Rhapsody of the Seas makes maiden call to Australia


Australia’s youngest and newest superliner, Rhapsody of the Seas, sailed into Newcastle Harbour at Dyke Point for the first time.

Not only is she Royal Caribbean International’s first cruise ship to visit Newcastle, but she was also the first international cruise ship to arrive for the Australian cruising season when she sailed into Sydney harbour on Saturday.
“We’re very excited to have included Newcastle as one of our new ports of call. It’s an exciting destination for visitors and an excellent gateway to the Hunter Valley and beyond for our guests,” said Adam Armstrong, commercial manager, Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia Limited. “Each year more and more Australians step onboard Rhapsody of the Seas, and we are committed to growing our operations in the local market and adding new and exciting ports of call.”
Over 2,000 guests disembarked the ship yesterday and took a variety of shore tours, including the wineries of the Hunter Valley, as well as spending time in the city of Newcastle itself. Guests also included a large number of tourists travelling on the ship from America, Europe and Asia.
Rhapsody of the Seas will be Newcastle’s largest cruise ship visitor this season with a further call in the city on 25 March 2011 as part of her 11-night Tropical Queensland cruise.
The popular cruise ship has returned this year for her fourth consecutive summer cruise season operating out of Australia, offering a total of 17 cruises for 2010-11.
Approximately 35,000 passengers will travel on Rhapsody of the Seas for the 2010-11 season, visiting 16 cities across Australia and generating income for local communities as part of the travel industry’s fastest growing sectors.
In addition to Newcastle, her other maiden calls this season include Champagne Bay in Vanuatu and Lautoka in Fiji.

Cruise guide labels Royal Caribbean's food as the worst


The Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships has labeled Royal Caribbean's food as the worst of the major cruise lines, giving it five out of ten stars for its cuisine.

Book author Douglas Ward was particularly harsh on Royal Caribbean's dining room, afternoon teas and wine lists as being the worst. He did concede that Oasis of the Seas managed to earn a rating of more than six out of 10 in only one category: informal dining/buffet.

Ward attributes the poor rating to Royal Caribbean's unwillingness to spend more for their food.  He cited guest complaints that the food didn't look or taste as good as the brochures promised and the meats tended to be cheaper cuts.  Other issues contributing to the lower score include lack of green vegetables, herbs or garnishes; the quality of pastry items; the choice of salt, pepper or olive oils; and a lack of fresh fish.

How did Royal Caribbean's competitors do?  Carnival Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises did not do much better, while Cunard, Celebrity and Princess Cruises earned the best marks.

A spokesman for RCI said the company was surprised by the results. "Customer satisfaction is our number one priority. We have a very robust customer feedback system that we measure our on-board experience through. Some 250,000 guests have completed the survey this year. Over 90 per cent have scored our on-board service as meeting or exceeding their expectations.
"While we respect Mr Ward as an expert in his field, his ratings reflect his own personal opinions and differ strongly from the feedback from our many millions of paying guests."

DeFi Global will power new mobile device on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas


DeFi Global, Inc. announced today its plans to roll out a next-generation mobile application for the Apple iPhone on board Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' latest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas. Allure of the Seas is the sister-ship of Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest and most innovative cruise ship. Currently under construction, Allure of the Seas is scheduled to make its maiden voyage in December of this year.

As does sister-ship Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas will offer guests the opportunity to use a revolutionary iPhone application integrated with state-of-the-art mobile communication tools and patent-pending navigational technology powered by DeFi. Jeff Rice, chairman and CEO of DeFi Global, Inc. said, "We have begun generating revenues from sales of rented, dedicated iPhones on-board Oasis of the Seas. We are now very excited to expand our relationship with RCCL to their new ship, Allure of the Seas, and add to the ship's unprecedented array of amenities for a truly world-class vacation experience."
Rice added, "Our next-generation software is fully integrated with other company-owned location-based products, including a watch wristband for children under 12 that automatically tracks their position on the ship. Now parents can have fun and peace-of-mind of knowing where their children are at all times. We are integrating these and other incentives to use the device more often to enhance the overall vacation experience. For the cruise operator, we deliver multiple new revenue-generating opportunities through mobile advertising and turnkey direct marketing platforms."

Royal Caribbean announces winner of Brazilian cruise director contest


Royal Caribbean announced the winner of their recent cruise director contest, created to select and recruit someone who will be responsible for managing and planning the program of entertainment activities on board ships of up to 4000 guests.

João Alberto Fontes of Rio de Janiero, 25, is the youngest director of the Brazilian Cruises Royal Caribbean. The winner had to go through four phases, including approval of the public through Twitter, and interviews. Among the interviewers: Amy Chambers, Department of casting in-flight entertainment, who came from Miami to personally evaluate the  and Steve Millslagle, chief expert of shipboard activities, through a video / audio conferencing.
Fans who voted via Twitter competed for a lunch aboard the Mariner of the Seas, the largest ship in the Brazilian season. João Alberto will begin his career with Royal Caribbean aboard the Vision of the Seas, in the next Brazilian season.

Royal Caribbean donates TVs to needy of St. Croix


Nearly two dozen charitable organizations on the island of St. Croix received televisions from Royal Caribbean in a generous donation.

Royal Caribbean donated fourteen 25-inch Phillips color TVs that were previously used aboard the Serenade of the Seas to various charities on the island.  These charities include

  • Aldershville Senior Citizen Multipurpose Center
  • Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged
  • Bethlehem Homeless Shelter
  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Richmond Senior Citizen Center
  • Flamboyant Gardens Elderly Community
  • Wilford Pedro Home
  • Sunny Isles Housing Community
  • Catholic Charities
  • 10,000 Helpers

On behalf of the Department of Tourism, I would like to thank Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for their gift to the people of St. Croix,” said Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty. “We appreciate this act of goodwill and look forward to working with our partners at Royal Caribbean to continue building ties with the members of our local community.”

Maine city to vote on cruise ship restrictions


Rockland, Maine is set to vote on a proposal to limit the number of cruise ships that can visit the city each year after the debate was sparked last year when Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas made it's inaugural visit to the city.

On October 18, Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas is set to return but city commissioners are considering a proposal to limit only allowing three of the biggest ships per year -- one in May and two in October.

Rocklan's mayor is in favor of the proposal because of the strain on the area where passengers unload from cruise ship.  The mayor cites the harbor infrastructure is getting old and any repairs that would be needed would be footed by the taxpayers.  Local businesses are against the proposal, claiming the restrictions would ruin the city's chances of becoming a regular cruise ship destination.

Mayor McNeil says she expects at least one councilor will try to eliminate the restrictions on the large ships. The Chamber of Commerce says it has no problems with the rest of the plan, just the portion that would limit the number of ship visits.

Royal Caribbean's Ocean Fund honored with 2010 World Tourism Award


Royal Caribbean's Ocean Fund program has been awarded a 2010 World Tourism Award for their dedication to sustainable tourism and the preservation of natural and cultural heritage.

Royal Caribbean's Ocean Fund was awarded “in recognition of Royal Caribbean Cruises’ establishment of the Ocean fund which has awarded over $11 million in annual grants supporting nonprofit marine conservation organizations in protecting the world’s oceans through research, education and development of innovative technologies.”

Royal Caribbean CEO looks back on his upbringing in Maine


Mainlinemedianews.com interviewed Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein about his childhood, growing up in Maine.  He attended New Eagle Elementary, Valley Forge Middle School and Conestoga High School and generally looks back fondly on his early years in Maine, "learning French at Conestoga opened up an incredible world of opportunities for me. I was also a committed member of the cross-country and track teams and I am still in touch with my coach 33 years later. The discipline of running under Coach Ramsey was extremely important to my development."

So how did Goldstein come to work for Royal Caribbean and become it's CEO?  He started off in 1988 as the vice president and corporate secretary to the Board of Directors. A year later an opportunity in the marketing department opened and he jumped at it and would become the vice president of international sales and marketing.  By 2005 Goldstein was named president and in 2007 president and CEO.

I didn’t imagine that anything like this existed in business,” said Goldstein. “The company is 12 times larger than it was when I started. Royal Caribbean has become the leading cruise brand in the world. They are building ships that couldn’t have been built when I started.

Royal Caribbean taps Motorola for enterprise mobile computers to assist employees


The Motorola Solutions business of Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) today announced that it has deployed a mobility solution to help Royal Caribbean International enhance the guest experience onboard Oasis of the Seas – the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. In an effort to provide travelers with the most memorable experience, Royal Caribbean has equipped its employees with Motorola enterprise mobile computers to empower them with the information they need to ensure customer needs are taken care of on-the-spot anywhere on the ship.    

"Oasis of the Seas is a revolutionary cruise ship that transforms the way Royal Caribbean interacts with its guests," said Bill Martin, VP and CIO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "By aligning with Motorola, we are now able to address guest needs in real-time while increasing the productivity of our staff – ultimately raising the standard for guest experiences and satisfaction."
As mobility becomes increasingly more important for hospitality organizations to maintain competitive advantage, Royal Caribbean turned to Motorola to provide a reliable solution to help drive revenue, improve service and enhance the customer experience. Mobile applications running on Motorola MC55 and MC70 enterprise mobile computers carried by the Oasis of the Seas staff include, mobile point of sale (MPOS), mobile mustering, work order management, show ticketing and asset management.  
Throughout the guest entertainment area of Oasis of the Seas, staff are equipped with MC70 mobile computers and snap-on mobile payment modules to more quickly respond to and complete guests' credit and debit solutions.  This MPOS solution reduces the amount of time guests wait in line for shows, as well as speeds order-taking poolside to not only improve the guest experience but increase beverage sales.
In addition, the MC70 provides en electronic, mobile solution for mustering to increase accuracy and compliance with ship regulations. With the MC70, guest sea pass cards are scanned to get an accurate count of guests who have been briefed on emergency procedures once on board.  The new solution has helped reduce the amount of time to complete a muster – in turn increasing employee productivity and allowing guests to spend more time relaxing or participating in onboard activities.
"Motorola is committed to helping hospitality organizations, like Royal Caribbean International, provide superior customer service, "said Tom Moore, director of hospitality solutions, Motorola Solutions.  "Our extensive mobile computing portfolio enables us to equip the right worker with the right device – in turn providing our hospitality customers with the ability to better serve their customers anywhere, anytime."
Motorola's MC55 provides business-critical information onboard Oasis of the Seas- enabling streamlined processes for work order and asset management for engineering, housekeeping and the ship's dining room. From plumbing and air-conditioning to televisions and slot machines, all systems and appliances must be in working order to guarantee guest satisfaction. Equipped with an MC55 with integrated voice and data capabilities, Royal Caribbean maintenance staff can receive tasks in real-time, providing managers with visibility into progress of work orders and ensuring any issues are addressed immediately.  The MC55s are also used to manage assets within its dining room, including silverware and tableware.  This solution helps reduce inventory management time – allowing staff to spend more time focused on the guest experience.  
Royal Caribbean is planning to expand its use of mobile computers across its fleet of ships throughout 2012.