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Cruise ship interview - - Celebrity Century - - Celebrity Cruises - - Hotel Director Jan Willem Kuipers
INSIDE INTERVIEW:


A SHIP WITH A SOUL

A conversation with
Jan Willem Kuipers,
Hotel Director
of Celebrity Century.


By

Richard H. Wagner
There is more about CELEBRITY
CENTURY on the CELEBRITY
CENTURY Profile Page including  
menus,  daily programs, exterior
photographs and other information

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE TO THE
PROFILE PAGE
Jan Willem Kuipers always knew that he wanted to
work in the hospitality industry.  When he was growing
up in the Netherlands, "I used to love eating out in
restaurants and used to go into the kitchen to look."  
This interest led him to obtain a university degree in
hotel management and to work in luxury hotels in Paris,
Curacao and Vancouver.   "But I have always been
amazed by the quality and level of service on cruise
ships."   Accordingly, he joined Holland America Line,
where he rose from a management trainee to a hotel
manager.

   Moving to Celebrity Cruises, Kuipers served at sea as
a hotel director and then shoreside as Corporate
Manager of Hotel Operations.  However, after a few
years ashore, he decided to return to sea. "I really love
being in the operation.   Operational leadership is what I
enjoy doing the most - - being with guests and with
crew."

   As the Hotel Director on Celebrity Century, Kuipers
has responsibility for the dining, the entertainment as
well as the accommodations onboard.  I asked him to
tell uis about the cruise experience on this much-loved
ship.

The Century Experience   

In order to understand the cruise experience on the
Century, one has to begin by understanding Celebrity
Cruises in general.   "We have a very good centralized
vision on what Celebrity should be like.  We all believe
in that same philosophy and how we carry it out on
every ship is our responsibility. We try to keep it as
consistent as possible on every Celebrity ship."

   "We have always positioned ourselves as a premium
cruise line. Right now, I think our vision is to go in
between premium and the high end.  Celebrity tries to
get into a unique niche that is above premium that is
very contemporary - - doing things that other lines have
never tried before and catering for guests who are
looking for nice different things.  It has always been a
premium line and now our mission is to go a step above
that."

    Still, "the ships themselves,- every one [of them] has
a different feel to it so that gives it a kind of uniqueness
too."   

   This is particularly true of  Century.  She is the only
Century-class ship in the Celebrity fleet and at 73,000
gross tons, the smallest ship in the fleet except for
Celebrity's Galapagos Islands expedition ship.   "This is
a ship that is actually so unique in the fleet.   What I
find on this ship - - and I joined this ship four years ago
just after the revitalization - - is that the ship has an old
class feel to it that a lot of guests like. Everything is
centered around the atrium with all of the public rooms
very close by each other.  It is very well built, very well
laid out and it gives the guests the opportunity to have a
very personal experience.  As Hotel Director, I see
many of the guests every day."

    "We get people who sail on the ship who love all
Celebrity ships and you have people who really enjoy
this unique ship and who tend to come back to this ship
all the time.   What I hear from a lot of guests is that the
ship has a soul."

   The Century has been in service for some 15 years
but she is not an old ship. Celebrity "spent 55 million
dollars in 2006 to revitalize the ship.  They added
numerous balcony rooms and the Murano Specialty
Restaurant.  They completely renovated the spa and the
facilities there.  They re-did all the cabins.  They did the
Island Café.   They did so many additions and
modifications to make the ship even nicer."

   "The ship is very well maintained.  I think in general
we continue to improve on things.  We have people
onboard who maintain the ship all the time, paint, lay
new carpeting.  Of course, we keep it clean and proper.  
The ship is 15 years old but it certainly does not feel
like it is 15 years old."

   Although smaller than the other ships in the fleet,
Century is very much a Celebrity ship.  "People who
have cruised with us before know what to expect from
Celebrity and they come here and we deliver that.  We
obviously don't have the glass blowing and the lawn
that they have on the Solstice class.  But in general we
try to offer the same experience.  We try to do as much
as we can on the smaller scale here."

   For example, Century has successfully implemented
Celebrity Select Dining.  While guests can still chose
the traditional two-seating dining system, there is also a
flexible dining option under which the guest can decide
when to have dinner.   "People really enjoy that.  The
beauty of the system, the Select Dining, [is that] people
can decide what they prefer to do."

   Along the same lines, just like on Celebrity's larger
ships, Century's production shows include acrobats and
"fliers" who perform suspended on lines over the
theater stage.  "It only enhances the shows.  We still
use the cast and the singers and dancers but we have
added that element of fliers.  Guests love the fliers."

   Century, like Celebrity in general, tends to attract a
more sophisticated cruiser.  However, the composition
of the passenger body with regard to age and nationality
changes depending upon what type of cruise Century is
doing.  "We get a pretty diverse group of guests aboard.
 Europe is very different than the transatlantic, which is
very different than Miami.  Then the trans-canal is very
different. The same for Alaska - - it depends on the
time of year.   In the early season and the late season,
the crowd gets a little older.  Then during the summer
holidays, you get more children and families."

   In 2011, with the fourth Solstice class ship,
Silhouette, joining the Celebrity fleet and Century's
sister ship, Mercury, leaving the fleet, Century is taking
up a new schedule  "We will take the Alaska season for
Mercury and one of the Solstice class ships will take the
European itinerary, more or less, that we did.  Celebrity
will have more capacity [in Europe] because Europe is
in high demand right now."

   "For the Alaska season, we are doing the seven-day
Vancouver run. Then [we are doing] Hawaii cruises and
back to Australia.   This is the first time in two years
that Celebrity goes back to Australia/New Zealand.  We
are not going to go back to the East Coast after we
leave Alaska.  We are on the Pacific side for the
foreseeable future."
Mr. Kuipers and other senior officers
of the Century toast the anniversary of
Celebrity Cruises.
CELEBRITY



CENTURY
Celebrity Century Tour 1

Celebrity Century Tour 2

Celebrity Century Tour 3

Celebrity Century Tour 4

Celebrity Century Tour 5
CLICK HERE FOR A PDF VERSION OF THE ARTICLE
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