Celebrity Cruises Rebrands

The cruise line celebrates a milestone anniversary with an aggressive rebranding strategy.

By: By Marilyn Green

The Details

Celebrity Cruises

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On Celebrity Cruises’ 20th anniversary, president Dan Hanrahan unveiled a rebranding strategy that includes “Solsticizing” its Millennium-class ships and implementing an ad campaign that relies on the computer rather than the television.

Last summer, Celebrity surveyed 10,000 customers in multiple settings, from focus groups to in-home interviews, and found that its target audience of cruise planners are primarily women, with family income from $75,000 or assets from $500,000 for retirees. Their mindset is youthful — boomers perceive themselves to be in the age group of 35-plus, an image reflected in Celebrity’s new brochure and advertising campaign, although the average age, slowly dropping, is actually around 55.

Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium-class ships will receive enhancements popularized on the Celebrity Solstice.// (C) 2010 Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium-class ships will receive enhancements popularized on the Celebrity Solstice.// (C) 2010 Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity’s new tagline and brand platform is “Designed for You,” with a crossed pair of spotlights highlighting the Solstice-class ship, which Hanrahan described as a game changer. The line’s five-ship Solstice-class fleet represents an investment of $3.7 billion, the largest newbuild commitment for a single brand in industry history, and Hanrahan said the company plans to leverage its very successful features for the line’s Millennium-class ships, which are already on Conde Nast Traveler’s Top Ten list. Celebrity Constellation will be the first to receive the new enhancements during scheduled drydock in April of this year, and the other Millennium ships will follow, one per year.

Among the Solstice-class features to be introduced on the Millennium ships is the Tuscan Grille. The creperie Bistro on Five will also appear on the Millennium ships, and a Solstice Class-inspired, ice-topped Martini Bar will be paired with Crush, whose ice-filled table presents a selection of chilled, top-tier vodkas. Cafe al Bacio and Gelateria will replace the Cova Cafe, and each ship will have an Enomatic wine bar, an Italian-designed wine serving system, allowing guests to select and serve the wines of their choice by the glass.

The Millennium vessels will also have more sumptuous suites, with new furniture, flat-screen televisions, upholstery, bedding and carpeting, while staterooms will also be restyled with new carpeting, flat-screen televisions, upholstery and bedding.

New color schemes, carpeting and upholstery in the spirit of the Solstice class will be placed in every public venue, from the Celebrity Theater and Seaside Grill to the main dining room to Michael’s Club. The revitalization is just part of Celebrity’s Designed for You platform which — when combined with the brand’s Celebrity Life onboard experience, the enhanced Captain’s Club and more — represents a nearly $200 million investment.

Perhaps the most revolutionary side of the announcement is that, following extensive research, Celebrity found a very effective way to reach out to people who hadn’t previously sailed with the line. Together with trade and consumer print efforts, a promotional video campaign will reach into homes via the Web.

“We’ve studied where cruise enthusiasts go to research options for their next vacation, and more than 70 percent go online,” said Hanrahan. “So, we’ll have a big presence there, on some of cruisers’ favorite sites, to allow them to briefly and virtually immerse themselves in a vacation experience designed for them.”

Hanrahan said the message is designed for a global, not domestic, campaign, which makes the computer an even more practical vehicle. Celebrity also will continue to give consumers ample options on its Web site. These include Celebrity Select Dining, the industry’s first pre-cruise, day-by-day flexible dining reservation system; pre-cruise AquaSpa reservations; specialty dining reservations; shore excursion bookings; and online documentation or “e-docs.”

Also on the Web site, agents can access the recently enhanced 5 Star Academy training program, the new Designed for You training module and a new Webinar series. Trade incentives include Your Everyday Sweepstakes (also referred to as Y.E.S.) continuing until April 1, in which every booking counts as one entry into a daily incentive, including flat-screen televisions, Corning Museum of Glass artwork and a one-time $10,000 office design makeover. The consumer offer, ending Jan. 31, allows guests to choose their own amenities.