhaps they are reaching out to a new group. In our local area (L..I.--suburb of NYC) there are constant radio ads for the Celeb-Cirque venture..also have seem more in print & on TV.... Huge marketing effort. Glad to know the area is still available for free. What has changed about the decor & layout & does the party band pay there after dinner like it always did before? Perhaps they should have offered Cirque for free until they determine it is something people want & are willing to pay for....A small closed off little cigar bar (indoors) would dbe something my husband would use--since they have left the Micheals humidor empty! Thought perhaps the renovations might have included that.