Read these seven cruise absurdities

In:
23Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Christopher Elliott has written up some really interesting aspects of the cruise industry that you might want to look into before going on your next cruise to avoid these pitfalls.  Some you may know and others are less well known but the article as a whole is a good read.  These are definitely good to know about to safeguard yourself against a potential problem on your next cruise.  There are seven of these, but here's just one.

It isn’t just the best restaurants that are extra, of course. That margarita you ordered with lunch is $8. Sodas are extra, too. So are excursions, and pretty much anything else that isn’t bolted down on the ship.
 
Even amenities that you think would be included, aren’t. For example, Diane Hansen found that her luxury cruise didn’t allow her to use the sauna and steam room without paying a surcharge. Most cruise ships allow you to use thespa at no extra charge. So she blogged about her experience and then decided to take her business elsewhere. “We were going to get a couples massage on board,” she says. “Instead, we opted for one on shore and didn't spend any money at all in the on board spa.”

Royal Caribbean forms strategic partnership to aid economic development of Haiti

In:
23Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has partnered with RLJ Companies, Global Building Solutions, LLC and Haiti-based WIN Group, to build two structured insulated panel manufacturing facilities that will provide construction materials for building housing and critical infrastructure in and around key business centers in Haiti.  Royal Caribbean, the second largest investor in Haiti, is helping to rebuild a nation devastated by natural disaster.

"While the situation in Haiti is extremely challenging, our team was very encouraged by President Preval's leadership, his commitment to political stability, openness towards the international business community, and desire for further investment," said Johnson. "We had a very constructive visit, and I've no doubt that bringing together international and local businesses with a broad range of expertise will allow this project to help meet the country's crucial housing and infrastructure needs."

Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean hopes that the new plan will further assist in rebuilding Haiti and work in nicely with the initiatives Royal Caribbean has already undertaken to help the area, "Since the devastating earthquake earlier this year, we have been assisting Haiti in its recovery by providing basic life necessities: medical supplies, water, food and education. Royal Caribbean is currently building a model school in Labadee. What better way to help rebuild a country than by contributing to a strong education for its children? We will be acquiring materials from GBS and are using local Haitian labor to build the school. We are pleased to join with The RLJ Companies, GBS, and the WIN Group, in furthering our commitment in Haiti" .

Trumpeteer wins $1.7 million by Jury against Royal Caribbean

In:
23Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

A Miami-Dade County Jury awarded Steven Pavone $1.7 in damages against Royal Caribbean for a fall Pavone suffered dating back to August 2001, where Pavone claimed he slipped and fell due to oil on the ground from a fog machine.  He claims that the shoulder injury, due to the fall, ended his trumpeting career.

Pavone's lawsuit claimed the shoulder injury ended a beloved trumpeting career, since he is only able to lift the instrument for about an hour at a time. The Miami Beach resident now works part-time as an usher at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center. ``This whole thing has turned his life upside down,'' said Pavone's lawyer, Luis Perez.

In a statement by Royal Caribbean after the jury rendered their verdict, Royal Caribbean "feels the amount awarded is not supported by the evidence and are currently evaluating our appellate options".

Royal Caribbean names new head of UK

In:
22Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has announced that Dominic Paul will become the managing director for the UK and Ireland. Paul, who is now chief operating officer at bmi will join the cruise giant in September 2010.  In addition to his other duties, Paul will be responsible for the management of Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s year-round UK and Ireland dedicated ship.

Michael Bayley, executive vice president, International Royal Caribbean Cruises said Paul would compliment the skills of UK and Ireland general manager Jo  Rzymowska, and the pair would be a “successful force” in the industry.
 
“As a company, we’re very focused on achieving our international business expansion plans.  Within these plans, the UK and Irish markets are critical to our international success.  Dominic’s track record in leading and shaping international businesses whilst delivering financial results reinforces this commitment.  

Southampton, England booming with cruise business

In:
22Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Southampton, England is called the cruise capital of the United Kingdom and for good reason.  The BBC is reporting that business here is booming with lots of cruise ships calling the port home as well as making stops here.  Royal Caribbean is no different, having Independence of the Seas and Vision of the Seas call this port home.  With steady business from Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines, the people of Southampton are reaping the benefits of having so many cruisers come through their city.

"Every cruise ship brings in the average of £1.2m per ship, so you're talking in terms of £350m benefit to the local economy."

It's no secret that Royal Caribbean has been favoring sending their ships from North America to Europe to help quench the demand for cruises that many Europeans have been seeking.  This seems to be just one of many popular ports in Europe that is benefiting from an upswing in Europeans' desire to go on a cruise vacation.

Guest saved by defibrillator on Oasis of the Seas

In:
22Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

According to the ZOLL Medical Corporation, a guest aboard Oasis of the Seas was saved with the help of a ZOLL AED Plus. It was the first time the unit was used aboard the 6,200-passenger mega-ship, the largest passenger liner in the world.  Back on March 27, a guest collapsed in the buffet line and another guest, familiar with CPR, asked for a defibrillator. A crew member brought the defibrillator, the guest used it to shock the man which revived the man, who was later brought to a local hospital for further treatment.

"The value Royal Caribbean places on passenger safety is commendable. By strategically placing AEDs throughout their entire fleet, Royal Caribbean realizes the value these life-saving devices can play in improving outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest when every second counts," said Jonathan A. Rennert, President of ZOLL.

These defibrillator units can be found on all 27 ships of the Royal Caribbean fleet with ten alone on Oasis of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean largest reason for increase in tourism in Bahamas

In:
21Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

The Ministry of Tourism in the Bahamas released new tourism statistics for the country that first quarter numbers for 2010 are "a new Dawn of Hope" for a country that has been hit hard by the global recession.  Cruise arrivals for Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama as first ports of call up by 22.9 per cent and 41.8 per cent for the three months of 2010 and the largest reason? Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.

Assessing the reasons behind the increase in cruise passenger arrivals, the Ministry of Tourism said: "Most of the increase by first port of entry to the Bahamas overall came from Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas. Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas helped to push the increase in cruise arrivals even higher. With the introduction of the Oasis of the Seas and the Freedom of the Seas to the Bahamas itinerary, it increased the number of passengers brought in by Royal Caribbean by 68.3 per cent.

Royal Caribbean organizes day to promote sports for disabled athletes

In:
21Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

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.. "

Maine town to cruises: slow down

In:
21Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Most ports of call welcome cruise ships and their many cruisers, who bring with them an influx of money to the local economy.  However the town of Rockland, Maine has presented some new guidelines to limit the amount of cruise ships that may come to town in a given year.  This move has infuriated local business owners who want more potential customers to come spend their money there.

The Harbor Management Commission, which presented preliminary guidelines to the council, recommended limiting the number of cruise ships to three megaships, 15 medium ships and 35 small ships annually. The commission also recommended that the city tack on a $600 fee for any cruise ship that needs to restrict public traffic by the parks or public landing.

This move impacts Royal Caribbean directly as the fee per passenger would go from $1 to $6 and Royal Caribbean has already requested that the decision be reconsidered or lowered because Royal Caribbean would have to take the loss as it's too late to pass the fee onto the passengers.  About 33 cruise ships visit Rockland each year.

Interesting story that will evoke different reactions, I'm sure.  To me, it seems like a case of the town wanting to have it's cake and eat it too; it wants the tourists to come and spend their money but they want their town to be pristine and devoid of tourists.   

Mariner of the Seas moving to Europe because of violence

In:
21Jun2010
By: Matt Hochberg

It's no secret that Royal Caribbean has been moving its ships from North America to Europe in large part to seek out the higher demand and bigger profits to be found in Europe.  The Los Angeles Business Journal is reporting that the real reason Mariner of the Seas is sailing to Europe after a short stint in Los Angeles is not to find bigger profits but because of the recent surge of violence in Mexico.

The widely publicized war between the country’s federal government and its powerful drug cartels has led to nearly 30,000 deaths since 2007. And on the West Coast – where 90 percent of cruises depart for the Mexican Riviera and other points south – the number of passengers in the last two years has dwindled by 21 percent.

Royal Caribbean stands by its claim that the move to Europe is just for economic reasons and not because of the violence.

The Royal Caribbean cruise line, for its part, will say only that the decision is an economic one.
“We’re looking to maximize our profits,” said Harrison Liu, a spokesman for the cruise line, owned by Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Both Europe and the Caribbean are hotter tickets than the Mexican Riviera, and there’s a stable market out of Galveston.”
Personally, I don't think the violence in Mexico helps the situation any, but given that so many other ships have left American ports for Europe, it isn't hard to believe that Mariner of the Seas is (pardon the pun) in the same boat.  Royal Caribbean isn't trying to hide the fact that they are chasing larger profits based on the numerous statements from Royal Caribbean in the form of statements to the press as well as blog posts.

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