Celebrity Cruises said it will add an overnight stay to the itinerary of Caribbean cruises of 10 days or longer, starting in January 2016. The decision affects 43 cruises, said Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales, trade support and services.
Ritzenthaler stressed that overnights are typically a feature of cruises outside the Caribbean, so Celebrity is breaking ground with the move.
“This gives us the ability to say we have more overnights in the Caribbean than any cruise line in the industry,” Ritzenthaler said. “While overnights have been a trend in the marketplace in Europe and in Asia, there really hasn’t been a movement and we believe we are a leader in this initiative.”
The destinations where overnights are planned include Aruba, Barbados, Cartagena, Cozumel, Curacao and St. Maarten. Ritzenthaler said they are among the highest-rated destinations in the Caribbean by guests.
“Consumer and trade research indicates this is something they desire,” Ritzenthaler said.
Of Celebrity’s 10 ships, five are scheduled to be in the Caribbean in the first quarter of 2016, but not all do itineraries of 10 days or longer.
Celebrity has been selling the 2016 Caribbean winter season since the fall of 2014 and cruises have been booking well, Ritzenthaler said. Now booked guests will get the bonus of an overnight stay. “This will be a really wonderful gift for these folks,” she said. “This will be something that will be a really nice opportunity for them. We think it will be a differentiator.”