Is one of the last holdouts in the flexible dining world -- Celebrity Cruises -- finally planning a program of its own? That's the word on Cruise Critic's message boards, where members are abuzz about information that was allegedly posted on the cruise line's Web site, but has since disappeared.
"Celebrity has joined the rest of the cruise industry and introduced 'Celebrity Select Dining,'" member RLM77 posts on the Celebrity forum. "According to the Celebrity Web site: 'Following a day of exploration, or a day spent lounging with a novel, Celebrity Select Dining offers a flexible approach to dining. Allowing you to be seated any time the Main Dining Room is open, this option means there's no schedule to follow, leaving only your heart and appetite to satisfy. Due to the open nature of Celebrity Select Dining, a prepaid gratuity is required when choosing this option and will be included in your reservation. With Celebrity Select Dining, expect the same level of exceptional service, regardless of your dining time.'"
However, Sarah Rathbone, a U.K.-based spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Celebrity's parent company, says that the concept is still in development and that the information on the program was released "prematurely."
Rathbone tells us, via e-mail, that there is no implementation date yet for the new flexible dining offering. "As part of our development of Celebrity Select Dining, and prior to full implementation and communication of the final offering, we will do soft launches on selective sailings to ensure that we meet and deliver the desired experience for our guests."
According to Rathbone, the program is being developed based on Celebrity guest research and feedback.
Mysticks1 says, "Obviously it is in the works because it was listed on two different pages on [Celebrity's Web site] yesterday in the dining section where it actually listed it along with traditional dining and in the FAQ section [with] the question 'What is the difference between traditional dining and Celebrity Select dining?' It seems someone jumped the gun on putting it on the Web site before the official announcement with what ships it will be rolled out on went out."
What's your opinion on bringing flexible dining to Celebrity ships? Join the conversation here!
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor, with research by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
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Celebrity Cruises: Next Flexible Dining Convert?
May 12, 2009