WCIR: How important is the quality of onboard services to passengers’ enjoyment?

LLP: At Celebrity, the quality of on-board services is vital to our guests’ enjoyment.

Only by providing a top quality product and experience do we continue to achieve the high marks our brand continues to receive, and it’s that commitment to quality that keeps our guests coming back to us.

WCIR: If you were to prioritise on-board services, which are the most important?

LLP: It’s virtually impossible to rank them, as they’re all important and it depends on factors such as the region or time of year. Overall, Celebrity’s hallmarks of importance are fine dining, extraordinary service, fantastic shore excursions, pampering spas and wonderful entertainment.

WCIR: What has Celebrity done to enhance its on-board services in recent years?

LLP: We are inspired by feedback from our travel agent partners and guests, which has resulted in a number of enhancements at Celebrity, including our stylish ConciergeClass accommodation and Acupuncture at Sea. New entertainment features include the Blue Chip Club, a highrollers programme in our casinos. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

In food and beverages, we have a new wine programme and offer a range of flexible dining, Sushi Cafes, made-to order pasta and pizza bars. Special events include sunset sailaways on the aft deck with live music and canapés, and sunset yoga on the outdoor deck.

“We try to ensure that technology is non-intrusive, offering only as much as our guests want.”

Regarding the fleet, Century has received a $55m makeover, and we’ve added two vessels, Celebrity Journey and Celebrity Quest, which were former R ships, to complete our Celebrity Expeditions brand extension of exotic cruise products.

WCIR: Have these changes helped Celebrity to gain a more competitive advantage?

LLP: Absolutely. We continuously monitor the competition on land and at sea to ensure we’re up to speed with, or in many cases, ahead of the competition.

WCIR: How do you maximise the quality of food and beverage services while still maintaining a focus on value?

LLP: We invest in what is most important for the overall guest experience, and evolve these services as required. It’s a combination of what we’re spending and what will offer our guests the best experience.

WCIR: Do you reflect the regional differences in the cuisine and other services offered on your ships?

LLP: Our guests are offered regional fare, providing it meets our Celebrity standards.

Guests enjoy being immersed in the culture of the region in which they’re cruising, whether on their shore excursions, using on-board facilities, or in the food and wine we serve. We also strive to cater to the varying needs of the different cultures and age groups of our guests.

WCIR: How important is staff training and retention to the effective delivery of onboard services?

LLP: Training is crucial, as is a sharp focus on staff retention. We work hard at Celebrity to keep our people happy, fulfilled and motivated, which naturally translates into excellent service. Simply put, happy staff equals happy guests.

WCIR: Services such as high-speed internet access have become a basic expectation for holidaymakers, whether on land or at sea. How is technology shaping the services that customers expect on a cruise ship?

LLP: Technology isn’t shaping our services, but it’s playing an expanding role, for example, with signage, communications and how we address guest preferences. But we try to ensure that technology is non-intrusive, offering only as much as our guests want.

WCIR: What are the major challenges you face over the next five to ten years?

LLP: The major challenge will be to provide services that differentiate our brand, from other cruise lines as well as land-based resorts, and how to make those differentiators so compelling that a Celebrity cruise is always the vacation of choice among our target audience.