You may think the eye-popping Celebrity Edge with its cantilevered Magic Carpet, and the upcoming expedition ship, Celebrity Flora, designed specifically for the Galapagos, are the big opportunities to sell Celebrity Cruises this year.
But Celebrity Cruises' President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo and her team aren't expecting travel advisors to rely solely on these groundbreaking new ships to grow their business with Celebrity. The ongoing Celebrity Revolution, which is bringing the rest of the fleet up to its new standards in a half-billion-dollar investment in both hardware and experiences, is just the ticket for the savvy travel advisor.
The Celebrity Summit has now joined the Celebrity Millennium in the process of being “revolutionized”; taken “down to the steel” and rebuilt in a way that could hardly have been imagined when they first launched. In May, the Summit repositions to Port Liberty, New Jersey, for a season of Bermuda and Canada & New England itineraries.
And the Summit's relaunch highlights how the Celebrity Revolution gives advisors – and especially Canadian travel advisors – a new edge that goes beyond the Edge.
To the Edge and beyond
It's not just that the Summit has been thoroughly modernized in the style of Edge, with new and redesigned staterooms; fresh, contemporary sipping and dining spaces; and options that will appeal to fans of Celebrity, as well as a new cohort of travelers who are well-matched to a stylish, modern resort at sea.
And it's not just that it's the Summit (rather than the Edge) that debuts “first in fleet” experiences involving the highest-profile partnerships of the Celebrity Revolution: a culinary partnership with Michelin-starred, French-American Chef Daniel Boulud (whose portfolio of restaurants includes two in Canada, those at Toronto's Four Seasons hotel and Montreal's Ritz-Carlton); and the American Ballet Theatre's dynamic ballet/pop violin onboard entertainment.
These aspirational and modern interpretations of traditional elements of fine living – French cuisine, dance and music – are a reflection of Celebrity's revolutionlized contemporary, upscale cruise lifestyle. And right now, they are only on the Summit.
Experiences available nowhere else
Right out of the gate, the Celebrity Revolution means that travel advisors can tempt guests with experiences on the Celebrity Summit that they can enjoy nowhere else in the fleet, yet.
That's in addition to the irresistible opportunity to be among the first to experience the reimagined ship that remains on a smaller scale than the Edge.
Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior VP of sales for Celebrity Cruises, pointed out that the Summit's 2,600-guest size is a factor that appeals to many Celebrity guests, for both the intimate experience and the ship's ability to sail into ports that larger ships cannot.
Canadian travel advisors, in particular, have more ways to capitalize on the Summit's relaunch. “We know Canada is a market that can help us finish strong,” said Ritzenthaler. “There is a wonderful connection between Canadian guests and Celebrity.”
She attributes part of the success of Celebrity in Canada to the inclusions available to guests – for example, during April's “Sail Your Way” promotion, there are options to book cruise only, two, or four perks.
“Canadians really gravitate to Celebrity's all-inclusive options,” she said, made even more appealing when tour operators' packages also include flights and hotels.
Celebrity's suites have even more inclusiveness baked into the product, with all perks automatically included for all categories of suites, so she said it's no wonder that “Canada over-indexes in suites.”
The Summit makes the suite categories a top option for Canadian guests and an enhanced opportunity for travel advisors. It is the first ship to offer the Revolution's complete suite experience. So, for advisors helping their clients book suites or upgrade into suites, the Summit is the natural place to start.
Guests in all suite categories – not just the top suite categories – have all four perks included plus exclusive Retreat privileges. This includes: a personal butler; priority embarkation and debarkation; the Retreat Lounge and the Retreat Sun Deck; and the Retreat restaurant, Luminae, featuring dishes from the Chef Daniel Boulud partnership that debuted on the Summit and will be rolled out over time throughout the fleet.
A warm place in Canadian hearts
Celebrity sees another reason Canadians especially warm to the brand. “We have a part in opening up the world,” said Ritzenthaler, of the line's position in practicing and celebrating diversity, inclusion and the open-mindedness that ideally is the reward of travel.
On the Summit, Lutoff-Perlo introduced the nine members of the ship's executive team, first pointing out the exceptional fact that fully two-thirds of them were women. (The ship's male captain says fondly, “It's like being at home.”)
Ritzenthaler added that since Lutoff-Perlo's tenure at the head of Celebrity Cruises, the line has appointed four female captains and five women as hotel directors. The godmother of the new Edge is Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. And, the cruise line sponsors Pride Week parties on land and fleetwide. These are just a few examples of how the cruise line puts its core values into action in a way that speaks to Canadians.
“We know the Canadian market wants to do business with companies with these shared values,” said Ritzenthaler.
For Canadian travel agents, sharing with consumers how Celebrity actively practices the values that are so important to many Canadians may be just as powerful as the stunning remodel, unique experiences, and suite category value on the revolutionized Celebrity Summit.
Ship visits for travel advisors and their clients
Advisors will already be familiar with Celebrity Seminars at Sea and booking incentives. And many Canadian advisors have already taken part in the annual event where Celebrity charters a plane to transport advisors to Miami to tour Celebrity ships in port.
The revolutionized Celebrity Summit adds a new dimension to product training and sales support for Canadian as well as U.S. advisors.
The Millennium, revolutionized earlier this year, provides West Coast agents the opportunity to visit the ship when it is in port. Celebrity takes in-port ship visits to another spectacular level, extending the opportunity to include agents' customers, knowing that customers' first-hand exposure to Celebrity helps agents make bookings.
Now, when the revolutionized Summit moves, in May, to Canada & New England and Bermuda itineraries sailing from Port Liberty, New Jersey, nearby advisors will have a similar program and opportunity. Advisors can get involved in these support programs through their Celebrity salesperson.
For travel advisors, the revolutionized Celebrity Summit is more than a reimagined ship. Its new styling, first-in-fleet experiences, one-of-a-kind value at the suite level, as well as a brand identity that puts core values into action onboard where guests can experience them, and its new support for advisors, present an enhanced opportunity to engage new-to-cruise, new-to-Celebrity, and returning-to-Celebrity guests and match them to Summit itineraries.