|Celebrity Equinox // All Photos by Susan J. Young|
Celebrity Cruises is introducing what it terms "immersive luxury vacations" with the launch of Celebrity Explorations. The goal is for cruisers to extend their vacation by combining a cruise with a choice of more than 20 land-based adventures. Programs range from 11 to 22 nights.
"Celebrity Explorations is an exciting new opportunity for us and our travel partners, who will receive full commission on the entire vacation package,” Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president, sales, trade support and service, Celebrity Cruises, said in a statement.
Given some decreases in commission on land-based elements and increases in NCFs elsewhere in the cruise industry, it was a move immediately praised by the trade. "When cruise lines and travel companies innovate and create new experiences for today’s savvy traveler, it is a win for our industry and the consumer," said Scott Koepf, senior vice president of sales, Avoya Travel/American Express.
He said his organization "applauds cruise lines that value the travel agent community," noting the important role agents play in guiding consumers' vacation choices.
More than 20 different Celebrity Explorations are now available for sale, and Celebrity plans to reveal more as the year progresses. Vacationers can combine an ocean cruise with several days of extensive and fully-guided tours, excursions and hotel stays. Celebrity handles all the planning.
“As a modern luxury vacation company, we are in the business of providing outstanding vacation experiences and have been doing so for nearly 25 years,” Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, said in the press statement. “With the introduction of Celebrity Explorations, we are giving our guests more of what they value and expect from Celebrity – authentic, immersive and upscale vacation experiences that combine luxury hotels, guided tours by our destination concierges and the best in local dining with a unique selection of ocean cruises and more."
He said the new style of travel pairs two types of vacations into one. Highlights from the collection of Celebrity Explorations, ranging from 11 to 22 nights, include:
Sydney & the South Pacific: Guests will spend three nights in a luxury hotel in Sydney, Australia, combined with tours that take in the must-see highlights of the city - including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbor Bridge and Bondi Beach, plus a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbor. Vacationers then choose a Celebrity voyage through the South Pacific onboard Celebrity Solstice. This combination program is available for select sailings departing Jan. 18 through March 22, 2015 and Oct. 21, 2015 through April 1, 2016
Africa & the Iberian Peninsula: This five-night adventure in Africa begins with a stay at a five-star hotel in Nairobi, Kenya before guests head to an upscale lodge in Lake Nakuru National Park and a luxury tented camp in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Guests can enjoy three fully escorted expeditions before they join Celebrity Eclipse in Southampton, England for an 11- to 14-night cruise through the Canary Islands. This program departs between Aug. 30 and Oct. 21, 2015.
Amazon & the Antarctic, Argentina or Chile: On this customizable 21- to 22-night exploration, vacationersjourney to South America while relaxing in upscale accommodations in Lima, Peru, combined with Buenos Aires, Argentina or Santiago, Chile. Guests then sail down the Amazon River for four days in a luxurious riverboat chartered exclusively for Celebrity. Then it's on to a 14- or 15-night cruise onboard Celebrity Infinity, which visits destinations in Antarctica, Argentina and Chile. This program is available for select itineraries between Dec. 20, 2015 and Feb. 28, 2016.
Koepf praised the new program as an "exciting addition" to Celebrity's portfolio of products and said "we believe it will elevate travelers’ vacation experience to a new level."
For more details, visit www.celebritycruises.com/vacationpackages.