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Royal Caribbean: World wants to come to Australia


Royal Caribbean Vice President of Commercial and New Business Development John Tercek says the world wants to come to Australia when he spoke at the Cruise Down Under conference in Cairns last week.

Tercek said Australia has a great international reputation and image and is going to see a lot more cruise traffic.

Royal Caribbean already has five ships operating in Australia between sister company Celebrity Cruises and itself.  

Tercek says the big challenege for the Australian cruise market is the expensive air fare to Australia along with the long distances the ships must travel.  Because of these distances, Australian cruises are unique in that most cruises are longer than seven nights.

Other challenges Tercek idenitifed are the odd comibination of days due to the fact the Sydney only has one cruise terminal to handle the larger cruise ships due to the Harbour Bridge being too low for Royal Caribbean's ships.

"We are growing here, we"ve been growing here, we hope to go on growing here, but the issues are there," he said.
However, Tercek described on-going discussions about improved infrastructure are "promising."
He said Royal Caribbean has two Voyager-class ships sailing in China and hopes to add more ships as that market grows.
"As it does grow, it is not that far to come down here," Tercek told Cruise Down Under delegates.

Royal Caribbean among cruise lines pushing for Australian Navy to leave Garden Island


The cruise business in Australia is booming and things could get even better if the Royal Australian Navy goes ahead with plans to leave Sydney's Garden Island.

Doing so would increase the berthing capacity for the city, which is characterized as "desperately needed".  Among those calling for the Navy to leave is Royal Caribbean's Regional Vice President for Australia, Gavin Smith.

"None of our ships will fit under the Harbour Bridge," said the line's regional vice president Gavin Smith.

“Modern cruise ships are too big to do so. To continue to grow we need certainty, in particular berthing certainty. Asian ports have provided this in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai with brand new dedicated cruise terminals. More and more cruise ships are visiting these ports as a consequence.

“Sydney, as the gateway to the Australian cruise industry, needs to respond to this competition within our region. This will ensure that the other cruise destinations in Australia and New Zealand can share in the economic growth of the local industry.”

Sydney's current cruise terminal is over 50 years old.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced on Tuesday that a taskforce would be set up to consider moving some or all of the navy fleet to Queensland.

Royal Caribbean survey shows Australians want to get away for the Christmas holiday


Royal Caribbean conducted a survey among residents of Australia and found two thirds of the respondents said they believed that getting away from it all would make Christmas better and 50% said that a getaway was the number one thing that would make school holidays better.

This, of course, plays right into what Royal Caribbean can offer these people looking for an escape by touting December cruises. Royal Caribbean says 40% of Australians said that they would most like to go on a cruise with their family and are happy for the family to come along.

Among the reasons Australians are looking to get away were concerns over money and household chores are the primary reasons they did not enjoy being at home for the holiday.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Australasia Commercial Director Adam Armstrong said, “A cruise is a great value option at Christmas time with prices including meals, accommodation and lots of entertainment, and of course there’s no arguing over who’s going to do the washing up!”

He added that it is hard not to get into the holiday spirit with all the special activities on board a Royal Caribbean cruise at Christmas time, with the season coming to life with carol singing, Christmas parties, visits from Santa, holiday-inspired menus and Christmas treats such as gingerbread houses built by talented onboard pastry chefs.

Three Royal Caribbean ships will offer cruises out of Australia during the Christmas holiday, which include Radiance of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean named best cruise line in Australia


The 2013 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards winners were announced and Royal Caribbean took home the honor for "Best Cruise Operator – Australian Based Operation".

Australian Federation of Travel Agents CEO Jayson Westbury said Royal Caribbean was bringing "big, yummy, affordable" ships to Australia.

The NTIA is an annual event in Australia, where leaders in the travel field are recognized by members of the The Australian Federation of Travel Agents.

Royal Caribbean also won an award in last year's event for, "Best Cruise Operator - International Based Operation".

Kristen Chenoweth performs at Sydney Opera House for Royal Caribbean guests


Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas godmother Kristen Chenoweth performed on Monday night at the Sydney Opera House for Royal Caribbean and guests.

''It was a dream come true to perform the special material that I created just for my Australian tour last night at Sydney's Opera House and it was a thrill to have special guests of Royal Caribbean in the audience," Chenoweth said.

Chenoweth recently co-hosted the grand reveal of Quantum of the Seas in New York and has become associated with Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship.

"I am so excited to be godmother of Quantum of the Seas and hope to see lots of my Aussie fans on board when she launches in the US next year," Chenoweth said.

Chenoweth took time to pose with Royal Caribbean commercial director for Australia, Adam Armstrong, backstage.

Royal Caribbean announces biggest Australian cruise season ever


Royal Caribbean announced its 2014-15 Australasian program, which happens to be its biggest to date.  Part of the plans call for Voyager of the Seas to undergo a multi-million dollar refurbishment before the new cruise season kicks off.

Royal Caribbean will send Voyager of the Seas along with Radiance of the Seas for a third consecutive summer to Australia.

Royal Caribbean commercial director Adam Armstrong indicated that over 140,000 passengers from over 100 countries will sail with Royal Caribbean during this time frame.

“We began with the revitalisations of Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas in 2011-12, and now we’ve come full circle as Voyager of the Seas will undergo a bow-to-stern refurbishment to offer even more amazing features,” he said.

Royal Caribbean will announce more details later this year, but Armstrong hinted the revitslisation will see Voyager of the Seas fitted with many of the features found on the cruise line’s newest Oasis Class ships.

Radiance and Rhapsody will arrive in Sydney in October 2014 for the season’s start with Voyager to join them in December 2014.

The program features 55 cruises from two to 18 nights in length, calling at 37 ports across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific before the season’s end in April 2015.

Royal Caribbean looking for upgrades to Sydney cruise terminal


Royal Caribbean executives are going to meet with the Australian transport minister this week to discuss a list of improvements to Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal that the company would like to see happen.

Starting July 1, a new $20 per passenger fee will come into effect and Royal Caribbean wants the new revenue to be used to upgrade the cruise facilities.

The new fee is expected to generate $10 million in the first year.

Royal Caribbean regional vice president Gavin Smith commented, "We are asking for a relationship between that fee and infrastructural improvement. We are maintaining our dialogue with the minister about OPT. We are looking for a responsible investment that helps defray our costs.”

Smith said he was "very hopeful" of a favorable outcome to the negotiations.

Royal Caribbean has a list of improvements to the cruise terminal they would like to see, including additional seating in the upper level of the terminal, an expanded shelter for baggage handling (Royal Caribbean currently has a canopy at its own expense), a restroom block to replace existing temporary facilities, upgraded escalators and better air conditioning.

Voyager of the Seas finishes Australian cruise season


Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas arrival in Singapore on Saturday marked the end of its cruise season in Australia.  The massive cruise ship had started offering cruises in Australia in November, when she became the first single cruise ship to carry more than 3000 passengers to Sydney.

Adam Armstrong, Royal Caribbean commercial directory for Australia, described the public's response to Voyager of the Seas as, "phenomonal".

"Judging from the feedback from our guests and trade partners, they can't wait to see her again for the 2013/14 summer season," he said.

During her time down under, Voyager of the Seas transported 40,000 passengers with every single cruise full.  Of the 40,000 passengers, about 85% were from Australia or New Zealand.

"Voyager of the Seas is a big ship, and her size and calibre was only previously available in the Caribbean or Europe. This has meant big things for Australia," Armstrong said.

Armstrong mentioned that Voyager of the Seas had a big impact on Sydney's local economy, with approximately a $25 million contribution along with around $40 million to the overall Australian economy.

Voyager of the Seas will return to Australia in the 2013/14 summer cruise season with four new itineraries and two additional sailings, boosting its program by 10%.

Royal Caribbean hints at growing its fleet in Australia


Royal Caribbean experienced a record week of local sales in Australia and the cruise giant has reiterated the possibility that it may increase the amount of its cruise ships in the area.

Royal Caribbean executive vice president of global sales and marketing, Lisa Bauer, told media in Sydney yesterday that the Australian cruise market has experience a higher level of growth potential and the company is looking to with through infrastructure challenges so it can expand its cruise operations.

"We see this market in two ways. One is developing cruising for the local market, the ability to home port here and to introduce people to cruising. Secondly, once they understand cruising, to travel to the rest of the world on our ships."

Bauer commented that Australia compliments the Asian cruise market and is a"great market in itself."

"We have not announced anything, but we would like to have the opportunity to bring additional ships here. The market has a lot more potential," Bauer said.

Bauer mentioned that the biggest obstacle for cruise growth in Australia today is that cruising "is for the nearly dead, over fed and newly wed".

"Our challenge for cruising in general is trying to break down those barriers," she said, adding that the average age for its Royal Caribbean ships is fourty-two.

"We partner exceptionally well with the travel agent community to try and get the message out that cruising is not the same with every brand," she continued. "We work hard with agents about matching the right customer with the right brand. That is very important."

Deal Alert: Royal Caribbean offering stateroom upgrades on Australia and New Zealand cruises


Royal Caribbean is offering deals on its winter 2013-2014 cruises to Australia and New Zealand of free stateroom upgrades.

Guests can book inside staterooms aboard Rhapsody of the Seas and be upgraded for free to oceanview staterooms, or you can book a balcony stateroom for the cost of an oceanview stateroom aboard Radiance and Voyager of the Seas.

The offer applies to new U.S. and Canadian individual bookings made on Jan. 30 through Feb. 28, 2013 aboard Royal Caribbean International ships departing from Sept. 2013 through April 2014 on 10-night sailings or longer in Australia and New Zealand. 

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