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Injuries on Freedom of the Seas limited to bumps and scratches

In:
11Oct2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean reported injuries and damage to its Freedom of the Seas ship over the weekend when a tropical storm impacted its departure from Port Canaveral, Florida.  In a statement by Royal Caribbean, the injuries were thankfully not serious.  

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said 13 passengers sought medical aid for injuries limited to primarily bruises, cuts and scrapes.

Royal Caribbean expects Spain to become a more popular cruise market

In:
11Oct2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Spain is the fourth largest cruise market in Europe, but Royal Caribbean expects soon to occupy the third place.

With 1.186 million passengers, Spain is the fourth source of business for Royal Caribbean in Europe, but will climb to third place (ahead is Germany, where he entered 2.306 million). Barcelona and Malaga are the main markets in the country, to who now has joined Valencia to take advantage of the AVE and attract tourists to the center.

Royal Caribbean, which has 22 ships and 290 visiting ports around the world, has spread in the new season their destinations from Spain to Eastern Europe and Northern Africa. This will include managing flight for departures from Venice, Rome, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Harwich (UK) and Copenhagen.

More Royal Caribbean ships will visit the Dominican Republic in 2012-2013

In:
10Oct2011
By: Matt Hochberg

After several meetings with three major cruise lines that touch Dominican ports, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Radhames Martinez Aponte, said the country should feel satisfied with the achievements so far in the event organized by the Association of Cruise Florida and the Caribbean (FCCA).  Among the FCCA members is Royal Caribbean, who agreed to increase the amount of passengers that will visit the country in 2012-2013.

"During the meetings we held with Royal Caribbean, MSC and Norwegian have promised us that from the 2012-2013 season will increase the number of cruise ships or cruise the ability of playing the Dominican Republic, which would raise the number of tourists coming this way, "said Martinez Aponte.

Michael Roman, vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean for Royal Caribbean, acknowledged the efforts being made by the Ministry of Tourism to further improve the conditions of ports and the changes they have experienced.

Extreme weather damages Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
10Oct2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is reporting damage to its Freedom of the Seas cruise ship after the ship encountered, "extreme wind and sea conditions, well beyond what was forecasted."

The damage occurred as Freedom of the Seas left Port Canaveral on Sunday and did report some injuries as well as damage to the ship.

In a statement by Royal Caribbean, the company described the results of the incident, "At this time there have not been any serious injuries reported. The ship has sustained some damage to the public areas and guest staterooms, which in no way affect the sea-worthiness of the ship."

The damage is not enough to alter Freedom's itinerary.  It is expected to continue on its course to the Eastern Caribbean this week.

Royal Caribbean announces Cruise-Fly service in Singapore

In:
10Oct2011
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced their new service called "Cruise-Fly" in partnership with SATS, that offers its guests a seamless process from the pier to the airport for flight check-in and baggage drop off.

For guests traveling on Legend of the Seas, cruise passengers who arrive in Singapore a day ahead of taking an evening flight can check-in for their flights and drop-off their bags at their convenience upon arrival.

Passengers traveling with Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Qantas Airways, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and EVA Airways will be able to make use of the service.

Royal Caribbean's regional director for South East Asia, Kelvin Tan, likes the new service, "We are pleased that SATS is able to offer this innovative service to value-add to our international guests’ cruising experience.  Cruising in itself is a very hassle-free travel option and the Cruise-Fly initiative elevates this notion by bridging and shortening the distance between the pier and flight check-in services, and at the same time, bringing these guests to the doorsteps of some of the most exciting tourist destinations in Singapore. We hope that more and more of our guests can take advantage of this service whenever our ships call at Singapore.”

Royal Caribbean enters agreement with ports of Yalta and Sevastopol

In:
07Oct2011
By: Matt Hochberg

The Ministry of Infrastructure in the Ukraine agreed on Friday with Royal Caribbean to enter into a joint modernization of the passenger port of Yalta and Sevastopol, according to the deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Borys Kolesnikov.

"Tuesday will start a joint working group. We plan to implement a project to lengthen the quay walls in order to enter the ports to vessels travel the highest class of the largest size" - Kolesnikov said in Yalta, where the deputy prime minister came to participate in the Black Sea Economic Forum.

According to him, held talks on Friday were the first to the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine shall, within 30 days to develop a "detailed roadmap" for further cooperation with Royal Caribbean.

"The interest of Ukraine in the fact that tourists had a lot to all of the Yalta tourist facilities - restaurants, cafes and shops - was filled with" - he said.

Interview with Chef de Cuisine for 150 Central Park, Maureen Brandt

In:
06Oct2011
By: Matt Hochberg

The Chef de Cuisine for 150 Central Park on Royal Caribbean's Allure and Oasis of the Seas, Maureen "Molly" Brandt, is going to be a contestant on the ninth season of Top Chef, which airs in November.  Molly sat down for an interview with eater.com to discuss her life as a chef on a cruise ship.

Coming from working in restaurant kitchens on land, what has been the biggest challenge you've encountered cooking on a cruise ship? What's the biggest relief?
Sure, I miss gas heat, but that's surmountable. The biggest challenge of cooking on a cruise ship isn't the cooking at all, it's the inventory. On land you can just call up your favorite purveyors and order something different for the next days menu and it will be delivered in the morning. Here you have to plan a month to a month and a half ahead to get different products onboard. First I have to identify the exact product I want, and then contact our purchasing agents who then source it through a distributor at the best possible price. Then it's entered in to our inventory management system, and contracted for the Miami market. Then it's ordered by our onboard team 2 weeks in advance of the receiving date. It's a process! The biggest relief in cooking on a cruise ship is that I know absolutely that the cooks for the restaurant are going to show up every single day. Unless they intend to swim ashore I suppose!

What comes first when you design menus?
I have a really cerebral method to designing my menus for the ship. My first step is to figure out the focus ingredient of each dish for the menus. After a little over a year at sea I pretty much know what the tastes are of the demographic onboard, and that helps to determine what that focus ingredient will be. After that I decide on a theme per dish, and I don't limit myself, it could be a color, season, place, a classic dish.... really anything. Then I pick a the primary cooking method for each featured ingredient. After that I set up a grid, and work out the puzzle to achieve a balance of color, flavor, texture, and cooking method per each dish and tie it in to my decided theme.

If you could whittle down the list to the essentials, what would be your advice to a new chef at sea? What would be five things for chef Schwartz and his chef de cuisine Jamie Seyba to keep in mind as they prepare to execute the new menu with your help?
1. Have patience with the inventory.
2. Wear your track shoes.... Sometimes it's quite a distance between point A & B on the world's largest cruise ship.
3. Accept all assistance that is offered.
4. Invest in an alarm clock for those early United States Public Health internal inspection mornings.
5. Enjoy life onboard. Remember that this isn't just a job, it's a lifestyle.

What's the favorite chef hangout on board?
Probably the most popular place to decompress after work is to head to the deck 6 crew bar, located directly underneath the helipad. Some pretty epic parties are hosted there.

When chefs eat on board what do they prefer (venue as well as dish)?
Well officially we eat most of our meals in the Garden Cafe, which is the crew buffet. However my favorite thing to eat for lunch is the Kummelweck sandwich at Park Cafe. It's roast beef at it's finest on a salty caraway seed roll with special mustard and horseradish. I probably eat 3-4 a week.

How often do you go off-ship and what's the first thing you want to do and/or eat?
I have a very unique contract that allows me to be off the ship for little pockets of time, and when I fly in to Miami my first stop is invariably Michael's Genuine Food & Drink.... No, seriously, it is! I crave his heirloom tomato and burrata salad, and crispy hominy. Other than that I try to get out to as many different restaurants as possible to see what other chefs are doing, as I'm so isolated on the ship. I also may get off the ship at ports of call, and typically I go for lunch and an icy cold adult beverage!

You are a second officer's rank. What does that role entail?
Actually I'm a 2 1/2 stripe officer, which I find pretty hilarious as a chef, but don't worry, no one is saluting. All it really means is that I'm in a managerial position running 150 Central Park from top to bottom. It also allows me some nice perks onboard and most importantly for me, the ability to go virtually anywhere on the ship.

What do you think of the menus chef Michael has developed? Are there any dishes that stand out in your mind and why?
I'm a big fan of Michael's food, and only wish that he had a restaurant on my permanent ship the Allure of the Seas! The biggest standout for me is his roasted Harris ranch short rib with Swank Farms watercress, cipollini onions, and romesco. It is a huge combination of flavors and textures, and the execution is spot on. I'll take two please!

Is there any product you are interested in working with based on what chef Schwartz is sourcing from South Florida farms?
After tasting the Pak Choi last night from Swank Farms I will definitely be finding a way to integrate it in to my winter menus. The flavor is so complex and vibrant, I could have eaten just a plate of that and been happy. 

Royal Caribbean awarded Marine Environment Protection Award

In:
05Oct2011
By: Matt Hochberg

The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) has awarded Royal Caribbean NAMEPA’s 2011 Marine Environment Protection Award.

Royal Caribbean won the award for in recognition of the cruise line's efforts for preserving the marine environment as exemplified by a commitment to a program which has specific objectives set for environmental performance and improvement, and which is innovative and goes beyond minimum environmental compliance.  Specifically, the judges noted Royal Caribbean's Save the Waves program as helping to change "Hearts and Minds" of its guests.

The 2011 Marine Environment Protection Award will be presented at NAMEPA’s Awards Dinner to be held in New York following NAMEPA’s seminar on Corporate Risk Management, which will focus on the need of the maritime industry to evaluate risk in a challenging operating environment.

Royal Caribbean's vice president of Environmental Stewardship, Jamie Sweeting, spoke about accepting the award, "We are delighted that the North American Marine Environment Protection Association has awarded Royal Caribbean with the 2011 Marine Environment Protection Award.  Royal Caribbean is dedicated to helping to protect the marine environment, and we are committed to caring for the unique and beautiful places we visit throughout the world. It is an honor to be recognized by NAMEPA for our commitment to protect, conserve and support the environment."

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