Celestyal Cruises is looking to “acquire new tonnage very quickly” as it charts growth in the UK market.
Andrew Magowan, vice-president commercial Europe, said the Cypriot-owned line was “well on course” to carry 5,000 British guests this year – about five times more than in 2018.
He said Celestyal, which currently has two vessels – Celestyal Olympia and Celestyal Crystal – both about 1,200 passengers, had ambitions to acquire more ships of a similar size.
“When it comes to a timeframe, we’re not talking about 10 years, but soon,” said Magowan.
“Around 18 months ago, we didn’t have a UK-based team, but it’s been refreshing to get that infrastructure in place to build trade relations, fill the ships we have and then look to grow the fleet.”
Celestyal has recently expanded its UK sales team, with Penny Moschidou joining as commercial assistant this month to support UK and Ireland country manager Jo Reid and to help train travel agents.
Magowan told TTG the trade was accounting for 95% of its UK sales and revealed Celestyal will run its first fam trip for agents in September, offering space for about 20 trade partners.
“We’re planning to do more ad hoc trips as well,” he said. “We can also help agents get onboard individually if they want to come and see the product that way.”
Magowan, who joined Celestyal in September 2017, added Celestyal was developing its own online training programme.
He hoped a big draw to UK agents would be the line’s recent decision to sail year-round and offer destinations in Egypt and Israel as part of its winter 2019/20 season.
The line’s profile was also recently raised after featuring on Channel 5’s Cruising With Jane McDonald last month, with Magowan reporting “about 50” new agents interested in working with Celestyal after the programme aired.