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Old December 6th, 2012, 05:54 PM
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Default Celebrity Reflection Completes the Fleet

Celebrity Reflection Completes the Fleet
by Paul Motter


Celebrity Reflection tops off the Solstice-class, and gives Celebrity time for new goals.

12.07.12


Celebrity Reflection Debuts
As the fifth and final new ship of the Solstice class enters service, the management at Celebrity Cruises breathes a collective sigh of relief. Now that the shipbuilding focus is finally over, it is time to return the focus to the things that had made the company strong in the first place - a reputation among picky cruisers for a high quality and high value cruising.

Along with a new fleet, Celebrity also now has a new CEO that for the first time has been given the same style of autonomy that Celebrity, a unique and popular cruise line originally, had before it was acquired by the much larger Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

It is important to look at the history of Celebrity Cruises to understand where it started, to see how it has now come almost full circle.


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Old December 6th, 2012, 09:56 PM
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Good article, Paul. Enjoy the rest of your cruise.

Over the past few years, X has become my favorite criuiseline in its price range.

Good to hear X will be doing cruises other than primarily Med. or Carib. Those type cruises compete w/Royal Caribbean ships. Never understood that.

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Old December 6th, 2012, 10:11 PM
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Seatrade had an interesting perspective on their target market

Its ?Modern Luxury? fleet complete, Celebrity focuses on yields
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Old December 7th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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Thanks Paul, for the link to the history of Celebrity. As one who's first cruise was on Celebrity on Meridian, their original ship, in 1996, I appreciate the retrospective. Cruising has certainly come a long, long way since the early 90s, & Celebrity has been able to maintain the core of what Chandris intended when he started it, even with the necessary intrusion of Royal Caribbean & their bean counters. I certainly hope that, as you say, Michael Bayley will be able to act autonomously. Unfortunately the fact is, that since the departure of Michel Roux, the quality of food on Celebrity, while still good, does not approach the level of what it once was.

The fact remains, that while I am still a devotee of Celebrity, & they remain our line of choice, they have "come back to the pack" in such a way that we now have no reservations in booking a cruise on Princess, or even Royal Caribbean cruise if we go with family.

The S class of ships are, indeed, beautiful, & while larger than their Celebrity counterparts, very easy to navigate, they lack a "comfortness" of prior Celebrity ships, namely the Rendevouz Lounge, where one can meet other cruisers & congregate while having the opportunity to dance prior to dinner.

Having said this, we still look to Celebrity first when choosing our cruises. I have read that now that they are finished with their new builds, they are looking to increase their yields by boosting their rates. I hope this doesn't mean them pricing me out of their market.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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I do a little short crusie on the Connie in a couple of weeks. I did a 12 day on the Solstice lat summer. The ship was too big for my taste-although beautiful. I have heard some say the Connie is really worn looking-that makes me sad because she was a wonderful ship. I felt the same way about the Zenith-even though there were no balcony rooms on her.

I hope Celebrity will do something to "save" these smaller ships and concentrate on giving them back some of their former glory now they have finished building the S class.

I suppose hubby and I should just look into Azamara or similar lines. I guess that may be the future for hubby and I. We need to cruise lines like Azamara and cruise only every 2 or 3 years-since we would not be able to afford to as often-but to keep going on ships we are not as happy with the experience in order to cruise more often is a waste of money I guess.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by momofmeg View Post
I do a little short crusie on the Connie in a couple of weeks. I did a 12 day on the Solstice lat summer. The ship was too big for my taste-although beautiful. I have heard some say the Connie is really worn looking-that makes me sad because she was a wonderful ship. I felt the same way about the Zenith-even though there were no balcony rooms on her.

I hope Celebrity will do something to "save" these smaller ships and concentrate on giving them back some of their former glory now they have finished building the S class.

I suppose hubby and I should just look into Azamara or similar lines. I guess that may be the future for hubby and I. We need to cruise lines like Azamara and cruise only every 2 or 3 years-since we would not be able to afford to as often-but to keep going on ships we are not as happy with the experience in order to cruise more often is a waste of money I guess.
I actually did not feel as though the S class ships seemed that much larger than the M class. I agree with you that the Solstice is a beautiul ship, although I miss the Rendevouz Lounge of the other Celebrity ships. Without them there is no main area for pre dinner drinks & dancing.
I have not heard of reports that Connie is worn looking. Hasn't she been recently "Sosticized"? How bad can she be? It does not seem that it's in Celebrity's best interests to let their ships go downhill. They usually are very good with upkeep.
Zenith also is an old favorite of ours, even without balconies. We sailed her many times, & were on board for her last Celebrity sailing, which was one of our favorite cruises. Her last port was Bermuda, & Bermuda gave her an emotional sendoff, with fireboats escorting her out of Hamilton harbor with firehoses spraying & many boats saluting her with their foghorns & her answering in kind. We just saw her again during our Med. cruise in October, anchored in Mykonos. She still looks good, & has the X still on the funnel, but it's painted over. She looked so tiny next to Equinox.
I also wish they had kept Galaxy (which we also saw in Rome under her new flag) & Mercury; both great ships. I guess that's progress??
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Old December 19th, 2012, 12:43 PM
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The Galaxy, etc.... were nice ships but really dated for today's market. Too few balcony cabins and don't forget that terrible vibration from the dual screw propeller configuration.

Connie is due to be Solsticized in May 2013.

When I was onboard the ship I asked during the media conference what "name, catch-phrase or concept" Celebrity was currently using to maintain its reputation as the "culinary cruise line?"

It was as if they had a great rep with Michel Roux, then they let him go and went with a different "purveyor" of chefs from Vegas who found them Jacques Van Staden (who has a decent reputation) but he was quietly replaced by the current guy John Suley.

I have to say the answer I got sounded a little defensive at first; (from the F&B head of the cruise line), He said "You mean John Suley who is a two-time James Beard award nominee?"

That's not saying much compared to a 2-star Michelin winner (Michel Roux), but I did not say that. He rambled on but eventually said "we feel our food reputation will be conveyed through the "components" on our ships"

In other words, the branded restaurant names like Qsine, and Blu, .... (how many can you name?)
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Old December 19th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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I am pretty sure that Constellation was the first M class ship Solsticized in April of 2011. However, at that time they had not figured on adding the new cabins on deck 12 back then. I think they will be added on the next dry dock.

I understand what you're saying regarding the balconies on Galaxy & Mercury, but they could have added many balconies like they did on Century, which is probably why she is still in the fleet, & not them, but for how long, who can say. In fact it would have been better to keep them rather than Century because they have 2 pools to Century's 1.

Anyway, it's nice to have our choice of so many different types of ships. I think there are still many out there who prefer what is now considered ships, even though when they were built in the late 90s & early 2000s, they were considered the largest ships afloat! How times change!
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Old December 19th, 2012, 02:27 PM
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Right - it was partly Solsticized. Below is from web site:


--------------------------------------------------------------------
...It all began when many features from our Millennium® Class ships inspired us to create the Solstice® Class ships. Now, we're sharing some award-winning Solstice Class favorites through a $140M investment to revitalize our four Millennium Class ships.

On our Millennium Class ships, you'll now be able to indulge in our spa-inspired AquaClass® staterooms with exclusive dining in the Blu restaurant. Go on a culinary journey in Qsine® where food and art merge into dishes guaranteed to surprise and delight. Stay connected at the hip Celebrity iLoungeSM, the first Authorized Apple® Reseller at sea. These are just a few of the new enhancements to our Millennium Class ships.

Solsticizing will be completed by May 2013:
Celebrity Constellation® - May 2010
Celebrity Infinity® - November 2011
Celebrity Summit® - January 2012
Celebrity Millennium® - May 2012
Celebrity Constellation® - May 2013 (adding AquaClass® and Celebrity iLounge)
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Old December 20th, 2012, 04:10 PM
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I actually did not feel as though the S class ships seemed that much larger than the M class. I agree with you that the Solstice is a beautiul ship, although I miss the Rendevouz Lounge of the other Celebrity ships. Without them there is no main area for pre dinner drinks & dancing.
I have not heard of reports that Connie is worn looking. Hasn't she been recently "Sosticized"? How bad can she be? It does not seem that it's in Celebrity's best interests to let their ships go downhill. They usually are very good with upkeep.
Zenith also is an old favorite of ours, even without balconies. We sailed her many times, & were on board for her last Celebrity sailing, which was one of our favorite cruises. Her last port was Bermuda, & Bermuda gave her an emotional sendoff, with fireboats escorting her out of Hamilton harbor with firehoses spraying & many boats saluting her with their foghorns & her answering in kind. We just saw her again during our Med. cruise in October, anchored in Mykonos. She still looks good, & has the X still on the funnel, but it's painted over. She looked so tiny next to Equinox.
I also wish they had kept Galaxy (which we also saw in Rome under her new flag) & Mercury; both great ships. I guess that's progress??
How neat! We saw the old Sovereign of the Seas last June in Barcelona.

I am hoping it is old cronic complainers on that other forum. I find out for myself in 2 weeks.

I did not like how hard it was in the Sotlice to get off at the tender ports, my biggest gripe. We had priority passes too as we had a skysuite. That cruise was our 30 anniversary family gift. Our teacher daughter and her best friend went with us. Our actual 30th will be this trip when we go on the Connie.

I also missed the elevators with the view of the ocean the Connie has.
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Old December 20th, 2012, 04:15 PM
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Right - it was partly Solsticized. Below is from web site:


--------------------------------------------------------------------
...It all began when many features from our Millennium® Class ships inspired us to create the Solstice® Class ships. Now, we're sharing some award-winning Solstice Class favorites through a $140M investment to revitalize our four Millennium Class ships.

On our Millennium Class ships, you'll now be able to indulge in our spa-inspired AquaClass® staterooms with exclusive dining in the Blu restaurant. Go on a culinary journey in Qsine® where food and art merge into dishes guaranteed to surprise and delight. Stay connected at the hip Celebrity iLoungeSM, the first Authorized Apple® Reseller at sea. These are just a few of the new enhancements to our Millennium Class ships.

Solsticizing will be completed by May 2013:
Celebrity Constellation® - May 2010
Celebrity Infinity® - November 2011
Celebrity Summit® - January 2012
Celebrity Millennium® - May 2012
Celebrity Constellation® - May 2013 (adding AquaClass® and Celebrity iLounge)
Yes, in April it gets Blu and spa class rooms. I have in mind to possibly book the Jan.2, 2014 cruise on the Connie in one of those rooms-which would make us Elite after that cruise. We hope to either in summer 2014 or 2015 to go to the Baltic. It would be nice to be elite by then-would help a little with cost of laundry.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 09:41 AM
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Yes, in April it gets Blu and spa class rooms. I have in mind to possibly book the Jan.2, 2014 cruise on the Connie in one of those rooms-which would make us Elite after that cruise. We hope to either in summer 2014 or 2015 to go to the Baltic. It would be nice to be elite by then-would help a little with cost of laundry.

I am rethinking booking another short Connie cruise to get points toward Elite.
I will say this-the service was below par on the Connie. Old coffee from breakfast left in the coffee urns all day in buffet restaurant-instead of closing all coffee stations but 1 and keeping fresh coffee there which is the norm on other Celebrity cruises. We actually had old sheets with holes in them on our bed. As far as the Connie looking worn- the only place I really noticed that was the Reflections Lounge's mosiac floor looked really rough-well that and the sheets !

I did enjoy the Tuscan Grille and Bistro on Five very much-it was nice they were added. I noticed however the Bistro on Five was pretty bare both times I was there. I did not mind for myself-it was nice- but it makes me fear they could turn the restaurant back into a lounge if they thought it would get more "business" as a lounge. We did have gelato at the gelato station-that was enjoyable too.

The solarium area is not adult's only-open to all-so that little haven was missing, sadly.

I guess I just hate we only really enjoyed where we paid extra on ship. Although I would have gladly paid extra for the Solaruim to be adult's only paid passes to have that little haven, as it would have added to my enjoyment of the cruise and would have been worth it. (Just as I found the Tuscan Grille, Bistro on Five and gelatio station worth the extra fee.)

Botton line the cruise was okay- nothing special-but it was a little 4 day-so maybe I should not expected any more. Still, I am wondering if we may as well book NCL for the Baltic next year. The way I see it-if I am going to get a NCL experience anyway perhaps I should just book NCL. At least NCL keeps the coffee fresh all day in the buffet area-even on my cheapo summer Sky cruise I had that.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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I am rethinking booking another short Connie cruise to get points toward Elite.
I will say this-the service was below par on the Connie. Old coffee from breakfast left in the coffee urns all day in buffet restaurant-instead of closing all coffee stations but 1 and keeping fresh coffee there which is the norm on other Celebrity cruises. We actually had old sheets with holes in them on our bed. As far as the Connie looking worn- the only place I really noticed that was the Reflections Lounge's mosiac floor looked really rough-well that and the sheets !

I did enjoy the Tuscan Grille and Bistro on Five very much-it was nice they were added. I noticed however the Bistro on Five was pretty bare both times I was there. I did not mind for myself-it was nice- but it makes me fear they could turn the restaurant back into a lounge if they thought it would get more "business" as a lounge. We did have gelato at the gelato station-that was enjoyable too.

The solarium area is not adult's only-open to all-so that little haven was missing, sadly.

I guess I just hate we only really enjoyed where we paid extra on ship. Although I would have gladly paid extra for the Solaruim to be adult's only paid passes to have that little haven, as it would have added to my enjoyment of the cruise and would have been worth it. (Just as I found the Tuscan Grille, Bistro on Five and gelatio station worth the extra fee.)

Botton line the cruise was okay- nothing special-but it was a little 4 day-so maybe I should not expected any more. Still, I am wondering if we may as well book NCL for the Baltic next year. The way I see it-if I am going to get a NCL experience anyway perhaps I should just book NCL. At least NCL keeps the coffee fresh all day in the buffet area-even on my cheapo summer Sky cruise I had that.
FYI, Solarium is Adult only on all ships except Celebrity reserves the right to open it up to everyone in inclement weather which usually happens on a TA and on some Alaska cruises..

Here's the relevent section of the web site..

* During inclement weather and select hours, the ship may permit the Solarium Pool (if covered) to be used by persons under age sixteen (16) provided they are directly supervised by a parent or guardian.

On all the ships I have been on including S and M class ships it has been adult only but then we had excellent and warm weather.

Don

Last edited by dkjretired; January 19th, 2013 at 02:08 PM.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 05:00 PM
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FYI, Solarium is Adult only on all ships except Celebrity reserves the right to open it up to everyone in inclement weather which usually happens on a TA and on some Alaska cruises..

Here's the relevent section of the web site..

* During inclement weather and select hours, the ship may permit the Solarium Pool (if covered) to be used by persons under age sixteen (16) provided they are directly supervised by a parent or guardian.

On all the ships I have been on including S and M class ships it has been adult only but then we had excellent and warm weather.

Don
I thought so too Don, but there are no signs posted saying "no one under 18 allowed in solaruim area"as there was on the Connie when we cruised her before or as on the Solstice last summer. It was not like "teen night" the Solstice had which was a special exception.

Maybe it is that particular Captain in charge who removed the signs or authorized their removal? Who knows? All I know is I wanted that little haven and was disappointed. I did notice the dailys said 3-5 was family time there-which I would not have minded at all a couple of hours a day.

Now if the signs were accidently removed-they should be returned and no one under 18 allowed should be enforced outside of family time from 3 to 5 pm.

You see, we paid $1400 total including taxes for this 4 day cruise-but if it is no better than the NCL Sky- which cost us $1000 for 2 us including taxes for a balcony room-why bother with the Connie? Not that I want to go back on the Sky either.

I would rather rent a condo on the beach for a long weekend to be honest and save doing cruises for something better which is what I will do-unless we doing a 5 day on RCI Jewel of the Seas. We did enjoy that cruise.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 08:16 AM
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I thought so too Don, but there are no signs posted saying "no one under 18 allowed in solaruim area"as there was on the Connie when we cruised her before or as on the Solstice last summer. It was not like "teen night" the Solstice had which was a special exception.

Maybe it is that particular Captain in charge who removed the signs or authorized their removal? Who knows? All I know is I wanted that little haven and was disappointed. I did notice the dailys said 3-5 was family time there-which I would not have minded at all a couple of hours a day.

Now if the signs were accidently removed-they should be returned and no one under 18 allowed should be enforced outside of family time from 3 to 5 pm.

You see, we paid $1400 total including taxes for this 4 day cruise-but if it is no better than the NCL Sky- which cost us $1000 for 2 us including taxes for a balcony room-why bother with the Connie? Not that I want to go back on the Sky either.

I would rather rent a condo on the beach for a long weekend to be honest and save doing cruises for something better which is what I will do-unless we doing a 5 day on RCI Jewel of the Seas. We did enjoy that cruise.
I was on the Summit in Sept and they had signs at all the entrances but we were in Bermuda and there was really no issue with inclement weather. I like the Solarium because I have had a Melanoma in the past and avoid the sun like the plague. The S class ships have a wonderful solarium, it is much bigger, the pool is bigger and the chairs have cushions to make them more comfortable. Funny thing on the Summit there must have been something wrong with the pool, it was hotter than the hot tubs and they were at their correct temp.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 10:59 AM
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I was on the Summit in Sept and they had signs at all the entrances but we were in Bermuda and there was really no issue with inclement weather. I like the Solarium because I have had a Melanoma in the past and avoid the sun like the plague. The S class ships have a wonderful solarium, it is much bigger, the pool is bigger and the chairs have cushions to make them more comfortable. Funny thing on the Summit there must have been something wrong with the pool, it was hotter than the hot tubs and they were at their correct temp.
But the S class do not have T pools-which is what I would be willing to pay extra for. I did find Solstice's area nice last summer and did spend time there. I have a strong sensitvely to sun because of my diabetes meds-so I like a covered area for that reason also.

As far as the Connie-I would not be surprised if the signs were removed for the 3-5 family time and then never put back. The crew seemed very lax. I guess the shorter cruises get the least experinced workers. That I understand, but for what a 12 day Baltic costs on Celebrity that is not acceptable. As I said, we will probably just save the money and do NCL if the Connie is Celebrity's choice summer 2014 with her alternating with the shorter winter Caribbean cruises.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 02:28 PM
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Default Ensemble Lounges on Eclipse and Equinox?

I'm new to this forum and have a question.
Is the Ensemble Lounge anything like the Rendezvous Lounge on the Connie?

My husband and I like to dance, slow dancing, in the evening. Does the Ensemble Lounge have music groups you can dance to?

We are planning to book on the Eclipse or Equinox and really need to know this.
Thanks for your answers!
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Old February 5th, 2013, 08:40 AM
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The Ensemble Lounge does not have a dance floor. It is near the specialty restaurants. The problem with the S class ships is that they do not really have a space such as the Rendevouz Lounge on the M class ships. They do have dancing in the atrium lobby, but it is not very conducive to dancing. To me, this is the biggest shortcoming of the S class ships.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 05:30 PM
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Thank you for your response. What a bummer, no dance floor. Regarding seating in the Ensemble, is there room to dance near where you are seated? We've done this before on RCCL in their piano lounge.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 11:00 AM
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I guess you can dance near you seating, but you would be in an aisle. There is a small bandstand which may have a very small place in front of it where perhaps 1 or 2 couples could dance. They also have a large lounge on an upper deck forward were you can dance, but there is no band there for pre dinner dancing & drinks like the Rendevouza Lounge.
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Old March 18th, 2013, 01:30 AM
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The problem with the S class ships is that they do not really have a space such as the Rendevouz Lounge on the M class ships. They do have dancing in the atrium lobby, but it is not very conducive to dancing.

Last edited by Kuki; March 18th, 2013 at 10:01 AM.
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Old March 18th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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My SIL and BIL are also dancers, and they said the same of the Solstice class, that even with the dance floor up in the observation lounge, it was not a wood dance floor and it didn't have the "slide" they prefer.
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