News

Royal Caribbean's presence in Italy is growing

In:
03Aug2010

Royal Caribbean Vice President Michael Bayley visited the new Royal Caribbean headquarters in Italy, the second largest in the world, that had opened in 2010 to announce that Royal Caribbean will handle 60% more passengers in 2011.  Next year will see 2.5 million passengers, airports will grow by 35% to a total of 671 calls at 17 ports.

With Royal Caribbean's addition of 3 Voyager class ships to Italy, about 3,300 passengers will now sail in and out of Italy. Navigator of the Seas docks at Civitavecchia, Voyager of the Seas for the first time in Venice and Mariner of the Seas for the first time will dock in Genoa.

Royal Caribbean is planning on its ships visiting a number of Italian ports, including Civitavecchia, Venice, Livorno, Naples, Messina, Ravenna, Bari, Cagliari, Palermo, La Spezia, Sorrento Salerno, Portofino, Genoa, Portoferraio, Santa Margherita and Trieste.

Royal Caribbean warns cruisers Turkey of potential terrorist violence

In:
03Aug2010

Guests aboard the Splendour of the Seas received a letter in their cabins last week warning them to be extra careful if they were getting off the ship in Turkey to be extra careful because Turkey is experiencing "an increase in threats of terrorist actions" and "It is not recommended that guests travel alone, or visit any remote locations".  The warning was signed by the ship's Captain, Tommy Nyseter.

Splendour of the Seas distributed these letters at the port of Piraeus in Greece to a ship which had a majority of its cruising guests as Americans.  The letter hopes to warn its guests about potential risks found in the country that can be overlooked due Turkey's "warm and welcoming" residents.

The U.S. Department of State issued a warning to American tourists "to be alert to the potential for these types of incidents in urban and tourist areas" and Royal Caribbean's letter echoes the sentiment of this warning bu making in no uncertain terms a firm warning to be vigilant.

Dana Point City California looks for a Royal Caribbean stop

In:
Category: 
23Jul2010

Here's an interesting story where a council member from Dana Point City, California tried to contact Royal Caribbean about seeing what it would take for their cruise ships to stop in their city as a port of call.  Lara Anderson contacted Royal Caribbean to get an answer after questions were raised by the Pacific town on the viability.

Christopher Allen, Director, Deployment and Itinerary Planning for Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruises responded to the request and cited these issues that Royal Caribbean uses to determine what ports to stop at: Location, marketability, tour/shore excursion offerings, port fees, politics and regulations.

Of more interest are the tough requirements a city needs to be able to handle Royal Caribbean's large vessels.

The port must have the infrastructure to handle our ships. We do not have any small ships. Most of our ships are actually too big to fit through the Panama Canal. As a result, only our ‘small’ ships are over on the West Coast of North America. But even our small ships average about 2000 guests and are about 290 meters in length. Our strong preference for all ports is to be able to dock. Most, but not all, of our ships carry tenders and can tender guests into a port if the distance is below 1.5 miles. However, we try to avoid tender ports as it can create lines, weather disruptions and lesser guest experience. That said, if the appeal is strong enough we will still tender.

It looks like Dana Point City wont be a port city anytime soon short of a major port overhaul, but nonetheless, it's an interesting look at what it takes to be a port destination.

Updates for Monarch of the Seas

In:
23Jul2010

Royal Caribbean detailed some of the new updates that have come to Monarch of the Seas in a report from the ship.  Royal Caribbean gave some TLC to its crew areas by adding an updated gym, new food stations and the crew outdoor deck areas.

Also of interest was the fact that Monarch of the Seas is the "number two ship in the fleet and her ratings are consistently improving and above target".  Legend of the Seas currently holds the number one position.

In addition there was a bit of trivia. Monarch of the Seas was a "test bed" for the Izumi restaurant that is currently on Oasis of the Seas and can still be found on here as a treat for those who love sushi.

Royal Caribbean launching specialty food cruises

In:
21Jul2010

Do you consider yourself a foodie?  Or maybe you're just a fan of great food?  Well, Royal Caribbean is launching a new series of themed cruises that is right up your alley. There will be 12 specialty voyages onboard Freedom of the Seas that are part of the cruise line’s “Epicurean Discovery” series.

Designed for culinary enthusiasts, the package features a variety of special events throughout the week devoted to cuisine and fine dining.

Each cruise is by a different celebrity chef for the cruise. Here is the schedule of celebrity chefs:

  • Chef Cindy Hutson - September 19, 2010 
  • Chef Johnny Vinczencz - October 3, 2010
  • Chef Tim Andriola - October 17, 2010
  • Chef Carlos Fernandez - October 31, 2010
  • Chef Lauren De Rouen - November 7, 2010
  • Chef Roberto Treviño November 14, 2010
  • TBD - December 5, 2010
  • TBD - December 12, 2010
  • Chef Michael Schwartz - January 2, 2011
  • Chef Nick Weber - January 9, 2011
  • Chef Spike Mendelsohn - February 6, 2011
  • TBD - February 20, 2011

By booking into this package, here are the exclusive options you can look forward to:

  • Participate in Exclusive Culinary Experiences
  • Enjoy a Cocktail Reception Meet & Greet Photo Opportunity with Celebrity Chefs
  • Receive Special In-Suite Gifts
  • Private Dining Experience with Celebrity Chef in our Specialty Restaurants
  • Take a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of our Private Galley
  • Sample Appetizers in a Private Tapas Welcome
  • Savor Succulent Vintages in a Special Wine Tasting Event
  • Attend a Question & Answer Session with Celebrity Chef and Ship's Executive Chef
  • Receive a Special Kit with Photos, Recipes, Menus and Guest Chef Signature
  • Learn Cooking Tips from the Pros
  • Take Home a Commemorative Epicurean Discovery Apron & Chef's Hat
     

The Epicurean Discovery is available exclusively to guests booking suite accommodations or higher.  Price begins at $1,874 per person, based on double occupancy.

Royal Caribbean opens first showroom in Beijing

In:
21Jul2010

Royal Caribbean and China Youth Travel Group have opened their first cruise showroom in Beijing's Asian Games Village.  In the booth, Royal Caribbean is offering visitors several packages, including an eight days and seven nights cruise to Japan and South Korea aboard Legend of the Seas.

These cruises that are being showcased depart from Tianjin, northern China's first cruise home port.  This showroom is part of the Asian Games, also called the Asiad, which is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Asian Games are the world's second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.

More women becoming sailors

In:
20Jul2010

Like many industries, cruising and maritime work has been dominated by men but lately there's been a change in that as more and more women are looking to become sailors.  According to the International Maritime University of Panama, cruising crews have opened doors to women.

Luis Fabrega, director of International Maritime University Panama (PICU) confirmed that the integration of women into the maritime area is growing.  Why the influx of women now?  Fabrega attributes the change to the impulse to create working places for cruise companies.

"We have noticed that the female cadets increasingly embark on cruise ships, which are ships that many prefer and are frequently asking for more personal," described Fabrega, adding "this does not limit the participation of women in other vessels" .

Royal Caribbean is helping in this endeavor to open up maritime jobs to women by having an agreement with the International Maritime University Panama to provide students an opportunity to do internships on their ships.  The results have produced 15 female cadets since 2008 and of the approximately 1,200 students at PICU, 25% are now women.

Rockland Maine reverses cruise tax increase

In:
20Jul2010

Last month, the town of Rockland, Maine announced it was going to increase its fee for passengers that arrive on cruise ships from $1 to $6 and that didn't leave Royal Caribbean happy, as they complained the new measures did not give the cruise line enough time in advance to react to the changes and felt the fee hike was unfair. 

On Monday night, the Rockland city council voted 3-2 to reverse its decision, however, the decision only applies to Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas.  Jewel of the Seas will arrive in Rockland in October. This is a short-term victory for Royal Caribbean, who will not have to foot the bill for the difference in the rate increase, but the future of Royal Caribbean's presence in the town or even the area may still be in doubt.

The European invasion of American cruise ships

In:
20Jul2010

CruiseLineFans posted an article that is looking at the effects of cruising on Europe and the overall trend that cruise lines are experiencing to move their ships to Europe to meet the growing demand there.  In the article, there's a mention about Royal Caribbean's strategy of increasing their presence in Europe and competing against not only their traditional counterparts (NCL, Carnival) but also stalwarts of European cruising such as P&O, Thomson and others. 

Royal Caribbean International will have eleven ships in Europe in 2011, with the latest addition being Mariner of the Seas, having left Los Angeles for Rome. Mariner will sail from March to November 2011, while the Liberty of the Seas will be based in Barcelona and the Independence of the Seas now will sail year-round from Southampton, England.

Royal Caribbean will also base a ship in Palma, the traditional base for tour operator ships (such as TUI/Thomson, with whom they halve a half interest in TUI Cruises) and also to take on Aida Cruises.

Waterslide and aqua park fad started by Royal Caribbean

In:
19Jul2010

Today it seems like every cruise ship has lots of different amenities to choose from like water slides, pools or other fun recreational activities.  HospitalityNet wrote an article about the advent of water based fun on cruise ships and looks back to Royal Caribbean pioneering the idea of physical entertainment on a cruise ship when they debuted rock climbing walls, mini-golf and ice-skating rinks in 2005.  Then in 2006, Royal Caribbean launched the industry’s largest passenger ship at the time, Freedom of the Seas, with an onboard surf simulator called a FlowRider and an H2O Zone aqua park. Ever since then, it's been a competition among the cruise lines to out do each other.

The article talks about what the different cruise lines have, but here is the write up on Oasis of the Seas.

Oasis of the Seas is the largest cruise ship at sea. It is the first to have a carousel, a full Broadway show, a zipline, two FlowRiders, a beach pool and an aqua theater that offers synchronized swimming and high-dive performances.
 
It is the first ship to offer seven distinctly themed neighborhoods --- (1) Central Park, (2) Boardwalk, (3) Royal Promenade, (4) H2O & Sports Zone, (5) Spa & Fitness Center, (6) Entertainment Place and (7) Youth Zone. Think you might be bored? Think again.
 
Cruise consultant Jennifer Crivelli offers this advice: “Mom can visit Central Park right on Deck 8, complete with trees, gardens and dining. In the evening, she can attend the Broadway musical Hair Spray on board in the Opal Theater. She can even visit the Vitality at Sea Day Spa to enjoy a massage or facial. Dad can spend his days at sea on Deck 16, practicing his surfing on the FlowRider in the H2O Zone. Who wants to climb a mountain, when you can climb a 30-foot rock wall a hundred feet above the ocean? And there is even a zipline. Sports practice is not a problem either. Oasis of the Seas has a full-sized basketball/volley court and fitness center in the Sports Zone. At the beach, Junior can walk the Boardwalk, eat cotton candy and ride the carousel. Sis can lounge by one of the four pools and work on her tan.”

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