Coming Soon on Celebrity

Premium nine-ship line adding many 'touches of luxury' fleetwide by July

By: Theresa Norton Masek

The test is over, and Celebrity Cruises has decided which of its new shipboard services will be implemented fleetwide.

Celebrity introduced more than 100 onboard “taste of luxury” improvements Sept. 23 on the Millennium.

The line tested the concepts in questionnaires on every cruise since then, and those receiving the highest marks will be put into place on Celebrity’s other eight ships by July.

The program is being overseen by Dietmar Wertanzl, Celebrity’s senior vice president of fleet operations.

“We’re combining the art of classic hospitality with warmth and friendliness,” Wertanzl said. “It’s what I like to describe as combining the strengths of Caesar Ritz with Walt Disney.”

Among the improvements:

" More enrichment lectures by highly recognizable personalities and experts. Celebrity isn’t revealing names yet, but they are expected to be more on par with the big names offered on luxury lines. Also, new topics will include stress reduction techniques, breathing and yoga, assertiveness training and leadership/taking control.

" Several themed midnight buffets for example, the Tex Mex Buffet will now be served at lunchtime, when more guests are awake to enjoy them, along with the usual lunch buffet. The Le Grand Buffet with elaborate ice carvings and vegetable carvings will continue at the late hour.

" In the lido area, a new “Casual Dining Boulevard” featuring sushi, pasta and pizza will be created. Casual dining will be available seven nights a week; currently, it’s offered only by reservation on four nights during a seven-night cruise. Dining hours will be 6 to 10 p.m. instead of ending at 9 p.m.

" The Millennium-class AquaSpa Cafés will serve dinner in addition to breakfast and lunch.

" Increased opportunities for passengers to interact with officers. For example, there will be another cocktail party per cruise with officers present, and more senior officers hosting dinner tables.

" Elegant Tea will be offered in the specialty restaurants once a week. Dress code will be jacket and tie for men, and a dress, suit or dressy pantsuit for women.

" Poolside, waiters will offer guests dishes of sorbet on a silver tray and pool attendants will distribute cold towels. Fashion shows cruise staff wearing items available in the boutique will be held on the stage area of the pool deck. And head and/or neck massages will be available for a fee at a mobile massage station.

" The AquaSpa will open an hour earlier, at 7 a.m., and stay open three more hours, until 11 p.m.

“We’re providing our guests with more choices and greater flexibility in apparel, in hours of operation, in cuisine and in entertainment,” he said. “It’s all about less regimentation and more choices.”