|Celebrity Cruises, which had been testing an entertainment partnership with Cirque du Soleil on Constellation and Summit, plans to abandon the existing program.|
The program is already on "hiatus" on Summit, according to Liz Jakeway, Celebrity's spokeswoman, and will end on Constellation on November 10. "The Bar at the Edge of the Earth, created in partnership with Cirque du Soleil, remains open as an observation lounge by day and nightclub and disco by night," she says, "but the experience featuring the characters and projection has gone on hiatus ... until we determine what the next evolution will be."
Jakeway adds that "we are in active discussions with Cirque du Soleil right now to determine exactly what that will be."
The six-year alliance, launched in 2004, involved a Cirque-related conversion of the ships' top deck Reflections Bar to "The Bar at the Edge of the Earth." According to Cruise Critic's Steve Faber, who reviewed the entertainment shortly after it launched on Constellation, Reflections was "shrouded with strange soft shapes and drapes, everything having an otherworldly surreal look." He reported, "Each night Cirque du Soleil puts on an interactive 'happening' here; accompanied by special effects, visual projections, music and sound effects, a troupe of strange beings enter the room and interact with passengers."
Other features included a weekly masquerade ball (masks and other Cirque items were available in a gift shop).
The decision to eliminate this highly controversial offering was no surprise, according to Host Andy, who contributed to a thread on Cruise Critic's Celebrity forum. "I feel that most passengers were expecting something more like a Cirque experience they would see in a theater, and clearly, this was something different. I did see it on my last sailing on Summit, and while I did not hate it, it was more of a neutral for us."
Jim Iain, another posting member, called the effort Celebrity's version of the "new Coke" debacle.
Ultimately, Jakeway says, the tweaking of the Cirque du Soleil and Celebrity onboard partnership will result in what "our guests ... have told us they expect from a program involving [the new age circus troupe]: acrobatic and artistic performances."