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Wednesday, 13 December, 2017, 13 : 00 PM [IST]

Celebrity Cruises tests Indian waters with Mumbai sailing of its Constellation ship

To strategically tap the MICE segment in India for introducing new segment of travellers to cruising
Joining the likes of its counterparts in bringing the cruise experience to the doorstep of Indian travellers, Celebrity Cruises undertook the maiden sailing of its Celebrity Constellation to Mumbai on a round-trip voyage from Abu Dhabi. The past one year has seen a surge in international passenger vessels making round trips or ports of call in Mumbai, signaling a growing preference for outbound cruise travel among Indian travellers.

Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN Travel Marketing, the India Representative of Celebrity Cruises, said, “This is the first time we have segmented a cruise ship for 5 nights sailing from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai and 7 nights on return journey. We were testing waters with this deployment to Mumbai and the effort has been fruitful despite the limited inventory available. During the next season, we hope to return with larger inventory. Indians prefer multi-generational travel and Celebrity Constellation has something to offer for all age groups and a variety of staterooms to choose from. There has been a growing interest among Indians for adventure vacations and cruise is an apt choice considering the variables a cruise trip offers.”

As part of the ship deployment to Mumbai, Celebrity Cruises invited 60 travel agents for a ship tour. Going ahead, the cruise liner plans to introduce and promote the concept of cruising on an aggressive scale in the Indian market. Celebrity Cruises is undertaking USD 400 million modernisation of its fleet, and newer 5 edge-class ships are in the pipeline, with the first one set to be delivered in December 2018. “With the kind of product we have on offer, we wanted to explore newer destinations for our existing international customers and since India is a nascent market, bringing Mumbai on the round-trip itinerary was a good way of doing that. India is a desired destination among many global demographics and there is a growing interest among Indian travellers for cruising. Therefore, this deployment served a dual purpose of catering to the worldwide interest towards India as well as introducing Indians to the concept of cruise travel.”

Currently, Celebrity Cruises gains major traction from the leisure travel segment from India. However, going forward plans are afoot to tap the MICE segment. According to Lisa Vogt, Vice President, International Corporate Incentives & Charter Sales, Celebrity Cruises, “We are working with TIRUN to identify opportunities for incentive travel and meetings. The global meetings industry is worth USD 280 million; however cruise travel only 2% of this business. Therefore, the potential for growth is huge, since it offers incredibly good value. We are targeting companies directly to create awareness in India and are also working with travel agencies through TIRUN that specialise in meetings and incentives travel. MICE travel brings in new passengers on cruise, who return on the ship with their friends and family, introducing a new audience to cruise vacation. Therefore, we are strategically targeting the MICE segment in India.”  
The 60 travel agents who undertook a ship tour of Celebrity Constellation were given an hour-long presentation on meetings and incentives. Nearly 300 Indians embarked on the Celebrity Constellation on its current Mumbai sailing. 
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