Celestyal expands North American team and debuts new itineraries beginning in Qatar
Greek cruise company Celestyal has its sights firmly set on the Persian Gulf when next winter rolls around. The company has announced that Celestyal Journey will visit four new countries and six new ports of call in the Persian Gulf, beginning in November.
The new, seven-night “Desert Days” itinerary will set sail on Nov. 9, from Doha, Qatar, and call for the first time in Bahrain, Dubai, Khasab (Oman), Sir Bani Yas Island and Abu Dhabi. The 1,260-passenger Celestyal Journey joined the line in September. The new itinerary will run through Jan. 18, 2025, and subsequently return as a permanent feature for the winter season.
Celestyal has also confirmed its two-ship fleet will once again operate year-round sailings, with seasonal offerings consisting of:
- A winter program, running November to April from Doha on Celestyal Journey, delivering the “Desert Days” itinerary with further three-, four-, five- and seven-night options. And the 1,266-passenger Celestyal Discovery — which joins the fleet this year — will deliver the “Three Continents” cruise from November 2025 to March 2026, covering Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt.
- Celestyal’s core program, from April to October, with Celestyal Journey operating three itineraries: the “Heavenly Adriatic;” from Greece to Montenegro, Croatia, and Italy, with maiden calls at Kefalonia, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Bari and Katakolo. The “Summer Heavenly Adriatic” also features Montenegro, Croatia, Italy, and Greece with maiden calls at Venice, and the “Idyllic Aegean” voyages visiting the Greek Isles and Turkey from 2025. Celestyal Discovery will sail three and four-night “Iconic Aegean” cruises from March to November.
The line previously sailed from March to December. Itineraries for 2024 and 2025 are on sale now. All destinations, including the new itineraries, form part of Celestyal’s current winter savings promotion, with prices for a seven-night ‘Three Continents’ cruise covering ports in Europe, Africa, and Asia, sailing from Athens, starting from $649 per person, while a seven-night Desert Days cruise from Doha to Bahrain, Dubai, Oman, Sir Bani Yas Island and Abu Dhabi leads in from $609 per person.
“We come into 2024 with a completely refreshed fleet, seven new countries and 12 new global ports, on top of our much-loved Greece and Mediterranean cruise program,” said Lee Haslett, chief commercial officer at Celestyal. “We do the Greek islands and beyond like no other, but we have heard from our customers that they want more destinations, more robust itineraries, and a chance to discover more with Celestyal. We are pleased to be charting a new course to seas beyond the Aegean and the Med to take our guests to new and exciting destinations as Celestyal grows into a global brand.”
Celestyal is also offering 50% off all Celestyal Plus+ Experience packages, along with reduced single supplements of 30% and low fares for families with children, with up to 70% off the third or fourth guest in a cabin.
“The Persian Gulf cruises deliver this, with a homeport in Doha, stops at marquee destinations such as Dubai, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi, as well as more bespoke gems in Oman and the island of Sir Bani Yas. We are starting the year strong and intend to keep growing and delighting our customers across 2024,” Lee continued.
Growth in North America
Meanwhile, the company continues to expand its dedicated North American trade team with the addition of four new members, bringing its total team in the region to 11, with additional recruitment currently underway. The cruise line has also restructured the sales and marketing department in North America and created new functional roles and promoted current team members into these roles to better serve travel advisor partners.
Stephanie McDonald, formerly Business Development Manager, Canada, has been promoted to the new position of manager, partner training & development where she will provide on-going Celestyal product and systems training for both Celestyal’s travel advisor partners as well as internal customers including but not limited to the North American Trade Sales Team and contact center employees. She is also responsible for raising brand awareness and knowledge by designing, maintaining, and updating all materials created for the purpose of providing education and familiarization around Celestyal’s products and programs. Additionally, she will have a pivotal role in redesigning Celestyal’s Travel Advisor portal and on-line training platform.
The most recent additions to the team include Elena Rodriquez, director of business development; Scott Moore, director of key accounts and partnerships; Taylor Hendwood, business development manager, southeast and Lauren Barreras, trade marketing manager.
Rodriquez joins Celestyal from Princess Cruises, where she served as director of national accounts since 2007 and oversaw 45 accounts. As Celestyal’s director of business development, she will be responsible for revenue generation from travel agencies as well as direct management of all aspects of Celestyal Cruises’ business development in North America. She will lead a team of Business Development Managers responsible for generating sales and providing support to travel advisors while collaborating with various teams and departments within Celestyal to create programs which drive sales, provide support, and achieve Celestyal Cruises’ overall commercial objectives.
Prior to Celestyal, Moore was with American Queen Voyages as director of host accounts and Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Field Agencies. He also held previous positions with Club Med, The Scenic Group and The Walt Disney Company. As director of key accounts and partnerships, he will be responsible for overall relationship management and revenue generation from a “portfolio of Celestyal’s most engaged and supportive partners.” Moore will design and implement successful sales programs, strategies and network/membership penetration initiatives which focus on sales growth.
Barreras joins Celestyal with eight years of global trade marketing and sales experience. She most recently was with Oceania Cruises where she managed strategic and national account marketing and supported the launch of Crystal River Cruises. At Celestyal, she will work with the trade to deliver events and raise awareness of Celestyal’s brand, products, fleet, destinations, award-winning service and offers. Barreras will report to Anna Gregori, VP brand, marketing, communications and customer journey.
The new team members will report to Brandon Townsley, vice president & managing director, North America.
“These three individuals bring a wealth of retail cruise expertise to Celestyal and have long established relationships with travel sellers throughout North America. We look forward to putting their talents to work to better serve our network of travel advisor partners and continue to grow the Celestyal’s brand and business throughout the U.S. and Canada,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cyndi Berardi, who previously held the position of trade sales support executive, has been promoted to the new role of manager, trade support and operations. Sandra Jakovac, who previously held the position of trade sales support executive, has been promoted to the new role of manager, group sales and administration and will support and facilitate the group booking process for travel advisors in North America as well as the Business Development team.
“These new functional positions and promotions are a direct result of our listening carefully to our trade partners and furthering our commitment to the important segment of our business. With a refreshed fleet, new itineraries and programs and an expanded North American team, Celestyal is primed to make waves in this market, and we look forward to what is sure to be an exciting year ahead,” said Townsley.