Thanks to Celebrity Cruises, I have found myself.
I am, I discovered at a press conference on Celebrity Reflection this past Tuesday, a Globe-Trotting Culture Seeker, and I belong to one of three customer segments that Celebrity is targeting.
Do you also belong to one of Celebrity’s three new segments?
The other two segments are Metropolitan Trend Setters (you know who you are — you lovers of high tech gadgets and the buzzing city life) and Golden Nuggets (congratulations, you are the quintessential “avid cruisers.”)
I fall into all three categories, and Celebrity is indeed a good match for my lifestyle and interests, especially through the product offered on its new Solstice-class vessels, the newest of which is Celebrity Reflection.
As a Metropolitan Trend Setter, for example, I appreciate the iLounge, an Internet center that’s also the first Authorized Apple Reseller at Sea. It is pathetic to think that you and I will be spending much of our time on vacation in the iLounge, but alas that is our fate as gadget-loving technophiles. I even enjoyed the ease of use of the stateroom televisions, powered by (geek alert!) Apple technology.
It’s good to know that we MTSs also can appreciate something akin to the city life, with Reflection featuring more restaurants and lounges than I cared to count, and with suites that resemble (or best) upscale, boutique hotels. (In contrast to the suites, the staterooms are certainly refined, but they lack the Wow! factor of the suites.)
Celebrity added a deck to the existing Solstice-class design to accommodate a series of new suites. Deck 14 features 32 new AquaClass Suites, five new Signature Suites, plus the Reflection Suite.
The latter is Celebrity’s first two-bedroom suite, with a distinctive sea-view bathroom extending out over the edge of the ship, a veranda tub with rain shower, and panoramic views from a wraparound veranda. Measuring 1,636 square feet, the Reflection Suite can accommodate up to six guests. All Celebrity suites offer 24/7 butler service. Modern luxury indeed.
Like its Solstice sisters, Celebrity Reflection offers a range of dining experiences — from the main dining room to multiple, themed venues such as the whimsical Qsine to fine dining in Murano.
My favorite venue, however, may just be the Lawn Club Grill, where on Tuesday night I tossed flatbread with friends and colleagues for our starters, and with the help of a friendly chef, grilled thick cuts of filet mignon — a fun experience in a covered outdoor setting.
Celebrity positions itself as offering a product defined by “Modern Luxury.” The gist is that the cruise company strives to offer a product that is elegant and refined. It’s not an all-inclusive experience, like Regent Seven Seas Cruises, for example, but Celebrity’s guests are able to tweak their cruise vacations to create their own vision of Modern Luxury.
For example, Celebrity has cleverly designed packages that allow passengers to “shape” their cruise with add-ons — beverage packages, shore excursion packages, spa packages — on top of the cruise fare. Those who don’t imbibe, for example, need not subsidize those who do. Likewise, if you’re a Globe-Trotting Culture Seeker, you may want to pony up for the shore excursion package. Or if treatments are your thing, go for the spa package.
My take: Celebrity delivers an excellent product — and at too-low-a-price-point for the time being. Of course, that’s great for avid cruisers but not so great for shareholders. The company’s challenges are brand and product awareness, but marketing efforts to put forth the concept of Modern Luxury seem to gaining some traction.
The hope of Celebrity execs, of course, is that once the traveling public discovers just how well the company delivers, their ships will fill at prices that reflect the quality of the experience.
My advice: Experience “Modern Luxury” now before Celebrity begins that ascent. If Modern Luxury were a stock, I’d be clicking the buy button.
Celebrity Reflection embarks on her inaugural Caribbean season with roundtrip 7-night sailings from Miami beginning December 8.
Check out more photos of the Reflection Suite.
I’ve only touched on a few highlights of the new Celebrity Reflection. Be sure to read our full Celebrity Reflection reviews.
For a taste of what the Solstice-class vessels are like, check out Vintage Video: Avid Cruiser Celebrity Solstice Review.
Read more about Celebrity’s five Solstice-class ships:
Do you really think that prices for Celebrity Cruises can ascend to levels that are considerably higher than where they stand today? While some of their cruises are certainly way under-priced, is that not a consequence of the relatively high capacity of their ships? Understandably, there is room to manoeuvre as many of their voyages are only a $300-400 per person premium over a similar voyage on a mass-market line, but how much can they really increase their prices by without entering Azamara/Oceania territory and thus cannibalising their own business (as well as becoming much less of a value proposition)?
To a degree I do believe that brand awareness is something Celebrity should really work on, as I know many international guests which sail on Royal Caribbean spending sums that could easily get them into a Royal Suite on Celebrity or a Penthouse on Seabourn. There is a world out there that is unaware of the various cruise brands, especially in the premium/luxury/ultra-luxury market that can certainly afford it. In the UK market at least there has been a massive push with their ‘Modern Luxury’ campaign, and their brand is very visible in the London Underground.