Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge spotlight on Maureen Brandt

In:
12Jul2010

The Culinary Challenge to be the next Chef de Cuisine of 150 Central Park, the signature restaurant onboard Allure of the Seas is well underway and a local newspaper profiled one of the chefs, Maureen Brandt.  Brandt is one of six finalists for Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge and is from Stillwater, Minnesota.

Brandt is a 1999 graduate of Stillwater Area High School and she is also a "Certified ProChef Level Three" by the Culinary Institute of America and CEC through the American Culinary Federation.

While in training, Brandt worked at the Food Network and was named a Food and Wine best student chef in 2006. Brandt has worked in the kitchen at many reputable restaurants in New York, Minnesota and abroad. 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.

You can vote for Maureen or any of the other contestants on the Culinary Challenge web site.

Preview of entertainment on Allure of the Seas

In:
07Jul2010

Royal Caribbean offered a glimpse into the entertainment options about the still under construction Allure of the Seas.

  • Chicago
    As you may or may not know, the Broadway musical Chicago is coming to Allure of the Seas.  This was announced a while ago but a rehearsal was put on for various members of the Allure team

    Jeremy Plummer, Director & Choreographer for Blue Planet, took us through this exciting original production. This show has scenes that are unreal! Highlights will be when a tree comes to life as a “living tree,” as well as an enormous mountain scenic unit with trampolines built into it, so you can just imagine the action and choreography that will take place! This show is a departure from any production show we have done, and takes us from the rain forest, to the desert, to the ocean, and then the mountains and brings together the music, aerial artistry and gymnastics together in a very surreal way.
     

  • New ice show: Ice Games
    This will be a new ice show that brings the board game Monopoly to life.  Things like rolling the dice and visiting various landmarks are displayed but "with a twist".

    we might land on Boardwalk, or Dazzles, or even go directly to Jail. This is definitely a very clever story line.
     

  • New ice show: How to Train Your Dragon
    Based on the hit 3D Dreamworks film of the same name, this 20-30 minute show is a family friendly show that is expected to be a great spectacle.

    While you typically wouldn’t find me using the word “magical,” for obvious reasons, it is truly the word that describes how we will bring to life the movie in this ice show. Our Co-Producer, Willy Bietak, said he has done projects for decades and this was one of his favorites ever.

Photos of Allure of the Seas emerge

In:
07Jul2010

T-online, a German website, has posted photos of the still under construction Allure of the Seas.  She is currently under construction at the STX Europe shipyard in Turku, Finland.

Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge voting begins

In:
06Jul2010

Last month Royal Caribbean began accepting entries for a contest called "Culinary Challenge" where aspiring chefs could compete to become the next Chef de Cuisine of 150 Central Park, the signature restaurant onboard Allure of the Seas, the cruise line's newest ship which will make her debut in December 2010.  Well, voting is now open for the contestants and you can view the video entries and vote on them!

There are six entries that made it to the vote stage.  The chef with the highest number of votes will be awarded additional points to his/her overall score at the final challenge held at The Culinary Institute of America's Hyde Park campus in New York on August 5 & 6.

Voting ends on Sunday, July 18 at 11:59 p.m. ET and you can vote once per day.

Five Ways Royal Caribbean Uses Emerging Technology

In:
06Jul2010

With huge new ships like Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, new technology has been the solution for Royal Caribbean to make the experience onboard for guests as easy as possible.  Royal Caribbean CIO Bill Martin spoke with InformationWeek magazine about five innovations Royal Caribbean has used to make the experience better for guests.

  1. Facial Recognition Software
    When you board the ship for the first time, a high resolution photo is taken of you and this photo is used for security as well as for merchandise systems such as the point of sale system.  Facial recognition software allows computers to categorize photos taken all over the ship by Royal Caribbean photographers for easy pick up later.
  2. Shape Recognition Cameras
    At each of the 24 restaurants on the ship, shape-recognition cameras count the number of people seated and if any are waiting.  Royal Caribbean works to ensure there is no waiting at its restaurants.
  3. Interactive Media
    Remember the shape recognition cameras from the previous entry?  Well that data on restaurant crowds gets sent in real-time, in the form of red-yellow-green signals, to 300 digital signs around the ship, so that people can self-select the least-crowded restaurants.
  4. Wireless Everywhere
    There's Wi-Fi internet coverage onboard, along with wireless wristband for children to allow parents to track their kids movements on an iPhone app.  The specially equipped iPhones are for rent during cruises.
  5. Real-Time Analysis
    Royal Caribbean is using the data it receives during the cruise to help make decisions "on the fly" and bring attention to problems as they occur, not after.

Royal Caribbean has more real-time data than ever before because every point of sale terminal and booking system is networked, so analysts can know what’s selling well, what services are being under-used, plus the demographics of who’s on board. Analysts onshore have started crunching that data while the cruise is sailing. Combine that with the interactive media on the ships, and Royal Caribbean has a chance to put customized offers in front of people, say for a particular type of spa treatment that has more openings than usual, to a person most likely to want such a treatment, delivered direct to their interactive TV.

Allure of the Seas Progress Update

In:
02Jul2010

Lisa Bauer, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean, posted a progress update on Allure of the Seas construction.  Here are the highlights.

  • Allure seems to be further along at this point in time than Oasis of the Seas was
  • The scaffolding is down in the Royal Promenade and tile is being added
  • Carpet installed in most areas
  • Rita’s Cantina, the Boardwalk Doghouse, and the Guess store are starting to "take shape"
  • More stores also taking shape, but yet to be announced what they will be
  • Royal Caribbean will be taking delivery of Allure of the Seas a few days earlier than planned
  • Costumes for Dreamworks characters will require planning to find space for them all

We had several operational meetings with Captain Hernan Zini, who will be the Master on Allure, as well as the hotel start up team, lead by Raimund Gschaider. The team is very pleased with how the inspections are going, as well as the operational planning.

Port Everglades competing with Miami for cruise capital of the world

In:
25Jun2010

Port Everglades, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is gaining ground quickly on Miami, Florida for most cruise passengers in the world.  Miami has been the traditional "cruise capital of the world" for many years but recent changes have made Port Everglades, located just 28 miles to the north, a close competitor.  If current trends continue, Port Everglades will overtake Miami by 2012, thanks to in part, Royal Caribbean.

Liberty of the Seas, currently serving Europe, will return to the United States next year and has been announced to call Port Everglades it's home port.  Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the two largest cruise ships in the world, already call Port Everglades home.  This leaves just Majesty of the Seas left in Miami as Royal Caribbean's presence.  

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s level of commitment is less clear. Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., declined to comment on its future plans to sail from Miami, nor would he say whether Royal, which owns several brands including Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, intends to keep its headquarters at the port after its building leases expire in 2011 and 2014.

Miami, for it's part, admits it needs to do more to lure Royal Caribbean back to Miami.  Recently the port of Miami inked a deal with Carnival to keep Carnival in Miami until at least 2018 and County Manager George Burgess said, "We need to roll up our sleeves and negotiate with Royal, just like we did with Carnival".

Port Everglades earned a lot of Royal Caribbean's new found loyalty thanks in part to how it handled the Oasis of the Seas situation.  When Royal Caribbean was shopping for a home port, it received a lukewarm reception from Miami but Port Everglades agreed to double the terminal budget from $37.4 million to $75 million. Royal Caribbean then promised to send even more passengers to Port Everglades to compensate for the extra cost of the 5.5-acre super terminal, which has 90 ticket counters.

Distinct features to entice cruises on Allure of the Seas

In:
14Jun2010

Allure of the Seas is set to have her maiden voyage in December of 2010 and already, Royal Caribbean is giving us all plenty of reasons to check her out.  Sure the ship is enormous and goes to some great ports in the Caribbean, but how about amenities such as 3-D movie theaters, new restaurants and trendy retail stores?  JourneyETC posted an article looking at some of these new features.

Allure of the Seas will offer guests a new set of onboard amenities and entertainment and dining options that will help make a most memorable vacation,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “Though Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas are sister ships, each ship’s distinctive onboard experience will offer guests a wide selection of choices that appeals to every age and lifestyle. Throughout, guests will also enjoy the Royal treatment, delivered by every member of our world-renowned friendly and engaging staff and crew.

One of the new restaurants on Allure of the Seas will be Rita's Cantina, a Mexican-California hybrid restaurant that will be in the Boardwalk area to include new nightlife to Boardwalk with live guitar music, drinks and dancing.  In addition to Rita's, another new restaurant is slated to be added to the Boardwalk area, The Boardwalk Dog House, an outdoor hot-dog specialty counter located where the donut shop is on Oasis of the Seas.

If shopping is more your thing, GUESS Accessory boutique will be located in place of Focus Photo Shop on deck six and offer their signature line of accessories such as wallets, jewelry, handbags and more.

All of this is to differentiate Allure of the Seas from it's sister ship, Oasis of the Seas, and to give cruisers just as much reason to look forward to her debut as they did for Oasis.

Over 800,000 passengers to visit Bahamas thanks to Royal Caribbean in 2011

In:
11Jun2010

Royal Caribbean Vice-President of government relations for the Caribbean and Latin America, Michael Ronan, told Bahemian newspaper The Tribune, that in 2011 Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will "be back up over 800,000 passengers" brought to the Bahamas.  That figure is over 100,000 more than in 2010, thanks in part to the anticipated delivery of Allure of the Seas.

These figures include stops in Nassau, Freeport and its Bahamian private islands.  The news comes after a report that Oasis of the Seas was rumored to be ending stops in Nassau, but Ronan said the change was merely due to a difference in Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries, where Oasis of the Seas only stops in Nassau on it's eastern Caribbean trips.  Ronan went on to explain that once Allure of the Seas became operational, it would start rotating Nassau calls with the Oasis of the Seas on a schedule that would be maintained through Spring 2012, with one of the ships stopping in Nassau opposite the other.

"With the Oasis vessels, we are significantly increasing the number of passengers that are going to be coming," Mr Ronan told Tribune Business. "We will be back up over 800,000 passengers in 2011. This year, I think we will be in the 700,000 in change, because we're still waiting for the arrival of the Allure, which will put us with a full year of Oasis class ships in Nassau every week. Last year, 2009, we bottomed out."

For the people of the Bahamas, the more cruisers that stop by, the better for the local economy.  For cruisers, a better economy in the Bahamas typically means less crime and better upkeep of the city (that's a generalization).  

Enter contest to become the next chef on Allure of the Seas

In:
07Jun2010

Are you an aspiring chef? Looking to combine your love of cooking with your passion for cruising? Well, Royal Caribbean has the contest for you.  The "Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge" offers wanna-be chefs the opportunity to become the next Chef de Cuisine of 150 Central Park, the signature restaurant onboard Allure of the Seas, the cruise line's newest ship which will make her debut in December 2010.

If you are a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America with an AOS or BPS degree, then you can enter this contest by creating an original recipe you think could be the next signature dish at 150 Central Park restaurant and create a video of you cooking this dish.  Entries must be received by Sunday, June 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

For those of us who can't cook (hello fellow bad cooks!), Royal Caribbean will open the contest up to online voting, which begins on Monday, June 28 at 12:00 a.m. ET and ends on Sunday, July 11 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Consumers can vote once per day for his/her favorite chef.  The top five entries with the highest number of votes, as well as one entry selected by the contest judges, will become finalists and will be invited to participate in a final challenge held at The Culinary Institute of America's Hyde Park campus in New York on August 5 & 6.  The finalists will compete to cook a three-course meal for a panel of judges before a winner is selected to become the next Chef de Cuisine.

Full contest details, deadlines, rules and other important information.  Good luck to anyone who enters!

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