Grandeur of the Seas possibly to skip Key West

In:
22Jul2010

UPDATE: Guests aboard Grandeur of the Seas reporting they will skip Key West.

Due to a tropical storm Tropical Storm Bonnie brewing near the Bahams right now, there is a possibility that Grandeur of the Seas, which departed today, may not be able to dock in Key West. It has left port in Fort Lauderdale but a statement by Royal Caribbean had this to say about what lays ahead:

"According to the most recent weather forecasts, the ship will be able to depart on time and head south to Key West, Florida. However, U.S Coast Guard has closed the Port of Key West until tropical storm force winds have subsided. If the Port of Key West has not reopened by early tomorrow morning, Grandeur of the Seas will be unable to make its scheduled port of call there tomorrow. Should the ship be unable to visit Key West, Grandeur of the Seas will spend the day at sea tomorrow, sailing directly to Cozumel, Mexico, where it will arrive earlier than scheduled on Saturday."

Windjammer Café: A favorite staple of any Royal Caribbean Cruise

In:
22Jul2010

If you've been on a Royal Caribbean cruise in the fairly recent past, more than likely you've eaten at the Windjammer Café, the ever popular and somewhat ubiquitous buffet that fans of Royal Caribbean look forward to on each of their cruises.  The Windjammer is a buffet restaurant that is included in the price of your cruise.  It offers a wide variety of food from fresh fruit and salad to sandwiches, burgers, dessert and much more.  

The exact menu of the Windjammer varies from ship to ship as well as what's in season and fresh.  Don't be confused, the Windjammer isn't your typical stale buffet with old food. Rather, it's a great place for meals or snacks at many times of the day. 

Many guests get their first taste of the Windjammer on embarkation day when they first board the ship.  The Windjammer is typically open for lunch for those boarding the ship and a great opportunity to get your vacation started off right.  Throughout the cruise, you will find opportunities to sample different food depending on the meal.  

Some Windjammers, like those on Navigator of the Seas or Mariner of the Seas, feature a Jade section to the Windjammer, which serve Asian foods such as soup, rice and even sushi.

Windjammer Cafe Hours

  • Continental Breakfast: 6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m.
  • Full-Buffet Breakfast: 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
  • Lunch: Noon-2:00 p.m.
  • Afternoon Tea and Snacks: 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • Dinner: 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. 

Looking at the lighting inside Oasis of the Seas Part Two

In:
22Jul2010

Last week we posted an article detailing the lighting that was installed on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, which gave a behind the scenes look at the inspiration and design of the interior lighting aboard Royal Caribbean's latest and greatest ship.  This week, part two of the article has been posted which explores the interior design of more of the ship.

Michael Riotto of Michael Riotto Design LLC was in charge of the lighting and for the nightclub "Dazzles", Riotto had an easier time than in other locations where the height of the room was an issue. Being three decks high, there's lots of room to work with.   Riotto used a selection of Elation Professional Impression LEDs above the riser, and some of his looks catch the steel beams and reflect off the glass, creating unique looks behind any band performing on the stage.

Over at the Comedy Live nightclub, Riotto built a scale mockup to demonstrate the different LED colors and intensities. “It ended up being a very collaborative process that turned out to be a very creative transition space from a public gathering space outside, to a colorful entertainment venue inside".

Retired couple complain about Norovirus treatment

In:
22Jul2010

A retired couple that took a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas this past June are upset about how they were treated following an outbreak of the Norovirus on their ship.  John and Christine Stevens were on a Baltic cruise aboard Jewel of the Seas when John contracted the Norovirus that left him with stomach cramps, severe vomiting and diarrhea.  They take issue with how they were treated after catching the nasty bug.

The two have law hired firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate a claim on their behalf say they were not the only ones who were affected.  Allegedly, the onboard doctors were so backed up, that John was forced to simply take Imodium while he waited.  In addition, while under the influence of the bug, he was quarantined in his stateroom and was unable to obtain food and drink during their confinement in spite of several phone calls to room service and one to Passenger Relations.

We want answers. I find it unacceptable that a travel company can just take money off people like us and not live up to their side of the bargain. I want to understand how so many of us fell ill and what Royal Caribbean is going to do about it so that it never happens again.”

Royal Caribbean reports improved second quarter earnings

In:
22Jul2010

Good news for Royal Caribbean investors, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced improved earnings for 2010's second quarter as well as providing higher guidance for the third quarter and full year 2010.

Royal Caribbean Cruises reported a net income for the second quarter 2010 of $60.5 million, or $0.28 per share, compared to a net loss of $35.1 million, or ($0.16) per share, in second quarter of 2009.  In addition, revenues improved to $1.6 billion in the second quarter of 2010 compared to $1.3 billion in the second quarter of 2009, as a result of capacity increases and yield improvements. Net Yields for the second quarter of 2010 increased 4.9% despite the impact of the stronger US Dollar.

Improved fuel consumption efforts resulted in significantly better fuel consumption of 318,000 metric tons during the second quarter. At-the-pump pricing (including the benefit of the company's hedging) was virtually unchanged. Altogether, the quarter's fuel expenditures were approximately $6 million better than previous calculations.

  • Business conditions have remained on target in each of the company's main markets while improved cost control has enabled the company to raise its earnings guidance for the year
  • Operating costs were lower than expected due mainly to strong cost control, energy conservation measures, expense timing and currency fluctuations
  • Second quarter Net Yields increased 4.9%, (5.4% on a Constant Currency basis)
  • Second quarter Net Cruise Costs per APCD, "NCC", declined 2.8%, (2.0% on a Constant Currency basis)
  • Net Yields are expected to increase approximately 4% in the third quarter and 3% - 4% for the year as a whole, (7% and 4% - 5% respectively on a Constant Currency basis)
  • NCC are expected to be down 1% for the third quarter and down approximately 1% - 2% for the full year
  • EPS expectation for the full year 2010 has been increased by $0.10 to $2.25 to $2.35. Third quarter 2010 EPS is expected to be in the range of $1.52 to $1.57.

Royal Caribbean Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard D. Fain, also commented on the progress for the quarter, "What a difference a year makes. It is gratifying to post another solid quarter with improvement in yields and strong cost control. Despite ongoing uncertainty with the economy, our profitability continues to improve and our booking environment continues to be remarkably stable. We remain focused on strengthening our financial position and I am encouraged about the tremendous global response to our brands."

Brian J. Rice, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer talked about the reasons for a good second quarter, "Demand for our cruises remains on track with our earlier projections. The strengthening of the US Dollar will clearly result in a reduction of our reported yields, but also provides a corresponding reduction in expenses. Most importantly, our continued focus on cost controls and efficiency is driving improved earnings."

Reminder: Royal Caribbean 2nd Quarter Earnings Report tomorrow at 10am

In:
21Jul2010

For those interested, a quick reminder that Royal Caribbean will announce their second quarter 2010 financial earnings report Thursday, July 22 at 10am Eastern time.  Analysts consensus calls for a profit of $0.18 a share on $1.62 billion revenue.  For comparison, a year ago for the quarter, Royal Caribbean reported $-0.16 a share.

The report should take about an hour and you can listen to it live on the Royal Caribbean Investor web site or by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number. 

Royal Caribbean launching specialty food cruises

In:
21Jul2010

Do you consider yourself a foodie?  Or maybe you're just a fan of great food?  Well, Royal Caribbean is launching a new series of themed cruises that is right up your alley. There will be 12 specialty voyages onboard Freedom of the Seas that are part of the cruise line’s “Epicurean Discovery” series.

Designed for culinary enthusiasts, the package features a variety of special events throughout the week devoted to cuisine and fine dining.

Each cruise is by a different celebrity chef for the cruise. Here is the schedule of celebrity chefs:

  • Chef Cindy Hutson - September 19, 2010 
  • Chef Johnny Vinczencz - October 3, 2010
  • Chef Tim Andriola - October 17, 2010
  • Chef Carlos Fernandez - October 31, 2010
  • Chef Lauren De Rouen - November 7, 2010
  • Chef Roberto Treviño November 14, 2010
  • TBD - December 5, 2010
  • TBD - December 12, 2010
  • Chef Michael Schwartz - January 2, 2011
  • Chef Nick Weber - January 9, 2011
  • Chef Spike Mendelsohn - February 6, 2011
  • TBD - February 20, 2011

By booking into this package, here are the exclusive options you can look forward to:

  • Participate in Exclusive Culinary Experiences
  • Enjoy a Cocktail Reception Meet & Greet Photo Opportunity with Celebrity Chefs
  • Receive Special In-Suite Gifts
  • Private Dining Experience with Celebrity Chef in our Specialty Restaurants
  • Take a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of our Private Galley
  • Sample Appetizers in a Private Tapas Welcome
  • Savor Succulent Vintages in a Special Wine Tasting Event
  • Attend a Question & Answer Session with Celebrity Chef and Ship's Executive Chef
  • Receive a Special Kit with Photos, Recipes, Menus and Guest Chef Signature
  • Learn Cooking Tips from the Pros
  • Take Home a Commemorative Epicurean Discovery Apron & Chef's Hat
     

The Epicurean Discovery is available exclusively to guests booking suite accommodations or higher.  Price begins at $1,874 per person, based on double occupancy.

Excursion Focus: Paradise Beach in Cozumel

In:
21Jul2010

A favorite of many who visit Cozumel is the beach resort known as Paradise Beach, located 5 miles south from the International Cruise Ship Pier in Cozumel.  This beach excursion offers lots of activities both in and out of the water.

Description

Paradise Beach is a private beach that actually costs nothing to enter the beach.  You can arrive at the beach by taxi or your own vehicle and sit on the sand for no fee.  Most guests opt to rent a lounge chair for just $2.  You'll notice in the water a lot of stuff to do, such as giant inflatable toys to climb, jump and dive off of.  For $12 per person, you can have unlimited use of the trampoline, 14 ft. climbing iceberg, full snorkel gear, floating mats & kayaks, 10ft water slide, a Jungle Joe floating multi-tiered climbing structure and the Rockit circular water rocker, paddle boards or bounce on our spacewalker bungee.  

In addition to fun in the water, there's also a beach bar and restaurant offering lots of drinks and a menu to choose from.  There's also massages available on the beach.

Comments

Paradise Beach is a great option for families.  The cost for a chair and then the activity wristband comes out to $14 per person and considering that provides all day access, it's a good value.  For kids and those who want to have fun in the water beyond just swimming, there's no beating the giant inflatable water toys that are provided.  They are a lot of fun and provide a fun option for those who want to expel a lot of energy.  

The snorkeling at Paradise Beach is good, but you'll need to swim out past the toys to see much as people swimming and playing closer to shore wont show much.  The beach itself is well kept and offers some great options.  Paradise Beach probably isn't for someone looking for a quiet and relaxing beach getaway.  It's ideal for those who want to be at the beach but still have a lot to do while there.

Location: Carretera Costera Sur Km 14.5, 77600 Cozumel, QROO, Mexico

Websitehttp://www.paradise-beach-cozumel.com

Cost: $0 for admission. $2 for chairs. $12 for water toys.

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