As a part of our ongoing series to showcase our newly Solsticized ships, the Captain’s Club team hosted a day tour for several Captain’s Club Members from the New York area onboard Celebrity Summit on May 6th at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ. After a great tour of the ship, we enjoyed a delicious lunch in the main dining room. It was great to spend the day with some of our wonderful members and share the latest Celebrity innovations with them in person. If only we could have stayed on for the cruise…
Impressions from one of our members:
My companion Ron Williamson and I were fortunate enough to receive an invitation from the Captain’s Club to tour the “NEW” Celebrity Summit; this turned out to be an exceptionally educational experience. During the tour, we were able to visit various suites and staterooms. We noticed that the addition of balconies to the Celebrity Suites and the addition of the Aqua Class staterooms were among the various improvements made to the ship. Celebrity also enhanced the ship by making some additions to the common areas such as Bistro on Five, the Martini Bar, Cafe al Bacio, Blu Restaurant, and my personal favorite, Qsine.
I am a frequent cruiser (having taken approximately 30 cruises), and I have to say that the Captain’s Club is one of the best loyalty programs at sea. Whether it’s during the reservation process or once you are on the ship, the staff of the Captain’s Club is always there to make your experience more enjoyable.
I am also a travel agent, and when any of my clients ask me about cruising and what my favorite cruise line is, the answer is always the same—Celebrity!
Thank you for the opportunity for me to express how I feel about Celebrity,
Captain’s Club Elite Member
Shortly after the launch of Solstice, it became clear that Blu restaurant (and the Aqua Class experience) was a big hit with our guests. We also knew it would be a welcome addition to the “Solsticizing” of the Millennium class ships. However, as is often the case with complex projects, the question of “How do we do this?” was a bit tricky. As it turned out, it was all about the galley.
We consider each of our restaurants to be a “unique destination unto itself.” As a result, we typically require both a dedicated “Front of the House” (dining room) and a “Back of the House” (kitchen or galley) space to make a restaurant a success. The highly refined and detailed nature of the cuisine in Blu requires a dedicated galley space, so the idea was originally discussed for the Constellation “Solsticizing.” However, the idea was abandoned when, after multiple attempts, we couldn’t find a solution for a dedicated galley. And believe me, it wasn’t for a lack of trying! So, as we began discussions for the Infinity “ Solsticizing ,” we rallied the team and once again asked the question, “How do we do this?”
It is often said that those closest to the problem have the best solution, and this situation is a perfect example of where this rings true. It was actually our shipboard team of Chefs and operations managers—led by our Corporate Food and Beverage Operations Manager, Edi Kevorkyan, and our Senior Traveling Executive Chef, Thomas Szymanski—that came up with the solution to dedicate a section of the main galley for Blu. They were confident that, with a few simple equipment modifications, we could execute the entire Blu menu on the Millennium class just as we do on the Solstice class. And while there were some hesitations amongst our team, we decided to give it a shot.
Not surprisingly, it has worked beautifully; as a result, the process has continued on Celebrity Summit and will move on to Celebrity Millennium later this month. Every member of our team has a voice to help us solve our problems and deliver solutions. After all, “All of us are smarter than any one of us.” And now, many more guests will be able to enjoy the Aqua Class experience, and Blu, as a result.
Associate Vice President
Food & Beverage Operations
The Celebrity Summit Team
The crew really makes for an exceptional onboard cruise experience…but what happens during dry dock? In this interview, Captain’s Club Reporter Victoria D. talks with Celebrity Summit Hotel Director Sheldon Thompson about crew life and the crew’s participation during dry dock.
The Normandie a.k.a Dry Dock Central Command on Celebrity Summit
During dry dock onboard Celebrity Summit, Captain’s Club Reporter Victoria D. caught a glimpse of The Normandie in a whole new light as it became the epicenter of all Solsticizing initiatives. In this interview with Dominique Gamba, Traveling Restaurant Manager, Victoria gets a history lesson on the restaurant and the scoop on what will be served for dinner.
Check back soon for more interviews captured during the dry dock experience!
Bistro on Five for dinner…or lunch…or breakfast
Captain’s Club Reporter Victoria D. always gets her story. While on assignment onboard Celebrity Summit during dry dock, Victoria in this hard hitting interview with Dominique Gamba, Traveling Restaurant Manager, uncovered the identity of…the most popular crepe. Can you guess?
Check back soon for more interviews captured during the dry dock experience.
We are ready to welcome new and returning guests that have chosen the Solsticized Summit for their vacation!
After a productive three weeks in Freeport, Bahamas, Celebrity Summit sailed from Dry dock with amazing new features, including Aqua-class staterooms, two specialty dining venues and a number of impressive bars. Guests continue to enjoy the likes of Qsine and its uniquely un-ordinary concept, Cellar Masters—with its wine enomatic machines—that creates a new concept of wine tasting with a touch of tasty Tapas. The Crew has embraced the changes with renewed excitement and pride for all the amazing work done both in Guest and Crew areas in such a short time frame. But, you don’t have to take my word for it! Please see the testimonial below from one of our most loyal Celebrity Summit fans—Anne Brimberg, an elite member with 88 cruise credits!
ANNE’S CELEBRITY SUMMIT TESTIMONIAL:
I am a frequent cruiser with Celebrity Cruises, and I very much like the cruise line and its features. In fact, I have sailed on all the ships except Celebrity Silhouette! When I first learned of the changes to come, I confess I had serious doubts; I asked myself, “Is this going to destroy the M-class warmth?” The answer was a resounding NO. Celebrity Summit looks wonderful on the outside with her fresh coat of paint, very much like a new ship. The new aqua class cabins on deck 11 have had almost no effect on her outward appearance. The lines are still very much as they were. I do not understand how this was accomplished, but bravo!
The changes on the inside are nothing short of amazing. I have always been a fan of the Cova Café. It is probably my favorite space on the ship. Café Al Bacio is even better. It has taken over the space that was once occupied by the card room, giving it great views that it did not have before. The menu is so fantastic that I plan on trying one of everything before I leave the ship! Bistro on 5 and Cellar Masters are located in close proximity to each other with a small entertainment area between them. I cannot comment on the crepes, but they have been so very good on the other ships that I am sure they will be just as delicious on Summit!
The Martini bar is probably the most popular space on the ship. Each time I pass by, it is full of people having great time. Again, lots of windows and a very light and airy feeling add to the overall ambiance. Revelations was done so well that the addition of the Fun Factory in part of its space has had less of an effect then I had expected. It is a beautiful space. Blu is a work of art, just as it is on the S-class ships. And Qsine—what can I say? Located in the space formerly occupied by the florist shop, it is quirky and fun with very good food and a very unique presentation.
For those of you still reading who, maybe as I did, have doubts about the changes, you can relax. Celebrity has taken a very beautiful ship and managed to make her even better.
Congratulations, Celebrity. You have eXcelled with this Solsticizing!
Solsticizing the Celebrity Summit - Behind the Scenes of Dry Dock with Captain’s Club Reporter, Victoria D.
To fully capture the Solsticizing of Celebrity Summit, the cameras followed your Captain’s Club reporter, Victoria D., during the dry dock process in Freeport, Bahamas, and the vessel’s subsequent sailing. In this first video installment watch as Victoria dons a hard hat while touring Celebrity Summit under reconstruction from bow to stern. Whether you are looking for behind the scenes access or simply the ‘before’ shots of your soon-to-be favorite restaurants and staterooms, Victoria has you covered.
Let me tell you about my experience with AquaClass.
The whole concept is spa-inspired—the cabin, dining experience, and, of course, the spa. It’s amazing how much time I can spend “getting ready” in my cabin; with the in-room soothing aromatherapy, custom blended bath products and the fancy shower tower at my disposal, I’m going to be late to dinner again!
I had the opportunity to enjoy dinner at Blu, the dining experience reserved for AquaClass guests. The theme is “clean cuisine,” and even the decor is fresh and modern. Every dish is light and made with the freshest ingredients. I simply have to stop and rave about the Sweet Red Bell Pepper Soup (with Corn and Shrimp Ragoût). It’s one of those dishes where it’s so delicious that you have to get the recipe. The entire meal was fantastic, and the service was superb.
AquaClass guests also get unlimited access to the Persian Garden within the Aqua Spa. It features special touches like a “Turkish bath” area and heated loungers for relaxing in the steam room.
Now that I’ve gotten to experience all that AquaClass has to offer, I think I’m hooked!
Victoria, Celebrity Summit Guest Reporter
Last evening was absolutely fabulous. We started with a drink at the new Martini Bar. The service was as special as the company! I can’t believe how the bartender can have so much “flair” and not spill a drop of my French Martini. Even pouring the drink into the glass was a production. No wonder so many of the guests can be heard telling friends, “Let’s meet at the Martini Bar!”
Next stop was the new specialty restaurant, Qsine. I’d seen the menu demonstrated on the iPad®, but I didn’t know what to expect when it came to the food. Via the iPad, we selected our bottle of wine, and shared our thoughts on the dishes we wanted to sample with our Culinary Tour Guide. After that, we just sat back and watched the “show” begin! It was a great experience to share with friends. All the dishes are designed so that everyone at the table gets a taste. We even saw some exciting dishes being delivered to other tables, and had to sample those too! It wasn’t long before we couldn’t eat another bite—that is, until I saw the cupcakes you decorate yourself delivered to another table! I asked the chef how he makes the peanut butter icing taste so divine, but he just smiled. If you try Qsine, you have to try the lamb chops in the “Mmmm Favorites” dish. I think I will have to see if they can get me more of those for breakfast tomorrow (if I actually feel hungry again!).
Lots more to tell, but I hear the Bridge Tour with the captain awaits me!
Well, they did it! Embarkation day is here, and the newly solsticized Celebrity Summit is ready to wow her guests. The new Martini Bar is the center of activity. The guests look so relaxed already while they sample the colorful and refreshing drinks. At the whimsical specialty restaurant Qsine, the “culinary tour guides” demonstrate the interactive menu with an iPad®. If the menu is this much fun, I can’t wait to experience the food! My stateroom looks fabulous with its upgraded bedding and decor, and the new table and chairs on the veranda are beckoning me to join them (along with the book I’ve just borrowed from the stocked onboard library).
It’s so exciting to have witnessed the solsticizing effort that took place here on Celebrity Summit, and to now see how her first guests are already enjoying the new venues. I’m thrilled to be aboard as the Captain’s Club Guest Reporter and sharing experiences from the past week with all the guests. Next stop, St. Croix USVI!
Victoria, Celebrity Summit Guest Reporter