After the roller coaster of the past few years, 2019 has been the benchmark to beat for so many travel companies. In this edition of Take 5, Celebrity Cruises’ National Director, Market Sales, Allan Brooks talks about Celebrity’s record-breaking year-to-date performance, plus why Europe is key for the cruise line, and why Celebrity’s ties with the travel advisor community are stronger than ever.
How is the 2023 Wave season going so far for Celebrity Cruises?
“While 2023 started a little slower than we had wanted, it didn’t take long for business to pick up. 2019 was a record-breaking year for our brand and company overall, tough to beat…apparently not.
“So far 2023 has proven to be more fruitful than any other year and we continue to see positive momentum and week-over-week growth.”
What booking trends are you seeing?
“Caribbean sailings are by far the most popular right now, no surprise given the recent colder weather. Europe and Alaska are also very popular as many of our guests had to put these bucket list trips on hold. Cruisers are back and ready to travel!”
What can you tell us about Celebrity’s Europe sailings for 2023 and beyond?
“We have been the most awarded cruise brand in Europe for many years and continue to grow our presence. We will have seven ships in Europe this year and one of them will remain and sail year-round. We have a very creative and innovative deployment team, always on the hunt for unique and curated itineraries.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we have more port time and more overnights than any other major cruise brand sailing in Europe.”
Celebrity’s ‘The Retreat’ is ‘All Suites. All Exclusive. All Included’. What do you want Canadian travel advisors to know about promoting The Retreat to their clients? What makes The Retreat experience so special?
“The Retreat suite experience is much more than just the additional square footage of your stateroom. Retreat guests receive priority boarding, private dining, a private lounge, private sunbathing area with pool, Butler service and more.
“What sets us apart from the smaller luxury brands is that you have the upscale amenities of the Retreat experience coupled with the ability to enjoy the rest of the incredible ship inclusive of world class entertainment, spa, casino, shop and so much more.”
How did the pandemic strengthen Celebrity’s connection with travel advisors?
“While the past couple of years have been very difficult, we have to look forward; the future is very bright.
“If we had to pull a silver lining from the past couple of years, I would say it was our engagement and how we became even closer to our travel partners.
“The Canadian sales team continues to host in-person and virtual webinars to support agents and engage clients. We also took time to listen and improve our systems and how we do business overall.
“We have made it easier to work with us through our sales team, our updated automation tools (CruisingPower, The Celebrity Commitment, Espresso, etc.) and our outstanding sales support teams.”