Whether it’s an immersive journey into Alaska’s remote wilderness led by expert naturalists, or a sprawling suite packed with smart technology, we take a look at the latest innovations from Celebrity and Seabourn that offer luxury meetings at sea for groups.
Fly on the Magic Carpet
Celebrity Cruises recently unveiled the new 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge, its first new ship class in 10 years, which is set to embark on its inaugural journey in December 2018. The ship has the world’s first Magic Carpet at sea, a floating platform the size of a tennis court that soars 13 stories above sea level and can position itself on different decks to create unique experiences for attendees. Equipped with a full bar and space for live music performances, the Magic Carpet will be an unforgettable venue in the sky for groups of up to 100.
“When we created our revolutionary new ship Celebrity Edge, we wanted to shatter all expectations and transform the experiences attendees could have onboard,” says Lisa Vogt, associate VP, corporate incentives & charter sales for the cruise line. “For planners looking to reward their top performers, our luxurious 176 suite-class staterooms are the ultimate incentive.”
Luxury Suites Reimagined
The Iconic Suites, situated high above the ship’s bridge, offer 2,600 sf with two bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a sprawling 700-sf veranda with its own hot tub and cabana. Also new are the 950-sf Edge Villas; six two-story luxury residences that blend indoor/outdoor living with private plunge pools and direct access to The Retreat, a sophisticated private space for suite-class guests. Elsewhere on the ship, the Rooftop Garden for 270 attendees makes for an interesting group venue.
“Our team loves to create the perfect event for each group,” says Vogt. “The Rooftop Garden and the Magic Carpet are available for buyouts, and we are happy to customize something special based on what the group may need.”
Intimate Charter Experiences
Seabourn Cruise Line’s newest ultra-luxury ship, the Seabourn Ovation, is scheduled to join its fleet next spring. The ship expands on the line’s award-winning Odyssey-class and is a sister-ship to the Seabourn Encore. Featuring modern design elements, private verandas for every suite, one additional deck and expanded public areas, the Seabourn Ovation will begin its maiden season with an 11-day inaugural voyage from Venice to Barcelona. The majority of time will then be spent cruising the waters of Northern Europe and exploring destinations in the Baltic, Scandinavia and the UK.
“Our ships are intimate environments with capacities between 458-600 guests, making them the ideal size for charter,” says Brian Badura, director, public relations & strategic initiatives at Seabourn Cruise Line. “For a charter, we can completely customize the onboard experience. Our fleet of four ships is the newest, most consistent fleet in the ultra-luxury market and all are ideal for smaller groups seeking the intuitive personalized service that Seabourn is known for.”
Immersive Alaskan Adventures
This summer, Seabourn is returning to Alaska for the first time in 15 years and invites groups to explore its destinations with a series of optional for-charge shore excursions and innovative Ventures by Seabourn. Shore excursions include dog-sledding on Mendenhall Glacier with the oldest operating dog-sled tour company, as well as an Alaska Fishing & Wilderness Dining experience where groups can catch their own seafood from an open-air skiff, before visiting a wilderness campsite where their catch will be prepared in a bouillabaisse-inspired stew with local Alaskan side dishes. Ventures by Seabourn is another optional excursion program for groups where knowledgeable teams of scientists, scholars and naturalists share their expert insight into some of the most remote and wildlife-rich destinations. Options include a guided hike on Davidson Glacier, a Zodiac adventure through the Misty Fjords National Park guided by explorer John Muir, or a kayak exploration of Holgate Fjord.
“We consider our ships to be floating ultra-luxury hotels that traverse the oceans of the world, taking guests to discrete harbors and fabulous iconic ports of call, including many UNESCO World Heritage sites,” says Badura. “Luxury on Seabourn ships is unrivaled service in an environment that welcomes guests into a casual, club-like atmosphere, where names are remembered and Seabourn Moments delight guests. Our ships are rich with amenities, whether that’s the all-suite accommodations – most with private veranda, the culinary offerings onboard, or the incredible destination experiences and adventures available to the contemporary luxury traveler. Today’s luxury guests are not focused on things so much as experiences. They want to go where they haven’t been before and frankly where no one else has been either.”