Archive for the ‘Celebrity’ Category

Well, some of them. We have some outline deck plans with lots of information missing – we know that there will be 7 accommodation decks plus a few areas on other decks, and we know quite a lot about those cabins (sorry, Celebrity, “Staterooms”). We also have quite a lot of information about the upper decks (14 to 16) – deck 14 will be the pool deck, 15 will include the Rooftop Garden for use by all passengers (I think) and also another area reserved for passengers in suites, and deck 16 will include the Retreat. And finally, we know her itineraries – from the date of her introduction in December 2018 to the end of period for which we’ve got information – April 2019 – she’ll be cruising exclusively in the Caribbean, doing 7 night itineraries in the Eastern and Western Caribbean alternately.

The stuff we don’t know is all about the lower public decks – decks 2, 3, 4 and 5. This is where the restaurants and bars will be, and so far there’s no real information about them.

So what are the standout features? To me, there seem to be three:

  • “Edge” staterooms with the Infinite Veranda;
  • The Magic Carpet; and
  • The split-level Edge Villa suites.

Let’s take these one at a time.

Infinite Verandas: I do like what I’ve seen of the Infinite Veranda cabins in the video. It looks if two things can be done with these: a) the partition between the cabin and the balcony can be folded away completely, leaving completely open access to the balcony and b) it also looks as the outside of the balcony can be glassed-in. So you can either use the cabin in the conventional balcony fashion; or you can fold away the doors and just walk out to the balcony; or you can put the railing window up, and include the balcony area in an extended, enclosed cabin. That looks good and innovative. (Have a look in the video, starting at 1:58.)

Not all balcony cabins will feature Infinite Verandas. It looks as if there will be a small number of standard balcony cabins with standard balconies, but there won’t be many of them, and it also looks as if they’re located at the forward end of each side of the ship. Concierge and Aqua class balcony cabins – Celebrity’s name for balcony cabins with enhanced fittings, furnishings or services – will also enjoy Infinite Verandas. What does look odd is that suites won’t get Infinite Verandas, as far as I can see. There’s nothing in the accommodation description suites on the Celebrity site that suggests it, and looking at the deck plans there appears to be a little icon on the cabins with Infinite Verandas which is missing from the suites. So suites won’t have the best balconies.

The Magic Carpet: This is an odd one. It’s an interesting idea, but it also looks like it’s come from someone who isn’t familiar with cruise ships! I would have though that combining two such different functions such acting as a tender platform and a restaurant area would be hard – the requirements are so different. I can’t help wondering how much it will actually be used, and for how long. It could end up a real nuisance – if it’s their tender platform then they have to use it whenever they tender, but it sticks out and therefore has to be moved out of the way for docking starboard-side on. Hmm. I wonder how well this has been thought through. Have a look in the video, starting at around 5:00.

Edge Villas: Well, these look great, but I don’t I’ll ever get closer to one than looking at the brochure!

Of course, it’s not entirely good news. As with the Solstice class, it doesn’t look as if there’s a wrap-round promenade. And I’m not sure about the reservation of certain areas exclusively for guests in certain classes of cabin. Smacks of 1st class to me – harrumph, harrumph…. Overall, though, I think there’s a lot to like in this design. Eventually there will be at least 4 Edge-class ships. The second, to be called Celebrity Beyond, will go into service in spring 2020, and the remaining two currently on order will appear in autumn 2021 and 2022.

 

Here’s the video:

Finally (and here’s a shameless plug): if you’ve been wondering why I haven’t posted in the last couple of weeks or so, it’s because I’ve been on a non-cruise holiday to Asia. You can read all about it here.

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Celebrity have announced that not only will the details of their much-anticipated, much-concealed Celebrity Edge ship (and class) will be available on 13 March, but bookings will open the same day as well. Her first cruise will take place in ‘Fall 2018’ – I imagine we’ll get the actual date on the 13th.

The Celebrity Edge story has been shrouded in mystery. Even now, there’s very little information around about the design of the ship – Celebrity have kept the details very tight. However, here’s a link to a post I did in November with as much information as I could find at that time.

One thing that became obvious as I did the Newbuilds page was the relatively modest size and capacity of this new ship/class. At only 117,000 tons and 2,900 passengers it will almost be a medium-size ship; these days, I would probably regard “large ship” as beginning at around 150,000 tons and 3,500 passengers. So an interesting choice for Celebrity, and perhaps serves to distinguish them more clearly from their parent Royal Caribbean.

Unfortunately I shall be travelling on 13 March – I’m having a non-cruise holiday visiting some places in Asia that I’ve wanted to see for a long while – so it might not be until the weekend afterwards that I can get to cover the revealed details. But if the Lone Pine hotel in Penang has decent wifi, and if it’s too hot in that part of Malaysia to do anything else, I may be able to post something.

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I gather that Celebrity Cruises are to reveal the design of their new ‘Edge’ class ships very shortly. An event is to be held at Royal Caribbean’s Innovation Lab, at Port Miami, on 13 March. I understand that some sort of presentation will be made showing the design features in 3D, life size.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the design of the Celebrity Edge class has been kept very secret ever since the class was announced. On March 13 we’re promised that we’ll learn more.

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So here’s the next set of data about forthcoming ships, this time from Celebrity Cruises:

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-19-30-30

These are all being built at by STX France, at their yard in Saint-Nazaire. This is a change for Celebrity; most if not all of her 14 previous new builds (Horizon class; Century class; Millennium class; and Solstice class) were built by Meyer at Papenburg.

There’s a lot of mystery still about the features and facilities of the Edge class – Celebrity are being very coy. Presumably we’ll know more soon, however. In fact if she’s going into service in autumn 2018 they’ll have to start selling the cruises sometime this year, which means that details will have to be made available at that time.

By happenstance, Malcolm Oliver wrote a post about the secrecy of this class (and others) on his site today.

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Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities

Celebrity Edge (which I don’t think I’ve mentioned before today) is a class of ship, an individual ship, and a concept. It’s also shrouded in deep mystery….

The concept appeared  in December 2014 when Celebrity Cruises announced that they would be building two new ships in a completely new class, the Edge class. There are very few details about these ships. We know their dimensions: at 300m (914 feet) long, 38m (123 feet) wide and with a tonnage of 117,000, the new ships will be very slightly smaller than the original Solstice class ships and also differently proportioned – shorter, wider, and possible higher. But no further information was given, and the design of the ship is all rumours.

One rumour that’s apparently gained some traction is that the ships won’t feature a main dining room in the traditional sense. Instead there will be a significant number of eateries – some suggest 14 – of which no more than 5 will be ‘free’ (i.e., included in the basic cost of your cruise); and the others will be extra-cost. I ought to stress that we don’t know how they will operate, but this sounds quite like Royal Caribbean’s Dynamic Dining concept. This was launched on their ship Quantum of the Seas, extended to the second ship of the Quantum class (Anthem of the Seas), and there were plans to extend it to the Oasis class ships. But apparently passenger feedback has caused a reversal of the plans – you read about that in this post on Malcolm Oliver’s cruise blog. Celebrity Cruises is part of the Royal Caribbean empire, of course; are they going to try it again? Or is it just that the rumours about Edge-class dining not caught up with what has happened with Royal Caribbean’s experience?

About the only other thing we know is the statements that Celebrity has been making about the new class. “Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities”, they say, and the quote is continued with “a perfect vacation experience in step with today’s premium vacationer”. (And I though it was just going on a cruise….) On the one hand I’m really not sure how you can deliver a small-ship itinerary in a 117,000 ton ship, but there again, if you look at the luxury ‘small ships’ – e.g. those from Oceania or Regent Seven Seas – they don’t deviate very much from the standard itineraries. OK, they may officially call at Sorrento rather than Naples but apart from the actual location of the berth it’s pretty much the same experience thereafter – excursions to Pompeii, drives along the Amalfi coast, and so on. You need to look at the likes of Fred Olsen to get genuinely different itineraries.

A few other hard facts have emerged recently:

  • Steel has recently been cut at the shipyard (STX St Nazaire) for the first in the class (Celebrity Edge);
  • A second ship, to be called Celebrity Beyond, has definitely been ordered and there are options for two more after that;
  • And Celebrity Edge will go into service in autumn 2018, i.e. about 2 years from now.

That last point means that we will learn a lot more about the details of these new ships fairly soon. Autumn 2018 isn’t too far away in cruise booking terms, and Celebrity will need to publish a lot of information about her when the autumn 2018 schedules go on sale. Sometime ion the next 6 months, I reckon.

 

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Celebrity Cruises have withdrawn Celebrity Equinox from Europe for 2017. The ship was due to do a season of cruises in the Mediterranean during next summer, but plans have changed and she will instead be based in Miami and will do Caribbean cruises. Indeed, Celebrity Equinox will be based in Miami all year round, and as a result Celebrity Cruises will be offering their first year-round programme of Caribbean cruises. In previous years they have offered Caribbean cruises in the winter, but have generally dispersed their ships to other areas (northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Alaska) for the summer. Here’s a link to a news page about the change to Celebrity Equinox’s programme on the Celebrity Cruises web site.

Celebrity are explaining this as a positive response to many requests from their customers for year-round cruises in the Caribean. However, many commentators are suggesting that the ongoing turmoil in Europe, with terrorist attacks occurring in many countries, is a major contributory factor. The recent attacks and ongoing uncertainty in Turkey may be especially relevant, and it is believed that bookings from US passengers both for this summer and next are lower than expected. The redeployment of Celebrity Equinox to the Caribbean for next year will reduce Celebrity Cruise’s risk of over-capacity in the region.

I haven’t seen anything as to what is being done for passengers who had already booked a cruise on Celebrity Equinox’s previously announced Mediterranean itineraries. (We had looked at them, in fact, before choosing Norway and Iceland with P&O). But I expect any such passengers – and there won’t be many – will have been made a generous offer.

(In fact, does anyone have any information about that?)

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Venice paints a vivid picture

CW6IvbjUkAA3fB_.png-largePlease take a look at the image alongside. It’s very attractive; I especially like the lovely warm glow it has. In fact, I’d be very pleased if I’d taken it myself.

It came from Celebrity Cruises UK on their Twitter feed (@CelebrityUK) – I’m following them. So far, so good, but then they rather spoiled it by adding the following text to the image: “A city built by Italy’s best architects. Venice paints a vivid picture”.

I was a bit confused by this as the last time I saw this bridge, it was in Florence. I wasn’t the only one to think so as several others made the same point. I’m pleased to say that @CelebrityUK replied, agreeing that it was indeed in Florence.

Now we just wait for a Venice picture….

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