Royal Caribbean Works to Deploy the Maritime Industry's First Global Electronic Health Platform

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is partnering with IOS Health Systems to deploy the eSeaCare Electronic Health Platform as their electronic health record system for their entire fleet of ships.

eSeaCare Electronic Health Platform will serve as the software solution to connect and manage the health information for over 20,000 crew members and hundreds of thousands of guests amongst 40 ships.

The goal of the new system is to to save millions of dollars along with improving crew member care and the quality of the guest experience.  It will automate medical and organizational processes through one enterprise software platform that connects crew members, medical operations, onboard medical staff and shore side clinics.  In addition, the new software will give the medical staff aboard Royal Caribbean's ships the ability to continuously work despite the intermittent satellite connectivity commonly experienced while at sea. Royal Caribbean will also be leveraging the system's features to aid with the intricate compliance requirements from various domestic and international agencies.

Dr. Art Diskin, Global Chief Medical Officer for Royal Caribbean, states, "We have been working on the EMR concept for cruise ship medicine for many years and are very excited about deploying an electronic medical record for our fleet. We see this as a critical tool in the development of quality cruise ship medicine and it will enable us to better meet the health care needs of our guests and crew."

Royal Caribbean provides a strategic agreement with the government of Xiamen and China World Cruises

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has entered into a strategic relationship with the municipal government of Xiamen and China World Cruises (CWC) in China including the CWC, a wholly owned subsidiary of property developer based in Beijing and the theme park of Shan-Hai-Shu, disposing of the Legend of the Seas for a total of four months in 2012.

During the four months, Royal Caribbean International operates 21 cruise, with departures from three to for eight nights from Xiamen and Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong to ports of call in Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and Korea. The five-night inaugural cruise from Hong Kong on March 20, 2012, while the first departure of the guests of Xiamen will be March 26.

The agreement with the full support of the Xiamen Municipal Government, is part of the development plan of the government of Xiamen, the fourth port-based Royal Caribbean International in China, after Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong.

"This is an incredible opportunity for Royal Caribbean International, the municipal government of Xiamen and China World Cruises, and is truly unique to the rapid growth of the cruise industry in Asia," says Dr. Liu Zinan, CEO of the group Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in China and Asia. "We are the first cruise brand to gather support from local governments and the private sector."

Working with the Xiamen municipal government, the CWC intends to invest about $ 5 billion in the Xiamen area facing the sea and the port area to develop a cruise port with an amusement park, shops, luxury hotels, condominiums and a new cruise terminal. Xiamen is located between Shanghai and Hong Kong, is less than 200 kilometers from Taipei, Taiwan, and is one of the most important ports and fastest growing along China's coast.

"China has great opportunities for the cruise industry, including the development of port infrastructure, and attracts tourists from around the world," said Michael Bayley, senior vice president of Royal Caribbean Cruises International Ltd.. "These are exciting times and we are delighted to work with the Xiamen Municipal Government and China World Cruises on this strategic partnership."

The Legend of the Seas is an award winning boat that has been operating in Asia, outside of Singapore since 2008 and in Shanghai since 2010.

"We believe that Royal Caribbean International is the right brand to work on developing the cruise industry in China," says George Buge Zhang, president of China World Cruises. "In a few years, has established itself as the market leader and have proven they know local market conditions and the needs and preferences of Chinese consumers."

The strategic agreement with the municipal government of Xiamen and China World Cruises follows the announcement that in June 2012 put the Royal Caribbean International Voyager of the Seas in the seas of China. Offering a variety of routes, between four and eight nights, the Voyager of the Seas will double the size of all cruise ships operating in China and the Asia-Pacific.

With 14 passenger decks and cabins 1556, Voyager of the Seas will begin its 2012 season in Asia with a cruise from Singapore, followed by tours of Shanghai (Baoshan) and Tianjin, including the ports of Kobe and Fukuoka, Japan, and Busan and Jeju in Korea until October. Voyager of the Seas will begin 14-night cruise departing from Sydney, Australia, November 24, 2012 to other ports in Australia and New Zealand, while the trails in early 2013 will include stops in Tasmania and the South Pacific.

The announcement of the agreement and the deployment of the Voyager of the Seas in Shanghai in 2012 as part of the strategy of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "to the diversification and global growth.

Royal Caribbean names new Italy general manager

By: Matt Hochberg

With a market share in Italy of 7%, Royal Caribbean is still looking to grow thanks to the numerous initiatives planned. The company has just appointed a new general manager for Italy, John Rotondo.

Rotondo, who replaces Lina Mazzucco, intends to continue the development already started by his predecessor. "The size of the group in Italy are not comparable to those of other big names. Therefore the objective is to grow, however, carving out a different role. "

Among the strengths of the group, which includes the three brands Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises Club, surely the product. "To develop the Italian market is appropriate to increase the ports of embarkation. This is why we launched in 2011 with Genoa seven starts. In 2012 the departures from Genoa, and also propose to double Messina and Bari, without losing sight of the new routes and the desire to score. "

In 2013, Royal Caribbean will leave from Naples too, to balance the best value for the ports / routes.

Alicante, Spain busy with Royal Caribbean cruises this week

By: Matt Hochberg

The Port of Alicante, Spain this week has received more than four thousand tourists arriving on board the biggest cruise ship that sailed the Mediterranean Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Independence of the Seas arrived at 8 am and departed at 4.30pm on Monday.

After just a few hours there were no shortage of visitors to Santa Barbara Castle and the Old City. According to the cruise line, these are along with the beach, are the great attractions of Alicante. Some charms, together with the short time of docking, the majority opted to stay in the passage in the city.  

The activity around a cruise begins early to use the time in port at 8.30am, where cruise ships dock, was already a hive. Nine buses, three of them bound for Benidorm for being the most requested tour and the rest to other parts of the province as Novelda, Elche, Guadalest and the Fuentes del Algar, waiting for the tourists to drop ship. Royal Caribbean explained that prices of the tours range from 19 euros it costs to transfer by bus to Benidorm to 35 or 45 euros for those who leave the other tours. 

"We've never been to Benidorm, but we hear it's beautiful," said Jean and Ray, a married Australian who traveled to the English port of Southampton to climb aboard this floating hotel.  

But "most people will visit for free the city and especially to the beach," said Coralia Leopea, responsible for Royal Caribbean's excursions. Hence the line of tourists can be seen walking along the pier throughout the day and the constant trips that a shuttle bus between the boat and access to the port to avoid the long ride cruisers without shade. 

Ship building firm Navantia to work on Splendour of the Seas upgrades

By: Matt Hochberg

Spanish ship building company Navantia will use its Cadiz shipyard for Royal Caribbean's modernization program known as "Revitalization Advantage Program" for the Splendour of the Seas during the month of November.

Navantia's work will include the installation of a 'ducktail' to increase stability, modification of more than a hundred cabins to install new balconies, wings spread bridge, as well as a complete renovation of all cabins, restaurants, spa and shopping areas.

As a result of these works "will increase significantly the standard of accommodation of the ship."

In addition to the work of remodeling the qualification, work is carried out regular stranding improvement works including rudders, propeller shafts and tail.

The work ensures "a high level of workload" for the template for four weeks and is "a major logistical effort" by the shipyard, which will manage more than 400 containers of material in a short period of time.

Royal Caribbean plans to assign similar programs for four other ships, two of which are already signed to the Cadiz shipyard for the next year.

Friday Soundoff: Did Royal Caribbean make amends for San Juan incident?

By: Matt Hochberg

You've likely heard about the incident in Puerto Rico last week where Royal Caribbean stranded 140 passengers when Hurricane Irene forced the Serenade of the Seas to leave port earlier than expected.  There was a lot of outrage targeted at Royal Caribbean for not doing more to notify the passengers and/or compensate them for missing their cruise.  Yesterday Royal Caribbean announced it was offering those who missed the ship compensation.

So today's soundoff topic is: Did Royal Caribbean rectify the situation in your eyes?

Did Royal Caribbean do enough to make the situation better?  Or do you think that since the cruise contract every passengers enters into stipulating Royal Caribbean owes them nothing means the compensation is more than adequate?  

Share your thoughts in our comments for this post!

Royal Caribbean UK names new Head of Trade Sales

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean United Kingdom and Ireland announced that the new head of trade sales will be Nicki Tempest-Mitchell, who will report directly to Royal Caribbean's Associate Vice President & General Manager Jo Rzymowska.

Tempest-Mitchell had previously overseen sales for all national accounts, but her new duties will have her responsible for all trade sales in the United Kingdom and Ireland in an effort by Royal Caribbean to strengthen its position in the region.

Tempest-Mitchell will head up a team of seven others, including three new positions that have not been announced yet.  This new team will also include a new Royal Caribbean Head of Sales and a field sales manager.

The goal of this team is to address the ever changing needs of cruise specialists, high street agents, home workers and online players.

Jo Rzymowska, associate vice president & general manager, UK & Ireland said “Nicki Tempest-Mitchell’s well deserved promotion and our new structure demonstrates our commitment to the trade, and now more than ever ensures that we are in a position to manage the needs of the trade and deliver on our promise to work in true partnership”.

Nicki Tempest-Mitchell added “I’m really excited about my new challenge and I’m looking forward to working with the team to build the trade business and ensure that RCL Cruises is strengthening its position in the UK & Ireland”.  

Royal Caribbean decides to compensate stranded passengers from San Juan debacle

By: Matt Hochberg

After an avalanche of negative comments concerning Royal Caribbean's decision last week to strand over 100 of its passengers in San Juan without any compensation, Royal Caribbean has decided to offer those who didn't make the ship a compensation package.

The incident occurred when Hurricane Irene threatened San Juan, Puerto Rico where Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas was docked.  Port officials needed to have the ship leave early, so Serenade was forced to leave a few hours early and subsequently left 145 passengers and refused to offer them any compensation.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez confirmed that a compensation package was indeed being offered but declined to provide specifics.

The aftermath of the incident spilled over when people heard of what happened and were upset over Royal Caribbean's indifference to the plight of those left behind.  Despite earlier saying the cruise giant would not offer anything (they claimed they were within their rights to do what they did), Royal Caribbean is hoping to reverse the negative perception that has taken hold in the court of public opinion.

UPDATE: Here is a statement from Royal Caribbean:

 “As a gesture of goodwill, and in recognition of the time they missed on board Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean provided each guest who was not able to arrive to the ship before it departed San Juan but met the ship later, with a future cruise certificate for 30% of the cruise fare paid for their sailing.

“We are in the process of contacting those guests who were not able to sail with us at all to inform them of their compensation, and would prefer that the impacted guests learn of the amount directly from the line before it is disclosed publicly.

“We are compensating these passengers because we understand that this was an unusual situation, and we want to provide our guests with another opportunity to sail with Royal Caribbean International in the near future.”