The half million catches individuals by shock,’ BPCL president Kevin Sheehan Jr.—son of the former Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO and a major investor within the company—told Seatrade Cruise Information.
‘It is very exciting. Quite a bit of labor has been leading up to this,’ he said.
Grand Classica joins Grand Celebration in sailing between Florida’s Port of Palm Seaside and Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. With the 2 ships each day departures might be provided, giving extra selection and suppleness.
Distinctive package deal
The line is the most important provider of vacationers to Grand Bahama Island and a significant presence at the Port of Palm Seaside. Roughly 30% to 40% of cruisers incorporate a resort resort stay in the Bahamas.
A new bundle bundles in two nights in Palm Seashore and two nights at a Bahamas resort. That’s ‘distinctive … one thing to brag about’ for vacationers and ‘a nice product to get travel brokers enthusiastic about promoting,’ Sheehan said.
When his family took a serious stake in BPCL in 2017, the travel agent business was ‘basically zero. So that is a huge part of our growth plan. It requires quite a lot of training.’
Mai Meyaart now heading sales
After Glenn Ryerson retired in December, BPCL hired a new head of gross sales, Mai Meyaart, former VP lodge division, Travel Leaders Group. Beforehand she was VP and managing director, CCRA Journey Solutions, and provider methods basic manager, American Categorical World Enterprise Travel.
Meyaart joins some huge-title cruise veterans who, as earlier reported, include Maria Miller as chief advertising and marketing officer and David Sprechman as CFO (each were senior officials at Norwegian Cruise Line), and Richard Coombs as director of information know-how (he was with Royal Caribbean International). Oneil Khosa is CEO and Kevin Sheehan Sr. is chairman.
‘Our core buyer does not wish to go to the airport,’ Sheehan Jr. stated, including that the corporate draws a drive market from as far as Jacksonville in northern Florida.
To ramp up for the second ship, marketing efforts have been ‘hitting laborious’ in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. ‘It is stunning how little title recognition there was in Palm Seashore,’ Sheehan stated. One purpose is capturing a percentage of the massive volume of traffic on close by I-95, among the nation’s busiest interstate highways.
The secondary focus is the rest of Florida—with digital, television and radio promoting in key markets like Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville, followed by the Southeast US, together with Atlanta and past.
Sheehan’s shocked BPCL draws prospects from so far as Charlotte and Houston, where there’s been no advertising and marketing, in order that goes down to ‘word of mouth,’ he mentioned, showing ‘Individuals are fascinated with our product beyond the Southeast and South Florida.’
Households are key in the summer, and the Friday weekend cruise draws numerous impulse travelers yr-spherical; folks can leave the job Friday, head to the port, and be again from the cruise Sunday without lacking any work. A number of couples go.
‘Our pricing is so attractive. It is a pleasant, inexpensive, enjoyable trip and a better different for an impulse getaway,’ Sheehan mentioned. The cruise starts at $149 per individual in an inside cabin, and a evening at an all-inclusive resort hotel in Freeport ranges from $130 to $150 per particular person. BPCL is now providing a pair boutique resort alternate options in Freeport, together with the new Palm Beach resort package.
Grand Classica has 658 staterooms and capacity for 1,680 passengers. Eight dining choices offer completely different cuisines and new ideas equivalent to alfresco interactive hot rock cooking and a gourmet pizza and wine venue.
Live leisure includes bands, musicians, singing, dancing and comedy exhibits, whereas the casino supplies more than one hundred and one slot games and 10 table video games. There are multiple bars and lounges together with the new Crow’s Nest Sports activities Bar & Grill excessive atop Deck 14.
Different feaures embrace a full-service spa, salon and fitness center, grownup-solely pool space with two whirlpools and a bar and enormous most important pool area with spacious deck, lounge chairs and jogging monitor. A Kid’s membership for ages 3-17 provides complimentary play and actions, while a procuring plaza supplies quite a few stores.
Built as Costa Classica in 1992, the ship underwent a serious refurbishment to grow to be Costa neoClassica in 2014. Final October a comprehensive dry dock, begun in Italy and finished in Marseille, improved systems and infrastructure to make the ship ready for the US market. Extra lately, in Freeport, further wet dock work included giving the decks and venues Bahamian names, new wayfinding and different touches. For example, the main dining room is The Yellow Elder, after the nationwide flower of the Bahamas.
More Bahamian taste
‘We’re working on refining the brand,’ Sheehan stated. The ships do not have to be ‘generic’ since they sail solely between Florida and the Bahamas ‘so we wish our clients to know the place they are after they step on board.’
Sheehan referred to the 2 ships as ‘fraternal twins, the right pair.’ Grand Celebration recently underwent a dry dock to introduce spots just like the Grand Cafe, a specialty espresso and gelato bar that’s on Grand Classica, too.
BPCL will likely be hosting 300 travel brokers and 30 media on Grand Classica’s inaugural sailing to Freeport tonight. Earlier than departure, a welcome ceremony and ribbon-chopping will draw community leaders, agents, media and partners. Palm Seashore County Mayor Melissa McKinlay, Minister of State for Grand Bahama J. Kwasi Thompson and Port of Palm Seaside executive director Manuel Almira are expected to be readily available.
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