Aside from the sophisticated ambience of its restaurants, the cuisine has always been a highlight of a Celebrity cruise. However, in early 2007, Celebrity and longtime chef Michael Roux ended their affiliation. His hands-on involvement—personally creating menus and overseeing all aspects of dining operations—was integral in helping the line achieve the reputation it enjoys today. Happily, every ship in the fleet has a highly experienced team headed by executive chefs and food and beverage managers who have developed their skills in some of the world’s finest restaurants and hotels.
Alternative restaurants on the Millennium-class ships, and Celebrity Century offer fine dining and tableside food preparation amid classic ocean liner and Venetian splendor. Solstice-class ships offer a variety of international cuisines in their specialty restaurants. A less formal evening alternative is offered fleet-wide in Lido restaurants, where you’ll find made-to-order sushi, stir-fry, pasta, pizza, and curry stations, as well as a carving station, an array of vegetables, “loaded” baked potatoes, and desserts. The AquaSpa Cafés serve light and healthy cuisine from breakfast until evening. Cafés serve a variety of coffees, teas, and pastries that carry an additional charge. Late-night treats served by white-gloved waiters in public rooms throughout the ships can include mini-beef Wellingtons and crispy tempura.
To further complement the food, in 2004 Celebrity introduced a proprietary Cellarmaster Selection of wines, formulated specifically for Celebrity passengers.
Fitness and Recreation
Celebrity’s AquaSpa by Elemis and fitness centers are some of the most tranquil and nicely equipped at sea, with complimentary access to thalassotherapy pools on Millennium-class ships. Spa services are operated by Steiner Leisure, and treatments include a variety of massages, body wraps, and facials. Trendy and traditional hair and nail services are offered in the salons.
State-of-the-art exercise equipment, a jogging track, and basic fitness classes are available at no charge. There’s a fee for personal training, body composition analysis, and specialized classes such as yoga and Pilates. Golf pros offer hands-on instruction, and game simulators allow passengers to play world-famous courses. Each ship also has an Acupuncture at Sea treatment area staffed by licensed practitioners of Oriental medicine.
Celebrity caters to American cruise passengers, primarily couples from their mid-thirties to mid-fifties. Many families enjoy cruising on Celebrity’s fleet during summer months and holiday periods, particularly in the Caribbean. Lengthier cruises and exotic itineraries attract passengers in the over-sixty age group.
Two formal nights are standard on seven-night cruises. Men are encouraged to wear tuxedos, but dark suits or sport coats and ties are more prevalent. Other evenings are designated “smart casual and above.” Although jeans are discouraged in formal restaurants, they are appropriate for casual dining venues after 6 pm. The line requests that no shorts be worn in public areas after 6 pm, and most people observe the dress code of the evening, unlike on some other cruise lines.
Each Celebrity vessel has a dedicated playroom and offers a four-tier program of age-appropriate games and activities designed for children ages 3 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 11. Younger children must be toilet trained to participate in the programs and use the facilities; however, families are welcome to borrow toys for their non-toilet-trained kids. A fee may be assessed for participation in children’s dinner parties, the Late-Night Slumber Party, and Afternoon Get-Togethers while parents are ashore in ports of call. Evening in-cabin babysitting can be arranged for a fee. All ships have teen centers, where tweens (ages 12 to 14) and teenagers (ages 15 to 17) can hang out and attend mock-tail and pizza parties.
Service on Celebrity ships is unobtrusive and polished. ConciergeClass adds an unexpected level of service and amenities that are usually reserved for luxury ships or passengers in top-category suites on other premium cruise lines.
Gratuities are automatically added daily to onboard accounts in the following amounts (which may be adjusted at your discretion): $11.50 per person per day for passengers in stateroom categories; $12 per person per day for ConciergeClass and AquaClass staterooms; and $15 per person per day for Suites. An automatic gratuity of 15% is added to all beverage tabs.
Once you’ve sailed with Celebrity, you become a member of the Captain’s Club and receive benefits commensurate with the number of cruises you’ve taken, including free upgrades, the chance to make dining reservations before sailing, and other benefits. Classic members have been on at least one Celebrity cruise. Select members have sailed at least six cruises and get more perks, including an invitation to a senior officer’s cocktail party. After 10 cruises you become an Elite member and can take advantage of a private departure lounge. Royal Caribbean International, the parent company of Celebrity Cruises, also extends the corresponding levels of their Crown & Anchor program to Celebrity Captain’s Club members.
Choose This Line If
You want an upscale atmosphere at a really reasonable fare.
You want piping-hot late-night pizza delivered to your cabin in pizzeria fashion.
You want to dine amid elegant surroundings in some of the best restaurants at sea.
You need to be reminded of when activities are scheduled. Announcements are kept to a minimum.
You look forward to boisterous pool games and wacky contests. These cruises are fairly quiet and adult-centered.
You think funky avant-garde art is weird. Abstract modernism abounds in the art collections.
Celebrity’s AquaSpa facilities and services are some of the best at sea.
The letter X on the ships’ funnels is the Greek letter for C and stands for Chandris, the line’s founding family.
Fresh-baked pizzas can be delivered to your stateroom in an insulated carrier.
Good to Know
Small refinements add touches of luxury to a Celebrity cruise. White-gloved stewards are present at the gangway on embarkation to greet weary passengers with the offer of assistance.
Waiters will happily carry your trays from the buffet line to your table in the casual restaurant. Just ask the bartender for the recipe if a specialty martini or other cocktail appeals to you so you can re-create it at home.