Radiance of the Seas impressing Australians


Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas has been in Australia for a little over a month now and already is garnering positive reviews from Australians.  Among its amenities, passengers cite the ship's crew as being very friendly and capable.

"One thing that surprised us was the attitude of the people," the ship's captain Claus Andersen said. "We've never experienced anywhere where the people are so friendly."

Anderson cited a story from a trip to West Australia when they docked at Port Hedland and its very warm welcome after it was decided that one pier couldn't accomodate Radiance of the Seas so they opted to dock at Pibara port instead.  Anderson described the workers there as, "This was the very first time they'd had a cruise ship through but they looked like they do it every single day."

Radiance's Captain was also impressed by the efficiency and flexibility of the Australian Immigration Department in handling the chaos caused by the sudden shut-down of Qantas Airlines when Radiance was in Fremantle. The schedules of hundreds of passengers flying into Perth to board the cruiser were thrown into disarray and the ship had to stay another day. To help clear the passenger backlog, the department brought on two officials until midnight.

Mariner of the Seas will return to Italy in 2012


After debuting in Italy earlier this year, Mariner of the Seas will return to Italy in the summer of 2012.

From June to September of next year, Royal Caribbean will offer will offer a new itinerary of 7 nights in the Western Mediterranean. The cruise, leaving from Civitavecchia and Genoa will include stops in the Mare Nostrum in Cannes, Barcelona, ​​Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.

On September 9, there will be a stop in Provence Ajaccio, Corsica. 

Royal Caribbean offers largest automated wine serving system


Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas can add a new achievement to their list of accolades: they both feature the the largest of its kind, state-of-the-art automated wine serving system in the Vintages Wine Bar.

With just one swipe of a passenger's SeaPass card, guests can sample selections of wine from around the world using the automated WineStation intelligent dispensing system.

The WineStation preserves wines perfectly for up to 60 days by utilizing temperature control.  The system allows passengers to try 48 varities of wine not usually offered by the glass. Using the WineStation's LCD screen, guests can see the  the varietal, year and region, and the lit bottles encourage guests to experience the labels.

Royal Caribbean's Director of Fleet Beverage Operations, Bob Midyette, talked about the new system, "We pride ourselves on always seeking the newest and most effective solutions to provide our guests with an unmatched vacation experience.  The WineStation has become a very successful option to help our guests explore wines on their own, or with one of our knowledgeable, friendly and engaging wine tenders. We look forward to offering this on more ships in the future."

Royal Caribbean will invest in Greek port of Heraklion


Greece has been hampered by bad economic news for months now, but Royal Caribbean is doing its part to help the nation out a little.  Royal Caribbean announced it will invest in the port of Heraklion by spending money on port infrastructure upgrades, construction of a hotel and a conference center.

Royal Caribbean's strategy in Greece is to target six ports: Piraeus, Heraklion, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Kos and Mykonos.  The plan is to transform one of these ports into a cruise hub, which will bring in thousands of visitors each day.

Currently, Heraklion and Rhodes are the leading candidates for that distinction.

The plan includes port infrastructure and construction of a 4-star hotel, a conference center of 1,000 square meters, a shopping centre of 3,000 suare meters and a marina for 120 yachts.

Royal Caribbean estimates over a 5-year span that 800,000 passengers per year could visit Heraklion, which would bring an annual revenue of over €3 million.

Norovirus strikes Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas


Over 50 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas suffered from the effects of Norovirus on their cruise last week.  Royal Caribbean promptly sanitized the ship before another cruise could go forward.

Royal Caribbean reported 54 passengers and 10 crew members who became ill due to Norovirus on the cruise that finished on Saturday.

Oasis of the Seas was sanitized to help combat the spread of the illness and Oasis left port again on schedule to begin another seven-day cruise.

Radiance of the Seas first ship to benefit from improved Azipod design


The manufacturers of the Azipod podded propulsion system that is found aboard many cruise ships has made modifications to the design that have improved hydrodynamic efficiency by more than 2 percent.

The modifications include a newly optimized Azipod fin shape and a new pod cap structure, called the X-tail. The revised fin structure receives water flow from the propeller at a new, less acute angle, and its new curved design redirects the flow more efficiently. The unit's new X-tail, installed for the pod cap structure, straightens water flow on ejection from the Azipod propulsor, minimizing water swirling.

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas was the first ship to benefit from the new fin shape and X-tail. The Azipod modifications were completed during her drydocking in May 2011. Radiance saw the benefits immediately in her sailings from May to September when more than 2 percent in hydrodynamic efficiency improvement was achieved.

Anders Aasen, Associate Vice President of Technical Services for Royal Caribbean, discussed the importance of being more efficient, "The fuel efficiency improvements measured on Radiance of the Seas are welcomed reprieve in today's higher fuel prices. Any improvements we can make on fuel efficiency will serve us well for future operational costs."

Royal Caribbean to offer iPads in every cabin


When Splendour of the Seas comes out of drydock next week, she will be offering all of her passengers soon an iPad in every cabin.  In addition, Royal Caribbean is planning on rolling out iPads to every Vision class ship (Vision, Grandeur, Rhapsody, Enchantment and Legend of the Seas) by 2014.

With the iPads, passengers will be able to

  • Access the daily Cruise Compass of events and activities
  • Access personal daily itineraries, including shore excursions
  • Monitor their onboard account
  • Order room service
  • View restaurant menus
  • Access the internet
  • Watch movies

All of the features of the iPad will be complimentary, except for the Internet access.

Royal Caribbean senior vice president of Hotel Operations, Lisa Bauer, commented on the news, "Based on consumer research, we added the iPads to greatly enhance guest communication, interactivity and to continue to offer industry leading technology that helps enhance the guest experience.  This is just one of the many exciting ways that Royal Caribbean continues to provide our guests with the ultimate cruise experience."

Royal Caribbean expects every cabin onboard Splendour to have an iPad by February 2012.

Radiance of the Seas sales in Australia spike


Royal Caribbean has seen sales of cruises in Australia for its Radiance of the Seas "rocket", according to Royal Caribbean's Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand, Gavin Smith.

Radiance arrived in Sydney in October and since then has been all around Australia, which has sparked a sharp increase in sales in the Australian Market.  Smith attributes the rise in sales from locals to the arrival of Radiance, "We've been surprised by the interest from the local market, particularly since the ship got here."

While Australians are jumping at the chance to sail on Radiance, the makeup of a Royal Caribbean cruise down under is still a mixed variety of international passengers, with an average of 60 nationalities on each cruise with about 40% from the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

In addition to Radiance, Voyager of the Seas sales are "very strong", as anticipation grows for her arrival next year in Australia.

Splendour of the Seas will feature new vertical entertainment


Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas will soon emerge from its revitalization program where the ship will receive some new upgrades to give its passengers a more exciting experience.  

Among the new changes are a reinvented R Bar, that will have a sophisticated 1960s vibe to it, complete with iconic furnishing and signature cocktails.  Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Lisa Bauer, is excited about the new update to R Bar, "The rebirth of the spectacular 60-foot high Centrum found aboard the Vision-class ships brings new life to a popular gathering space by incorporating innovative technology and vertical entertainment elements to what was already the place to be and be seen.  When we complete our extensive revitalization program, guests sailing aboard Splendour of the Seas will be in for a multi-sensory experience that puts them at close proximity to amazing aerial performers from multiple viewpoints in a sophisticated and glamorous atmosphere.”

Splendour of the Seas will also have new entertainment options on board that will be powered by the latest in sound and light tech.  Glass elevators will feature new large LED panels across their entire length to provide a stunning backdrop of moving visuals 5 decks high.

Royal Caribbean wins Marine Environment Protection Award


Royal Caribbean won the 2011 Marine Environment Protection Award from the North American Marine Environment Protection Association in recognition of Royal Caribbean’s efforts on behalf of preserving the marine environment as exemplified by a commitment to a program which has specific objectives set for environmental performance and improvement, and which is innovative and goes beyond minimum environmental compliance.

Royal Caribbean Vice President Global Corporate Communications, Michele Nadeem, was gracious in accepting the award, "It is an honor to be recognized by NAMEPA for our commitment to protect, conserve and support the environment. This award is for all the many Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. employees both on shore and on our ships for all of our brands, Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, who work tirelessly to protect the marine environment. They are fully committed to caring for the unique and beautiful places we visit throughout the world."

The judges commented “Royal Caribbean's efforts to educate their passengers through their comprehensive program "Save the Waves" program deserves special attention”, “Save the Waves program is changing "Hearts and Minds"...and preserving the marine environment for future generations to enjoy”; “Royal Caribbean's robust fuel consumption reduction and waste recycling programs have yield excellent results in reduced in GHG and shoreside disposal”; “Royal Caribbean’s commitment and efforts in protecting the environment clearly follow the ABCs...Above Basic Compliance.”