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Celebrity Eclipse and Connie

In recent years Celebrity have made significant commitments to Europe during the summer, sometimes to criticisms from their american customer base that they are neglecting the Caribbean in summer. 2014 will be no exception: Celebrity will have no less than 6 ships in Europe for the summer season, their biggest commitment to Europe yet. These will be the Solstice-class ships Eclipse, Equinox, Reflection and Silhouette, and the Millennium-class ships Infinity and Constellation. They’ll have different bases during the summer, as follows:

  • Eclipse will be based in Southampton as she was last year, and will be doing similar cruises again: 14 night cruises to the Baltic (5), the western Mediterranean (3), the Canaries (2) and Iceland and Norway (1); plus a number of shorter cruises to the Norwegian fjords and the Canaries. Her first cruise (8 nights to the fjords) will start on 2 May (I would have thought that was a bit early for that itinerary), and her last one will start on 30 October (9 nights to the Canary islands).
  • Infinity will be based at Harwich. Her main itinerary will be no less than 5 British Isles cruises of between 10 and 14 nights; she’ll also be doing cruises to the fjords (2) and Iceland and Norway (also 2). But her most interesting-sounding itineraries will be three ‘immersive wine cruises’ in September and October. However, further research reveals that the actual itineraries aren’t that interesting – they start with what’s described as ‘Paris/Normandy’ for two days, but which actually means two days in Le Havre! Not a lot of wine in Normandy, although there is cider. And calvados. And pommeau… Then there’s two days in La Rochelle, which could cover the wines of the Loire and Bordeaux, and then visits to Bilbao, Vigo and Porto.
  • Constellation will be doing a programme of cruises out of Amsterdam all through May, June, July and August, to the Baltic, the fjords, and the Arctic circle. Most of these are 12 night cruises. The Baltic cruises are essentially the same itineraries  as we can do from Southampton but are a couple of nights shorter because the cruise starts from Amsterdam. The Fjords cruises are definitely longer, and include calls at no less than 8 Norwegian ports, including Oslo. Finally, Connie will conclude her season with a 14 night cruise to Istanbul in early September. Intriguingly, however, there’s no mention of what happens to her after that….
  • Reflection will be based in Civitavecchia throughout the season and will be doing the 10- and 11-night eastern Med cruises that Celebrity have been doing for some years. The 10-night cruise majors in the Aegean with calls at Messina, Piraeus, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini and Mykonos, while the 11-night cruise drops Messina and Rhodes and replaces them with an overnight call at Istanbul. Both cruises also include a call at Naples. We’ve already done both these itineraries: in 2007 on a former Celebrity ship, Galaxy, and in 2009 on Solstice.
  • As a first for Celebrity, Silhouette will be doing a set of five 7-night cruises in the eastern Mediterranean. These will be out of and returning to Venice, with calls at Kotor, Piraeus, Katakolon and Santorini, and these will occupy her from late July and throughout August. Both before and after theseshorter cruises, Silhouette will be doing a series of individual 11 and 12 night itineraries between Civitavecchia and Venice, either into the Aegean and ending in Venice, or to multiple ports in the Adriatic and ending at Civitavecchia.
  • Equinox will mainly be doing 12 night cruises from Barcelona, either returning there or finishing in Venice; these latter will then be followed by cruises from Venice. Some of these will be 7-night, thus increasing Celebrity’s commitment to these shorter Mediterranean cruises.

Taken altogether hat’s a significant commitment to Europe – more than half of their main fleet, including four of their flagship Solstice class ships. The only ships not in Europe will be Solstice itself, and the Millenium-class ships Millenium and Summit. The itineraries, too, are varied and interesting. The new 7-night cruises will be welcomed by US-based Celebrity customers who want to combine a cruise with a land holiday but who may be restricted to a maximum of two weeks. The 10 and 11 night E Med cruises out of Rome are old favourites, and the newer Mediterranean itineraries out of Venice and Barcelona will win friends – in fact there are a couple that are interesting us very much. Finally, they have won a lot of British customers over recent years with their ex-UK itineraries, and these continue.

(The picture at the top is of two Celebrity ships, Eclipse and Constellation, taken in Southampton at the very beginning of our cruise on Arcadia in 2012.)

2 Responses to “2014 Schedules – Celebrity”

  1. “…their biggest commitment to Europe yet.”

    Maybe we are prepared to pay higher fares than American’s? Less completion too, possibly?

    • Tom says:

      Well, my experience on previous Celebrity fly-cruises in the Med is that the overwhelming majority of passengers are North American: mainly from the USA but also with a goodly number of Canadians (including a lot of French Canadians). I would say that on the cruises we’ve done with Celebrity – 10 & 11 nights on Galaxy on 2006 and 2007, and 11 nights on Solstice in 2009 – barely 10% of passengers were from the UK. So they are selling these cruises mainly to Americans of various sorts, for whom the actual cruise price is just one part of the overall expense – reading threads on Cruise Critic’s Celebrity forum I get the feeling that flights to/from Europe are the biggest headache, and can be the biggest expense.

      To be honest, it was that very american feeling that we enjoyed on those Celebrity cruises in the past, and why we are now thinking about another one in 2014 – we’ve had enough of whingeing Brits! That’s also why we’ve avoided ex-UK Celebrity cruises: they seem to have mainly British passengers with all the downsides of US-line cruising – high prices on-board, no free shuttles, etc, etc.

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