On Monday, Celebrity Cruises opened the lid on the new Celebrity Edge project with a slew of "reveals" just prior to the annual Seatrade Cruise Global conference.
Last night, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brought media, travel industry leaders and VIPs to its headquarters at PortMiami to showcase the cutting edge, 3-D design methods and creative process used in designing the new ship.
It also created mock-ups to showcase how some accommodations and public spaces will look. Among the notable features, the ship will have a cutting-edge balcony design that -- in an unprecedented way never been done before -- physically moves the ship's infrastructure back further to create unobstructed views and enlarge the size of the interior space for accommodations.
Doing so allows for a more unobstructed view, plus a wall of glass above the balcony railing will drop down to create the open air balcony feel, or clients can close it and have much more interior space. Bathrooms will be larger, accommodations will have king beds, there will be more living area space, and more.
These new "Infinite Veranda" cabins, some 918 of them, will be extremely large -- 226 square feet without the balcony space included, or 269 with it, which compares to the typical industry balcony stateroom of 172 to 183 square feet.
For the first time, Celebrity is also fielding solo staterooms. It's adding 16 Infinite Veranda cabins for singles. The accommodations will feature queen beds.
Public spaces will also have some beyond-the-norm creativity. A new "Magic Carpet" platform, cantilevered off the ship's side, can move (without passengers) up to Deck 14 where up to 90 people can board to enjoy dinner. Or the platform will be positioned, alternatively, at the Promenade Deck, or often at the water line to create an easier, more relaxing tender experience.
Travel Agent will discuss all these details and more about public spaces and accommodations in an upcoming article.
Spotted in the crowd last night at PortMiami were such industry leaders as Van Anderson of Avoya Travel; Debbie Fiorino of CruiseOne, Cruises Inc. and Dream Vacations; Jackie Friedman of Nexion; and Charles Sylvia of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Overall, the leaders were impressed. Anderson called the reveals "amazing" and highly positive for agents, while Sylvia said "it was much more than I expected."
Travel Agent spoke to Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales, Celebrity Cruises, about how the line is introducing the reveals and new features of the ship to travel agents.
"We launched a 10-week trade blitz starting today," Ritzenthaler told us. The line will have its sales people in the field calling on agents and spreading the word.
In addition, the line has begun doing three webinars a day and the webinar program for the ship will continue for the next two years.
The line is also launching a tour in select cities across the country with events similar to the one in Miami last night. Among the cities are Orlando, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas.
All the Celebrity sales force employees have been outfitted with an electronic kit, plus posters and iPads which will be used in the field to replicate some of the facets of last night's program.
A seven-minute video is also going to be used to help education people about the Edge project.
Over a 14-week cycle, the line will roll out a truck tour around the U.S., giving agents a chance to see how 3D technology was used in creating all the new ship features and what those are.
The company will also showcase the new ship at major upcoming conferences including CLIA's Cruise360.
Starting this week, travel agents from Cruise Planners, Cruises Inc., CruiseOne, Dream Vacations and American Express call centers will be coming to PortMiami to see the same high-technology presentation and showcasing of features that media and industry leaders experienced last night.