Celebrity Cruises is quite pleased with the launch of Celebrity Explorations, a program that pairs ocean cruising with destination experiences at the ports of call Celebrity ships visit around the world. Still, there are limits to how far inland ocean cruise travelers can get before they might say “Gee, I wish I was on a river cruise so I could really see more of these places.” Well, now both are available.
“Our guests want to continue seeing more of the world with Celebrity, and we are dedicated to providing them with the most destination-rich vacations,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises.
Celebrity Cruises has 11 new what they call ‘River-and-Ocean‘ packages that explore the Danube, Rhine, Rhone and Seine rivers, enabling cruise travelers to see the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Russia and Turkey, among other destinations. Ranging from 16 to 24 nights in total, the new River-and-Ocean product includes
- A seven-night Amras Cruises river cruise, including gourmet dining; select beverages, featuring regional wine and beer; fully guided tours and excursions; Wi-Fi and more
- Dedicated Celebrity Cruises Destination Concierge to ensure a seamless and personalized river cruise experience
- Flights to a major European city near the ocean cruise port – Rome, Italy; London, England; Barcelona, Spain; Athens, Greece; or Istanbul, Turkey
- Pre-Cruise Hotel- One- to two-night luxury hotel accommodations before embarking on the ocean cruise
- Transfers– Convenient transfers from the airport to the hotel and the ocean cruise port
- Celebrity Cruises Classic Beverage Package, including wine and spirits
“By introducing these river-and-ocean cruise packages, travelers can immerse themselves in Europe more so than ever before, with the ease of choosing a vacation package exclusively created by Celebrity,” added Bayley.
Starting at $8299 per person, choices for Celebrity Cruises’ River-and-Ocean’ packages include
- Southern France Sonata with Greece & Turkey – A 16-night adventure that begins with a seven-night river cruise onboard Amadeus Symphony, through Southern France – including stops in Lyon, Viviers and Avignon – followed by two nights in Athens, Greece and seven nights visiting the gems of the Mediterranean aboard Celebrity Equinox. The 16-night journey departs Chalon-sur-Saone, France on July 2 and ends July 18, 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. Packages start at $8,299* per person, including all cruise taxes and fees.
- Danube Waltz with Spain & the Canary Islands – A twenty-night vacation to seven different countries starts aboard Amadeus Silver II for a river cruise visiting heritage sites of Budapest, Hungary; the Austrian shoreline and Wachau Valley; and historic German cities. Vacationers then fly to London, England for a two-night stay before meeting Celebrity Eclipse for an 11-night ocean cruise to the vibrant cities of Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal and the Canary Islands.The 20-night journey departs Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 1 and ends Oct. 21, 2015, in Southampton, England. Packages start at $9,699* per person, including all cruise taxes and fees.
- Classical Rhine with Caribbean Transatlantic – Vacationers can enjoy some of the most breathtaking cities in Europe, including immersive visits in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Cologne, Germany; and Strasbourg, France. The river cruise adventure onboard Luftner Cruises Amadeus Silver is followed by an overnight stay in Rome, Italy and a modern luxury ocean cruise vacation across the Atlantic Ocean on Celebrity’s newest ship, Celebrity Reflection, to St Kitts, St. Maarten and other idyllic islands of the Caribbean. The 23-night journey departs Amsterdam on Oct. 15 and ends Nov. 7, 2015 in Miami, Fla. Packages start at just $7,499* per person, including all cruise taxes and fees.
The Celebrity River-and-Ocean packages bring back memories of traveling with luxury land tour operator Abercrombie & Kent. During experience, A&K put a group of their passengers on an existing sailing of Amadeus Brilliant which included other passengers as well, from different groups. An onboard A&K representative provided oversight, supplementing what the river cruise line did with upscale, exclusive experiences to make connections with local people and places not afforded those in other groups. If Celebrity follows the same recipe, this cake could come out being a tasty travel experience and a very viable option for those who like Celebrity ocean product…if they are able to make that happen on the river.
Frankly, modern-luxury line Celebrity, known for fine dining and a more upscale ocean cruise experience has their work cut out for them. On our Abercrombie & Kent Connections voyage, it was our A&K onboard guide and guardian angel Gabriel who saved the day on a number of occasions.
We already know Celebrity does a great job with their time-proven ocean cruises, of that there is no doubt. We like the notion of combining a ocean cruise with a river cruise too, not to mention that pricing includes all port charges an taxes. The trick is going to be getting that Celebrity experience on to a ship they don’t own, run by people who don’t work for them and share their ability to deliver excellence. Still, this is Celebrity; a brand of Royal Caribbean International who is currently in the process of launching their latest over the top ocean cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas. They have a whole lot of capability.
For the full list of Celebrity Explorations’ new river-and-ocean cruise vacations and more details, visit celebritycruises.com/vacationpackages, call Celebrity direct at 1-888-305-9153 or, better yet: contact a travel agent who specializes in river cruises.