UAE possible next hub for Royal Caribbean

In:
06Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is considering a new hub in the United Arab Emirates.  Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President Michael Bayley hinted at the possibility of a new hub in the country.

During the maiden docking of Brilliance of the Seas in Dubai, Royal Caribbean revealed plans ready for a Dubai-Mumbai cruise starting in 2011 .  

Hamad Mohamed bin Mejren, Executive Director, Business Tourism at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said that Brilliance of the Seas' seven night sailings would include Dubai to Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.  These stops are among the most popular with tourists.

Dredging of St Thomas Harbor halts

In:
05Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

West Indian Company Ltd. President and CEO Ed Thomas said it and Royal Caribbean were going to spend a combined $15-$20 million to dredge St. Thomas Harbor so that mega ships Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas could dock there but not anymore.

The cruise lines are not going to put up that money because they accomplished their goal,” he said. “Their ship is in St. Thomas. Certainly the West Indian Company is not going to put up money to do that kind of dredging because the ship is already in St. Thomas.

Problems started back on October 14, 2009 when Governor John deJongh Jr put the dredging project on hold after substantial public opposition.  Those opposed to the dredging plan were concerned about the part of the plan that called for dumping 162,000 cubic yards of material into an existing depression in Lindbergh Bay.  While searching for an alternative, Oasis of the Seas would have to dock in Crown Bay.

Despite the halt in the plan, deJongh was confident that the dredging project would be complete in time for Allure of the Seas' first stop in St Thomas on December 10, 2010 during the busy tourist season.  However, talks never progressed very far according to Thomas, talks collapsed in January.

The trend of cruise ships getting larger and larger means St. Thomas Harbor will eventually need to be dredged acrroding to Thomas and that the harbor is already due for maintenance dredging thanks to all of the debris kicked up by departing and arriving cruise thips over the last few years.

Royal Caribbean will boost Malaga Spain departures

In:
04Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean intends to increase the number of departures from Malaga, Spain next year after a very successful year in other Spanish ports.  Royal Caribbean is planning on having five of its ships sail from Malaga, as well as Palma de Mallorca and Barecelona.

Dominic Paul, Royal Caribbean's Managing Director for the United Kingdom and Ireland likes the decision to increase cruises from Malaga, "Barcelona has long been a popular homeport for Royal Caribbean International and we have enjoyed significant growth in the UK for take up of cruises offered from Malaga since 2009.  To continue to stimulate the British holidaymaker’s love affair with Spain, new for summer 2011 we have introduced cruises from Palma de Mallorca for the first time. The good news is that these cruises are also delivering pre- and post-cruise land stays – this is fantastic for the Spanish hoteliers and the Spanish tourist industry in general."

About 30,000 of Royal Caribbean guests departed from a Spanish port during the summer of 2010 and of those customers, 40% were from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Royal Caribbean Receives Top Recognition From InformationWeek Magazine

In:
01Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International received recognition for its innovative information technology initiatives onboard the global cruise line's largest and most revolutionary ship, Oasis of the Seas during last week's InformationWeek 500 Conference.  Taking place in Monarch Beach, Ca. more than 500 companies were in attendance to discuss how technology innovation was being used to advance the agenda of business.  During the awards gala, the cruise line was awarded a ranking of 41 out of a list of 500 companies for the most innovative uses of technology as well as a coveted spot on InformationWeek Magazine's 20 Great Ideas to Steal list.  In addition, Royal Caribbean won the best in Customer Intimacy award.  

"This special recognition is truly a testament to Royal Caribbean's continued dedication to innovation, and a reflection of true business and IT collaboration," said Bill Martin, vice president, Chief Information Officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD.  "I am extremely proud of our employees for their hard work and the sacrifices everyone made to build this incredible ship which has drawn so much attention in the travel industry."
 
Royal Caribbean achieved the recognition, and the spot on InformationWeek Magazine's "20 Great Ideas to Steal" list for its innovative uses of digital signage aboard Oasis of the Seas.  The signage consists of a network of more than 300, 46-inch monitors strategically placed around the ship to provide information and improve the guest experience.  The displays vary from passive screens with safety demonstrations and information on guest activities to fully integrated and interactive touch panels that provide real-time information regarding amenities on the ship such as  the capacity at the dining venues.  In addition, to support the global nature of the guest mix, the digital signage supports multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese.

Royal Caribbean ships contribute to Bahamian economy

In:
01Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Last month Nassau, Bahamas completed extensive dredging and refurbishment of Nassau Harbor and businesses in downtown Nassau are reporting healthy business as a result.

Ships like Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, which docks in Nassau every other Sunday, is responsible for increasing revenues in the city.

The Bahamas was amongst many countries which were seeking to have these ships call on their ports,” said Carla Stuart, director of Cruise Development in the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation. “By the end of December, the Oasis would have made 34 visits and brought at least 183,600 passengers for the year 2010. Head tax to be derived is estimated at $2.7 million while spend from the passengers of this vessel is estimated at $12 million. The ship will continue to call every other week.”

Thelma Miller of Vintage Island Handicraft, a Festival Place souvenir store, pointed out that the Oasis’ calls have been good for business on Sundays, which would otherwise be slow. Meanwhile, Senor Frog’s has also been happy with the business that the Oasis brings.
 
It does make a difference when the Oasis comes in,” said Chester Williamson, manager of Senor Frog’s. “I think the second week it came in with 3,000 people on board.”
 
Things will get better for Nassau after December when Oasis of the Seas' sister ship Allure of the Seas joins the Royal Caribbean fleet and will also make regular stops in Nassau.  this will allow for a stop each week by one of the mega-vessels.

Rhapsody of the Seas heads to Australia

In:
01Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas is heading to Australia to start service for the summer season. Rhapsody of the Seas departed Hawaii on September 29 and is heading for Australia to begin her fourth season in the land down under.  

Rhapsody of the Seas will head right for Sydney habor, where she is due to arrive on October 16 and will also have the distinction of being the first international cruise ship to arrive in Australia this season.  Rhapsody of the Seas is expected to carry over 35,000 guests from around the world on her itineraries.

Rhapsody has become a favorite in Australia, after completing a record season in 2009-2010 of sailing with a full compliment of guests every voyage. . Home ported in Sydney, Rhapsody of the Seas will sail 17 cruises and visit a number of new destinations, including maiden calls at Newcastle, NSW, Champagne Bay in Vanuatu and Lautoka in Fiji. Rhapsody also returns to cruise the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji.

Royal Caribbean Australia Commercial Manager Adam Armstrong thinks Rhapsody of the Seas is a perfect fit for Australia, "Australia has truly embraced Rhapsody of the Seas since her arrival in 2007.  Her seasons down under go from strength to strength, with more and more Australians stepping onboard to experience our ‘Royal’ treatment.”

Rhapsody's trip to Australia from Hawaii will coincide with two important geographic events during her 16-night cruise across the Pacific.  First, she will pass the equator of the Earth between Hawaii and Tahiti.  Afterwards, guests onboard will "lose a day" as she passes the International Dateline after sailing west from Raiatea in French Polynesia.

Royal Caribbean announces Royal 5K in St. Maarten

In:
01Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced its first ever "Royal 5K" running event to be held in St. Maarten on December 16, 2010.  This race will be open to those cruising aboard Allure of the Seas.

This special race coincides with a cruise itinerary dedicated to running enthusiasts that include vitality-themed activities, such as

  • Join fellow runners by exploring the different ports of call with group fun runs
  • Meet high profile racing athletes during private meet & greets
  • Attend seminars & lectures with high profile athletes
  • Receive personal training tips from experts
  • Test your speed with a chance to set a world record time at sea
  • Recognize everyone's accomplishments with an awards ceremony
  • Be entered for a chance to win prizes including a grand prize trip to ESPN Headquarters

The race package costs $50 for adults and $35 for children.  Guests may register onboard the ship or in advance at the Royal 5K site.  Participating guests will receive a commemorative race t-shirt, as well as exclusive access to a post-race reception on board.

Royal Caribbean is delighted to offer this very special Royal 5K run in St. Maarten to Allure of the Seas’ guests,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “As part of our commitment to provide guests healthier vacation options, we look for opportunities like these to enhance our Vitality programming onboard and drive awareness of a health-conscious lifestyle. Coupled with an unprecedented line-up of new entertainment aboard Allure of the Seas, guests on this sailing will have a wide spectrum of exciting and heart-pumping options for an amazing cruise vacation.”

While the Royal 5K will be offered exclusively as a shore excursion on Allure of the Seas, all guests aboard the sailing have the chance to set the first Royal Caribbean jogging track record. Guests are invited to sign up in advance for a time slot on Tuesday, December 14, to test their running speed. Certified with RFID timing technology, they can attempt to set the cruise line’s record for the fastest run at sea on Allure of the Seas’ 0.46-mile long jogging track, the longest at sea.
 
Royal 5K participants also will be able to attend onboard seminars and receptions featuring running talents including Bart Yasso, the chief running officer of Runner’s World magazine; Frank Shorter, an Olympic Marathon Gold and Silver Medalist; Sonja Friend-Uhl, a member of seven U.S. world teams, 2000 Olympic trials competitor in the 1500m, and currently ranked in the top 24 women in the U.S. for distances from the 5k to the Half-Marathon; and Sean Jefferson, an NCAA All American, 1600m National Champion and professional runner and tri-athlete.

MagicMeets offers cruise for Disney lovers

In:
30Sep2010
By: Matt Hochberg

If you're a fan of Disney and/or the Disney Parks, there's a Royal Caribbean cruise for you!

Magic Meets, a Disney fan gathering, is holding their annual event onboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, which departs Bayonne, New Jersey for a 5 night cruise to Bermuda on July 16-21, 2011.

The cruise offers Disney fans from online communities a place to gather to share their interest in all things Disney.  Magic Meets has been running for a number of years with the event last year held for for the first time on a cruise, which was on Grandeur of the Seas this past July.

Prices start at $931 per person for an inside cabin (price includes taxes and fees).  You can book a cabin with MEI-Mouse Fan Travel.

Grandeur of the Seas to skip CocoCay today

In:
30Sep2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Majesty of the Seas will not go to CocoCay today. Instead, the ship will stay in Nassau overnight until 5 p.m., before finishing its cruise in Miami on Friday morning as originally scheduled.

Credit to CruiseCritic for information

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