How the Irish have fallen in love with most luxurious ship afloat
Published 13/10/2012 | 05:00
it's the latest luxurious cruise liner to hit the high seas and Irish passengers are the toast of the crew.
I was one of a select group of Irish journalists invited to the launch of the amazing Celebrity Reflection ship in Amsterdam.
No surprise they love the Irish - we are No.1 spenders - in the bars of the exclusive range of Celebrity ships.
Reflection is at the high end of the market, speciality restaurants that offer the best fine dining on the high seas and butler service in many of the staterooms.
"We've seen a huge growth in the Irish market in the last year," said a spokesperson.
The ship can take just over 3,000 guests around the Mediterranean or Caribbean in five-star surroundings.
It's the class of ship where its 40-plus and AB1 demographic like to wine and dine in plush surroundings and be pampered from the moment they step on board.
At the heart of the pampering is Dubliner Erica McEvitt, from St Margaret's, who is the head of the sprawling Spa area, with 33 staff reporting to her.
"I've been 14 years on ships -- all the Celebrity ships, as well as Disney cruise line and Princess," said Ms McEvitt (33).
"I got addicted to life at sea and nowadays I'm away for four months at a time, and then back home for two," she added.
Even in the current climate, Irish passengers aren't a rarity on high-end ships such as Reflection.
"On one cruise, we had about 400 Irish on board," Erica revealed to me.
Early sailings are already sold out on the cruises, which start at just over €700, including flights from Ireland, for the basic cabins.
And if there's cash to spare, there's always the 1,636 sq ft, two-bedroom Reflection Suite, which boasts a veranda bath tub and a 24/7 butler, for just under €10,000, with flights, for a week in the Caribbean.