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Royal Caribbean have repatriated 95% of its crew members

In:
Category: 
01Jul2020

Royal Caribbean has been diligently working on getting its crew members home, and reported on Wednesday that it has repatriated 95% of its crew members.

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Vicki Freed told travel agents in her weekly webinar that among its corporate brands, Royal Caribbean has repatriated 95% of its crew members so far, and that number will climb to 97% by July 15.

"We have about 40,000 crew members from our corporate collective efforts, of which 95% have now been taken home, either via our own ships or be a chartered aircraft. By July 15th, 97% will be repatriated to their home. So no crew left behind."

"We're happy for them that they get to spend some time with family until we know that we're ready to start service again and we can bring them back and we're excited to bring them back."

In order to get crew members home, Royal Caribbean had to overcome significant legal and political hurdles countries have set up that prevent crew members on a cruise ship from returning home.

Countries around the world, including the United States, have added complex new regulations and travel restrictions meant to protect its citizens at home, while making it extremely difficult for citizens abroad to return simply because they are on a cruise ship.

Top priority

Getting crew members home has been a hot topic in the news, and Royal Caribbean made it a top priority to get its crew members home.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain noted in the company's first quarter results call with analysts that crew repatriation is its first priority.

"In the two months since we suspended operations, we've been working tirelessly to safely repatriate our guests and crew members to their homes," Mr. Fain elaborated,  "Our crew come from more than 100 countries around the world with widely different safety protocols and travel restrictions. This has turned, what should be a simple task into a monumental one."

"It's really hard to convey the complexity of the process to somebody who's used to making simple travel arrangements. But, our teams are working around the clock with the multitude of governing bodies to repatriate our crews as soon as possible. We've even gone to the extent of using our ships as transport vessels and currently have nine ships carry more than 10,000 crew members back to their home countries. It's a complex and expensive way to do it. But it's a most reliable way to get these men and women home to their families as quickly as possible. And therefore, we've undertaken to do it this way."

"Obviously, our industry and our Company are undergoing unprecedented challenges, and we are having to quickly adapt to this new and evolving environment. But, our priorities are clear, we will work to protect the safety of our guests and crew, we will proactively enhance our liquidity, we will protect the Company's brands and our travel partners, and we will define and prepare for a new normal."

Royal Caribbean makes repatriating crew members its top priority

In:
Category: 
13Jun2020

In the months since Royal Caribbean suspended operations, the cruise line has made protecting and repatriating its crew its top priority.

Recently, Royal Caribbean executives have specifically called out the hard work its teams around the world are doing to help get crew members home, despite daunting legal hurdles.

Crew comes first

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain started off his quarterly results calll with Wall Street analysts by making a point to say crew repatriation is its first priority, even ahead of the company's financial future.

"Obviously, our industry and our Company are undergoing unprecedented challenges, and we are having to quickly adapt to this new and evolving environment. But, our priorities are clear, we will work to protect the safety of our guests and crew, we will proactively enhance our liquidity, we will protect the Company's brands and our travel partners, and we will define and prepare for a new normal."

The task of getting crew home is more than simply buying a plane ticket home. Countries around the world, including the United States, have added complex new regulations and travel restrictions meant to protect its citizens at home, while making it extremely difficult for citizens abroad to return simply because they are on a cruise ship.

"In the two months since we suspended operations, we've been working tirelessly to safely repatriate our guests and crew members to their homes," Mr. Fain elaborated,  "Our crew come from more than 100 countries around the world with widely different safety protocols and travel restrictions. This has turned, what should be a simple task into a monumental one."

"It's really hard to convey the complexity of the process to somebody who's used to making simple travel arrangements. But, our teams are working around the clock with the multitude of governing bodies to repatriate our crews as soon as possible. We've even gone to the extent of using our ships as transport vessels and currently have nine ships carry more than 10,000 crew members back to their home countries. It's a complex and expensive way to do it. But it's a most reliable way to get these men and women home to their families as quickly as possible. And therefore, we've undertaken to do it this way."

Royal Caribbean International President & CEO Michael Bayley spoke at length about the work being done by the cruise line to get crew home safely, despite inaccurate media reports to the contrary.

Mr. Bayley characterized getting crew members home as, "genuinely a massive challenge," and went on to reassure the public it is doing everything it can, "We love our crew. We are doing everything in our power to take care for them, and to make sure that they get home to their families."

"We're doing everything we can to take care of our crew and get them home. The crew are pleased with what we're doing, they're thankful, they're understanding."

Getting crew home by the numbers

Saying you will do something, and actually doing it, are two different things, and Royal Caribbean has been actively getting more and more crew home each week.

Mr. Bayley shared an update on Facebook that as of Friday, 22,558 crew members have been repatriated, and Royal Caribbean has plans for another 4,041 crew to make it home next week.

"We’re working very hard for each member of our crew and we’re getting there! By the end of the month, we’re looking to have 95% of our repatriation efforts complete. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and every day it’s looking brighter."

Royal Caribbean hires back over 100 laid off workers to help with long phone hold times

In:
Category: 
27May2020

Royal Caribbean announced today it has rehired over 100 employees that were laid off in April 2020 in order to help with the significantly long phone hold times.

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Vicki Freed made the announcement during a webinar with travel advisors that it was aware of very long hold times, and the cruise line decided to bring back employees to help with the issue.

"I do want you to know that we're not just talking about it, that we're doing something about it. And over the weekend, we've called back over a hundred people that we had to lay off to come back, call center people and help us in the call centers. So many of them came in on Sunday and Monday of this week. They're in training right now because there will have been more suspensions since we had our layoff and they should be up on the phones this week and next week."

"So that should help on the long hold times. And again, I sincerely apologize to our value travel partners because this is not the kind of service we want to provide you. We want to give you excellent service."

A separate email sent to a travel agent specified that Royal Caribbean hired back 130 reservation agents.

Thanks to Katina Bradley for providing this email

Royal Caribbean has experienced longer than normal wait times due to the "snowball" effect of multiple cruise cancellation announcements, that has overwhelmed call centers. Compounding the issue was the lay offs the company made last month, which reduced call capacity.

Royal Caribbean reportedly to begin sending many crew members home

In:
Category: 
04May2020

It looks like Royal Caribbean has a plan to send many of its crew members home.

The Miami Herald is reporting Royal Caribbean has a plan in place that complies with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s terms for disembarking crew. 

Letters were sent to crew members explaining the situation, and the new plan to get its international crew home.

The crux of the matter that prevented crew from getting home sooner was evidently the CDC's rules for disembarking crew that included provisions such as requiring crew go home via chartered or private transportation.

In the letter from Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley to crew, it explains the legal entanglement that is created by sending crew home now, "The CDC will only allow us to disembark crew members if company executives, myself included, are willing to attest — subject to criminal penalties including imprisonment — that we will not use any public transportation and that each crew member will comply with certain conditions after disembarking the ships. We are happy to do all the things they requested, but the criminal penalties gave us [and our lawyers] pause."

While Bayley said he hopes the threat of criminal prosecution will be removed, he said, “we have decided that the importance of getting you home is so great that we will sign these documents as they are written today to help get you off the ships.”

Cruise Industry News outlined the plan that involved getting crew home to 60 different countries, involving various ships in the fleet "busing" crew members home based on their country of origin.

The efforts include ships such as Anthem of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Vision of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean issues safety guidelines to crew members to curb the spread of Coronavirus

In:
30Mar2020

Royal Caribbean has issued new safety protocols to its crew members that are working on its cruise ships to help stop the spread of COVID-19 outbreaks onboard.

In the wake of at least 14 crew members on Oasis of the Seas confirmed to be infected, Royal Caribbean has issued new safety guidelines.

According to Crew-Center.com, the letter passed to crew on Navigator of the Seas includes these 10 new rules:

1. Only crew that are assigned to work can leave their room
2. Crew that are not working MUST STAY in their room. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action up to termination.
3. Smokers are NOT ALLOWED out of their rooms to smoke. Smoking in the cabin is also NOT ALLOWED. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action up to termination.
4. Food and water will be delivered to your room, the menu selection will be on your television.
5. In-room movies will be available within few hours, please be patient as we need to add you into the system first.
6. Please treat the room with respect, keep it clean and tidy. This is still a guest stateroom.
7. Fresh linen and toilet paper will be provided.
8. The moment you experience and of the following symptoms call the nurse on duty: High Fever, Coughing, Breathing Problems.
9 We will continue with our twice-daily temperature check, your management team will come to you, DO NOT leave your cabin.
10. Keep your self healthy by practicing good hygiene and wash your hands as often as possible.

All Royal Caribbean ships are currently shut down from cruising with guests. There are only crew members onboard maintaining the ships until regular sailings resume.

Royal Caribbean reiterated its commitment to its crew members and their safety in a statement, “The health and well-being of our crew is our foremost priority. Crewmembers who exhibited symptoms were evaluated by our medical staff and remain under close supervision. In accordance with our health and safety protocols, our crew have been asked to self-isolate in cabins while we await confirmation of initial results from public health authorities.”

Royal Caribbean hopes to resume sailings on May 12, 2020 to some destinations.

What happens to the crew members onboard during the coronavirus cruise suspension?

In:
Category: 
19Mar2020

The impact of a 30 day suspension of all Royal Caribbean sailings around the world can be felt in a variety of areas, including the crew members who work on Royal Caribbean's ships.

With no sailings to conduct, many Royal Caribbean fans began to wonder what the crew's fate would be and how would they fare during this cessation. After all, the crew are well-known for their dedication to making the onboard experience excellent, and there was some concern early on that perhaps crew would have to return home.

From the start of the pause, Royal Caribbean reiterated its dedication to the safety, health and well-being of its staff and crew members.

In short, crew members are remaining onboard their ships until Royal Caribbean resumes operations. 

Royal Caribbean's Best Job at Sea contest winner, Cassandra Aragon, indicated that the crew are still getting paid during this time.

Cruise ships still require maintenance and upkeep to ensure the ship is ready to resume service the moment it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, the crew are taking advantage of some time onboard without any guests, and the ships seem to be playing host to them.

While Royal Caribbean itself has not commented on specifics, we have gotten a look at what the crew are up to during this period from social media posts.

Cory Rogers, the Cruise Directory on Liberty of the Seas, shared a video of the Royal Promenade decked out for St. Patrick's Day and enjoyed purely by the crew.

The team is in high spirits and all extremely positive. Still strange not having guests onboard as we are not used to it and we are currently making history! All the crew have been given free WiFi to stay connected to their families and friends back home. 

Chris Wong, is the Casino Host on Oasis of the Seas, and has been posting daily vlogs updating what is happening onboard his ship during this shutdown.

Mr. Wong talked about the sanitization efforts he and the crew have been taking to keep the ship as clean as possible, as well as sharing how certain guest venues have been opened up to crew members. This includes Chops, Johnny Rockets, the pools and more.

One constant during the coronavirus outbreak has been the changing nature of news that alters daily.

Mr. Wong mentioned in today's video that the Captain of Oasis of the Seas mentioned some crew would start to head home, but there are still questions on how many crew will be sent home, and what things will look like in the coming weeks.

Royal Caribbean honors crew member with the Best Job At Sea

In:
Category: 
23Aug2018

Royal Caribbean has picked its first-ever Best Job at Sea contest winner by selecting 26-year-old Cassandra Aragon from Mexico as the winner. 

Cassandra has been exploring the world with Royal Caribbean as a Cruise Director’s Staff since 2016. Beginning in November, she will kick off her 6-month journey as Royal Caribbean’s first Traveling Content Creator onboard the all-new Symphony of the Seas.

To win this prestigious honor, Royal Caribbean reached out to its Crew Ambassadors to find which crew members could tell the best stories and capture the essence of different locales through their photography. From a pool of many, Cassandra stood out as the winner.

After working as a Cruise Director’s Staff, for 2 years on 5 different ships, Cassandra realized that she belonged by the sea. Her career with Royal Caribbean began in May 2016 on Anthem of the Seas and continued on Vision of the Seas until she injured her knee. As a result, Cassandra had to return home for knee surgery and stop working for 10 months. Slowly but surely Cassandra went back to ship life by doing fills onboard Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas, until finally the great Symphony of the Seas. 

Traveling 24/7, dancing, and creating content for her YouTube channel and Instagram account has encouraged her to inspire and have a positive impact on people. “This makes me feel fulfilled and complete,” said Cassandra. Dancing is one of her passions and as a Cruise Director’s Staff, she can share her energy and help people have a great time. “I truly love what I do,” Cassandra included. On her time off, she always like to get off the ship with her camera in hand, immerse in the culture, and portrait the best of our ports of call. 

Spotted: New Royal Caribbean crew member name tags design

In:
Category: 
14Aug2018

Royal Caribbean is slowly changing the design of the name tags its crew members wear aboard cruise ships.

The Cruise Director for Allure of the Seas shared a photo of his new name tag on his Facebook page.

New crew member name tag design. Photo by Cruise Director Mitch.

Previous crew member name tag design. Photo by Michael Chandonia.

According to Mitch, they are slowly rolling out to the entire fleet.

What do you think of the new name tag design? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Video: Royal Caribbean’s Crew Members Share Their Passions

In:
24Jan2017

From horticulture to high diving, Royal Caribbean International’s crew members bring their many passions on board the ships they work on. While their job titles run the gamut, what they have in common is that they live the adventure they create for their guests. With the opportunity to meet new people every day and step foot in a new country nearly as often, it’s no surprise Royal Caribbean has a crew that's passionate and committed to bringing incredible vacations to life.

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