Celebrity Cruises recently announced the completion of the revitalization of the final Millennium Class ship, Celebrity Millennium. The $140-million "Solsticizing" of its Millennium Class ships added features that cruisers enjoy with Celebrity’s Solstice Class ships. The four Millennium Class ships completed the transformation over the course of a three week dry dock period. The ships now have one of my favorite aspects of cruising with Celebrity, the specialty dining restaurant, Blu.
Dining at Blu
Celebrity Cruises describes the restaurant:
“If the concept of "spa restaurant" causes you or your significant other to think you'll never see a steak or a rich dessert on the menu that is definitely not the case. The cuisine at Blu is simply an imaginative way of preparing popular dishes without fussiness or pretense. Tender steak is served with a flavorful truffle vinaigrette instead of a heavy béarnaise."
Blu is only available to guests staying in the AquaClass category of staterooms (Suite guests upon availability). The restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner every day.
The modern feel to Blu’s décor transcends to fresh foods and even the actual dishes they use, which offers a sleek presentation. You forget that you’re on a cruise ship and feel like you’re out at a contemporary restaurant. Celebrity Cruises refers to Blu’s food as “clean cuisine" and this feeling of “clean” is also very visible in the décor. The use of white as the main color with hints of blues contributes to the overall feel you get while dining there.
Blu offers gourmet meals in innovative ways. I enjoyed trying new foods while dining there. The food didn’t taste mass produced but prepared just for me. In addition to bread and butter on the table every night, you also received 3 tiny bowls that had hummus, vegetables, and ranch dressing in them as a snack while waiting for your meal. There was a steak on the menu the first night of the cruise we were on. My husband ordered it and raved about how delicious it tasted. It was a key point of conversation over the next week as other cruisers’ first experience at Blu was just as memorable and kept them coming back each night.
Overall, I’m happy to see Celebrity Cruises expand this concept of fresh and “clean” food to additional boats in its fleet. I hope to see this theme continue to options in the main dining room as well as on other cruise lines. Blu proves that a well-prepared meal using fresh and healthy ingredients can taste even better than one prepared with lots of butter, cream, and oil.
Blu is available on the following Celebrity Ships:
Celebrity Solstice®, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse®, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Infinity®, Celebrity Summit®, Celebrity Millennium® (AquaClass and its amenities will be added to Celebrity Constellation in 2013.)
Blu offers different dinner menus each night. Click here to see a sample menu.
Take a Seat
Blu features open seating and reservations are not required. Cruisers can dine anytime between 6 PM and 9:30 PM. We had a lot of days in port on our cruise, so the flexible dining time worked out really well for us.
Some diners commented that they missed the engagement aspect of being put at a table with other guests, as you would in a traditional dining room. However, most nights we ended up talking to the couples with tables next to us and by the end, you got to meet even more people.
Worth the extra cost?
The cost of an Aqua Class cabin varies by sailing and ship but it’s definitely something I would ask your travel or booking agent to give you the prices. After dining in Blu for 13 nights on the Celebrity Equinox, I never got sick of going there and couldn’t wait to go each night.
Being on a longer cruise, I had planned to go to other specialty restaurants and warned my husband that one or two nights I may just want to go to the buffet and have a casual dinner to take a break. However, that never happened as I loved the freshness and modern take on food at Blu.
Along with Blu, when you stay in an AquaClass cabinet, your room includes a veranda; complimentary access to the Persian Garden and Relaxation Room in the AquaSpa; a personal Spa Concierge to book exotic AquaSpa treatments; use of plush Frette bathrobes and slippers; enhanced personal care products, and plentiful in-room amenities, including Hansgrohe shower heads, fog-free bathroom mirrors, aromatherapy selections, and daily deliveries of complimentary bottled water and teas.
"Solsticizing has been such an exciting initiative for us – and more importantly, for our guests, as indicated by their response to each of our Solsticized ships," said Celebrity's President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "Our Millennium Class ships already had a large and loyal following, having repeatedly ranked at the top of many of the world's most prestigious consumer polls, and their original style, design and ambience served as significant inspiration for the design of the Solstice Class. So now, we're bringing it full circle, incorporating on the entire Millennium Class what our guests enjoy most on the Solstice Class. It ties our whole fleet together in a very powerful way."
Click here for more information on the completed Celebrity Millennium revitalization.
FreshCruiser Tip: Do your research and always take a look at sample menus and reviews before making your decision on dining at a specialty restaurant or in this case, paying extra for AquaClass.