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Millennium 9/23 will be the launch of Celebrity's new marketing strategy

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SueClark

Guest
#1
Millennium Tests Enhancements
Passengers on Celebrity's Millennium voyage departing September 23 are in for a big surprise. They're the first to experience the company's new, quite comprehensive and many-pronged plan-for-onboard enhancement that, ultimately, will encompass the entire fleet -- and may genuinely position Celebrity as a legitimate Crystal competitor, albeit with a younger passenger demographic.

The program is helmed by Celebrity's relatively new "catch." Dietmar Wertanzel, formerly a long timer with Crystal, joined the company earlier this year as senior vice president of fleet operations, overseeing both marine-oriented and hotel-oriented functions. Wertanzel, along with a gang of relatively seasoned cruise industry executives, has developed a plan to enhance everything from relaxation services to enrichment possibilities to what he calls "connections" (i.e. chances to potentially make new friends while sailing). "We want to make it [a Celebrity cruise] a little bit more like a W Hotel concept -- hip and cool but without pretension," he says. The point, of course, is not only in differentiating Celebrity from other cruise lines but also in courting an increasingly upwardly mobile middle class traveler who, in many likely forms, may never have considered a cruise before.

Bottom line? When Millennium, the "test model" for the program, starts rolling out bits and pieces of his team's program changes beginning with the September 23 voyage, they may notice a few funky features. There will be topless sunbathing (way, way up top where few of the non-intrepid care to venture). You can book a poolside massage. In hot locales, Caribbean and such, sunbathers will be presented with frosty towels. You can breakfast in the Cova Cafe and take a grand afternoon tea in the ship's hoity-toity alternative restaurant. Instead of elaborate midnight buffets the ship will instead focus on fabulous lunchtime spreads. Michael's Pub, a cigar bar and Celebrity fixture that, oddly enough, just didn't take with passengers, will be transformed into an intimate piano bar/cabaret lounge (no cigars, either).

Other test phases will roll-out on Millennium through the rest of the year and highlights, among many possibilities, include enhanced adult enrichment programs, more interesting and tempting shops in its Emporium complex, welcome champagne on embarkation, a spa cafe dinner option, poolside fashion shows and wine tasting, and a revamped sports deck. The rollout will be overseen by a "mystery" staffer, one who Wertanzel admits will bear the Crystal Cruises stamp-o-excellence (and who joins the company Monday).

The company will tweak the offerings, based on customer feedback, through the fall, and plans to introduce the program, at least in beginning stages, on a fleetwide basis on or around January 1, 2003.
 
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Stephen H

Guest
#3
Sounds very interesting. I'm sailing on the Millie October 14th so it will be interesting to see what changes there are.
 
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Stephen H

Guest
#6
Don't worry, I'll be sitting in the Aqua Spa pool or supervising the creme brulee production line in the galley!!
 
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Victoria

Guest
#7
WOW!!! No Midnight buffet....Go figure...Hope room service is geared up for the hungry late night crowd. Should have taken second sitting for dinner** Pizza anyone?
 
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Frank

Guest
#8
All these changes suit me. I only went to a midnight buffet on my first cruise over 25 years ago and even then I wasn't really hungry. It is a waste of food. I presume there will be other options for those who do get hungry later at night?
Frank-in-CA
 
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BarbM

Guest
#9
Hope we'll be lucky enough to enjoy these changes on the 11/28 Infinity cruise out of Honolulu....
 
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Gayle V

Guest
#10
How odd that , in an attempt to to become classier, they should implement something that seems so low class and tacky as topless sunbathing. I find the poolside massages rather off-putting too. Actually that bothers me more than the topless sunbathing. At least they intend to keep the toplessness up on a more isolated deck , where I don't have to see it if I don't want too. But they're going have people rubbing other peoples bodies right out, in your face by the pool? Yuk. It would have been much classier to have set up a separate massage area outside. Someplace where you could see the ocean and fieel the breeze but have it be private , away from everyone's vision. Also, kind of annoyed that they're making changes to the meal pattern now, when it's too late to switch to late seating. We usually skip lunch, have early dinner and enjoy the midnight fare. Now we're pretty well stuck with an early dinner that we won't be able to enjoy if we partake of the new, elaborate lunches. And some of us early eaters really liked the midnight meal. The only change I really like is changing Micheals into a piano bar. I always love the piano bar on RCCL ships.
 
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KimberlyC

Guest
#11
If they are going to implement these changes the least they can do is a reprisal of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas". I'm no prude and I really don't care about bare breasts on the top deck or massages by the pool but I find it odd that cigars are out and boobs are in. And if they do extend the pool hours will the topless sunbathing being allowed on formal night? Just curious!
 
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Olga

Guest
#12
We European types find nothing offensive about being topless. But I'll put on my top if they bring back the midnight buffet!
 
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nimiq

Guest
#14
Hi

Have they set any other dates and ships for these changes and where can we see them

Regards
Sea ya

Eric
 
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Gayle V

Guest
#15
Hi KimberlyC, :lol Just how much sun is anyone going to get while "sun"bathing topless at night? :lol
 
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Al

Guest
#16
Sounds as if they're grasping at straws in an effort to define Celebrity's niche in the market. Personally, I believe that these gurus need to concentrate on improved customer service (generally acknowledged as the worst in the industry), keeping ships in the water (February's cruises are all screwed up - again!), returning the quality of food and onboard amenities to pre-RCI days (so many cruisers have reported significant declines in these components), and stop trying to be a Crystal wannabe, while charging Carnival prices. Seven nights for $399 hardly portends an upgrade in the Celebrity experience!
 
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SueClark

Guest
#17
We just got back from this cruise and it was delightful! The first new "perk" was a glass of champagne as you board the ship, entering into the Grand Foyer - a nice classy touch! We checked out the topless deck twice and there was no one up there. The iced towels were nice, and they were offered as you reboarded the ship after a port call. I can't really comment on the other new things because we were in a Royal Suite and had many of the special things there. As usual, the service was very good throughout the ship.

Sue
 
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john s. laughton

Guest
#18
Innovation ALWAYS brings with it....RESERVATION. For those that the topless experience offends, just don't venture into that venue. Being somewhat hedonic, I'm sure I will enjoy the view. This goes as well for the massaging. The addition of Wertanzel should be a step in the right direction. Anyone involved in the Crystal operation is certainly going to be an asset.

The Bob Hope-era is FINALLY coming to a close. The la-de-dah attitudes of the past will no longer be tolerated by babyboomers. It's time for a change and cruising should be no exception. LET 'ER ROCK.