Virtuoso Global March 2019 Three New Reasons to Love Celebrity Cruises

Three New Reasons to Love Celebrity Cruises

With panoramic views and shape-shifting capability, the three-story Eden venue on <em>Celebrity Edge</em> sets a high bar for cutting-edge design.
With panoramic views and shape-shifting capability, the three-story Eden venue on Celebrity Edge sets a high bar for cutting-edge design.

A lot is happening at Celebrity Cruises right now. The high-end cruise line is in the middle of a major transformation – taking everything it does right and making it better, sleeker, more modern, and more luxurious. Don’t believe us? Here’s the evidence.
 

1. There’s a new ship – and it gives Celebrity an edge.

And not just because the vessel is actually named Celebrity Edge. The 2,918-passenger ship, which launched in December, is the first addition to Celebrity’s fleet in six years (and the first of four in a new ship class, which will also include the Celebrity Apex, debuting in 2020). Four years in the making, it features an outward-facing design brought to life by non-ship designers, including celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus and British architect Tom Wright, best known for the iconic sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.
<em>Celebrity Edge</em> cabanas offer plush, private enclaves with ocean views just off the pool deck.
Celebrity Edge cabanas offer plush, private enclaves with ocean views just off the pool deck.
“There is certainly more of a connection with the ocean than other big ships display these days,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Samuel Spencer. “And there are a lot more areas to relax outside without necessarily being by the pool.” Take the Magic Carpet. This open-air venue is cantilevered from the side of the ship and travels up and down like an elevator, transforming into a restaurant, live-music area, or relaxing lounge, depending on the deck where it is stationed. Spencer also points to the Rooftop Garden, home to meandering paths, lush greenery, and whimsical sculptures. “It’s perfect for intimate conversations, reading a good book, or just soaking in the rays and the fresh air,” he says.

This focus on the outdoors extends to the staterooms with Celebrity’s first-ever Infinite Verandas. “The bi-fold doors have floor-to-ceiling windows, and when you open them, the veranda becomes an extension of your room,” says Virtuoso advisor Jonette Shepherd. “Celebrity has truly outdone itself. It’s the most spectacularly designed ship that I have seen in my entire career, and I’ve been on about 140 cruises.”
The new Celebrity <em>Flora</em> will be an open-air celebration of the Galápagos.
The new Celebrity Flora will be an open-air celebration of the Galápagos.

2. The new Celebrity Flora will up the luxury ante in the Galápagos.

The Galápagos is a destination best – and most often – explored by cruise, thanks to its numerous islands teeming with wildlife. When it debuts this May, the all-inclusive, all-suite Celebrity Flora will introduce a high-end onboard experience that’s not often found on expedition-style vessels in the area. Only 100 passengers at a time will have the chance to experience the ship’s airy, light-filled public spaces, including the Discovery Lounge – with its almost all-glass walls, entertainment stage, and full bar – and the open-air Vista, complete with a hot tub. The suites –the largest in the Galápagos – come with a personal attendant and king-size beds (some even have ocean-view bathrooms) and in-room espresso machines. 

Sunshine and sky views reach every level of the <em>Celebrity Flora</em>.
Sunshine and sky views reach every level of the Celebrity Flora.
Celebrity kept the destination’s environment in mind when designing Celebrity Flora. “It was purpose-built for the region, and state-of-the-art technology like an advanced dynamic positioning system allows the ship to hold its position over the ocean floor without the need to drop physical anchors that could damage the fragile ecosystem,” Spencer says. Those who want to really connect with the surroundings can book an on-ship glamping experience, which includes dinner under the stars, a naturalist-led stargazing session, and overnight accommodations in an outdoor cabana with a double bed. According to Shepherd, “There’s no doubt that the ship will sell out, so people really need to book in advance.”

3. The entire fleet is getting a revamp.

Celebrity Flora and Celebrity Edge are a significant part of a much, much larger picture – one in which Celebrity Cruises is investing more than two years and $550 million. Each vessel in the fleet is getting a down-to-the-steel face-lift, which means guests will enjoy a more modern, luxurious experience no matter what itinerary they choose.

“By making this investment, Celebrity is elevating their already consistent product even higher,” Shepherd says. “Their ships have always been good and well maintained, but this will be a game changer.” The upgrades include not only renovating existing locations of the globally inspired restaurant Qsine, but also adding Qsine to every other vessel; redesigning the Oceanview Café; incorporating new retail experiences where guests can shop for of-the-minute brands such as Shinola; and introducing Celebrity Edge’s Retreat concept, consisting of a sundeck and a lounge reserved for Suite Class travelers. 

The Retreat sundeck on <em>Celebrity Millennium</em> is an exclusive new sanctuary for all suite class passengers.
The Retreat sundeck on Celebrity Millennium is an exclusive new sanctuary for all suite class passengers.
“In revolutionizing the rest of the existing fleet, there will be a design and dining consistency that will appeal to travelers,” says Virtuoso advisor Damian McCabe. “Loyal Celebrity guests will be getting a new and improved version of ships they already love, and new cruisers will find a sophisticated atmosphere that will make them loyal to the brand.” Celebrity Millennium relaunched on February 9, with Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Equinox following in March and June, respectively; six more will roll out by 2023.

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