The countdown is on for Celebrity Cruises’ first ship to hit Australian waters this November.
Celebrity Century will home port in Sydney for the Australian summer before making way for her big sister Celebrity Solstice in the summer of 2012-13.
“There’s no greater substantiation for the interest in this market than the investment the company’s (RCI) making in the largest and most modern cruise ship ever to call Australia home which will be in the summer of 2012-2013,” said Gavin Smith, managing director Celebrity Cruises Australia.
President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, Dan Hanrahan, flew into Sydney last week ahead of the deployment to speak with Australian media and agents about the Celebrity offering and sang the praises of the land down under.
Mr Hanrahan expressed his long-term goal to have more than one ship home port in Sydney during the summer but recognised that improvements need to be made to the Sydney port situation in order to achieve this.
Highlighting the economic benefits to NSW as a whole, Mr Hanrahan expects over $1 million in revenue to be generated per day that a Celebrity ship visits Sydney.
“The port has some interesting opportunities ahead of it…if the port can figure out how to accommodate large ships as well as small ships, the beneficiary of that will be the greater Sydney area and NSW in general.”
Whilst having a good port infrastructure is important, Mr Hanrahan explained that something simple can always be effective. He cited the port in Hamburg, Germany as an example which was constructed out of shipping containers for the recent inaugural sailing of Celebrity Silhouette and reiterated that the line can work within the conditions provided to them.
Taking time out to speak with me prior to his Sydney media briefing, Mr Hanrahan cleared up the confusion recent comments caused regarding tipping on board.
With tipping included as a line item when booking a cruise, Mr Hanrahan explained that his comments were in relation to educating Australian cruisers about the amounts allocated per staff member, not about how to tip in general.
“When I saw that article I was mortified. I would have to be really dumb to say something like that, or very arrogant and I’d like to think I was neither.”
I have included part of the interview in audio format via the link above and the entire interview will feature on Cruise Radio this week.
Disappointingly, I have received a bit of flack about this interview and have been called an apologist for Mr Hanrahan by a member of the travel media as well. It was implied that I was questioning the integrity of the journalist who reported the initial story on news.com.au and The Australian which I was never trying to do, nor would I ever do.
What I wanted to achieve by this interview was clarity. I thought it only fair that Mr Hanrahan be given the opportunity to have his say about an event that seemed blown out of proportion and that didn’t particularly make much sense to me either.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts on the topic…