Royal Caribbean signs five-year deal with Galveston

In:
28Jan2014

Royal Caribbean has reached a deal with the Port of Galveston, Texas for a five-year agreement after the Port of Galveston’s governing board approved the deal on Monday.

The deal will generate a minimum of $1.86 million in annual operating revenues for the public docks.

In addition, the deal requires making about $10 million in improvements to the port's Cruise Terminal No. 2.

Royal Caribbean currently operates Navigator of the Seas out of Galveston although Royal Caribbean did promise to bring a larger cruise ship to the port if the improvements made to Cruise Terminal No. 2 are completed.

Port Director Michael Mierzwa believes they can borrow enough to cover an estimated $10 million in improvements Royal Caribbean has requested, he said. 

The agreement differs from the now-expired arrangement Royal Caribbean forged with the port in 2007. Unlike the previous agreement, Royal Caribbean chose to guarantee a yearly minimum revenue based upon a Voyager-class vessel making 19 calls to the port, rather than the guaranteed 25 calls a year under the expired agreement, Mierzwa said.  

Royal Caribbean agreed to an additional 30 calls in both 2014 and 2015, essentially committing to a year-round vessel in both years with a promise to bring a larger vessel to Galveston next year if improvements were made to the Cruise Terminal No. 2, which has accommodated smaller passenger liners in the past.

Royal Caribbean still considering Fourth Oasis class cruise ship

In:
27Jan2014

Royal Caribbean could still decide to build a fourth Oasis-class cruise ship that would be ready by 2018.

Cruise Currents is reporting that UBS Investment Research says Royal Caribbean is deciding if they want to exercise the option to build a fourth Oasis-class class ship.  The decision to go ahead or not needs to be made by mid-2014.  

If Royal Caribbean picks up the option, then the ship would be deployed by 2018.

Royal Caribbean already has an active order for a third Oasis-class cruise ship that is due for delivery in mid-2016.

Royal Caribbean skips option to build fourth Quantum class cruise ship

In:
27Jan2014

During Royal Caribbean's fourth quarter financial results conference call, Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain announced the company would not invest in the option to build a fourth Quantum class cruise ship in 2017.

"We remain committed to improving our shareholder returns, returning to an investment grade credit and maintaining moderate growth," said Fain.  "We think that the ships we have on order for our wholly-owned brands will serve us well and we do not anticipate an additional newbuild for delivery in 2017." 

The option Royal Caribbean had in 2017 was for either a fourth Quantum class cruise ship or a Celebrity Reflection cruise ship.

Currently, Royal Caribbean has plans for its first Quantum class ship, Quantum of the Seas, to debut this fall with sister ship Anthem of the Seas following in spring 2015 and a third unnamed Quantum class ship in 2016.

Royal Caribbean chairman defends cruise line screening processes

In:
27Jan2014

Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain spoke to CNBC about the recent bout of sickness that spread to over 600 passengers onboard Explorer of the Seas that is believed to be Norovirus.  He defended the way Royal Caribbean looks for passengers who may be sick prior to cruising to prevent them from infecting others.

"We screen our passengers as best we can," Richard Fain told CNBC in an interview.

“It’s a very unfortunate inciden. Our people responded quickly and aggressively.”

Fain also noted the recent cold temperatures in the northeast may have played a part, with the cruise originating from Bayonne, New Jersey.

Future bookings wouldn't be affected, said Fain. "Most people understand just how common a thing this is," he said.

Fain stood on the company's record in response to incidents like these. “We do an amazing job of helping guests when they do get sick and then cleaning after," he said.

Royal Caribbean sales event for the week of January 27, 2014

In:
27Jan2014

Each week Royal Caribbean posts new sales for various cruises across its fleet that can offer great discounts on specific sailings in the near future.

This sale runs between January 28 and 29, 2014 with an exclusive preview sale open to Crown and Anchor Society members on January 27, 2014.

Adventure of the Seas
Itinerary: 7 night Southern Caribbean Cruise
Departure Port: San Juan
Sail Date: 02/16/2014

Inside: $709 per person (Category K)
Ocean-view: N/A
Balcony: $1279 per person (Category D1, D2, D3, E1, E2)
Suite: N/A

Adventure of the Seas
Itinerary: 7 night Southern Caribbean Cruise
Departure Port: San Juan
Sail Date: 03/02/2014

Inside: N/A
Ocean-view: N/A
Balcony: N/A
Suite: $1799 per person (Category JS)

Adventure of the Seas
Itinerary: 7 night Southern Caribbean Cruise
Departure Port: San Juan
Sail Date: 03/09/2014

Inside: $639 per person (Category K, L)
Ocean-view: N/A
Balcony: N/A
Suite: N/A

Adventure of the Seas
Itinerary: 7 night Southern Caribbean Cruise
Departure Port: San Juan
Sail Date: 03/16/2014

Inside: N/A
Ocean-view: $749 per person (Category G, H)
Balcony: N/A
Suite: N/A

Adventure of the Seas
Itinerary: 7 night Southern Caribbean Cruise
Departure Port: San Juan
Sail Date: 03/23/2014

Inside: $639 per person (Category K, L)
Ocean-view: $749 per person (Category H)
Balcony: N/A
Suite: N/A

Brilliance of the Seas
Itinerary: 5 night Western Caribbean Cruise
Departure Port: Tampa
Sail Date: 02/01/2014

Inside: N/A
Ocean-view: $450 per person (Category F, G, H)
Balcony: N/A
Suite: N/A


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Royal Caribbean fourth-quarter profits beat estimates

In:
27Jan2014

Royal Caribbean reported fourth-quarter net income of $7.02 million or $0.03 per share, compared to a loss of $392.80 million or $1.80 per share, prior year. 

Adjusted net income was $50.0 million, or $0.23 per share, for the quarter. In the prior year quarter, the company recorded an impairment of Pullmantur related assets of $385.44 million.

Total revenues increased to $1.85 billion, from $1.81 billion, prior year. Analysts expected revenue of $1.85 billion for the quarter.

Royal Caribbean currently estimates its 2014 adjusted earnings per share will be in the range of $3.20 to $3.40. Analysts expect the company to report fiscal 2014 earnings per share of $3.17.

Royal Caribbean bringing Explorer of the Seas back two days early due to Norovirus

In:
26Jan2014

Royal Caribbean announced it will bring back Explorer of the Seas two days early due to an outbreak of astrointestinal illness that affected over 300 people onboard.  Royal Caribbean will take the extra time to santize the ship completely.

Explorer of the Seas will return on January 29 and perform a thorough “barrier” sanitization program on the entire ship to make certain that any remaining traces of the illness are eliminated. It will be the third aggressive sanitizing procedure the ship has undertaken since Royal Caribbean became aware of the issue, and will additionally provide a window of more than 24 hours where there are no persons aboard the ship.

Royal Caribbean made the decision after consulting with represenatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with their own medical team.

Royal Caribbean apologized to its guests for disappointing them and will take "several steps to compensate them for their inconvenience."

A medical team is currently working to determine if the illness that spread across Explorer of the Seas is indeed Norovirus.

Royal Caribbean also mentioned new reports of the illness by guesta have decreased day-over-day and others previously ailing are now feeling better. It appears that reported illnesses among guests and crew peaked during the first few days of the cruise

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: January 26, 2014

In:
26Jan2014

Another week has come to an end and we've gone through and hand-picked some fun articles for you to take a look at in case you missed any of it.

We got our first look at the menu for Royal Caribbean's newest restaurant, Sabor Modern Mexican.  The new restaurant will debut on Navigator of the Seas when she emerges from drydock next week.

Sabor's menu is divided into three basic sections: homemade tortilla favorites, platos chiquitos and platos fuertes.  Sure there's tacos, burritos and quesadillas, but there's also pan-seared red snapper, ceviche, and chili calamari.  

The new restaurant will cost $25 per person and is located on deck 4, where the The Dungeon night club used to be.  

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The twenty-fifth episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is available and we've got an in-depth look at the main dining room experience on Royal Caribbean ships.

This week, Matt takes you through everything the main dining room offers as well as the options available to make your experience better. Eating in the main dining room is a major component of any Royal Caribbean cruise and Matt wants to show you why he likes eating there on all of his cruises.

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

Royal Caribbean posted an article about the benefits of long weekend getaways to break those winter blues.

Little Mummy posted a blog post about what a seven year old can do on a cruise.

Another Royal Caribbean ship experiencing norovirus outbreak

In:
24Jan2014

The Centers for Diseas Control and Prevention is reporting that as of January 24, 2014, 281 of 3,050 passengers have reported symptoms that resemble norovirus.  In addition 22 of 1,165 crewmembers have reported symptoms.

Royal Caribbean is taking these actions to minimize the problem.

  • Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan
  • Making announcements to both notify onboard passengers of the outbreak and encourage case reporting
  • Collecting stool specimens from ill passengers and crew for submission to the CDC lab
  • Making multiple daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the VSP
  • Preparing additional crew members to join the ship mid-voyage to assist with case management and intensified sanitation procedures
  • Consulting with CDC on plans for:
    • Passenger notification procedures and the planned delayed embarkation schedule in Bayonne, NJ on January 31, 2014,
    • Disembarkation plans for active cases, terminal and transport infection control procedures.

​As stated, the next Explorer of the Seas sailing on January 31, 2014 will be delayed for cleaning.

Unfortunately this is the second Royal Caribbean ship this month to suffer the effects of a norovirus outbreak, with Majesty of the Seas having one last week.

Norovirus causes symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.  It's spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces.  It's important for every cruise passenger on every cruise ship to take steps to avoid getting norovirus.

Summary of new Royal Caribbean policies for 2014

In:
24Jan2014

It seems like things are always changing on Royal Caribbean and when 2014 began just a few short weeks ago, quite a number of new rules and policies changed too.  

One of our favorite readers, Ed Tinkertoy, suggested we list all the changes in one post.  So if you're cruising with Royal Caribbean in 2014, here's what you will need to know that's different this year.

No more late fees for pool towels

Royal Caribbean used to require guests to use their SeaPass card to rent pool towels and would charge them $25 per unreturned towel.  As of January 1, 2014, that policy has been eliminated.

Royal Caribbean cited guest feedback as the reason for this change and now you can take towels without having to show your SeaPass card or worry about being charged about when you return them.

We've also heard towel returns in general are easier now, with towel return bins near the gangway as you come back to the ship from port.  This means more convenience for guests and less hassle, so it's a good change.

Smoking ban on balconies

Royal Caribbean followed a few other cruise lines in forbidding smoking on balconies starting January 1, 2014.  

Smoking in staterooms has been banned for a while but balcony smoking had been permitted. Now, if you want to light up, you have to go to designated smoking areas on the ship or risk a $250 fine.

The new rule generated a lot of feedback on both sides of the argument but the new policy has gone into effect and is now the "law of the land".  

Guest comment cards are now electronic

If you've cruised with Royal Caribbean before, then you are probably familiar with the feedback cards the crew would always encourage you to fill out.  As of January 1, 2014, there are no more cards and instead it's all online now.

Within 24 hours of your disembarkation, you will receive an email from Royal Caribbean encouraging you to share your feedback.  You will have seven days to complete the survey, which is a lot more time than the day or so you had with the cards (assuming you remembered to drop it off).

The new change gives guests more flexibility and time to share feedback and Royal Caribbean claims it takes just 7 minutes to complete.

New unlimited alcohol packages

The new unlimited alcohol packages actually went into effect in November and December 2013, but for anyone cruising in 2014, it may still be news to you.

Royal Caribbean added a new ultimate package for $65 per person, per day, added a few more things to the existing packages and dropped the requirement that required everyone in the same stateroom to buy an unlimited alcohol package.

For guests, the change means more options, less restrictions and all for the same price.  I'd call that a good change!

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