Celebrity Cruises has just announced some major refurbishments and enhancements to two of it’s popular Millennium class vessels- Celebrity Infinity and Celebrity Summit- to be implemented between October 2015 and March, 2016.
The overall aim- and a perfectly laudable one- is to enhance the range of leisure features and dining areas available to the premier suite class passengers on both ships.
In line with this enhanced dining philosophy is a plan to eliminate both ‘themed’ ocean liner restaurants in each ship, and replace them with a specially crafted new Tuscan Grille, the line’s signature Mediterranean themed steakhouse.
In the case of Celebrity Infinity, this will involve stripping out the decor taken from the legendary SS. United States- herself tottering on the edge of the scrapper’s scaffold right now.
For Celebrity Summit, it will mean the stripping of the gorgeous Normandie restaurant, and the removal of all the fantastic, original, 1930’s Art Deco luxe from the ship.
Two things worry me here.
Where will these beautiful, evocative fittings- currently available to the travelling public- end up?
Secondly, will these moves also presage the removal of the similar, themed restaurants from siblings, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit? Sadly, it seems inevitable.
On Celebrity Millennium, the themed ocean liner restaurant features the original wood panelling and fixtures from the RMS Olympic- the twin sister ship of the Titanic.
Again, what will happen to these fittings?
In creating these themed restaurants aboard ship in the first place, Celebrity established a totally unique, nostalgic dining experience at sea; a tour de force that was at once both elegant and, more importantly, accessible to the travelling public. It was something of a masterstroke at the time, and an enviable coup for the premium, highly regarded line.
Now, it seems, all four are to be thrown away for the sake of creating some quasi-Italian themed dining experience.
I have no objection to the idea of a Tuscan Grille, but at the expense of some of the most poignant and alluring real estate at sea? It seems to me that this is not a fair trade.
Within that eminently capacious quartet of 91,000 ton hulls, surely there must be some area that can be used- or built on to- to create an additional fine dining experience?
But the idea of removing those idyllic, themed dining rooms, with their all too obvious links to the hushed, illustrious dining experiences savoured aboard liners long since gone, seems too high a price to pay in my opinion.
Dear Celebrity Cruises; please think again.