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Falmouth Jamaica port not ready?

By: Matt Hochberg

A brand new cruise port in Falmouth, Jamaica is set to open this month, which has been a major project for Royal Caribbean but reports are coming in that the billion dollar port isn't quite ready yet.

A visit by a reporter for the Jamaica Observer newspaper reports the port looks "more like a bomb went off on the site than a high-class tourist trap".

Massive cranes were still dumping debris scraped from the sea-bottom along the shoreline at the foot of the giant double pier. Heavy earth-movers slipped deftly between scurrying hard-hatted workers, some drilling, some tamping down earth, some disappearing into the catacombs of maintenance access points beneath the earth, like hundreds of worker ants.

Royal Caribbean's first ship, Navigator of the Seas, is set to dock at Falmouth on January 7th,

Royal Caribbean Selects Point-of-Sale Solution by Agilysys

By: Matt Hochberg

Agilysys, Inc has announced that Royal Caribbean will use its InfoGenesis Point of Sales (POS) system on seven of its cruise ships.

Allure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Azamara Journey, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit will all utilize the system.

Royal Caribbean Chairman receives lifetime achievement award

By: Matt Hochberg

The Travel Weekly Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an individual whose efforts have led to extraordinary results within an enterprise and who also has made significant contributions to the industry as a whole," said Arnie Weissmann, vice president, editor-in-chief, Travel Weekly. "Richard Fain's career has provided a model of vision and accomplishment to inspire tomorrow's leaders."

"I am humbled and honored to be the recipient of this award especially because it was awarded by Travel Weekly's readers, most of whom are travel agents. The growth of our industry and its many exciting changes would not have been possible without the biggest driver of Royal Caribbean's overall success - our people - our shipboard teams, as well as our shoreside employees. Accepting this award is especially meaningful as our company is being recognized by the travel agent community with nine awards overall," said Fain. "For 30 years, I've had the privilege to participate in the travel industry, working with talented people while helping travelers experience the world. The legacy of the recipients of the Travel Weekly Lifetime Achievement Award collectively defines the environment that the travel industry operates in today and it is an honor to join such a distinguished group of recipients."

Fain first joined Royal Caribbean in 1979 as an outside director on the company's Board of Directors. He became Chairman and CEO in 1988, and now oversees the global cruise company operating 40 ships under the Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France brands. Prior to joining Royal Caribbean, Fain spent 13 years as treasurer, chief financial officer and joint managing director of Gotaas-Larsen Shipping Corp., a London-based owner and operator of cargo ships.

He serves as a member of the Florida 100, the national board of the Posse Foundation and the University of Miami's Board of Trustees. Fain also is former chair of the United Way of Miami-Dade, the Miami Business Forum, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

He also is a past chair of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and industry trade association representing nearly 17,000 affiliated travel agencies and the bulk of the world's cruise lines. He holds a B.S. degree in economics from the University of California Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Previous recipients of the Travel Weekly Lifetime Achievement Award have included: Bill Marriott, Gordon Bethune, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Arthur Tauck, Tim and Nina Zagat and Bob Dickinson.

Royal Caribbean honored with Best Cruise Line award

By: Matt Hochberg

Travel Weekly named Royal Caribbean the Best Cruise Line in its eighth annual Travel Weekly Readers' Choice Awards.  Royal Caribbean picked up numerous honors, chief among them best Best Cruise Line Overall.

In addition, Royal Caribbean won the following awards

  • Cruise Line, Domestic
  • Cruise line, Caribbean
  • Cruise ship, rookie: Oasis of the Seas
  • Cruise ship, overall: Oasis of the Seas
  • Cruise line, sales and service

Winners were determined first by Travel Weekly readers who wrote in names of companies they believed best exemplified a particular category.  The leader vote getters were selected from the bunch and voting on finalists took place this fall.

Locals in Belize pass petition against cruise tourism

By: Matt Hochberg

Nearly 90% of the residents of Placencia Village in Belize passed a petition that they are opposed to the proposed introduction of cruise tourism.The petition is in opposition of Royal Caribbean's recent purchase of land in the area for the intention of building a tourism village.

The petition was started by an area resident and was designed to give more proof that opposition to the proposed plan to bring Royal Caribbean ships to the area aren't limited to a "few residents".

On the petition, 330 registered voters agreed that they are opposed to cruises coming to their area, which is out of 367 registered voters in the village.

The villagers are opposed to the plan because of the chaos tourists bring as well as the environmental impact the ships and people will have on the area's ecosystem.

Report of over 100 injuries on Brilliance of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas was involved in a big storm in the Mediterranean earlier last week and the story of injuries, large waves and upset guests has made its way around the world, but according to Seatrade Insider, injuries to cruise guests onboard were more than we were lead to believe.

A Royal Caribbean spokeswoman claims that the number of injured guests onboard Brilliance of the Seas has risen to 105 people now. This is in contrast to early reports of just 30 people being injured with 2 people suffering a bone fracture.

Royal Caribbean has already announced it will refund the cost of the cruise to passengers onboard the ship.

Allure of the Seas makes first stop in St Thomas

By: Matt Hochberg

Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's newest ship and the largest cruise ship in the world, made its first stop ever at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands earlier this week.

To commemorate the occasion, Allure of the Seas Captain Herman Zini told those in attendance "Thank you once again for the continuous focus you have on making the destination better and better.".  A plaque commemorated the event as well.

Royal Caribbean vice president of government relations was excited about the stop in St. Thomas, "The passengers want to take the greatest ship in the world to the greatest destination in the world".

The people of St. Thomas and every port Allure stops at have very good reason to be excited.  Both Allure and her sister ship, Oasis of the Seas, are expected to bring $1.5 million in revenues to the territory during each port call - $78 million a year.  In addition, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Associatian reports the average cruise passenger spends $193 while in the U.S. Virgin islands and crew members spend about $150.  Adding to the potential riches, the ship itself brings revenue through taxes and fees that Royal Caribbean is responsible for in accordance with docking and berthing the ship.

By 2012, Royal Caribbean estimates about 875,000 passengers will visit St. Thomas on an annual basis.

Royal Caribbean moves towards simpler pricing

By: Matt Hochberg

In the United Kingdom, Royal Caribbean is trying to make pricing a cruise easier for its customers. Royal Caribbean will now adopt a "what you see is what you get" approach to pricing its cruises in an attempt to foster earlier bookings.

Mark Walter, Head of field sales for Royal Caribbean, thinks this move is a step in the right direction, "he new ‘what you see is what you get’ campaign from Royal Caribbean International marks a step-change in the promotion of cruising.  All the prices and campaign elements are aimed towards making it easy for first-timer cruisers who will be comparing a holiday at sea with traditional land resorts options. We’ve scraped the traditional cruise jargon and focused on the incredible value that a cruise represents."

"A Christmas Story" themed cruise ready to sail

By: Matt Hochberg

We've had I Love Lucy themed cruises, heavy metal music cruises and now a cruise honoring a family favorite film, The Christmas Story.  You remember the film, right? It's the one that tells the story of Ralphie and his family's Christmas in Ohio where he tries desperately to get a Red Rider B.B. gun and double dog dares his friend to stick his tongue to a flag pole on a cold winter day.

If that movie really resonated with you, you can join the cast for a cruise during the holidays of 2011. Casting New Lives and Academy Travel present a 4 night western Caribbean cruise on board Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas with the cast members of the The Christmas Story, December, 15 - 19, 2011.

The cast of the film scheduled to be on the ship include

  • Scott Schwartz-Flick
  • Zack Ward- Scut Farkus
  • Yano Anaya- Grover Dill
  • Tedde Moore- Miss Shields

Cruise events include

  • Best Essay contest “What I want for Christmas”--Judged by “ Miss Shields”
  • Decode a “Secret Message” with Little Orphan Annie Decoder Pin
  • Mommy’s Little Piggy eating contest
  • Kids help Decorate the Christmas Tree
  • Special movie screening with the stars
  • Autograph sessions
  • An opportunity to get all your questions answered from the stars themselves
  • Memorabilia Christmas Story Store
  • Scavenger hunt on board the ship
  • Even a visit from Santa! 

If you happen to be one of the first 10 families to sign up, you will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed Leg Lamp! You can sign up here

Nassau/Royal Caribbean Fun Run in Paradise cancelled

By: Matt Hochberg

Due to weather, the Nassau/Royal Caribbean Fun Run in Paradise that was being put on by Royal Caribbean and ESPN, has been cancelled.  The run was scheduled to take place yesterday morning but Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas could not dock in Nassau due to high seas and windy conditions.

Prior to the race being cancelled, over 100 Royal Caribbean passengers were scheduled to participate, including several competitive running celebrities.  

The Fun Run in Paradise was scheduled to be part of the inaugural Royal 5K St Maarten Lifestyle, Running and Fitness Show which will air January 27 and 28 on the ESPN Caribbean Networks.

There is still a possibility that Allure of the Seas will be able to dock at Nassau later in the cruise itinerary.