Friday, February 19, 2010

Celebrity Cruises Introduces The 'Celebrity iLounge'

First there was the iPod, then came the iPhone and iPad. Next in line? The "Celebrity iLounge." With the recent launch of its new brand platform, "Designed for you," Celebrity Cruises is reinforcing its commitment to delivering the ultimate combination of ship design, service, cuisine, and programs for cruise lovers. Yesterday the line announced plans for a new venue whose design, products, and programming are sure to appeal to today's cruisers. When Celebrity Eclipse, the third in Celebrity Cruises' stylish Solstice Class fleet of ships, launches in April, guests will find the first "Celebrity iLounge." Designed to not only offer a hip, modern lounge ambience, Celebrity also created the space to offer what its guests said they wanted most in an Internet cafe: easy access to the Internet, inspiring classes, and new products.

The Celebrity iLounge is composed of three main areas: a series of 26 contemporary workstations where guests can check their e-mail, retain their social media connections, or print boarding passes; a retail space offering cruisers the opportunity to see and try out the latest MacBooks®, iPods®, and accessories; and an enrichment center where certified staff will offer guests tips on Mac or iPod usage.

"Our new Celebrity iLounge is a direct outgrowth of our 'Designed for you' brand platform, and our commitment to listen to our guests and offer experiences and programs expressly designed for them," said Celebrity's President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. "Our surveys show that our guests rely heavily on the Internet for research, learning and staying in touch, so we think this new offering will be a big hit, as will the contemporary online classes offered through the 'Discover' series of our inspiring and enriching 'Celebrity Life' experiences."

Enhancing the "Discover" component of its "Celebrity Life" series of inspiring enrichment and entertainment experiences, Celebrity will offer in the Celebrity iLounge a series of engaging new courses designed to suit its guests' interests, including do-it-yourself photo books, movie editing, and web design, through programs including iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and iWeb. And whether guests are savvy or novice users of Mac or iPod products, Celebrity's certified staff will be well-equipped to assist, following more than 125 hours of training in operating systems, applications, and products. They also will be poised to illustrate to guests the differences between Macs and PCs. Guests eager to expand their collection of merchandise will find the Celebrity iLounge an enticing venue, too. As an Authorized Apple Reseller, Celebrity will have products available for guests to purchase, including iPods, MacBooks, and essential accessories.

Located on deck six of Celebrity Eclipse, the Celebrity iLounge will house the 26 MacBook Pro's, classroom and retail area, in addition to display pods, a 56-inch flat-screen TV for use during classes, and an accessible workstation. The Celebrity iLounge also will be presented on Celebrity Silhouette, which launches in 2011, and the fifth ship in the Solstice Class fleet, which sets sail in 2012. No word is available yet on whether the rest of the fleet will be retrofitted with a Celebrity iLounge.

Like many of you, I love my iPod and seldom leave home without it. I'll be checking out the Celebrity iLounge in person next month during the "conveyance" of Celebrity Eclipse on the River Ems from the shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Although the ship won't be totally complete at that time, hopefully the Internet service will be up and running. While I'm not a Mac user, I would welcome tips on how to get maximum use from my trusty iPod. Be sure to watch for info about the "conveyance"—it should be a fascinating experience to travel down the river backwards to the sea!

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