News

Cruise Lines International Association spent $529K on 2Q lobbying

In:
10Aug2010

The Cruise Lines International Association, a lobbying group that represents cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, spent $529,134 in the second quarter lobbying federal officials on immigration, seaport inspections and other matters, according to a recent report.

If the number seems large, it's actually down from the first quarter, when the CLIA spent $696,000.  This quarter's spending is also down from one year ago, when they spent $728,216 last year's second quarter.

The trade group, which represents cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Carnival Corp., also lobbied the federal government on legislation related to vessel sanitation, crew and passenger health issues, vessel waste and port security, among other topics.

The CLIA also lobbied the Department ofHomeland Security, State Department, Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard, among other agencies in the April through June period.

Royal Caribbean and The Culinary Institute of America formally name Maureen Brandt winner of the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge

In:
10Aug2010

Maureen Brandt of Stillwater, Minn. Nabs Job as Chef de Cuisine for 150 Central Park Onboard Allure of the Seas

MIAMI, Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- After hosting an eight week-long contest, which culminated with five intense hours in the competition kitchens at The Culinary Institute of America, Royal Caribbean International has found the next culinary superstar to lead the kitchen of the signature restaurant onboard Allure of the Seas, the cruise line's newest ship which will make her debut in December 2010 and share the title of world's largest and most innovative cruise ship with sister-ship Oasis of the Seas.  Maureen "Molly" Brandt of Stillwater, Minn. has landed the job of a lifetime: a one-year paid contract to be the Chef de Cuisine of 150 Central Park onboard Allure of the Seas.
 
Brandt was one of six chefs – all graduates of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the world's premier culinary college – to be a finalist in the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge, a contest open exclusively to the CIA's network of 40,000 alumni.  The six chefs participated in a two-part final challenge at the college's Hyde Park campus in New York on August 5 & 6, where they were each required to showcase their culinary prowess and creativity by participating in an interview with, as well as preparing a three-course meal for, an esteemed panel of judges from Royal Caribbean and The Culinary Institute of America.
 
"Partnering with the Culinary Institute and having the ability to tap into their alumni has been an amazing opportunity," said Lisa Bauer, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "Each of the finalists truly showcased their passion and knowledge in the kitchen and we are extremely excited to have selected Molly as our new Chef de Cuisine for 150 Central Park."
 
After her entry video was selected as the "fan favorite" in the consumer voting portion of the contest, Brandt went on to impress the judges at the Final Challenge by serving up a menu consisting of Chilled Lobster with fennel, carrots, citrus, caviar and tempura battered lobster mitt; Provencal Lamb Loin with Dijon potato puree, ratatouille, pattypan squash and olive tapenade; and Pistachio Cake with whipped rosewater creme fraiche and carbonated raspberries.  
 
"This entire process with The Culinary Institute of America and Royal Caribbean has been such an amazing experience and hearing my name announced as the winner of the Culinary Challenge was surreal," stated Maureen "Molly" Brandt, Chef de Cuisine, 150 Central Park, Allure of the Seas.  "I am beyond thrilled to open this amazing restaurant and look forward to crafting the perfect menu for our guests over the next couple of months as we count down to the launch of Allure."
 
A 2006 alumni of The Culinary Institute of America, Brant was named a Food and Wine best student chef in 2006.  While in training she worked at the Food Network as a culinary extern, where she prepared food for a variety of production projects including "Iron Chef America," "Emeril Live," and "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee."  Immediately following graduation, she spent a year as a teaching assistant in the CIA's Escoffier restaurant, before going on to work in the kitchens at many reputable restaurants in New York, Minnesota and abroad, including the critically acclaimed, Michelin starred Cafe Boulud in New York City.  Currently Brandt owns her own private chef and catering company, Cook in the Kitchen in the Twin Cities.  She is also the co-founder and villa chef for Flavors of Italia, a company that offers intimate, culinary-focused vacations in Northern Tuscany.
Located in the lush and tropical grounds of the ship's Central Park neighborhood, 150 Central Park will feature decor that will embrace the mellow earth tones, unique textiles and fixtures inspired by nature's four seasons. Inspired by the simple elegance concept of trend-setting restaurants in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, each detail of 150 Central Park will be dedicated to enhancing the dining ambiance, from the tabletops to the service team uniforms. The restaurant menu and certain design aspects will be developed and determined by the winning chef of the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge.
 
Allure of the Seas shares the title of the world's largest and most revolutionary cruise ship with sister-ship Oasis of the Seas. An architectural marvel at sea, she will span 16 decks, encompass 225,282 gross registered tons, carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms. Allure of the Seas will tout Royal Caribbean's exclusive neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which will include Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The ship will alternate a Western Caribbean with an Eastern Caribbean seven-night itinerary from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 

Latvian capital sees 19% jump in tourists

In:
09Aug2010

The port of Riga, the capital of Latvia, saw a 19% jump in tourism in July 2010 compared to the figures from July 2009.  Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas made her first stop there and with it, brought to Latvia's capital more than 2 thousand passengers. 

With these figures, the city bureau of tourism, Maxim Tolstoy, intends to maximize the flow of tourists for next season. Most of the tourists that visited Riga were tourists from Sweden, USA, UK, Germany and Norway. 

Riga, and Latvia in general, is still an outsider in terms of tourism among its fellow Baltic countries. Riga spends 2.1 million Euros on tourism, which is dwarfed by the city of Tallinn that spends four times that and the city of Vilnius three times that figure.

Royal Caribbean to make more stops in Uruguay

In:
09Aug2010

Royal Caribbean announced that during the next tourist season, several of its ships will make stops between Montevideo and Punta del Este in Uruguay. The announcement was made this past week by Michael Ronan, Royal Caribbean's Vice President of Government Relations, Caribbean, Latin America & Asia, in a meeting with national authorities that included President of the PNA Engineer Alberto Díaz, Vice-President Juan José Domínguez, Fernando Repremar Penalty SA, Uruguay agents of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Mr. Osvaldo Tabacchi ANP general manager, Captain Daniel De Leon, Luis Fontes Head of the Port of Colonia, Schubert Arq Gonzalo Mendez and Baranda.

Mr. Ronan spoke to the National Port Administration where he highlighted the main objectives of his trip, which were to exchange ideas about adapting the existing port infrastructure to the needs of tourism enterprises.  But he also warned of the need for new infrastructure to provide adequate comfort facilities for hosting thousands of travelers in each of these huge cruise ships. 

Also at this meeting Michael Ronan announced that this upcoming cruise season will feature fourteen stops in the port of Montevideo and Punta del Este. The first cruise which will visit Uruguay this season is the Splendour of the Seas, due to arrive in Montevideo on Dec. 23 at 9:00 in the morning.

Port Canaveral proposes idea of new cruise terminal

In:
08Aug2010

Port Canaveral CEO J. Stanley Payne wants to add a brand new multimillion dollar cruise terminal to Port Canaveral, Florida to help stimulate the growth of the cruise ship industry in the popular port.  

Royal Caribbean already home ports a few of their ships at Port Canaveral, including Freedom of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas.  

Payne believes that while no tenant is specifically interested in the terminal right now, by building a new terminal, it will catch the attention of the cruise industry and generate interest in adding ships here.  "Once cruise lines start seeing you as a port that can't grow, then you have a problem," Payne said.  Payne also pointed out the fact that Jacksonville and Miami are building or upgrading terminal spaces in their ports.

A new cruise terminal could cost between $40 million to $75 million, depending on the amenities port officials decide to include in the terminal. Port Canaveral's existing three terminals for cruise passengers handles the six ships.  The newest port is terminal number 8 and was built specifically for Disney in 1996, with a nearly complete new $22 million upgrade for the terminal that is needed for its two new ships that will call Port Canaveral home in 2011 and 2012.

The cruise industry is the port's No. 1 revenue generator and it has been responsible for millions of dollars in new investments in Brevard County. A study released earlier this year by Lancaster, Pa.-based Martin Associates, which specializes in analyzing the operations of ports throughout the world, said the port helps generate $1.1 billion in revenue across all of its businesses, and $48 million in state and local taxes.

Maureen Brandt wins final cooking competition to become chef of 150 Central Park

In:
06Aug2010

The final cooking competition is over to become the next chef at 150 Central Park on the soon to be launched Allure of the Seas and it's Maureen Brandt of Stillwater, Minnesota.  Brandt won the fan vote last month and today competed with five other chefs for the right to become the next Chef de Cuisine of 150 Central Park, the signature restaurant onboard Allure of the Seas.

Brandt competed in a day long competition and cooked three meals for the panel of judges.  Her specialties included chilled Lobster, provencial Lamb Loin and a pistachio cake.

Chef Daniel Fein came in second place and CruseCritic is reporting he has accepted the position of Chef of 150 Central Park on Oasis of the Seas, whose chef has announced previously that he will be leaving.

With Brandt winning, she completes a long trek of winning the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge, which started back in early July 2010.  She submitted a video of her cooking a dish and explaining why she should be considered for the contest.  She then made it to the final six competitors, won the fan vote and today has won the cooking competition.

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.

The panel of judges for the cooking competition included Culinary Institute of America Chef Lou Jones and Dr. Victor Gielisse and from Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Lisa Bauer; Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations Frank Weber.

Cruisers to Dominican Republic will no longer pay $15 fee

In:
06Aug2010

President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic signed into law a decree that will exclude cruise ship passengers in transit from paying the $15 airport fee.  The fee had been generating around US$7.4 million in revenues for the government of the island nation.

The country earns around US$80 million per year from the 400 cruise ships which currently dock in Dominican ports, where each one leaves around US$200,000.A 5% growth in cruise ship arrivals is expected this year, with more than 350,000 tourists visiting in the first four months.

Royal Caribbean has two ships that stop at Samana in the Dominican Republic, Explorer of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas.

Tea Party holding special cruise

In:
05Aug2010

If you affiliate yourself with the Tea Party movement, then there's a Royal Caribbean cruise for you.  Conservative publishing site WorldNet Daily is sponsoring a special cruise dubbed "The WND Tea Party at Sea" to be held aboard Liberty of the Seas September 19-26, 2010.

This cruise will feature teaching sessions by Joseph Farah, Alan Keyes, Jerome Corsi, David Kupelian, and Aaron Klein, all of whom are contributors to WorldNet Daily, a site with politically conservative tenancies.

The cruise follows the WorldNet Daily "Taking America Back" conference, a three-day extravaganza at Miami's Doral Resort and Spa (home of the Blue Monster golf course). The conference spans Constitution Day, Sept. 17, and features a current elected representative, Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.); a couple of formers, Jeremiah Denton (R-Ala.) and Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.); and a couple GOP hopefuls (Floridians Allen West, seeking a House seat, and Alexander Snitker, running for Senate). And, for all of you who have been wondering, "Where's Ann Coulter lately?", the conservative commentator will be on board, too.

If September 2010 doesn't work for you, there's another cruise being held by the same organizing group in January 2011 for "true patriots who are passionately committed to the principles of liberty and freedom as granted to us by the Founding Fathers."  This cruise will feature Keyes as well as former Georgia congressman Bob Barr and Gary DeMar, founder of American Vision.

Mexican tourist officials meet with major cruise lines to promote new routes

In:
Category: 
04Aug2010

Mexican tourism officials met with representatives of Royal Caribbean and other major cruise lines to promote new routes and increasing tourists Pacific Mexican states and the Gulf of Mexico. The cruise line representatives were part of the Cruise Association of Florida and the Caribbean.

Secretaries of Tourism of Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Colima, Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche, and the secretaries of Chiapas and Guerrero met with representatives from major cruise lines including Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Line.
 
Undersecretary of Tourism Operation of the Mexican Secretariat of Tourism, Alfredo Moreno commented, "For the first time we are in a dialogue to build public policy on cruise ships". 
 
Last year the Mexican ports were five million cruise passengers and this year expect to receive nearly six million, according to projections by the Ministry of Tourism.
The goal of this conference was to address basic issues such as development and differentiation of ports, standards and certification of providers of services, facilitation and costs, promotion, and effective communication.
 
Moreno noted that Mexico is investing nearly $40 million in all cruise ship destinations, with the idea to increase that amount by 2011 with a focus even more timely in these areas.
 
"We seek to improve the flow of cruising and spending of visitors and for our part theming conditions of our ports and differences between destinations," said Francisco de la Vega Aragón, secretary of Tourism of Sinaloa, noting that the port of Mazatlan receives 200 cruises a year and a half million cruise passengers.

Royal Caribbean study reveals 25% of Spanish plan a cruise in the future

In:
Category: 
04Aug2010

Royal Caribbean sponsored a study of "Study on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Market in Spain" and announced the results, which were prepared by the market research institute IPSOS Marketing.  The goal of the study was to analyze the current situation of the cruise market in Spain.  

The study indicates that 75.4% of people who have taken a cruise are quite or very satisfied with their cruising experience.  In addition, the study listed profiles of most cruise passengers, with families and couples with children topping the list of potential cruisers, with an average age of 35-50 years old.  The study also revealed that 25% of the population plans on taking a cruise in the future.

Royal Caribbean CEO in Spain, Belén Wangüemert, commented, "The growing number of families on cruise ships is a phenomenon that, in the case of Royal Caribbean, is mainly due to the fun and excitement of the program for children and young people, Ocean Adventure, as well as the agreement we have recently signed with Dreamworks".

It appears cruising is becoming very popular in Spain as 33.5% of respondents of respondents that have taken a cruise before do not want to do something else on their vacation. This surprising data "supports the high levels of loyalty and satisfaction between cruisers' admits Wangüemert Bethlehem.  "Once a person chooses this type holiday, the chances are high that you return to make another cruise."

The study also revealed that the 70% of Spanish people prefer Mediterranean cruises, followed by Northern Europe (8.1%) and the Caribbean (6.4%) . While there was a large majority preferring where they cruise, respondents were less clear when they like to cruise with 56% of them choosing the summer, 23.9% prefer the autumn and only 17.8% and 2.3% prefer the spring and winter, respectively.

Interestingly, 42% say they have not completed a cruise yet because of price "Obviously this is a false belief and we have to explain everything that is obtained at a reasonable price. The price-quality ratio is excellent cruise, "says Wangüemert.

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