Royal Caribbean taps Motorola for enterprise mobile computers to assist employees

In:
13Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

The Motorola Solutions business of Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) today announced that it has deployed a mobility solution to help Royal Caribbean International enhance the guest experience onboard Oasis of the Seas – the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. In an effort to provide travelers with the most memorable experience, Royal Caribbean has equipped its employees with Motorola enterprise mobile computers to empower them with the information they need to ensure customer needs are taken care of on-the-spot anywhere on the ship.    

"Oasis of the Seas is a revolutionary cruise ship that transforms the way Royal Caribbean interacts with its guests," said Bill Martin, VP and CIO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "By aligning with Motorola, we are now able to address guest needs in real-time while increasing the productivity of our staff – ultimately raising the standard for guest experiences and satisfaction."
 
As mobility becomes increasingly more important for hospitality organizations to maintain competitive advantage, Royal Caribbean turned to Motorola to provide a reliable solution to help drive revenue, improve service and enhance the customer experience. Mobile applications running on Motorola MC55 and MC70 enterprise mobile computers carried by the Oasis of the Seas staff include, mobile point of sale (MPOS), mobile mustering, work order management, show ticketing and asset management.  
 
Throughout the guest entertainment area of Oasis of the Seas, staff are equipped with MC70 mobile computers and snap-on mobile payment modules to more quickly respond to and complete guests' credit and debit solutions.  This MPOS solution reduces the amount of time guests wait in line for shows, as well as speeds order-taking poolside to not only improve the guest experience but increase beverage sales.
 
In addition, the MC70 provides en electronic, mobile solution for mustering to increase accuracy and compliance with ship regulations. With the MC70, guest sea pass cards are scanned to get an accurate count of guests who have been briefed on emergency procedures once on board.  The new solution has helped reduce the amount of time to complete a muster – in turn increasing employee productivity and allowing guests to spend more time relaxing or participating in onboard activities.
 
"Motorola is committed to helping hospitality organizations, like Royal Caribbean International, provide superior customer service, "said Tom Moore, director of hospitality solutions, Motorola Solutions.  "Our extensive mobile computing portfolio enables us to equip the right worker with the right device – in turn providing our hospitality customers with the ability to better serve their customers anywhere, anytime."
 
Motorola's MC55 provides business-critical information onboard Oasis of the Seas- enabling streamlined processes for work order and asset management for engineering, housekeeping and the ship's dining room. From plumbing and air-conditioning to televisions and slot machines, all systems and appliances must be in working order to guarantee guest satisfaction. Equipped with an MC55 with integrated voice and data capabilities, Royal Caribbean maintenance staff can receive tasks in real-time, providing managers with visibility into progress of work orders and ensuring any issues are addressed immediately.  The MC55s are also used to manage assets within its dining room, including silverware and tableware.  This solution helps reduce inventory management time – allowing staff to spend more time focused on the guest experience.  
Royal Caribbean is planning to expand its use of mobile computers across its fleet of ships throughout 2012.  

Royal Caribbean to add 120 new jobs to Oregon call center

In:
07Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is looking to hire 120 new employees by the end of 2010 for its call center in Springfield, Oregon.  Royal Caribbean's "Vacation Planning Group" is currently hiring, looking to expand its operations.

The call center in Oregon had relocated from Florida about five years ago.  Royal Caribbean spokesperson Barbara Otonicar cited some workers moving on to new jobs, which has lead to these openings.
 
We'd really love to see people come out that enjoy talking to people on the phone, enjoy travel and really servicing the customer and giving them that extra ‘wow!’" Otonicar said.
 
She said the company offers good perks, including cruise benefits.
 
If you're interested in the job opportunity, you can find more information here.

Saturday Night Fever: The Musical to debut on Liberty of the Seas

In:
07Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International is slipping-on its boogie shoes this spring and debuting Saturday Night Fever: The Musical, the third licensed main-stage musical production at sea for the cruise line. Created by Royal Caribbean Productions in association with Robert Stigwood Organisation Ltd., the acclaimed-West End show will debut aboard Liberty of the Seas in April 2011, as part of the ship’s revitalization and shipboard enhancements beginning in late January 2011 aboard the popular Freedom-class cruise ship. Based on the hugely popular, 1970s feature film, Saturday Night Fever, the theatrical experience features a repertoire of hit songs from The Bee Gees song album sure to inspire guests to dance the night away.

“The debut of Saturday Night Fever: The Musical, created by Royal Caribbean Productions’ in-house entertainment team, continues to raise the bar for cruise vacations aboard one of our most innovative ships,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “Our award-winning musical productions have been so incredibly well-received by guests, first with Hairspray aboard Oasis of the Seas and then with the announcement of Chicago: the Musical aboard Allure of the Seas. It’s only fitting we broaden the selection to include a West End hit as Liberty of the Seas embarks on its maiden season in Europe for summer 2011.”
 
Saturday Night Fever: The Musical premiered in the West End at the London Palladium in 1998 and has been seen by over 10 million people worldwide, thrilling theater and music buffs alike throughout the years. On Liberty of the Seas, the story of Tony, the ambitious Brooklyn youth who spends his Saturday nights disco dancing, will be brought to life on stage in the ship’s state-of-the-art, 1,320-seat Platinum Theatre. The storyline and music that created the worldwide disco phenomenon will take guests away to a different era with such cult-classics songs as “Stayin’ Alive,” “Tragedy,” “If I Can’t Have You” and “Boogie Shoes.”
 
“We are glad to work with Royal Caribbean International to take Saturday Night Fever to fans and vacationers at sea,” said Robert Stigwood. “Royal Caribbean Productions’ commitment to innovative and quality entertainment will have guests out of their seats and groovin’ in the aisles.”
 
Auditions for the Royal Caribbean’s production of Saturday Night Fever, will be held Oct. 20-22 in New York. More details and a full schedule can be found at www.RoyalCaribbeanProductions.com.
 
In addition to Saturday Night Fever, Liberty of the Seas, along with Freedom of the Seas, will introduce some top-rated onboard features that debuted aboard Oasis of the Seas when the ships are revitalized during scheduled drydocks in January and March 2011, respectively. Many of the onboard enhancements will deliver some of the most exciting entertainment options at sea, such as the DreamWorks Experience, 3D movie technology in the main theater; an oversized outdoor video screens on the main pool deck to entertain guests and offer movies under the stars. Guests also will enjoy new onboard amenities such as iPod docks in every stateroom; the Wayfinder system, with its interactive touch-screen to direct guests, offer venue and restaurant descriptions, and the day’s schedule of programs; guest services kiosks on the Royal Promenade where guests can instantly view, print or e-mail their SeaPass folio or their personal calendar, or check-in and print airline boarding passes; and the popular Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, which provides nursery care for babies and tots through 36 months. Guests also will delight in the enchanting Cupcake Cupboard and the trendy décor of Vintages with its Enomatic wine serving system. 

UAE possible next hub for Royal Caribbean

In:
06Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is considering a new hub in the United Arab Emirates.  Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President Michael Bayley hinted at the possibility of a new hub in the country.

During the maiden docking of Brilliance of the Seas in Dubai, Royal Caribbean revealed plans ready for a Dubai-Mumbai cruise starting in 2011 .  

Hamad Mohamed bin Mejren, Executive Director, Business Tourism at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said that Brilliance of the Seas' seven night sailings would include Dubai to Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.  These stops are among the most popular with tourists.

Dredging of St Thomas Harbor halts

In:
05Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

West Indian Company Ltd. President and CEO Ed Thomas said it and Royal Caribbean were going to spend a combined $15-$20 million to dredge St. Thomas Harbor so that mega ships Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas could dock there but not anymore.

The cruise lines are not going to put up that money because they accomplished their goal,” he said. “Their ship is in St. Thomas. Certainly the West Indian Company is not going to put up money to do that kind of dredging because the ship is already in St. Thomas.

Problems started back on October 14, 2009 when Governor John deJongh Jr put the dredging project on hold after substantial public opposition.  Those opposed to the dredging plan were concerned about the part of the plan that called for dumping 162,000 cubic yards of material into an existing depression in Lindbergh Bay.  While searching for an alternative, Oasis of the Seas would have to dock in Crown Bay.

Despite the halt in the plan, deJongh was confident that the dredging project would be complete in time for Allure of the Seas' first stop in St Thomas on December 10, 2010 during the busy tourist season.  However, talks never progressed very far according to Thomas, talks collapsed in January.

The trend of cruise ships getting larger and larger means St. Thomas Harbor will eventually need to be dredged acrroding to Thomas and that the harbor is already due for maintenance dredging thanks to all of the debris kicked up by departing and arriving cruise thips over the last few years.

Royal Caribbean will boost Malaga Spain departures

In:
04Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean intends to increase the number of departures from Malaga, Spain next year after a very successful year in other Spanish ports.  Royal Caribbean is planning on having five of its ships sail from Malaga, as well as Palma de Mallorca and Barecelona.

Dominic Paul, Royal Caribbean's Managing Director for the United Kingdom and Ireland likes the decision to increase cruises from Malaga, "Barcelona has long been a popular homeport for Royal Caribbean International and we have enjoyed significant growth in the UK for take up of cruises offered from Malaga since 2009.  To continue to stimulate the British holidaymaker’s love affair with Spain, new for summer 2011 we have introduced cruises from Palma de Mallorca for the first time. The good news is that these cruises are also delivering pre- and post-cruise land stays – this is fantastic for the Spanish hoteliers and the Spanish tourist industry in general."

About 30,000 of Royal Caribbean guests departed from a Spanish port during the summer of 2010 and of those customers, 40% were from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Royal Caribbean Receives Top Recognition From InformationWeek Magazine

In:
01Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International received recognition for its innovative information technology initiatives onboard the global cruise line's largest and most revolutionary ship, Oasis of the Seas during last week's InformationWeek 500 Conference.  Taking place in Monarch Beach, Ca. more than 500 companies were in attendance to discuss how technology innovation was being used to advance the agenda of business.  During the awards gala, the cruise line was awarded a ranking of 41 out of a list of 500 companies for the most innovative uses of technology as well as a coveted spot on InformationWeek Magazine's 20 Great Ideas to Steal list.  In addition, Royal Caribbean won the best in Customer Intimacy award.  

"This special recognition is truly a testament to Royal Caribbean's continued dedication to innovation, and a reflection of true business and IT collaboration," said Bill Martin, vice president, Chief Information Officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD.  "I am extremely proud of our employees for their hard work and the sacrifices everyone made to build this incredible ship which has drawn so much attention in the travel industry."
 
Royal Caribbean achieved the recognition, and the spot on InformationWeek Magazine's "20 Great Ideas to Steal" list for its innovative uses of digital signage aboard Oasis of the Seas.  The signage consists of a network of more than 300, 46-inch monitors strategically placed around the ship to provide information and improve the guest experience.  The displays vary from passive screens with safety demonstrations and information on guest activities to fully integrated and interactive touch panels that provide real-time information regarding amenities on the ship such as  the capacity at the dining venues.  In addition, to support the global nature of the guest mix, the digital signage supports multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese.

Royal Caribbean ships contribute to Bahamian economy

In:
01Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Last month Nassau, Bahamas completed extensive dredging and refurbishment of Nassau Harbor and businesses in downtown Nassau are reporting healthy business as a result.

Ships like Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, which docks in Nassau every other Sunday, is responsible for increasing revenues in the city.

The Bahamas was amongst many countries which were seeking to have these ships call on their ports,” said Carla Stuart, director of Cruise Development in the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation. “By the end of December, the Oasis would have made 34 visits and brought at least 183,600 passengers for the year 2010. Head tax to be derived is estimated at $2.7 million while spend from the passengers of this vessel is estimated at $12 million. The ship will continue to call every other week.”

Thelma Miller of Vintage Island Handicraft, a Festival Place souvenir store, pointed out that the Oasis’ calls have been good for business on Sundays, which would otherwise be slow. Meanwhile, Senor Frog’s has also been happy with the business that the Oasis brings.
 
It does make a difference when the Oasis comes in,” said Chester Williamson, manager of Senor Frog’s. “I think the second week it came in with 3,000 people on board.”
 
Things will get better for Nassau after December when Oasis of the Seas' sister ship Allure of the Seas joins the Royal Caribbean fleet and will also make regular stops in Nassau.  this will allow for a stop each week by one of the mega-vessels.

Rhapsody of the Seas heads to Australia

In:
01Oct2010
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas is heading to Australia to start service for the summer season. Rhapsody of the Seas departed Hawaii on September 29 and is heading for Australia to begin her fourth season in the land down under.  

Rhapsody of the Seas will head right for Sydney habor, where she is due to arrive on October 16 and will also have the distinction of being the first international cruise ship to arrive in Australia this season.  Rhapsody of the Seas is expected to carry over 35,000 guests from around the world on her itineraries.

Rhapsody has become a favorite in Australia, after completing a record season in 2009-2010 of sailing with a full compliment of guests every voyage. . Home ported in Sydney, Rhapsody of the Seas will sail 17 cruises and visit a number of new destinations, including maiden calls at Newcastle, NSW, Champagne Bay in Vanuatu and Lautoka in Fiji. Rhapsody also returns to cruise the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji.

Royal Caribbean Australia Commercial Manager Adam Armstrong thinks Rhapsody of the Seas is a perfect fit for Australia, "Australia has truly embraced Rhapsody of the Seas since her arrival in 2007.  Her seasons down under go from strength to strength, with more and more Australians stepping onboard to experience our ‘Royal’ treatment.”

Rhapsody's trip to Australia from Hawaii will coincide with two important geographic events during her 16-night cruise across the Pacific.  First, she will pass the equator of the Earth between Hawaii and Tahiti.  Afterwards, guests onboard will "lose a day" as she passes the International Dateline after sailing west from Raiatea in French Polynesia.

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