Celebrity Summit is sleek, elegant and oh-so-comfortable. Don’t know what the ship looked like before its newly unveiled makeover but it is a beauty now.
Launched in 2001, the Summit is part of Celebrity Cruises’ biggest fleet wide modernization ever. More than $500 million in luxurious upgrades are being made to take the brand’s fleet to the Edge (the Celebrity Edge, that is, Celebrity’s newest ship launched in 2018).
What did I like most? Well, I could write many words about the Summit’s yummy dining spots, creative cocktails, lovely staterooms, relaxing spa, nightly entertainment, interesting shops, swimming pools and much more.
But the two things that impressed me most were hearing Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perio talk about her goals and watching the amazing American Ballet Theatre perform.
That’s right. Though a partnership with the American Ballet Theatre, Celebrity Cruises is presenting ballet performances on Celebrity ships, including “Nutcracker” during the Christmas holidays on the Celebrity Equinox.
BALLET ON A SHIP IS A FIRST
Can you imagine standing on your tippy toes while the ship is moving? American Ballet Theater principal dancer James Whiteside and soloist Cassandra Trenary did. And they didn’t miss a beat in their exquisite moves.
“They are major athletes and artists,” said David Lansky, general manager for American Ballet Theatre. “It was a labor of love … A pleasure every step of the way.”
To give the dancers a solid foundation, a special floor was brought aboard the ship. “It offers resilience and cushions dancers when they jump,” Lansky said. “We need these floors whenever we perform.”
But it was still very difficult to prepare for the difference in dancing on a stationary theater stage and performing on a moving cruise ship, Whiteside and Trenary said.
Both dancers admit they were nervous.
“Motion was definitely something we were prepared for but it was hard to imagine what it would be like until we were really on stage,” Trenary said.
The two dancers did get a visual warning, Whiteside added.
While sitting backstage applying makeup for their Summit ballet program, Whiteside said the two dancers were shocked by something they spied in the mirror. “We saw the costumes swaying behind us on the rack,” he said. “It really stressed us out… I have never done any dance on a moving vehicle.”
The result, however, was stunning.
The American Ballet Theatre and Celebrity Cruises is going to be a winning combination, in my opinion.
SEEING THE WORLD BY SEA
As for what Lutoff-Perlo said that so impressed me, it was a simple statement that I might make into a small poster to display in my office:
“The world was discovered by sea and the best way to see the world is by sea.”
After more than three decades in the cruise business, Lutoff-Perlo said her hope is to convince non-cruisers to give cruising a chance.
“When people say cruising is not for them, I tell them that one ship or one cruise may not be what they like. But there is a cruise for everyone,” she said.
‘‘The world is a big wide wonderful place. That’s why we cruise all seven continents.”
Photos and story by Jackie Sheckler Finch