SkySea Cruise Line (Small Cruise Lines)
SkySea Golden Era Review and Specifications
Specifications of SkySea Golden Era
|Year built||1995 / Age : 23|
|Builder||Meyer Werft (Papenburg, Germany)|
|Building cost||USD 450 million|
|Owner||Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd & Ctrip|
|Operator||SkySea Cruise Line|
|Speed||22 kn / 41 kph / 25 mph|
|Length (LOA)||248 m / 814 ft|
|Beam (width)||32 m / 105 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||72458 gt|
|Passengers||1808 - 1814|
|Decks with cabins||10|
|Former names||MS Century, Celebrity Century|
|Christened by||Maria Chandris|
Review of SkySea Golden Era
SkySea Golden Era (former Celebrity Century) cruise ship was built in 1995 by Meyer Werft GmbH in Papenburg Germany. The ship was extensively drydock refurbished in 2015, before entering service for the newly formed SkySea Cruise Line.
History - construction & ownership
The 72,458-ton, 1,808-passenger cruise ship SkySea Golden Era (Celebrity Century) debuted as the last of 3 Century-class vessels. Century's sisters, the ex- Celebrity Galaxy and Celebrity Mercury, are currently operating for sister line TUI Cruises as Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2, respectively. Since 2016, the ship operates under the name "SkySea Golden Era" for the Chinese "SkySea Cruise Line".
January 2014 news reports from France (including the CDF website) said Century will join the CDF fleet in 2015. CDF is a RCCL Royal Caribbean brand operating the French market with 2 ex-Celebrity vessels - ms Zenith and ms Horizon. The news said Century will replace the Zenith ship, which will join the Pullmantur fleet (RCCL’s brand in Spain). For 2014, CDF expected to carry around 100,000 passengers, and with the Century they expected nearly 120,000 “cruise clients” in 2015. The 2015 “program updates” also included new cruise shore excursion packages (3 to 5 tours, depending on itinerary) priced just EUR 100 per package.
However, in late 2014, RCCL decided to sell the vessel to the Chinese company Ctrip for USD 157 million. The ship was transferred in April 2015. Ctrip is a leading travel agency and one of China’s biggest brands in travel business and a cruise agency with more than 10% of the local cruise market.
In April 2015, the newly formed RCCL-Ctrip joint venture company SkySea Cruises started operations in China.
Cruise itinerary program
Starting itineraries from China in May 2015, the Celebrity Century ship became “SkySea Golden Era” – fleet's first vessel.
SkySea Golden Era has 11 passenger decks with a total of 907 cabins, of which 75 are Suites. The Cabin grades number is 26.
Dining options - Food & Drinks
The SkySea Golden Era (Celebrity Century) ship has nice dining venues, from the main dining room - The Grand, to The Islands Cafe and the Grill lido buffet & grill. This cruise ship also has a Sushi Bar and The Murano restaurant.
Entertainment options - Fun & Sport
SkySea Golden Era is the best deal for passengers who search for a good quality adult-oriented cruise at a good price, with nice food, relaxing atmosphere and polite service. The ship should be avoided by passengers who like lots of children's and sports facilities, as well as many dining options.
Inaugurated on January 24, 2018, the SAMAJAM is a new music show on the cruise ship. The show is interactive (allows audience participation) and also can be booked privately (providing customized performances during corporate events at sea / held on the ship). The new show was scheduled on every SkySea cruise in 2018.
SkySea Golden Era wiki
- Passenger decks: 11
- Cabin grades number: 26
- Total number of cabins: 907 (of which 75 Suites)
- Dining Rooms: The Grand
- Restaurants and food bars: Islands Cafe (buffet), Veranda Grill, Murano, Mast, Sushi, Sunset
- Lounges & Bars: Century, Rendezvous, The Crystal Room (and nightclub), Cova Cafe, Martini, Michael’s, poolside bars, Hemesphere (nightclub)
- Aqua Spa, 4 jacuzzis, 2 pools
- Being the oldest one in the fleet, Celebrity Cruises Century ship (first cruise December 20, 1995, original name "GTS Century") is one of the 3 Century-class passenger vessels. She has no fleetmates. Her sisters by class are currently operated by TUI Cruises - the ships Mein Schiff 1 (Celebrity Galaxy) and Mein Schiff 2 (Celebrity Mercury).
- Celebrity Century ship is the company's first vessel from the Century-class. The vessel was built in Germany and entered service in 1995. In April 2006, the ship stayed 5 weeks into dry dock at Fincantieri's shipyard. This was the company's most expensive refurbishment (refit and upgrade). During the refit, the ship received 14 new suites, 10 new staterooms and to 314 rooms were added balconies. The ship also received its "Murano" specialty restaurant (French cuisine) and the spa complex was expanded.
- Prior to the SkySea service, Celebrity Century was refitted and refurbished in Singapore. Among the changes done was renewing the ship's restaurants (to offer meals more appetizing to Chinese tourists), new trampoline, mini-golf course.
- This is a smaller size (more intimate) ship, also featuring the fleet's only "AquaSpa Cafe" (healthy food choices). Fun fact is that the ship was the setting for the episode "Ship of Fran's" from the series "The Nanny" season 3.
- Celebrity Century was the first cruise ship with an ice bar - called "Martini Bar & Crush". It's very attractive with a liquid wall that freezes (forming a crystalline appearance) and the bar counter freezing into stone. The liquor behind the bar is in a solid ice block. Century also has a cigar bar and the Michael's Club - with hand-rolled cigars, port wine and fine cognacs.
- Celebrity cruise line's owner RCCL (Royal Caribbean) sold in the end of 2014 the Century ship to the Chinese travel company Ctrip for the price of USD 157 million. The ship joined the fleet of Exquisite Marine (a Ctrip Holdings subsidiary) in April 2015.
- Starting operations from China in May 2015, the former Celebrity Century ship was renamed "SkySea Golden Era". The vessel was the first one in the fleet of the newly formed joint venture cruise company SkySea Cruises (a Ctrip and RCCL venture company). Among the deck plan changes on the ship are new restaurants, new ice bar, added trampoline and mini-golf course.
- Ctrip is the China's leading travel agency, and also one of the largest travel brands in the country. The company's business is in transportation ticketing, accommodation reservation, travel tour packages, corporate travel deals. Ctrip is also a cruise booking agency, holding over 10% of China's cruising market.
- SkySea Holdings was founded in 2013 with Stone Capital - Shanghai-based private equity company that invests for China's wealthiest families and entrepreneurs. However, the company was not announced until the RCI partnership. Both RCCL and Ctrip each have a 35% stake, while the remaining 30% are held by Stone Capital. SkySea Cruises is managed by Min Fan (Ctrip's Vice Chairman, President and co-founder) who is the company's CEO and Chairman. Management staff comes from both RCCL and Ctrip. Ctrip provides the marketing network, technical expertise, customer base and travel agency services, while RCCL handles cruise operations and crew management.
- RCCL's SkySea brand targets China's middle- to high-level cruising market, focusing on 30 to 60 year-old consumers. The company has plans to add a ship a year (acquiring older vessels from other lines) and eventually to build a new one.
- In 2014, an year before SkySea Cruises started operations, the number of Chinese cruise ship tourists reached 90 million.
- NEWS: In Spring 2017, the SkySea Cruise Line added South Korea as a cruise departure option to the ship's port Shanghai roundtrip itinerary program. Passengers can board now the ship in port Busan, cruise to Japan, disembark in China (Shanghai) and from China take a flight back to South Korea.