LVMH-Owned Cruiseliner's ‘Sensory Shopping Journey’ Offers Guests Experience-Driven Luxury Retail
Themed retail concepts, exclusive experiences and immersive events that tap into consumers' five senses give this cruise ship a point of difference when it comes to luxury retail and entertainment at sea
Starboard Cruise Services designed an experience aboard Celebrity Cruise‘s latest ship, the Celebrity Edge. There passengers are invited to a unique elevated luxury shopping and travel journey. The LVMH-owned company Starboard Cruise is pushing the boundaries of onboard retail by harnessing multiple unique customer experiences and igniting the five senses: visual, audio, taste, smell and touch.
During the seven-night sail from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, guests are able to explore “The Celebrity Shops” comprising multiple stores and covering more than 7,000 square feet. Lifestyle, beauty and accessories brands are displayed in stores with names such as “To the Edge,” “The Gem,” and “Spirited” on Deck 4, while luxury heavyweights Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. take over Deck 5.
Beth Neumann, President & CEO of Starboard Cruise Services tells PSFK how introducing a more interactive shopping concept addresses changing consumer demands: “Starboard Cruise Services reimagined the onboard retail experience into a fully immersive, next-level shopping experience.” She describes the inspiration behind the concept as, “The transformative nature of travel and the importance of finding delightful and meaningful experiences,” adding, “Starboard curated Edge’s onboard retail program to echo touchpoints in every store for travelers to find their own joy through retail. From finding a unique signature scent to learning the art of watchmaking, guests can enjoy exceptional service and be inspired to see the world in a whole new way.”
The “Sensory Shopping Journey” brings seminal, trending retail trends to the fore, divided into themes. The first, “Purpose,” features brands pursuing meaning beyond commerce—especially those that go above and beyond to support global and local issues they feel strongly about. Detroit-based watch brand Shinola, for example, is championing local manufacturing and using the hashtag #RollUpOurSleeves for a longstanding campaign that, as the website explains, “embodies the spirit of getting to work and getting the job done in communities across the globe.” 4Ocean, which creates bracelets from recycled materials and S’well, the well known reusable water bottle company, represent environmentally-conscious initiatives committed to reducing plastic waste.
The “Empowerment” theme is all about acknowledging female strength and power. Take Malala Fund Collection and Kallati Jewelry, both of which are brands led and inspired by influential, dynamic women. And finally, “Environmental Sustainability” is rooted in eco-friendly awareness and features brands such as John Hardy, the fine jewelry company that founded a campaign to replant bamboo in Bali, Indonesia. Every time it sells an item within the collection, a bamboo seedling (and sometimes multiple seedlings) is planted, as deforestation continues to steal bamboo species of their native habitat.
As Beth Neumann notes, the “Sensory Journey” stands out from competition in the hospitality space due to its innovative approach to shopping aboard a cruise ship. “The retail program Starboard brought to life for Celebrity Edge is in a category all on its own, meant to tantalize all five senses with a lineup of world-class brands,” many of which have never had presence on a cruise ship before. “In a bold retail move, Starboard debuted several first-at-sea brand concepts for Celebrity Edge, including the Vintage Watch Collection, limited-edition vintage timepieces specially curated by Starboard with renowned brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin. Other brands included Atelier Cologne, a fragrance house offering exclusive scents and bottles that can be monogrammed, and Marc Jacobs, known for resetting the boundaries of American fashion.”
If exciting retail wasn’t enough, Starboard is also spearheading the onboard experiential movement by launching a cluster of events that range from educational to immersive. “Atelier Cologne Consultations” treats guests to a scent personalization workshop that includes a personal consultation with an onboard fragrance expert and a step-by-step guide to creating your own. “Women with Edge” spotlights the influential women behind many of Celebrity Edge’s brands and enables guests to start their mornings with motivational stories from the likes of young activist Malala Yousafzai.
By 2020, Starboard will operate with more than 750 brands on more than 90 ships, firmly establishing the company as the largest and most successful cruise retailer in the world. The company is truly pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a retailer at sea, making it one to watch for 2019 and beyond.