Royal Caribbean ending cruises from France


Citing a price war it cannot win, a new report points to Royal Caribbean opting to end cruises that start and end in Marseilles, France in the coming years and instead, let its Western Mediterranean cruises sail from Barcelona.

Mer & Marine is reporting that Royal Caribbean will end cruises that leave from France next year, after attempting to restart cruises from France in 2011.  

Royal Caribbean had opened an office in Paris back in 2011 but then laid off half the office in October 2012.  Indications are that cruises leaving from Spain were performing better than cruises departing France.

Liberty of the Seas will finish out the scheduled cruises she has remaining in Marseilles.  

Royal Caribbean continues restructuring its office in France


Royal Caribbean is continuing its work to restructure its French office by officially merging operations in France with the Spanish office.  

In addition, Royal Caribbean announced that the Director General of the Spanish office, Wangüemert Belen, will also be the head of the French office.  The position of head of the office in France had been open since Frederic Martinez left the company earlier this summer.  

In a statement, Royal Caribbean described the promotion for Belen as a decision that will, "strengthen the synergies of these two priority markets for the company and generate new growth opportunities for the company."

In another report by Tour Hebdo, 23 of the 38 office positions in France are being removed due to redundancy with the Spanish office.  The laid off workers will be informed in December.

Royal Caribbean lays off half its office in France


A year and a half after Royal Caribbean opened an office in France, the company has decided to get rid of twenty of its 38 positions.

Royal Caribbean has decided to downsize the office, opting to have the financial services and reservations shared with the Royal Caribbean office in Spain.  The commercial and communication department will remain in Paris but rely on guidance from the Spanish office.

Spain's Royal Caribbean office opened in 2006 and shown double-digit growth in the number of customers every year, except for 2012.

In early 2011 Royal Caribbean decided to re-open an office in France, after it left the country 10 years earlier.  The economic crisis and the impact of the Costa Concordia disaster have all contributed to lowered expectations.  Royal Caribbean was hoping the office would help bring about 40,000 to 45,000 French passengers in the first year but that number ended up being 32,000.

Royal Caribbean looks back on one year in France


July first marks the one year anniversary of Royal Caribbean adding a subsidiary in France.  For months, Royal Caribbean has been marketing to support sales and now they are seeing those efforts taking shape with the first cruises to French ports.

On June 3rd, Liberty of the Seas made her inaugural visit to Marseilles and Toulon harbor.  Liberty of the Seas is the largest ship operating in Europe and this summer will offer 21 cruises from France.

On July 5th, another Royal Caribbean ship, Brilliance of the Seas, will make its first stop at Le Havre and head for the Norwegian fjords.  Following her will be the recently refurbished Grandeur of the Seas, which will begin with a stop in Marseilles.

Frederic Martinez, CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises France, is happy with the progress the company has made, "We are very happy because ships arrive, they can be seen and tested by customers."

Overall, this year, the company will offer 27 cruises from French ports for a target of 30 to 35,000 passengers. This is less than the expected 40 to 45,000 customers at the launch of the French subsidiary, but Royal Caribbean was forced to reduce the estimates because of a difficult environment and the impact of the Costa Concordia disaster.

"We had one year in the form of a challenge because of the events he was forced to cash. Our growth has remained strong because we are still small, we have established a subsidiary in France there are less than a year, compared to the previous situation, our offer is much stronger because of departures from French ports. Nevertheless, we still felt a slowdown from February to early April. Also noteworthy is that the economic context is not famous. The crisis in the euro area can be felt in all European markets and, like others, the French are watching their budget. But now the market is very strong, although it has been boosted with blows of promotions, which is good for customers but not so good for owners, whose margins are reduced. This also causes a visibility problem because many customers wait until the last minute to book, hoping to get a better price, "says Frederic Martinez.

Royal Caribbean's boss in France believes, that the very aggressive pricing policy practiced in recent months by different companies, which forces Royal Caribbean's hand, should not last: "It's a real issue. We had an exceptional year and it was therefore necessary to sustain demand by offering very attractive. But we must not repeat this indefinitely and make reference price. Because this approach is not economically viable, at least maintaining a high level of quality, what we want. " 

Royal Caribbean will increase its departures from Marseille and Toulon in 2013


Royal Caribbean announced that it will significantly increase its offerings from Marseille, France next year.

From May 6 to August 26, 2013, Royal Caribbean will offer 17 roundtrip cruises from Marseille, versus just 7 this summer. The itinerary will cover Barcelona, ​​Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Civitavecchia (Rome) and Genoa.

Currently Grandeur of the Seas is scheduled to sail out of Marseille but in 2013, Legend of the Seas.  Legend of the Seas was delivered in 1995 by French shipyards, the ship 264 meters long and 69,000 tons can accommodate 2,074 passengers. It will benefit next winter from a vast revitalization program to renovate its public spaces and cabins, while bringing new entertainment and dining options on board.

Besides cruises from Marseille, Royal Caribbean will increase its presence in 2013 at the port of Toulon. Between May 27 and October 21, 2013, 22 cruises (versus 21 this summer) will be offered aboard Liberty of the Seas.

Liberty of the Seas arrives in France


Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas arrived in France earlier this month and now is based out of southern France.   Since the beginning of June, Liberty of the Seas offers each week more than 3,600 cruise to discover the Mediterranean from Toulon.

"One year after the opening of our office in France, we are very pleased to offer our first departures from French ports", says Frederic Martinez, CEO of Royal Caribbean France.

Liberty of the Seas is not the only ship from France, as the Grandeur of the Seas will sail from Marseille and the Brilliance of the Seas, from Havre. "We worked hard to adapt our offer to French customers, says Frederic Martinez. A significant part of our staff speak French. The menus are in French, the French television channels are available. And we worked our wine. "Interest in the French market is due to its dynamism for several years. Last year, 441,000 passengers were carried by cruise ships, according to the French Association of Cruise Lines (AFCC), an increase of 14%.

Regarding the effect the Costa Concordia disaster has had on Royal Caribbean, Royal Caribbean has taken steps to hinder the negative effects. "We have reduced our ambitions, however, recognizes Frederick Martinez. We visions French 40,000 passengers this year. They will eventually be only 30,000 to 35,000. "This is still a nice progression: the group table and a market share of 6% this year, against only 4% last year. For 2013, the group is up 10%. The starting number will increase from 27 to 39 this year next year. Despite the loss of the ship from Le Havre. "Next year, the Brilliance will be used in Asia, where we record very strong growth, said Frederic Martinez. Pending the arrival of our ships coming in 2014 and 2015, we must make trade-offs depending on the strength of our markets. "

Royal Caribbean kicks off new marketing campaign in France


Royal Caribbean is kicking off it's new advertising campaign in France, "Royal Caribbean International, la mer autrement", which translates to "Royal Caribbean, otherwise the sea".

This campaign is the first one for Royal Caribbean in France, and is meant to coincide with the arrival of Royal Caribbean ships to the French market this summer.

Royal Caribbean will play 20 and 30 second commercials on French television starting March 3.  Royal Caribbean will also advertise in print media, with all advertising mediums highlighting the activities and entertainment found onboard Royal Caribbean's ships.

This campaign follows the opening of an office in Paris by Royal Caribbean in July 2011. For its first summer season in France, the cruise line has scheduled the arrival of three ships from the ports of Marseille, Toulon and Le Havre in June and July 20.

Royal Caribbean committed to presence in Mediterranean


Royal Caribbean is betting on the Mediterranean by announcing that they plan on expanding their presence in the region.  Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein on a trip to Milan, Italy talked about the cruise line's plans,  "In 2012 we will double our presence in Italy, France and Spain. The economic crisis is certainly not hurting our industry, but the margins for growth in the Mediterranean are still sensitive and so we want to be players to play this game. "

Just to support the development plans, Royal Caribbean is upgrading its fleet. Two new ships are scheduled to start operation in the coming years, being built in German shipyards instead of the Italian Fincantieri Meyer Wert shipyards. Goldstein, however, ultimately did not not close the door to future ships being built in Italy, "We know the value and experience of Fincantieri .  So, as we say, we are 'open minded' and will reevaluate when the opportunity for new orders we will certainly take into account also the opportunities that may come from Italy. "

What seemed like a gamble, when Royal Caribbean ordered and built two ships 220 thousand gross tons, but has been a success. "But this is our strategy," Goldstein says "The customer has any kind of offer to choose independently. So it is the same with ships, with a range of very different size."

Royal Caribbean launches marketing campaigns in France and Italy


Royal Caribbean has launched two new marketing campaigns in Europe.  

In France, Royal Caribbean has published brochures advertising cruise departures from France.  Royal Caribbean released two new brochures "Cruise in Europe 2012" and "International Cruises 2012".  Available at all the tourism partners or on request, they include for the first time cruises from three French ports (Marseille, Toulon and Le Havre). 

In Italy, starting September 18, Royal Caribbean's new TV campaign will start,  "A vacation or a cruise any Royal?" planned for the TV networks of Mec La7 and the main Sky channels and Discovery.

It 'the first time that Royal Caribbean plans to run a TV campaign during the fall.

"After a successful summer campaign, back on TV in order to consolidate our brand awarenss has been increasing steadily, and push not only the next departures of winter, but summer 2012, the company will open the banner of novelties, with the opening of the home port of Bari and Messina, in addition to strengthening those of Genoa, Venice and Civitavecchia - Pirrera" says Roberto, marketing manager for Royal Caribbean Italy, "The campaign gives a nod to the typical customer of Royal Caribbean, the so-called active Socializer, or a person aged between 25 and 55 years of age, attentive to new, living life in an active and loves to socialize with people from other nationalities. "

Interview with Royal Caribbean's CEO in France


Royal Caribbean has returned to France with a new office, 9 years after it withdrew from France following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Royal Caribbean took over the French company Latitudes South, which was represented in France since February 2002 and conducted a wave of recruitment to achieve a team of thirty people.

Building on the development of the cruise in France, Royal Caribbean will offer for the first time in 2012, cruises departing from French ports. Mer et Marine had the opportunity to meet Frédéric Martinez, the new CEO of Royal Caribbean in France, to learn more about the return and the group's strategy in the market hexagonal.

Why the return of Royal in the French market?

The main point is, of course, the growth of the cruise market in France, with an increase of about 10% over 5 years. Europe, in general, is growing much, the market development of the cruise, while the U.S. market, which is most important, no longer growing. And, within Europe, France is the emerging market, that is to say a small market but very promising, with more and more people interested in this offer holiday, which really starts to exist in the imagination of consumers. Hence the decision to Royal Caribbean to come on the market, which last year reached 12% growth.

The potential is so important?

Look at the penetration rate, that is to say the number of people who made at least once in their life on a cruise. In France, 0.6%, while the United States is 3.5% and in major European markets is much more than in France: 2.5% in Britain, 1.5% in Germany, more 1% in Italy. Even Spain, which is a less populated, has a cruise market bigger. We believe the fact that there will be in France, a natural catch-up compared to other Western European countries.

What are your goals in France?

In addition to all the cruises we offer in the world, the additional supply we will set up in France has three ships of Royal Caribbean International from Toulon and Marseilles, for cruises in the Mediterranean, and from the Havre to see Norway, Scandinavia and Russia. We will also, on the Caribbean cruises departing from Pointe-à-Pitre in the winter of 2012. Our growth target is important, since it increases the offer, but it is also very reasonable. We are targeting next year for just under 10% of the market, from 40 to 45,000 passengers on a French market, which will end in 2011 to more than 400,000 passengers and should be in 2012, around 450,000 passengers. Our goal is important but it is not huge in terms of volumes.

Royal Caribbean is the second global group of cruise industry. What position do you target market hexagonal?

We aspire to become the fourth largest cruise in France, so we do not undertake a sudden burst in the market.

The French market is certainly growing but is still enormous. There are already a number of actors and a strong competition between two leading companies, Costa and MSC. In this context, what is your strategy to promote your product?

Our offer is really a qualitative dimension. What we want is to add a layer of quality, one side "premium" to what is already happening. For, even if it is not always clear on the French market, where the differences between the companies may not be as well known as other markets, the quality of our vessels and their degree of innovation, quality service and food we put on the top of the basket.

You do not have the intension of you engage in a price war?

Absolutely not. We have more than one strategy as a strategy of volume. We are not there to cut prices. It would be absurd because, finally, in relation to the size of the market, there is not many players than that. Costa is really dominant, MSC has a good 20% of the market and then there are actors who are less than 10%. There is room for everyone, especially with the growth that we know in France. Therefore we do not want to put us in an aggressive approach from our competitors and colleagues.

Cruise has long been the malaimée tourism in France. Changing the perception of tourists in recent years, however, thanks to the important work of communication and action made ​​by commercial stakeholders. Do you think this trend will continue and even intensify?

The cruise market continues and will continue to attract people who want to renew their vacation experiences. We want to help attract more people to cruising in general, our products if possible of course. We should not see this as trench warfare between a few players who compete for passengers. It's a job to continue to get French consumers to say: "Look, the cruise, why not? "And make them aware of all the potential benefits this type of holiday, particularly for Royal Caribbean, where supply is very large. It also lead those who know our products in other parts of the world to benefit from France, and finally bring those who know the cruise but not our product to try this new offering.

Talk about offering additional to what already exists. What are the characteristics of different brands of Royal Caribbean Cruises?

The group's strategy is multi. Royal Caribbean International is the brand of mid-range family, accessible, international, not really meant to be premium but are characterized by a very good quality. It is a global brand, found on all continents and whose level of service is far superior to conventional wisdom on the cruise.
We also Celebrity Cruises, which is a range of "luxury" or "super-premium". Azamara Cruises Club and then, more confidential, with fewer ships, and positioned on the luxury.
Finally, we have a layer of more companies customized for different countries. In France, we CDF - Cruises of France, and there is also this concept in Germany and Spain.

You mention France Cruises, a subsidiary of Spanish Pullmantur, whose parent is like RCI, Celebrity and Azamara, the group RCCL. As you now, CDF has offices and teams in Paris. Will you build synergies?

We are part of the same group, so logically we develop synergies on the "back office". Today we have a number of synergies that affect such purchases or pooling of resources. Now the marks are well separated on a marketing plan and communication to the public and distribution networks. In our structure, owned by France Cruises Pullmantur, which forms a self-only group, that is to say that we must rise high enough that the branches are found.
Then there is a policy distinct brands with different positionings. There is such a very international fiber with highly innovative large ships is Royal Caribbean. France cruise ships offers smaller, more intimate atmosphere and especially developed specifically for French passengers. So there really is room for both brands, which do not compete and instead articulated well as the requests are different.

Can you imagine a future merger between CDF and the French office of Royal, or for example a combination of sales forces and the establishment of a common call center?

A reconciliation is not in the plans now, but obviously in a group, it may still be in the future developments in the organization. In any case, synergies exist and the teams know each other well. For a call center, for now, we have no project in this area. Sales teams are really separate. It should also know, if we take the U.S. market for example, that there is even a separation between the sales teams of Celebrity and Azamara. Obviously, in missions abroad, all that is meeting under the same call center. But today we do not plan to cruise in France although, again, the structures of the groups are not eternal and everything can change.

Lights to attract the market, you will have franciser the product. What will be your actions in this area?

In terms of product, beyond a certain threshold of passengers from the same country, we trigger our automatic "machine customizing", including the development of personal-speaking, whose number depends on the proportion passengers, such as French, on board. So there are efforts already made, but it will be even more with our development on the French market. We know in particular that the inclusion of the Francophonie is a very high expectation of customers. Especially since, as appropriate, from the ports with the French ships of Royal Caribbean, we expect that half the passengers or the French. So there will be on board, French personnel, announcements in French, as translated menus in restaurants and logs in the cabins. Ground handling, excursions are also available in French.

The product will nevertheless remain international in its entirety. And there is, often wrongly, a certain distrust of the French against American ships ... Do you have any concerns about that?

What is important is to be sufficiently adapted to the French customers but still offer an international flavor. There's a bit of America with Broadway shows, the range of food is extremely large with kitchens around the world, the crew and passengers from different countries ... Is sometimes presented as the French chauvinists. It's true they love their culture and defend their language, but they are also people who love to travel and go abroad. So we have a space to hold around a truly international offering, with a notion of quality and the addition of a French flavor with these shipments in Toulon, Marseille and Le Havre.

You propose in particular, next year, shipments of the summer in La Seyne-sur-Mer, near Toulon, on the Liberty of the Seas. It is a gigantic ship, with 1,800 booths. However, the port of La Seyne was not used previously for loading and unloading. How will you handle this situation and how do you approach routings of passengers?

We are currently working on embarkation, so as to have a direct transfer between the station and the port of Toulon La Seyne, where Liberty will arrive, which is indeed a ship of exceptional category. We believe that many customers come on board this ship, and for referrals, we believe that the train will be dominant compared to the aircraft, air supply is limited in Toulon. From Paris, TGV, it is less than 4 hours away, what remains, for a cruise, quite reasonable. And even more closely and therefore convenient for customers living in areas such as Rhône-Alpes and PACA.