Seven Good Things About Royal Caribbean

By: Matt Hochberg writer Chris Owen wrote a blog entry about his top seven things he loves about Royal Caribbean and as a fellow Royal Caribbean fan, it's a great read. His top list includes..

  • They’re nice, good people
  • Most diverse fleet
  • The Wow
  • The Labadee factor
  • Entertainment Options
  • Pre-cruise planner
  • Celebrity

Here's Chris' take on the Royal Caribbean fleet...

No doubt about it, while other lines have different classes of ships, no other fleet has the diversity between classes that Royal Caribbean does. Ranging from 73, 000 ton Monarch of the Seas to 154,000 ton Oasis of the Seas, their different classes of ships offer unique experiences. Common elements among the ships though like signature restaurants and familiar features make sailing any of the ships feel like a trip back home after the first time.

Certainly some people may not get why some people (like us) love cruising with Royal Caribbean and this is a good explanation of why we like them so much.

Royal Caribbean promotes holiday cruises

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is looking to get more people to consider a cruise vacation as a way of celebrating the holidays this year, from from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, aboard its cruise ships.

For those considering Thanksgiving, Royal Caribbean ships will feature a gourmet turkey dinner of course as well as the award-winning Adventure Ocean program, which will provide kids with themed activities including Thanksgiving story time and arts and crafts.

If you're considering December, Royal Caribbean will offer Hanukkah-themed festivities lasting all eight days of the holiday, including a Rabbi aboard every ship to conduct a nightly menorah lighting ceremony and services. For those celebrating Christmas, a Catholic priest also will be aboard to lead the holiday’s observances including a midnight mass on Christmas Eve.  

Speaking of Christmas, there's more onboard if you're considering going during the Christmas season, including classic movie screenings, guest and crew caroling, cookie decorating, special Christmas-themed Adventure Ocean programming, and holiday ice skating aboard select ships.

Or if New Years is when you'd like to be on a Royal Caribbean ship, there are special ways to ring in the new year such as the Captain’s Countdown and themed parties in every onboard lounge. Young cruisers will enjoy the extended late night party zone where kids and teens will be celebrating at their own New Year’s festivities.

Royal Caribbean senior vice president of Marketing Betsy O’Rourke thinks a cruise is the perfect way to celebrate family holidays, "There is really no better holiday value than spending your’s aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise with family and friends. All too often, people get stressed out with holiday preparation and entertaining. Royal Caribbean takes care of all this work, providing guests the opportunity to relax and truly enjoy the holiday season with their loved ones. Additionally, the Diamond Celebration in December will offer exclusive benefits and programs to our Diamond-status Crown & Anchor Society members to recognize our most loyal guests"

Cayman Islands concerned over drop in cruises

By: Matt Hochberg

The Department of Tourism in the Cayman Island is concerned after news that cruise ship calls to Grand Cayman will be cut by twenty five percent next year.  In response to the news, the Department of Tourism has announced plans for an enhanced experience at the port, which will be  based on responses from a survey conducted among visiting passengers earlier this year.

In addition, tourism officials are going ahead with a plan to improve service delivery as well as the port’s physical environment. This six month project will take the rest of the year and is a joint venture between the Department of Tourism, the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Cruise Industry Partners.

With the reduction of calls to Cayman next year by cruise lines there were concerns that problems with visitor experience had been instrumental in the cruise lines’ decision to drop Grand Cayman. CNS has contacted both Royal Caribbean and Carnival to ask them why they are reducing calls to the Cayman Islands and is still awaiting a response.

Local businesses seem most concerned with the conditions at the George Town port and the Spotts terminals.  Their primary concern is the need to begin work on the cruise berthing facilities.

Australia to host 2010 Cruise Down Under conference

By: Matt Hochberg

The growth of cruising as a tourism sector will be discussed at the 2010 Cruise Down Under conference in Brisbane next week, Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor said today. 

Mr Lawlor said Australia continued to welcome an increasing number of cruise ship passengers to its shores; with passenger numbers growing by more than 30 percent in 2008 – 2009, compared with the previous year.
“The 14th annual Cruise Down Under conference, sponsored by Tourism Queensland, Portside Wharf and Brisbane Marketing will bring together more than 100 delegates from across the Asia Pacific region,” Mr Lawlor said. 
“The conference is the premier cruise shipping event for tourism and cruise officials to gather and discuss the state of the industry, international port comparisons and the sustainability of the industry.
“The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Rise to the Challenge’ and keynote speakers include top international and domestic cruise executives.
“Attendees will gain insights from leading representatives from Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises/Royal Celebrity Tours and Aurora Expeditions, into the challenges for the industry and the growth opportunities into the future.”
Mr Lawlor said Tourism Queensland had increased its focus on the cruise industry in response to the continuous growth the cruise market experienced in recent years. 
“Between 2008 and 2009 Queensland’s cruise shipping industry generated more than $203 million in related expenditure - an increase of more than $52 million on the previous year - and supported more than 1000 full time jobs,” he said.
“Furthermore almost 248,000 passengers visited Queensland ports during the same year, an increase of more than 78,500 compared with 2007-08.”
Cruise shipping has been identified as a priority market development opportunity for Queensland. Supporting the industry’s growth and protecting tourism jobs are key actions of the Bligh Government’s Tourism Action Plan to 2012. 

Port Canaveral readies bigger 2011 budget plan

By: Matt Hochberg

Port Canaveral, Florida officials released on Wednesday a healthy 2011 year budget proposal that's nearly 22 percent bigger than the 2010 plan. Thanks to expected larger-capacity cruise ships, such as Freedom of the Seas as well as cargo shipping, revenues from those two sectors are forecast to increase more than 23 percent, from the current $39 million to $48 million in 2011.

Port officials will vote on the 2011 budget plan in September and Port Canaveral's chief executive officer expects an even better budget picture in 2012.

Port Canaveral has been raking in the money despite other municipalities seek ways to shore up budget gaps. How does Port Canaveral do it? The port's revenues come mostly through lease arrangements with tenants, ship tariffs and other business dealings.

"It's amazing how well these numbers look," said Tom Goodson, chairman of the port commission, "because the real world is nothing like this."

Earlier this month Port Canaveral CEO J. Stanley Payne said that he wanted to add a brand new multimillion dollar cruise terminal to Port Canaveral.  Port Canaveral is home to Freedom of the Seas as well as Monarch of the Seas.

Upgrades coming to some Royal Caribbean ships

By: Matt Hochberg

The very successful debut of the Oasis of the Seas also came with some new amenities and entertainment options that were never seen on the Royal Caribbean fleet and now Royal Caribbean is set to copy some of those new innovations to existing ships.

Starting in early 2011, passengers will soon enjoy new dining opportunities, entertainment, children’s programming and other enhancements on select Royal Caribbean ships already in service.  These vessels include Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.

Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas will receive...

  • Broadway show (yet to be named and Liberty of the Seas only)
  • Royal Babies and Tots Nursery
  • Large 18.5-foot video screen overlooking family pool area
  • LCD wayfinder system
  • Cupcake Cupboard restaurant
  • Vintages lounge will be redone

Tampa declines to raise cruise tariffs

By: Matt Hochberg

Tampa, Florida port commissioners declined to approve staff recommendations to raise the daily parking garage rates from $14 to $15 and toincrease tariffs by 3 percent on cruse lines.

Raising the tariff would have affected Royal Caribbean because unlike other cruise companies in Tampa, Royal Caribbean does not have a long-term contract with the port that includes payments that can be lower than a tariff arrangement.  While Royal Caribbean may be subject to tariff increases in the future still, Royal Caribbean enjoys the luxury of being able to discontinue service at any time.