Voyager of the Seas

Royal Caribbean confirms its commitment to Livorno, Italy


Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, the sister ship of the third and final Freedom class ship, is calling the port of Livorno, Italy home for the second time during the 2011 cruise season.  Independence will alternate eastern and western Mediterranean cruises, sailing from Southampton in the UK.

In the 2011 season, there are 12 ships calling at Livorno. After Independence of the Seas, will support in the Tuscan port the other ships of the fleet, the first stop will be to Liberty of the Seas April 27, will then be the turn of Brilliance of the Seas May 9, Voyager of the Seas 17 May, Adventure of the Seas May 18, Grandeur of the Seas July 27, and Navigator of the Seas November 7 and Navigator of the Seas November 7. 

"Always the port of Livorno, the company has for a role of primary importance - says Lina Mazzucco, general manager of Royal Caribbean Italy. "We were able to significantly increase the scale of the fleet which become 91 against 79 last year. Similarly, increases the flow of passengers, who went from 227,000 in 2010 to over 323,000 in 2011. "

Royal Caribbean challenges Jamaicans to finish Falmouth port


Royal Caribbean Vice President of Commercial Development John Tercek is encouraging Jamaicans to work harder in the development of the new cruise port at Falmouth in Jamaica.

Falmouth is a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority of Jamaica, but the project has been delayed quite a bit from it's initial plans.  Tercek's call to action is a response to Royal Caribbean's desire to complete the project.

Speaking at the Stocks and Securities Limited investors forum on Tuesday, Tercek was giving a speech on the topic: 'Falmouth and the cruise-ship pier'.  When asked why Jamaica was not realizing its potential in the sector, Tercek responded , "Jamaicans are very good at talking and they are not so good at action. We try to take the initiative. We try to show up, not as talkers but as doers. We are putting a lot of money into the town. We made a lot of commitments to the town and to Jamaica."

"We have been trying to be a catalyst. We can't do it all - we can't restore, rehabilitate ... all of the town (Falmouth). We can do our project. We can bring our guests. We can make further investments into the town, and we are doing all of that ... but it is going to take a lot of initiative, not only from the Government," Tercek said, pointing out that all parties involved will have to take part.

Delays at Falmouth have caused cruise ships to cancel calls to the port.  Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas had been scheduled to make its maiden call at the port back on January 7 burt was forced to cancel. 

The updated schedule has Voyager of the Seas arriving on February 17, followed by Oasis of the Seas in March.

Royal Caribbean Selects Point-of-Sale Solution by Agilysys


Agilysys, Inc has announced that Royal Caribbean will use its InfoGenesis Point of Sales (POS) system on seven of its cruise ships.

Allure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Azamara Journey, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit will all utilize the system.

Royal Caribbean's presence in Italy is growing


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.

Seeing Italy on Royal Caribbean


Robin Robinson of the Toronto Sun recently took a cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas and liked it as a great way to see Italy.  She took notes on her cruise and shared her tips from her cruise as well as why she enjoyed the entire vacation as well.

Distances between Italian ports are short, so on a seven-night itinerary -- like one I sailed recently aboard Royal Caribbean International's Voyageur of the Seas -- a ship can visit a different place each day. Add the numerous architectural masterpieces and ruins, must-see museums and art galleries, and more World Heritage sites than any other country on Earth and it's easy to see why exploring Italy from a cruise ship is attracting not only North American travellers but also an international crowd.

It's been well documented that Royal Caribbean has been adding more ships to Europe and Royal Caribbean public relations representative Celia de la Llama mentions that this year Royal Caribbean has seven ships sailing in Mediterranean waters but next year the total will jump to 11 ships sailing a broad range of different itineraries from European ports.

Some highlights of her cruise included

  • A drive along the steep and winding Amalfi Coast road -- dubbed the "Mamma Mia Road" because Italians are known to exclaim "mamma mia" while taking in the breathtaking views along its hairpin turns
  • A visit to Tuscany's Varramista wine estate
  • Ogling multimillion-dollar yachts along the St. Tropez waterfront

Mediterranean cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas


In terms of cruise lines going to Europe, there is no bigger player right now than Royal Caribbean.  Royal is increasing its European presence from eight to 11 ships next year and will cover 27 countries and 78 ports. Ann Tatko-Pterson of the Times-Colonist tried out a seven day, 12 city cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas to get a sense of what a Mediterranean cruise is like and shared highlights from her cruise in a recent article.

From ports like Barcelona, Rome, Pisa, and Genoa, Ann took time to do a lot of different excursions that were available to her.  She seemed especially intrigued by the customizable half or full day plans made available by Royal Caribbean, "For our first port of call, we joined a small private tour, one of three excursion options offered on Royal Caribbean's European cruises. These tours allow guests to design customized half- or full-day excursions for up to 10 people."

For our third day in Italy, we opted for an On Your Own excursion -- transportation is provided but visitors determine their own itinerary.

First up: Pisa, or more specifically, Piazza del Duomo. I was charmed by a scene straight out of a storybook. The walled square had lush green grass and a cathedral, baptistery and the Leaning Tower constructed of mostly grey marble, white stone and coloured marble accents. All three looked surreal. No wonder Italian writer Gabriele d'Annunzio dubbed the square the Field of Miracles.

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 organizes day to promote sports for disabled athletes


On a recent cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas, Royal Caribbean used the ship as a showcase to educate the public about the virtues of sports that people with physical disabilities can participate in.  The special day, organized in conjunction with the UESC Foundation, was called "Everyone can" and held in Barcelona, Spain last Sunday.  A total of one hundred people enjoyed meeting with the athletes as well as participate in some pickup games.  The goal of this is to boost Royal Caribbean's integration and awareness to smaller physical disability using sport as a vehicle.

"Royal Caribbean is committed to both the environment and the community and is a reflection of this initiative," said Bethlehem Wangüemert, CEO of Royal Caribbean in Spain. "This time, our company has shown its concern for the company to disclose to the great work UESC Foundation is carrying out in the field of social integration of disabled people through sport and what better way to do it aboard the Voyager of the Seas, a ship that, like the rest of our fleet is 100% accessible for disabled people.. "

Royal Caribbean joins other cruise lines in adding toys to older ships

These days it seems all the focus is on the newest generation of mega cruise ships, such as Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, that Royal Caribbean and other lines are rolling out of the shipyards.  A recent article by the Orlando Sentinel shows that when older ships go in for rehabs, they are getting more than their carpets and upholstery cleaned and updated, cruise lines are investing more money in the big ticket item amenities to keep them as viable competitors to their own bigger and more glamorous ships.
One ship that is used as an example is Voyager of the Seas, a ship that was launched more than 10 years ago in 1999 and was the first ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet to feature a rock wall.  The rock wall was so popular that it was subsequently installed on all the other ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet.
Carl-Gustaf Rotkirch, chairman and CEO of Grand Bahama Shipyard, which has done much of the refurbishing of these older ships notes that these updates are integral in keeping older ships relevant,, "Quite a few novelty features have been included on the new ships, like champagne bars, Johnny Rocket, surf machines . . . and the old ships suddenly start to look very old because they don't have those features."
It's funny how the cruise line can have a perfectly great ship but the newer ships debut and you can feel like in a way that by going on the older ones, it's the cruise line equivalent of driving a green '72 Dodge around town.  These older ships are still wonderful vessels to vacation on, but they can be a little blurred behind the glitz of what's newer and prettier.  This is how the auto industry keeps consumers wanting to buy new cars when their older cars are still perfectly viable.  Cruise lines are adding fun things like giant movie screens and other upgrades to to keep the older ships still relevant and intriguing to consumers.