Celebrity Cruises is shining the spotlight on a series of enhancements to its award-winning dining experience. A core component of “Celebrity’s Star TreatmentSM” array of fleetwide features and amenities, Celebrity’s culinary program now includes more than 200 new menu offerings, a significantly upgraded casual dining area, and an entirely new brunch offering.
According to Celebrity’s Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations Jacques Van Staden, a highly accomplished chef and restaurateur who joined Celebrity just one year ago, the enhancements were inspired by a combination of extensive studies of guest surveys, constant monitoring of trends in the food and beverage industry, and an unwavering eye on innovation.
“Our objective is to set the trend, not follow it,” said Van Staden. “That’s what makes a great dining experience. You have to shake things up now and then, and regularly introduce new and different offerings, along with the items our guests tell us they can’t live without.”
Celebrity’s new evening menus are so widely varied that guests on even 14-night itineraries will never be presented with the same menu twice. Each menu contains expanded selections in all categories, from appetizers to desserts.
Casual dining “on the rocks”
Celebrity has made significant enhancements to its lido café/casual dining area on every ship, expanding its culinary selections, modernizing the ambience, and upgrading signage and equipment.
One of the most innovative aesthetic enhancements in the lido/casual dining area is the replacement of ice with chilled river rocks throughout the buffet area. Resting on the rocks are literally hundreds of new menu items, new service ware and presentation styles, new action stations and made-to-order areas, and more destination-influenced and ethnic cuisine, including Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and English.
Celebrity also has upgraded its complimentary coffee to the European brand, “Seventh,” a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, which guests can sip from new, full-sized coffee mugs.
Let’s do brunch
Celebrity has replaced its former once-per-cruise midnight gala buffet with a sumptuous brunch – complete with the line’s lauded ice, fruit and vegetable carvings – in the main dining room.
“Our guests loved viewing the elaborate creations we presented at the midnight gala buffet, but very few wanted to actually eat that late,” said Van Staden. “Now, we still proudly present our culinary team’s great artistry, but at a time when our guests can thoroughly enjoy it.”
Once per cruise, guests can indulge in a lavish brunch with an enormous selection of fresh fruits; made-to-order smoothies; gourmet cheeses; cold cuts; a wide variety of salads, sandwiches, meats and seafood; pizzas, paninis and wraps; sushi and stir-fry selections; eggs of nearly every style, and delectable desserts ranging from individual, bite-sized selections to sorbet and ice cream.
New options for late-night noshing
For guests interested in late-night desserts, sandwiches, specialty coffees or other libations, Celebrity has introduced an “after-theater” menu in its Cova Café venues, to replace the former “Gourmet Bites” served throughout the ships on alternating evenings.
“Our guests enjoyed the service and presentation of ‘Gourmet Bites,’ but very few actually indulged in them,” said Van Staden. “The new options in Cova Café allow guests who are interested in late-night dining a light, varied menu, featuring sandwiches, savories, tartlets, hot brochettes, canapés, artisan cheeses, fresh fruit, crackers, petit fours and napoleons.”
Celebrity’s Cova Café presents the new late-night menu from 11 pm to closing.