March 13, 2002
Celebrity’s made a big splash this week with the announcement that it has lured Dietmar Wertanzl away from Crystal Cruises. Wertanzl, Crystal’s longtime head of hotel operations, spent nine years with the upscale line starting from the very beginning of that company with its launch of Crystal Harmony (he was that ship’s first hotel director).
Attracted to Celebrity by the challenge of raising quality levels and working with a bigger fleet, Wertanzl, interviewed today by phone before a flight from Los Angeles to Miami, says he intends to recreate, to the extent possible with three times the number of ships, Crystal’s highly acclaimed service culture. “From the beginning, the concept of Celebrity was to be a premium cruise line,” Wertanzl says. “Celebrity definitely has the potential to be different.”
In fact, he should know -- he was also part of the team that originally created Celebrity. These days, he plans first to tackle areas of consistency and quality in addition to service. “We have to look at how we support the staff and crew and establish new standards,” he says. “Ultimately, the most important goal is to take care of the guest and to offer a fantastic and hospitable cruise experience on Celebrity.”
Wertanzl, whose official title is senior vice president of fleet operations, which encompasses both the hotel and marine aspects of the cruise line, says big changes won’t happen overnight. Still, he notes, “we look forward to achieving some small successes quickly. A smile is important.”
Also making a big splash is the return-to-the-Royal Caribbean-fold of Rod McLeod, who most recently headed up American Classic Voyages (owner of Delta Queen Steamboat and U.S. Lines) and worked for Carnival during a six year break from RCCL. McLeod will be a senior vice president of travel industry relations, working with travel agencies.