Celebrity Cruises boss hails Apex ex-UK bookings

Celebrity Apex is leading the way for Celebrity Cruises sales, according to managing director and EMEA vice-president Giles Hawke.

The ship, which will homeport in Southampton for the first time this summer and again next summer, is the best-selling ship in the line’s fleet in terms of load factor, Hawke said, with the majority of passengers booked on board British, plus some international guests mostly from the US, Canada and Australia.

Hawke hailed the performance of UK agents during wave, saying it has been a “fantastic” start to the year.

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“UK agents are doing really well, I’m very pleased with how they are performing so far this year,” he said.

“We are beating our expectations on Europe sales coming from the UK and Irish markets which is great news.”

Asked whether Celebrity Apex’s success would lead to the line homeporting a second ship out of the UK, Hawke said it is “probable” Celebrity Cruises will base a second vessel in the UK “at some point”, but emphasised there are no solid plans in place.

“Whether we’d base a second ship in the UK is always an open discussion,” he said. “We are currently looking at 2026 deployment but we are a global brand so we need to have product that will suit customers all over the world, not just locally.

“At some point we will probably base another ship in the UK, but we don’t want to over-egg our UK proposition with another vessel just for the sake of it.”

He added: “If we don’t get a second ship out of Southampton, I don’t see it as a failure of the UK market.”

Hawke also hinted the line is “making progress” with securing charter flights for summer 2025 to combat airlift challenges customers faced in summer 2023.

“We haven’t got anything confirmed yet but it [charter flights] is looking quite positive for 2025 I think,” he said. “We’ve got a few more elements to tie down to make sure everything works but there will definitely be flight allocations and possibly chartering as well.”

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