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Royal Caribbean updates: Return to Asia, cruise cancellations, help for travel agents, & more

15 Jul 2022
Matt Hochberg

Want to know the latest Royal Caribbean this over the past week?

Serenade of the Seas in St Lucia

Royal Caribbean may not have made any big announcements lately, but there's still plenty happening in and around Royal Caribbean that you should know about.

In an effort to keep you updated, here's some of the cruise news happening that you might find interesting.

Have a great weekend!

Royal Caribbean returns to Asia for first time since 2020

Spectrum of the Seas in Malaysia

Spectrum of the Seas recently sailed its first international call in Asia since December 2020.

Spectrum of the Seas sailed from her homeport of Singapore and arrived at Malaysia's Port Klang.

The Royal Caribbean ship's arrival in Malaysia is an import milestone as it marks the return of cruising to Asia. Malaysia and Indonesia are the first Southeast Asian countries to resume port calls since cruising was halted in March 2020.

Spectrum of the Seas in Malaysia

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley shared the news on Facebook, "After over 350 ocean getaways from Singapore, our guests finally got to explore the culture, history, and mouth-watering street food of Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia."

"We are looking forward to many more memorable vacations out of Singapore. Thank you to our partners for making this all possible !"

Serenade of the Seas European 2023 cruises cancelled

It appears Royal Caribbean is redeploying Serenade of the Seas in summer 2023.

Serenade of the Seas was to offer sailings departing from Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden starting May 21st, 2023. 

Travel agents received an update indicating the war in Ukraine is to blame for the change, "However, with the increased uncertainty of visiting St. Petersburg, Russia, we've reviewed our upcoming 2023 deployment and decided to reposition Serenade of the Seas to a new homeport in Florida for our Summer 2023 season. "

Instead, Serenade of the Seas will be homeported in Florida in summer 2023

Royal Caribbean helps travel agents with new call back feature

Royal Caribbean has added another upgrade for travel agents to make their jobs a little bit easier.

A new call back function has been added for travel partners in their contact centers in an effort to minimize hold times.

The added feature is first available to trade partners booking groups and expected to be broadly available for U.S. and Canada-based trade at the end of August 2022.

When travel partners call the contact centers, they are immediately prompted with the option of a call back if the wait time exceeds 20 minutes. Once prompted, travel partners can leave a brief message and input their number to initiate a call back with a Royal Caribbean representative. A direct number to a land line or mobile is required; extensions are not supported. 

Royal Caribbean has been steadily working to make the process easier for travel agents to do their jobs, with over a dozen automation enhancements in the last 24 months.

Disney Cruise Line raises gratuity

Disney Wish

Something to keep an eye on is another cruise line has raised their gratuities.

Disney Cruise Line increased its recommended gratuity rates $1 per day, per stateroom guest.

With the change, DCL's gratuities are now at $14.50 per passenger, per day for most staterooms, and $15.50 per passenger, per day for concierge suites.

Carnival funnel

Carnival and NCL have already raised their gratuities earlier this year.

Royal Caribbean hasn't touched their gratuity rate since the end of 2017, when they announced a change to the gratuity to begin in 2018.

Royal Caribbean hiring frenzy continues

Crew members together

Since the spring, Royal Caribbean has been busy trying to hire lots of new crew members, and that trend is continuing.

Royal Caribbean recently held career fairs in three different countries.

In Kenya, the company is looking to hire 2,000 new crew to work as cooks, waiters, baristas, kitchen utility staff, pastry chefs, guest relations agents, lifeguards, and marine staff.

Cruise ship docked in Miami

They've also recently hired 600 people from Trinidad and Tobago as new crew.

Royal Caribbean also held hold another recruitment drive earlier this week in Grenada.