Florida is both a beautiful vacation destination and an ideal place to depart on your dream cruise. With ports throughout the state, both Florida tourists and locals can hop onboard and explore the world.
While there are several cruise lines that sail from Florida’s ports of call, none have the LGBTQ-inclusive reputation of Celebrity Cruises. With ports of call in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and soon Tampa, Celebrity makes it easy to embark on your memory-making cruise adventure out of Florida.
Celebrity puts a significant emphasis on diversity and inclusion for all passengers and crews. In 2018, a Celebrity captain officiated one of the first same-sex weddings at sea on a major cruise line, although the cruise company has openly supported the LGBTQ community long before gay marriage was legal.
Celebrity Cruises has been recognized as a LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Company by TTG and named Best Large Cruise Line for LGBTQ Passengers by the Cruzie Awards for several years running. The cruise company is also an OutCoast.com Gay Florida Travel Gold-Level Sponsor.
We spoke with Celebrity Cruises to learn more about their commitment to LGBTQ inclusion and why you should plan a Celebrity Cruise for your next vacation.
On LGBTQ Inclusion
Why is Celebrity Cruises proud to be an OutCoast Gold Sponsor?
We believe in supporting regional businesses that align with Celebrity Cruises’ values.
Is Celebrity Cruises currently engaged in other LGBTQ marketing efforts, and if so, what are they?
Right after Labor Day, we launched a new campaign that not only fills viewers with wanderlust, but also shows a wide range of cruise passengers, many of whom are rarely seen in travel industry campaigns such as LGBTQ and disabled passengers, and people of color. The reality is that all people travel, but our industry has lagged behind in capturing this. We’re addressing this issue and there’s more to come than just this ad. In addition we sponsored Miami Pride, again, this year. Our headquarter office is in Miami and this is one great way for us to be connected with our local community.
Celebrity Cruises has long supported the LGBTQ Community. Can you share with our readers a few examples?
Celebrity Cruises isn’t suddenly focused on inclusion, it has been a part of our DNA from the beginning. The new campaign is more of a way to celebrate the welcoming environment we have believed in since Day One of our brand’s history thirty years ago. The fact that we have been focused on inclusion for a long time is even evident in our crew. Over 30% of our officers on the bridge of our ships are female, whereas the industry average is 2%.
In addition, we were one of the first travel companies to conduct same sex marriages at sea and annually, we host the largest Pride Party at Sea. During the pandemic, we even celebrated same-sex engagements between crew members onboard our ships, sharing their stories on our social channels. For years, we have been named the best cruise line for LGBTQ travelers by numerous media outlets and travel organizations.
Does Celebrity Cruises have an LGBTQ Employee Resource Group or Business Resource Group? How are your employees currently engaging with the LGBTQ community?
Nowhere is diversity more evident than amongst our shoreside and shipboard crew who represent 60% of the world’s nationalities. It really comes to life through our Employee Resource Groups and their efforts to both celebrate different cultures and educate on differing points of view. Hundreds of our team members participate in the Miami Pride parade.
Does Celebrity Cruises host any LGBTQ pride events or participate in pride festivities?
In addition to sponsoring and participating in Miami Pride, we also host the largest Pride Party at Sea every year in June. We often have celebrities join in, adding to how much fun this sailing is. In January, 2022, Vacaya is offering a special Caribbean LGBTQ cruise on our Celebrity Millennium. We also host LGBTQ Welcome Parties on the first night of most sailings to foster connection and community onboard.
How has Celebrity Cruises stayed afloat during COVID?
The pandemic hit every single one of us hard and in different ways. As an industry, the cruise industry was arguably hit harder than any other, being completely shut down for 16 months.
This time “away” actually allowed us to be hyperfocused on planning for the future and how we wanted to re-emerge. We adapted to the changing health landscape with industry-leading safety protocols; we moved more into the luxury space with always-included pricing, ultimately, simplifying the cruise experience so people can spend more time enjoying themselves; and we refined our brand marketing plans to lean into our purpose and our values, like diversity and inclusion. We have a number of new programs and initiatives yet to be announced that we know our guests will be really excited about.
What is Celebrity Cruises doing to create safe spaces for passengers with the new Delta variant?
Through our parent company, we immediately engaged a Healthy Sail Panel of the leading health experts in the country to develop the best new measures to continue to keep our guests safe. We brought in experts to certify our HVAC systems and we expanded our medical facilites onboard. We also decided early on that requiring our crew and all eligible guests to be vaccinated would be key to maintaining a healthy environment onboard. As a brand, we never compromise on the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit.
On Upcoming Excursions
We hear that Celebrity has new Cruises planned out of Tampa! Tell us more!
Yes! We are returning to Tampa for the first time since 2007 this fall with the award-winning and intimately luxurious Celebrity Constellation®. With unique 10- and 11-night voyages to the Eastern Caribbean, with some sailings that feature an overnight stay in Cartagena, Colombia, providing more opportunities for our guests to experience the nightlife of this dynamic city like a local. There is also a special 10-night holiday celebration to enjoy the festivities of Christmas and New Year’s on a vacation like no other.
You also have a series of Cruises that depart from Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Share some highlights.
In November 2018, Celebrity Edge debuted and conducted her maiden voyage from Port Everglades. In anticipation of her arrival, Port Everglades invested $120 million into the port’s first-ever brand-designed cruise terminal, the largest investment that Port Everglades has made towards any cruise terminal at the port. It’s a stunning Terminal that provides an all-new boarding experience for our Celebrity Cruises guests.
Between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Celebrity Cruises has an escape for everyone. There are shorter, 4-and 5-night cruises on Celebrity Summit® so if someone doesn’t have a lot of PTO left and is eager for a quick getaway, those options are perfect from Miami! Celebrity Edge®, the ship that marked a turning point in our approach to ship design (you can see the iconic orange Magic Carpet from a distance ashore), is currently sailing 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Celebrity ApexSM, the second ship in the Edge series will be finishing her inaugural season in the Mediterranean and will sail from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean in October. She will return to Europe in 2022.
What makes Celebrity Cruises stand-out when it comes to price value?
We focus on what today’s luxury travelers want most: unparalleled service and personalized experiences in more than 300 destinations on all seven continents; globally inspired interior spaces, Michelin-starred dining and innovative wellness opportunities. With Always IncludedSM, drinks, WiFi, and tips are always included which provides an incredible value and simplicity.
Additionally, we created The Retreat – which is the ultimate in luxury vacation experiences and it’s only on Celebrity. The Retreat is a unique vacation experience for our suite quests that includes a private sundeck, lounge and restaurant. With our Always Included pricing approach, premium drinks, streaming WiFi, tips, shore excursion credit and onboard credit are always included for our guests of The Retreat.
If someone is looking for ultimate luxury or a bigger than life experience, which Cruises would be at the top of your list?
We find that sustainability and adventure travel goes hand in hand and our entire Galapagos fleet is the ultimate experience.
Celebrity Flora® was purpose-built for the sensitive environment of the Galapagos Islands. She boasts 50-all-suites with infinite verandas, full room automation, Personal Suite Attendants, and menus crafted by our Michelin-starred chef after a day of adventure with Galapagos National Park Naturalists. Flora is the first and only ship of its size to have solar panels to supplement electricity supplies and uses reverse osmosis so the ship is able to process sea water into fresh water to supply 100% of its needs. We were alsp the first cruise line to eliminate single-use plastics onboard all of our ships.
We regularly win awards for the best itineraries in Europe, where our innovative Edge Series ships sail every spring and summer. Our fabulous South America cruise itineraries sail from Buenos Aires, Argentina, through Cape Horn and on to the northern regions of Antarctica, before returning to South America. These sailings are truly wonder-filled with the region’s spectacular mountains, glaciers and wildlife.
Tell us about new ships coming in 2022. What should we know about them?
In fall 2022, the brand-new Celebrity BeyondSM will sail her maiden Caribbean season from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Beyond is Celebrity’s most luxurious ship yet, and showcases the design talents of Kelly Hoppen CBE, Nate Berkus, Paris-based design firm Jouin Manku and famed British architect Tom Wright. The ship features amenities like The Retreat, Celebrity’s own resort-within-a-resort and 30 distinct restaurants, bars and lounges, including the brand new Le Voyage by Celebrity’s Culinary Ambassador and Michelin-starred chef, Daniel Boulud.
Are there any new destinations that you’ve added to the 2022 and 2023 calendar?
Celebrity Cruises will sail the 2022-2023 Caribbean Winter Season with an all-star cast of nine award-winning ships, including its newest, ground-breaking Edge Series ships – Celebrity Beyond, Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Edge. They will be joined by four ships recently ‘revolutionized’ as part of a multi-million-dollar fleet renovation program, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Summit; and two additional gems in the fleet, Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Reflection.
Together, the ships will sail to some of the world’s most breath-taking island destinations from Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa or San Juan, Puerto Rico. The wonderfully varied program offers four- to 11-night island itineraries, with an expanded offering of seven-night itineraries, and a once-in-a-lifetime Panama Canal itinerary.
Book Your LGBTQ-Friendly Dream Cruise with Celebrity
Ready to experience luxury at sea? Then book your LGBTQ-friendly dream cruise with Celebrity. To learn more about Celebrity Cruise experiences, click here.