After cancelling an advertisement that offended many Hawaiians and acknowledging its poor judgment in running it, Celebrity Cruises has accepted an offer from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) to provide cultural training for its marketing staff. In a letter sent to the company over the weekend, HVCB President and CEO John Monahan said, “It’s likely that this advertisement may have been created and approved by Celebrity Cruises due to a lack of understanding of Hawaii’s society, history and traditions. If so, HVCB will be pleased to make arrangements to help educate your marketing staff about our islands.”
HVCB has put Celebrity in contact with the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association to provide cultural values and awareness training.
Dan Hanrahan, Celebrity Cruises president, reiterated the company’s regret over the insensitivity of the company’s ads, which depicted the King Kamehameha statue holding a champagne glass.
“We are deeply sorry that our ads offended so many people,” Hanrahan said. “It was certainly never our intention to be disrespectful to the people of Hawaii, and we sincerely regret any concerns that were raised by our indiscretion.”
Celebrity announced it will publish ads in two of Hawaii’s major newspapers this week to make its apology to the Hawaiian people more public.
The original ads, which Celebrity immediately pulled after learning of their unintended effect, had appeared recently in several travel-agent publications.
Celebrity Cruises has nine ships. It began sailing in Hawaii in 2001, and, today, also sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal and South America. It will begin sailing in Australia and New Zealand.