Propulsion issue slows Allure of the Seas and changes some itineraries

In:
02May2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Guests with sailings booked on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas are receiving emails from the cruise line that their itinerary has changed due to a speed restriction.

Emails similar to this one that Royal Caribbean Blog reader Nathan shared with us, were sent to guests informing them of the itinerary change.

Royal Caribbean has not indicated the nature of the issue exactly. Based on emails sent to guests, it appears the changes mostly affect Eastern Caribbean itineraries, with St. Thomas often being replaced with San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our readers have indicated that Western Caribbean itineraries have mostly seen some shifts in times, but no port swaps.

Allure of the Seas had an issue with her propulsion in 2017, that resulted in the ship going in for a dry dock to repair the problem. She also had a propulsion issue back in 2013.

Royal Caribbean talks Cuba, early Perfect Day response and more during earnings call with investors

In:
02May2019
By: Matt Hochberg

After each fiscal quarter, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. holds a conference call with investors to go over their quarterly results that were released earlier in the day.  While most of this discussion is mired in financial discussion, there are some interesting tidbits that guests can pull out of these discussions.

We rounded up the most intriguing bits from the earnings call that may provide guidance or a view of where the cruise line is going, and how leadership sees things currently.

No changes to Cuba...yet

Ever since the U.S. Administration made an announcement that it intends to clamp down on recent changes to America's policy towards Cuba, many have wondered what impact that will have on cruises to Cuba.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd Chairman and CEO Richard Fain took a little time to speak on the subject, saying essentially that nothing has changed quite yet,  "If such legislation does ensue, we believe that we possess all defenses. And we're not expecting to change our itineraries as a result. The administration also commented on possible changes to the regulations that apply to travel to Cuba."

"At this point, we don't know if there will be any changes, what those changes might be? Or to what extent they would impact us. Only 3% of our itineraries currently go to Cuba. And any impact would depend on what the regulations say. And how much advanced notice we and our guests would receive."

Perfect Day impact

Throughout the call with investors, Royal Caribbean's executives were very bullish on the potential Perfect Day at CocoCay will bring to the cruise line's offerings. Not only is it looking like a really fun place to spend the day, but it also looks like it will bring a big return for the company.

Mr. Fain started off the call saying, " To say that, she is a beauty is a massive understatement and we believe that we have created a truly game changer for the cruise industry, in fact for the vacation industry."

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty spoke to the early returns the cruise line is seeing, "Perfect Day at CocoCay hasn't officially opened yet, but it's clearly fueling additional and higher-yielding demand for our Caribbean itineraries. Bookings and pricing have been exceeding our expectations overall for the Caribbean, with sailings visiting Perfect Day up by more than other Caribbean itineraries."

Guests spending onboard the ship is at the heart of higher revenue

If you are looking for a common thread among the recent strong financial results that Royal Caribbean has shown lately, the onboard purchases guests have been making is a good place to start.

Once again, onboard spending was up and clearly guests are enjoying the various packages they can purchase for their sailing.

Mr. Liberty mentioned, "On the onboard side, which has been exceptionally strong we saw an over index of spend on shore excursion our packages like beverage packaging, internet package and again more focused on the experiential stuff versus seeing more spend occur within the retail shops."

Perfect Day at CocoCay is engineered around guest experience

One of the analysts on the conference call inquired about the prospect of Perfect Day at CocoCay might seem overcrowded.  More generally, he wanted to know how all the new additions and expansion will not impact the  customer experience that would create a negative passenger experience.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley responded by saying, "We've designed Perfect Day to deliver what we think will generally be a perfect day for our customers. And we, from what we've seen so far with between 4,000 and 6,000 people on the island, we've got a huge amount of space available."

"So we've engineered designed for peak and the peak was way up close to 10,000. We obviously know we'll operate it with bigger ships coming to Perfect Day, and we'll see how we go. I think we're kind of feeling pretty optimistic about the potential for three ship calls versus two ship calls that could take us up to 12,000 a day. And remember, it's a fairly large island and we've only developed about a third of it."

New cruisers versus loyal customers

One analyst noticed a trend that Royal Caribbean is able to hold on to pricing premiums on new ships.

Mr. Bailey answered by talking about the cruise line's strategy of attracting people new to cruise, while retaining loyal customers, "I think we stated a few years ago one of our key areas of focus was on new-to-cruise in particularly in market like the United States we've been quite focused on growing our new-to-cruise segment. "

"We have changed some of our strategy so everything that we've done with the short product where we took the Voyager class ships and put them through role amplified and then place them into the short product with Perfect Day CocoCay has really stimulated that new-to-cruise segment. So that's part of it."

"Our loyalty customers continue to grow. They like the brands and they enjoy what we provide. I think the new ships, we've been very focused on not only the continuation of kind of on innovation in bringing new products and services to our guests. But we've done a lot more analytics on, really trying to understand what's going to attract those customers and bring them back and also be able to maintain higher yields."

New app rollout update

Many guests have been wondering when will a certain ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet gain support for the cruise line's new smart phone app.

Mr. Fain provided a brief update on the project rollout at the start of the call. "I'm particularly excited this is already been so broadly deployed that 60% of our guests can get it available. And, towards the end of the year it will be virtually all our guests. And the ratings that it's getting in the Apple App Store are 4.7."

Voyager of the Seas makes maiden call to Indonesian island

In:
02May2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas arrived for the first time at Bintan Island, Indonesia on May 2, 2019. 

The visit is part of a 3-night cruise from Singapore, which also called at Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) yesterday.

To commemorate the occasion, a traditional plaque and key ceremony was held onboard, whereby Voyager of the Seas’ Captain Wu Huimin exchanged plaques with Mr Nurdin Basirun, Governor of Riau Island and Mr Frans Gunara, Vice President Director of PT. Bintan Resort Cakrawala. Angie Stephen, Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Royal Caribbean Cruises was also present at the ceremony.

The Indonesian port and government delegation with the Royal Caribbean team onboard Voyager of the Seas in Bintan.

Bintan Resorts is famous for its pristine sandy beaches and boasts of 13 different types of resort accommodation. There are many attractions and all visitors are treated to a vast variety of indoor and outdoor activities. These include water and sea sports, Crystal Lagoon Treasure Bay which is the biggest sea water swimming pool in Southeast Asia,  golf at four different designer courses, various traditional Indonesian massage and spa therapies, mangrove discovery tours and the nature walks at Safari Lagoi where visitors can soak in the beauty of nature.  Guests will also get a chance to immerse themselves in Indonesian culture and tradition particular to the Riau region. In addition, they can partake in the local delicacies, especially fresh seafood that can whet any appetite and make one crave for more.

In greater Bintan, guests can enjoy the Trikora Coastal Exploration Tour which is an eight-hour adventure that brings guests to sacred caves to learn about the island’s migrant history.  On the Tanjung Pinang Highlights Tour, guests can learn about the Chinese heritage at Tian Shang Miao, a walk around 500 Lohan Temple with life-sized sculptures, Vihara Dharma Sasana temples followed by Banten's oldest monastery before ending with picturesque sand dunes and blue lagoons.

The ship will continue her Southeast Asia season out from Singapore until late June, which includes itineraries such as the 3-night cruise to Penang, 4-night cruise to Penang and Phuket, and a 5-night Spice of Southeast Asia cruise to Penang, Langkawi and Phuket.

Royal Caribbean expects Oasis of the Seas to return to service on May 5

In:
01May2019
By: Matt Hochberg

In the weeks since a shipyard accident required Royal Caribbean to make unscheduled repairs to Oasis of the Seas, it now appears the ship is on schedule to return to service on May 5.

During an earnings call with investors today, executives from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced that Oasis of the Seas is expected to return back to service for its normally scheduled May 5, 2019 sailing from Barcelona.

On April 1, 2019, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas was undergoing maintenance at the Grand Bahama Shipyard when an accident involving the drydock caused two construction cranes to collapse on the stern of the ship.  The damage to the ship was extensive and the ship had to go to a dock in Europe for repairs.  As a result, the ship was taken out of service for almost a month.

The company estimates the direct financial impact of this unusual event, net of insurance, will be a reduction of approximately $0.25 per share to the company's full year Adjusted EPS, mostly driven by lost revenue.

Royal Caribbean's WOW Sale offers bonus onboard credit

In:
01May2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's WOW Sale begins today, with 50% off second guest, kids sail free offer and up to $300 onboard credit.

The WOW Sale is valid on bookings made between May 1 – 5, 2019 on select sailings departing on or after June 1, 2019.

The WOW Sale includes:

  • 50% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first, full-fare paying guest.
  • 25% cruise fare savings for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests.
  • Up to $300 to spend at sea per stateroom determined by category booked and sailing length:
    • Sailings 5 nights or less, $50 OBC for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $150 for Suites; on sailing
    • 6 nights or longer, $75 OBC for Interior and Ocean View, $100 for Balconies and $300 for Suites.
    • Onboard credit does not apply to China departures. 
  • Kids Sail Free:
    • Provides free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4-night or longer Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, CaribNE, Coastal, Cuba, Europe and Hawaii sailings departing between September 1, 2019 – May 15, 2020.
    • Kids Sail Free excludes 2019 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 23 - 30, 2019), Holiday sailings (Sailings between December 15, 2019 – January 3, 2020), President’s Day sailings (Sailings between February 14 – 17, 2020), Spring Break sailings (Sailings between March 14 – 23, 2020) and Holy Week/Easter sailings (Sailings between April 3 – 17, 2020). 

BOGO and Kids Sail Free are combinable with each other as well as with WOW Sale, promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. WOW Sale is combinable with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers and Free Upgrades but not combinable with Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates.

Offer available to residents of United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and select countries in the Caribbean. 

Perfect Day at CocoCay: Everything you need to know!

In:
30Apr2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is transforming its private island in the Bahamas to an all-new experience known as Perfect Day at CocoCay.  It promises to revolutionize the cruise line private island visit by offering a variety of new venues, activities and ways to indulge and relax. Perfect Day represents a major step forward in what guests can expect from a private island day.

Royal Caribbean is spending $250 million in making over CocoCay and will open the Perfect Day experience in multiple phases. Royal Caribbean thinks Perfect Day will deliver the kind of memorable vacations its guests want either on land or at sea.

What is Perfect Day at CocoCay?

Perfect Day at CocoCay is Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas and the first island in the cruise line's Perfect Day Island Collection, a series of private island destinations around the world.

Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas will boast a number of distinct experiences and iconic features, including racing down the tallest waterslide in North America, riding the tide of the Caribbean’s largest wave pool, or taking in the highest view in The Bahamas from a helium balloon 450 feet in the air, unwinding at the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, or enjoying the perfect beach day. Royal Caribbean hopes it can offer enough to create a guest's perfect vacation day – no matter what that may look like.

What types of slides, rides, cabanas, beaches, and pools are offered?

Guests can choose from a variety of things to do at Perfect Day at CocoCay. Beyond a traditional beach day, there are dining venues, a water park, beach club, helium balloon and more to try.

Here are the major highlights:

  • Thrill Waterpark
    • Daredevil’s Tower featuring, Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America.
    • Family Tower, a waterslide experience for families and kids with 6 slides.
    • Wave Pool, the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.
    • Adventure Pool, kid-friendly obstacle course pool.
    • Zip Line, 1,600 feet long over the waterpark.
    • Captain Jack’s Grill
    • Snack Shack 
  • Splashaway Bay
  • Captain Jill’s Galleon
  • Chill Island 
    • Oasis Lagoon freshwater pool and bar
    • The beach
    • Chill Grill
    • Beach Side Cabanas
    • Up, Up and Away helium balloon
      • Rise 450 feet above Perfect Day at CocoCay in a colorful helium balloon and provides the highest vantage point in the Caribbean.
    • South Beach
      • Offering volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball. 
    • Coco Beach Club
      • Oceanfront infinity pool, upgraded cuisine and the only overwater cabanas in the Bahamas.

    When does Perfect Day at CocoCay open? 

    The new pier that allows ships to dock at the island opened in March 2019. 

    The first phase of Perfect Day at CocoCay officially opened on May 4th with Thrill Waterpark, the Zip Line, Splashaway Bay aqua park, Up, Up and Away helium balloon, Captain Jill’s Galleon, Skipper’s Grill dining, Captain Jack’s dining, Chill Island, Chill Grill dining, and Oasis Lagoon freshwater pool available to all guests. 

    South Beach, Coco Beach Club and the overwater cabanas will open in December 2019.

    Which ships sail to Perfect Day at CocoCay?

    A number of Royal Caribbean cruise ships will offer stops at Perfect Day on CocoCay on select itineraries over the next two years. In 2019, 11 ships will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay. These include:

    • Adventure of the Seas
    • Allure of the Seas
    • Anthem of the Seas
    • Grandeur of the Seas
    • Harmony of the Seas
    • Mariner of the Seas
    • Navigator of the Seas
    • Oasis of the Seas
    • Rhapsody of the Seas
    • Symphony of the Seas

    When I can get off my ship and onto the island? When do I need to be back on board?

    Your Royal Caribbean ship will dock at the new pier Royal Caribbean has added to the island, eliminating the need for tenders.

    Just like any port of call Royal Caribbean visits, there are posted times and operating hours for Perfect Day at CocoCay. Refer to your Cruise Compass and onboard announcements for specific times, but your ship will spend many hours during the course of your visit.

    How much does Perfect Day at CocoCay cost? Is there an admission fee? 

    A majority of what Royal Caribbean offers at Perfect Day at CocoCay is complimentary, with some attractions and experiences carrying an additional cost.

    Some of the experiences that have no additional costs include Oasis Lagoon, Captain Jill’s Galleon, Splashaway Bay, and new sports courts on South Beach. Royal Caribbean has also enhanced its beaches like Chill Island and South Beach, both offering plenty of free beach chairs and beach side activities.

    Thrill Waterpark offers half and full day passes for an additional cost. They go onto your SeaPass card and you simply scan at the entrance to the water park. You can also purchase passes at the entrance if you did not pre-purchase prior to your cruise or on board.

    Up, Up, and Away and the Zip Line are treated as excursions, and carry an additional cost.

    A variety of dining venues are also included at no additional cost to ensure there is plenty of food to enjoy while on the island throughout the day. Five new complimentary dining venues are located throughout the island.

    You can view a full breakdown of what is included and what costs extra at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

    What are some other important things that may or may not have an extra charge?

    You will find complimentary freshwater showers, restrooms, and changing rooms available on the island.  Towels, umbrellas and beach chairs are complimentary to all of our guests.

    Lockers are available throughout the island for a nominal rental fee. 

    Cabanas are available for an additional cost

    What are the age, height, or weight restrictions or requirements for the slides, rides and experiences?

    There are no age restrictions for the experiences at Perfect Day at CocoCay. Some slides and activities have height and
    weight restrictions, and you can refer to our list of restrictions for specifics.

    Many of the island’s other experiences, such as Up, Up and Away helium balloon, Oasis Lagoon freshwater pool, and Captain Jill’s Galleon, are open to all adventurers. 

    If there is bad weather and I booked water park admission, Up, Up and Away, zip line, or a cabana, will the excursion be canceled and will I receive a refund?

    If Royal Caribbean cancels the excursion, your onboard account will be fully refunded.

    Just like any shore excursion you book at any port Royal Caribbean visits, shore activities are subject to the same policy as the cruise line's shore excursions at other global destinations.  This essentially means you cannot opt for a refund/cancellation because the weather is not to your liking.

    Excursions can be modified or canceled up to 48 hours prior to port arrival without penalty. The deadline for tour exchanges is 48 hours before port arrival. 

    Will beverage or Wi-Fi packages be used at Perfect Day at CocoCay?

    Yes, Royal Caribbean will honor beverage and internet packages purchased online or onboard its ships while visiting the island. 

    Royal Caribbean's Voom internet offerings are also available to use while on CocoCay.

    Do I need my SeaPass card to enter Perfect Day at CocoCay? How do I pay for things on the island?

    Just like any port of call your Royal Caribbean ship visits, you will need your SeaPass card to exit and re-board the ship. In addition, your SeaPass card is what you will use to pay for things on the island.

    Your SeaPass card or Royal Caribbean app is needed to scan your tickets for admission to the waterpark.

    The only exception is the straw market, which is operated by Bahamaians, and only US Dollars are accepted by these vendors.

    Can I fly a drone at Perfect Day at CocoCay?

    No, drones may not be operated at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

    Can I use a GoPro camera at Perfect Day at CocoCay?

    GoPro cameras are allowed to be used on the island, with the exception that for safety reasons any personal electronic device of any kind are not allowed on any of the following attractions:

    • All water slides at Thrill Waterpark
    • Adventure Pool in Thrill Waterpark
    • Splashaway Bay
    • Captain Jill’s Galleon

    On the island’s Zip Line, riders who wish to wear a GoPro must bring their own helmet mount that attaches securely to the helmet. If the staff notices the camera prevents a guest from safely participating in the activity at any time, they may ask the guest to remove or adjust the camera.

    Is there a pool or area for babies and toddlers to swim at Perfect Day at CocoCay?

    Babies and toddlers with swim diapers can swim in all pools, and also in the ocean at all beaches. 

    Splashaway Bay and Captain Jill’s Galleon are also available to children. Splashaway Bay on Perfect Day at CocoCay is the largest edition yet, and comes naturally with three of its own waterslides.

    Is there transportation on Perfect Day at CocoCay?

    A tram service will run every 15 minutes at all times on the island and includes five stops: Thrill Waterpark, South Beach, Coco Beach Club, Chill Island, and Oasis Lagoon.

    A tram line will also serve Coco Beach Club exclusively during morning peak hours. All trams are accessible.

    Will I be able to find gluten free and vegetarian meal options on Perfect Day at CocoCay? What if I have other dietary needs?

    Royal Caribbean's dining venues on the island will offer gluten free and vegetarian options, as well as options to suit most dietary needs.

    Is there an option to stay overnight?

    Royal Caribbean is considering the possibility of designing the island to accommodate overnight and/or extended stays in the future. For now, visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay are only during the day.

    Up, Up and Away helium balloon launches at Perfect Day at CocoCay

    In:
    29Apr2019
    By: Matt Hochberg

    One of the signature attractions Royal Caribbean has added to its Perfect Day at CocoCay makeover has launched.

    The Up, Up and Away helium balloon takes guests 450 feet above Perfect Day at CocoCay, providing the highest vantage point in The Bahamas.

    The cost for Up, Up and Away will vary by season:

    • Age 13+: $39-$99 per person
    • Age 4-12: $24-$64
    • Age 0-3: Complimentary

    There are no age, height or weight restrictions for enjoying the helium balloon ride.

    Guests can book a ride on Up, Up and Away through Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner.

    Perfect Day at CocoCay is a private destination exclusively for Royal Caribbean guests, located in The Bahamas. 

    Royal Caribbean app allows guests to open stateroom door on Spectrum of the Seas

    In:
    29Apr2019
    By: Matt Hochberg

    Guests on Spectrum of the Seas are the first to be able to use Royal Caribbean's new app to open their stateroom door.

    RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Stephen O’Brien shared with us a look at how the new app allows guests to use their app to open their doors.  The app works in conjunction with a SeaPass card or WOWband.

     

    After installing the digital key, the home screen of the Royal Caribbean app adds a door icon.

    In addition, the bed icon also allows guests to control the stateroom television from the app.

    Spectrum of the Seas is the first Royal Caribbean International ship to offer these features.

    The app is available for download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

    Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: April 28, 2019

    In:
    28Apr2019
    By: Matt Hochberg

    Did you miss any of this week's Royal Caribbean news? No worries, because we have you covered with our wrap-up of cruise news!

    Royal Caribbean began construction of its fifth Oasis Class ship this week.

    The steel cutting, marking the official start of construction, took place at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

    Royal Caribbean News

    Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

    The 299th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, featuring emails from many podcast listeners.

    Matt dives into the email bag this week and answers questions about what to do if you have a late flight after your cruise, room upgrades, bringing drinks onboard and more.

    Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

    Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

    Cruise.blog shared info on the ultimate Elvis tribute cruise planned for a Royal Caribbean cruise.

    Cruise Industry News wrote about how Royal Caribbean and Celebrity focused on target markets.

    Bahamas Eyewitness News reports that Royal Caribbean donated laptops to the National Training Agency.

    The Points Guy compared Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Disney for families.

    Conde Nast Traveler shared a trick to save up to 40 percent on cruise ships.

    Royal Caribbean shared 10 things you didn't know about the Mediterranean.

    Spectrum of the Seas crosses Suez Canal

    In:
    26Apr2019
    By: Matt Hochberg

    Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas completed her Suez Canal crossing on her way to to Asia.

    According to a statement by the Suez Canal Authority, Spectrum of the Seas crossed the canal from north to south as part of a 46-night Global Odyssey from Barcelona, Spain to Shanghai, with the next stop to be Jordan’s Aqaba port.

    The reported crossing fees were $964,000.

    Accommodating 4,246 guests at double occupancy and 1,551 international crew members, Spectrum will be the largest and most expensive ship in Asia when she arrives to her new home in Shanghai on June 3, 2019.

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