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Celebrity Cruises has successfully introduced 5 amazing premium class vessels of the Solstice Class in just 4 years time. These ships have been heralded as among the best designed in recent maritime history. Celebrity Reflection was introduced this past summer in Europe and was the final of the five ship series. The big difference with the latter and likely my least favorite, is it has an added deck of cabins in the same basic guest space. It is a revenue managers dream but not necessarily a benefit to have several hundred more guests sharing the same space as her less populated predecessors.
I am a huge fan. I have sailed several times on this class of ship and will tell you they still are my favorite and best in class. They do not compare to the Holland America Vista Class which are more densely populated and have much smaller and less interesting public spaces.
Having returned from a 15-day Europe/Transatlantic Crossing on Celebrity Silhouette last December, I am more enamored with this lovely class of ships than ever and here is why.
Celebrity has created unique maritime architecture and beats its competitors for creating large open spaces with tons of natural light. Cabins are among the best laid out and decorated in the cruise industry for a premium class ship. The Molecular Bar is the sexiest martini bar on any ship! Celebrity has created a spectacular Lawn Club at sea with real grass and a fantastic new restaurant that makes you feel like you are at a golf country club. Service is always professional. Qsuine is an exceptional alternative dining venue and sets the bar for a contemporary dining experience. This class of ship rides very smoothly even in rough seas.
One never feels too crowded even during peak movement hours (dining and entertainment)
I like this ship and her sisters and favor them in the big ship market. Celebrity has managed to create a unique product and excels in the premium class market! Keep up the good work. I’m now on the Celebrity Millennium in Asia and am excited to see how the original Millennium Class ship looks and delivers now over a decade old and having been renovated in 2012 to bring her up to the standards of her newer Solstice Class fleetmates!
Happy Cruising – Tom
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Hi again, I recently promised to show more pics from our recent honeymoon Alaska cruise on the lovely Celebrity Millennium. Response to the previous shot has been quite interesting, especially on my personal Facebook page.
Some folks we meet on trips think cruise ship photos are too expensive and a waste of money. We don’t always buy them, but since our recent cruise was special, we wanted several good “formal” photos to help capture the memory. We never have time for a formal sitting at home, and we don’t want “standard” poses. We’ve found that on ships, we’re really relaxed and able to have a lot of fun with the photographers. On the Celebrity Millennium we found the photo staff more-than welcoming of us as a very OUT gay couple.
We paid somewhere around $200 for a CD containing our 15 favorite images from the entire cruise, and that gave us the copyright to those photos (without buying the copyright, you have no rights to do anything with the photos you buy).
Disclosure: As is customary in the travel writing profession, the cruise was provided by the cruise line for the purposes of reviewing the experience. Opinions remain unbiased, and are those of the author. The photos were purchased at regular price available to all passengers.
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Celebrity Cruises has nearly completed the extensive refurbishment (long, long overdue) of its spectacular Millennium Class ships built a decade ago. This fleet of four nearly identical sister-ships include the Millennium, Infinity, Constellation, and Summit. When these remarkable 90,000 ton, 2100 passenger ships were built, they were the “pinnacle” of premium class ships, spacious, and in many ways ahead of all competition at the time. But with nearly a decade of service behind them, they began o grow a little older, tired, and lacked the luster that they once were famous for!
In 2009, Celebrity Cruises introduced a new larger class of ships that were an advent of the Millennium Class and these were called Solstice Class. These ships like her predecessors are the modern marvel of the industry and significantly larger at 122,000 tons and carrying 2800 passengers. Celebrity suddenly had a serious quagmire on their hands. They had a fleet with great disparity in age, look, and feel. Unfortunately, the downturn in the economy and free money were not readily available to refurbish the ships of old.
Reviews on public web sites became very critical of the older Millennium Class ships as they became faded beauties of yesteryear and prices for these once great ships plummeted against the NEWER and wildly popular solstice Class ships that set the ground for new Modern Luxury cruising.
I too, was highly critical of Celebrity Cruises for not announcing a fast-track refurbishment of this fleet but now that is nearly complete. Constellation, Infinity, Summit, and very soon-Millennium will complete a total “Solsticization” with nearly $30 million invested in each ship to renew and refresh them back to the standard of being nearly brand new but once again highly competitive and glamorous.
This rebuild is quite a remake as you will see from the USA Today photographs taken of Celebrity Constellation last summer and some from Infinity late last fall. Celebrity has added all the popular venues from its newest ships that include, the Ice Martini Bar, Wine bar, Qusine alternative Restaurant, Bistro on Five alternative dining venue, Café Al Baccio, added a new Apple I-Computer Lounge, to name just a few. All furnishings were changed or refurbished as well as all carpets, walls and art refreshed. Every cabin received updated bedding, décor, carpets, flat panel interactive televisions, and the ships mechanical systems were upgraded and overhauled… The biggest change for Celebrity Infinity, Summit, and soon for Millennium is the addition of Aqua Class cabins and BLU its exclusive BLU restaurant. This venue has been wildly successful on the Solstice Class ships and gives an added class of accommodation and dining unique to Celebrity Cruises!
All of this amazing work was done during a short couple of weeks in a shipyard using the ships crew plus, thousands of professional craftsmen working around the clock to make this transformation take place.
Today, Celebrity has a wonderful fleet of highly consistent ships that do embody its slogan MODERN LUXURY. While overdue, I sigh in relief knowing that I can recommend the older ships with great aplomb and wish them success into their second decade of passenger service
Have you been on a Celebrity ship that has been ‘Solsticized?’ Tell us what you thought. Also remember to click here and give us your review.
Hi cruisers! Well, my small-group Hawaii cruise is now but a memory. Overall the trip was fine, but here are a few major things I learned (proof that even super-experienced travellers don’t know everything…not that I ever claim to).
- Dining advice. Unless you 100% trust your travel agent, double-check on group arrangements like dining with both him/her and the cruise line before traveling. Our agent dropped the ball on this, and It only took 24 hours for our ship’s maitre’d to sort our table out, but that’s undue stress I didn’t want onboard.
- Never skip a show. While onboard entertainment is hit and miss, and we weren’t crazy about one of the performers in week one, the cruise director said “you do not want to miss Hollywood legend Pearl Kaufman,” a pianist, during the second week. Indeed, she was the best entertainment of the whole cruise. Absolutely phenomenal. She’s quite elderly, but plays and entertains beautifully–she was the pianist on nearly every movie soundtrack you can think of, including Dr. Zhivago.
- Upgraded service levels have surprise benefits. If you book a cabin in Celebrity’s “concierge class,” you’ll be given priority tickets for ports where tendering is required, allowing you to go ashore as you please.
- Make a list of traveling group. If you’re traveling with a group, make a list of cabin numbers for everyone immediately upon boarding.
- Finding space at the gym. On a busy cruise, go to the gym during the lunch hour. The gym on our ship was insanely busy during the mornings–the time my partner and I like to go. But we found that, true to form, cruise passengers are rarely late for a meal, which meant the gym was fairly deserted after noon.
Those are just a few thoughts. More to come!
Tom Baker, owner of Aquafest Cruises (an agency that organizes gay groups on mainstream ships, among other things), was super lucky–he got to check out the brand new Celebritiy Solstice on a recent agent preview cruise.
Tom’s a shutterbug, and has a couple hundred photos posted at SmugMug, including the shot at right. Check them out.
As for Celebrity…I’m happy to say I’ll be sailing on them for the first time next week, with a small gay group. Should be a blast. Stay tuned for updates!
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