Update: Celebrity Cruises Ups the Ante on Infinity's Massive Refurb

January 10, 2011
Update, January 10, 4:30 p.m. EST: Celebrity announced today that Infinity will be adding the restaurant Qsine -- instead of Tuscan Grill, as originally announced -- during the ship's November 2011 refurbishment. The goal of Qsine (pronounced "cuisine"), which is currently found only on Celebrity Eclipse, is to take commonplace or comfort foods and twists the recipe, presentation or both. For example soups are delivered shot-style and spring rolls are served in ... springs. In another innovative twist, iPads are used in lieu of traditional menus. Here's a little demo of how the menu works (courtesy of MarkeTeamInc and YouTube):

(November 14, 7 p.m. EST) -- Celebrity Infinity, the second of four Millennium-class ships scheduled to receive Solstice-class upgrades, will get even more new additions than already-"Solstice-ized" Celebrity Constellation, cruise line executives announced at a press conference today on Celebrity Eclipse.

Following a November 2011 dry dock in the Bahamas, Infinity will emerge with more dining venues and more balconies than Constellation, as well as more than 100 new or redesigned spa cabins. This ship will also get more crowded -- 60 new cabins will be added, which should bring the 91,000-ton ship's double occupancy from 1,950 up to 2,070. (Celebrity would not confirm the new passenger total.)

So what's in store for Infinity?

Forty-three of those new cabins will be added to Deck 11 -- 37 spa-oriented "AquaClass" cabins and 6 inside cabins -- where the kids' club now resides. The kids' club will move next to the teen lounge, replacing one section of the observation lounge.

The remaining seventeen new cabins, which will be oceanview accommodations, will be added to Deck 3, replacing small meeting rooms. A Solstice-class style conference room will be added, and the existing cinema will be remodeled.

Speaking to the line's reduction of per-passenger space, Celebrity CEO Dan Hanrahan told journalists that the company felt the Millennium-class ships were "under-stateroomed" and could handle more passengers than they currently carry. According to Hanrahan, the additional 60 cabins should not create excess crowding onboard.

In addition to the 37 new AquaClass staterooms, 70 standard balcony cabins will be transformed into AquaClass cabins, which will sport special massage showers, aromatherapy products and passes to the spa's thermal suites, among other perks. These are premium priced cabins. A quick look at Celebrity's Web site has AquaClass cabins, which are only found on the Solstice-class ships, selling at 10 to 40 percent higher than the ships' standard balcony cabins.

Blu, the AquaClass-passenger-only restaurant that's a staple on Celebrity's incredibly popular Solstice-class trio, will take over a portion of the main dining room's upper level on Deck 5.

Prefabricated verandas will be added to the ship's eight oceanview Celebrity Suites.

Additional accessibility modifications will be made to further accommodate passengers with disabilities in accordance with new ADA rules. Celebrity is waiting to find out the exact hardware regulations before finalizing these plans.

An iLounge computer center and Apple product store, first introduced on Celebrity Eclipse, will be added to Infinity. The venue will also be added to Celebrity Constellation during a future dry dock.

Infinity will receive all the already-announced Solstice-class upgrades, including the Tuscan Grille, Café al Bacio, Bistro on 5 creperia, Martini Bar and Cellar Masters wine bar, as well as upgrades to stateroom and public area décor and furnishings.

After Infinity, Celebrity Summit is next in line to receive the combined $200 million Solstice-class enhancements; it'll head into dry dock in late 2011/early 2012. Celebrity Millennium will get is refurb in spring 2012.

If you want to get a sense of how Infinity's upgrades will change the look of the ship, check out our slideshow on sister ship Constellation's refurbishment.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor