Opening up the world: 330 destinations with 15 ships

Elizabeth Oates outlines to Richard Humphreys how Celebrity Cruises builds its itineraries and decided the destinations its fleet is sailing to in 2023

Opening up the world: 330 destinations with 15 ships
In 2023, Celebrity Beyond will transport vacationers to Greece, Turkey, Italy, Croatia and Montenegro

With a 15-ship fleet that visits all seven continents and over 330 destinations, Celebrity Cruises has long been successful in opening up the world to its guests. This mantra is being upheld for 2023, with the cruise line once again taking travellers to both popular and new locations around the world. 

“Our objective at Celebrity Cruises is to create dynamic itineraries with a focus on destinations that are globally renowned, culturally rich and appeal to a wide range of consumers,” says Elizabeth Oates, vice president of strategy and innovation at Celebrity Cruises. “We also consider destinations that provide the best guest experience and are aligned with our brand strategy. 

“Our process combines both creative innovation and robust data and consumer insights. This includes gathering feedback from our guests about their destination experiences.” 

Celebrity Cruises 2023 itineraries include voyages to regions such as Alaska, the Mexican Riviera, Iceland and Greenland, South America, Canada and New England, Bermuda, the Galapagos islands, and the Caribbean. 

“Every single one of our summer 2023 Europe itineraries are so exceptional that they give me ‘fear of missing out’ vibes, because I don’t have time to experience them all,” says Oates. “Celebrity Edge will take travellers through Spain, France, and Italy, while Celebrity Beyond will transport vacationers to Greece, Turkey, Italy, Croatia and Montenegro. 

“In addition, Celebrity Apex, which will be sailing from Amsterdam, will provide adventure-seekers with a thrilling escape to the Norwegian fjords. Additionally, we are operating a Europe programme in the winter for the first time with Celebrity Infinity. The ship will offer a limited programme of sailings that go to the Canary Islands and Morocco from Barcelona, before repositioning to Athens to offer Holy Land sailings in early 2024.” 

It’s not just the European itineraries that Oates is excited about, with the Asian-Pacific region now reopening fully for cruising. 

“Looking ahead to winter 2023-2024, we will return to the Asia-Pacific region and have two ships there,” says Oates. “Celebrity Solstice will be returning to operate itineraries from Singapore and Hong Kong to Thailand and Vietnam. And we are introducing a new ‘Asia Explorer’ programme on Celebrity Millennium, which goes to new ports in the region, including Bali and Sri Lanka.” 

Oates and the Celebrity Cruises team are always looking to provide unique experiences through itineraries and destinations. The cruise line aims to offer something new for its loyal guests by searching for ports and itineraries that will inspire travellers looking to discover the world. 

“We partner very closely with our shore excursions team, because it is not only about opening up the world by simply bringing guests to these places, but also by exposing them to the culture, history, natural beauty and cuisine of these places,” says Oates. “Onboard, we offer ways for travellers to further connect with the destination. 

“For example, we offer chef-led tours like our market experience in Puerto Vallarta and the recently launched ‘Captain Curated Shore Excursions’ throughout Greece, which pay homage to the brand’s Greek roots. With this new programme travellers can enjoy bucket-list experiences like visiting Olympia and a family-owned olive mill, followed by a cooking lesson. There are also opportunities to indulge in the flavours of Mykonos through a walking tour exploring the town’s best-kept secrets as well as learning how beer is made and trade delicious locally brewed libations at the Harma Microbrewery in the quaint seaside town of Chania.”  

This article was first published in the 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys
08 December 2022

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