As a result of research into what would enhance guests’ European experiences, Celebrity Cruises has expanded its already dynamic shore excursion line-up by designing several new ways for guests to explore the region. An expanded private tour offering allows guests to discover Europe’s ports in a way geared towards individual interests, and enhancements to the line’s “easy” shore excursions aim to expand the number of in-port tour options available to guests with mobility challenges.
New this summer, for guests visiting Venice (Italy) onboard Celebrity Century, Celebrity Equinox, and the brand-new Celebrity Eclipse, is a twist on “voluntourism”: anyone purchasing a shuttle bus pass from Celebrity Cruises in Venice can enjoy a free ticket to 16 of Venice’s most revered and historically relevant churches. This offering is unique to Celebrity Cruises and sister line Royal Caribbean International who have both partnered with “The Chorus Association” to offer this benefit during cruises that visit the city. The Chorus Association will invest the $13-per-person ticket value in the restoration and maintenance of churches and the cultural heritage represented by more than 1,000 pieces of art that reside in the churches. The Chorus Association’s aim is to contribute to the safeguarding, conservation and restoration of the architectural and artistic heritage of churches in Venice.
Celebrity Cruises expanded private tour programme gives cruisers a way to see many of Europe’s most compelling ports at their own pace from the exclusive comfort of a private car or van. While its group excursions remain extremely popular, particularly for giving cruisers a comprehensive taste of a region’s highlights, Celebrity Cruises private arrangements allow for a more exclusive and customised in-port experience with the added bonus of a more flexible timetable.
In addition to the 30 private arrangements offered in St. Petersburg (Russia), Celebrity Cruises is offering private arrangements in Rome (Civitavecchia), Florence (Livorno), Cagliari (Sardinia), and Naples, Italy; Athens (Piraeus) and Corfu (Greece); Ashdod and Haifa (Israel); Istanbul, and Kusadasi (Ephesus, Turkey); Alexandria (Egypt); Stockholm (Sweden); and Helsinki (Finland).
The programme accommodates one to eight guests travelling together. Groups of more than eight can make arrangements through Celebrity Cruises groups shore excursion programme. Like Celebrity Cruises other shore excursions – as well as beverage packages and specialty dining arrangements – the private arrangements are available for pre-cruise booking via the website www.celebritycruises.co.uk.
When pre-booking online, one guest in the party reserves the vehicle for a single price that covers one to three guests in a car or four to eight guests in a van. Guests whose native language is not English may request a guide who speaks other languages.
Guests can request that an existing tour be offered as a private arrangement, or design a custom arrangement featuring his or her own in-port experience or tastes and interests. To pre-book a custom arrangement, guests can visit www.celebritycruises.co.uk to complete a custom arrangement form. After submitting the form, guests will be contacted to create their specific agenda for the day in conjunction with their tour guide and/or driver.
Celebrity Cruises has also designed expanded shore excursion offerings in Europe, to make it simple for cruisers who face mobility challenges to enjoy the region. In its 2010 summer Europe season, Celebrity Cruises will offer at least 35 “easy” shore excursions – 15 of them brand-new – catering to guests who have walking difficulties, are not able to handle steps or extended periods of walking or standing, or for guests who are full-time wheelchair users.
One of these new tours, offered in Dubrovnik (Croatia), is “Easy Seaside Resort of Cavtat and Dubrovnik.” During this tour, guests will visit the seaside town of Cavtat and explore the walled city of Dubrovnik. In Helsinki (Finland), “Easy Helsinki” offers guests the opportunity to experience the Finnish capital’s highlights, including Embassy Park, Mannerheim Street and the Olympic Stadium.
Because Celebrity Cruises “easy” shore excursions utilise special equipment such as access ramps and lifts on vehicles and space is limited, guests are encouraged to book Celebrity Cruises “easy” shore excursions by contacting [email protected] in advance of their cruise.
Celebrity Cruises is designed for discerning cruisers, with modern, sophisticated environments, impeccable service, enriching and inspiring onboard programmes, and world-class cuisine. The ultimate in premium cruising, Celebrity Cruises sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, Canada/New England, Europe, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal, South America, and year-round in the Caribbean and the Galapagos Islands. Celebrity Cruises also offers immersive cruisetour experiences in Alaska, Canada, Europe and South America. Celebrity Cruises’ mega-series of honours include being named the top mega-ship line in Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards (November 2009). Celebrity Cruises’ fleet currently consists of nine ships. Its USD $3.7-billion investment in building five stylish Solstice Class ships between 2008-2012 represents the largest newbuild commitment for a single brand in industry history.