Serenade of the Seas

Royal Caribbean denies stranding passengers in San Juan due to Hurricane Irene

In:
25Aug2011

We first told you about passengers who missed their Royal Caribbean cruise earlier this week when Royal Caribbean was forced to depart San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier than scheduled due to the impending threat of Hurricane Irene.  

Today, Royal Caribbean has denied any responsibility for leaving 145 passengers at port to get Serenade of the Seas of the way of the storm three hours early.  Royal Caribbean contends that port officials began to limit harbor traffic at 12:30 pm on Sunday, forcing the ship to depart early.

Of the passengers left behind, 15 had purchased their airfare through Royal Caribbean and were subsequently given a hotel stay for two nights and flown to Aruba to join the cruise on the rest of its voyage.  The other 130 passengers, however, were on their own.  The reasoning, according to Royal Caribbean is, "Independent guests were advised of hotel availability in the area, but the expense was on them given that it was a weather-related event."

Furthermore, Royal Caribbean says there was simply no way of contacting the passengers in time to alert them to the change, “There was no way to notify our guests of this change in departure time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our guests, but this decision was made by the Port of San Juan to ensure the safe transit of all guests and crew through the port.”

It turns out Royal Caribbean isn't alone in this.  Another 300 passengers missed their Carnival Cruise when Hurricane Irene prompted the Carnival Victory to leave port four hours early.

Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas leaves San Juan early and strands passengers

In:
23Aug2011

Due to fear of Hurricane Irene impacting Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean decided to leave San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier than the scheduled 8:30pm time.  The earlier departure time may have gotten the ship out of the path of the storm, but it stranded some Royal Caribbean passengers in San Juan after they claim they weren't made aware of the schedule change.

Passenger Nicole Washington of Baltimore, MD arrived at the docks Sunday shortly after 5, she found the gates locked and the ship gone.

“There was nobody there,” she said. “Everybody was gone and there was nobody there to tell me where the ship was.”

In a statement, Royal Caribbean spokesperson Cynthia Martinez explained the change, "On Sunday, due to the projected path of Hurricane Irene, and the weather forecast to reach San Juan, Puerto Rico that evening, authorities at the Port of San Juan limited traffic in and out of the port.  As a result, Serenade of the Seas was required to depart earlier than our originally scheduled time of 8:30 p.m.”

Washington did admit that she never checked into the cruise so according to Royal Caribbean, the line had no idea she was even in San Juan.

Martinez went on to say, “There was no way to notify our guests of this change in departure time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our guests, but this decision was made by the Port of San Juan to ensure the safe transit of all guests and crew through the port.”

Tropical Storm Irene Alters Royal Caribbean itineraries

In:
21Aug2011

Tropical Storm Irene has caused Royal Caribbean to change a few cruise itineraries.  Oasis of the Seas will reverse its itinerary and now visit Cozumel first on Monday, Tuesday is a sea day, stop at Falmouth, Jamaica on Wednesday, stop at Labadee on Thursday, sea day again on Friday and return to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday

Freedom of the Seas will also reverse its itinerary and left port today to go to Cozumel first on Tuesday, followed by Grand Cayman on Wednesday, Falmouth on Thursday and Labadee on Friday.

Allure of the Seas will now stop at Nassau, Bahamas on Saturday instead of Monday. The rest of her scheduled stops at St. Thomas (Wednesday) and St. Maarten (Thursday) will take place as planned.

Finally, Serenade of the Seas will have its cruise order changed as well. It left from San Juan, Puerto Rico today and will  visit Aruba on Tuesday, Curacao on Wednesday, St. Kitts  on Friday and St. Thomas on Saturday.

Tropical Storm Emily delays Serenade of the Seas visit to Antigua

In:
03Aug2011

Tropical Storm Emily has caused another itinerary change for Royal Caribbean.  Serenade of the Seas was scheduled to visit the island of Antigua on Thursday, but will now try for a Friday arrival so long as the weather in the Leeward Islands permits the visit.

Nathan Dundas, president of the Cruise Tourism Association, said the decision to delay Serenade's arrival was made to ensure the safety of the ship and passengers.

It is normally common during the hurricane season for these ships to make such diversions. They pay very careful attention to the weather patterns and as such they had their consultations with the head office in Miami and us, and indicated to us it was necessary to make this diversion.

Royal Caribbean planning major cruise fleet upgrade

In:
11Jul2011

Royal Caribbean is planning a spending spree to upgrade its fleet of cruise ships over the next three years to help keeps its older ships competitive in the cruise market.  

This $300 million revitalization called "Royal Advantage", will allow most of its Vision, Voyager and Radiance class vessels to get a series of upgrades including

  • Restaurants from Oasis Class of ships
    • Chops Grille steakhouse
    • Rita's Cantina Mexican restaurants
    • Izumi Restaurant (sushi)
    • Chops Grille (Steak house)
    • Park Café (sandwiches and salads)
    • Boardwalk Doghouse (brats and wieners)
  • New cabin designs
  • Royal Babies and Tots Nursery
  • Wi-fi throughout ship
  • Digital Wayfinding Systems
  • Oversized LED video screens on pool decks

There's more planned but no details are available quite yet.  These changes sound quite similar to the changes that have already been made to ships such as Radiance of the Seas mostly recently.

These overhauls will require each ship to enter into a lengthy drydock process where the ship will get its upgrades.  The schedule of upgrades are as follows

  1. Splendour of the Seas - November 2011
  2. Rhapsody of the Seas - March 2012
  3. Grandeur of the Seas - May 2012
  4. Serenade of the Seas - November 2012
  5. Legend of the Seas - 2013 or 2014
  6. Vision of the Seas - 2013 or 2014
  7. Navigator of the Seas - 2013 or 2014
  8. Voyager of the Seas - 2013 or 2014
  9. Explorer of the Seas - 2013 or 2014
  10. Adventure of the Seas - 2013 or 2014
  11. Brilliance of the Seas - 2013 or 2014

We know that the overhaul for Splendour, Grandeur and Serenade of the Seas will take place in Cadiz, Spain after Royal Caribbean signed a deal to have those ships rehauled there last month.

Royal Caribbean also mentioned that Independence of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas will receive smaller, less significant upgrades.

Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein is excited about the changes that will help keep the cruise line competitive, "The Royal Advantage revitalizations takes many of the best features that we have created in recent years and introduces them across our fleet, offering our guests enhanced vacation choices around the world."

Royal Caribbean signs deal with Spanish company to revitalize 3 ships in Spain

In:
29Jun2011

Royal Caribbean has signed a deal with Spanish shipbuilding firm Navantia to revitalize three of its ships in Cadiz, Spain.

A delegation of nine people from  Royal Caribbean visited the Cadiz shipyard on June 21 and 22 to settle the contract that allow the maintenance and modernization of three ships at dock in the capital. The delegation was led by Revitalization program director, Petteri Keso, as well as the director of fleet maintenance in Europe, Tracy Murrell.

Royal Caribbean representatives inspected for two days the Navantia facilities and warehouses, where more than 450 containers come with the equipment necessary to tackle the repairs.

Navantia believes they helped sign Royal Caribbean thanks to their experience working on other cruise ships such as  Norwegian Jade, NCL America, Milenium, Celebrity Cruises, and the Grand Voyager, the Grand Mistral and Grand Celebration of Iberocruceros.

This history has served, among other things, to capture the interest of Royal Caribbean's represenatives. The represenatives from Royal Caribbean have also confirmed the first ship to enter the Cadiz shipyard will be Splendour of the Seas to recieve major repairs and modernization.  Splendour will arrive in November to undergo a modernization plan that includes the habitability of the ship, "which will be completely renovated."

Royal Caribbean has also reserved time for the repair of two other ships, which will undergo a revitalization plan.  Then in May 2012 Grandeur of the Seas will enter the dock followed by Serenade of the Seas in November.

Excitement builds for Royal Caribbean to bring Serenade of the Seas to Dubai

In:
23Jun2011

We reported earlier this week that Royal Caribbean will send Serenade of the Seas to replace Brilliance of the Seas for the winter 2012-13 season.  Already people familiar with the Persian Gulf cruise market are excited for the move.

Oman Tourism manager for Australia & New Zealand, Mona Tannous, spoke with e-Travel Blackboard yesterday about the move and shared her excitement.

“I am delighted at this news - cruising in the region is only growing and this is a welcome addition. Cruise passenger arrivals into Oman rose to 231,100 in 2010 which is a 72% increase on 2009 with the Ministry of Tourism expecting visitor arrivals to exceed well above 300,000 by 2015.”

“Muscat Harbour is a visually stunning port to sail into. You have this sense of stepping back in time as you sail past the ancient 16th century twin forts that stand guard over the harbour, as old Muscat is slowly revealed to passengers as they sail into the port - simply breathtaking.”

Senior Manager Trade, Marketing & Strategic Relations DTCM, Veronica Rainbird, thinks the new cruise tour option will be a big hit, “The Arabian Explorer cruise tour itinerary, which combines a four-night escorted land tour with Serenade of the Seas’ seven-night cruise is a wonderful initiative for Dubai, one we look forward to promoting in both the Australian and New Zealand marketplace."

Serenade of the Seas will replace Brilliance of the Seas in Dubai in 2012-2013

In:
21Jun2011

We're hearing a report that Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas will replace Brilliance of the Seas in cruises that leave from Dubai in the winter 2012-2013 season.

The new sailings aboard Serenade of the Seas will offer 17 sailings that depart every Monday on seven-night itineraries that include stops in the United Arab Emirates and Oman  from December 2012 through April 2013.

In addition, guests aboard Serenade of the Seas can choose a Royal Caribbean cruisetour, that will allow them  to explore attractions further inland. 

Royal Caribbean will keep Serenade of the Seas in Dubai until a April 15, 2013 sailing that will bring her back to Barcelona.

More than half of Royal Caribbean fleet will be in Europe in 2012

In:
24Mar2011

Royal Caribbean is planning on sending a record amount of its ships to Europe for the 2012 cruise season, which constitutes more than half of its fleet.  The cruise line announced 12 of its 22 ships will be serving European itineraries in 2012 as demand in the region is expected to continue growing.

By sending 12 ships in 2012, it will increase Royal Caribbean's presence in the continent from 11 in 2011 and 8 in 2010.

More changes for Royal Caribbean in Europe include

  • Serenade of the Seas will sailing out of Barcelona starting in 2012
  • Royal Caribbean has also added cruises out of Amsterdam, Holland, where Brilliance of the Seas will call Copenhagen home as it conducts northern Europe itineraries
  • Mariner of the Seas will add Holy Land cruises as well as seven-night Western Mediterranean voyages from Rome
  • Vision of the Seas will visit the Holy Land as well as some Northern Europe itineraries
  • Liberty of the Seas will offer new five-night Western Mediterranean cruises

Royal Caribbean has also announced it will offer cruises from 8 "interports" (locations that passengers can board ships wile in the middle of a scheduled itinerary).  The interports will include

  • France
    • Toulon
    • Marseille
    • LeHavre
  • Italy
    • Genoa
    • Messina (Sicily)
    • Bari 
  • Valencia, Spain
  • Kusadasi (Ephesus) Turkey

 

Maiden calls will be made at Arhus, Denmark; Klaksvik, Faroe Islands; and Kenes (Lofoten), Norway

Royal Caribbean leaving Barbados

In:
09Mar2011

Royal Caribbean has decided to end port of calls in Barbados after moving Serenade of the Seas to Europe for the Summer 2012 cruise season.

The move has upset Caribbean officials, namely the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which has expressed concern about the loss.  CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley said they are aware that repositioning is a normal course of business within the cruise sector, particularly during the summer months.

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