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.
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.
As the Director of Hotel Development and Housekeeping, I oversee all new build and revitalization projects, including the Solsticizing of our Millennium Class. In my 15 years with Celebrity Cruises, I have overseen nine new ships and six revitalizations from the set up and operational side. This includes an endless list of details such as crew movement, on board signage, and the selection of many items you see on board. One of the most important responsibilities I have (for both new builds and Solsticizing projects) is to conduct our Practicality Studies. Before we introduce any new concept, venue design, fabric, or piece of furniture, we study it to see how it might impact the hardware, the crew, and the guest experience.
The AquaClass stateroom concept received no less focus. I was involved in creating and implementing the AquaClass stateroom experience when we introduced it on the Solstice Class. As you heard in an earlier blog, when we later began thinking about Solsticizing our Millennium Class ships, the Operational teams rallied to determine if it was feasible to include the AquaClass concept in the Solsticizing scope. While Blu restaurant, one of the core experiences offered, was challenging to implement for my fellow F&B colleagues, converting the staterooms was much easier. With some special modifications like the addition of the Hansgrohe® shower panel and fog-free mirrors, our custom blended bath products and spa inspired amenities, and design changes to the carpet and upholstery, we were able to easily convert the staterooms.
I’ve traveled in AquaClass during my own vacation, and I find that the spa-inspired amenities and services, Blu restaurant, and access to the Persian Garden create a uniquely relaxing and therapeutic way of traveling. AquaClass staterooms have been a welcomed addition for our guests who have recently sailed on the Solsticized Celebrity Infinity and Celebrity Summit, and I have no doubt our Celebrity Millennium guests will feel the same way!
Director, Hotel Development
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
Greetings from the sunny Bahamas!!
This is Sheldon, your Hotel Director from the beautiful Celebrity Millennium, bringing you the action as we go through the amazing Solsticizing process.
As I walked on board the ship, wonderful memories of fantastic friends that I have made here and all of the exciting places that we have been came flooding back to me. I have spent nearly 5 years of my career with Celebrity on Celebrity Millennium, starting in the year 2000 when I was a part of the opening team that brought the ship out of the yard in St Nazaire, France. I have done contracts here as an Assistant Maitre D’, Food and Beverage Manager, and Hotel Director, covering itineraries in Northern Europe, Mediterranean, Alaska, Caribbean, South America, New Zealand and Australia. This will be my fourth dry dock on this ship after having done previous ones in Palermo, Sicily, Sydney, Australia and Victoria, Canada. So as you can see, I am very happy to be here and to be a part of a new chapter in Celebrity Millennium’s life.
So far, Celebrity Millennium’s dry dock has been extremely successful. This has been achieved through our usual dedication to planning, communication and support for one another. It is really a great experience to be a part of the Celebrity family; everyone’s voice is heard and all feedback is considered so that we can move forward with positive momentum.
Recently I was telling one of my colleagues a wonderful story of how one crewmember’s keen eye for detail contributed to enhancing the beauty of Celebrity Summit during her Solsticizing: I was walking around, speaking with the crew on fire watch, and this particular crew member stopped me and asked if a portion of the ceiling was going to be painted, as it did not fit in with the new décor. I relayed that concern back to the design team, and the very next day scaffolding was being erected and the ceiling was painted. Amazing!
The ship left Miami on April 21st for the short trip to the Shipyard in the Bahamas. Captain Alevropoulos and his team of bridge officers did a great job of getting the ship into the dry dock under very challenging weather conditions. The lifeboats were lowered into the water and were taken away to be completely overhauled and repainted. The remaining water was then drained, leaving the ship high and dry on the blocks. Although some of the Solsticizing work began shortly after leaving Miami, this period is the time when the gangway is placed and the remaining contractors come on board, which means full steam ahead.
It is great to see that most of the people involved in this dry dock are the same from Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Infinity’s dry docks. Everyone is familiar with each other as well as the ship, and they are all absolute professionals. I am looking forward to keeping everyone updated over the next few weeks as we work through to completion and welcome our guests on board in Miami on May 12!
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
One of the most exciting things that we do at Celebrity Cruises—particularly in our food and beverage department—is create new things. We are constantly pushing the limits of our guests’ experiences further and further from what they would normally expect on a cruise vacation. We find great joy in the “a-ha!” moment where we’ve revolutionized expectations of what dining on a cruise ship can be like.
And, I will admit it—I’m probably the least creative person on our team. This is why the opportunity to be surrounded by the creative minds of Chef Jacques Van Staden and the other members of our team everyday is so much fun for me. I simply never know what they will come up with next!!!
Never was this creativity more alive than when Jacques developed Qsine. With amazing support from our leaders and a blank slate to work with, Jacques literally locked himself in his office (aka the culinary laboratory) with a collection of sketchbooks, an open mind and an iron-will to develop a restaurant that people had never seen before. For him, the opportunity to break through all misconceptions of cruise ship dining was the perfect calling. For several months, he divulged little about his plans to me. He really only consulted me to provide occasional glimpses of prospective service items or to bounce a quick idea off of me about possibilities.
Finally, Jacques emerged like a mad scientist that had just made a new discovery. As we spoke, he quickly rattled off idea after idea—“We call this the food palate pleasers. There are no courses. Guests are taking a culinary journey. The music will be vibrant and upbeat, the ambiance a bit whimsical and mysterious…. And it’s all about the food. Not avant-garde cookery, but real food delivered in ways that most people haven’t seen before. And when it’s all done, we turn your perception of dining upside down.”
The brilliance of the concept was instantly visible, and as Jacques spoke, my enthusiasm for Qsine grew. And, it was all a bit terrifying. Would the guests like it? Was it too creative? Would our crew embrace and understand what we were trying to accomplish? However, from the moment we welcomed our first guests into Qsine on Eclipse, we knew these fears were unfounded. Not only did Qsine represent a breakthrough restaurant concept, but it also came to represent a new standard in creativity and innovation from Chef Jacques and our Food and Beverage team. What’s interesting is that the first guests in Qsine were the senior management from Celebrity and the shipyard, Meyer Werft, dining together at the large communal table in the center of the restaurant. I will never forget how I watched them go from skeptics to believers, particularly as they shared their “palate pleasers” and finished their experience comparing the cupcakes they’d decorated.
With this instantaneous success on Celebrity Eclipse, we were thrilled to be a part of the decision to not only include Qsine on all future Solstice class ships, but also as part of our Solsticizing efforts on the remaining Millennium Class ships. And with our first Millennium Class Qsine on Celebrity Infinity, we saw the restaurant take on an even more dramatic presence amidst the two-story, top deck setting.
It’s a thrill that even more guests will now get to enjoy the “Uniquely Unordinary” experience that is Qsine. And for our team, it’s powerful reminder of how Chef Jacques’ creativity and empowerment leads us on our “Uniquely Celebrity” journey of delivering treasured guest food and beverage experiences with pride and imagination.
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!
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.