Allure of the Seas Progress Update


Lisa Bauer, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean, posted a progress update on Allure of the Seas construction.  Here are the highlights.

  • Allure seems to be further along at this point in time than Oasis of the Seas was
  • The scaffolding is down in the Royal Promenade and tile is being added
  • Carpet installed in most areas
  • Rita’s Cantina, the Boardwalk Doghouse, and the Guess store are starting to "take shape"
  • More stores also taking shape, but yet to be announced what they will be
  • Royal Caribbean will be taking delivery of Allure of the Seas a few days earlier than planned
  • Costumes for Dreamworks characters will require planning to find space for them all

We had several operational meetings with Captain Hernan Zini, who will be the Master on Allure, as well as the hotel start up team, lead by Raimund Gschaider. The team is very pleased with how the inspections are going, as well as the operational planning.

Royal Caribbean July 4th Sale


Royal Caribbean has launched a special July 4th sale on last minute cruises as well as cruises throughout the year. The sale runs July 2nd through July 6th on select sailings. New bookings only.  Some great rates to be had if you can act quickly!

Interestingly enough, there are two Oasis of the Seas sailings on sale as well.

Travel Weekly reviews Oasis of the Seas


A river cruise expert at Travel Weekly, Michelle Baran, wrote a review of her experience on Oasis of the Seas.  She had heard a lot about the newest Royal Caribbean ship and wanted to see what it was all about.

The Oasis of the Seas is a destination, it is a spectacle, it is a vacation unto itself -- but a very specific type of vacation. It's a floating, mostly inclusive (with plenty of opportunities to spend additional cash), family-friendly resort, with something for a lot of different people: people who enjoy food, active people, people who want to relax, people who want to be entertained.

Overall, Baran seemed to be impressed with the ship and a fan.  Her passion are river cruises and she makes a number of comparisons between the two varieties of cruises.  It's a good quick read about the different amenities offered on the ship, especially interesting to get a different perspective on the ship.

Royal Caribbean Names Michele Nadeem Vice President, Global Corporate Communications


Royal Caribbean has announced that Michele Nadeem will be their new Vice President of Global Corporate Communications.  As the VP of Global Corporate Communications, Nadeem will be responsible for "leading Royal Caribbean's overall global communication strategies and community relations efforts throughout all of its brands". She will report directly to the company's chairman and CEO, Richard D. Fain.

Before joining Royal Caribbean, Nadeem was the vice president of Corporate Communications, Public Affairs, Corporate Social Responsibility, Media and Industry Analyst Relations for DHL Express.

"We are delighted to have Michele join our team," said Fain. "We feel Michele's extensive international and domestic accomplishments and experience in corporate communications leadership roles will make her invaluable when the company needs to deliver clear and consistent messages across the organization and to the public."

Asian cruise market to reach 5 million by 2020


At the Seatrade All Asia Cruise Convention 2010, Michael Bayley, Vice President of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, talked about Asian source market size and where it is headed.  Bayley compared the penetration rates versus population in other markets: Cruising’s penetration is 3.2% in North America, about 1% in Europe and less than 0.05% in Asia. With a population close to 3 billion, Asia has the potential to reach 40 million cruisers in 30 years, he said.

"Whilst that is an outrageous number there were only 500,000 cruisers in North America 35 years ago. I think 5m Asian cruisers by 2020 is not unrealistic at this stage"

The cruise market in China has seen a lot of growth recently and fast. The change in atmosphere is thanks to regulations being eased, there has been a lot of government support for the industry and ports have been investing in the development of terminals and infrastructure.

E-docs not part of direct-sell strategy


At the UK Cruise Convention held in Southampton, England, Royal Caribbean UK general manager Jo Rzymowska denied that moving to e-docs was a way of driving up the level of direct sales. Ryzmowska said online was “critical for search” for cruise customers but that the level of bookings remained very small, at around 2%.  She went on to say, “That will change over time as cruisers become more experienced and the next generation will use the internet as a norm,”

“But the point of e-docs is not about driving more online business. It’s about getting documents to clients as quickly as possible and in the most efficient way possible.”Rzymowska said just as travellers no longer expect to be sent airline tickets they will be comfortable not having paper documents for cruise.And she said having all the documentation online gives clients opportunity to find out more about their cruise and agents to provide a better service.

Royal Caribbean to expand Dubai based season


Royal Caribbean is going to increase the length of its Dubai-based season for Brilliance of the Seas for the winter 2011-2012 season. Brilliance of the Seas began operating from the United Arab Emirates in January 2010 but would split it's time back in Europe.  Now, Brilliance of the Seas will return to Dubai two months early in November 2011 and will offer an increased range of itineraries including longer cruises up to 12- and even 18-nights.

Royal Caribbean's General Manager Jo Rzymowska had an explanation for the change in itinerary, citing high demand for the middle eastern cruise

Dubai is very popular with UK & Irish travellers, and cruises consistently offer significant value for money. We have adjusted the itinerary based on our trade partner feedback and replaced Bahrain with an overnight stay in Muscat. Also included within this cruise itinerary is an overnight stay in the city onboard the ship at the end of the cruise which makes this an affordable way to enjoy this fascinating Emirate. The chance to explore more of the Middle East, Arabian Sea and even India make these additional longer sailings truly exciting options for agents to maximize.

Given the longer six month season that Brilliance of the Seas will now serve, she will visit ports such as Muscat, Oman; Cochin, Goa and Mumbai, India as well as the first time ever visiting the New Mangalore port in Panambur on the west coast of India.  The town is famous for its beautiful beaches on the Arabian Sea, the Nandaneshwara Temple and the Gurupura River.  Brilliance of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship ever to stop at this port.

Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines encourage early booking


The cruise industry as a whole wants you to book your next cruise vacation early, rather than later.  At the recent annual UK Cruise Convention, cruise lines including Royal Caribbean held a summit regarding cruise pricing and defended their pricing strategies.  Royal Caribbean General Manager Jo Rzymowska felt that the value of cruising should be more important than the pricing structure, "What ships offer today is phenomenal, we just don't focus on it".

The recent trend has been to have some great deals for last minute bookings but some in the cruise industry want the industry to give more incentive to book early rather than wait for a last minute deal.  Furthermore, the cruise industry needs to give customers reason to book early.  Cruise experts claim that booking early allows for better deals on airfare as well.

Want to see Europe? Try a cruise


Lots of Americans say that sooner or later, they are going to "see Europe" and hop on over "the pond" to see "the old world" but to be honest, Europe can be a little daunting if you aren't an experienced traveler but the Mercury News recommends trying a European cruise to get a sampling of Europe without the hassle of trying to figure all the details out yourself. 

Taking a cruise offers the chance to cover a lot of territory in Europe without the hassle of finding hotels, restaurants and transportation. It's the sampler approach to visiting Europe.

For fans of Royal Caribbean, seeing Europe is easy considering the cruise giant is increasing it's European fleet from eight to eleven ships next year, which will cover 27 countries and 78 ports.  If that isn't enough of Europe for you, Royal Caribbean also offers pre- and post-cruise tours for extended visits.

You can read a great report by the author's experience aboard Voyager of the Seas on her Mediterranean Cruise.

But we were more enthralled with Port Grimaud. The port is nicknamed the Venice of France because homes and business are built on canals, complete with boats and bridges. Kitschy jewelry and apparel shops line the canals, most of the restaurants feature outdoor seating, and boat tours show off the seaside town created by architect Francois Spoerry in the 1960s. A sandy beach is also the ideal spot to rest after a long week.

Royal Caribbean dominating holiday cruises in Bahrain


Good news for Royal Caribbean stock holders, travel agents in Bahrain have reported an 80 percent increase in bookings compared to the first six months of last year and Royal Caribbean is leading the way.

Travel agents said the US-Norwegian company Royal Caribbean International was leading the sales with Princess Cruises and the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) not far behind.

Travel agents there seem to be quite pleased with how well Royal Caribbean itineraries are selling.  Oasis of the Seas is generating a lot of interest as well as their most popular package that sets sail from Singapore to Phuket, Thailand and Penang, Malaysia and then back to Singapore over a period of two nights.

"Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruise and NCL are all in the market selling like hot cakes."