Agents call for Celebrity Cruises to bring back Jet Set Sail package

Agents have called for Celebrity Cruises to reinstate its exclusive premium charter flight package, Jet Set Sail, in a bid to upsell affluent consumers on new ship Celebrity Beyond. 

The offer, which was introduced on selected 2016-17 itineraries on Celebrity Equinox, was designed to provide a VIP experience from the airport to the cruise terminal.

It included a premium economy-style service aboard a 110-seat Titan Airways aircraft and a luxury coach transfer to the cruise terminal. Guests enjoyed the benefits of the private Inflite Jet Centre Terminal in a separate part of Stansted Airport as well as extra legroom and a complimentary meal. 

Speaking during a Travel Weekly roundtable on Celebrity Beyond on one of two shakedown sailings from Southampton, Iglu’s Glenn Wallis (pictured) asked whether the line had plans to bring Jet Set Sail back.

“Imagine taking that [package] with a suite on it, [it would be] the ultimate VIP luxury [experience],” he said.

“It was brilliant when we had that before because people wanted a bit of class and their own private plane. It would be good to do a northern airport like Manchester and a London one. That's 220 people that have upgraded their experience before they've even [got on the ship]. I think people would pay it.”

Janet Whittingham, head of cruise at Travel Counsellors, agreed that Jet Set Sail had been “really good”, while Gill Williams of Cruise Village said she would like to see the programme based out of Liverpool.

Celebrity’s head of sales Nicola McNeish said the line was “always looking at what the next thing is for the brand and how we move things forward”.

Director of sales Claire Stirrup agreed that the line would “never say never” but highlighted the issues it had previously faced when operating the Jet Set Sail package.   

“We want to be able to look after our guests from start to finish and because we're reliant on second and third companies that we can’t always control, you didn’t always get the experience in Athens or Barcelona and that didn’t help things for us,” she said.

“However, you never know what we might announce soon.”

Agents also urged Celebrity Cruises to base one of its Edge-series ships in Southampton following sustained demand for UK cruises. 

Emma Ram, store manager at Barrhead Travel in Newport, said: “Cruisers are driven by the ship now. If you have something like this [Beyond] in Southampton, I know we can sell it.”

Wallis agreed, adding: “Older people do not want to be on planes so to get on in Southampton would be lovely. I love Silhouette but it would be lovely to change it. We’ve had Eclipse, we’ve had Silhouette, to have one of these [Edge-series ships] in Southampton would give Southampton [a boost].”

Travel Counsellor Jane Cowley said one of her “bugbears” was that UK itineraries weren’t more diverse and suggested Celebrity add new ports, but Ram said changing the ship would address that problem.

Ram added that Barrhead had received “loads” of new-to-cruise customers following the success of UK staycation sailings, while Wallis said that they had been great at “getting people back up the gangway.”

Jo Rzymowska told agents and media onboard Celebrity Beyond last weekend  to “watch this space” when asked about future UK deployment. [LINK TO HARRY’S STORY]

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