Celebrity Plans for Expansion In 2011

Celebrity to offer a new ship, new itineraries and more education and tools for agents in 2011
By: Marilyn Green
Celebrity’s fleet will be upgraded to Solstice-class status in the 
coming months// © 2010 Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity’s fleet will be upgraded to Solstice-class status in the coming months// © 2010 Celebrity Cruises

The Details

Celebrity Cruises
In 2011, Celebrity Cruises is spreading out its growing fleet to give agents a wide range of products to sell in several markets. Celebrity is already gearing up for 2011 by bringing the new Celebrity Eclipse to Miami in October to offer seven-night Caribbean sailings, marking the first time a Solstice-class ship has sailed from Miami.

The Northeast will also have its first new Solstice-class ship, Celebrity Silhouette, which will go to the greater New York City area in late 2011 to offer Caribbean sailings out of Bayonne, N.J., next winter. And, responding to feedback from its passengers and agents, the Celebrity Century will take the line back to Australia in 2011, offering a significant addition to Celebrity’s global vacation options. The lineup includes 10 different itineraries using six departure ports — Sydney and Perth (Fremantle), Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; Honolulu; San Diego; and Ensenada, Mexico. Among the ports that Celebrity will visit for the first time are Geraldton, Broome, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane, Adelaide, Albany, Bunbury and Perth, Australia, as well as Burnie and Tasmania, Australia and Bali.

In addition, the new Solstice class has raised the bar for the industry and the company is in the process of upgrading its Millennium-class vessels to Solstice-class status, beginning with Celebrity Constellation; Celebrity Infinity will be renovated in 2011. Also, when Celebrity Eclipse debuted in April, the line introduced the only Celebrity iLounge at sea —an ultra-hip technology venue featuring Apple products and classes — and then retrofitted Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Summit to include the venue.

“In 2011, we will continue to help our travel agents be successful,” said Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales. “One of the ways we are aiming to do that is by putting our ships in markets that generate high yields. Next summer, we will have a very strong presence in Europe, with our four newest and largest ships — our Solstice-class fleet — including Celebrity Silhouette, which will make her debut in July and will offer the same dazzling service and onboard experiences as her sister ships. These ships, along with the newly upgraded Celebrity Constellation, offer travel partners a stunning lineup of itineraries and onboard experiences to sell to clients, including a new mini-series of seven-night Istanbul-based itineraries.”

Ritzenthaler said that early indicators point to Alaska having a strong appeal to clients next year. By placing Celebrity Century there, Celebrity is increasing its capacity of veranda staterooms which are particularly in demand because of the tremendous visual appeal of the Great Land.

Celebrity also helps agents target special-interest clients with theme cruises focused on food, wine and art next year and via onboard enrichment experiences such as its Oceans Ahead and Smithsonian Journeys programs. Ritzenthaler said that, in 2011, Celebrity will continue to reaffirm its partnership with travel agents, who generate more than 80 percent of the company’s bookings, through campaigns such as Go Ask Your Travel Agent and by offering incentives and booking promotions as well as reduced-rate sailings to enable agents to speak to clients personally about the Celebrity difference.

“We will increase our emphasis on our Five Star Academy,” she added. “We are partnering with influential industry leaders to create a travel agent success series focused on how to better sell, market, sell to groups, etc. — all of which are a value-add for our travel partners.”

The line also offers compelling booking incentives. One example is a recent promotion in which certain bookings within a window from now until the end of 2010 will enter agents into a drawing to have $1,000 of their holiday bills paid.

“One key initiative that travel partners should be on the lookout for is our commitment to providing more opportunities for them to experience our product firsthand,” Ritzenthaler said, “whether through Seminars at Sea that will be exclusive to our Five Star Academy graduates, through fam trips to South Florida or through our nationwide brand immersion events.”
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