Tim Jones, VP & MD for Asia Pacific, Celebrity Cruises, says that they have a two-fold plan to attract Indian passengers, which includes boosting their numbers from India and promoting India’s culture & heritage to the world. Two of its ships – Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Edge, are set to call in India, which remains an important market for them.
Celebrity Cruises is set to call in India with two of its ships, the Celebrity Millennium and the Celebrity Edge. Tim Jones, Vice President and Managing Director for Asia Pacific, Celebrity Cruises, believes that the Indian market is “incredibly important” for the company for a number of reasons. “The Indian market holds great significance for us at Celebrity Cruises, especially in the Asia Pacific region. One of the primary reasons is the high value that Indian guests bring as a source market. We have noticed that Indian guests tend to opt for our retreat or sweet category accommodations, indicating a preference for a truly elevated and luxurious experience while sailing with us,” he shared.
Jones also highlighted the importance of India as a destination for international inbound visitors. “The country offers an incredible opportunity for the company to showcase its offerings to the Indian market and rest of the world. We take pride in offering our guests a comfortable and homely experience on board our ships. India serves as a crucial market for us, providing guests with enriching experiences as in popular destinations like Europe and Alaska, which are the two most sought-after destinations by Indian guests. Additionally, India is also an essential destination for our international inbound visitors. We see this as an excellent opportunity to showcase India’s rich culture and heritage to visitors from the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Europe,” he said.
Role of travel trade
Jones stated that the company works closely with the travel trade in India, integrating cruise products into longer tours to Europe and Alaska. Celebrity Cruises also collaborates with terrain travel, the Royal Caribbean Group, to support events, drive FIT through digital and above the line marketing, and set up incentive programs to support travel agents and drive their business. The company attends trade shows and travel shows to talk to a broader travel agent community and business. “Trade and travel shows are fantastic opportunities for us to engage with a wider audience, including travel agents, business leaders, and consumers. We have an incredible story to tell about our brand, products, and ships, and these events allow us to have meaningful conversations with customers and bring our product to life in a way that a brochure cannot,” he said.
New vessels to call in India
Celebrity Millennium will operate a series of cruises from Singapore, passing through Sri Lanka, Cochin, Goa, and Mumbai, and back to Singapore, shared Jones. On the other hand, Celebrity Edge will sail to Mumbai on 16 November, showcasing the beauty of the ship to the Indian market. The ship was built in 2018, revolutionizing the way cruise ships are built and offering facilities such as speciality dining, separate private sundecks, exclusive F&B experiences, and separate lounge environments.
Two-fold plan to attract Indians
Jones shared, “I believe there are two aspects to consider regarding our plans for the Indian market. Firstly, we aim to encourage more Indians to explore the world with us by travelling on our beautiful ships in Europe, Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, and potentially closer to home in India and Southeast Asia, where we plan to operate later this year. We see this as a massive opportunity, considering the significant growth of our market in India over the years. Our goal is to restore our passenger numbers to pre-pandemic levels. Secondly, we are excited about the opportunity to showcase India to a broader international audience through our programs, itineraries, and ship deployments. We believe that our initiatives can help promote India’s culture and heritage to business leaders and guests from all over the world. So, we have two main priorities in this region – increasing the number of Indian passengers and highlighting India’s beauty and charm to the rest of the world.”