February 20, 2009
Celebrity Cruises' 77,713-ton, 1,850-passenger Celebrity Galaxy, one of the oldest and most intimate ships in the Celebrity Cruises fleet, is just a few weeks away from its final farewell.
After an 11-night Southern Caribbean cruise, departing on March 2, the 11-year-old vessel will leave the Celebrity fleet for a new assignment with TUI Cruises -- a new, Germany-based cruise line that's a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (Celebrity's parent) and European mega-operator TUI AG.
TUI Cruises held a contest to determine the ship's new name -- and more than 11,000 people sent in over 30,000 suggestions. The winner? The line reports that the name that came up most often was Mein Schiff, which translates to "my ship" in German.
The planned livery (pictured above) is one of the most eye-popping we've seen at sea, easily putting it in a class with fellow German line AIDA Cruises' signature giant eyes and lips, as well as Norwegian Cruise Line's technicolor exteriors. In a statement, TUI said that the design aims to reflect the name, featuring "emotional associations…flowing calligraphy on the vessel's side, transform[ing] it into an imaginary passenger diary."
TUI plans to make a significant investment by refurbishing Celebrity Galaxy before it becomes its flagship next year. It will spend 50 million euros (approximately $78 million) to add a whopping 428 balconies to the ship's exterior. TUI will also create spa cabins.
Cruise Critic members are already bidding the ship farewell in its current form. Read member reviews from Celebrity Galaxy's final cruises.
-- by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor