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<a href="http://www.celebritycruises.com/explore/ships/detail.do?shipCode=RF">New Celebrity Reflection Cruise Ship<img src="http://media.celebritycruises.com/celebrity/content/en_US/images/cel_misc/CelebrityCruises-Ship-Naming-Full-v10-resize.jpg"></a>

Our new Celebrity Reflection cruise ship has been launched, named, and sent on her inaugural sailing for the 2013 cruise season. The entire process brings to mind all the intriguing maritime customs involved in building a new cruise ship. From placing good luck coins during the keel laying to the champagne bottle crashing against her big, blue funnel, it’s been a fun journey filled with all kinds of customs, superstitions, and milestones. There are even a few tricks up our sleeve to ensure the champagne bottle breaks as it’s supposed to. Read on and find out more about inaugurating a cruise ship.

New Celebrity Reflection Cruise Ship

fun fact:
Mrs. FDR christened the huge flying boat Yankee Clipper in 1939 with a bottle of water mixed from the seven seas.

Celebrity Cruises: A Holiday Message from Michael Bayley

To Our Celebrity Followers:

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends, and reflect on “auld lang syne.” In that spirit, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support of Celebrity Cruises in 2012. Whether you sailed with us or considered sailing with us, you have my appreciation.

I’m also very appreciative of our exceptional officers and crew. They are the people who deliver the modern luxury vacation experience that keeps guests like you coming back. And while I may be biased, I believe that they are simply the finest group of hospitality professionals in the world.

As I reflect on 2012, I am amazed by how much took place. I had the honor of accepting the role as President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises in July, and immediately began reaching out to our travel agent partners and guests like you to gain invaluable insights to benefit our brand. I’m very grateful for your interest in Celebrity.

We took delivery of our fifth stylish Solstice Class ship, Celebrity Reflection, on October 9. Then, we embarked on the ship’s inaugural European season prior to crossing the Atlantic to arrive in the cosmopolitan cruise capital of the world – Miami, Florida – where we formally named the ship on December 1.

We were honored to have four Godmothers presiding over the ceremony – each of them being members of our own Celebrity family whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. The four Godmothers are: AquaSpa Manager, Jovanka Goronjic; Hot Glass Show Artist, Megan Mathie; Community Relations Manager, Helen O’Connell; and Special Events Manager, Rosey Rodriguez. Following the naming cruise and another celebratory two-night cruise, Celebrity Reflection embarked on her inaugural Caribbean season, offering 7-night sailings roundtrip from Miami.

Earlier this year, we completed our ambitious, $140-million “Solsticizing” initiative. This initiative incorporated many of the venues and experiences our guests love most on our Solstice Class ships onto our four already popular Millennium Class ships. Now, our fleet of 11 stunning ships and our spectacular crew are poised to provide you with genuine modern luxury vacation experiences in all seven continents of the world.

It’s been a very exciting year, and I know 2013 will be, too. We’ve just completed the most rapid period of growth and momentum in Celebrity’s history, and now, we have the opportunity to focus on refining our product to ensure the Celebrity brand remains “the” premium cruise vacation of choice among upscale consumers.

We’re committed to ensuring our culinary experience remains the best in the business. We’re going to further enhance our entertainment offering. We’re going to share more about our family-friendly programming. And we’re going to present the most compelling itinerary portfolio and destination experience in our history.

We’re going to do all of this to ensure that we have the pleasure of your business for years to come. Thank you again for your support of Celebrity Cruises in 2012. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you again in 2013.

I wish you a very merry holiday season, and a Happy New Year!

Michael Bayley
President & CEO

Celebrity Cruises: Q&A with Jovanka Goronjic, One of Celebrity Reflection’s Godmothers

Jovanka Goronjic joined Celebrity Cruises’ AquaSpa staff in 2009 after working with Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity’s sister brand. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and endured several rounds of treatment. In tribute to her mother and the cause, Jovanka donated her hair for the creation of wigs for cancer patients. With support from Celebrity, she arranged time off to be with her mother at critical times during her treatment. Her mother has since defeated the illness, and Jovanka is now AquaSpa Manager on Celebrity Solstice. We recently sat down with Jovanka to ask her a few questions about the honor bestowed upon her.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born on January 1, 1979, and was raised by my mother. In 1997, I graduated with a degree in Business of Economy, and then continued my studies in the health and beauty fields. In 2004, I started working on ships as a massage therapist. Currently, I am the AquaSpa Manager aboard Celebrity Solstice.

I love animals, and I love taking care of people. I believe that overall well-being is crucial to leading a full and rewarding life. I try my best to be a good listener, while always being available for any advice, support, motivation, or inspiration.

How did it feel when Celebrity selected you to be a ship’s Godmother?

I was delighted, thrilled, emotional, and proud, all at the same time. I’m not sure that it has fully sank in yet, but it will when I¹m onboard for the naming ceremony next month.

What are you most looking forward to with this honor?

I really hope to help the Breast Cancer Research Foundation by raising more awareness and giving support to people that are dealing with the heartache of this illness.

What preparations have you made for the ceremony? What do you plan to wear?

I have prepared a short speech for the ceremony. On the special day, I plan on wearing a formal black dress with pink details, which serves as a small reminder and connection to breast cancer awareness.

Are you nervous or excited about the naming ceremony?

I’m both nervous and excited. My emotions are supercharged about this whole experience. I’m glad I’ll have three other women to share this moment with.

Can you tell us about something that is dear to you?

As an only child, growing up without my father, I am very close to my mother. Even at the age of 34, while working on ships and being away from home, I would call her every other evening just to wish her a good night, hear her voice, and tell her that I love her.

What do you plan to do onboard Celebrity Reflection? Are there venues or people you are looking forward to seeing?

I am currently on Celebrity Solstice, but I will be transferring to Celebrity Reflection to become their AquaSpa Manager. I can¹t wait to see the enhancements to the spa that are only currently available on this new ship, including the enlarged Persian Garden, the Hammam, and the hot and chilly Sensory Circuit. This career change happened suddenly, but I am so happy to have been given the honor of being one of Celebrity Reflection’s Godmothers.

Who has been most proud of you receiving this honor?

My family, my friends, my work colleagues, and, probably most of all, my mother.

The four Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection will preside over the naming of the ship in Miami on December 1. In true Celebrity tradition, they will be joined by the Godmothers of each of Celebrity Reflection’s sister ships.

Celebrity Cruises: Meet Megan Mathie, Glassblowing Artist & Celebrity Reflection Godmother

Megan Mathie is a glassblowing artist in the Hot Glass Show aboard Celebrity Solstice®, and she previously performed the same role aboard Celebrity Eclipse®. Earlier this year, Megan was informed that both her sister and her mother were diagnosed with breast cancer, and she flew home to spend time with them. As time passed, however, both convinced her to return to the ship and to continue her work. Determined to support the cause, Megan and her team now host a “Hot Pink Glass Show” on every sailing. There, she shares her story with her audience through her artwork, in honor of her sister and her mother. At each cruise’s end, she auctions a one-of-a-kind pink glass creation to raise funds for Celebrity’s charitable partner, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®.

We recently caught up with Megan for more insight into her touching story.

In December, I scheduled my second contract working with Celebrity Cruises for the Corning Museum of Glass. I couldn’t have been more excited to come back and immerse myself in a body of artwork, while sharing the wonder of glassblowing with new audiences. I feel like the Hot Glass Show is a job I was born to do and this opportunity feels like such a gift.

In my life, I have been so, so fortunate.

In March, everything in my life stopped. My big sister Jen, who was just 32 years old, was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. It took my family out at the knees. Jen did everything right; she had health insurance, she always had her annual exams, and she was a mom to a five-year-old and a 10-month-old. Her medical team thinks she had her cancer for 7 to 10 years, and we don’t understand how they didn’t find it sooner.

I live in Columbus and Jen lives in Cincinnati, which is two hours away. Upon hearing the news, I dropped everything and started spending four days a week at Jen’s house, looking after my little nieces and taking care of Jen’s laundry, meals, and her home. I left my work, my new house, and my husband to be there for my sister. Jen’s network came together; she found a nanny, and everyone stepped in to love her and our family. Eventually, though, Jen put her foot down and told me to go on my contract on the Solstice, and that she did not need me in Ohio. She promised me that she would be here when I came home. She told me that cancer is something that we will be fighting as a family for years to come, and that we needed to live with cancer and not die from it.

I resolved that I would go. Then, just weeks later, we received another blow. In May, my mom, who had just turned 60 years old, was diagnosed with two types of breast cancer. I was in disbelief and I was so angered by this. I thought to myself, “Mom is a nurse. She does everything right. She has had her annual mammograms like clockwork.” Yet, there we were, less than 90 days after Jen’s diagnosis, and we found out that Mom was sick, too.

I am the baby in my family – the youngest of three girls. Never mind that I am 28 years old, I need my big sisters. I need my mom. I can’t describe to you the fear that this struck in my heart that they are fighting for their lives.  But, they are FIGHTING.

I told my mom that I was going to stay home and that I didn’t want to go on the ship. Then, she, Jen, and my husband, Chris, told me that I had to go. They didn’t want me crying in the hospital. They wanted me to take this opportunity and dive into my artwork. They wanted me to travel and they wanted me to share my stories. I protested, I cried, and they sent me on the ship anyway. I was so scared. I still am so scared. What if something bad happens?

On Tuesday, July 17, Mom had a double mastectomy surgery. That Wednesday, I had lunch with my mom, my dad, and my two big sisters in Mom’s hospital room. On Friday, July 20, I left Ohio for Barcelona to embark on Celebrity Solstice. I was ready to be sad and homesick for three months. I was ready to be lonely. The thing about cancer, though, is that it comes with some pretty incredible gifts. Cancer shows us love. My sister calls it crushing love. And it is. I needed support. I needed love. And from the moment I came on board this ship, I have felt loved.

My family is good, with an ache in the word good, and I miss them so much. Nonetheless, we know that geography has nothing to do with how close we are to one another. Here, on Celebrity Solstice, I also have another family. One that is brand new and full of energy, warmth and caring hearts. This family doesn’t know Jen or my mom, but they are sharing my journey and holding me up. On Jen’s birthday in August, just a week before her double mastectomy surgery, the Ringmasters, our a cappella quartet, sang “Happy Birthday” into my phone at 1 a.m., so that Jen could hear it at 7 p.m., in Ohio. When we received scary news about Jen’s cancer-fighting drugs damaging her heart, my dear new friend stayed up with me all night while I cried and processed my fears. My Solstice family hugged me and held my hand when I saw a photo of Mom with no hair for the first time. My Solstice family also has a celebration and a toast with every cancer milestone: when Jen finished chemo, when Mom started chemo, when Jen survived her surgery with clear margins. They follow Jen’s blog and they follow Mom’s blog. They ask about Mom and Jen every time they know I have had a phone call home. The friendships came fast, but they are real and they are loving.

My glass team has a Hot Pink Glass Show every cruise, where I get to make a special vessel that tells my cancer story through my artwork. I get to talk about my family, talk about how important it is to be vigilant and look for this disease, and I do my very best to embody living with cancer and not dying from it. I invest so much love into that artwork. I literally shed tears while making each one the most beautiful glass I’ve ever blown. I do it for Jen and I do it for Mom. At the end of each cruise, I get to auction that pink vessel away for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which has a partnership with Celebrity Cruises.

The best part is that when I share my family’s cancer journey, I make connections. Every cruise, there have been people sharing their story of survival or loss with me, and more and more people loving Mom and Jen. Crushing love.

Here I am, so far from home, but helping. In a real way. A way that will keep them alive, healthy and beating cancer for years to come. The medicine in their lives is so essential, and I get to contribute funds so directly.

The doubts I had about whether I was meant to be here on this ship went away when I learned that I would get to make this glass, tell this story, and help fight this fight. I get to be an artist who’s surrounded by loving hearts at sea, I get to feel my family loving me from across the ocean, and I get to fight cancer.

In my life, I am so, so fortunate.

Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Reflection’s Atrium Tree

Like our other Solstice Class ships, Celebrity Reflection will have her own living, suspended tree in a uniquely designed vessel. We spoke with art consultant, Mariangela Capuzzo, Curatorial/Artistic Director at International Corporate Art in Miami, who chose the artist to create the container. Then, we caught up with Bert Rodriguez, the artist himself.

How is the artist chosen who creates the art installation for the tree?

Celebrity Reflection Atrium Tree

We reach out to established artists whose work is conceptually and aesthetically strong and complements both the existing art collection and our brand. First, we establish a curatorial direction, an umbrella, for the selection of the art collection. In this case, the curatorial direction on Reflection explores the “Seductiveness of a Reflection,” where artworks capture and reveal the magical sense of wonder created by Reflection.

How far out from launch do you start the process of selecting the artist?

The process begins a year and a half from the launch.

Where do you search to find the artist?

We have over 20 years of experience in the art world and our international network of artists affords us with a wide range of options to select from. We stay current with the pulse of the art market by traveling to art fairs and exhibitions all over the world.

Why was this artist chosen for Reflection?

Bert Rodriguez’s installation, Reflections, perfectly juxtaposes the conceptual with the magical. His proposal for Reflection was above and beyond what other artists presented.

What made his submission/vision uniquely right for Reflection?

Bert Rodriguez’s stunning installation in the Upper Grand Foyer consists of a tree reflecting upon itself. The tree above is a living, natural tree and below, hanging upside down, is a tree made of cast aluminum and electrical lighting. The combination of both the living and the crafted tree, and its reflective composition, creates a mesmerizing demonstration of grandeur and brilliant engineering. Its scale and magnificent sculptural elegance draws the viewer’s gaze up and down the vertical to ponder not only how this piece was created, but also what it symbolizes.

By using physical reflection, shiny surfaces, and a living tree mirrored by a man-made tree, the notion of accessibility is addressed. The artist’s intent is to allow viewers an easy entry-point into a more complex investigation of their own self-reflection or willingness to learn more about their fundamental essence, purpose and nature.

Bert Rodriguez earned critical acclaim for his appearance at the 2008 Whitney Biennial in New York. He is known for his conceptual and performance-based artwork, subverting art world conventions, poking fun at himself and notions of Celebrity through his provocative oeuvre.

Next, we spoke with Bert Rodriguez, the artist himself, to find out more.

Celebrity Reflection Atrium TreeWhat was your inspiration for the creation of the art piece for the Atrium tree on Reflection?

Well, I basically took the name of the ship, “Reflection,” and started from there. The fact that the ship had included a living tree as a pre-requisite element within each of the Atrium projects also was also a point of departure for me. The first image that came to mind was what it looks like when a tree is mirrored in a still lake and it doubles the tree. I also really liked what that means as a metaphor for self-reflection. The order of all the ship names in this particular fleet seemed to suggest some process of lunar or solar phases. I wanted this piece to include that, as well, as a means of tying all of the ships in the fleet together somehow. So, I took that idea of the tree reflected in the water, but changed the bottom tree so it could have a life as the sun goes down on the ship. The living tree on the top grows and comes to life while the sun is out and the bottom tree, with each of its branch ends housing lights, comes to life as the sun disappears and becomes a sort of ghost chandelier doppelganger of its living reflection above.

What went into the creation process? Please describe for us.

I started out with several really simple sketches of what I imagined it could look like, and then worked with an architect to take my basic idea and refine it into a realistic rendering of what I initially imagined. After several revisions, as well as feedback from engineers and the shipyard, we came up with a final design. It still kept the core elements and themes of my initial concept, but it was also realistically possible given all of the variables that need to be taken into account when creating something for a moving vessel.

Were there any challenges or restrictions you had to deal with?

Creatively or conceptually? Never. But when it came to physically translating those concepts into a workable and stable object that could withstand the constant motion of a moving ship, yes. There were certain fabrication techniques that are common on land that just cannot work on something that is constantly moving and shifting. There were certain materials and paint finishes that I thought the piece could be made of that just weren’t suitable for the highly corrosive quality of ocean air. A lot of adjustments and modifications had to be made to make it right for that environment. Some things just couldn’t be done and the piece itself had to be changed a little. It was a challenge to allow for all those changes, but still find a way to maintain the work’s conceptual integrity. In the end, I think it came out stunning.

What inspired you to become an artist?

It’s been so long now that I’ve been making work that I’m not even sure I remember. It sounds a bit silly and stereotypical, but I think I’ve always been one. I think maybe things changed when I realized that you could make a living being an artist, which happened when I was in high school. I had a really great teacher who was very encouraging and exposed me to the idea that you could be a professional artist. She taught me how to archive and photograph my work, write a C.V., and how galleries and museums functioned within that process. It gave me a great deal of confidence.

How do you feel knowing this piece will be featured in the Atrium of Reflection?

It feels great! Frankly, this is the first work of this kind that I’ve ever made and it was an incredibly humbling and exciting learning experience. It’s opened my practice to a whole new level of possibilities. It’s given me an opportunity to grow and added a completely new approach to making work using materials and solving problems I never would have considered otherwise. It’ll be on Reflection conceivably for years, and it will be a part of so many travelers’ experiences for years to come. I owe many thanks to everyone who worked on this and helped me realize this piece.

Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Reflection’s Preview Sailing

Celebrity Reflection is officially a member of our fleet, and we couldn’t be happier to share photos from her preview sailing out of The Netherlands. For months, you’ve followed us on this incredible journey and enjoyed an insider’s view of the development process. Now, take a look at the finished result – a world-class ship that will dazzle you with luxurious suites, state-of-the-art amenities and unrivaled cruise dining options.

Enjoy a floor-to-ceiling view of the ocean in the relaxing, new Reflection Suite.

Unwind in the Spa and enjoy a circuit of sensory experiences.

Savor just-made fare at The Porch just off The Lawn Club.

Need alone time? Escape to the adults-only Solarium.

Relax, eat and gaze out over the green grass at The Lawn Club Grill.

Explore the Art Gallery.

Start the evening off with a soothing backdrop of instrumental or vocal sounds in the Ensemble Lounge.

Enjoy music, dancing and drinks at the Sky Bar.

Experience a whole new level of relaxation in the Spa.

AquaClass® guests can enjoy dining at Blu, where “clean cuisine” is on the menu.

Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Reflection’s Game On

As a first time blogger for Celebrity, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Ivonne Paris and I am preparing to celebrate my 8th anniversary with this fine organization. I often have a hard time explaining what I do as Manager of Product Development, because the list is so long and varied. My friends and family think my job is fun… and it certainly is!

Game On, one of my favorite all-time projects, has just come to life aboard Celebrity Reflection. Nothing is as exciting to a creative mind as to be given a blank slate with which to dream. So, when our team was assigned this project… Well, let’s just say our painter’s palette went Technicolor!

The journey began way back in the summer of 2011, when it was announced that the space known as the Card Room was to get a revitalization with something vibrant and exciting to mirror the modern direction our brand was going in.

Step one was to gather a group of brilliant minds and put them in a conference room for a couple of hours with nothing but white flip pads and markers. The ideas started to flow and I attempted to capture them all. We had so many amazing concepts, from a Man Cave outfitted with its very own beer bottle vending machine to a Ship Navigation Simulator and beyond. Then, the ideas were vetted for feasibility.

First filter – Will our guests love it?
Second filter – Does it mirror Modern Luxury?
Last filter – Can we execute consistently in a shipboard environment?

Several weeks later, We Were given the green light to proceed with the following direction: Create a state-of-the-art, interactive, digital environment where guests can play on their own or socialize with friends.

Our blank slate consisted of this floor plan on Deck 9.

We turned to our design team as a source of inspiration and were delighted to find that their concept boards were a magical assortment of deep, rich colors with a fanciful motif.

To build this creation, we chose to go with a company in Hamburg, Germany, that had done similar installations. We collaborated with their team to develop game offerings that would provide a balance of nostalgic games in a modern digital platform. We also included others geared to offer hours of fun with the side benefits of stimulating the mind and improving cognitive abilities.

In April of this year, we sent out an invitation to a broad group of colleagues and received fantastic participation in, what we dubbed, The Game On Lab. It’s amazing the kind of results you get when you invite a group of adults to come play games and enjoy refreshments in the middle of the afternoon!

From this exercise, we determined that people’s taste in games is about as varied as their taste in art, which meant that in order to be able to please the largest amount of guests, we needed more games. These eight made the cut:

Bumpers - A modern twist on the traditional game of marbles, where you cast your game piece onto a moving platform to earn points. Bump your opponents out along the way, but watch that you don’t end up falling in the void.

Snag ‘Em - A fast and fun game for up to 4 players, where the object is to collect like colored gems in the allotted time. Having five of a kind earns you more points. Bonus rounds let you steal from your opponents and add to the frenzy.

Checkers - You have to jump a couple of frogs before you become crowned prince in the digital version of this classic favorite.

Team Draw - Find your inner Van Gogh as you challenge your opponent to interpret your art on the screen.

Word Power - Sharpen your mind, expand your vocabulary, and challenge yourself to solve a puzzle with this innovative, interactive, and addictive play on a classic word search game.

Memory - The Memory Game works your brain with spatial layouts and pattern recall. You must take a quick mental “snapshot” of the grid so you can select the correct squares. Speed + Accuracy = Success!

Think Faster - Race against the clock to improve your reaction time, increase alertness and awareness, and enjoy the benefits of faster cognitive processes. It’s as simple as matching the current symbol to the one before it… or is it?

Moving Puzzle - A visual brain twister awaits those who dare attempt to put the pieces of these fast moving videos back together again.

And, yes, you can still play a basic card game here if that’s among your favorite pastimes.

Next, we set to work creating the storyboards that would animate these games. Taking from the whimsical tone set by the ship’s designers, we were inspired to frame them in such as way as to be reminiscent of an old time amusement park juxtaposed with the high-tech, touch-screen environment of the tables.

As the programmers began to bring the games to life, we received delivery of our very own touch-screen setup, so that we could commence testing them and developing the instruction screens. It’s great to know that we have so many friends at Celebrity who are willing to help me out!

Now that the ship is completely finished, we’re pleased with the final installation of this fun, new space.

As you may have surmised by now, I’ve got about the coolest job anyone could ask for. However, my favorite thing about what I do is coming back and watching all of you have fun and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Now you know the secret of why I am always smiling.

Ivonne Paris
Manager of Product Development

Celebrity Cruises: Q&A with Celebrity Reflection’s Cellarmaster

We recently sat down and spoke with Cellarmaster Mike Perreira, who will be aboard Celebrity Reflection. He was happy to answer all of our wine-related questions.

Q: What activities take place during the Riedel tastings? What makes it a great program to participate in?

A: The Riedel tasting is an incredible wine experience. Participants are guided through an itinerary that plays to all of the senses, each of which is engaged when enjoying wine: sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing.

The seminar begins with the 250-year history of the Riedel family, highlighting their deep roots in, and connection to, glassmaking, as well as their incredible passion for it. Further on, participants in the seminar will enjoy four grape varietals, drinking them from an assortment of different glasses. These steps truly show what a great impact a specifically designed varietal glass has on the taste and aroma of the wine.

By being the first in the wine industry to discover that the size and the shape of the glass influences the taste and aroma of the wine, Riedel has the privilege to introduce participants to a first-hand experience and take their wine appreciation to a different level. It’s a great seminar, as you’ll never approach a glass of wine in the same way again.

Q: What are the highlights of the various wine packages available onboard?

A: The various wine packages available onboard offer guests the opportunity to enjoy a great, worry-free wine selection that our Cellarmaster put together to match various tastes. The wine packages also offer a great value when compared to the regular wine list price for the same wines individually. Wines can be enjoyed in many locations onboard, and the various forms of the Classic and Premium packages are tailored to suit shorter or longer itineraries. We even offer a “Build Your Own” wine package, where guests can create their own package (range of $75 and above per bottle).

Q: What are the best wines that Celebrity offers?

A: The best wines that we offer come from the major wine regions in the world. The winemakers that we host on our crafted wine lists are boutique wineries, renowned chateaux, or signature brand names. We also try to offer a great selection of the destination wines, so our guests can enjoy a taste of the places that they are visiting while still being onboard. Some of our wine highlights are ones from Super Tuscany, Burgundy, and Bordeaux – and, of course, the leading Cabernet Sauvignon from California - Screaming Eagle.

Q: Where did you develop your love of wine?

A: Coming from a country where the hospitality business flourished, fine dining and wine are an inevitable part of it. My passion for wine started the moment I stepped aboard one of the Celebrity ships 15 years ago, and this love is still growing. I developed a true commitment to treat our guests as gold, and knowing, understanding and appreciating wine was an important chapter. And now, through our vast array of wine events, we try to help our guests develop a greater appreciation for wine, as well.

Q: Where did you train?

A: All of my training and development came from a lot of seminars, training sessions, and winery visits sponsored by Celebrity Cruises.

Q: What are some surprises about wine that cruisers might not expect?

A: Onboard, we have some wine treasures that will be appreciated by wine lovers from around the world. We host classic grape varieties, along with some lesser known varieties that will capture the attention of passionate wine lovers and get those excited who would like to try something new.

Another surprise for our long-time guests may be the wine-by-the-glass program. We’ve enlarged its selection, and it now offers the opportunity to taste different wines and change the selection of the wine during each dinner course.

Another great surprise is our Wine Bar – the Cellar Masters, where wine lovers or guests that would like to discover more things about wine, on their own, have a great wine treat. Fantastic selections are constantly changing and there’s an abundant tapas menu to complement their picks.

Q: What is your favorite flavor profile and pairing?

A: When it comes to food and wine pairings, there is such a broad spectrum of choices that it would be hard to name just one. Among them are the fantastic pairings of a goat cheese soufflé with white Bordeaux, or the outstanding match of blue cheese (the cheese board selection in Murano) and dessert wine, like Klein Constantia or even Sauternes.

Q: What is the meaning of the wine tower? What does it symbolize?

A: The wine tower is a wonderful architectural piece that emphasizes the great commitment of Celebrity Cruises toward delivering a fantastic wine experience, as well as an outstanding food selection in our restaurants. Being the central piece of the dining room, it draws the attention of our guests to wine as an important part of the dining experience. You can see it from anywhere in the Main Restaurant and its bubble motif symbolizes Champagne and the Champagne wine region.

Q: Is there an order to the wine arrangement in the tower?

A: The arrangement in the tower is done by grape varieties. All of the pinot noirs that are from Burgundy/France, Oregon, and New Zealand, for example, will stay together, making them easily identifiable during busy service hours. The very high-end wines, on the other hand, have a separate section and encompass different grape varieties. Guests visiting the tower have the opportunity to see what a large variety of wines we accommodate onboard.

Q: So, how many selections of wine do we have onboard?

A: With the latest wine list from all countries, we have a total of 487 different labels. We’re the only cruise line in the world with such a vast selection of wines from all different appellations.

Q: What are the greatest challenges to managing the guest wine experience?

A: The greatest challenge is accommodating guests who request what they consume back home, which sometimes is not available on our wine list. Of course, we are always there to assist with a suggestion for something similar. It takes a lot of professionalism and great communication skills to convince those guests to try something new and different. However, when some of our guests discover a wine that they like (after a sommelier recommends it to them), they stick with that particular one.

Q: What is your recommendation for cruisers to select the best wines for their dining experience?

A: All of our guests need to have full confidence in our certified sommeliers who will guide them to try new wines and help them expand their comfort zone. Explain to the sommelier what wines you like, so that they can recommend something similar. Trust their taste and knowledge, and open yourself up to try new grape varieties. Look for food and wine paring recommendations either in the menu, or ones expressed by your sommelier.

Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Reflection Leaves the Yard

By the time you’re reading this, Celebrity Reflection will have made her departure from Meyer Werft and be on her way down the River Ems (backward, mind you) and out to the North Sea.

Celebrity Reflection

Yesterday was an exciting day for me. I arrived at Meyer Werft on Sunday around 9 a.m., and with it being a bright sunny morning, Celebrity Reflection shone just as bright.

It was great to see Nick Weir at the gangway as I boarded the ship. Nick and I have known each other since Celebrity Solstice, when he was our first Cruise Director on our Solstice Class ships. Nick has been filming for us during the building of Celebrity Reflection. Once produced, we’ll share some snippets with all of you.

On Sunday morning, I made my way around Reflection and posted some updates and photos on the Celebrity Cruises Facebook page. I was able to catch the Lawn Club getting her first mowing. The greens keeper was thrilled that we were going to be leaving the yard, as certain parts of the lawn were not getting sun while docked.

While on the Lawn Club, I was anxious to see the changes made to one of my wife’s and my favorite places – the Sunset Bar. Upon first glance, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed. Our new build and design team made a great spot even greater. An elliptical bar is now in the center of the aft deck with all seating having great vistas. As before, the Sunset Bar will provide some of the best “Kodak” moments for our guests.

View from the River Ems lock at Meyer-Werft

After walking around the ship, I ventured off to the narrow lock that Celebrity Reflection needed to pass to start her journey from Meyer Werft. So many people had come from all over Germany to see her off; I even met a couple who had driven 400km (250 miles) from Frankfurt just to witness the event. While at the lock, you could see that the water had risen several feet since the morning and we were getting closer to departure.

Many of us went up to the aft end of the Lawn Club to take it all in. Above us, we saw our friend, Nick Weir, on scaffolding hanging from a crane, getting some final filming from a bird’s-eye view (a cuckoo bird’s, if you know Nick).

Around 3:30 p.m., the excitement began to build as those visiting were told to leave the ship. Around the same time, the tugs arrived outside the locks. The event was about to begin.

The locks lowered, the tugs tied up to Celebrity Reflection, and we began our conveyance. I positioned myself down on Deck 5, right at the aft of the ship in Tuscan Grille. It was like sitting behind home plate. The tugs lined the ship up and we began to “thread the needle” of the lock. In roughly 30 to 45 minutes, the tugs had safely taken us through the lock and we began our journey up the River Ems. The crowds cheered and, in the early evening as we progressed, we were greeted by the town of Weener, where a train bridge had been disassembled for the ship to come through. We then continued through the bridge in the beautiful town of Leer as I ended my day.

The photos here are but a few. We’ve posted many on our Celebrity Cruises Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/celebritycruises, and we will continue to add more there, as I swap photos with my colleagues on the ship.

Today, it’s another sunny day. We have just passed the town of Emden and we continue to make our way to Eemshaven, The Netherlands. The tugs are no longer with us, and we’re being piloted out to sea.

Sincerely, Brian

Brian P. Powell
Associate Vice President, Marketing
Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises: Exclusive Updates on Celebrity Reflection

Since this is the first time I’ve had the honor of being the author, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brian Powell, and I have the pleasure of working for Celebrity Cruises in the marketing department. I’ve been with Celebrity for over eight years, leading our revenue management team for two years and working with our marketing team in various leadership roles for the last six-and-a-half years.

On many levels, I’m thrilled to have been chosen to do this assignment. First and foremost, I’m on my way back to Papenburg, Germany. It brings me back to my very first role within the marketing department, when I was a part of a very special team that helped develop and deliver Celebrity Solstice.

Tomorrow, I’m leaving London after a quick visit with my UK colleagues to head over to Papenburg, and join Celebrity Reflection as she leaves the Meyer Werft shipyard early Sunday morning and makes her way up the River Ems to the North Sea.

For today, I wanted to share some personal photos from my first trip to Meyer Werft during the summer of 2008, when I saw Celebrity Solstice while she was still being built. This trip was made for two reasons – for the ceremonial “start up” of the ship’s engines and for the “chair show.” The “start up” of the engines is self-explanatory, while the “chair show” warrants some description.

The Chair Show

The “chair show” is the first viewing and testing of the seating on the ship. By testing, we mean that our Celebrity Solstice development team sat on, and provided feedback on, every single seat that was to be used by our guests and by our crew from the ship. It was my first time participating in a “chair show,” so it was novel to me. Afterward, it was clear that you can’t judge a chair by its sexy legs or its seductive, silky look and touch. The “chair show” just reiterated to me the level of detail we go to, as a brand, to ensure that our guests are comfortable… always.

Please take a look at a few of the photos. You’ll see some of the chairs we tested, which you may recognize; The Lawn Club, before the grass was introduced; Celebrity Equinox already being assembled by the side of Celebrity Solstice; the first AquaClass, five-head shower setup in the stateroom mock-up; the actual build-out of our innovative adjoining stateroom setup; and lastly, a picture of me standing at the stern of the ship. The last photo was taken to prove to my friends that I really was there, to show my kids that “Papa” had a pretty cool job, and, most importantly, to serve as a keepsake, so that I could always remember being a part of something extremely special.

The First Lawn Club

Celebrity Equinox being built next to the Celebrity Solstice

The first AquaClass Stateroom Shower

A new twist on adjoining staterooms

Inside with Celebrity Solstice

Thanks for joining me on this quick walk down memory lane. I’m going to go and try to get some sleep prior to my flight to Germany tomorrow. I’m feeling the same sense of excitement as I did a little over four years ago when I made my very first trip to see Celebrity Solstice at Meyer Werft. I can’t wait to see the wonderful evolution that Celebrity Reflection has made, and then share it with every one of you.

Brian P. Powell
Associate Vice President, Marketing
Celebrity Cruises