Environment

Royal Caribbean sees major returns from Perfect Day at CocoCay, reports on sustainability, talks Cuba impact and more

In:
25Jul2019

Royal Caribbean held a conference call with investors earlier today to go over its 2019 second quarter earnings, which shed light on a few interesting anecdotes.

Perfect Day at CocoCay is attracting new cruisers, not steal from other lines

If there was one theme of the earnings call, it is that Royal Caribbean has hit a grand slam with its private island makeover earlier this year, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said, "To describe Perfect Day as a home run, wouldn't do it justice. It really resets the bar in the short-cruise market."

"But it's important to note that Perfect Day wasn't designed to steal customers from other cruise lines; it was designed to attract customers who otherwise wouldn't be taking a cruise. And it's doing that beautifully."

Perfect Day at CocoCay is bringing in big returns

In addition to being well-received by cruisers and reviewers alike, Perfect Day at CocoCay is also making a giant impact on the cruise line's bottom line.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chief Financial Officer, Jason Liberty, spoke to this point, "What has been particularly impressive over the past few months is the pricing we are receiving for sailings visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay. Pricing on these sailings has been consistently outpacing our lofty expectations. It has been a major contributor to our improved, non-Cuba revenue outlook."

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said, "In total in '19 and through into '20, eleven of the Royal Caribbean ships will be going to Perfect Day at CocoCay, so you can imagine the volume that we are taking to Perfect Day has gone up by a factor of about four. And we are already taking a lot of guests to CocoCay before we underwent all of this work and changed the whole experience."

"I think today we've taken maybe 350,000 people to Perfect Day since we opened. It's now rated the number one resort globally for Royal Caribbean, and it's knocking it out of the park in terms of truly delivering a phenomenal day. The guest satisfaction is extremely high."

"The demand we are seeing comes from all segments. It competes very well with Orlando. It's got a truly wonderful day, both in thrill and chill. It is also driving new-to-cruise, because approximately 40% of the short market is new-to-cruise."

Sustainability and accountability is important

Mr. Fain provided an update on the cruise line's sustainability efforts, and how well it is following the plan it laid out earlier.

"As most of you know, in 2016, we launched a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to take our sustainability efforts to a new level. At Royal Caribbean, we believe that what gets measured, gets better, and we established specific goals in three areas of sustainability. The three areas where we established these quantifiable goals were the areas of carbon footprint, sustainable destinations, sustainable food production."

"Specifically, we undertook a 35% reduction in carbon footprint of our 2005 base, offering one thousand tours certified to the GSTC sustainability standard, and responsibility to responsibly sourcing 90% of wild-caught seafood globally, 75% of farm seafood in North America and Europe. We set a public goal to reach these objectives by the end of 2020."

"I am happy to report that we are on schedule. We achieved our carbon footprint goal earlier this year, and just two weeks ago, we certified our one thousandth sustainable tour operation. We're not there yet on our sustainable food sourcing goal, but we're walking diligently to do so, and hope to reach that target soon."

Cost of Cuba

Earlier this year, the United States government ended the ability of cruise lines to sail to Cuba and the impact of that policy change was quantified during this call.

Mr. Liberty explained, "The abrupt removal of calls to Cuba on June sailings on Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas costs us 30 basis points in year-over-year yields for the quarter. While the Cuba policy change was financially and operationally painful, our underlying business remains very strong, as we both outperformed on onboard revenue and saw further close-in demand for our core products."

If they could go back in time, Royal Caribbean would have done more

One of the analysts on the call asked Royal Caribbean if they had a "do over" during the last recession, would they have held back as much as they did for ship orders.

Mr. Liberty said bluntly, "There's definitely regret that we have in terms of our pull-back on our growth. We would all be talking about higher earnings numbers today, better return profile today if we hadn't slowed down our growth, or our investment efforts in expanding our global footprint, investing in different projects that would have put us in an even stronger position than we are in today."

Royal Caribbean and WWF-Australia announce partnership to protect critically endangered hawksbill turtles

In:
13Nov2018

With the support of Royal Caribbean, WWF-Australia will step up efforts to help combat the illegal trade of hawksbill turtles in Asia-Pacific - the number one threat to the critically endangered turtle.

For the first time in the region, WWF-Australia will work with partners to test ground-breaking technology to extract DNA from tortoiseshell products, such as earrings, bracelets and other trinkets. The collaboration will develop a DNA database to help identify hawksbill populations most at risk from the illegal tortoiseshell trade by tracing hawksbills products from their point-of-sale to where they were poached.

“Despite international trade being banned over twenty years ago, poaching and the sale of hawksbill products still takes place in our region. It is unclear where poaching is most prevalent, but with the help of the turtle DNA test and database we’ll be able to map poaching hotspots and work with local governments in the Asia-Pacific region to combat these illegal activities,” said Christine Hof, Marine Species Project Manager, WWF-Australia.

Hawksbill turtles are one of the most beautiful and important species in the ocean, playing a vital role in maintaining the health of our oceans; from promoting coral growth through their appetite for algae, to supporting vital feeding grounds for reef communities.  However, over the last 100 years the hawksbill population has declined by more than 75% and it’s estimated there are only 4,800 breeding females remaining in the Pacific Ocean.

The hawksbill faces a unique threat as it is the only sea turtle species that is hunted for its shell, commonly known as “tortoiseshell”, which is made into souvenirs frequently sold to travelers while on holidays overseas. 

“Hunted and traded for their shell, Hawksbill turtles are critically endangered. Ending this trade will take a coordinated effort. We are extremely passionate about this partnership with WWF-Australia, and need to act now to ensure these prehistoric sea creatures have a future,” said Susan Bonner, VP and Managing Director, Royal Caribbean Australia & NZ.

The partnership will also increase awareness of the issue amongst those travelling throughout Asia-Pacific. RCL and WWF-Australia intend to educate millions of supporters and travellers about this illegal trade by providing them with the information they need to identify illegal tortoiseshell products and avoid buying them, with the launch of an extensive consumer campaign.

A hawksbill turtle adoption programme will be available to all Australians in 2019. Adoption of a hawksbill turtle via Royal Caribbean will support WWF-Australia’s essential conservation work – protecting the habitat, preserving their food sources and ensuring the safety of threatened species locally and globally.

RCL has a long history of innovation, and is committed to protecting the communities and environments in which it operates. From wastewater and waste management, to energy efficiency and sourcing practices, RCL is dedicated to continually improving operations, to minimise its’ environmental footprint and increase support for conservation.

“We have a responsibility to the guests who sail with us, the people who work for us, and the communities we visit, but most importantly we have a responsibility to the magnificent oceans, which are at the very essence of our business,” said Bonner.

In 2016, RCL and WWF embarked on a five-year global journey to help ensure the long-term health of the world’s oceans. The RCL and WWF-Australia local partnership to protect the hawksbill turtle will run in the Asia-Pacific region for the next three years.

For more information visit www.royalcaribbean.com.au/wwf.

Video: Royal Caribbean Sustainability Efforts Receive a Gust of Wind Power

In:
Category: 
17Oct2018

A new wind farm agreement complements Royal Caribbean’s comprehensive carbon reduction initiatives. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced that they’re furthering their carbon reduction initiatives by partnering with Southern Power on a wind farm that will offset up to 12% of Royal Caribbean’s emissions beginning in 2020! 

Read more about this agreement here.

Royal Caribbean plans to offset some of its emissions with wind power

In:
11Oct2018

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today it has signed a deal with Southern Power for Southern Power's 200-megawatt (MW) Reading Wind Facility. This initiative, which will offset up to 12 percent of Royal Caribbean's emissions beginning in 2020, is one of many programs the cruise line has to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through innovations at sea and in port.

The facility is expected to generate roughly 760,000 megawatt hours per year over the duration of the 12-year agreement, which translates to enough clean energy to offset 10-12 percent of Royal Caribbean's annual carbon emissions starting in 2020. With this innovative program, Royal Caribbean is able to apply a new approach while continuing its primary initiatives to advance sustainability efforts across the company's fleet.

The wind facility is located in Osage and Lyon Counties in Kasnas and the deal provides Southern Power with the economic basis to construct the project. 

"This agreement complements our longstanding strategic initiatives to reduce the company's emissions and become a more sustainable operator," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our environmental footprint, both in the short and long term, and thanks to our partnership with Southern Power this is the latest step in our journey."

The project is expected to break ground in the second quarter of 2019 and is expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2020. Southern Power will operate and maintain the facility upon completion.

Royal Caribbean is also employing several technologies and innovations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create more efficient vessels, including:

  • Advanced Emission Purification systems, which remove approximately 98 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions
  • Air lubrication systems to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency
  • Energy management software, an industry first, to achieve top fuel efficiency
  • The introduction of new fuels such as liquefied natural gas, in the near future
  • Onboard the ship: the use of energy-efficient equipment in galleys and the replacement of incandescent bulbs with fluorescent and LED lighting, as well as the introduction of fuel cells

Royal Caribbean will stop using plastic straws by end of 2018

In:
08Jun2018

All of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships will eliminate the use of plastic drinking straws by the end 2018 in an effort to reach a comprehensive plastics elimination program.

The policy will be mirrored with sister brands Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises, and Pullmantur Cruceros.

Royal Caribbean has already implemented a "straws upon request" policy, and this new policy will go a step further to eliminate the plastic option all together. That program will be taken a step further by the start of 2019, when guests requesting a straw will receive a paper straw instead of a plastic one. Guests also will begin seeing Forrest Stewardship Council-certified wood coffee stirrers and bamboo garnish picks as part of the plastic reduction strategy.

After straws, stirrers and picks, the company's next efforts will focus on other single-use plastics such as condiment packets, cups, and bags. A full plastics audit is underway, with the overall plan to be completed in phases by 2020.

Royal Caribbean cuts down on use of drink straws onboard its cruise ships

In:
21May2018

Guests sailing on Royal Caribbean may notice their next round of cocktails will not served with a plastic straw by default.

The cruise line has begun cutting back on the use of plastic straws, citing the negative environmental impact straws can have on the ocean.

Photo by Kathy Constantine from Adventure of the Seas

Photo by Nick Vitani on Enchantment of the Seas

Signs posted at bars around many ships indicate that when a guest orders a drink, they will not receive a straw automatically.  Guests may receive a straw upon request from any server.

Royal Caribbean's Save the Waves program began in 1992 as an effort to help protect the ocean ecosystem, and this new policy regarding drink straws is another step towards minimizing ocean pollution.

Royal Caribbean celebrates sustainable shore excursion milestone

In:
10Mar2017

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and 70 operators are celebrating the completion of a multi-year program aimed at increasing the number of sustainable tours available to the company’s five million annual guests.

Royal Caribbean's Save the Waves program has been an important part of the company's drive to raise awareness among its guests by designating tours whose operators have been verified to have adopted policies that align with international standards for sustainability developed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) for tour operators.

RCL worked with Sustainable Travel International to develop the Sustainable Tourism Education Program’s (STEP) Sustainable Shore Excursion Standard, a subset of criteria and indicators from the GSTC standard selected by STI as being applicable to cruise tourism shore excursions.  The SSE standard is designed to help identify providers who offer high-quality shore excursions that also support local communities and conserve the environment.

Sustainable shore excursions are more than just nature tours – they encompass a broader category that includes tours that responsibly manage environmental impacts, preserve local history and cultures, protect the rights and resources of the local community and have properly trained employees committed to quality service.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.  

Royal Caribbean's Turtle Walk and Swim allows guests to support World Wildlife Fund efforts

In:
Category: 
09Jan2017

Guests on a Royal Caribbean cruise can help save the Earth between time at the pool and or enjoying a show.

Last year, Royal Caribbean announced it was teaming up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to create a global partnership to support ocean conservation, and those efforts are spreading to onboard the cruise ships for guests to get involved too.

On Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean allows guests to walk or swim as a group to support the efforts of the WWF.  T-shirts and plush dolls are available for sale, with proceeds from every sale going to WWF's global ocean conservation work.  

The plus doll available is a sea turtle, which is indicative of the type of animals the WWF is working to protect.

Royal Caribbean releases new sustainability report

In:
19Dec2016

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. released today its Sustainability Report, which documents the Company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and showcases improved efficiencies across its fleet.

In the report, the company noted the expansion of its Advanced Emissions Purification program, as well as a new set of goals for the year 2020 that were established with input from the company's global conservation partner, World Wildlife Fund.

2015 marked the 10th-year of the Save the Waves program, which focused on emissions and waste reduction, as well as increasing the number of shore excursions that met an internationally recognized sustainability standard.

In line with these goals, over the past decade RCL built its most efficient cruise ships and reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 25 percent. In 2015, 17 ships reported 100 percent re-purposed waste on certain itineraries.  

"At Royal Caribbean, we are working to put sustainability into the heart of our business," said  Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We bring 5,000,000 guests to nearly 500 ports around the world every year, and we understand our responsibility to do so in a way that protects the oceans that we sail every day. Our mantra is continuous improvement, and that especially applies to our environmental performance."

Royal Caribbean also achieved a few other notable highlights during this year, including

The full Sustainability Report may be viewed at www.rclcorporate.com/environment.

Royal Caribbean and World Wildlife Fund set 2020 sustainability goals

In:
Category: 
01Jul2016

Royal Caribbean and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced they have set new sustainability goals to reduce Royal Caribbean's environmental footprint, raise awareness about ocean conservation among the cruising guests and support WWF's global oceans conservation work by 2020.

Royal Caribbean initially targetedon reducing carbon emissions and ensuring sustainable seafood procurement, and now is now announcing additional 2020 environmental sustainability targets.

This second phase will focus not only on RCL’s direct operations, such as the development of sustainable sourcing strategies for key soft commodities, but also on the sustainability of the company’s tour operators and destinations. This will be done through the endorsement of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s standard, an internationally recognized travel industry sustainability standard.

These new targets include:

 Additional Sustainable Seafood Procurement 2020 Targets

  • Obtain MSC and ASC Chain of Custody certification for Royal Caribbean’s global fleet of ships to ensure seafood marked as MSC or ASC certified is traceable to a certified fishery or farm.
  • Eliminate the procurement of highly vulnerable species, including shark fin, identified by WWF utilizing IUCN and CITES rankings.
  • Publically adopt the “WWF Traceability Principles for Wild-Caught Fish Products”

 Key Commodity Procurement 2020 Target

  • By the end of 2016, conduct an analysis of key food commodity categories in order to identify and prioritize commodities with the highest environmental impact.
  • Using this analysis, develop strategies to improve sustainable sourcing practices by 2020.

Global Tour Operations 2020 Target

  • RCL endorses the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standards and its certification framework for sustainable tourism.
  • RCL will publicly recognize current tours that are verified against a GSTC-recognized sustainability standard. In addition, RCL will indicate which tours are verified to this standard and will categorize all of these tours under “sustainable tours” so that consumers can view our range of “sustainable” offerings.
  • Starting in 2016, RCL will educate key staff by updating RCL’s Operations Manual for Tour Operators with GSTC standard and certification process and organizing supportive trainings.
  • By the end of 2017, RCL will include educational information in the request for proposal bid invitations regarding RCL’s commitment to the GSTC standard and certified operators.
  • By the end of 2018, RCL is committed to leveraging our influence in the marketplace to conserve and protect natural and cultural resources. As a cornerstone of our responsible tour sourcing policy, RCL will give preference to tours that are GSTC certified and to those that have made progress towards certification, when quality, price, and availability are equal.
  • Investigate the option to offset carbon emissions, through WWF Gold Standard projects, for RCL shore excursions.
  • By the end of 2019, all “sustainable tours” offered by RCL will be provided by GSTC certified operators and RCL will categorize all tours by GSTC certified operators under a sustainability designation so that consumers can search for and readily identify these options.
  • By the end of 2020, RCL will increase the number of sustainable tours offered to guests by certifying 1,000 RCL tours by GSTC certified operators.

Destination Stewardship 2020 Target

  • Beginning in 2016, RCL will support up to three WWF ocean tourism and coastal conservation projects per year to advance ongoing conservation efforts and continue to drive sustainability within the tourism industry.
  • By the end of 2017, working with partners such as WWF GSTC, RCL will support the implementation of GSTC’s destination assessment in two destinations, as well as RCL private destinations, to identify sustainability and environmental threats and develop corrective action plans in concert with destination managers and local stakeholders.
  • By 2018, RCL will set a target for RCL private destinations to become GSTC certified to the applicable GSTC standard.
  • WWF and RCL will continue to pursue alignment with WWF ocean conservation priorities and WWF’s Marine and Coastal Tourism Strategy.

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