A conversation with
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Chairman and CEO
Richard H. Wagner
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For a photo essay on the Celebrity
Eclipse Naming Ceremony
A British Solstice
The latest of the Solstice class ships is Celebrity Eclipse, which
entered service in April 2010. Eclipse is similar to but not identical
to her two earlier sisters Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox.
"Whenever we take delivery of a ship, we go through a process where
we go over the things we have learned. Our mantra is continuous
improvement and there are always things you learn from anything that
you do. Solstice came out and Equinox came out and we said they
really did do a good job and so there were very few changes that we
wanted to make here."
With cruising becoming increasing popular outside of the United
States, RCCL is deploying ships to Europe, Asia and South America
so as to diversify its sources of passengers and to grow the business.
To this end, Celebrity Eclipse is being based in Southampton, England
during the summer months and is being marketed primarily in Britain
and Ireland. "We have been witnessing tremendous growth in the U.K.
and in Ireland and we wanted a ship that could help satisfy that
When RCI entered the British market in earnest in 2005, it did so by
first deploying one of its smaller ships to Southampton. When this
was well-received, it replaced that ship with a larger ship and when
that was successful, it deployed its then-newest and largest ships to
England. Celebrity, however, is not taking such a gradual approach
and is entering the market by deploying its newest top-of-the-line ship
"We have not historically been as well known in this market and
we felt that we had to do something fairly dramatic to move that
needle. We wanted to be sure that it was not just the most
sophisticated ship but we also wanted it to be the coolest ship. I think
the intent was to be able to attract quite a broad market and to have
something everyone would enjoy and not just pride ourselves on the
fact that we have lawn chairs for people to sit and read."
In deciding what type of ship to station in the U.K., Celebrity also
took into account the weather conditions that the ship would encounter.
"These ships [the Solstice class] have very good seakeeping. We go
through the Bay of Biscay and these ships are as good as you can wish.
Once you are at this kind of eight or nine meters draught you have a
solid vessel. But there are things that we do to make them more
amenable to cold weather. Here, the Solarium [a glass-enclosed adult
pool and dining area] is probably one of the best examples."
Having determined that a Solstice class ship was the right type of
ship for its entry into the British market, Celebrity sought to adapt
Eclipse to that market while still remaining true to the company's style.
"Since this was going to be an ex-UK dedicated ship, the art, the
color schemes, the fabrics, the textures, [were selected with an eye
toward British tastes]. I think Celebrity in general has a European
flavor and obviously we tried to play into that strength when we were
deciding what kind of design choice we were making here.
Incidentally, it is very subtle differences [intended to make guests say]
'I feel more at home here'. A comment that I have gotten from a lot of
people here is that to the British palate, this is very acceptable."
So far, Eclipse has met with an excellent reception. "It is well in
excess of expectations. It is well in excess of anything we have ever
seen before. It is well in excess of anything based on past experience
one could have expected."
Cruise ship interview - - Celebrity Cruises - - Pichard Fain - page 2
Celebrity Eclipse in Southampton, England
|Its all about ships
|The Grand Staircase on Celebrity Eclipse