Since Celebrity's first sailing in 1990, it has been recognized as an industry leader, praised for providing spacious, stylish interiors; dining experiences elevated to an art form; personalized service, with a guest-to-staff ratio of nearly 2:1 and unexpected, trendsetting onboard activities, all designed to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers' precious time. The introduction of Celebrity Cruises' stylish, widely heralded Solstice Class of ships has reinforced Celebrity's position as an industry leader.
It all began when Celebrity Cruises was founded in 1989 with the objective of fulfilling the travel industry's need for a high-quality, premium cruise product at an intelligent price. The company was determined to set a new, worldwide standard for cruising, and to create a distinctive expression of superior quality, grand style, attentive service, spacious accommodations, and exceptional cuisine. Believing that the dining experience is an essential part of a quality cruise vacation, Celebrity custom-built galleys to create the finest gourmet cuisine at sea, preparing everything from scratch, using only the finest, freshest ingredients. Along with the launch of the Century Class fleet in 1995, Celebrity created another industry first: a luxurious spa experience within the environment of a cruise ship, with the introduction of the AquaSpa® by Elemis. In 1997, Celebrity Cruises merged with Royal Caribbean International, bringing together two extraordinary cruise brands within one corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
In 2000, Celebrity launched the appropriately named Celebrity Millennium, and with it the industry's first application of gas turbine engines, which reduce exhaust emissions by up to 95 percent over traditional propulsion systems. Celebrity Millennium and her sister ships - Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Constellation - nearly doubled the line's capacity in just two years (2000-2002), with each ship offering guests an unmatched dining experience in distinctive, intimate specialty restaurants. Celebrity Millennium's "Olympic," Celebrity Infinity's "S.S. United States," Celebrity Summit's "Normandie" and Celebrity Constellation's "Ocean Liners" each boast original paneling and artifacts from the famed transatlantic luxury liners after which they are named ("Ocean Liners'"includes paneling from the Ile de France), and feature dramatic tableside cooking, carving and flambé in the true French style.
Celebrity has offered rich, pampering experiences since its inception. More than 100 brand enhancements and new "tastes of luxury" were unveiled across the fleet in 2003, including welcome champagne and mimosas, cold towels and fresh sorbet poolside, expanded options in dining, including Sushi Cafés and pasta/pizza bars, sunset yoga and Pilates classes, and more. During the same year, Celebrity introduced "Concierge Class," an enhanced level of accommodations featuring new amenities and priority services, and introduced "Acupuncture at Sea," another undisputed industry first.
In 2004, the line launched "Celebrity Xpeditions," a series of highly unique events and excursions designed to offer savvy travelers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to be treated famously in new environments. The one-of-a-kind program gives guests the premium experiences they have come to expect from Celebrity, in new and exotic settings, including cruises in the enchanting Galapagos Islands on a luxurious mega yacht, Celebrity Xpedition, and a series of premium excursion options on select itineraries.
Today, among Celebrity’s ten ships are its Solstice Class ships, which exemplify Celebrity's emphasis on designing stunning ships and inviting onboard experiences for vacationers who appreciate the finer things. The ships have taken stylish cruising and impeccable service to new heights. Celebrity Solstice set sail in 2008, Celebrity Equinox in 2009, and Celebrity Eclipse in 2010. All three hold 2,850 guests (double occupancy) and have a tonnage of 122,000. Celebrity Silhouette joined the fleet in 2011 and Celebrity Reflection in 2012. Celebrity Silhouette holds 2,886 guests (double occupancy) and has a tonnage of 122,400. Celebrity Reflection holds 3,030 guests and has a tonnage of 126,000.
Celebrity's Solstice Class features the industry's first "Lawn Club" - an outdoor, country club-like venue featuring a lawn of real, growing grass where guests can practice their putting, play lawn games like croquet and lawn bowling, or simply relax under the sun and stars; the first Hot Glass Show at sea, presented in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass; and a slate of breathtaking new shows created in partnership with POET Theatricals. The Solstice Class also offers larger, more intuitive staterooms influenced by "Celebrity's Leading Ladies," five Boomer women with unique travel and hospitality insights. The new ships present fewer inside staterooms than other ships - 90% of the ships' staterooms offer outside views and 85% of staterooms have verandas - and feature an entirely new category of staterooms, "AquaClass," designed with spa enthusiasts in mind, offering a host of exclusive amenities. AquaClass guests enjoy unlimited access to the Relaxation Room and Persian Garden, as well as priority seating in Blu, a specialty restaurant with healthy dishes created specifically for AquaClass guests. The ships also present a two-story AquaSpa, with the Relaxation Room and Persian Garden similar to those found on several other Celebrity ships. Celebrity's Solstice Class ships also are the first in the industry to utilize solar technology, with some of the solar panels serving the dual purpose of providing shade within the Solarium as well as energy production. Celebrity Silhouette introduced several new venues, including The Lawn Club Grill, the industry's first outdoor, interactive grill venue; The Porch, with a chic Hampton's-style design, and offering casual breakfasts and lunches overlooking The Lawn Club and the sea; The Art Studio, where guests can participate in intimate, hands-on instruction from experts in drawing, painting and beading, as well as the art of food, with culinary-themed classes; The Alcoves, eight cabana-style settings for partial or all-day rentals on the perimeter of The Lawn Club, offering themed picnic baskets, an á la carte beverage menu and WiFi; and The Hideaway, with its avant-garde, cozy, tree house design, creating a quiet retreat for reading a good book or a high-tech escape for vacationers relaxing with iPads, which are available to rent.
Dining on Celebrity's ships is an exceptional experience. The vision of our James Beard featured chef for creating fresh, exciting, innovative dining experiences has produced such successes as Qsine, the "uniquely unordinary" specialty restaurant first introduced on Celebrity Eclipse, and the Lawn Club Grill, the first outdoor, interactive barbecue grill experience at sea introduced on Celebrity Silhouette. Our culinary vision is evident everywhere, from the recipes and ingredients to the table presentation to the service. Our hope is that you'll leave a Celebrity cruise having tried new tastes and gained a deeper appreciation for the way cuisine can influence your experiences. Before the launch of Celebrity Solstice in 2008, Celebrity Cruises had five specialty restaurants fleetwide; by the end of 2012, there be 45 in total.
Just as we elevated Celebrity's culinary excellence, Celebrity's Solstice® Class has redefined the brand overall. Many of the design elements, experiences and dining concepts introduced on the Solstice Class ships are so compelling that in early 2010, Celebrity announced plans to "Solsticize" its Millennium Class ships by incorporating iconic Solstice Class attributes through a significant revitalization. The first ship to be "Solsticized" was Celebrity Constellation®, that same year. Since then, four other ships have been enhanced to a Solstice Class sheen.
With its pulse on what guests want, and with an eye toward the future, Celebrity Cruises continues to innovate and to deliver unforgettable, award-winning vacation experiences.