“This is a critical period for the company, as we are preparing to restart operations,” Celestyal Cruises Head of Global PR Froso Zaroulea said during a recent online discussion with Apostolos Aivalis, syllabus manager at KnowCrunch.
“We see that vaccinations [for Covid-19] continue while there is a positive mood [for travel]. We are flexible and ready for everything,” she added.
According to Zaroulea, Celestyal’s first priority is to ensure the safety of its passengers, who also demand information about their journey – from beginning to end – and the health protocols to be applied on board the ship and at the ports of call.
“We must follow the safety protocols. We have not [yet] discussed the option of a health passport, but we won’t accept passengers unless they present a negative PCR test performed 72 hours prior to embarkation. In order to communicate this information to the public, we need to know [in advance] Greece’s safety requirements ,” Zaroulea noted.
Celestyal Cruises was one of the first companies to suspend operations in 2020, when Europe reported the first coronavirus cases.
The company operates three cruise ships and conducts voyages to the Greek islands and the Eastern Mediterranean. It also holds 60 percent of Greece’s home porting activity.
In 2019, Celestyal Cruises hosted a total of 120,000 passengers from 120 countries on board is ships.
According to Zaroulea, this allowed the company to stay afloat during 2020 without operating any cruises.
Celestyal rolls out communication strategy
The discussion was also joined by Alexandra Kardami, founder & CEO of One Whole Managing Reputation, the company that has undertaken the communication strategy of Celestyal Cruises.
“The [ongoing] global epidemiological situation has led to a huge crisis in tourism and especially in the cruise sector. This crisis is considered up to five times more serious than the 2008 crisis, and has led to the loss of 100 million tourism jobs worldwide, and 3.8 billion euros in the global GDP,” she added.
Celestyal has already rolled out a number of communication campaigns since the start of 2021.
Aiming to resume operations in the end of May, the company has run interviews on tourism media as well as social media campaigns under the concept “Freedom. Breathe in”.
“Our aim it to tell our guests to ‘take a breath as Greece is waiting for them’,” Zaroulea explained.
Being a destination-oriented company, Celestyal aims to promote the destination rather than its ships. Therefore, this year’s communication strategy will focus on the tourism markets of Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and the Balkans.
In 2020, Celestyal focused on the renewal of its brand identity and logo.
Furthermore, the company added one more ship to its fleet, the Celestyal Experience.