Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
FORT LAUDERDALE — Agents got a double dose of Celebrity Cruises on the cruise line’s JetSet Fam3, with tours of Celebrity Equinox at PortMiami and the buzzworthy Celebrity Edge at Port Everglades.
Chartering a First Air 737-400, Celebrity Cruises Canada’s sales and marketing team, 122 travel agents and travel trade media recently headed south to sunny Fort Lauderdale for the third edition of the JetSet fam.
“We get the opportunity to showcase our ships in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere,” explained Ken Brooks, Director of Market Sales for Celebrity Cruises Canada. “We can give the agents the ability to feel and touch the product during a weekend as many don’t have the time to sail with us on a seven-day seminar at sea.”
Celebrity Equinox offers many unexpected ‘green’ sights on board, like a tree growing in the center of the ship and the top deck’s surprise – an expansive lawn to enjoy cloud gazing or a sundowner cocktail. Additional perks include Canyon Ranch at Sea Fitness and Spa, 40 brews on tap at Craft Social, the Den 7 interactive entertainment zone featuring Xbox gaming pods, performances by the American Ballet Theatre and the Movable Feast dining experience in June with Chefs Michelle Bernstein and Buddy Valastro.
Gabriel Martinez, International Tourism Sales for Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomed JetSet Fam3 attendees, happy to show off his part of Florida. “We’re always excited to welcome Canadians to sunny Greater Fort Lauderdale,” said Martinez. “More and more visitors are taking advantage of our many benefits and we welcome those who will get to experience the new cruise terminal for Celebrity Edge at Port Everglades.”
Celebrity Cruises invested US$120 million for Celebrity’s Edge’s T25, offering a streamlined experience for cruise passengers to set sail within a contemporary styled terminal with décor usually seen in boutique hotels.
The star attraction of the weekend was Celebrity Edge, the 2900 passenger ship leading Celebrity Cruises “revolution” (a US$500 million fleet-wide modernization), offering amenities pushing the bar higher within the luxury cruise market. “Being on Celebrity Edge is all about bragging rights,” explained Brenda Yeomans, Strategic Sales and Market Manager for Celebrity Cruises Canada. “Hipster guests who want champagne will be right at home on Edge.”
The ship’s colourful contemporary design is thanks to a team of interior designers who were novices to luxury cruise ships, explained Yeomans. The work was overseen by Celebrity Cruises Edge Ambassador, designer Nate Berkus. Celebrity Edge features staterooms with Infinite Veranda, allowing guests with the touch of a button to have 175 square feet open to the sea air.
Using the latest technology, passengers can download the Edge Access Tour app, available for iPhone and Google Pixel phones, which offers details of the ship, ability to make reservations for dining and spa, communicate with on-board customer service and control their stateroom from door access to lighting, without the need for WiFi. It’s important to note that suite guests receive complimentary WiFi onboard Edge.
Another marked difference on Celebrity Edge is the Magic Carpet: a cantilevered floating orange platform that can rise and lower 13 storeys above the sea. This area – the size of a tennis court – can accommodate 100 guests to enjoy the bar, soak in the sun or listen to live music. Other Edge benefits include five complimentary dining venues, seven specialty restaurants, 11 bars and lounges and Eden, a lush multi-purpose space, featuring fast casual dining, bar/lounge, seating areas with living walls and a dining area that is also performance space, offering an interactive and theatrical experience.
Designed by British designer Kelly Hoppen, The Retreat is exclusive for suite guests, with spacious indoor and outdoor lounges, cabanas, pool, hot tub and bar areas spread over two decks of Celebrity Edge, and access to fine dining at Luminae at The Retreat. The Retreat also includes a second new suite category on this ship, the Edge Villas. Found within The Retreat, there are six 950 square foot two-storey suites, which include one bedroom, two bathrooms, private patio and plunge pool.
From the expansive pool deck surrounded by a running track and featuring martini-shaped hot tubs to the spa’s Sea Thermal Suite featuring eight therapies, guests can indulge in a welcome dose of wellness on Celebrity Edge, as much as fun at the nightly entertainment offerings in the theatre, night club and casino.
“Celebrity Edge is a real game changer – from the design of the ship to eating at Le Petit Chef – everything is unique on this ship,” said Brooks.
For pre or post stays, Greater Fort Lauderdale, home to Port Everglades, has welcomed several new hotels in 2018 and 2019 including the CIRC Boutique Hotel (111 rooms), Costa Hollywood Beach Resort (307 rooms), Wyndham Garden Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port (142 rooms) and The Dalmar: A Tribute Portfolio Hotel (209 rooms). Later in 2019 and in 2020, Fort Lauderdale will welcome the Gale Boutique Hotel (96 rooms) 23 storey Four Seasons Hotel (150 rooms) and Tru by Hilton/Home2 Suites by Hilton, a dual hotel with 112 Tru rooms and 106 Home2 rooms.