Comments from guests like you help us continually retain our status as an award-winning cruise line. So we asked some of you to talk about your favorite parts of the newly Solsticized Celebrity Infinity. With so many new places to explore, we know the choices weren’t easy. This is what you had to say.
Catherine Gupanis, Australia – 15 Night South America Cruise
Catherine Gupanis from Australia has found her favorite location onboard the Solsticized Celebrity Infinity!
“Why the Martini Bar? Because of the Perfect Cosmopolitans!”
The literally cool Martini Bar in the heart of the amazing Celebrity Infinity on Deck 4 wows Catherine every day with exceptional service, the latest in house music, a stunning view and of course, her favorite drink–with a twist! Cheers, Catherine!
Valerie & Wayne Franklin Valdez – 15 Night Panama Canal & 15 Night South America Cruise
It has been love at first sight for Valerie and Wayne – The newly designed Constellation Lounge is their favorite location onboard the Solsticized Celebrity Infinity. Valerie’s eyes sparkle when she thinks of “…the overwhelming view on top of the world.” In this case, it’s Deck 11 forward. The Constellation Lounge is the perfect venue for Valerie and Wayne’s daily rendezvous with a breathtaking sunset.
Dennis & Naomi Holt – 15 Night South America Cruise
“Oh yes, it’s the outstanding service! And of course the unique food—actually, the Spring Rolls and the Filet Mignon. But also, the magnificent view. The whole atmosphere… it’s just – wow!”
Naomi and Dennis have difficulty defining the causes for their love affair with Qsine Restaurant onboard the Solsticized Celebrity Infinity. The Uniquely Unordinary restaurant on Deck 11 keeps on inspiring Naomi and Dennis’ passion for exceptional culinary experiences.
One of the most complex projects we are undertaking during the revitalization of the ship is the addition of 43 new staterooms on Deck 11 and 17 new rooms on Deck 3. Deck 11 includes 37 AquaClass and 6 inside cabins. The views from the verandas are stunning! To give you a perspective on the location, I have provided a photograph of Deck 11 with the new cabins simulated in place above the Deck 10 Aft Bar to the funnel.
As you can imagine, this is an incredible engineering task to accomplish in 21 days. It all began with a prefabricated superstructure that was built here in the Grand Bahama shipyard prior to our arrival. Before it could be installed in the former Kids Fun Factory location, the entire area needed to be demolished and prepared during our crossing. The structure was fabricated into three pieces and is designed as a shell with basic HVAC and fire protection materials installed. Each structure will be loaded by crane onto a barge and then transported adjacent to the floating dock where the ship is located. Once alongside, it will be lifted by crane approximately 150 ft in the air and set in place. As it is secured in place by the mechanical team it will be welded to the existing deck and the build-out of each space will then be initiated.
The actual cabins themselves have also been prefabricated here in the yard. They too will be lifted by crane and inserted into the structure. They look like shipping containers being loaded, but are actually completely finished staterooms. They have bathrooms, closets, and all finishes. The only thing missing is you and a bottle of champagne! Just kidding—there is still a lot to be done! Once in their final location, all the utilities will be joined together and the process continues until all 17 are connected like a puzzle. This is a tremendous project to see first-hand, as every piece must be built to exact specifications or the entire project will not fit together.
On Deck 3, a similar project to add 17 cabins in the location of the former Conference Center and Cinema took place. However, in order to load the new cabins, a large hole was cut in the side of the ship. The hole was made large enough to insert the cabins and slide them into place. They were lifted by crane on a platform to the side of the ship and then loaded in one by one. Of course, this sounds quite simple, but when the work is being carried out at night and 70 ft in the air, it is not so easy. Once all the cabins were loaded, the large steel plate that was cut from the ship was welded back in place and painted over as if the hole was never there.
I hope you enjoy the pictures and come back soon for more about the new venues.
During the renovation process, many of you have asked: “What happens when the ship goes into Dry Dock, and when do you officially begin the revitalization?” The initial phase is the protection of the ship, followed by the loading of tools and materials for our contractors and riding crew so they can begin working.
This process began with our turnaround on November 13th in Ft. Lauderdale. We disembarked 2,200 guests and then embarked 700 contractors and 200 riding crewmembers. The contractors are the technical groups that have expertise in all different aspects of the project and are responsible for building all the new venues, etc., and the riding crews are Celebrity employees who are trained in specific disciplines and travel throughout the fleet during the year. In a dry dock situation, they assist our crew in accomplishing many of our own projects that we can only manage when the ship is out of service.
Upon their arrival in Freeport, the remainder of the project team joined the ship and immediately went to work, bringing our combined work force to approximately 2,000 (1,000 crew and 1,000 contractors). We currently have 1,700 living on board and 300 staying in local hotels. Make no mistake—this is a massive undertaking! If you have ever renovated part of your home while you were living there, just imagine renovating the entire house, including where you eat and sleep. Loads of fun for all!
In Ft. Lauderdale, we removed 200 pieces of art from the ship for reframing and repair (with an approximate value of $12 million). To protect the ship, we landed 2,200 sheets of plywood by crane for the open decks. Once on board, we protected the deck by screwing all the sheets together to create a temporary floor. We loaded twenty 20’ containers on to the open decks on 10 and 11 for our transit to Grand Bahama. We then sailed at 9:00pm and arrived in GB at 03:00 on November 13th. As time is very precious, we started working immediately – all of the technical teams organized their areas, and began the demolition work.
The first priority was the demolition of both the kids Fun Factory on deck 11 and the Conference Center on deck 3 to make way for the new staterooms. It really is amazing when you think about how, earlier that morning, the ship was full of guests enjoying themselves, and just hours later the ship looked like war zone. The crew was just in awe.
Here are a few more fun statistics about our loading day: 503 pallets of food and beverage provisions that will keep us going until the 22nd—including 25,000 liters of water, and 50,000 cans of beer—were loaded onto the ship. We also loaded an additional 42 tractor-trailers (one of which included a new gas turbine engine) of carpet, equipment and marine supplies on to the open decks on 4, 10, 11, and the basketball court on 12.
I hope you enjoy the pictures, and please come back for more!
Success! We made it through a very long day in Port Everglades as we completed our voyage from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale. As always, the crew did a tremendous job with our guests and is now even more excited about the project ahead. We always believe that a happy crew will translate into happy guests; therefore we are making a substantial investment in their lifestyle. Significant physical improvements are taking place in the crew areas, as well as additional training to further enhance the crew’s careers.
Overall, a crewmember’s entire working and living environment will be upgraded. In the crew areas, all the flooring is being replaced in the corridors and inside their cabins. Their cabins will also receive new mattresses, flat screen televisions, new bathroom fixtures and—most importantly—wifi! Yes, wifi will be a huge hit because crewmembers will be able to connect with friends and family from the privacy of their cabins. And don’t worry! We are also installing wifi throughout the ship! The entire crew will also receive brand new uniforms that are consistent with our Solstice class and unique to each venue. Essentially, everything they touch and feel will be new: new uniforms, new cabin, new technology, additional training, and a new working environment.
During this past voyage, our Human Resource and Training and Development teams from Miami have been on board conducting training sessions. The Celebrity brand has evolved into the Solstice class and we are now “Solsticizing” Celebrity Infinity. We are not leaving the crew behind, and we’ve developed training programs that emphasize a friendlier, more natural style of service. I know many of you are wondering: how could Celebrity Infinity’s crew become any friendlier? We just want them to express themselves, as they are truly engaging people with a fascinating lifestyle and story to tell.
Here’s what they have to say:
- “Can’t wait to see the Modern Luxury implemented at Celebrity Cruises. I believe that we will deliver a better service and will attract more guests.” Antonio - Sales Associate
- “Can’t wait to see the new venues on Celebrity Infinity and the implementation of Modern Luxury.” Ronald – Mess Attendant
- “I believe that all the changes that the company decided to do on Celebrity Infinity are for the benefit of the crew members, because the guest will look forward to sailing with us and it will be a great place to work. Dry dock will be a very good time for us—a lot of work, but also time to relax and enjoy different activities onboard the ship and ashore.” Servio – Stateroom Attendant
- “Looking forward to seeing the very exciting crew activities during the dry dock (beach bbq, casino night, bingo, etc).” Noel – Apprentice Purser.
- “The new Celebrity Infinity will be just amazing. The new cool bars and lounges will be the perfect place to work – can’t wait to see the changes.” Agus – Bartender
- “Looking forward to seeing the new style of service, all the changes and innovations that will take place here on Celebrity Infinity. I’m very proud to be here.” Rhea – Mess Attendant.
As you can see, they are very excited to share their experiences with you. Please tune in next for the first glimpse of Dry-Dock and some photos of the renovation in progress of this beautiful ship.
Thanks for checking in,
We are now just four short days away from Ft. Lauderdale and our arrival in Grand Bahama for the revitalization. Today, Celebrity Infinity is transiting the Panama Canal and we are about to enter the incredible Gutan Locks. I have traveled through the Panama Canal many times and each time it is different in some extraordinary way. Our guests are always up before sunrise as their anticipation does not allow them to sleep. Today is no exception.
Speaking of anticipation, I have been answering questions continuously about the revitalization process, our crew, and the new venues that are going to be added. Several of our loyal guests have experienced the changes we made on Celebrity Constellation, so they are very interested in the additional features that Celebrity Infinity will receive. Additionally, Celebrity Infinity has a terrific reputation amongst our guests for incredible service and one of the friendliest crews at sea. It is this dynamic combination that I know has made the Solstice Class very popular, and indeed will come to life here as well. I am so happy for our crew to be able to provide the same impeccable, friendly service in a newly revitalized ship that also features these fantastic new venues.
This is where our guests are really intrigued—they love “their crew” and look forward to seeing them perform their magic in the new environment. During my conversations, the guests realize that in less than a month, Celebrity Infinity will introduce Qsine, Celebrity’s newest restaurant that is exclusive on Celebrity Eclipse and the brand new Celebrity Silhouette. They love the fun, playful concept that its menu is actually an iPad. How cool is that? Qsine is a unique restaurant where food becomes a culinary journey that turns the ordinary upside down and inside out. In fact, the chandeliers are upside down and the chairs are different heights.
Of course, it goes hand in hand with the hip iLounge. Guests cannot believe their favorite ship will not only sell Apple products, but also offer classes that enhance their experience with their iPad, iPhone, iPods and MacBooks. As my colleague on Celebrity Eclipse, Bernard Stacher, always says, “It’s the future!” It’s also Modern Luxury…
Tune in again in a few days and we will hear from the amazing crew.
Good day from Celebrity Infinity as she sails off the west coast of Mexico on the way to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. It is ten days and counting until we reach Fort Lauderdale and sail for Grand Bahama. One of the most anticipated aspects of this project is the introduction of our AquaClass and the private restaurant, Blu. I find it very cool that Infinity will be the first ship in the Millennium Class to offer this incredible experience that caters to the spa lifestyle.
Having managed destination resorts in Arizona and Las Vegas, guests ask me all the time: what is it like to manage a resort at sea and what are the differences? Of course, I reflect upon my past experience, and know that I have been privileged to manage Mega-Resorts with world class facilities.
While working on Celebrity Infinity during the past two years, I frequently hear positive comments about the AquaSpa, Thalassotherapy pool, and Persian Garden. In comparison to a land-based destination spa, the only components presently missing here on Infinity are specifically designed staterooms and a full service restaurant that is dedicated to the spa lifestyle — Voilà.
Our entire crew is so excited that this award winning combination will be available on Infinity in less than a month! AquaClass will feature 107 staterooms and include a Personal Spa Concierge and unlimited access to the Persian Garden. As well, in-room amenities include: Aroma scent selections, Hansgrohe “shower tower,” Frette bathrobes and slippers, pillow menu to customize your night’s sleep, and daily deliveries of bottled water and teas, just to name a few.
Having worked throughout the food and beverage departments in my career, my excitement for Blu is difficult to contain. I am always fascinated by the food and beverage concepts our Master Chef and Vice President of Culinary Operations, Jacques Van Staden and his team create. Leave it to Jacques to introduce “clean cuisine!” Not many people know that I have been enjoying and dreaming about Jacques’ food for years, as we worked together in Las Vegas. I have often wondered how the name Blu was chosen, and now understand that it was inspired by the Mediterranean Sea. The designer wanted the restaurant to connect to AquaSpa, but did not want it to be too literal, so they dropped the “e” to give it a unique identity.
Right now, the only Blu I can see is the deep blue water of the Pacific Ocean and a school of dolphins seemingly chasing the ship. Wow…