April 07, 2023
(10 a.m. EST) -- Greece-based Celestyal Cruises is set to launch a new vacation brand, Celestyal Vacations, and confirmed it is looking for a ship to replace Celestyal Olympia.
Celestyal Holidays has already launched in the U.K., and will launch as Celestyal Vacations in the U.S. in the coming weeks, offering pre- and post-cruise stays in Greece and Turkey.
The vacations will offer one- or two-day breaks in Athens, a Classical Greece land tour and short breaks in Turkey for Celestyal passengers.
"We had research done which showed that a large number of passengers were adding on a few days at the start or the end of their cruise," Celestyal CEO Chris Theophilides told Cruise Critic at Seatrade in Fort Lauderdale last week.
"This brand is not designed to compete with mainstream holidays, it's just giving what our guests want pre- and post-cruise."
Celestyal Holidays will not at this stage offer Turkey tours, just short breaks in Greece; Celestyal Vacations will offer both.
Theophilides also confirmed the line is actively looking for a second ship to replace the 1,664-passenger Celestyal Olympia.
"There will be a second ship," confirmed Theophilides. "There are candidates in mind."
He said the line was looking for a ship which would increase capacity by around 30%, as well as increase the number of balcony cabins available, a key demand for passengers.
"We're selling from the top down," explained Theophilides. "We knew guests wanted balconies on the seven-night cruises on [Celestyal] Crystal, but we did not expect such demand for balconies on the three- and four-night cruises on Olympia."
He added fares would not rise as a result of more premium cabins and suites being available: "We're not going into the luxury space, we are just providing more of the inventory being sought after by guests."
Last week, Celestyal confirmed plans to replace the much-loved Celestyal Crystal with a new ship, Celestyal Journey, the former Holland America Line Ryndam, from September 2 this year.
Theophilides confirmed that guests staying in Grand Suites would have access to their own private dining room, dedicated concierge service and a lounge as well as a dedicated sundeck, called The Beach Club.
He also said there would be a specialty restaurant onboard -- "we have identified a space for that" -- but gave no further details.