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Looking at the lighting inside Oasis of the Seas Part Two

By: Matt Hochberg

Last week we posted an article detailing the lighting that was installed on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, which gave a behind the scenes look at the inspiration and design of the interior lighting aboard Royal Caribbean's latest and greatest ship.  This week, part two of the article has been posted which explores the interior design of more of the ship.

Michael Riotto of Michael Riotto Design LLC was in charge of the lighting and for the nightclub "Dazzles", Riotto had an easier time than in other locations where the height of the room was an issue. Being three decks high, there's lots of room to work with.   Riotto used a selection of Elation Professional Impression LEDs above the riser, and some of his looks catch the steel beams and reflect off the glass, creating unique looks behind any band performing on the stage.

Over at the Comedy Live nightclub, Riotto built a scale mockup to demonstrate the different LED colors and intensities. “It ended up being a very collaborative process that turned out to be a very creative transition space from a public gathering space outside, to a colorful entertainment venue inside".

Retired couple complain about Norovirus treatment

By: Matt Hochberg

A retired couple that took a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas this past June are upset about how they were treated following an outbreak of the Norovirus on their ship.  John and Christine Stevens were on a Baltic cruise aboard Jewel of the Seas when John contracted the Norovirus that left him with stomach cramps, severe vomiting and diarrhea.  They take issue with how they were treated after catching the nasty bug.

The two have law hired firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate a claim on their behalf say they were not the only ones who were affected.  Allegedly, the onboard doctors were so backed up, that John was forced to simply take Imodium while he waited.  In addition, while under the influence of the bug, he was quarantined in his stateroom and was unable to obtain food and drink during their confinement in spite of several phone calls to room service and one to Passenger Relations.

We want answers. I find it unacceptable that a travel company can just take money off people like us and not live up to their side of the bargain. I want to understand how so many of us fell ill and what Royal Caribbean is going to do about it so that it never happens again.”

Royal Caribbean reports improved second quarter earnings

By: Matt Hochberg

Good news for Royal Caribbean investors, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced improved earnings for 2010's second quarter as well as providing higher guidance for the third quarter and full year 2010.

Royal Caribbean Cruises reported a net income for the second quarter 2010 of $60.5 million, or $0.28 per share, compared to a net loss of $35.1 million, or ($0.16) per share, in second quarter of 2009.  In addition, revenues improved to $1.6 billion in the second quarter of 2010 compared to $1.3 billion in the second quarter of 2009, as a result of capacity increases and yield improvements. Net Yields for the second quarter of 2010 increased 4.9% despite the impact of the stronger US Dollar.

Improved fuel consumption efforts resulted in significantly better fuel consumption of 318,000 metric tons during the second quarter. At-the-pump pricing (including the benefit of the company's hedging) was virtually unchanged. Altogether, the quarter's fuel expenditures were approximately $6 million better than previous calculations.

  • Business conditions have remained on target in each of the company's main markets while improved cost control has enabled the company to raise its earnings guidance for the year
  • Operating costs were lower than expected due mainly to strong cost control, energy conservation measures, expense timing and currency fluctuations
  • Second quarter Net Yields increased 4.9%, (5.4% on a Constant Currency basis)
  • Second quarter Net Cruise Costs per APCD, "NCC", declined 2.8%, (2.0% on a Constant Currency basis)
  • Net Yields are expected to increase approximately 4% in the third quarter and 3% - 4% for the year as a whole, (7% and 4% - 5% respectively on a Constant Currency basis)
  • NCC are expected to be down 1% for the third quarter and down approximately 1% - 2% for the full year
  • EPS expectation for the full year 2010 has been increased by $0.10 to $2.25 to $2.35. Third quarter 2010 EPS is expected to be in the range of $1.52 to $1.57.

Royal Caribbean Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard D. Fain, also commented on the progress for the quarter, "What a difference a year makes. It is gratifying to post another solid quarter with improvement in yields and strong cost control. Despite ongoing uncertainty with the economy, our profitability continues to improve and our booking environment continues to be remarkably stable. We remain focused on strengthening our financial position and I am encouraged about the tremendous global response to our brands."

Brian J. Rice, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer talked about the reasons for a good second quarter, "Demand for our cruises remains on track with our earlier projections. The strengthening of the US Dollar will clearly result in a reduction of our reported yields, but also provides a corresponding reduction in expenses. Most importantly, our continued focus on cost controls and efficiency is driving improved earnings."

Reminder: Royal Caribbean 2nd Quarter Earnings Report tomorrow at 10am

By: Matt Hochberg

For those interested, a quick reminder that Royal Caribbean will announce their second quarter 2010 financial earnings report Thursday, July 22 at 10am Eastern time.  Analysts consensus calls for a profit of $0.18 a share on $1.62 billion revenue.  For comparison, a year ago for the quarter, Royal Caribbean reported $-0.16 a share.

The report should take about an hour and you can listen to it live on the Royal Caribbean Investor web site or by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number. 

Royal Caribbean launching specialty food cruises

By: Matt Hochberg

Do you consider yourself a foodie?  Or maybe you're just a fan of great food?  Well, Royal Caribbean is launching a new series of themed cruises that is right up your alley. There will be 12 specialty voyages onboard Freedom of the Seas that are part of the cruise line’s “Epicurean Discovery” series.

Designed for culinary enthusiasts, the package features a variety of special events throughout the week devoted to cuisine and fine dining.

Each cruise is by a different celebrity chef for the cruise. Here is the schedule of celebrity chefs:

  • Chef Cindy Hutson - September 19, 2010 
  • Chef Johnny Vinczencz - October 3, 2010
  • Chef Tim Andriola - October 17, 2010
  • Chef Carlos Fernandez - October 31, 2010
  • Chef Lauren De Rouen - November 7, 2010
  • Chef Roberto Treviño November 14, 2010
  • TBD - December 5, 2010
  • TBD - December 12, 2010
  • Chef Michael Schwartz - January 2, 2011
  • Chef Nick Weber - January 9, 2011
  • Chef Spike Mendelsohn - February 6, 2011
  • TBD - February 20, 2011

By booking into this package, here are the exclusive options you can look forward to:

  • Participate in Exclusive Culinary Experiences
  • Enjoy a Cocktail Reception Meet & Greet Photo Opportunity with Celebrity Chefs
  • Receive Special In-Suite Gifts
  • Private Dining Experience with Celebrity Chef in our Specialty Restaurants
  • Take a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of our Private Galley
  • Sample Appetizers in a Private Tapas Welcome
  • Savor Succulent Vintages in a Special Wine Tasting Event
  • Attend a Question & Answer Session with Celebrity Chef and Ship's Executive Chef
  • Receive a Special Kit with Photos, Recipes, Menus and Guest Chef Signature
  • Learn Cooking Tips from the Pros
  • Take Home a Commemorative Epicurean Discovery Apron & Chef's Hat

The Epicurean Discovery is available exclusively to guests booking suite accommodations or higher.  Price begins at $1,874 per person, based on double occupancy.

Excursion Focus: Paradise Beach in Cozumel

By: Matt Hochberg

A favorite of many who visit Cozumel is the beach resort known as Paradise Beach, located 5 miles south from the International Cruise Ship Pier in Cozumel.  This beach excursion offers lots of activities both in and out of the water.


Paradise Beach is a private beach that actually costs nothing to enter the beach.  You can arrive at the beach by taxi or your own vehicle and sit on the sand for no fee.  Most guests opt to rent a lounge chair for just $2.  You'll notice in the water a lot of stuff to do, such as giant inflatable toys to climb, jump and dive off of.  For $12 per person, you can have unlimited use of the trampoline, 14 ft. climbing iceberg, full snorkel gear, floating mats & kayaks, 10ft water slide, a Jungle Joe floating multi-tiered climbing structure and the Rockit circular water rocker, paddle boards or bounce on our spacewalker bungee.  

In addition to fun in the water, there's also a beach bar and restaurant offering lots of drinks and a menu to choose from.  There's also massages available on the beach.


Paradise Beach is a great option for families.  The cost for a chair and then the activity wristband comes out to $14 per person and considering that provides all day access, it's a good value.  For kids and those who want to have fun in the water beyond just swimming, there's no beating the giant inflatable water toys that are provided.  They are a lot of fun and provide a fun option for those who want to expel a lot of energy.  

The snorkeling at Paradise Beach is good, but you'll need to swim out past the toys to see much as people swimming and playing closer to shore wont show much.  The beach itself is well kept and offers some great options.  Paradise Beach probably isn't for someone looking for a quiet and relaxing beach getaway.  It's ideal for those who want to be at the beach but still have a lot to do while there.

Location: Carretera Costera Sur Km 14.5, 77600 Cozumel, QROO, Mexico


Cost: $0 for admission. $2 for chairs. $12 for water toys.

Royal Caribbean opens first showroom in Beijing

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean and China Youth Travel Group have opened their first cruise showroom in Beijing's Asian Games Village.  In the booth, Royal Caribbean is offering visitors several packages, including an eight days and seven nights cruise to Japan and South Korea aboard Legend of the Seas.

These cruises that are being showcased depart from Tianjin, northern China's first cruise home port.  This showroom is part of the Asian Games, also called the Asiad, which is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Asian Games are the world's second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.

More women becoming sailors

By: Matt Hochberg

Like many industries, cruising and maritime work has been dominated by men but lately there's been a change in that as more and more women are looking to become sailors.  According to the International Maritime University of Panama, cruising crews have opened doors to women.

Luis Fabrega, director of International Maritime University Panama (PICU) confirmed that the integration of women into the maritime area is growing.  Why the influx of women now?  Fabrega attributes the change to the impulse to create working places for cruise companies.

"We have noticed that the female cadets increasingly embark on cruise ships, which are ships that many prefer and are frequently asking for more personal," described Fabrega, adding "this does not limit the participation of women in other vessels" .

Royal Caribbean is helping in this endeavor to open up maritime jobs to women by having an agreement with the International Maritime University Panama to provide students an opportunity to do internships on their ships.  The results have produced 15 female cadets since 2008 and of the approximately 1,200 students at PICU, 25% are now women.

Maureen Brandt wins Allure of the Seas' Culinary Challenge

By: Matt Hochberg

Voting for the Culinary Challenge contest that was looking for the the next Chef de Cuisine of 150 Central Park, the signature restaurant onboard Allure of the Seas, ended this past Sunday and Royal Caribbean announced that contestant Maureen Brandt of Stillwater, Minnesota has won the contest.

Brandt was chosen from a group of six finalists for the contest.  She was trained in cooking at the Food Channel, where she named a Food and Wine best student chef in 2006.  Since then, she's gone on to work in a number of restaurants and currently Brandt owns her own private chef and catering company, Cook in the Kitchen in the Twin Cities. In addition, Brandt is co-founder and villa chef for Flavors of Italia, a company that offers intimate, culinary-focused vacations in Northern Tuscany.

While Brandt finished first in voting, the second place chef is Daniel Fein of Rochester Hills, Mich., and third place goes to Beth LittleJohn of Durham, N.C.