International Cruise and Ferry - Spring/Summer 2019

51 to the culinary experiences and every little detail in between. This is an incredible undertaking that will take place until 2023. We’ll be launching the first ship designed with the destination in mind, Celebrity Flora, this May. Sailing in the unique ecosystem of the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora is another example of revolutionary ship design, by allowing the destination and its environment to influence every decision we’ve made. Schreiner: We have a modern, young fleet of newbuild vessels – 15 of which have been launched since 2012. This year, we will debut three new ships, the most since our company’s founding in 2002 – AmaMora, sailing the Rhine; AmaDouro, taking guests through Portugal; and AmaMagna, which will be twice the width of traditional river cruise ships and operate on the Danube. We’re fortunate in the European river cruise industry to have a two-and-a-half month sailing break, starting in January, which allows our technical and maintenance teams an opportunity to freshen our ships completely before the start of each new sailing season. Tombaugh: Last spring we completed a massive refurbishment project that saw the complete re-imagination of our four 110-metre riverboats, which currently comprise half of our European riverboat fleet. Tauck will debut our first-ever ship and cruise itineraries on the Douro River in Portugal. Our new ship, Andorinha, being purpose-built for the Douro, will sail on three new itineraries and accommodate just 84 guests. Can you tell us about your key strategies for exceeding your guest expectations and differentiating from the competition in 2019? Lutoff-Perlo: Exceeding our guest expectations is part of our DNA and something we strive for every day. Our outstanding service elevates luxury to an art form. We’ve also been chosen by Forbes Travel Guide for first-of-its-kind partnership to hold ourselves to the highest luxury service standards in the world. We have been recognised for our industry-leading hospitality that offers our guests personalised, genuine and knowledgeable service unlike any other. We’re always looking for ways to improve upon our service as it’s our commitment to our guests across the fleet. Schreiner: Our focus on freedom of choice, innovation and human interaction has helped us exceed our guests’ expectations and differentiate us from the competition. Whether it is the service onboard, the dining options or the variety of excursions, our guests have so many ways to personalise their river cruise experience. When it comes to innovation, we are always looking for new ways for guests to enjoy river cruising – we were the first to have bicycles onboard, pioneered ‘Hosted Wine’ cruises, designed connecting staterooms for families, introduced wellness hosts and we’ll offer a Concierge Golf Program exclusively on AmaMagna sailings. The recruitment and training of our cruise managers and teams onboard remains a top priority, as it is their genuine warm welcome and thoughtfulness that creates the unforgettable memories that keep our guests returning. Tombaugh: Our key strategy involves a four-fold approach. It’s all based on our 94-year-old philosophy of doing what’s right by our guests and delivering the very best experience we can. First, we’ll continue to deliver the special ‘insider access’ to unique, authentic and enriching people, places and experiences that have been the hallmark of Tauck’s journeys. Second, we’ll continue to staff our riverboats with a higher number of service personnel who are some of the most interesting people with whom you’d want to go exploring. Third, we’ll provide a more intimate and relaxed onboard ambience by consciously limiting our passenger capacity. Last, we’ll continue to deliver outstanding value while providing the ease and convenience of true, all-inclusive pricing. Celebrity Cruises prides itself on delivering high service standards across its ships