The cruise ship vacation celebrated its 100th birthday in 2000 and a lot has changed since those early days. Today’s ocean passengers go for the onboard lifestyle as much (if not more) than they do for the places that lay in wait on the voyage, and the modern megaships of the 21st century offer everything from ice rinks and real grass lawns to Broadway quality shows and gastronomic feasts.
Celebrity Cruises is the cruise operator for the sophisticated 40-something age group. Celebrity’s Solstice class – consisting of the vessels Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Eclipse) exude a glamorous atmosphere that feels more like an upmarket boutique hotel than a cruise ship.
As a company, it has driven cruising from the shuffleboard tournaments and deck chair experience of the 1970s well into the 21st century, bringing back the glamour and sophistication to what was becoming a rather dated vacation concept.
Founded in 1988 as part of the Chandris Group and operating luxury cruise ships to Bermuda, Celebrity Cruises is today synonymous with luxury travel and innovative onboard facilities. After giving the cruise industry a much-needed facelift in the 1990s, the company is now known as a high-end cruise operator committed to updating classic cruising concepts to reflect contemporary lifestyles: what the firm itself calls ‘Modern Luxury’.
With such dazzling amenities, award-winning cuisine, fine wines, and even the chance to play a game of croquet on the real grass lawn on the top deck, it’s not much of a surprise to discover that Celebrity Cruises was voted No. 1 Large-Ship Cruise Line in the Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards in 2011.
When listing the destinations open to those considering a Celebrity cruise, it is more pertinent to ask, where don’t they travel? The list covers all continents, and includes cruises to the Norwegian fjords, the unspoiled landscapes of Hawaii, the sun-kissed beaches of the Caribbean, a tour around the azure-blue Mediterranean, the splendor of the Alaskan wilderness, and the exotic beauty of South-east Asia.
If you can wrench yourself away from the many restaurants onboard – both formal black tie settings and more relaxed dining options – as well as from the quirky nighttime shows and the super modern spas, these destinations offer shore excursions to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, cities and landmarks.
Theme cruises for connoisseurs of the culinary art further promote the love of good food and wine. Of these, the most popular are the ‘Excite the Senses Sailings’ and ‘Immersive Europe Wine Cruises’, allowing passengers to try new flavors and delicacies every single night.
While Celebrity’s largest and most modern vessels are those in the Solstice Class, its Millennium Class fleet (Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit) is not far behind, with a similar level of high standards and attention to detail. In a class of its own meanwhile is the Celebrity Xpedition, which operates solely on the Galapagos Islands route to bring cruise passengers with a sense of adventure to one of the last uninhabited places on Earth in style and luxury.