Today my big “Family & Friends” group that developed from meeting a fellow member of our local Chamber of Commerce boards the Celebrity Infinity for a fantastic 7 night Alaska Inside Passage cruise from Seattle. I thought it appropriate to share a few facts about the history of Celebrity cruises.
Celebrity Cruises was founded in April 1988 as a subsidiary of the Greece-based Chandris Group to operate upmarket cruise ships to Bermuda. Chandris had been involved in cruise traffic since the 1960’s and during the late 1980’s the company operated in the United States market under the brand name Chandris Cruises.
The signature “X” displayed on the funnel of Celebrity ships is the Greek letter “chi”, for “Chandris”. Common features on board Celebrity brand ships are aft-glass dining rooms, formal foyer areas, alternate dining venues, balcony and suite staterooms, large pools and lounging areas, signature bars and lounges, libraries, elegant spas and gyms, and relaxation areas.
In 1997 the Chandris family sold their interests in Celebrity Cruises to Royal Caribbean International. During the same year Celebrity Cruises took delivery of the first Century class vessel, Century, that was followed by Galaxy in 1996 and Mercury in 1997. Between 2000 and 2002 Celebrity took delivery of a quartet of new ships, the gas turbine-powered and aptly named Millennium class ships Millennium, Infinity, Summit and Constellation.
The Celebrity Expeditions sub-brand was launched in 2004 with the acquisition of Celebrity Xpedition, a small boutique ship offering specialized cruises around the Galápagos Islands. In 2005 the first ship of what was to be named Solstice class was ordered with the first ship, the Solstice delivered in 2008. Eventually there will be five of this class ship in their fleet. The inaugrual sailing of the fourth ship, Silhouette, will be on July 23 of this year, joining the Solstice, Eclipse, and Equinox. The last of the Solstice class ships, the Reflection joins the fleet in November of 2012. As these new ships have come into the fleet, the older ships have been transferred to subsidary cruise lines in Europe.
In 2006, plans were made to transfer Blue Moon and Blue Dream from the fleet of Pullmantur Cruises to Celebrity Cruises under the names of Celebrity Quest and Celebrity Journey. In the end the decision was made to form an entirely new line, Azamara Cruises. This is a deluxe/luxury brand of small ships with a capacity of 694 passengers each.
In 2007-2008, all of Celebrity Cruises’ ships were renamed with a “Celebrity” prefix added to the pre-existing ship names.
Today, Celebrity Cruises is the leader in the premium cruise market. Their beautifully appointed ships with attention to detail in every aspect of the ships operation is unmatched in the industry. Fine dining with generous portions, flavour and presentation is second to no other.