Luxury Cruise Line Makes Bedding A Status Thing

luxury bedding
Ridge Tahoe Resort Hotel/Flickr

On a luxury cruise vacation, travelers are pampered with everything from butler service to their selection from a menu of pillows. Taking that idea a step further, Celebrity Cruises is in the process of upgrading bedding, teaming with a sleep system manufacturer to get the job done. Every stateroom on every Celebrity ship will eventually have the new sleep system, but some passengers will get a better experience than others.

Already outfitting four of Celebrity Cruises ships with Celebrity eXhale bedding, sleep system/adjustable bed manufacturer Reverie is moving through the 11-vessel fleet, most recently outfitting Celebrity Constellation.

Over 2000 cruise travelers on Celebrity Constellation will enjoy the comfort of either an 8-inch or 10-inch Dream mattress. The Dream Sleep Systems feature air cylinder technology that allows guests to adjust the level of firmness in their mattress with some allowing the base of the mattress to be manipulated remotely, via iPad. Perfect for couples, each side of the bed can be re-configured at different firmness levels to accommodate varying sleep preferences.Celebrity guests staying in a suite will get the 10-inch mattress and experience butler service that includes a personalized introduction to the customizable aspects of eXhale bedding. Those in other accommodations will get the 8-inch mattress, no butler intro.

Guests who stay in Celebrity’s top digs Reflection Suite also get an in-room iPad that can be used to wirelessly control the adjustable base of the bed as well as other bedroom appliances using Reverie’s remote app. That one feature alone has a bunch of possibilities for fun in-stateroom games.

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Bundling, Unbundling Travel Services For Convenience, Savings

travel services
stevendepolo/Flickr

Bundling travel services can often be the best value when compared to buying individual services in an a la carte sort of way. Buying airfare then adding on a rental car and/or hotel package is a good example of saving travel funds via bundling.

Unbundling, on the other hand, is where fees for everything from checked luggage to exit row seats on airlines came from, generating millions in non-fare income. In a bit of a turn in a different direction, some travel service providers are introducing new bundles that can add up to savings for frequent travelers.

This week United Airlines announced a $499 offer that gives air travelers annual subscriptions that guarantee more legroom and no-charge checked bags. Exclusive to those booking through United.com:

  • The Economy Plus subscription starts at $499 and includes seats typically paid for as an upgrade for flights in the continental United States. Make that $599 to include all North and Central America flights and $699 is the price for Global access.
  • The Baggage subscription starts at $349.00 giving you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation up to two bags checked per flight for free. The program does not waive oversize/overweight bag charges.
  • The United Club subscription gives access to more than 45 United Club locations complete with complimentary snacks, beverages and Wi-Fi. The cost: 65,000 miles or $500 per person.

The world of cruise travel saw an unbundling of sorts with the advent of specialty restaurants, charging passengers an extra fee for a fine dining experience. The nature of a cruise vacation still swings towards more inclusive travel than, say, a land vacation. But optional extra charges can add up fast, even doubling the total price of a cruise vacation

In a similar move to United’s subscription plans, Royal Caribbean International has a variety of dining packages on various cruise ships. On Allure of the Seas, for example, passengers can choose from the following packages:

  • Central Park Dining Package, at $70 per guest (regularly priced at $90), includes Giovanni’s Table Italian Trattoria, 150 Central Park fine-dining restaurant and Chops Grille steakhouse.
  • Chef’s Dining Package, at $130 per guest, includes the five-course, gourmet Chef’s Table and wine pairing, 150 Central Park and Chops Grille
  • Choice Dining Package, at $80 per guest, includes Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table, Izumi and Samba Grill Brazilian steakhouse

Bundled dining packages are also offered by sister-line Celebrity Cruises in a Specialty Dining package with three, four or five dinners.

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Celebrity Ship Loses Galapagos Permit Over Frozen Lobster

Galapagos Fishing Boat by Libby Zay, Gadling

The strict environmental regulations of the Galapagos Islands make it one of the most protected places in the world. The islands are so sacred that when you fly in, flight attendants spray the overhead bins in planes to make sure passengers aren’t transporting any non-native insects. So when park authorities discovered Celebrity Cruises was transporting frozen lobster out of season, what they consider to be a violation, they temporarily revoked the company’s permit to cruise through the islands.

In a statement, the cruise line says they were cited “for transportation and storage of 12 kilograms of frozen lobster tails in the Galapagos.” A spokesperson tells USA Today, the cruise line has paperwork to prove the lobster was purchased in the Galapagos from authorized sellers during the lobster season, but the problem is they were in possession of the lobster tail out of season. The Celebrity Xpedition’s June 2 sailing was canceled, and additional sailings could be impacted.

Celebrity is providing full refunds, including airfare, to affected passengers, plus a cruise credit offering 50 percent off a future cruise. The company anticipates their license will be restored shortly, and said they are committed to complying with the rules and regulations of the Galapagos.

[via USA Today]

An International Smartphone Plan For Cruise Travelers, Finally

smart phone
celesteh/Flickr

Many cruise travelers have no problem at all controlling the expense of using their smartphone internationally; they simply turn it off for the duration of the trip. That done, they proceed to communicate with the rest of the world via email on Internet time bought from the cruise line. They don’t dare turn on their smartphone because if they do, the first message they see is one warning of potential overage charges they will incur if they use it – until now.

Recently, AT&T announced three different Cruise Ship Package plans with cruise travelers in mind:

  • AT&T Cruise Ship Calling: Includes 50 minutes for $30 per month
  • AT&T Cruise Ship Calling and Messaging: Offers 50 minutes of talk and 100 text/picture/video messages sent for $60 per month
  • AT&T Cruise Ship Calling, Messaging and Data: Includes 50 minutes, 100 messages sent and 100MB of data for $120 per month

A minimum one-month trial is required, which works well with the idea of “turn it on before you sail, turn it off after you’re done.” The new plan is currently limited to the ships of Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Club Cruises and select Celebrity Cruises ships. See att.com/cruiseships for list of ships and details.On-ship networks operate only while in international waters. Docked at a pier, anyone with a smart phone can turn it on and access any available signal. Right about then would be a good time to have Boingo installed to pick among available signals and log in on one that works with your device at no additional charge.

AT&T Cruise Ship package kicks in when users see “Cellular at Sea” displayed on your device.

Have no clue what usage you might have while traveling via cruise ship? AT&T also has an International Data Calculator that can help.

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Upscale Cruise Line Offers Something Sinful

cruiseCruise lines are looking for new, different and exciting entertainment options to keep passengers occupied at night. Some have added Broadway shows, others offer interactive audience participation programming, all focused on their target audience and what they want. Celebrity Cruises took a look at what their passengers are looking for in the way of late-night entertainment too. The result: Sin City Comedy.

If the thought of “Sin City” has you thinking raunchy, tasteless entertainment that we might not see from the (normally) upscale Modern Luxury line, think again.

Described as, “funny and a little bit sexy,” Sin City Comedy will tap comedians with tasteful acts for the late-night show offered on Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette, rotating to Celebrity Solstice in May, said Celebrity Cruises in a recent statement.

Think of comics who have appeared on Comedy Central, VH1, HBO, (sort of raunchy) “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Conan,” Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (less raunchy).

That sort of sin.

Actually a product of Sin City Comedy at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, the cruise line version of the show will mimic a two-time winner of the Best of Las Vegas award.

Surprised? Remember, this is the same cruise line that sports a sea-view shower in its top end Reflection Suites. Those allow passengers to bare all to the world but come with an option to turn glass from transparent to frosted to reveal less.

Celebrity’s Sin City Comedy shows are presented at varying late-night time slots in the Celebrity Central venue on Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette. 18 and older please. Thank you.



[Image credit – Flickr user STEVENJOHNSELLER]