Celebrity Cruises

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Review of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises is the second largest (by fleet) member of the huge Royal Caribbean family of companies since 1997. As brand name, the cruise line represents one of the best ship travel choices for adults, as well as a signature cruise line for Panama Canal transition itineraries and also one of the top 3 best cruise lines for Alaska.

Celebrity is a medium priced cruise brand, associated with sophistication, style and elegance. Celebrity cruise ships offer impeccable service and exquisite cuisine, appealing to a moderately affluent, well-educated clientele of mostly adults in their 40s. Celebrity offers Family Cruises during holidays (particularly on Caribbean cruises, and on cruises to Bermuda), and  Seniors Cruises to Europe and on the exotic itineraries to South America. The letter “X” on the funnel of all Celebrity ships stands for the name “Chandris” (in Greek it is “Xandris”).

Celebrity Cruises logo

The cruise company was founded in 1988 by the Greek Chandris Group. The history of the Celebrity brand starts with cheap sailings on second-hand ships, to become one of the most prominent premium luxury and most affordable cruise lines in the world.

Celebrity Cruises Solstice-class ship model (Eclipse., Equinox, Silhouette, Solstice, Reflection)

The voyage to the world of deluxe cruising started with premium Bermuda sailings, buying more and better ships ever since. As a feature brand name of Royal Caribbean Ltd, Celebrity has 5 sister companies – Royal Caribbean International, Azamara, CDF, Pullmantur, and TUI Cruises. The line’s headquarters address: “Celebrity Cruises, 1050 Caribbean Way, Miami, FL, 33132-2096 USA”.

Celebrity Cruises Solstice-class ship model (Eclipse., Equinox, Silhouette, Solstice, Reflection)

The following YouTube video (official Celebrity Cruises release) reviews the company's newest vessel Celebrity Edge and all its unique features.

In February 2014, Celebrity Cruises announced it would add "The Suite Class" to its cruise ships. Suite Class guests have their own private restaurant and VIP lounge. Key features on Solstice Class ships include the Lawn Club, which is a freshly manicured lawn on ship's highest deck. Passengers enjoy casual outdoor activities, country-club atmosphere and grass between their toes. They can watch a glass-blowing demonstration on Equinox, Eclipse and Solstice, or a meal in the Lawn Club Grill. The Celebrity ships also feature Cellar Masters, inspired by the Napa Valley vineyards, which brings to life a global wine tour experience, while guests learn about and taste a variety of wines from around the world.

In March 2016 Celebrity Cruises acquired two-ship cruise line Ocean Adventures. The purchase of 16-guest catamaran Athala II and 48-guest ship Eclipse meant Celebrity Cruises increased capacity in Galapagos Islands by 65%. The two vessels joined Celebrity's fleet in spring 2016, but started regular operations following their respective drydocks in January 2017.

Celebrity Cruises Edge-class ships - Magic Carpet

Celebrity attracts a diverse passenger base. The line targets baby boomers and their families, honeymooners and seniors. In addition to U.S. cruisers, Celebrity Cruises also draws vacationers from Europe, Canada and South America. Longer sailings in more distant locales tend to draw an older crowd. Week-long trips to places like Alaska and the Caribbean attract families. In an effort to appeal to more multi-generational groups, line's family programs have expanded and now include teen centers, more enrichment and educational programs for kids.

Celebrity Cruises Solstice-class ship

Following are Celebrity Cruises' best features: 

  • Accommodations: some of the largest cruise ship suites (all served by butlers). Luxurious “ConciergeClass” staterooms, attentive highly personalized impeccable service; and enjoying seating preference, priority check-in. 2:1 guest-to-staff ratio
  • Dining: award-winning cuisine, excellent alternate dining venues. The Celebrity’s “Gourmet Bites” every afternoon, themed lunch buffets. Culinary demonstrations. The line has partnered with “Elizabeth Blau & Associates”, as to menu and wine selections, and all the standards of serving.
  • Facilities: the largest cruise ship spa and gym facilities at sea (“AquaSpa by Elemis” – a world-class beauty salon, spa treatments and fitness programs). “Celebrity Theatre” for Broadway-style productions, huge European-style casinos, bingo, themed bars and lounges, including an European style disco, large pools, poolside recreation programs (massages, yoga), on-board boutique shopping.
  • Enrichment: “Celebrity Lecture Series”. Rich contemporary art collections. Art auctions, enhanced golf program.
  • “Celebrity Escape” concept: reserved exclusively for adults ages 21 and older, with classes, themed events, fashion shows, parties, etc.
  • “Family Cruising Program”: on all sailings. Games and parties, educational activities, history and sea life explorations. Separate pools and discos for teens. Online booking.
  • Since 2013, the company has been partnered with “Top Chef” (US reality competition TV series). In late 2014, both companies started the exclusive “Top Chef at Sea” cruising experience.  By this onboard culinary program, fans and foodies have the opportunity to travel with a lineup of celebrity chefs on food-themed "Top Chef Signature Sailing" each year.  Celebrity also offers an interactive "Quickfire Challenges" and “Top Chef”-inspired menu evenings fleetwide on cruises 5-nights or longer (excluding Galapagos Islands).
  • In 2017, Celebrity Cruises partnered with Bravo Media for a new cooking video series - "Isaac Takes On". This digital show follows Top Chef's Isaac Toups as he cruises around the Caribbean on the ship Celebrity Reflection, competing against passengers in a variety of culinary challenges. The ship has its own Michelin-star chef - Cornelius Gallagher, who also makes appearances throughout the series.

Celebrity cruise gratuities (2017-2018 cruises)

Daily gratuities are per person (pp):

  • USD 13,50 pp (interior, oceanview, balcony staterooms, both adults and kids)
  • USD 14 (Aqua-Class and Concierge-Class staterooms)
  • USD 17 pp (suites,)
  • Daily gratuity is an automatic service charge added to the passenger's onboard account each day.
  • Passengers can prepay gratuities.
  • Daily gratuities are split between the ship's staff (dining, housekeeping, cabin stewards).

Celebrity cruise ship Room Service

Since 2015, Celebrity Cruises requires a fee of USD 3,95 for ordering items from the cruise ship's room service menu.

  • Room Service is operated on each Celebrity cruise vessel and between 11pm - 6 am.
  • Previously to September 2015, the basic room service items delivery to passengers' cabins was complimentary. The exception was for some premium items (like cheese platter, filet mignon, caprese salad).
  • Passengers booked in cabins categories Suite, Concierge-class and Aqua-class don't pay room service fee.

Itinerary of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruise destinations include Alaska, Hawaii, Bermuda, Canada, Bahamas, Caribbean (all, but mostly Southern), Mexico, Panama Canal, South America, Australia New Zealand, Northern Europe from UK, Eastern and Western Mediterranean.

The Celebrity line owns one of the youngest and most innovative fleets, with 13 luxury ships currently in operation. They all are Malta flagged (with the exception of the Xpedition ship - flag Ecuador), with gross tonnage above the 91,000 GT marker. The Celebrity Xpedition ship is the smallest member of the Celebrity family, with 100 passengers capacity. She sails the Galapagos Islands, and Antarctica on adventure voyages.

Celebrity Cruises confirmed itinerary changes for their ships Constellation, Equinox and Reflection. They will cancel the overnight stays in Istanbul Turkey scheduled for 2016 because of berth availability and Salipazari Port (aka Galataport) construction.  The construction project in Istanbul is set to make the city one of the world's largest hubs for cruise tourism. The development is slated to start in 2016 and due to be completed in the last quarter of 2018. As yet, it is unclear as to whether Celebrity Cruises sailings in 2017 and 2018 will be affected.

In the beginning of December, 2015 Celebrity Cruises announced deployment into 2018, featuring 282 destinations in 76 countries, 236 overnights in 55 ports and new ports of call. Deployment news includes Bermuda, Canada/New England, Alaska, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

  • In 2017 Celebrity Cruises will have three cruise ships in Alaska: Celebrity Solstice, Millennium and Infinity.
  • In 2017 Celebrity Summit will be in Bermuda, with sailings from Bayonne New Jersey and a new 9-night sailing to Canada/New England. In 2018 the ship will be leaving from Fort Lauderdale on short-break itineraries - including 4-day trips to Key West and Nassau, and 5-day trips to Key West and Cozumel, with several days at sea.
  • Beginning in 2016, Celebrity will introduce chef-led shore excursions called “Chef’s Market Discoveries” with regional experts, local entertainment and authentic flavors.
  • Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Millennium will offer Asia cruises in 2017 and 2018. Celebrity Cruises ups India sailings to 8, which is the most in the history of the brand. The season in the region features a 15-night “Best of India & Sri Lanka” sailing along the ancient Spice Route. This once-in-a-lifetime tour to Taj Majal traces the origins of tea in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Another option is to relax on the beaches of Goa, India. The line will also continue to sail from Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  • Celebrity Edge  (scheduled launch 2018 December) will operate 7-day (and 14-day back-to-back) Caribbean cruises leaving roundtrip from home-port Fort Lauderdale FLorida (USA). Eastern Caribbean sailings will call at San JuanTortola, and St Maarten. Western Caribbean voyages will take passengers to Key WestCosta MayaCozumel and Grand Cayman.

New to the Signature Event Sailings of the brand is the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taipei, Taiwan. It is available over the Chinese New Year on a cruise onboard Celebrity Millennium.

In July 2016 Celebrity Cruises revealed that their Celebrity Equinox ship will offer year-round Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings out of Miami Florida in 2017. Beginning in April, the 2,850-passenger vessel, typically repositioning to the Mediterranean for summer months, will offer a total of 24 voyages from her new homeport, including 7-night itineraries from June through August, and 10- and 11-night throughout the rest of 2017. To kick off her first summer season in the Caribbean, Celebrity Equinox will host an 11-night cruise with 2 overnight stays in New Orleans, during city's famous Jazz & Heritage Festival, starting April 24. The line will wrap up its summer season 2017 with a "President's Cruise", August 27. On the 8-night Eastern Caribbean voyage, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, line's president, will treat cruisers to excursions and special events.

Celebrity has added new destinations to 2017-2018-2019 season, such as Hiroshima, Japan with a visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and Aomori, Japan - home of Hirosaki Castle, built in 1611.

  • Celebrity Solstice also offers western and southern Australia cruises in 2017-2018, visiting ports of call like Adelaide and Perth, as well as an added opportunity to sail from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef. The Solstice also continues to cross the Pacific Ocean on cruises to Hawaii and the South Pacific.
  • Irish travel agents benefit from a dedicated cruise ship to sell when Celebrity Cruises becomes the first ever major cruise line to base a vessel in Dublin. One of line’s 2,800-plus passenger Solstice-class ships runs 5 sailings from the port of the Irish capital between April and June 2018. Itineraries run throughout northern Europe.
  • Celebrity Silhouette sets sail out of Southampton for the first time, with itineraries including a new 12-night Scandinavia & Russia cruise in May 2018. Skagen and Kristiansand feature as new ports of call.
  • Meanwhile, the latest ship of the cruise line, Celebrity Edge, makes her debut with 7-night Eastern & Western Caribbean itineraries.
  • To coincide with the held in Russia football World Cup, the 14-night Scandinavia & Russia cruise aboard Celebrity Eclipse gives sports lovers the chance to attend the 3rd place game in Saint Petersburg and the final in Moscow through an overland tour.
  • The new signature events of Celebrity Cruises also include a 14-night celebration in February 2019 for Chinese New Year, with a cruise of Asia aboard Celebrity Constellation.
  • For wine-lovers, the line continues partnership with The Wine Show, featuring 5 shore trips curated by show’s resident experts, Joe Fattorini and Amelia Singer.
  • Other highlights featured in 2018-2019 include a brand new 13-night South Pacific, Fiji and Tonga cruise in March 2019 onboard Celebrity Solstice.
  • A 13-night Brazilian voyage on Celebrity Eclipse February 2019 departs from Buenos Aires and visits Sao PauloBuziosIlhabela and Rio.
  • 2018 sees a change of cruise ships for Celebrity Cruises in the UK market, which switches from Celebrity Eclipse in 2017 to the slightly bigger Celebrity Silhouette in 2018. Celebrity Eclipse finishes her season on October 28, 2017 when she departs from Southampton to BostonNew York, Bermuda, Miami. In April 2018, the Eclipse returns to Europe, but not to the United Kingdom, instead operating 5 cruises from Dublin and 7 from Amsterdam prior to moving south to Barcelona.
  • Celebrity Silhouette takes on the cruises of Eclipse from Southampton before moving to Amsterdam late in the season, and then on to Rome (Civitavecchia). The 2018 season of the ship commences on arrival at Southampton UK on April 30 out of Fort Lauderdale through Bermuda, Ponta Delgada and Lisbon. Following a program of 16 ex-UK cruises Silhouette's 2018 season ends with a departure from Southampton for Fort Lauderdale on November 3 through Boston, New York, Bermuda.

Celebrity Cruises Galapagos ships

On March 14, 2016, Celebrity announced its planned acquisition of the leading Galapagos cruise tour operator company "Ocean Adventures". The acquisition includes the two small vessels MV Eclipse (48-passenger) and the catamaran MC Athala II (16-passenger luxury catamaran). When added to the 98-passenger MS Xpedition ship, both vessels expand the line's passenger capacity in the Galápagos Islands destination by 65%. The newly acquired ships joined Celebrity's fleet in 2016 spring, but until their dry-dock refurbishments in January 2017, they continued to be operated with the Ocean Adventures amenities and programming.

  • Celebrity Xpedition - 90-passenger expedition ship
  • Celebrity Xperience (formerly MV Eclipse) - 48-passenger expedition ship
  • Celebrity Xploration (formerly MC Athala II) - 16-passenger catamaran

Celebrity Cruises related cruise news