According to Jack Williams of Celebrity (I beleive he is the President) they are in the final stages of designing a new class of ship which he explained to be "profitable". The name of the new class is the "Challenger" class. I beleive, Williams made the anouncement at a Seatrade convention in Florida.
Oceanic '87/Amerikanis '88/Galileo '89/Horizon '90&'91/Holiday '92/Regal Empress '93&'96/Zenith '98/Carnival Destiny '99/Sovereign of the
Seas '00/Infinity '01/Disney Wonder '02/Carnival Legend '03/Carnival
Miracle '04/Norwegian Dawn '04/Costa Magica '05/Norwegian Dawn '05
Thanks for the update. I'm always for Celebrity building new ships and a whole new class will be very interesting.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
Challenger is an unfortunate name. Evokes memories of the tragic Challenger explosion. His audience sounds like shareholders because as a Celebrity cruise I'd want to know about the ship and not that it'll be profitable. For the most part, I don't care about new ships anymore, there are too many of them and I think Celebrity's fleet is large enough. If someone announces Celebrity will make 50,000 ton ships, I'm interested, provided it'll have a different layout than the Millennium ships. Anything Millennium size and larger, yawn.
I think it is time for Celebrity execs to learn the brand (to avoid nonsense like the Cirque de Soleil vs. the view controversy) and start improving the line with their existing hardware.
I think the class of ship being named Challenger is just fine. I do agree, however that Celebrity does not need to expand the size of its ships tonnage and hope they recognize that many repeat cruisers find these mega liners just too large. The idea of spending my vacation with 3600 passengers on one ship is just too much. Celebrity cannot be everything to every cruiser. The parent company (Royal Carribean) has plenty of Mega Liners and appeals to "new cruisers" and those that like more activities. Not all of us want all of those things.
I hope the "class" that Celebrity has shown on its current vessels is not deluted with just "another huge mega ship."
I know many passengers(myself included) are willing to spend a little more to keep up the good service and classy medium size vessels.
To me a bigger ship means progress & change (hopefully for the better). I'm sure that after X announced the building of the Century class ship's, many people were skeptical beacuse the Horizon & Zenith were so wonderful. The same could be said when they announced the Millennium class of ships. I have been fortunate to sail on each one of the classes & my honest feeling has been that so far bigger is better. Don't get me wrong the Horizon is a wonderful ship, the Century is super, but my favorite is the Millennium. Assuming that X will be able to maintain the same level service that we have all come to expect, I look forward to sailing on the new Challenger class someday. As for the name, I look at it as paying a tribute to the astronauts who gave their lives for science & progress.
Wouldn't it be fun if some exec announced a newbuild program that the line expected to be "unprofitable?"
The press release would be fun. . .
"We expect to lose our bloody shirts with our new ships," boasted Joe Schmedlap of Crummy Cruises, Inc. Schmedlap went on to say that the parent company expects to be in bankruptcy within a year, but "we'll certainly go out in style."
As a shareholder of many years of Royal Carribean , I would like to see the ships make money. I also feel that there are a significant amount of repeat cruisers that would sail something other than "mega ships" on a regular basis if they had that option.
Dave, I think there are plenty folks sailing on 40 to 70,000 ton ships now. Lots of people enjoy HAL's Statendam and Rotterdam class for instance. You use the product and have an interest in it. The problem is, I think, lots of shareholders don't use the product, and go more by rate of growth and product performance and there's lots of pressure on the company to have continued growth. The easiest way to profitability is larger ships.
Sooner or later though, the current mid sized ships will be old for the current market (though really the ships are not old in terms of ship life). Ships like the Zenith and Horizon. And they'll need to be replaced. Right now, I don't see anything in the plans to build Zenith sized ships from the popular lines.
Between 1995 and 2002 seven Celebrity ships entered service. That's almost one ship per year.
Between the same time nine ships have entered service for HAL. That's more than one ship per year.
It's even higher for Carnival and RCI.
When is enough enough? Carnival has 21 ships in service, RCI 19, HAL 14, Princess 15 right now. Ports are crowded. The ships that are sailing are still new, any ship built 2000 or after is only in service for 5 years or less. 10 years ago and before, that was considered new or at least *very* young.
Why do we keep needing to build new ships? Are we so bored with the current ships? Do we always need new equipment to be excited about cruising?
I can see new ships for lines that have an aging, expensive-to-operate fleet but all the new ships do today is make ships seem old that aren't old. It is outrageous that ships entering service in 1998 or so are considered old and people get upset when they notice any sign of wear on ships. I think to expect new ships every year is strange. What's wrong with going 5 to 7 years with no new ships introduced and focus more on enriching and refining the experience on existing ships? Especially on a premium lines like Celebrity or HAL.
The only new ship I support for Celebrity is a replacement for the Horizon that is *no more than 60,000 tons.* Then the Zenith when she's transferred. Anything else I think is artificially expanding Celebrity's *true* customer base, which I feel isn't as high as the amount of berths they currently have. HAL has replaced its Westerdam, a 55,000 ton ship with a 85,000 ton ship. A Noordam replacement, 40,000 tons or less, is also going to be 85,000 tons. And the thing about it, once you've seen the first in the series, the next 4 or so aren't that much different.
I'd like to see Celebrity upgrade and refurbish the staterooms and redo the railings on all of their pre-Millennium ships. Also, fix and upgrade areas in these ships that need fixing. These are absolutely terrific ships that give a great Celebrity experience, and that's where I'd love to see them spend the money. Not on new, larger vessels.
I'm really trying to understand why people want more and more new ships. There's so many new ones out there right now.
I just fear bean counters will have too much say on any new ship for Celebrity.
My hope is that the recent change in having separate management for Celebrity RCL will not try to blend the ships of RCL and Celebrity. Keep the Celebrity product one step(or more) above RCL.(keep the quality food and service)
As Ben has already stated(and I agree) the fleet is not old and with regular refurbishment and a keen eye for detail ....who needs a new ship?.....Not me.
Challenger sounds like a name that RCCL would come up with rather than Celebrity. It brings to mind a massive vessel with ice rinks and climbing walls. It also makes me think of those poor souls who lost there lives so tragically on the space ship.
Challenger is a code name, the actual ships will be named differently. Celebrity's naming conventions were based on space, time, and distance. Hopefully this will continue.
The rumors aren't any plans for ice-skating rinks or rock climbing walls. But, the rumors have the ships at 120,000 tons, 5 restaurants with open seating, 4 scheduled dining times.
4 scheduled dining times sound OK. I'm very concerned about open seating. That is a core Celebrity value, traditional vs. open seating, and this would fundamentally change the Celebrity product. The rapport with wait staff and dining mates would change, even if they try to mix in a traditional restaurant. 5 restaurants would also take up lots of space and to me, a ship is best when its public areas can be used for multiple purposes. For the most part, restaurants are used for eating, and a bit less successfullly for entertainment, though supper clubs would make more sense than just-for-eating restaurants. This would also affect dress codes.
Anyway, another significant jump in ship size where I think many Celebrity fans are asking for Century size ships or smaller. Who exactly is Celebrity listening to with these proposals (if the rumors prove to be true)? I don't think it is the core Celebrity fan. I think it is more cruisers who try every line and want every line to combine the most trendy aspects.
Don't you reckon that they've researched and focus-grouped this issue to death? Do you suppose that they'd just throw a dart to pick a ship size, or listen exclusively to anecdotal preferences from people like you or me?
I tend to agree with you about preferring smaller rather than larger, although after a recent Princess cruise I've become a fan of the overall concept of choice in dining. I find it much better matches our lifestyle and preference for variety. I'm also aware that it takes a relatively large ship to pull off this kind of dining arrangement, and that I can't have it both ways.
From your posts, it's clear that you prefer the Celebrity brand not to change with regard to what you feel are its core strengths, and I respect that. But it's also true that Celebrity is a mass market line, and must in the final analysis cater to mass market tastes in order to compete. This means that in their decisionmaking they obviously research not only their own core customers, but the customers they'd like to snatch away from other lines. They ain't stupid.
They also understand that brand identity is important, which means that they must constantly evaluate maintaining marketing distinctions between RCI and Celebrity, or going the other way and merging the brands. Those issues are obviously always on the table in one way or another.
The choices are difficult, and they may ultimately be right or wrong. But I think it's naive to accuse them, in effect, of not doing their homework. Whatever the new ships turn out to be--and my bet is on larger rather than smaller--they will be the result of lots of research.
As a longtime Celebrity fan and RCL cruiser since the 1970"s I have seen many changes come and go with the line.
I understand the scale of economy when larger ships are built, but I also feel each cruise line has to have a niche to attract loyal or repeat passengers. Without that niche there is no reason to repeat your cruise on the same line vs sailing another "all in one" cruise line.
Celebrity has attracted passengers because they offer better food and service than the RCL product.
I do understand that new cruisers have to be attacted to the line and ships....but adding tonnage to pack them in and five dining options will destroy the very advantage that attracted passengers and repeaters to begin with.
Its naive to think RCL will not increase the size of its ships for Celebrity, but I fear they are going to kill the goose that laid the golden Celebrity egg.
As a shareholder and regular repeater on Celebrity.....lets hope the bean counters in Miami have less input to ship opperations than management that deals with customer satisfaction with the onboard product and ship designers.
The inital concept for Celebrity that Chandris Line created is what makes the line special. Lets hope the new President of Celebity will have authority to keep up the good work.
The brands were separate in the begining, then merged, and now are going back separate again.... I hope and think its a good move. Time will tell..
I think it would be "jumping the gun" to presume that the "challenger class" will necessarily be larger ships.
Look at Princess, then they were busy building all Grand Class ships for awhile, and then came out with the Coral and Island Princess.
And also of note Princess has also evolved their "Grand Class" layouts on the Diamond and Sapphire to include more dining options.
Even if Celebrity were to choose to go a bit larger, it may be with the intention of increasing the options, on not only dining facilities, but entertainment options as well.
Also...the problems with rumors is that they normally begin with some on ship personel. And the likelihood of the on ship personel knowing anything at all about the actual plans for the new ships is remote.
I do think that there's very little likelihood that Celebrity is going to build 40 - 50, 000 ton ships. Just as unlikely that they are going to build 150,000 ton ships like the Ultra Voyager class as well.
I have to agree about how many more ships do we need out there. The Miami port on a Saturday looks like a WalMart parking lot the day before Christmas.
From what I read in the Miami Herald there seems to be a rivalry between Carnival and Royal Caribbean. You should have seen the news when Princess was up for sale and RCL thought it had it locked up and then along came Carnival and bought it out from under them.
I have to agree though that a cruiseline's first concern should be to maintain their ships and keep their repeat customers happy.
Celebrity has a good product and I do hope they not only improve on what they now have, but they expand into new ships and give their repeat cruisers what they are asking for.
I would like to see smaller ships and more fascinating ports and itineraries.
When Williams says "profitable" he means larger. At least that's my take on it.
Williams has left RCI and the new president is Jack Hanrahan (who moved over from RCI) so we'll see what this means.
Celebrity's problem has always been marketing. The company is little known outside Florida and the Northeast. They've always had a hard time generating the revenue they should for vessels with a higher level of food and service.
CruzCrazy, You have expressed an opinion that I have long held. I took my first cruise seven years ago, after spending many years traveling the world by other modes. My husband and I fell in love with crusing, it is sooooooo easy in comparison to other experiences. We, however, were always amazed that Celebrity had not expanded to the Asian market. Now with the repositioning from the Caribbean, to this part of the world, they truly do cover the globe-or at least more of it. Many more options for loyal Celebrity clients! (Spoke with a Celebrity TA and new schedule is due out some time in April, can hardly wait to book!) Just one person's opinion, perhaps a minority, since there seems to be many Caribbean sailors out there.
Summit, Panama Canal
Infinity, South America
Vision of the Seas (RCL-Big Mistake)
Constellation, Eastern Transatlantic Crossing April 23, 2005
Mercury, California Coast, October, 2005
Celebrity is a mass market cruise line. The prices and amount of ships and the general direction the cruise line is going is mass market. What Celebrity just can't establish and for a while now is whether they want to be in the, for lack of a better term, "upper" end of the mass market, with people sailing the line that are reasonably well off and accustomed to a near-luxury lifestyle, or masses of people who alternatively choose Celebrity along with RCI, Carnival, or NCL, and now HAL, more based on itinerary and price than the line's style.
I think the only way Celebrity can tap into that market that is turned off by the usual stuff they see in brochures about cruise lines, crowded pool areas with loud steel drum groups and chairhogger issues, lots of selling of stuff on board, lots of adult camp like activities, acceptable wedding banquet food, and want something more enriching though not quite luxury at a somewhat higher price, lines like Celebrity and HAL are what they at least market as the lines that provide this. Carnival and RCI are just so set on expanding the size of HAL and Celebrity's fleets, and to attract the cruse-for-price or itinerary on any mass market line crowd, and please their stakeholders, that to keep up, they bring on newer, bigger ships with the latest trends whose, by this definition, turn off the more upper end of the mass market. That upper end, I argue, is a fairly small market, much better served by middle sized ships, and the line's fleets have to stay around, for Celebrity 7 ships I think would be ideal, and HAL, maybe 9 at most. Celebrity could change this if, and to me only if, they keep their fleet the current size and figure out what to do with the Millennium ships.
If people insist on newer and newer ships and keeping up with the mass market lines in introducing these ships for HAL and Celebrity, inevitably, the line's will end up being just dressier version of the middle mainstream lines, like RCI or Carnival, with a better PSR and less extreme activities. But, they will not stand out in lifestyle. There's a void here right now that lines like MSC and Oceania are trying to fill and Celebrity and HAL's management seem fine to wider open the void in the quest for larger markets for these marques.
I tend to agree that larger is not better. Personally, I like a smaller size ship. I'm just back from a cruise on the Brilliance and noticed that while it is virtually identical in size to the "M - Class" ships it carries over 500 passengers more, the crows were more evident. The one feature of the Brilliance, and indeed many of the Royal ships, that I liked over the Celebrity layout was the open feel and the brightness of the soaring centrim.
Its been awhile since I've sailed on Celebrity,but have enjoyed reading the posts about the name for their new class of ships...I do not like the name Challenger. I have akways considered Celebrity a cut above other cruise lines and am adding my two cents as for the new series...I think it should be called their ......SISGNATURE class of ships...enough said?
Hope Celeb retains it specialness--just a cut above the rest in its price category. Royal is fun & I love the ships, but the Celeb experience (sans CDS) is really something special! Can't wait for next two cruises on Celeb..
I am looking forward to Celebrity branching out and hopefully building some new ships, either the same size or smaller than the the M Class.
From what I heard on my last cruise from the Celebrity sales director, Celebrity is looking into branching out into the Asian market. They are taking little steps at a time. Look how they expanded their RT Hawaii itineraries. It's what the Celebrity cruisers wanted and they are trying to please their repeat cruisers.
Even though I will continue to cruise Celebrity, even on some repeat itineraries, I have now started to look at Oceania, for it's smaller ships, different ports of call and from what I heard, their service and food quality is very good. Haven't booked one yet, but will peruse their brochures as an alternative to Celebrity.
I agree will with Sal, I much prefer the Brilliance and am booked on the Jewel this December, I like that class of ship, very nautical looking and with an open feel. I only wished that RCL could upgrade their dining room food, but I can always find something to eat. I know with Celebrity, I will never have to settle for mediocre food and it's always consistent.
I am on the Voyager of the Seas in a couple of weeks, only because it was a great price and I'm with friends who have never been on a mega ship. But I think this will be my last mega ship.
It's funny the more you cruise the more you fine tune what you prefer in the cruise experience.
I've always said, "there's no such thing as a bad cruise."
I am only repeating what my husband heard, but he heard that the new class of ships will be "luxury" class in keeping w/Seaborn, Crystal, etc. Didn't Jack Williams come from Crystal? That might explain this new direction. And it certainly would be profitable. Maybe they see a certain class of their cruisers going in this direction.