By Michael Coleman
Celebrity Cruises unveiled their stylish Eclipse this week, the third of five new vessels to hit the open seas, but a new onboard dining venue is garnering equal praise.
The 2,852-passenger, 122,000-ton ship was launched in Southampton, England and will now offer passengers a series of sailings roundtrip from Southampton to the Mediterranean, Russia and Scandinavia throughout the summer.
This winter, look for Caribbean sailings from the Port of Miami.
Eclipse will be the industry’s first to offer the “Celebrity iLounge,” complete with a retail area offering the latest products through Celebrity’s Authorized Apple Reseller status, and the first to present “Qsine,” an interactive dining venue complete with wine menus on a personal touchscreen.
Like her sister ships — Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox — Eclipse features The Lawn Club, with real, growing grass at sea; The Hot Glass Show, a glassblowing show and studio developed with The Corning Museum of Glass; a host of onboard entertainment options plus 10 dining venues including the line’s popular specialty restaurants: Tuscan Grille, Blu, Murano and Silk Harvest.
But, it’s the new onboard Qsine which is creating a buzz.
The brainchild of Celebrity’s Vice President of Culinary Operations, Chef Jacques Van Staden, Qsine presents guests with what Celebrity dubs “an unexpected, modern approach to familiar dishes from around the world.’’
“Our guests love new and different dining experiences, and we’ve designed Qsine to deliver that in a big way,” said Van Staden. “Qsine is designed to offer a globally-influenced blend of nostalgic and contemporary favorites, artfully presented with elements of surprise.”
Among the selections are spring rolls nestled in vertical springs, “Sushi Lollipops” (Nigiri sushi with soy center, wasabi mayonnaise and pickled ginger-radish salad), “Meatball Trilogy” (Kobe beef with cheddar and marinara sauce; veal with mushrooms and marsala sauce; and turkey with cranberry and sage gravy), “Chitinis” (Chinese selections served in martini glasses), “Tresviche” (tiger shrimp and bay scallops with lemon juice, tequila, cilantro, tomatoes and jalapeno oil), “Popcorn Fish & Chips”Â (Boddington’s-battered codfish and chips served with malt vinegar or aioli), “Slider Party” (mini-grilled Kobe beef patties with aged Wisconsin cheddar served on brioche buns with “Qsine’s original slider sauce” and garnishes), “Taco Royale” (Black Angus sirloin steak, homemade taco shells, caramelized onion-poblano, and do-it-yourself fresh guacamole, with a stone mortar and pestle), and “Lava Crab” (Alaskan King crab, sweet yellow corn and scallions with Hataifi and Old Bay sauce, served in glasses over heated red stones).
Libations to accompany the cuisine range from approximately 100 varieties of primarily organic, contemporary wines, to a vast array of creative cocktails.
Even the uniforms of the wait staff illustrate the venue’s unique nature. Designed by Van Staden and custom-made exclusively for Celebrity, the jackets are decidedly asymmetrical and sport square buttons, and are intended to illustrate that the wait staff also are considered chefs, offering guests a highly interactive and personalized dining experience.
Qsine will be open nightly aboard Eclipse from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Cover charge is $30 per person.
On the web: www.celebritycruises.com
Celebrity Eclipse Naming Ceremony
A look at the ship