Questions Remain After Celestyal Takes Full Control Of Cuba Cruise

Open Jaw

Celestyal Cruises says its Canadian office is not closing, but it's not clear where its office will be located or whether its 'core team' – minus Canadian founder Dugald Wells - will work from home.

In the wake of Open Jaw breaking news that Wells was no longer part of the operation, the PR company representing Cuba Cruise asked for a retraction, stating that the Canadian office was not closing as the story reported. However, the office and its location remains unconfirmed.

The PR agency did send a statement from
Pythagoras Nagos, Director of Sales, Celestyal Cruises:

“We are happy to announce that following the Cuba Cruise startup phase, the brand is now fully owned by Celestyal Cruises. The venture has been restructured to create synergies and meet consumer demand for a product covering vacation needs all year round."

While not mentioning the departure of Wells, the statement from Nagos described the 'core team' in Canada as follows:

  • Celestyal Cruises V.P. Sales & Marketing in Canada: TBD
  • Manager of Tour Operator & Special Interest Accounts: Holly Varey.
    Varey is listed online as living in Calgary, where the Cuba Cruise office was based.
  • Digital Marketing Manager: Dean de St. Croix
    de St. Croix is creative director at his own design and branding agency based in Toronto. He worked for Thomas Cook Travel in the 90s as an art director.
  • Group Account Executive, Julia Freeman
    Toronto-based Freeman is a former travel consultant with CAA South Central and Travel Network. She also worked with Cruise North Expeditions as Manager Client Services during part of Dugald Wells' tenure as President of that company.

Nagos said a press release would be issued early this week with more details - including plans to extend the sailing season into April – but that release has not arrived.

Celestyal Cruises told publication IHS Maritime that it was already the majority partner in Cuba Cruises. Public Relations Manager Frosso Zaroulea told IHS that it had increased its shareholding "so as to support the venture's continued growth and to further commit to this unique product."

"As a global cruise line and after a successful 2015 cruise season in Cuba, we decided the synergy was there between our Eastern Mediterranean cruises and our Cuba product, and that there was significant untapped market share," he said.

Italian publication The Medi Telegraph also reported the story, saying it is unclear at this point as to whether the Cuba Cruise brand will be maintained.

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