May 8, 2015
(10:10 EDT) -- Celebrity Cruises' boss has confirmed that the line's new ships will feature Suite Class dining.
Celebrity's President & CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said the Luminae restaurant will be on Celebrity Edge, the line's new class of ship which will debut at the end of 2018.
Just 132 passengers on a ship of 2,852 have access to the brand-new restaurant, which debuted on Celebrity Eclipse following an eight-day refurbishment.
Speaking onboard Eclipse, Lutoff-Perlo said: “We will continue with the Suite Dining concept, and Edge will have the Suite Dining concept.”
Lutoff-Perlo, who joined Celebrity in November after a number of years with Royal Caribbean, also said she “would consider” introducing a celebrity chef restaurant onboard – as she did with Jamie's Italian and Michael Schwartz on Royal Caribbean's Quantum Class ships.
The emphasis on the new ships – which will be the same size as Solstice class ships – will be on culinary and destination.
“It'll be six years since the last time Celebrity launched a ship and 12 years since we designed a new ship,” she added. “When we launched Solstice, it truly transformed the brand, and now I get to do that all over again with Edge.”
Besides dining in Luminae, Suite Class passengers get exclusive access to Michael's Club, their own butler and priority embarkation.
The introduction of these perks not been with some controversy, however, particularly the closure of the popular Michael's Club to all but a handful of passengers.
Speaking to Cruise Critic, Lutoff-Perlo said: “We have to listen to our customers, and our suite guests said they wanted certain perks and that's what we have introduced.
“This is not about ‘classism' or ‘elitism', this is about people making certain lifestyle choices and us responding to that.”
However, she said she understood why non-suite passengers – including many Cruise Critic members – were not happy with the changes:
“They [non-suite passengers] have a valid point. When we give something [to one group of passengers] we don't want to take something away [from another group of passengers].
“It was never our intention to take things away from our guests, we try and balance the overall satisfaction of all of our guests.”
Last week, Royal Caribbean's President & CEO Michael Bayley (and former Celebrity boss) said it was likely that a form of Suite Class would be introduced on Royal Caribbean ships.
Lutoff-Perlo also ruled out basing a ship year-round in China, but confirmed Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Century would remain there seasonally: “We have no plans to base any ships in China for the next two years,” she said. “We see the main opportunity for us with the China market is outbound Chinese travel – to Europe or Australia or the US.”
--By Adam Coulter, UK Editor