• Declan Trifunovic

Product Thursdays: Celestyal Cruises

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In the 6th instalment of Product Thursdays, Richard invited Stewart Williams and Mary Williams of Celestyal Cruises to take us on a journey through the Aegean Sea with their incredible, all-inclusive cruise product. Stewart Williams is the Regional Manager for Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, China, and Japan for Celestyal Cruises, and has over 30 years experience within the travel industry, including 26 years as the Managing Director for Australasia for Globus. Mary Williams is an accomplished sales professional with more than 15 years experience, spanning across sales, business development and travel consulting. She currently works as the Business Development Manager for Celestyal Cruises in Australia and New Zealand. Mary holds a Bachelors Degree, majoring in Marketing, International Business, and International Studies, and loves her business development role that combines her passion for cruising and her greater love for the Greek islands.

The Product

Celestyal Cruises was a mature startup that was founded on the backend of Louis Cruise Lines, so despite having been around for only six years as of 2020, the brand has over 85 years experience under its belt. The best way to describe Celestyal cruises is to define them as all-inclusive destination cruises. That is, fully equipped small-medium sized cruise ships with all necessary inclusions paid for in your initial fare, excluding only some personal items, with a focus on exploring the destinations you visit on each cruise. As such, Celestyal cruises tend to be relatively short between single weekends and 7 days in duration.

Despite their short durations, Celestyal Cruises pack in a tremendous amount of destination value, with the ability to visit up to five destinations in a single weekend. Celestyal’s longer 7-day cruises also typically boast around 7 destinations during that time period. The brand also takes advantage of the ships smaller size to visit many off-the-beaten-track destinations in addition to the big drawcard locations. As a result, the experiences guests get on Celestyal cruises are often unique to just them as each destination has many activities to offer, and Celestyal provides true freedom to explore are you please. The relatively smaller number of passengers on each ship, typically limited to between 800 and 1,200, also remove the feeling of each destination being swarmed by large cruise groups.

The Beauty Of All-Inclusive

At Celestyal, all-inclusive means that your fare includes all meals (which Stewart stresses are generous), drink packages, 2 excursions and all other onboard facilities are completely covered from the outset, so passengers don’t need to pay for anything while on board. Mary and Stewart both believe this is one reason that Celestyal Cruises appeal so much to the Australian market, as customers from this region generally place value on this type of arrangement.

The Market

By taking on a destination-based cruising approach, Celestyal Cruises is able to appeal to both the traditional cruising market, as well as the independent traveler market - individuals who wish to go exploring and see interesting destinations independently. For this market, Celestyal’s cruise ships act as a rather luxurious home base (without the price tag) and a form of transport between the destinations they desire to explore. The inclusion of various excursions and activities both on board and at each destination also contribute to this appeal.

Main Itineraries

Celestyal Cruises has three main itineraries, as follows:

1. 7 Night Idyllic Aegean – Including an overnight stay in Santorini, 24 hours in Mykonos, a full day to explore Rhodes, and also includes the destinations of Athens, Kusadasi, Agios Nikolaos, and Milos, for a total of 7 destinations in 7 nights.

2. 7 Night Eclectic Aegean – Including the destinations of Athens, overnight in Istanbul, Canakkale (with the option to visit Troy and Gallipoli), Thessaloniki, Volos, and Santorini

3. 7 Night Three Continents – Including the destinations of Athens, Post Said (from which you will visit Cairo), Ashdod, Limassol, Rhodes, and Kusadasi. In this journey you will visit three continents in 8 days, including sites like the holy city of Jerusalem, and three archaeological marvels in Cairo, Rhodes and Ephesus.

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To see the full webinar, head to The Travel Ind