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Old October 31st, 2006, 09:24 AM
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Default Big Changes, Zenith Going, Ship Swap

Below is press release on major changes at Celebrity.


http://www.rclinvestor.com/phoenix.z...985&highlight=

Zenith leaves fleet goes to Pullmantur, Blue Dream formerly R1 goes to Celebrity as Celebrity Journey under xpeditions brand.

Heres a picture of the Blue Dream soon to be Journey.



http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/Pullmantu...r-01_AKlem.jpg

Don
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Old October 31st, 2006, 10:03 AM
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This has been in the works for awhile and prompted speculation of a takeover of Oceania by RCI. While I'm glad that Oceania wasn't taken over I am also glad that Celebrity Expeditions has brought on the R ships. They will add a new dimension to their offerings. The R ships are some of the best designed ships out there. They can navigate smaller ports but are large enough to provide the accommodations, features and luxury that people want in a true cruise experience.

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Mike
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Old November 1st, 2006, 03:38 PM
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Big conversation about the itin changes on the "other boards" & a link to what the "new" ship looks like presently before it is refurbed...(very garish decor but I am sure that will change to meet the new mission of the ship) It will do a mainly Bermuda itin & my trip planned for April 08 RT Tampa (4 days) is now a closed booking--meaning I bet it will be cancelled. It may be a more elegant style of cruising offered but I'd like something a bit bigger with more amenities--like a nice sized pool, theater etc. this is very small....about half of capacit of Zenith from what I am reading---we shall see what the future brings!
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Old November 4th, 2006, 09:10 PM
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Celebrity is trading ships! The Celebrity fleet will give Pullmantur (Spanish cruise line now owned by Royal Caribbean) the Zenith and will get the Blue Dream as part of the trade. The Blue Dream is one of the old Renaissance R class ships. The ship is a lot smaller than the Zenith and can accommodate 685 passengers.

We are booked on her sister-ship the Insigna (Oceanic) in March 2008 on a three continent cruise out of Rio. We did sail the R4 in the South Pacific and loved the ship. It is the smallest ship we have sailed on and I am sorry I didn't have the Zenith booked for a Bermuda cruise - would love to do it on the new Celebrity Journey, the perfect ship to sail Bermuda waters, can dock almost any where. However, I don't know how many people already had reservations on the Zenith - some of them will have to stay home, no room on the Journey for all of them!

So, we will be one of the last groups to sail on the Zenith before she finds a new home in Spain, how sad. We will be cruising on the Zenith January 19. Glad we will be able to sail on her befofe she leaves the fleet. This will be our first and last cruise on the Zenith!

Marion
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Old November 7th, 2006, 07:36 PM
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hcat,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Big conversation about the itin changes on the "other boards" & a link to what the "new" ship looks like presently before it is refurbed...(very garish decor but I am sure that will change to meet the new mission of the ship)
Having taken a cruise to "French Polynesia & Samoa" with four full days and two half days at sea on open waters aboard sister MV Tahitian Princess (nee MV R4), I can say from personal experience that these ships are fundamentally wonderful vessels. Their seakeeping is fantasic for vessels of such size and they offer all of the facilities that we have come to expect on modern cruise ships except dedicated children's, youth, and teen centers. That said, the original Renaisance decor is downright tacky from the faux wrought iron (actually black paint on glass panels) on the showcase ladder in the atrium (designed to look like the grand staircase of RMS Titanic...) to the photos of artifacts on shelves behind glass doors concealing active storage cabinets in many public areas. The show room also does not offer the most modern of facilities, with limited lighting and a complete absence of stage elevators, though it's certainly possible to develop great shows that work in this venue.

That said, I must say that I'm more than a little baffled by the comment in Celebrity's press release about "installing" specialty restuarants because the vessels of this class have two specialty restaurants -- an Italian restaurant and a steak house -- above the buffet area. I wonder if Celebrity might be planning some major modifications, perhaps converting one of the specialty restaurants to the very upscale character of the specialty restaurants on five of the line's other vessels and the other to children's, youth, and teen centers? Or perhaps converting the whole area to a single upscale specialty restaurant? A siingle specialty restaurant, however, would seem to provide more specialty dining than this class of ship can support....

Quote:
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It will do a mainly Bermuda itin & my trip planned for April 08 RT Tampa (4 days) is now a closed booking--meaning I bet it will be cancelled.
As I understand it, MV Celebrity Journey will take over most of the itineraries for which the company has accepted bookings for MV Zenith and then will redeploy on exotic itineraries all over the world. The reassignment probably will include opening new destinations and "one of a kind" voyages as well as cruises to locations that cannot accommodate larger vessels.

Norm.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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There is a lot of speculation which will just have to play itself out. First, the ship is branded under the Expeditions brand so many are wondering if it will be all inclusive. Secondly, the press release states there will be two specialty restaurants after the changes. I am sure the first will be the same as on Century or the M class ships. The second is up for grabs, who knows. I find it funny however that if you carefully read the press release it seems to indicate the ship will have two specialty restaurants, the same as the other ships. Can't figure that one out.

"Blue Dream will be renamed Celebrity Journey, and will join Celebrity's fleet in April, 2007, sailing Bermuda itineraries from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ, beginning May 5, 2007. Before switching brands, the ship will undergo a one-month revitalization and drydock to incorporate many of Celebrity's signature elements such as two specialty restaurants; expanded spa services, including in-room offerings; expanded concierge service, including butlers; and additional guest suites. The restyled ship will sail the same Bermuda itineraries originally scheduled for Zenith"


Don
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Old November 8th, 2006, 07:55 PM
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Don,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
... to incorporate many of Celebrity's signature elements such as two specialty restaurants...
Yes, I read the press release and this clause obviously has problems.

>> 1. The overhaul can't "incorporate" two specialty restaurants because the ship already has them -- a steak house (starboard side) and an Italian restaurant (port side), both located all the way aft on Deck 10 (directly above the buffet area on Deck 9).

>> 2. MV Celebrity Journey will become the first ship to have two (2) specialty restaurants. Thus, the presence of two specialty restaurants is not exactly one of the line's signature elements.

It sounds like another clear case of either miscomminication or incompetence somewhere in the line's headquarters.

Norm.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 06:06 PM
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I wonder how many people might feel reluctant to sail a much sailer ship to bermuda since that route typically can be rough!!!
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Old November 17th, 2006, 08:42 PM
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johnnyjumpstart,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I wonder how many people might feel reluctant to sail a much sailer ship to bermuda since that route typically can be rough!!!
Having been on open ocean on a sister ship (MV Tahitian Princess, nee MV R4), I can tell you from personal experience that these ships have very good stabilizers.

But, that said, the reduction in capacity (710 aboard MV Celebrity Journey vs. 1370 aboard MV Zenith) should be enough to counter the wmp factor.

Norm.
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Old November 19th, 2006, 06:24 PM
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Just a bit of an update on the journey. All staterooms including inside will have Butler Service.

Don
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Old November 19th, 2006, 06:34 PM
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Butler service for all cabins, that's a nice touch. Guess the price will go along with the service. Inside cabins are starting over $1,000 for 7 day cruises!

I can do without the Butler and would rather keep the $$ in my pocket for my next cruise.

Marion
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Old November 24th, 2006, 05:39 PM
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I don't believe that the original R ships, and following that the Pullmantour ship, had two specialty restaurants. I think that Princess split one large restautant into two on both the Pacific and Tahitian Princesses, which were both former R ships, and they are now doing the same on the (new) Royal Princess, as they call it. Renaissance and Pullmantour certainly didn't have a steak house and an Italian Restaurnat up top; those are Princess brand additions to be like their other ships.

As to the size, I guess it all depends upon what you call large and what you call small. We've spent 10 days twice on the Tahitian Princess, a sister ship, and are booked for 12 days on the Black Sea in July on the (new) Royal, both former Ren ships, and we think they are the perfect size. Our only complaint is the showroom; no tiered seating and the stage is meant for a grand piano and a small combo. The entertainment is essentially on the dance floor so you get a theater-in-the-round effect. There are no theater-style fixed seats; they are regular arm chairs, and not too comfortable ones at that for someone who has lower back pain or who isn't large. However, we loved everything else about the ship.

Charlotte
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Old November 24th, 2006, 06:10 PM
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Charlotte,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I don't believe that the original R ships, and following that the Pullmantour ship, had two specialty restaurants. I think that Princess split one large restautant into two on both the Pacific and Tahitian Princesses, which were both former R ships, and they are now doing the same on the (new) Royal Princess, as they call it. Renaissance and Pullmantour certainly didn't have a steak house and an Italian Restaurnat up top; those are Princess brand additions to be like their other ships.
Both restaurants are indeed original. Princess just changed the names and possibly the menus and added the surcharges, conforming to the restaurants by the same names on the Sun Princess and Grand Princess classes of vessels. Note that the deck plans of MV Regatta, MV Nautica, and MV Insignia (nee MV Rq, MV R2, and MV R5), now operated by Oceana cruises, also show both restaurants, called the "Polo Grill" and "Toscana" respectively in Oceana's incarnation, on Deck 10.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Our only complaint is the showroom; no tiered seating and the stage is meant for a grand piano and a small combo. The entertainment is essentially on the dance floor so you get a theater-in-the-round effect. There are no theater-style fixed seats; they are regular arm chairs, and not too comfortable ones at that for someone who has lower back pain or who isn't large.
When I was aboard MV Tahitian Princess (March 2003), there was considerable discussion about plans to reconfigure the showroom and to make several other upgrades to the ship. Of course, the practical reality is that you can't convert the show lounge into a terraced theater without moving the facilities below it elsewhere and there's probably noplace to which one could move those facilities due to the configuration of the ship. Nonetheless, Princess seemed to do a commendable job developing shows tailord to the ship's show lounge. Overall, I was quite favorably impressed by the shows that I saw there. Of course, I don't know whether Princess's current entertainment is comparable or not because that was my last cruise with Princess.

Norm.
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Old November 24th, 2006, 06:37 PM
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Hi Norm,

I think that you and I had this conversation once before about the TP showroom on another thread that's long-since forgotten. We were on the TP again this past March and the staff/crew there at the time had not heard about re-doing the showroom.

They do a marvelous job of converting the shows; however the fact is that the Princess production shows are constantly being written for 16 singers and dancers on a raised stage, such as they have always had on their ships. They adapt them to 8-10 singers and dancers who are out on the dance floor, audience in a semi-circle around the floor and the musicians up on the stage. We saw one of their new production shows on the TP shortly after it was taken over by Princess, and later saw the same show on the Star; it was about 3/4 way through the show before we recognized it! Both were good shows, but a big Princess production show isn't the same when you take away 8 dancers, the pyrotechnics and much of the fancy lighting.

Obviously, that isn't the primary reason for our booking a cruise; we were on the TP again last March and are booked on a similar ship next summer. However, for people who live for big production shows, they are a few steps back in time on former R ships, similar to what was on the old Pacific, Island,Dawn and Fair Princesses. Like 20 years removed, technology-wise, from today's production shows. WE've not cruised Oceania, but friends who have cruised on her report a similar situation for their shows.

In our opinions, Celebrity, RCCL, and Princess all have good entertainment onboard ships, so we are eager to see how Celebrity will adapt its entertainment to the smaller showrooms.

Charlotte
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Old November 25th, 2006, 09:50 PM
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Charlotte,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I think that you and I had this conversation once before about the TP showroom on another thread that's long-since forgotten. We were on the TP again this past March and the staff/crew there at the time had not heard about re-doing the showroom.
Pity that it never happened, but I'm also well aware that therre are a lot of issues in reconfiguring such a space on an operational ship. It's not exactly easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
They do a marvelous job of converting the shows; however the fact is that the Princess production shows are constantly being written for 16 singers and dancers on a raised stage, such as they have always had on their ships. They adapt them to 8-10 singers and dancers who are out on the dance floor, audience in a semi-circle around the floor and the musicians up on the stage. We saw one of their new production shows on the TP shortly after it was taken over by Princess, and later saw the same show on the Star; it was about 3/4 way through the show before we recognized it! Both were good shows, but a big Princess production show isn't the same when you take away 8 dancers, the pyrotechnics and much of the fancy lighting.
The shows that I saw aboard MV Tahitian Princess were the shows that Princess had developed for the older ships in the fleet that did not have the sophisticated facilities of the Sun Princess and newer classes of ships, which now compise most of the Princess fleet. The original MV Royal Princess and MV Regal Princess were still in service at that time. I had seen a at least one of the shows aboard the original MV Royal Princess and recognized it right away, but still enjoyed seeing it again. In fact, I was very surprised when I saw that show on one of the newer vessels because Princess's press release announcing the show stated explicitly that the production team developed the show for the older ships that had limited facilities. In any case, I can see where most of Princess's shows would require considerable adaptation for performance on vessels of the R1 class -- and the same is true of Celebrity's production shows! These ships do not have lifts, stage elevators, etc....

Norm.
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