Christine Chiang of Celestyal Cruises & Denise Martinson of Exclusive Tours show off some of the new collateral on the Cuba & Med programs
(l-r)Denise chats with Rick Hurlbut, Pride Enterprises; Charlie Pitchford, Flight Centre Associates and Lynne & Greg Seid, Expedia CruiseShipCenters
(l-r)Eleni Diamantopoulos, Carlson Wagonlit Travel; Robin Fast, Alison Moody-Stuart, Sara Blackwell & Kimm Werner of Transat Travel; Fiona Schonewille, Transat Tours & McKenzie McMillan, The Travel Group get ready for an authentic Greek evening
ACV Area Sales Managers Joyce Simbulan & Julie Gilfillan are excited to be new partners with Celestyal to provide all inclusive Cuba cruise packages
Celestyal Cruises, along with Exclusive Tours, Air Canada Vacations & Transat Holidays recently treated a small group of agents to an authentic Greek experience at Vancouver's Hellenic Community Centre. Christine Chiang, Celestyal's Canadian V.P. Sales & Marketing from Toronto presented an informative slide show and talked about the brand's Cuba & Med cruise programs, but it was tough competition as guests feasted on a fantastic 4-course Greek dinner that everyone simply raved about.
In Canada, Celestyal's Cuba program has been making waves as it was the 1st immersive Cuba cruise offering of its kind. In her 4th, and now year round season, the Celestyal Crystal brings Canadians and an increasing number of Americans to Cuba with embarkation options from Havana or Montego Bay. The ship's intimate capacity - just 960 guests - is perfect for exploring the 4 Cuban ports in a small group atmosphere. Add an all-inclusive package with beverages, excursions & tipping when booked through ACV or Transat, and it becomes the best way to see the Caribbean's largest island.
With the Cuba program firmly in place, Celestyal now draws our attention to its Eastern Med & Greek Isles itineraries, ranging from 3 to 7 nights. In addition to the popular ports of Athens, Santorini, Mykonos & Kusadasi, the highlight of these cruises is visits to lesser known Greek islands such as Kos, Ios & Cesme, which larger ships simply can't visit. With 30 years in the business and as the only cruise line homeported in Greece, Celestyal has the expertise to offer a rich mix of Greek culture, cuisine, heritage and hospitality to those who sail onboard.
Charlie Pitchford of Flight Centre Associates and Robin Fast of Transat Travel were both quick to tell me that they have sold Celestyal's Cuba program and clients all returned with rave reviews as the best way to see the "real" Cuba. Christine's passion in her presentation only reinforced this fact and both will continue to recommend this trip to their clients without hesitation, especially with the ease of all-inclusive packaging from the tour ops. Robin has sailed on Celestyal to the Greek Isles and sees it as a great add-on to a longer stay or as part of an island-hopping itinerary.
I also had a chance to chat with Rick Hurlbut of Pride Enterprises. As a specialist in the LGBT market, Rick sees potential with the Cuba program for some of his clients, who are always looking for cultural learning and itinerary immersion. As for Greece, evening calls and late night stays in Mykonos offered by Celestyal is certainly a top draw to allow clients to enjoy the island's happening nightlife.
The big announcement is that Celestyal will be hiring a BDM to serve the Western Canadian market, to be announced in the upcoming weeks. This is certainly proof that business is good, and with additional trade support, Celestyal is poised to increase its presence and sales in the future.