Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean giving all of its employees a 5 percent salary bonus


Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, the parent company of Royal Caribbean International, announced the company's record-setting year will mean a surprise bonus for all of the cruise line's 66,000 employees.

Thanks to the company hitting its goal of doubling earnings per share and recording a double-digit return on invested capital, employees were informed they will be thanked for their contribution with individual salary bonuses of five percent.

"Exceptional results require exceptional effort," said Richard D. Fain, RCL's chairman and CEO. "Reaching the Double-Double required remarkable focus and discipline from our employees, and they delivered."

Employees will receive equity awards equal to five percent of their 2017 salaries in an $80 million program called the "Thank You, Thank You Bonus."  The awards, which vest over three years, will go to all employees – shipboard and shoreside, full-time and part-time, domestic and overseas. Corporate officers, however, are excluded. In addition to the five percent equity awards, the company will contribute to the Crew Welfare Fund for upgrades to crew living and recreational areas.

Fain said the Thank You, Thank You Bonus had the added benefit of enabling employees to see the company as shareholders do. "Ours is a people business, Fain said." We want to thank every one of our people for the hard work that got us to today's announcement, and give them a stake in our success going forward."

Royal Caribbean named a best place to work for LGBTQ Equality by HRC 2018 Corporate Equality Index


Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd was named a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” after scoring a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index.

This is the second year in a row that Royal Caribbean earned this honor, after making the list last year as well.

Last year the HRC, one of the oldest gay and lesbian political action committees in the U.S., added a requirement for inclusion as a top-ranking company on the 15-year-old index – a global non-discrimination policy or code of conduct that specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In meeting all requirements, RCL is among 609 major American businesses earning top scores on the index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer workplace equality.

It’s thrilling, of course, says Adam M. Goldstein, RCL’s president and COO, explaining: “We actually have an opportunity as a company to be understood as one of the most welcoming employers anywhere, in any industry. And I think we should be.

“You have guests coming from absolutely everywhere, you’ve got crew coming from absolutely everywhere, you’ve got ships going absolutely everywhere, and really the only way to make an environment like that work well is that you have to be welcoming to everyone.”

“If we’re going to do that on the ships, then clearly we also need to do that in our land-based facilities because it all has to be consistent, it has to tie together,” he says. “Here at our headquarters campus, obviously this is the location from which we direct our overall global effort, and if we want to have that type of situation out at sea then we need to be sure we have that type of situation here at headquarters.”

“It’s just fantastic how we’ve been recognized, Goldstein continues. “And we see that not only in terms of big public awards like this one, but in the number of serious companies – well-established, well-known companies – who are now coming to us and asking how are we doing these things, what are our methods, to see what techniques they can adopt from the techniques and behaviors that we’re demonstrating.”

With focused efforts, he says, RCL went from being a company with the right instincts and motivations “to a place where we are in the absolute forefront of how to construct and sustain workplace environments that are open and tolerant to the full array of diversity.”

Royal Caribbean named one of America's Best Employers by Forbes


Forbes announced today that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has been named to the Forbes List of Best Large Employers for 2017.

Forbes surveyed 30,000 American employees working for large or midsize companies. Respondents were asked to rate their employer on the quality of the work environment and whether they would recommend their company to potential employees as one of the most important factors in the assessment.

"I am extremely pleased that Forbes has recognized Royal Caribbean as one of America’s Best Employers of 2017," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "This recognition would not be possible without our employees. It is because of their passion, determination and commitment that we are constantly able to push the boundaries of what is possible."

Royal Caribbean announces new head of Europe, Middle East and Africa


Royal Caribbean announced today that it is promoting Stuart Leven, Associate Vice President and Managing Director, Royal Caribbean International (UK and Ireland), to become the new Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Managing Director of RCL Cruises Ltd.

This new role will include responsibility for Royal Caribbean International (UK and Ireland) and Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises across the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Leven will work with Royal Caribbean’s key European markets to ensure the cruise operator has the best investment in place to capitalize on the swell of interest in cruise vacations across the region.

"Stuart is a proven leader with many years’ board experience across the airline, hotel and dotcom sectors" said Gavin Smith, Senior Vice President International, RCL Cruises Ltd. "He joined us with a clear vision to build a distinct brand and attract a new audience to cruise. Royal Caribbean International in the UK and Ireland has seen unprecedented growth under Stuart’s watch and his experience and expertise will be vital as we look to expand our European deployment."

Replacing Leven is Ben Bouldin, who will become Associate Vice President and Managing Director, Royal Caribbean International (UK and Ireland), reporting into Leven, also effective immediately.

Bouldin commented: "I’m absolutely delighted to be leading the Royal Caribbean International UK and Ireland business. It’s an incredible opportunity at an exciting time for the cruise market. We have an extraordinary team here in the UK and Ireland and I look forward to building on the work Stuart has started during his tenure."

Royal Caribbean receives perfect score as workplace for LGBT Equality


The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) named Royal Caribbean a "2017 Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality", with a perfect score of 100 on its Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

The HRC is one of the oldest gay and lesbian political action committees in the U.S. and launched the index in 2002 to rank American companies.  This year, for the first time since, the HRC required top-scoring companies to have a global non-discrimination policy or code of conduct that specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories:

  • Non-discrimination policies
  • Employment benefits
  • Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion
  • Public commitment to LGBT equality
  • Responsible citizenship

This is the second year running that RCL earned a perfect score on the CEI survey, even with the addition of the new global requirements. In October, Royal Caribbean International became the first cruiseline to be designated “Gay Travel Approved” by

Royal Caribbean building new Innovation Lab with virtual reality simulator


Royal Caribbean announced it is building a new Innovation Lab facility at PortMiami, adjacent to its corporate headquarters.

Royal Caribbean is being touted as a first-of-its-kind facility built entirely designed to promote the “relentless innovation” that powers the cruiseline, the building will house unique collaborative spaces where new ideas can tested and tweaked.

Much of the first floor will be open space large enough to allow the construction of full-size mockups of shipboard spaces and the things that fill them – "real" reality rather than virtual – for trials, tests and aesthetics. he rest of the building will contain "ignition hubs" where people from different departments and vendors will gather to spend hours, days or weeks talking through problems and projects.

The new 20,000-square-foot, two-story lab, is intended to be as functional as it is architecturally stunning. Royal Caribbean vice president of architectural design, Kelly Gonzalez, is very excited about the the lab as an idea mill where most of the moving parts are human, "Innovation is nothing new for us. Our daily existence here is thriving off of always wanting to raise the bar a little higher. And go a little further."

"Imagine a large conference room that eight to 10 people would walk into. Now imagine the floor is one seamless sheet of glass and there’s rear projection underneath it."

"The whole room is Virtual Reality," Gonzalez continues. "But when you put the glasses on, you and the people you’re with are all sharing the same experience in that room."

Completion date for the lab is the end of January.


7 ways Royal Caribbean has revolutionized the cruise industry


We love taking Royal Caribbean cruises because of the amazing experiences available onboard, and as fans of the company, it occurs to us that sometimes Royal Caribbean does not get enough credit for some of the innovations it has brought to the cruise industry over the years.

Innovation is a byproduct of competition among the cruise lines, and Royal Caribbean has brought about a number of changes to its ships with the goal differentiating it from other cruising choices that have since set the new standard for what guests expect onboard.  As guests, we love seeing what Royal Caribbean comes up with next.  It is what makes the cruise line different, special and most importantly, a heck of a lot of fun.

Here are our list of the top seven innovations Royal Caribbean brought about that have since changed the cruise industry.

1. Activities that can be done at sea

Historically, cruise ships were built following the model set forth by ocean liners of the classic period of transportation.  These ships were designed to be a floating hotel that offered rest, relaxation and a great view.  But as times changed, guests wanted to do more onboard and have a greater variety of choices with it.

Royal Caribbean first made an impact when it added the rock climbing walls to its Voyager-class ships, which were an onboard activity that was previously not available anywhere.  More importantly, it introduced the concept of guests being able to do physically activities onboard that were never considered previously.

The rock climbing wall became incredibly popular with guests and was expanded to all ships in the fleet, becoming a staple of a Royal Caribbean cruise experience.

Royal Caribbean then expanded on the idea of offering even more fun activities on its ships, by offering FlowRider surf simulators, ice skating, bumper cars and a lot more.  Cruise ships today on any cruise line are incomplete without the sort of physical activities first introduced by the rock climbing wall.

2. Virtual balcony

Nearly everyone loves the idea of a balcony stateroom, but the price of a balcony stateroom is not always practical for everyone's budget.  When Royal Caribbean was designing its Quantum-class cruise ships, they came up with an idea for a balcony experience without the balcony price: virtual balcony staterooms.

Virtual balconies are 80-inch LED televisions that are in inside staterooms on select Royal Caribbean ships that provide live HD views from outside the cruise ship, right into your stateroom. The screens are 4K ultra high definition capable screens that stretch from floor to ceiling and receive a video feed from the ship's cameras that are mounted at the stem and stern of the ship.  

Virtual balcony staterooms were "inspired" in part by Disney Cruise Line's Virtual Porthole cabins, but Royal Caribbean took the idea and expanded upon it to create something completely different and virtual balcony staterooms have now expanded to many different ships across the fleet.

3. Broadway shows

Cruise ships have offered musical revues and original productions for many years, but Royal Caribbean was the first to bring an actual Broadway show to be shown to its guests in its entirety onboard a ship.

Royal Caribbean debuted the hit-Broadway show, "Hairspray," on Oasis of the Seas and that marked a dramatic shift in the entertainment a cruise ship could offer.  Instead of just a few songs from a show, or stage productions that tried to emulate a Broadway show, Royal Caribbean opted to bring the real thing onboard its ships.

In the years since, Royal Caribbean has expanded the amount of ships that offer Broadway shows to include some fan-favorites, such as Mamma Mia!CatsSaturday Night Fever, and We Will Rock You.

4. Specialty restaurants

If you can remember back to pre-2009, cruise ships offered specialty restaurant options but there were just a couple of choices available.  Most ships had one to two specialty restaurants, and they were not nearly as prevalent as specialty dining today. What changed all of that, was the Oasis-class ships that brought a greater array of specialty dining choices never seen before on a cruise ship.

Oasis of the Seas offers more than 20 dining options onboard its ships, including a number of specialty dining choices.  Instead of one or two, guests can pick between Chops Grille, Sabor, Giovanni's Table, 150 Central Park, Johnny Rockets and Izumi, just to name a few.

Since the debut of Oasis of the Seas, the entire cruise industry has taken notice and new and existing cruise ships greatly expanded the number of dining options available.  Guests love the greater variety of choices, while the cruise lines reap higher onboard spending.

5. Built the largest cruise ships in the world

Many times, Royal Caribbean cruise ships have claimed the title of being the largest in the world, and Royal Caribbean's commitment to building bigger and bigger ships have compelled the rest of the cruise industry to follow as well.

Going back to 1988, when Sovereign of the Seas launched, she was the largest passenger ship in the world.  Sovereign-class ships was the first modern "megaship" to be built, and were also the first class of cruise ships to include a multi-story atrium with glass elevators.  They also had a single deck devoted entirely to cabins with private balconies instead of ocean view cabins.

The rest of the cruise lines took notice and began building bigger ships, as well as ships that had the kind of industry-first innovations like a Centrum.

Many new ships have been built since the days of Sovereign, but Royal Caribbean's Freedom-class and Oasis-class ships continued the tradition set forth by the Sovereign-class.  In fact, the entire industry has built larger and larger cruise ships over the years and this trend can be traced directly back to Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas.

6. Social media in advertising

Cruise lines have advertised cruise vacations for many years in traditional media, with print, radio and television advertisements being the normal means of spreading the word about new ships, deals and getaway ideas.  In 2015, Royal Caribbean completely re-considered its marketing strategy with a new approach that sought to "break through" the usual expectations and reach guests with a vastly different marketing campaign.

Royal Caribbean's "Come Seek" campaign was geared toward the next generation of cruises that leveraged a variety of sales channels, including notably social media.

Royal Caribbean added 230 geo-targeted units across New York City that are capable of showing live broadcasts via Periscope in high traffic commuter areas, such as John F. Kennedy International Airport terminal, newsstands and subways. With these units, Royal Caribbean could provide live tune-ins from the ships to show off the experience as it's happening in real time.

This, and other social media advertising endeavors, forged a new era of marketing that aimed to get past the sort of traditional produced and polished advertising people expect to see, and instead, capture their attention with authentic experiences.

7. True high speed internet at sea

Royal Caribbean's latest innovation is perhaps its most impressive and least-celebrated achievement: offering the kind of high speed internet experience on its cruise ships that guests have had for years on land.

Offering internet service on a cruise ship is nothing new in the industry, as nearly all cruise lines offer internet service onboard, but internet at sea is ridiculously slow compared to what guests have enjoyed at home or work.  Traditional internet on cruise ships were limited to basic web browsing, with absolutely no support for video streaming and constant disconnects and poor overall experiences.

Royal Caribbean partnered with O3b Networks to provide a next-generation satellite internet service, known as Voom, that allows guests to do everything they are accustomed to doing on land while on their Royal Caribbean cruise.

With Voom, guests can surf, stream and share their vacation experiences with their friends and family back home without any of the slow speeds that have traditionally hampered sea-based internet solutions.  Moreover, Royal Caribbean expanded Voom service to every ship in its fleet earlier this year, which means no one has to take a Royal Caribbean cruise with a slow internet connection again.

Your thoughts

Which innovations do you think Royal Caribbean deserves recognition for the most? Is there something that stands out in your mind? Tell us about in the comments.

Royal Caribbean appoints Gavin Smith as Senior Vice President International


Royal Caribbean announced today it has appointed Gavin Smith to the role of Senior Vice President International, effective immediately.

In his new role, Smith will be responsible for all sales, marketing and commercial operations for the cruise brands Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises in Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean and Australasia, and he will report to Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley.

Smith opened Royal Caribbean's first Australian office in December 2008 as a Managing Director.

Smith will replace Dominic Paul, who announced his is leaving Royal Caribbean on May 1, 2016.

Royal Caribbean promotes Lori Cassidy to Associate Vice President of Global Corporate, Incentive & Charter Sales


Royal Caribbean announced it has promoted Lori Cassidy to Associate Vice President of Global Corporate, Incentive & Charter Sales. 

In her her new role, Cassidy is responsible for all sales, service, and marketing efforts pertaining to global meeting, incentive and full-ship charter business, as well as the Royal Caribbean loyalty gift card and individual incentive certificate programs. 

Cassidy will lead the Global Corporate, Incentive & Charter Sales and Service team in managing, developing and servicing meeting, incentive and group event opportunities with incentive houses, brokers, independent meeting planners, corporate planners and travel planners around the world. 

Cassidy began working with Royal Caribbean in 2008 as Director, Corporate, Incentive & Charter Sales, and has since taken on increased responsibility and successfully grown the meeting, incentive and charter sales channel for the international cruise line.  Cassidy continues to report directly to Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Sales and Trade Support & Service, Royal Caribbean International. 

"Lori is an asset to our group travel partners and a respected member of our organization.  Her incredible experience, skill and instinct for the business make her a strong leader for her team, resulting in continued momentum and stronger relationships around the world,” said Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Sales and Trade Support & Service, Royal Caribbean International.  “This is a hard-earned, well-deserved promotion within the Royal Caribbean Sales and Trade team, and we look forward to her continued success.” 

Cassidy has been in the cruise industry for over 22 years. Prior to joining Royal Caribbean International, she was with Carnival Cruise Lines for 15 years holding Director positions in Corporate & Incentive Sales for five years and Business Development for 10 years, respectively. 

Royal Caribbean focuses on brand messaging to manage public relations


Royal Caribbean Vice President and Global Chief Communications Officer, Rob Zeiger, is the head of the cruise line's branding and a new interview with him showcases the challenges of what the company is trying to do in marketing itself.

PR Week posted a lengthy interview with Zeiger that looked at what he and his team do each day to deliver the message Royal Caribbean wants to offer.

There is plenty of negative cruise ship coverage in the media, so Zeiger focuses on how fun and affordable a cruise ship vacation can be.

"Royal Caribbean is aimed at families who want to do stuff, so on some ships we have skydiving, surfing, rock climbing, ice skating, and ziplining.  There is something for every generation."

A great example of marketing specific to a region is when Navigator of the Seas went to Texas and a pair of enormous, inflatable longhorns were adorned on the ship.  But when Royal Caribbean announced Anthem of the Seas was coming to the UK market, they went for something far more subdued.

Also of interest is the fact Royal Caribbean has completely revamped its crisis room.  This summer, Royal Caribbean tore down its crisis room and replaced it with a new state-of-the-art notification system.

When a fire broke out on Freedom of the Seas in July, Zeiger says his team’s comms approach was similar to a telegraph system, providing the public with constant updates. He adds that his team prefers that strategy, as opposed to waiting until they have all the information to send out a press release be-cause "it is a given" that people want to know what is happening as quickly as possible.

You can read the entire interview with Rob Zeiger here.