Royal Caribbean names Sean Treacy new Associate Vice President Strategic Planning for International

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has announced that Sean Treacy, Managing Director, Asia Pacific who is based in Singapore, will relocate back to Miami in August 2018 to take up the new role of Associate Vice President Strategic Planning for International.

Treacy has played a key role in both Australia and Singapore during his four years in the Asia Pacific region.

Angie Stephen, currently Associate Vice President, Market Development, China, will relocate to Singapore to take on Treacy’s role.

Stephen who comes with almost 20 years of experience in the company, has fulfilled a key market development role in China for the past year. She will take on the management of the Singapore source market for the brands Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises.

5 common myths people use to avoid trying a Royal Caribbean cruise

By: Matt Hochberg

There are many reasons why people who have not cruised yet cite why they have avoided taking a cruise.  As a past cruiser, if you ever talk to someone who has never cruised before, they will likely mention some commonly cited reason they have not tried a cruise yet.  In most cases, these fears or concerns are largely based on untrue speculation.

If you have never cruised before, here is a list of some common reasons we often hear from people not to cruise that is frankly untrue.

It's expensive

Not only is cruising not more expensive than other vacation options, they typically offer more value for the dollar than any other international vacation option.

One thing someone who has never cruised before is to take into account how much is actually included in the cruise fare.  Accommodations, plenty of meals (and snacks), entertainment and transportation between ports is all included.

According to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, the cruise industry’s establishment of over 30 North American embarkation ports provides consumers with unprecedented convenience, cost savings and value by placing cruise ships within driving distance of 75% of North American vacationers. By providing significant cost savings through the convenience of avoiding air travel, the new homeports have introduced leisure cruising to a wider customer base.

Often I see people who price shop a cruise to a land vacation failing to account for the meals and entertainment they will inevitably have to pay for when going on any land vacation. 

In recent years, Royal Caribbean has offered more options to get guests closer to a true all-inclusive option that has many of the added expenses guests may encounter, pre-purchased prior to the cruise.

Lots of kids

Going on a family cruise line, like Royal Caribbean International, is sure to find a ship full of kids running around like they were part of Peter Pan's Lost Boys group, right?

Of course there will be children on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but the reality is a Royal Caribbean cruise is not dominated by children.  

According to Cruise Critic, the demographic often seen on Royal Caribbean are families, plus couples and singles in their 30s to 50s. The median age is low 40s, but it's slightly lower on shorter cruises and slightly higher on cruises of 10 nights or more.

The bottom line is there is a healthy mix, and the idea that a Royal Caribbean cruise is equivalent to a floating Chucky Cheese's, is just not true.

Not enough for kids to do

You might think this myth directly conflicts with what I just spoke about in the previous myth, but often a person citing one will not mention the other.  Regardless, there is plenty for kids to do on Royal Caribbean.

In the last two decades, Royal Caribbean has significantly increased its programming for children and widened the amount of space dedicated to them. 

Starting with the staff, all children’s activities are supervised by male or female youth staff that must have a four year University degree or international equivalent in Education, Recreation or a related field. All staff also has at least three to five years qualified experience in working with children ages six months to 17 years. Nursery staff must have the same above qualifications as well attend a 30 hour Nursery Training where the curriculum and hands on experience is in line with Florida State Standards of care.

On the ship, kids will have a variety of options open to them. These include:

  • Movies for children and teens.
  • Supervised and complimentary programming for children ages 3-17 years old (Adventure Ocean).
  • Royal Babies & Tots 6 mos – 36 mos. (drop off nursery offered on select ships).
  • Art, science, theater and story time in Adventure Ocean.
  • My Family Time Dining, where parents can have a complete dinner with their kids in the main dining room, with the kids escorted up to Adventure Ocean, leaving parents to enjoy the evening at their own pace.

There is plenty more, such as dedicated pool areas, water slides (on select ships), kids and teens-only events and more.

I'll be bored

A common misconception about cruises is they will run out of things to do and be bored.  I think they imagine a cruise ship is a bunch of hotel rooms, with a dining room in the middle.

Royal Caribbean builds its cruise ships to be floating destinations.  The best way to understand what is available to do on a cruise is to look at a past Cruise Compass.  The Cruise Compass is the daily newspaper distributed to all guests that lists everything happening on the ship that day. From pre-dawn to the the late night hours, there is lots going on.  

Of course, these activities are optional to attend, and that means you can do as much or as little as you like. 

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), J.D. Power conducted a web-based survey in August 2016 from its Consumer Panel, targeting consumers who:

  1. Earn more than $50,000 annually
  2. Had taken a vacation within the past three years

When these people were asked if cruises are better or worse than land-based vacations in terms of…

  • Variety of Activities: 77% thought cruises were better than land vacations
  • Having good activities for children: 76% thought cruises were better than land vacations
  • Offers something for everyone: 80% thought cruises were better than land vacations

In short, a vast majority of people who try cruising find more to do on a cruise than on a land vacation.  

Getting sea sick

If there is one thing many first time cruisers ask a lot of questions about it, it is about getting sea sick.

Going on a Royal Caribbean cruise is nothing like going out on your buddy's fishing boat.  Royal Caribbean ships are massive vessels, equipped with precise GPS and stablizing technology. Moreover, the Captain will regularly plot courses that take optimal routes for guest comfort.

For those extra sensitive to motion, there are certain steps you can take to mitigate the risk of getting sea sick, such as over the counter medications and homeopathic treatments

The bottom line is while one could get sea sick on a cruise, it is a very low risk.  In fact, if you ask veteran cruisers, they will likely tell you their concern over getting sea sick is ranked somewhere around the feature film selection shown onboard.

Your thoughts

Have you been avoiding taking a cruise for one of the reasons listed here?  Did some family member or friend send you a link to this, with bold letters to "read this now"? Were you someone who felt this way about cruising, but has since come to see it is not what you expected? Share your experiences, concerns, and questions in the comments below!

Royal Caribbean partners with Malaysia cruise port to expand port to accommodate larger cruise ships

By: Matt Hochberg

The Port of Penang, Malaysia is partnering with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd expand berth from the current 480m to 700m, so that it can handle up to two large cruise ships simultaneously.

New Straight Times reports Royal Caribbean and the Port entered into a joint-venture about a year ago to upgrade and improve Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) in Georgetown, Penang.  The work aims to accommodate berthing of larger cruise ships at its facilities.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd managing director, Asia Pacific, Sean Treacy said Malaysia has been a strong performer for our business and it is now the fastest growing market for Southeast Asia, doubling between 2015 and 2016.

“While we expect a similar performance this year, this strong growth is driven by our deployment of more ships, and newer and larger ones such as Ovation of the Seas and Voyager Class ships like Voyager of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas are attracting a growing number of travellers in Malaysia,” he said in a recent interview.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: February 25, 2018

By: Matt Hochberg

Hope you are having a great weekend.  Here is all of this week's Royal Caribbean cruise news.

Symphony of the Seas completed its first set of sea trials earlier this week.

The sea trials took place between February 15 and 18, where almost every onboard system was tested. The ship is in its "completion phase", which means it is getting prepared to be delivered to Royal Caribbean in late March.

The sea trials included over 80 hours of sailing that covered 1,000 nautical miles off Belle-Île island. During the trials, the full range of the ship’s systems were activated at sea, most of those being already adjusted and presented for commissioning, both to Royal Caribbean and to the classification society.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 238th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available that focuses on answering the many emails we receive from podcast listeners.

In this episode, Matt opens up the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast inbox and dedicates the entire episode to answering questions and comments sent in by listeners.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Tampa Bay Business Journal reports Port Tampa Bay saw record cruise passenger weekends (thanks in part to Royal Caribbean).

Travel Codex looked at Liberty of the Seas and the activities offered onboard a recent cruise.

Symphony of the Seas to hold second sea trials on March 3

By: Matt Hochberg

STX France shipyard has scheduled Symphony of the Seas for a 24 hour set of sea trials, which will depart on March 3rd and return 24 hours later.

Ouest France reports the second set of sea trials will take place between Saturday March 3rd and Sunday March 4th. 

The purpose of this set of sea trials is to mainly test the propulsion system tests that, "were not quite satisfactory during the previous campaign."

Symphony of the Seas completed her first set of sea trials earlier this month, where more than 80 tests were performed onboard.

Delivery of Symphony of the Seas is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 23rd.

Friday Photos

By: Matt Hochberg

Love Royal Caribbean? Need a "fix" until your next cruise? Every week we share our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos so that we can all enjoy a "virtual escape" onboard!

We begin this week with a photo of a busy day on Anthem of the Seas, taken by Jason Nolan.

Next is this beautiful photo taken on Harmony of the Seas by Twangster.

John Bamber took this photo of DNCE performing on Oasis of the Seas.

We are back on Anthem of the Seas for this photo, this time of the SeaPlex.  This photo was taken by Matt (not me).

Jean Francois "Jay" Bekono took this photo from a day at sea.

Here is a look at a glacier, taken by Kinny Lee on Explorer of the Seas.

Kay Lynn Akers took this photo of Harmony of the Seas from onboard the Carnival Glory.

Thank you to everyone for sharing these wonderful photos with us.  If you would like to share your best Royal Caribbean cruise photos, use this form to submit them.

Have a great weekend!

Royal Caribbean's Winter Escape Sale offers bonus instant savings

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean begins today its Winter Escape Sale, offering guests up to $150 instant savings on cruises booked this weekend.

The Winter Escape Sale is valid on sailings booked between on February 23-26, 2018 on sailings departing on or after March 23, 2018. Offer excludes China departures. 

Offer details: Up to $150 instant savings

  • 30% off cruise fare for all guests’ in the stateroom.
  • Sailings 5 nights or less
    • Interior/Oceanview rooms: $50 instant savings
    • Balcony rooms: $75 instant savings
    • Suites: $75 instant savings
  • Sailings 6 nights or longer
    • Interior/Oceanview rooms: $50 instant savings
    • Balcony rooms: $100 instant savings
    • Suites: $150 instant savings

30% off is combinable with NRDB (Summer Bonus), Caribbean Bonus, OBC, Free Gratuities, Free Upgrades, promotional OBCs and instant savings, NextCruise offers, restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military), Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Winter Escape Sale is combinable with NextCruise offers, NRDB OBC, and restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military) but is not combinable with Shareholder benefits and Crown and Anchor discounts. 30% off bookings made for China departures are combinable with NextCruise offers and Crown and Anchor balcony/suites discounts only. All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates.

Video: Symphony of the Seas: 30 Days and Counting

By: Matt Hochberg

Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's newest Oasis-class ship, under construction at the STX shipyard in France. The ship is scheduled to be delivered in March 2018.

Video: Tour of Symphony of the Seas Under Construction

By: Matt Hochberg

Watch a hyperlapse tour of the world’s largest ship, Symphony of the Seas under construction at STX Shipyard in France. The ship is scheduled to be delivered in March 2018.

Drone video offers look at Symphony of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

If you are anything like me, you look for any excuse to watch Royal Caribbean cruise videos as a means of taking a virtual escape.

We stumbled upon a new video posted by AT Drones of Symphony of the Seas, which shows the ship at STX France.