(5:30 p.m. EST) — On December 5, 2015, Celebrity pulled back the curtain on some buzzworthy enhancements to the Celebrity Infinity and gave cruise fans a look at the company’s newest culinary-themed concept, “A Taste of Film,” debuting on the spanking-new Rooftop Terrace. Other changes included refreshments to the suites and casino, a sleek photography studio and the introduction of the line’s popular specialty restaurant, Tuscan Grille (replacing the SS United States). The Solarium was also fine-tuned to include refinished pool tops and the reimagined spa cafe. Here are the main highlights from the refurbishment, with Celebrity Summit to follow suit when it enters dry dock February 27, 2016.
Celebrity capitalized on unused space at the back of Infinity to create a welcoming outdoor lounge. Although it seems out of place behind the basketball courts, the Rooftop Terrace is rather large: The main area spans the width of the ship and contains six “cabana style” lounges as well as a dozen or so wicker couches grouped together to encourage conversation. The jumbo television screen hovers above guests, and a handful of plants and ivy growing on the wall add to the outdoor ambiance. The space wraps around the sides of the ship, although it is primarily being used as a walkway with a few extra, secluded lounges. (These don’t entirely feel like they’re part of the Terrace.) With the arrangement of furniture and the excellent view, it is just a quiet place to relax; when food and beverage options roll out, it might spice things up a bit. In the evenings it transforms into an energetic area showcasing the new culinary movie concept, a “Taste of Film,” — and that’s when the magic happens.
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Celebrity’s cinematic concept that’s first being introduced on the Infinity is downright brilliant. Forget popcorn: “A Taste of Film” gives passengers an array of chef-designed samples that are inspired from the movie. The company takes the idea of edible cinema to sea by adding 10 tastings that are coordinated with a scene in the movie shown above the Outdoor Terrace. For example, during one showing, a teenager is taught his mother’s Indian cooking secrets, and the audience is introduced to Samosa with sweet mango chutney and tender shrimp with sea urchin and seaweed sauce. Menu descriptions are provided to movie goers as well as a tray of 10 samples (eight foods and two beverages) that are labeled with numbers. When guests see the corresponding number on the big screen, it’s time to dig in! The innovative approach to outdoor movies builds on Celebrity’s established name as a culinary cruise line. The programming for “A Taste of Film” can be found in Celebrity’s daily newsletter and starts off with culinary-themed movies, but the selection will expand over time. An added cost of $19 applies. The event will be hosted one night during a seven-night cruise in the Rooftop Terrace.
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Although the Tuscan Grille replaced a cruiser-favorite restaurant, the SS United States, the Grille feels in tune with the company’s brand of “modern luxury.” It’s a beautiful space that seats as many as 112 people, with a glistening entrance enclosed by shimmering wine barrel arches over the doorway that have become a signature look of the restaurant. When asked about the Tuscan Grille replacing the French venue, Associate Vice President, Food and Beverage Operations, Chef Cornelius Gallagher said the “Tuscan Grille has a more relaxed atmosphere and offers our version of Italian cooking.”
The chic, casual dining room showcases mild, autumn and earth-toned decor and inviting, wide tables reminiscent of a true Italian kitchen — with Celebrity’s design flair. Other tables offer lengthy, partial booths for larger groups that are stylish. Overall, it’s elegant, yet unpretentious. New to the menu is the Italian cocktail menu, artisanal salami and cheeses from Italy, crispy crab arancini with lemon pepper aioli, grilled branzino with spinach and olive oil, swordfish, and oven-roasted USDA Prime dry-aged steak that’s flavorful and cooked to perfection.
Guests can watch the chefs prepare pasta from scratch in the open-kitchen in the rear of the restaurant, or enjoy a private dinner in the secluded wine room.