Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's newest ship, utilizes an extensive network of security networks for both public areas and even some not-so-public regions. Allure and its sister ship Oasis of the Seas, use more than 300 Oncam IP 360° 5-megapixel cameras. Many of these cameras are positioned in public areas of the ship that have multiple entrances, enabling simultaneous monitoring of all those entrances.
"A well-designed video surveillance system is an important tool for the safety and protection of everyone," said James Ionson, CEO, Oncam Global Inc. "It provides invaluable assistance to security personnel in resolving incidents, such as helping to identify a noise in the engine room, responding to passenger medical emergencies and determining liability issues, for just a few examples. With the right information, they can appropriately react."
The benefit of these cameras is it can do what traditional security cameras could not. One camera in the ceiling in a hallway with elevators on both sides can be monitored at the same time along with the traffic in the hallway. One of these Oncam IP 360° cameras replaces four traditional CCTV cameras.
In addition to Oasis and Allure, Royal Caribbean has been retrofitting these new security cameras into the security system of older cruise ships since 2006.
Royal Caribbean is reporting travel agents and consumers in Australia have become more familiar with the Royal Caribbean brand in recent time, but there are still challenges ahead as the cruise line looks to gain an even larger share of the cruise market down under.
Royal Caribbean Cruises managing director, Gavin Smith, said the increased capacity planned over the next 12 months, including the return of Celebrity Cruises and the debut of Radiance of the Seas, will coincide with Royal Caribbean putting on more field sales staff to drive its message home to agents.
Just how far has Royal Caribbean come? One year ago, there were about 40,000 beds available but today that number is closer to 100,000 beds to sell.
Helping increase the inventory is Radiance of the Seas, which features 50% of its cabins having a balcony, which is important to the Australian cruise market. Gavin Smith cites that Americans and British cruisers that go to Australia demand the balconies.
Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas rescued six people adrift at sea on a raft during a recent cruise.
Monarch of the Seas was on its way out of the Bahamas when a passenger onboard the ship spotted the raft near Freeport, Bahamas. The Coast Guard reports that the rescued people on the raft did not appear to have any life-threatening issues. Officials estimate the group of six was floating for 15 days, but there was no way to know exactly how long.
Investigators said they think the people on the raft are migrants from Cuba. If they are, officials said the group will be sent back to their country.
The Palm Beach Post posted an overview of the newly launched Allure of the Seas and here are some highlights.
Overall, the ship exudes an air of elegance, without being stuffy.
While the suites are lavish as you might expect, the rooms for the mere mortals among us are pretty good, too. Tastefully appointed, they feature the latest technology, including flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations. They do a remarkable job of maximizing the space with shelves, cabinets and cubbyholes for all your belongings.
Imagine exiting an elevator in the middle of a cruise ship and walking out into the bright sunshine amid thousands of trees and plants, complete with chirping birds and upscale restaurants. It's called Central Park, and, like its New York namesake, it's the perfect place to rest and unwind amid walls of plants five decks high.
Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas has left the South China sea and is headed to Singapore for some popular southeast Asian cruises. These cruises will cover holidays such as Christmas, New Year and Lunar New Year and there are over 20 sailing planned.
Legend of the Seas will make calls to ports including Phuket in Thailand and Penang, Kuala Lumpur or Langkawi in Malaysia. Other cruise highlights include
A two-night weekender to Malacca in January
A seven- or eight-night cruise to Bali, Indonesia, in February
In March, the cruise ship will embark on a nine-night Exotic Asia Cruise from Singapore to Shanghai, visiting Ho Chi Minh City and Hue in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Xiamen.
According to Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean will begin adding cabins for single cruisers to some of its older ships.
"We are going to be revitalizing our older ships such as Radiance of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas, and so we will have opportunity to create spaces for single travelers then. It is definitely something that we are looking at.”
For those looking to get a single cabin on a newer ship, such as Allure of the Seas or Oasis of the Seas, you're going to have to keep waiting as Goldstein mentioned these and other newer Royal Caribbean ships will not receive this update.
So why the change? Royal Caribbean is considering adding single cabins because of the increased demand from people who travel alone. Most ships are designed with cabins for 2 or more people; single travelers have to pay a single more if they want to go on a cruise.
During Allure of the Seas' naming ceremony on Sunday, none other than Dreamworks' famed character Princess Fiona (from the Shrek films) was named the godmother.
“It’s never easy choosing the right godmother, but we realized we had the perfect candidate right in front of us. Princess Fiona is not only a Royal, but we felt such a unique ship deserved a unique godmother and Princess Fiona symbolizes the fun and entertainment that is so extraordinary on Allure of the Seas,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO.
The decision to have Fiona be the godmother is another part of the tightly knit deal between Royal Caribbean and Dreamworks to integrate the characters into the ships of the Royal Caribbean fleet.
The naming ceremony also included a bagpipe-and-drums procession, the U.S. national anthem performed by Broadway star MiG Ayesa and a scene from Allure's Blue Planet aerial show. The event culminated with the traditional breaking of a Champagne bottle featuring a label created by pop artist Romero Britto, who has a gallery on the ship. The bottle breaking was activated by a karate chop by Princess Fiona.
Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein, speaking to Travel Weekly on Allure of the Seas's debut, says that the performance of the United Kingdom market is now a vital factor in the overall success of Royal Caribbean.
“The market must come through for us on these types of initiatives. It’s not like 25 years ago when we were interested in the UK but in the final analysis the US performance would determine the company’s performance. We are now reliant on the UK to perform overall. When you must perform for the company to perform it’s a very different environment that it just being something nice to talk about."
Royal Caribbean will become the biggest cruise ship operator in Europe in 2011, in terms of the number of beds available. Royal Caribbean will pass Italian-style Carnival brand Costa Cruises. Royal Caribbean believes the international nature of its product is unrivalled and it will soon have 50% of guests sourced outside of the core US cruise market from 40 different nationalities.
“Royal Caribbean’s versatility is unmatched in the world of cruising. Anywhere we go with our 22 ships, it’s identifiably a Royal Caribbean experience and only we are able to flex our product so consumers of all nationalities are really pleased by what they are experiencing,” said Goldstein.
With Allure of the Seas having made her debut,t he next logical question is what will be the next ship for Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean executives have been tight lipped on the issue but the next order could be sooner than we think.
Wells Fargo Securities analyst Tim Conder thinks that based on a recent analyst meeting with executives earlier this week about Allure of the Seas, that Royal Caribbean is likely to order a new ship sometime in early 2011, with delivery in 2014.
Conder speculates that the new vessel would be in the 4,000 to 4,200 berth range. This figure is significantly smaller than Oasis and Allure of the Seas, which can accommodate 5,400 passengers.
Allure of the Seas' Central Park 150 restaurant's top chef, Maureen Brandt, has the task of running a high end restaurant on Royal Caribbean's newest ship and she'll be the first to admit it isn't easy.
"It's very different than at a restaurant on land," says Brandt, who won her position during an eight-week contest held this summer at the Culinary Institute of America. "Obviously if you run out of something (at sea) you can't just jump in the car and run to the grocery store."
Central Park 150 will officially debut in December 2010 during Allure of the Seas' maiden voyage. The restaurant has been service meals in preview mode, but when the restaurant does open officially, everyone will be served the same six-course tasting menu. There are no a la carte choices.