Sun, sea and delicious food – Greece is an easy sell. But agents should keep an eye on its growing cruise market, as Celestyal’s Andrew Magowan tells Sam Ballard
There is something about Greece that us Brits love. There isn’t much of a mystery as to why. From its deep blue waters, picturesque hillside towns and glorious weather, to great food and fabulous hospitality, it’s easy to see why Brits are flocking to the Aegean in ever greater numbers.
Agents who sell regularly into Greece should look up Celestyal Cruises. The line, which has two mid-sized ships – Celestyal Crystal, which can accommodate 1,200 guests and Celestyal Olympia at 1,664 – offers incredible value as well as a local’s knowledge of the Greek islands. We sat down with Andrew Magowan, vice president commercial for Europe at Celestyal, to find out more about what the line offers agents and clients.
Why should travel agents be interested in selling Celestyal Cruises?
We are a Greece specialist. It’s informal fun in the sun, with a whole lot of inclusions that make it a great-value product.
What is included?
Everything! All of your drinks, gratuities and meals – as well as a number of shore excursions. The value is incredible. A seven-day Idyllic Aegean cruise, for example, starts in Athens and includes overnights in Mykonos and Santorini, plus three included shore excursions, one of which is to Ephesus. That’s priced from £999 per person. There are around 3.6 million Brits going to Greece each year. We’ve got to convince them to do
so on a Celestyal ship. By the end of April this year we will have our 2021 season on sale.
What’s the typical passenger profile on board Celestyal?
It’s a product that works for all. The four- and five-day cruises are typically more family orientated, where we have kids’ programmes (although no kids’ clubs), while the longer eight-day cruises are better suited to couples.
When is the best time to go?
We are becoming a year-round operator, so the season is split between Greece in mid-March to October and then Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel for this coming winter. We are also about to announce some exciting new 2020/21 winter itineraries.
What should agents who want to sell Celestyal do?
We do not offer flights, so agents need to sell us as part of a package.
Do you have any plans for further growth?
The plan is to add more tonnage to our existing two-ship fleet, although first we need to operate our cruises year-round. Therefore, the extension of our seasons to include appealing new destinations is both exciting and important. We have ambitious plans and working with trade partners in the UK is key to that.