Royal Caribbean reports improved second quarter earnings


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


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


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


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.


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.


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


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

Royal Caribbean opens first showroom in Beijing


Royal Caribbean and China Youth Travel Group have opened their first cruise showroom in Beijing's Asian Games Village.  In the booth, Royal Caribbean is offering visitors several packages, including an eight days and seven nights cruise to Japan and South Korea aboard Legend of the Seas.

These cruises that are being showcased depart from Tianjin, northern China's first cruise home port.  This showroom is part of the Asian Games, also called the Asiad, which is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Asian Games are the world's second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.

More women becoming sailors


Like many industries, cruising and maritime work has been dominated by men but lately there's been a change in that as more and more women are looking to become sailors.  According to the International Maritime University of Panama, cruising crews have opened doors to women.

Luis Fabrega, director of International Maritime University Panama (PICU) confirmed that the integration of women into the maritime area is growing.  Why the influx of women now?  Fabrega attributes the change to the impulse to create working places for cruise companies.

"We have noticed that the female cadets increasingly embark on cruise ships, which are ships that many prefer and are frequently asking for more personal," described Fabrega, adding "this does not limit the participation of women in other vessels" .

Royal Caribbean is helping in this endeavor to open up maritime jobs to women by having an agreement with the International Maritime University Panama to provide students an opportunity to do internships on their ships.  The results have produced 15 female cadets since 2008 and of the approximately 1,200 students at PICU, 25% are now women.

Maureen Brandt wins Allure of the Seas' Culinary Challenge


Voting for the Culinary Challenge contest that was looking for the the next Chef de Cuisine of 150 Central Park, the signature restaurant onboard Allure of the Seas, ended this past Sunday and Royal Caribbean announced that contestant Maureen Brandt of Stillwater, Minnesota has won the contest.

Brandt was chosen from a group of six finalists for the contest.  She was trained in cooking at the Food Channel, where she named a Food and Wine best student chef in 2006.  Since then, she's gone on to work in a number of restaurants and currently Brandt owns her own private chef and catering company, Cook in the Kitchen in the Twin Cities. In addition, Brandt is co-founder and villa chef for Flavors of Italia, a company that offers intimate, culinary-focused vacations in Northern Tuscany.

While Brandt finished first in voting, the second place chef is Daniel Fein of Rochester Hills, Mich., and third place goes to Beth LittleJohn of Durham, N.C. 

Cruising 101: Safe Cruising


A cruise can be a trip of a lifetime, filled with memories of fun and excitement, or it can turn into a bitter sweet memory filled with regret. To keep your trip a memorable one just takes following some common sense, research and taking simple precautions.

To have a safe and happy cruise we will focus on the two areas you will be on your cruise, on board the ship or off the ship on an excursion. Lets first start with on board.

Safety On Board

While on board, Royal Caribbean has a security team working to keep you safe.  The security team is certified by the Security Industrial Authority of the United Kingdom and have been directly trained by specialists such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  They also have many safety features on board, including video surveillance, smoke detectors, life rafts, and navigation equipment.  Royal Caribbean also has a fully licensed medical staff, incase any medical issue should arise on your trip.  The staff and equipment work 24/7 to ensure your trip is a safe and healthy one.

While Royal Caribbean has an extensive safety and security teams and features on board, your safety is also you primary responsibility.  No amount of security will help you if you climbing on, over or across any exterior or interior railings or other protective barriers and fall off the ship.
While on board you can use the following tips to help you have a safe, fun cruise.
  • Sanitation! - While Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas just scored a 100% on its CDC vessel sanitation inspection, you can still take steps to prevent disease. Wash your hands often, and use the hand sanitizer stations when entering all dining areas.  This will help prevent you from getting sick from viruses like the Norovirus.
  • No when to say when - This is not just for alcohol, but food and activities. The best plan for your cruise is to enjoy all amenities the ship has to offer in moderation.  Over indulging in food, drink and activities will leave you tired, hung over or possibility injured.
  • Seasickness - Seasickness is the reaction of your body's inner ear balance system to the unfamiliar motion of the ship. This condition can affect anyone. To avoid seasickness stay hydrated, keep busy and keep your mind occupied. If you do get sick, Dramamine and Bonine are the most common seasickness drug remedies. These are best taken before the symptoms occur.
  • Sunburn - Nothing beats those dining pictures when everyone is all dressed up and looks like a lobster.  Sunburns are quite common on cruises and can quickly ruin your cruise experience, and can be prevented by following some simple steps.  Use sunscreen that is at least a SPF 15 to 30, or higher depending on your skin type. Use it everyday, and reapply it often. Use shade and cover up when possible.  This will help limit your exposure.
  • Rough Seas - Yes ships sail in the ocean, which tends not to be flat.  The ships do use stabilizers to help keep the ship stable but that can't guarantee a complete flat stable environment. While moving around the ship, use hand rails and move slowly.  Avoid running and jumping to limit the chance of any injuries.
  • Common Sense - While cruises are general safe, its still best to use common sense.  Stay in public areas, avoid areas that are off limits. Lock your cabin doors at night and don't open it for strangers. Travel in groups with friends or family. Remember, being cautious never hurt anyone.


Safety In Port

The key to a safe cruise mostly depends on your choices in port. While on board you have a security team looking out for your welfare.  This is not the case when you arrive a a new port.  Cruise related crimes mostly occur when you are ashore. Most crimes committed against cruise passengers are those of opportunity. Thousands of passengers leaving a ship tend to be an easy target for petty thefts. Following a few simple common sense tips should help you avoid becoming a statistic.

  • Research - Ignorance is not bliss.  Odds are you will be visiting a foreign county.  Find out information about the country and port before you set sail.  A visit to your local library or book store can help you plan activities that are safe and avoid areas of crime.  It's also a good idea to learn the customs, and social policies of a foreign country.  You are a guest in their homeland and should act and dress accordingly.  Its also a good idea to read reviews, talk to a travel agent or friends that have been to that port before.  They can give you an unbiased report of the port.
  • Book your excursion on the ship - This will not save you money, but will cut down the chances you end up a less then reputable tour operator. Excursions booked with the ship will tend not to have shady characters working for them as they will get reported and not used by the cruise line in the future. Its also a good idea to book your excursion with the ship if its your first time visiting the port.  This way you can get a feel for the the port, and can use what you saw and learned to plan a future excursion there if you enjoyed the port.
  • Take only what you need off the ship - Money, jewelry and electronics should be kept to a minimum. Flashing cash, electronics and expensive jewelry just makes you a bigger target.  Its a good idea to wear fake jewelry off the ship.  This way if you  do have an issue, or loose it, its not a big deal.  My wife has a "travel" wedding set she wears while we are on vacation.  It cost us all of $50 for it.  If she looses it or it gets stolen, we are only out $50 instead of thousands.
  • Try to blend in - Its probably obvious that you are a tourist, but you can try to minimize how much of a tourist you look like.  This comes back to doing research, so you can act and dress in a manner that doesn't attract attention. Learn about the port and look at maps of the port and country.
  • No when to say when - This tip is more important off the ship then on. Use common sense when drinking and engaging in activities while in port.  High risk activities should be avoided, unless you have prior experience.
  • Sunburn - A large majority of cruises are to sunny locations.  Use sunscreen that is at least a SPF 15 to 30, or higher depending on your skin type. Use it everyday, and reapply it often. Use shade and cover up when possible.
  • Water safety - Drink bottle water whenever possible.  Different countries have water qualities, its best to drinking bottled to avoid any local contaminants.
  • Common Sense - Go with your gut, if it feels wrong, it probably is.  Avoid an ATM in a dark or deserted area, particularly if there are obvious loiterers nearby. Stay in public areas. Travel in groups with friends or family. Remember, once again being cautious never hurt anyone.

While cruising in general is safer then most other vacations, it does involve some risk.  Having a safe cruise just involves some common sense and planning.