There is “no question” Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s lines have seen increased sales and consumer interest from UK customers following the recent general election result, according to chairman and chief executive Richard Fain.
He said the corporation had enjoyed a boost in business since “the reality of Brexit” was realised after the 12 December vote – which has paved the way for Boris Johnson’s government to take Britain out of the EU on Friday (31 January).
Speaking to TTG during a pre-launch tour of Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex at Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire on Tuesday (28 January), Fain said: "I think people hate uncertainty more than anything else [and] the uncertainty of Brexit was causing a great deal of problems.
“So whether you think Brexit is a good idea or not – and I don’t – it is now done, we’re moving on and I think you will see the British public dealing with the issue and getting on with it. We’re already seeing that with bookings.”
Celebrity’s UK, Ireland and Europe chief Jo Rzymowska added: “We’re definitely seeing an uplift in consumer confidence now we know we’re leaving – especially from a trade point of view and we’re pleased with what we’re seeing during wave.”
Ahead of Apex’s Southampton launch in March and ex-UK mini season, Fain said RCCL was “absolutely confident” Apex would receive a similarly “great reception” of that had by sister ship, Celebrity Edge.
Rzymowska said the success of Apex’s mini season – sailing around the Mediterranean and Northern Europe – was “very important” to the UK market potentially securing an Edge-class ship out Southampton for a full season in future.
New features onboard Apex, the second of five Edge-class for Celebrity, were revealed during the shipyard visit yesterday.
New culinary venues, menus and programming, as well as three new stage shows were among the first details unveiled, as well as the inclusion of the first F45 fitness training centre at sea.
Apex will feature the Craft Social Bar, offering cocktails, wine and more than 50 craft beers curated by the ship’s beer sommelier, while the line’s Michelin-starred chef Cornelius Gallagher has devised new menu options for Le Grand Bistro, including a refreshed story for its animated table experience, Le Petit Chef.
The ship’s theatre, will see new state-of-the-art technology brought in, including a 110ft “kinetic wall” screen, a 360-degree laser projector array and 20ft tall "tree of life" with more than 3,000 LED leaves.
The venue will play host to new stage shows including Rockumentary, a celebration of some of classic rock’s greatest moments, culminating in guests voting via the Celebrity Cruises app for their favourite finale; while light and laser show Crystalize will blend music, video, dance and aerial acrobatics.
Elsewhere, the Eden venue debuted onboard Edge be "reprogrammed" to host various events, interactive art experiences and performances, culminating in Evenings of Wonder at Eden, while The Club will provide a more intimate cabaret environment for guests.