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Revealing an addition to its series of premium collaborations, Celebrity Cruises has joined forces with Microsoft’s Xbox to integrate the leading destination of video game entertainment into guests’ modern luxury vacations. Slated to introduce one of the industry’s largest Xbox experiences at sea, Celebrity’s alliance boasts entertaining Xbox-themed spaces across its fleet, offering families interactive Xbox Games experiences for children, teens and even the kid in every adult.
The newly “Solsticized” Celebrity Constellation is the first of Celebrity’s ten ships to introduce the complete onboard Xbox experience when it re-entered service on May 5, 2013, after completing its scheduled drydock - just in time for families planning their summer vacations. The remaining Celebrity ships will offer Xbox 360 and Kinect for Xbox 360 this summer, and will unfold the full Xbox experience by the end of 2013.
To celebrate, we’re giving away a 7-night cruise for a family of four, as well as Xbox 360 prize packs! 
Enter today for a chance to win: http://bit.ly/1a1ap0G

Revealing an addition to its series of premium collaborations, Celebrity Cruises has joined forces with Microsoft’s Xbox to integrate the leading destination of video game entertainment into guests’ modern luxury vacations. Slated to introduce one of the industry’s largest Xbox experiences at sea, Celebrity’s alliance boasts entertaining Xbox-themed spaces across its fleet, offering families interactive Xbox Games experiences for children, teens and even the kid in every adult.

The newly “Solsticized” Celebrity Constellation is the first of Celebrity’s ten ships to introduce the complete onboard Xbox experience when it re-entered service on May 5, 2013, after completing its scheduled drydock - just in time for families planning their summer vacations. The remaining Celebrity ships will offer Xbox 360 and Kinect for Xbox 360 this summer, and will unfold the full Xbox experience by the end of 2013.

To celebrate, we’re giving away a 7-night cruise for a family of four, as well as Xbox 360 prize packs! 

Enter today for a chance to win: http://bit.ly/1a1ap0G

It’s Official


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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: The Updated Celebrity Reflection Spa Experience

After having designed the spas on all of the other Solstice Class ships, creating something new for Celebrity Reflection was a welcome challenge. The most exciting part for us, as designers of the spa for Reflection, was the rethinking of the original program, the guest experience and, thus, the layout of the spa. Not only have the spa and the Persian Garden expanded in size, both also have new, unique-to-the-fleet guest offerings and features: a Cold Room, Infrared Sauna and Hammam. The Persian Garden is a sensory playground where guests can spend an afternoon and leave feeling invigorated and renewed.

The fitness component of the spa has grown, as well. Individual studios no longer share space with the main workout and cardio area, and now offer spinning, Pilates, and Yoga classes simultaneously.

As a designer of many spas at land and at sea, Reflection’s spa has one of the most varied and comprehensive spa and fitness experiences anywhere.

Greg Walton
AIA | NCARB | LEED AP | Vice President RTKL

Spa Updates and Facts:

The AquaSpa’s expanded, 883-square-foot Persian Garden will allow for six more in-demand curved, heated tile beds (15 total) with soothing sea views, and six entirely new experiences:

1. The Hammam: A modern twist on a traditional experience, the Hammam is a cool, calm and quiet space designed to loosen muscles and joints while relaxing on a heated stone slab.

2. Infrared Sauna: Infrared heat offers distinct advantages over traditional steam heat saunas, as it provides many of the health benefits of natural sunlight without the dangerous effects of solar radiation.

3. Aromatic Steam Room: Warm steam and aromatherapy combine to melt away muscle tension and toxins, relax the mind, and leave the entire body feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

4. The Cold Room: You can ‘chill out’ completely in this space, whose seats, walls and floor are icy cold (52 F). The room is designed to tighten pores that were opened and cleansed previously in the infrared sauna and aromatic steam room.

5. DIY Scrub and Salt Bar: This new do-it-yourself bar allows you to create custom “body cocktails” or scrubs from an array of salts, sugar and herbs.

6. Sensory Showers: You can complete your journey through the Persian Garden by selecting either warm, tropical rain infused with mild, fruity fragrances, or an arctic cold mist enlivened with eucalyptus essences. Soothing sound, scent and light will further tantalize the senses.

Celebrity Cruises: Captain’s Club Members Experience The Newly Solsticized Celebrity Summit

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,

Robin Sperling
Captain’s Club Elite Member

Celebrity Cruises: Constantly innovating for your comfort

You recently heard from my colleague, Scott Steenrod, who shared the story of how Qsine was brought to life. He mentioned that one of the most exciting things we do here at Celebrity Cruises is create new concepts, and as the Director of Product Development, I couldn’t agree with him more.

Creativity and innovation are at the core of everything we do, whether we’re working with the Food and Beverage Team and our talented chefs to bring our lifestyle book, Excite the Senses, to life, developing exciting new concepts for Celebrity Reflection—our newest ship debuting in October—or finding the perfect name for a new program or venue that can capture its very essence. But, not everything we do is about creating new products. Often times it’s about taking a guest’s experience from “good” to “exceptional.”

For example, when we introduced “eXhale”℠, our luxurious sleep bedding, we thought, “how can we make it an even better experience?” With pure Egyptian cotton linens and plush duvets and pillows, the only stone left unturned was the mattress. But not just any branded mattress would do. So, we set out to not only find a new mattress, but also a manufacturer we could partner with to deliver the most innovative product on the market. After some research and visiting hotel trade shows around the country, we discovered Reverie®, a not so well known yet innovative manufacturer in the field of luxury bedding and adjustable bases.

We worked with them to create a custom mattress for our staterooms that would feature their unique air cylinder technology, plush pillow top, and bamboo mattress cover to keep you cool and comfortable while you sleep. Reverie named this exclusive design, ‘Reverie Dream Lite’. For our suites, we selected their top of the line ‘Reverie Dream’ mattress. Not only did this mattress have their patented technology, but also—with the help of suite butlers—the firmness of the mattress can be customized according to preference.

These new mattresses represent one of the single largest “Solsticizing" investments we’re making on the Millennium Class. I’m so happy the decision was made to move forward because rejuvenation is such a big part of the vacation experience, and we think there’s no better place to start than a good night’s rest. What I am most proud of though, is that these mattresses are made of natural, raw materials farmed in a sustainable manner and are almost entirely recyclable!

How do we maintain the creativity needed to continuously innovate? We utilize the canvas of our beautiful ships devised by our amazing architects and designers. We collaborate with teams across the company to develop the experience that brings the concept to life. We get input from the crew and staff onboard. But, first and foremost, we look for inspiration from you and your feedback. We can’t wait to hear what you think of the new mattresses onboard the newly Solsticized Celebrity Millennium!

Dominique P. Bonavita
Director, Product Development

Celebrity Summit: Everything is coming together!

Victoria, Celebrity Summit Guest ReporterAs your Captain’s Club guest reporter aboard Celebrity Summit, I can say that this experience has been nothing short of amazing. In addition to the usual crew of over 900, there are more than 1,000 additional contractors aboard, all working in fast-paced harmony to make this Solsticizing effort a reality. With unprecedented access around the ship, I have spent two spectacular days with the crew of Celebrity Summit, viewing and reporting on the progress of the dry dock taking place in Freeport, Bahamas.

I can’t believe how much has happened just overnight! The venues have transformed from construction sites to beautiful spaces; they are now ready to welcome guests to sample the crepes in Bistro on Five or try a fabulous martini at the Martini Bar. I can tell you first hand that the new Gelateria is ready for business, and I can personally recommend the chocolate hazelnut gelato. And the caramel. And the mint chocolate chip. In a handmade waffle dish. Well, someone had to test it before the guests arrive, right?

Victoria, Celebrity Summit Guest Reporter (in white)I also got to interview many of the key management responsible for the Solsticizing effort. Roswita Arnet, Director of Hotel Development, talked about what it takes to manage this incredible transformation, while Dominique Gamba, Traveling Restaurant Manager, visited with me at Bistro on Five, the stunning new Blu, and The Normandie, which has been temporarily transformed into dry dock central command. Additionally, Sheldon Thompson, Celebrity Summit’s Hotel Director, talked with me about the crew. These people are incredibly passionate about their work on Celebrity Summit, and were able to share some fascinating details about the renovations and new venues. You’ll be able to see these interviews and the rest of the dry dock report soon, so stay tuned!

My time here in dry dock has come to a close, but I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the ship and her fabulous crew in San Juan for my next reporting assignment in just a few days—aboard the first sailing of the newly Solsticized Celebrity Summit!

Victoria, Celebrity Summit Guest Reporter

Celebrity Cruises: A message from Dan Hanrahan

Happy New Year!

As we kick off the New Year, I’d like to thank you for your support of Celebrity Cruises in 2011. Whether you sailed with us, thought about sailing with us, or are a Travel Partner who markets and sells Celebrity vacations, you have my appreciation. I know that determining where and when to go on vacation is a very important decision. Entrusting us with that precious time is something all of us at Celebrity take very seriously, and we appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to serve you.

I’d like to also extend thanks to our exceptional Crew Members. They are the people who deserve all the credit for the incredible vacation experience we deliver, and although I may be biased, I truly believe our Crew Members are the best in the industry.

As I reflect on 2011, I am amazed by how much took place. We took delivery of our fourth stunning Solstice Class ship, Celebrity Silhouette, in July and held formal naming ceremonies in the charming city of Hamburg, Germany. In November, we celebrated the ship’s stateside debut in Cape Liberty, NJ, with a series of special events preceding the ship’s first 12-night Caribbean season. Our second of four Millennium Class ships, Celebrity Infinity, was Solsticized in an ambitious three-week revitalization. We launched a new brand positioning – “Modern Luxury” – which we believe perfectly captures the essence of what the Celebrity brand is all about.

The year was also rich with awards and accolades. In fact, we were fortunate enough to receive more awards in 2011 than ever before. And while we are grateful for all, three of them made us particularly proud; in the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards, Celebrity was named the “World’s Best Large-Ship Line,” while in CruiseCritic’s discerning annual Editors’ Picks Awards, Celebrity was named “Best for Dining.” Our invaluable Travel Partners also honored us in Travel Weekly’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards, voting Celebrity “Best Premium Cruise Line” and “Best Cruise Line in Europe.”

It was an exciting year, and I anticipate that 2012 will be the same. We’re gearing up for the launch of our fifth Solstice Class ship, Celebrity Reflection in October, and the completion of our $140-million Solsticizing initiative. Celebrity Summit heads to Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas this month, and Celebrity Millennium does likewise in April, essentially completing our Solsticizing project with the exception of some additions to Celebrity Constellation in 2013. All of this work on the Celebrity fleet is the outgrowth of our constant commitment to delivering an extraordinary, modern luxury vacation experience on every ship.

For those of you who booked or sailed on a Celebrity vacation in 2011, a big thank you for your support. For those of you still in the decision mode, I hope you will consider Celebrity. I promise you we’ll do everything we can to make it one of the best vacations of your life.

-Dan Hanrahan