Symphony of the Seas

5 interesting facts from Royal Caribbean's first quarter earnings call

In:
28Apr2017

Each quarter, Royal Caribbean's management gets on the phone with investors to discuss its quarterly earnings.  Much of the call is dedicated to the discussion of rather uninteresting fiscal reports, however, there are a number of tidbits that Royal Caribbean fans can glean during the discussion.

During Royal Caribbean's first quarter 2017 earnings call with investors, we picked up on five interesting points worth noting.

Sneak peak at features for new smart phone app

Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain made a quick reference to some of features coming to the new smart phone app that the cruise line is developing. 

Dubbed, "Project Excalibur," this new app will offer new ways for guests to have a simpler experience onboard.

"Starting over two years ago, we have found intuitive digital applications to make the guest experience simpler and more comfortable," Fain announced during the call. "You'll be able to open the door to your room without pulling out a card or a key, request a beverage real-time from the comfort of your lounge chair, and get recommendations for your traveling companion based on their preferences."

"We take our guest vacation time seriously, and technology is a great enabler to improve the use of that."

Guest spending is fundamentally changing

Royal Caribbean CFO Jason Liberty made mention of the fact onboard revenue continues to grow, and that is a reflection of a shift in where guests spend their money.  Specifically, they are spending more money on experiences, in lieu of buying things.

Onboard revenue yield was up 8.9% for the quarter, which was driven by new hardware, shore excursions and Voom.

"As I mentioned over the past couple quarters, guests spend has continuing to shift towards areas that involve experiences over buying things," Liberty explained.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley added, "What we are seeing is a switch to more experience-related revenue streams, and obviously we are trying to leverage that. Things like shore excursions obviously, and beverages and beverage packages. "

"I think really what we are seeing is we're seeing a really good pick up on our pre-cruise sales, and that has been driving a lot of these revenues. There's various theories on how impactful pre-cruises sales are, and one of the theories is that if you sell a dollar pre-cruise, you'll probably see anywhere from 20 to 50% uptick in the onboard spend by the very same guest."

Mariner of the Seas will receive a drydock

Two days ago, Royal Caribbean announced that Mariner of the Seas would return to North America after spending many years in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley explained, "With Mariner moving back into the States, that was really about timing. Mariner was coming out anyway when Quantum Plus came into the market, and we had an opportunity because we have some revitalization and drydock work that's quite extensive that we're planning for Mariner."

Symphony of the Seas bookings are doing well

Bookings in general are quite good for Royal Caribbean, and even the yet-to-be-launched Symphony of the Seas is doing well with guests booking it.

"Symphony of the Seas, which comes out in April of next year, the forward bookings are terrific."

How millennials cruise

An investor asked how passengers under 35 years old view Royal Caribbean, and Michael Bayley elaborated on the appeal of cruising to millennials.

"When a millennial has a child, they really come into our sweet spot...for Royal Caribbean certainly. As soon as those millennials get kids, then they really want to have a great time with their family, and we work very well for them. "

"The one obvious thing that's quite meaningful is digital technology and access through Voom to the world around them. Of course, that's something we put into place a couple of years ago, and I think that's really proven to be successful."

"The other component is the whole idea of multi-generational vacations, and that's something we really do focus on. This idea that we can offer a multi-generational experience to our customers. And of course, the Oasis Class ships really are  the great expression of that."

"And then dining I think is becoming something that's slightly different with the millennial market, and that's something we're obviously focused on, both in our current fleet, and also as we look at our new builds coming online."

Royal Caribbean releases new Symphony of the Seas construction photo update

In:
25Apr2017

Royal Caribbean released a new batch of construction photos, highlighting the progress of Symphony of the Seas.

Symphony of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's newest Oasis Class ship, under construction at the STX shipyard in France. The ship is scheduled to be delivered in 2018.

Symphony of the Seas construction photo update

In:
20Apr2017

We have another batch of fresh photos to share of the construction progress being made on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas.

Symphony of the Seas will be the cruise line's fourth Oasis Class ship.  

Our friends at Saint Nazaire, une ville à la mer posted these photos, which were taken on April 19, 2017.

© Hervé GLAIS

Photos: AquaTheater suites ready to be installed on Symphony of the Seas

In:
04Apr2017

The AquaTheater suites for Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas are awaiting installation at the STX France shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France, and we have some photos of the ship's progress to share.

Our friends at Saint Nazaire, une ville à la mer posted these photos.

© Hervé GLAIS

Symphony of the Seas construction photo update

In:
29Mar2017

Royal Caribbean has released new photos of Symphony of the Seas' construction progress.  We can see the bow being attached to the ship's superstructure.


 

Symphony of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean's fourth Oasis Class cruise ship, and will debut in Spring 2018.

Azipods for Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas arrives at shipyard

In:
16Mar2017

The azipods for Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas have arrived at STX Franch shipyard earlier today, and were unloaded to make their way to the ship for installation.

Kudos to Saint Nazaire, une ville à la mer for sharing these photos with us. Merci!

© Hervé GLAIS

Azipods are a multi-directional propulsion unit, which claims to use less fuel than traditional systems, and to provide greater maneuverability in all operating conditions. Royal Caribbean uses azipods to propel and safely maneuver its ships on the high seas.

Symphony of the Seas construction photo update

In:
13Mar2017

We ran across a new batch of Symphony of the Seas construction photos that were recently posted that show off the progress the ship is making.

Kudos to Saint Nazaire, une ville à la mer for sharing these photos with us. Merci!

© Hervé GLAIS

Five things to be excited about that will be different on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas

In:
09Mar2017

It has been barely 24 hours since Royal Caribbean pulled the curtain back and revealed Symphony of the Seas, and we are already giddy with anticipation. New cruise ships are always exciting because the prospect of a new experience suddenly creates intrigue with the new possibilities, and it seems like the cruise line's 26th ship in the fleet is going to epic.

Without a doubt, there is plenty more for Royal Caribbean to reveal, but with just the news from day one, we found five aspects of Symphony of the Seas that already have us excited to cruise on her.

Different itineraries

Symphony of the Seas is the fourth Oasis class ship, but first of her kind to stray from the sort of itineraries Oasis of the Seas first pioneered.

Symphony of the Seas is headed to some new (or much less frequently visited) ports for Oasis class ships. These new stops include St. Kitts & Nevis, Costa Maya and Roatan.

If you are a fan of the more "traditional" Caribbean ports, there are still some Eastern Caribbean sailings that visit Labadee, San Juan and St. Maarten.

New cruise terminal

Just like when Oasis of the Seas was being built, Royal Caribbean is building an all-new cruise terminal for Symphony of the Seas (and sister ship Allure of the Seas is joining in too).

PortMiami Terminal A promises to be state-of-the-art cruise hub and future home of Symphony of the Seas.  The ‘Crown of Miami,’ a 170,000-square-foot terminal, scheduled for completion for the arrival of Symphony and Allure, will be the most innovative cruise facility in the United States. Royal Caribbean anticipates at least 1.8 million passenger moves at PortMiami, thanks to having the world's largest cruise ship calling Miami home.

New twist coming to Ultimate Abyss

Royal Caribbean is bringing back its 10-story thrill slide, known as the Ultimate Abyss, to Symphony of the Seas.  While the slide is not new to Royal Caribbean (it originally debuted on Harmony of the Seas), there is something different we can look forward to experiencing.

On Royal Caribbean's website, they included an indication that the version on Symphony of the Seas might have something additional, not found on the version on Harmony.

After riding the Ultimate Abyss on Harmony, any enhancements on Symphony of the Seas are sure to make an already exhilarating ride into an even better one.

Hints at new experiences

If you follow the progress of a Royal Caribbean ship during construction, you will notice that the cruise line really enjoys teasing guests with possibilities of what is to come, and they are already at it with Symphony of the Seas.

Besides the Ultimate Abyss hint earlier in our countdown, there are two other clues of what is to come.

The first tease is with the promise of something "daring" and "a whole new challenge".

It also appears there will be new culinary experiences on Symphony of the Seas to enjoy.

Solarium will be different

During a conference call with members of the media, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley mentioned something about Symphony of the Seas' Solarium that has caught the attention of a few folks.

With any new ship, one of the most common questions is usually about what makes this ship different from other ships in her class.  Bayley was not keen to share many details, but did indicate the adults-only area towards of the front of the ship will be "quite a lot" different from ones on other Oasis Class ships.

What that means is anyone's guess, but perhaps this could signify the return of a pool in the Solarium, following the omission of a Solarium pool on Harmony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean breaks ground on new cruise terminal at PortMiami

In:
08Mar2017

Royal Caribbean and Miami-Dade County broke ground on the cruise line's brand new world-class cruise terminal, Terminal A at PortMiami.

The new terminal will be the new home of the just announced Symphony of the Seas, as well as sister ship Allure of the Seas.

Terminal A will be completed in October 2018 and be LEED certified and accommodate a 1,300-foot long ship. Terminal A will not be the only addition for Royal Caribbean this year, RCL has added a 20,000-square-foot Innovation Lab to its corporate headquarters. The Innovation Lab will continue to generate the design of Royal Caribbean’s industry-leading ships.

"This is an exciting collaboration with Miami-Dade County and PortMiami to create not just another cruise terminal but an iconic state-of-the-art facility," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Terminal A reinforces our unwavering commitment to our hometown, the city where our company first started nearly 50 years ago."

Once the new cruise terminal is completed, it is anticipated that Royal Caribbean will generate at least 1.8 million travelers at PortMiami – representing no less than 30 percent of the port’s projected passenger traffic.

Royal Caribbean first announced its intentions to build this new cruise terminal in June 2016.

Royal Caribbean announces new cruise ship Symphony of the Seas and opens bookings

In:
08Mar2017

After months of speculation, Royal Caribbean announced the name and details surrounding its fourth Oasis class cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean revealed the name of the ship, along with some key details surrounding its sailings.  Symphony will arrive in April 2018, and begin service by sailing the Mediterranean in Spring and Summer 2018.  Symphony of the Seas will make stops at ports in Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Provence, Florence, Rome and Naples.

In Fall 2018, Symphony of the Seas will cross the Atlantic to her new home in at PortMiami in Miami, Florida. From Miami, she will sail from Royal Caribbean's brand new cruise terminal that it broke ground on this morning. Symphony of the Seas will offer seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.

Symphony of the Seas will be joined by sister ship Allure of the Seas, which will move from her current home of Port Everglades, Florida to Miami, Florida. Both ships will arrive just in time for the new ‘Crown of Miami’ cruise terminal to open, which will be a 170,000-square-foot terminal. Royal Caribbean touts this terminal will be the most innovative cruise facility in the U.S. with an expected $500 million in revenue and the addition of 4,000 jobs to Miami-Dade County.

Symphony of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship ever, coming in at 230,000 GRT.  She will have 28 more staterooms than her sister ship, Harmony of the Seas, and be 215.5 feet wide and 1,188 feet long. This will make Symphony of the Seas just slightly larger than Harmony of the Seas.

In the coming months, Royal Caribbean will announce more details about the ship, but they have confirmed certain key dining and entertainment options.  Symphony of the Seas will offer guests

  • Ultimate Abyss slide (with "a new twist")
  • FlowRider surf simulator
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Perfect Storm water slides (three slides)
  • Splashaway Bay aqua park
  • Ice skating rink
  • Vitality Spa

Royal Caribbean did hint at something "daring" coming to Symphony of the Seas as well. The tease on Royal Caribbean's web site simply says, "Adventure hits a high note with a whole new challenge."

There will also be over 20 dining options on Symphony of the Seas for guests to enjoy, including: 

  • Chops Grille
  • Jamie's Italian
  • Izumi
  • Vintages
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Sabor

Like the entertainment, Royal Caribbean is hinting at "a few new dishes" that will be available on Symphony of the Seas.  

Bookings for 2018-2019 Symphony of the Seas sailings opened late last night over the phone, but the public may now purchase any of her available sailings either online, on the phone or via a travel agent. 

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