In a stunning announcement today from parent company Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises has revealed that it will remove two of its ocean liner-themed restaurants from its Millennium Class ships and replace them with the line’s Solstice Class Tuscan Grille.
When the four Millennium Class ships (now named CELEBRITY MILLENNIUM, CELEBRITY INFINITY, CELEBRITY SUMMIT and CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION) were introduced, among their “wow” factors were their auxiliary gas turbine technology and their ocean liner specialty restaurants, which beautifully curated original fittings from the SS OLYMPIC, the SS NORMANDIE, the SS ILE DE FRANCE and the Blue Ribband-winning SS UNITED STATES.
In today’s press release, the CELEBRITY INFINITY and CELEBRITY SUMMIT, which feature The SS United States Restaurant and The Normandie Restaurant, will have their respective spaces replaced with a Mediterranean-themed Tuscan Grille. The fittings from the two liners will be moved to a display area near the entrance to their casinos.
In addition to these changes, the $16 million refits will include the addition of an outdoor “Rooftop Terrace” venue “featuring chic, comfortable furniture and unique artistic elements, a large, outdoor film screen and stereo surround sound.” The Rooftop Terrace will “fuse movies with unique food experiences.”
The drydockings will include renovations to the ships’ Penthouse and Royal Suites (marble surfacing, new fixtures and comfortable seats in the bathrooms as well as new curtains and linens) and will include conversion of the ships’ specialty restaurants to one of Celebrity’s signature venues, the Tuscan Grille. The spaces will be completely refinished and will feature “a refreshed menu designed to tantalize, including fresh pasta made in-house; an Italian cocktail menu, a first for Tuscan Grille; a wine list focused on the wine-growing regions of Italy; and new foods like artisanal salami and cheeses; crispy crab arancini with lemon pepper aioli; grilled branzino with spinach and olive oil; swordfish with Castelvetrano olives, fennel and white wine; and oven-roasted USDA Prime dry-aged steak.”
As for the liner items, the press release stated, “On Celebrity Infinity, the maritime artifacts in the S.S. United States will be featured in a special display area in the casino’s entry vestibule. Items include charts, maps, an original place setting, a ship model, and more. (SIC) Celebrity Summit’s Normandie also features numerous artifacts that will be preserved and displayed in a special area on board. These include photographs, artistic works, a ship model, and more.”
Other refitting includes the addition of an enclosed portrait studio, the creation of a new future cruise sales office, a refresh of the Solarium (new furniture, new floors, and refinished pool tops, and a refresh of finishes in the spa café and the removal of the themed décor in the ship’s casino.
CELEBRITY INFINITY will undergo the transformation between October 15 and 29 this month and the CELEBRITY SUMMIT will follow in March of 2015. Guests booked in either ship’s ocean liner restaurant after the transformations take place will have first dibs in re booking their reservations for the Tuscan Grille.
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."