Luis Ortega is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on beverage management in marine hotel operations and in guest experience.
He launched his hospitality career at the age of 19 after being recruited from school by Fantasy Cruise Line. The European based Chandris Family owned the upscale premium line, founders of Celebrity Cruises where he nurtured his career to ultimately be in charge of the corporate beverage management of Celebrity Cruises, a premium line, and Azamara Cruises, an ultra premium cruise line. He was the driving force in creating the hospitality industry beverage benchmark training series “Raising the Bar,” which is considered one of the hospitality industry’s top rated training programs. Over one thousand sommeliers, bartenders, bar servers recruited from over fifty different countries uses this program daily.
Luis has overseen the construction and assisted in the planning and designing of eight new cruise ships which were built in the major European ship yards including the new Celebrity Solstice Class, which was launched in 2008. Ship owners have availed themselves of Luis’ expertise particularly when planning for the future of the industry.
During his illustrious career, he has traveled and trained service staff members in over fifty countries. He works closely in developing sales and service training programs with the who’s who of elite brands in each beverage category as well as small artisan producers. Special projects also include development of private brand product lines on a large and small scale, state of the art beverage program for the new ship “Celebrity Solstice” with Dale DeGroff, America’s foremost mixologist, educational certification programs with the US Sommelier Association Wine School at Johnson & Wales University and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Florida; the Court of Master Sommeliers, London, UK and others.
Luis was recruited by Celebration Cruise Line in 2009 to create a new restaurant concept which includes Rio’s, a Brazilian Style Steak House, Trattoria Di Gerry, an Italian sidewalk café, the elegant Crystal Dining Room, and “The Cove,” an intimate Gourmet Restaurant. The project also included a complete beverage operation with seven bars and two wine cellars.
In the past two years, he’s been an integral part of the Celebration Cruise Line family as the company has progressed from its “start up” phase, to its successful operation and now to the current position of growing and planning for a larger company in the near future. Luis’ attention to detail can be seen from the guest experience on the ship, to the successful bottom line of the company. Luis, as Senior Vice President of Hotel Operation for Celebration Cruise Line, has overall responsibility for the Management and Operation of the “Bahamas Celebration” ship which sails from Palm Beach, Florida to Grand Bahamas Island.
Also certified as a sommelier and mixologist, Luis enjoys spending his personal time playing soccer, water sports and traveling with his wife Agnie and their two sons, Colin and Michael.