Interview: Celebrity Ascent's hotel director outlines his ship's assets

Interview: Celebrity Ascent's hotel director outlines his ship's assets

"This ship is not just a ship, it’s a five-star resort," says Niyazi Korkmaz

Celebrity Cruises' launched its latest ship, Celebrity Ascent, in December 2023. Connecting Travel caught up with the ship's hotel director Niyazi Korkmaz to find out more about his role on board and Ascent's impressive assets.

Connecting Travel: What accommodation can we expect on the new Celebrity Ascent? 
Niyazi Korkmaz: When we built the ship, we asked previous guests if they wanted a more comfortable bed? More closet space? A bigger room? As a result, we now have the Infinite Veranda Stateroom.

This ship is not just a ship, it’s a five-star resort. It’s a little different to Edge and Apex. There are two decks exclusively for suite guests, with a Retreat lounge and a beautiful restaurant called Luminae on Deck 16, plus two Jacuzzis on Deck 17.

The Iconic Suite is twice the size of my apartment in Miami! 

CT: What are you most excited for guests to experience? 
NK: We have a beautiful selection of art across the ship, in the public areas, suites and regular staterooms, and the rooms feature art by British artist Peter Miller; it’s unique, bright and welcoming.

There’s so much I love, even the craziness of the Craft Social Bar. I particularly like Ascent’s restaurants, such as the Eden restaurant, Le Voyage by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud and the Fine Cut Steakhouse. The service is fantastic.

CT: How did you start working in the cruise industry? 
NK: I used to work in a Hilton hotel with my father in Bodrum, Turkey. In 1991, a friend of mine who worked on cruise ships came to see me and said I should get in touch with them. I took the recruitment agency’s number and, four days later, I flew to Miami to join the Song of Norway cruise ship.

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CT: What does your role as a hotel director involve? 
NK: It’s just like being the general manager in a resort. I’m in charge of F&B, hotel operations, housekeeping, guest services, entertainment, shops and revenue.

CT: How do you start your day? 
NK: At 6.30am I walk or run around the jogging track. Unlike some other ships, where it stays straight, Ascent’s track goes up and down between decks. You want to be outside enjoying the beautiful scenery and the weather, so that’s where I start my day. 

When I have time, I like sitting down in the rooftop garden, overlooking the beautiful pool deck

CT: And, finally, what’s your favourite part of your job? 
NK: Seeing different places. Last summer I was in the Mediterranean, sailing out of Italy, Turkey and the Greek Islands. When you get up early and witness the sunrise while going through Santorini or Mykonos, that’s priceless.

To book with Celebrity Cruises, call UAE +971 4 331 4299, KSA 800 897 1419, or visit

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