Celebrity Cruises outlines largest-ever educational programme

Celebrity Cruises is planning its largest-ever trade educational programme next year ahead of Celebrity Apex homeporting in the UK in 2024.

The line has committed to hosting at least 600 agents on the 2,910-passenger ship next year, with a mix of ship visits and ‘seminar at sea’ sailings being finalised.

Apex will call into 10 British and Irish ports – including Liverpool, Greenock and Cork – next summer, offering the line opportunities to invite agents onboard the second Edge-series vessel.

There will be other trade educational events on other Edge-series ships and the rest of the Celebrity fleet operating in Europe throughout the year, Celebrity confirmed.

The move comes after Celebrity learned that agents said experiencing their ships was priority in a survey carried out earlier this year.

Speaking at an event in London to announce Celebrity Apex’s 2024 deployment last night, Jo Rzymowska, the line’s vice-president and managing director, EMEA, said: “It is our biggest-ever educational programme. We will get agents on Apex and we have seven ships in Europe next summer including three Edge-series ships.”

She added: “There are a lot of new agents in the industry. We’ve done some research with the agent community and the two most important things were cash prizes and experiencing the ships.”

Asked about seminar at sea sailings, Rzymowska said agents would go on board “for the whole of the cruise” and agents would either be allowed to bring a colleague or a “plus-one” depending on the sailing.

She said the line’s trade distribution was “constantly evolving”, adding: “We’re very conscious that it is not one size fits all. We’re always thinking what we can do to help them sell.”

Celebrity Apex’s full summer 2024 programme will go on sale on November 15. “This gives us some time to drum up demand and gives agents a chance to get the accommodation their customers wants,” Rzymowska added.

Asked if British passengers may favour Celebrity’s ex-UK departures over fly-cruise sailings in 2024, Rzymowska said: “I do not think so. A lot of our guests are very happy to fly away and get straight to the sun.

“Celebrity is a multi-destination brand as opposed to a single destination brand. What we’re seeing is that we have Brits that want to sail from the UK and a lot of Brits want to fly further afield. That is why the UK market is so important to us.”

On pricing, Rzymowska confirmed Celebrity’s pricing levels was “higher compared to 2019” and explained how consumer demand had driven pricing.

“Our guests do not want the lowest price but they want the best value,” she added.

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