Royal Caribbean

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.

Royal Caribbean updates website with new look to booking engine


Royal Caribbean gave a face lift to part of its web site last night, which updated the look of the site that guests use to book their cruises.

Back in March 2015, Royal Caribbean updated the look of its web site but the update was largely only for the home page and a few pages outside of it.  Much of the rest of the site retained the old design look.

With the latest update, the part of the site that allows guests to price cruises and book a sailing online now matches the homepage in terms of look and feel.

With the new design, guests can more easily flow between the steps of choosing the right sailing and stateroom for them.  The updated look provides a more "at a glance" look at everything occurring in the reservation process.

This latest update to the site's design does not include all parts of the site.  Other areas of the site still retain the old look, including My Cruises and the FAQ sections.

Do you like the new design for the cruise booking engine? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Royal Caribbean announces changes to Safety, Environment and Health Team leadership


Royal Caribbean announced today changes to its Safety, Environment and Health Team as the head of the department plans for his retirement.

Gary Bald, Senior Vice President, Safety, Security, Environment, Medical/Public Health and Situation Management for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., will transition his duties to top corporate and federal security executiveJennifer Love as he prepares for his retirement in the Spring of 2016.  Love will join Royal Caribbean on September 28, 2015.

Bald has worked for Royal Caribbean since 2006 and in his time, has overseen the company's environmental practices as well as the safety, security and health of the company's 62,000 employees, more than five million guests annually.

Replacing Bald is Jennifer Love, who has spent nearly 25 years at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Most recently, Love was in charge of the enterprise-wide security programs and process for the Cablevision Systems Corporation and served as the company's chief liaison to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

"Gary has been a key figure in the development of Royal Caribbean's approach to safety, environment and health, and an important leader who has made significant contributions to the entire cruise industry," said Adam Goldstein, President and COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  "Gary's leadership has enhanced the safety and security of our guests, crew and employees.  We are privileged to have had Gary at Royal Caribbean"

Goldstein added: "We are very excited to have Jennifer Love join our team.  I am confident Jennifer's skills and expertise will build on our momentum and take our company to even greater advances in our preparedness, procedures and systems."


Royal Caribbean becomes first corporation certified by RAINN for sexual assault prevention


Washington, D.C.-based Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has certified Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. as the first corporation certified for compliance with new standards aimed at preventing or responding to sexual assault.

RAINN's certification for Royal Caribbean comes after a highly detailed inspection and analysis of onboard plans and practices by Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

Examiners covered 10 key areas for compliance, including general prevention efforts; victim care and mental health services; medical service and supply; training of general crew, medical and security staff; hiring guidelines; physical ship security; and prospective passenger screening.

In addition to reviewing RCL’s written plans and policies, RAINN inspectors also conducted onboard staff interviews with the three brands.

RAINN auditors spent about four months reviewing more than 2,000 pages of RCL policies, protocols and staff training materials for sexual assault prevention and response.

Onsite inspections and audits included RCL headquarters and ships, and some 200 onboard interviews were conducted with crew members to ensure their full understanding and implementation of RCL policies.

The work was completed this summer, and compliance certification will remain in effect until summer 2017, when RAINN will re-examine RCL’s operations to ensure continued compliance.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of our guests and crew,” RCL Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain says of the distinction awarded by the Washington, D.C.-based Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, or RAINN. “We set high standards for ourselves – and on the most important subjects, we look to experts for guidance.

“RAINN’s evaluation was complete and thorough, and we take pride in reaching the standards they set for certification.”

Royal Caribbean names Michael Giresi Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer


Royal Caribbean named Michael Giresi new senior vice president and chief information officer. 

Giresi will report directly to Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Goldstein commented on Giresi's hiring, "Michael's background and experience implementing leading edge technology, combined with the skills of our seasoned management team, will be vital as Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. continues to innovate and accelerate its global expansion.  His broad experience and proven leadership will provide the company with the necessary tools to marry technology solutions that will continue to differentiate us."

Giresi joins Royal Caribbean after serving as senior vice president and CIO for Tory Burch, where he was responsible for the implementation of new infrastructure and technology initiatives for one of the fastest growing fashion brands in the world.  Throughout his career, he has held various management positions, including executive vice president and CIO for Direct Brands, Inc, CIO for Godiva Chocolatier and director of information technology for the Campbell Soup Company.

"I am looking forward for the opportunity to join Royal Caribbean, a company that stands for excellence in the travel industry," said Giresi. "Working with the IT team, we will create the infrastructure necessary to move the company to the next level."

Royal Caribbean appoints new Chief Marketing Officer


Royal Caribbean announced today it has named Jim Berra its new Chief Marketing Officer.

Photo by Orlando Business Journal

Jim will be responsible for all aspects of the cruise line’s marketing program, including brand strategy and positioning, consumer and trade advertising, web and loyalty marketing, research, brand development and communications. He will report to Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO.

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley commented on the appointment, "We are delighted to have Jim join our team. With so many exciting initiatives on the immediate horizon for our brand, we feel that Jim’s impressive history of creativity and proven results will continue the momentum of innovation the brand has created."

Jim joins Royal Caribbean after most recently serving as senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Line, where he oversaw the company's advertising, public relations, customer marketing and digital efforts.

Previously, he served as senior vice president and general manager for Rodale Interactive, where he led the development and marketing of the company’s online businesses. Rodale is a global media company publishing some of the best-known health and wellness lifestyle magazines and books. Prior to that Jim also held various marketing positions at Starwood Hotels & Resorts including as the senior vice president of customer marketing and strategic alliances, where he oversaw Starwood’s loyalty programs, customer relationship management and strategic alliances. Jim began his marketing career at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.

Jim received Bachelor’s degrees in economics and philosophy from Northwestern University. He has been recognized with several awards and was listed as one of the World's 50 Most Influential CMOs in 2013 and 2014 by Forbes Magazine; received the Industry Impact Award by Inside Flyer Magazine; and was included in Brand Week’s list of Next Generation Marketers.

Royal Caribbean names new vice president of Food and Beverage Operations


Royal Caribbean announce dtoday John Sulley will be its new vice president of Food and Beverage Operations.

Chef Suley will oversee more than 265 individual restaurants aboard 23 of the most innovative cruise ships sailing around the world.

Prior to this position, Chef Suley was the associate vice president of Food and Beverage Operations for Celebrity Cruises, where he led all menu development and implementation, chef recruitment and training. Most recently, he was instrumental in the brand’s many recognitions in the Wine Spectator 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards, as well as the lauded launch of Celebrity’s suite-class restaurant Luminae.

Prior to joining Celebrity Cruises in 2011, he was the executive chef at three-time James Beard Award-winner Alfred Portale’s Gotham Bar and Grill in New York City and Gotham Steak, fomerly at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The innovative Chef Suley also has worked at high-profile hospitality brands, including the Ritz Carlton, South Beach, Waldorf Astoria and St. Regis Hotels, and alongside some of the world’s most accomplished chefs, including Daniel Boulud.

Royal Caribbean senior vice president of Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean, Mark Tamis, commented on Suley's promotion, "We are very excited to welcome John to Royal Caribbean.  John brings awesome experience and unmatched skill in delivering delicious dining experiences on land and at sea. His high-energy leadership will continue to elevate the onboard dining experience for our guests as part of the best vacations that only Royal Caribbean can deliver."

Royal Caribbean names new Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations


Royal Caribbean announced today it has named Mark Tamis as its new senior vice president, Hotel Operations.

Tamis will oversee Royal Caribbean's hotel services, food, beverage, entertainment and private destinations, and will report directly to Royal Caribbean CEO and President Michael Bayley.

"Mark has extensive knowledge and a proven track record of success in the hospitality industry and I look forward to welcoming him to the Royal family," said Bayley. "In his role, Mark will lead the dedicated men and women who work every day to deliver the best vacation adventures to our guests from around the world. And I am confident that he can help us take our award-winning experience to even greater heights."

Tamis comes to Royal Caribbean after serving as senior vice president, Guest Operations with Carnival Cruise Lines.

Tamis is also active in various civic and community service organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Special Olympics, and founded, an organization that encourages fathers to volunteer with their children to benefit their communities.

Royal Caribbean leaning towards more promotions and less cruise discounts


During Royal Caribbean's fourth quarter financial results earnings call with investors, Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain indicated the company was opting to offer promotions that offer passengers added benefits in lieu of discounting cruise fares.

Fain discussed the strategy and said passengers prefer to get things like onboard credit, free gratuities or drink packages instead of reducing the overall price of a cruise to get more bookings.

"One of the things you've seen is that we are doing more and more with value added versus discounts. We really feel that the consumer prefers that. It works out better for the travel agents, " Fain said during the call.

In addition, cruise promos are preferred by travel agents who get a higher commissionable cruise fare to sell.

This strategy did exceedingly well with sister brand Celebrity Cruises, who had a "123 Go" offer that was focused only on offering extras to guests.

"I think those kind of value added packages are proving from the market point of view to be very popular with the consumer, " Fain explained.

"And it means that instead of touting ourselves on price, we tout ourselves on what we are offering. We think that the market is ready for, and we are very much focused on trying to upgrade ourselves, the image and do less price-fighting and more 'this why you are better on this kind of a cruise'."

Royal Caribbean relaunches official blog with new design


Royal Caribbean has relaunched its Sea Views Blog that periodically posts updates about what's happening in the fleet with a new design.

In a post by Royal Caribbean President & COO Adam Goldstein, he announced the blog has been, "refreshed, broadened and considerably more visual than it has been in previous years".

The vision of the blog will feature posts all about trending topics, news pieces and behind-the-scenes looks.  It's going to "open up" with more content from across the company.  Most of the updates will come from Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley and his Royal Caribbean International brand leadership team.  Goldstein did indicate he will still chime in once in a while with new posts too.

Goldstein promised plenty of coverage of what's going on with the brand new Quantum of the Seas and the upcoming launch of sister ship Anthem of the Seas.