Travel advisors, their VIP clients, and travel media got a taste of Celebrity Cruises’ luxury on-board treatment Tuesday night (May 16), when they gathered at the Park Hyatt Toronto’s ballroom to celebrate the reintroduction of the brand’s Edge Class fleet.
“Imagine taking this incredible luxury hotel on vacation with you and that’s what we’re going to show you today with Celebrity Cruises,” said Allan Brooks, director, market sales for Celebrity Cruises Canada, addressing the audience.
Event attendees were treated to a three-course dinner, and also enjoyed presentations, a silent disco dance party and prize giveaways.
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The event also highlighted Celebrity Cruises’ current “Spring into Summer Sale,” which is on from now until July 6, 2023.
The sale covers 75 per cent off a second guest’s cruise fare, along with up to $800 in additional savings per stateroom, and up to $800 to spend on board.
“The concept behind [the event] is basically to reintroduce the Edge Series that really revolutionized and put our brand back on the map,” said Brooks, speaking to PAX.
“During the [pandemic] pause, we had the Apex launch. It’s usually to major fanfare and she wasn’t getting any fanfare – she was left out.”
Brooks said the pandemic has overshadowed the launch of most of the Edge Series ships, which first debuted with Celebrity Edge in 2018. Celebrity Apex came out in 2021, followed by Celebrity Beyond in 2022.
The fourth Edge-class ship, Celebrity Ascent, is scheduled to launch at the end of this year in December.
The luxury brand wants to shine the spotlight on these new vessels now that cruisers are once again hitting the seas in record numbers.
Brooks said similar Edge Series events are also slated to take place in Vancouver, as well as across several major U.S. and U.K. cities.
“Celebrity Cruises didn't have a new ship for almost a decade…major cruise lines don't usually have that kind of a gap so, for us, it was highly anticipated to say the least,” said Brooks.
“The Edge Series put our brand back on the map and kind of revolutionized the industry and how big ships are perceived and how they're designed.”
“With our growing fleet, the biggest news for us is the unique itineraries we're going to be able to offer,” said Brooks.
Addressing event attendees, Celebrity Cruises’ Vice-President of Sales, Katina Anthanasiou, noted that the brand is honing in on destinations in Australia and New Zealand and has seen growing interest in Iceland and Greenland as well.
“Before the Edge Series came out, we were a little limited just because of the size of our fleet at the time; but now we're going so fast with a new ship almost every year,” said Brooks.
Speaking to PAX, Brooks said longer, more unique itineraries, such as Egypt and Israel, are selling “first and fastest,” which is a new trend for the brand. “Usually Caribbean and Europe was very popular for our brands,” he said.
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“We're seeing a lot more of the pre-and post-stays, so people are spending a couple of days wherever – like Rome or Barcelona – and then they're joining the ship to extend the vacation,” he added, noting that top-tier suites are selling out first on most ships.
Brooks added that the Celebrity brand appeals to an increasingly diverse segment of guests, with features like the Retreat, a “resort-within-a-resort” area for suite guests attracting luxury consumers; while the brand’s unique itineraries are a draw for multi-generational travellers.
“We've got an incredibly loyal guest base, but we’re attracting other guests from other brands,” he said.
“People are saying, ‘we're doing this now; we've been at home for a couple of years and this is the time to do it. And let's do it as a family.”
All about relationships
Anthanasiou noted that the Edge Series continues Celebrity’s focus on connection with guests.
“Many of you that have sailed with us before would definitely agree that the first-and-foremost thing that comes to your mind when we talk about what sets Celebrity apart is 100 per cent the staff on board. There is a familial aspect that comes with crew and staff,” she said, addressing event attendees.
“I think there is a village that it takes together to make sure that the vacation experience every single guest receives is what was expected and – pun intended – beyond.”
Brooks also stressed the importance of Celebrity’s connection with travel advisors. “I think the value of the travel partner now is tenfold what it was pre-pandemic,” he said.
“They'll remain front of mind; they’ll remain paramount to us in Canada, especially. They’re such a big foundation of ours and the business that we do,” he added.
“We're leaps and bounds above 2019 – record-breaking numbers for our brand – surpassing them by a long stretch.”
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