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Royal Caribbean offers new specialty restaurant dining packages

In:
06Dec2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering new dinner packages at its specialty restaurants to help trim the cost of dining on four of its most popular ships.

Offered on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas...

  • Central Park Dining Package
  • Chef's Dining Package
    • $120 per passenger
    • Dinner at
      • Five-course meal at Chef's Table (with wine pairing for each course)
      • 150 Central Park
      • Chops Grille
  • Choice Dining Package (Oasis of the Seas)
    • $50 per passenger
    • Dinner at
      • Chops Grille
      • Giovanni's Table
      • Choice of Izumi or Solarium Bistro
  • Choice Dining Package (Allure of the Seas)
    • $55 per passenger
    • Dinner at
      • Chops Grille
      • Giovanni's Table
      • Samba Grill

There is also a dining package on Radiance of the Seas that offers dinner at Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table, Izumi and Samba Grill for $70 per passenger.  There is also the Chef's Dining Package that offers the Chef's Table in addition to every extra-charge specialty restaurant onboard and will cost $120 per passenger.

Splendour of the Seas is offering a Chef's Dining Package for $105 per passenger and includes a meal at Chef's Table, Chops Grille and Izumi.

Royal Caribbean CEO explains how he connects with customers

In:
02Dec2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein was interviewed by Forbes in a group of CEOs to evaluate how they connect with their customers.  Here are Adam's answers.

What is your primary customer metric?
“Our primary customer metric is called the secured guest index. And it’s a top one out of five box on enjoyed the experience; we’ll tell other people about it; we’ll do it again. So we are looking at the percentage of people who are in the top one of each of those three.”

As CEO, how do you connect with customers?
“A small example of something that people would not expect from me or from the CEO is that I’m able to take advantage of my passion for table tennis. I’ll spend a couple of hours playing anybody who wants to play me one after another. And it’s just amazing, the response of the people. They want to try — sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re terrible. But they just want to play the CEO in table tennis.”

How do you measure results?
“The iron discipline of immediate customer feedback. We get approximately a 50% response rate on the customer satisfaction survey that we hand out at the end of the cruise. The division heads and the hotel director and the captain if necessary are seeing exactly what the feedback of the customers were in detail by area for the vacation that ended in the morning and now they have to get ready for the vacation that’s starting for a new group of 6,000 people that afternoon. And that discipline has been in place for 40 plus years and it really informs the commitment to excellence that sustains the product day in and day out.”

How do your view social media?
“The social media age, we really feel was somehow created for our benefit. And what social media has demonstrated is that people are more interested in pure opinion than anything. We really try not to come into the dialog directly. So I think at my level it’s looking for patterns that suggest issues that I’m quite keen on. We ended up in a global controversy for our decision to keep the ships going to Haiti after the earthquake two years ago, what we found was that social media in general, and my blog in particular was where we were able to speak with the voice on the issue, that was unconstrained by the formalities of press releases.”

Talk about your global focus.
“Our business is in the full bloom of transition from an industry that was principally for middle and upper middle class Americans to take 7-night cruises in the Caribbean to an industry where everybody is cruising from everywhere and traveling to cruise everywhere. One of our fixed brands called (Croisières de France), is essentially a little piece of France floating around the Mediterranean, where everything is in French language, served by French people, French cuisine, French entertainment, French everything. There are a lot of French people who prefer that environment. There are some French people who would like to be in the Royal Caribbean International global environment.”

Radiance of the Seas impressing Australians

In:
02Dec2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas has been in Australia for a little over a month now and already is garnering positive reviews from Australians.  Among its amenities, passengers cite the ship's crew as being very friendly and capable.

"One thing that surprised us was the attitude of the people," the ship's captain Claus Andersen said. "We've never experienced anywhere where the people are so friendly."

Anderson cited a story from a trip to West Australia when they docked at Port Hedland and its very warm welcome after it was decided that one pier couldn't accomodate Radiance of the Seas so they opted to dock at Pibara port instead.  Anderson described the workers there as, "This was the very first time they'd had a cruise ship through but they looked like they do it every single day."

Radiance's Captain was also impressed by the efficiency and flexibility of the Australian Immigration Department in handling the chaos caused by the sudden shut-down of Qantas Airlines when Radiance was in Fremantle. The schedules of hundreds of passengers flying into Perth to board the cruiser were thrown into disarray and the ship had to stay another day. To help clear the passenger backlog, the department brought on two officials until midnight.

Mariner of the Seas will return to Italy in 2012

In:
30Nov2011
By: Matt Hochberg

After debuting in Italy earlier this year, Mariner of the Seas will return to Italy in the summer of 2012.

From June to September of next year, Royal Caribbean will offer will offer a new itinerary of 7 nights in the Western Mediterranean. The cruise, leaving from Civitavecchia and Genoa will include stops in the Mare Nostrum in Cannes, Barcelona, ​​Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.

On September 9, there will be a stop in Provence Ajaccio, Corsica. 

Rumors of a second Project Sunshine ship swirl

In:
30Nov2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has been tight lipped about its new class of cruise ships known as Project Sunshine  but the cruise community has been speculating about how many ships Royal Caribbean will order.  

As of today, there's just one 4,200 passenger ship on order (which is due to be complete by the fall of 2014) but there's room in the contract for up to 4 ships.  So among the many questions out there, many are wondering if more than one Project Sunshine ship is on the way.

According to Seatrade Cruise Review, the Finnish air condition contractor Koja Oy recently said that it had signed a contract with Meyer Werft " for the delivery of air conditioning systems for the first two Sunshine-project ships".  Included in that contract is an option for delivering air conditioner systems for third and fourth ships, if Royal Caribbean orderes them.

Based on that snippet of information, it sounds like Royal Caribbean is eyeing two ships to start with but we'll have to wait to get a better idea of what's to come when Royal Caribbean is ready to talk.

Royal Caribbean offers largest automated wine serving system

In:
30Nov2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas can add a new achievement to their list of accolades: they both feature the the largest of its kind, state-of-the-art automated wine serving system in the Vintages Wine Bar.

With just one swipe of a passenger's SeaPass card, guests can sample selections of wine from around the world using the automated WineStation intelligent dispensing system.

The WineStation preserves wines perfectly for up to 60 days by utilizing temperature control.  The system allows passengers to try 48 varities of wine not usually offered by the glass. Using the WineStation's LCD screen, guests can see the  the varietal, year and region, and the lit bottles encourage guests to experience the labels.

Royal Caribbean's Director of Fleet Beverage Operations, Bob Midyette, talked about the new system, "We pride ourselves on always seeking the newest and most effective solutions to provide our guests with an unmatched vacation experience.  The WineStation has become a very successful option to help our guests explore wines on their own, or with one of our knowledgeable, friendly and engaging wine tenders. We look forward to offering this on more ships in the future."

Royal Caribbean will invest in Greek port of Heraklion

In:
28Nov2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Greece has been hampered by bad economic news for months now, but Royal Caribbean is doing its part to help the nation out a little.  Royal Caribbean announced it will invest in the port of Heraklion by spending money on port infrastructure upgrades, construction of a hotel and a conference center.

Royal Caribbean's strategy in Greece is to target six ports: Piraeus, Heraklion, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Kos and Mykonos.  The plan is to transform one of these ports into a cruise hub, which will bring in thousands of visitors each day.

Currently, Heraklion and Rhodes are the leading candidates for that distinction.

The plan includes port infrastructure and construction of a 4-star hotel, a conference center of 1,000 square meters, a shopping centre of 3,000 suare meters and a marina for 120 yachts.

Royal Caribbean estimates over a 5-year span that 800,000 passengers per year could visit Heraklion, which would bring an annual revenue of over €3 million.

Norovirus strikes Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

In:
28Nov2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Over 50 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas suffered from the effects of Norovirus on their cruise last week.  Royal Caribbean promptly sanitized the ship before another cruise could go forward.

Royal Caribbean reported 54 passengers and 10 crew members who became ill due to Norovirus on the cruise that finished on Saturday.

Oasis of the Seas was sanitized to help combat the spread of the illness and Oasis left port again on schedule to begin another seven-day cruise.

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