Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Celebration Cruise Lines looking to improve their passenger numbers

By GENEA NOEL
Freeport News

Freeport, Grand Bahama- Eight months after its arrival to the shores of Grand Bahama, Celebration Cruise-line representatives say that business has been consistent and they look forward to building a relationship with residents.
In a interview with The Freeport News Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Glenn Ryerson said that although the reception from locals has been a positive one, they are looking for those numbers to improve.
"It has been a great response on both ends, from persons coming in from the United States and persons going over, but I think that people just really need to know what we have to offer and become familiar with the West Palm Beach area."

Ryerson noted that when the cruise liner sailed from New Providence, they were able to take over about 300 Bahamians going over in a week's time.

"Last week we had about 30 persons go over from Grand Bahama. We believe that part of the reason that there hasn't been more is because people do not know everything about this ship,' he said.

"They are so used to sailing in one fashion that they don't really understand that this is a real cruise, with nice cabins, restaurants and a wide range of entertainment, so it is a really different experience for about the same price."

Celebration, he said, has however been able to ease the new voyage on residents by ensuring that there is free pick up and drop off to rental car lots, by distributing maps to the best shopping areas and working out cheaper hotel deals for those that overnight.

They have also arranged bus shuttle services for large groups to shopping spots.

The Ministry of Tourism recently credited the Celebration Cruiseline for the spike in tourist arrivals to the island.

Ryerson said that the partnership between the Ministry and the Our Lucaya Resort has been a positive one.

"Since coming here in March we have had about 20,000 room nights and we look forward to building on that partnership because we know and understand the contribution that we are able to make to the Grand Bahama economy."

Though the move to Grand Bahama has not been as profitable as its Nassau to Florida route, Ryerson said that as soon as persons experience what the ship is all about, he is confident that the numbers will improve.

"It is interesting, when we were in New Providence we had a lot more people take advantage of the ship and again people have been a little slower because they have not been familiar with us here," he said

"It is a little bit less now, but we know that as soon as people experience it and the word gets around they will like it and know what to expect. They are warming up to the West Palm Beach area and its easy port access and the shopping is great there.

Ryerson said that they plan to continue to offer rates for $199 round trip inclusive of taxes and to be as accommodating as they possibly can to their clients.


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