We're going to start a new series of blog posts that go through the latest blog entries by Royal Caribbean's CEO Adam Goldstein and give an opinion on them, as well as offer you an opportunity to share your thoughts. Our first entry will deal with the post made on June 6, 2010.
First, the current Ultimate Value Books (a.k.a. coupon books) expire on June 30th and the new ones will arrive before then. In the interim, we’re giving our guests immediate access to the three most significant new or augmented benefits: Internet, laundry and photo. An insert will be placed in the coupon book onboard until the new ones arrive. On most ships the books will arrive in the next two weeks. Legend of the Seas will get her books in late June.
This move is pretty self explanatory and makes sense. With the recent announcement of changes to Crown and Anchor Society benefits, it's smart of Royal Caribbean to not leave anyone "caught in the middle".
Second, some of our shareholders who are Crown & Anchor members are displeased that the shareholder benefit cannot be used together with Crown & Anchor discounts, including the new onboard booking bonus. We are sorry that this is the case but we cannot modify our approach in this area. In order for the onboard booking bonus to be as robust as possible and to be used together with the Crown & Anchor discounts, we could not allow the shareholder discount to also be used together with it. Please bear in mind that the reason to own our stock is that you believe the stock represents a good investment in connection with your personal investing strategy. The cruise benefit is a nice opportunity to have, if applicable, but not a reason to own the stock.
This was a really surprising response and I found it pretty honest. He could have just thrown out marketing talk and ignore the issue of Royal Caribbean shareholders complaining about not being able to use their shareholder bonus discount on top of the Crown and Anchor discounts, but instead gave a pretty honest response of you own stock to invest in the company, not get discounts on cruises. That being said, that isn't going to make those that were complaining happy but, the man has a point!
We have received comments from members who want the benefit of the new onboard booking bonus retroactively applied to previously made bookings. I hope most of you appreciate that we needed to pick a time to introduce this benefit and that there would always be customers who had booked not long before the implementation date. There is no way to draw a line on retroactivity and so the bonus is applicable for eligible bookings made on or after our June 1st announcement.
I think Adam made the fairest choice here by being fair to no one. I can understand some would be upset if they booked onboard a future cruise a few days before this announcement or a few weeks, but the truth is you got the best deal possible at the time of booking. If they went back to 2 weeks prior, then everyone who booked 3 or 4 weeks or longer would be up in arms. There would never be a date range that would make everyone happy unless you went back really, really far and that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Returning to DreamWorks, we are really excited about this major step forward in our entertainment and programming. DreamWorks is the leader in animated films and Royal Caribbean International is the leader in cruising. Although these companies have worked in very different spaces, they have in common vision, inspiration, creativity, scale and global reach. Not to mention that both companies’ products make people happy.
I posted my thoughts on the merger in an earlier post, but it makes sense that Adam would be playing up this major alliance that Royal Caribbean entered into. I was reading some comments on the deal around the net, and there are people who say they don't care about characters and don't want their future cruises filled with the characters. My response to that is simply if you've been on a Disney Cruise, you know that if you never want to see the characters, you won't. The meets and other character events are held at specific locations and specific times, so it's not like you'll find Shrek roaming the halls looking to give out hugs.