Celebrity Cruises will sail the Equinox
full-time in the Caribbean, starting in the
spring of 2017.
The move comes a full year before Celebrity is
scheduled to take delivery of a new ship, the first 2,900-passenger Edge-class
vessel due in 2018.
It means that Celebrity will have one fewer ship in
Europe next summer.
The move in part reflects declining demand by North
Americans for cruises in Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, where the Equinox
is sailing this summer. Events such as the truck massacre in Nice
and the failed coup attempt in Turkey have left some skeptical of the area’s
Celebrity recently canceled all calls to Istanbul,
replacing them with stops in Athens instead.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity’s president, emphasized
that guests and travel partners had been asking for a year-round Celebrity
presence in the Caribbean for years. Cruise lines say they have more continuity
in sales when they are consistently sailing in a region.
Equinox will make 24 alternating eastern and western
Caribbean sailings from Miami in 2017, along with seven one-off
Other cruise lines with year-round ships in the
Caribbean are Carnival, Royal Caribbean,
Norwegian, MSC and Princess.
Bookings made from July 19 through Aug. 31 for next
summer qualify for four free amenities. Rates start at $1,399 per person for
Veranda cabins, Celebrity said.