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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Interview with Royal Caribbean Group Chief Product Innovation Officer

04 Aug 2021

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This week we have a look behind the proverbial curtain of what Royal Caribbean has been up to during the shutdown with Royal Caribbean Group Chief Product Innovation Officer, Jay Schneider!

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Inside look at how Wall Street sees Royal Caribbean's future

20 Apr 2020

The global uncertainties we face today leads many to contemplate what the future of cruising may look like in the coming weeks, months and even years. To find those answers, I turned to Wall Street for a different perspective.

While cruise fans and industry followers look at cruising one way, the people that work and follow the activity of the stock markets look through a completely different lens.

Dan Kline is a Motley Fool contributing partner and podcast/on-air personality, and a lot of his work recently has been focused on the cruise industry as the cruise line stocks have been riding a roller coaster lately, with primarily more drops than hills.

I posed a few of the major questions and concerns so many RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have been curious about, in order to get a different perspective on the matter.

What sort of hurdles do you see Royal Caribbean facing in getting back to service?

Legally, the pandemic has to no longer be a health crisis -- that's the easiest way.

Being able to test people would help a lot. I've heard people talk about lower customer counts. Maybe a few trips just to get going, but hard to make money that way.

The hardest part after getting permission to operate is convincing people to go. I've seen how much effort Royal Caribbean puts into cleanliness -- the floating petri dish line makes me mad as people on cruises already faced social pressures on hand washing and the crews clean extensively.

I'm happy to get back on a ship (can't wait) but I'm 46. I'm not sure older passengers will feel that any risk is worth it.

The floating petri dish line makes me mad as people on cruises already faced social pressures on hand washing and the crews clean extensively.

What are your thoughts on cruise fare pricing when cruises do resume, and if discounts should be expected?

I expect very heavy discounts and have seen very low prices.

I'm a casino gambler and generally get comp offers. I've been able to get better rooms (a balcony) and comp play on 5-night cruises (booked for August and October). I would say that booking now while there is uncertainty (maybe for a fall trip) is the best way to get a deal.

What is your advice for someone looking to buy Royal Caribbean stock right now?

Be very careful. The company was profitable and, I believe will be again, but strategic bankruptcy is not out the question. Shareholders generally get wiped out in a bankruptcy.

What are some positive or negative signs from Royal Caribbean that you will be on the lookout for over the next few months?

I'd like to see them be able to raise more money. Carnival raised $4 billion in a bond sales but had to pay 11.5% interest to get there. That's very expensive debt. Royal has tapped its credit but has been very quiet.

Some readers are concerned about the long-term health of the cruise line, specifically as it relates to some form of bankruptcy. How realistic is it to be concerned about this?

I think a Chapter 11 may make sense if this extends into the summer. Creditors don't want to end up owning cruise ships or operating cruise lines, so I would expect, in the case of a bankruptcy, they would restructure. That's very bad if you own stock. It's probably not an issue if you planned a cruise.

Expect new ships to slower to come and all capital projects (like making Labadee more like Coco Cay) to take a backseat for a while.

You can follow Dan Kline on Twitter, and check out some of his recent articles on The Motley Fool.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Reaching Pinnacle Status

02 Oct 2019

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Few cruisers ever reach Pinnacle Club status in Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society, but this week we talk with a listener who just hit this illustrious mark.  We talk about what it takes to get to Pinnacle, and what it means to him.

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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Interview with Paul Thornton

12 Jun 2019

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Believe it or not, there’s a lot of people out there that love cruising so much that it has changed their lives.  I certainly fall into this category, having started Royal Caribbean Blog as a result of falling in love with a cruise vacation and this week, we get to chat with someone that literally wrote the book on how a cruise can change your life.  Author Paul Thornton recently wrote a book that looks at bloggers, influencers, godmothers and everyone inbetween that has had part or all of their lives shaped by cruising.

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Life at sea - An interview with Royal Caribbean's top cruiser, Super Mario

23 Oct 2017

I think we have all said we wish our cruise vacation was longer, or we could stay on board another week. But can you imagine staying on board for over two decades?

That’s exactly what Super Mario does. He’s Royal Caribbean’s top cruiser, with the most nights sailed on board. I was lucky enough to sail with Super Mario during my recent Enchantment of the Seas cruise. At the time of interviewing him on October 15, 2017 he has 7,003 Crown and Anchor points.


Twenty years ago, he decided he wanted to take a cruise and fell in love with them. Before he found Royal Caribbean he spent three years exploring different cruise lines. In fact, he’s done over 150 sailings with other cruise lines before he found Royal Caribbean. He sailed with all the major cruise lines, searching for the right one he could call home.


It wasn’t until November 21, 1999 he tried his first Royal Caribbean cruise, on Voyager of the Seas. Mario described the moment he first saw her sail into Miami, Florida and how massive the ship was.

He knew right away he had to get on board that ship. Voyager of the Seas was the first ship that debuted the Royal Promenade deck. Mario said he was blown away with this ship and all she had to offer. After that sailing Super Mario never looked back, he’s been on board Royal Caribbean ships for the last 18 years straight.


While talking to Mario I tried to get him to tell me his favorite ship, but he doesn’t have one. He likes the longer sailings and always books the transatlantic and Panama Canal sailings.

So you must be thinking, well why is he on Enchantment of the Seas doing three and four night sailings. Mario has a home (he calls it his hotel) in Miami, Florida. So sailing out of Miami lets him travel home for a few hours on turn-around day. He likes to get off the ship at 7:30am, get McDonald’s for breakfast, and relax in his home.

Around 2pm he gets back to the ship to sail out again.


I asked Mario if he ever plans to stop cruising and he said no, “I’ll die on a cruise ship.”

Cruising is his passion and a way of life. It’s almost hard to believe but he works full-time at sea running a company. So during the day he’s in his “office” on the pool deck working. Royal Caribbean has made him a sign that hangs over his favorite table poolside that reads: Super Mario’s Office.


We talked about the many port of calls he’s traveled to over the years. One that stands out was traveling to China. He said, that was the one cruise that he didn’t talk to anyone because none of the passengers spoke English. Though his favorite port of call is in the Caribbean - Cozumel, Mexico.

Finally, we talked about his upcoming cruise schedule, which he books years in advance. He’s on board Enchantment for one more sailing, then a night in his “hotel” before he travels to Spain to jump on the Freedom of the Seas.

The Freedom will make her way from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale. He sure does love those transatlantic sailings; next year he’s going to bring over Symphony of the Seas to Miami, Florida.

After his Symphony cruise, he’s booked Independence of the Seas for 6 months straight!


It was such an honor to sit down with Super Mario and talk about his history at sea. I hope to cruise with him again soon, because he’s such an enjoyable person to talk to.

Have you ever sailed with Super Mario? If so, comment below when and which ship.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - A behind-the-scenes look at how Royal Caribbean entertainment is created

23 Nov 2016

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As guests, we get to see the final production of so many performances on Royal Caribbean ships, but in reality there is so much that goes into how these shows are created. From concept to costuming to rehearsals, substantial time and effort goes into these impressive shows. While on Harmony of the Seas, I was sit down with Royal Caribbean Managing Producer Alex Marchant to discuss how a show like “Columbus, The Musical!” gets created, and share some of the stories behind Royal Caribbean’s latest big hit.

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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Interview with Allure of the Seas' Hotel Director

23 Mar 2016

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From time to time, we get a chance on the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast to meet the Royal Caribbean crew members that are largely responsible for making these amazing ships function as well as they do. Getting the “inside view” of the operations of these Royal Caribbean ships is an unique opportunity and this week, I am pleased to welcome to the show Allure of the Seas’ Hotel Manager, Joao Mendonça. I recently spoke with Mr. Mendonça while onboard Allure of the Seas to talk about how he keeps the largest cruise ship in the world running as well as it does.

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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Izumi Master Chef Interview

09 Mar 2016

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When people think about Royal Caribbean, quite often their thoughts go to relaxing by the pool, impressive cruise ships sailing around the world or even one of the many wonderful activities onboard. And while each of these is an important part of any Royal Caribbean cruise vacation, one thing that is often missing from that list is the food, because as I’ve said for years, Royal Caribbean cruises are not just about burgers, fries and whatever is in the main dining room, but actually offers some of the most incredible, unique dining experiences anywhere in the world.

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An inside look at how Royal Caribbean's Izumi restaurant went from concept to success

10 Sep 2015

One of Royal Caribbean's most popular specialty restaurants is the Japanese cuisine establishment, Izumi, and it has been spreading to many ships across the fleet ever since it first debuted.

The man behind Izumi's prominent success is Izumi Master Chef Travis Kamiyama, whose 30 years of experience are now helping Royal Caribbean create the best sushi experience at sea.

Kamiyama considers himself an artist and a sushi chef and began training at only 14 years old.  He is the brainchild behind Izumi, having envisioned the restaurant while in a Japanese restaurant in Kyoto.  He wanted Izumi to be, "a Modern Japanese restaurant with both traditional and signature sushi that caters to the international market."

"I foresee Izumi being an iconic brand that offers a variety of sustainable concept of sushi and hot dishes that will suit our guests around the world."

The story of how Izumi began goes back to 2008, when Kamiyama was introduced to Royal Caribbean by the former Vice President of Celebrity Cruise Line, Jacques Van Staden.  

Kamiyama worked with Royal Caribbean's Food & Beverage start up team to create the Izumi concept.  Kamiyama was tasked with coming up with an iconic Japanese restaurant that was duplicatable.

Royal Caribbean chose the name Izumi for the restaurant, because it means natural springs and art/decor, so the name seemed like a natural fit.

Izumi first debuted on Oasis of the Seas in 2009.  Back then, the restaurant had a cover charge along with a la carte pricing for the items.  Eventually, Royal Caribbean dropped the cover charge and went straight to a la carte pricing.

"Izumi started out way under, but management was reluctant," Kamiyama said.  "Today it's streamlined with only a la carte pricing and we are spot on in pricing."

Izumi's success meant the restaurant quickly spread to other ships in the fleet.  Kamiyama believes the reason is because of the food and the people working there, "What stands out in Izumi is not only an excellent menu but the heart of the people, the chefs and servers. They are dedicated and loyal."

Today, Kamiyama serves as the Master Chef for Izumi, where he visits different ships in the fleet to motivate and relay his passion to others in the restaurant.

"As chef, my goal is to give the best every day. We are only as good as our last meal."

Izumi will be coming to Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, and the restaurant will feature not only sushi but teppanyaki style dining at the restaurant's hibachi section.

What does the future hold for Izumi? The chef simply says, "I forsee Izumi being an iconic brand that offers a variety of sustainable concept of sushi and hot dishes that will suit our guests around the world."

Interview with Royal Caribbean ship designer on how a cruise ship like Quantum of the Seas gets built

14 Nov 2013

Quantum of the Seas is in the midst of construction currently and already, there's a lot of anticipation for Royal Caribbean's newest class of cruise ship.  With any new ship, questions surrounding the design and architecture process pop up regarding what obstacles and challenges does Royal Caribbean face and how do they get around them.  

We had the chance to speak to Royal Caribbean Design Manager for New Builds Jodi Barozinsky, who is working on the design of Quantum of the Seas about how a Royal Caribbean ship is designed.  Barozinsky has been designing Royal Caribbean ships for a long time, starting with Vision class ships, followed by Radiance class, Voyager class and Oasis class.

Jodi started out working with Royal Caribbean as a design consultant in the 1990s and eventually was hired by Royal Caribbean to work exclusively for them.  Since her work on Oasis of the Seas, she has been working in the design department managing the various designers throughout the world that work on Royal Caribbean's ships.  

Her early work on Vision class, Radiance class and Voyager class was centered around the casino, the theater, kids  area and suites.  Starting with Oasis class and continuing to Quantum class, she's focused more on the overall design of the ship, primarily in the public areas and with the design consultants.

Looking at Quantum of the Seas, the biggest challenge Barozinsky identified was the sheer large span of time involved from when a project begins and when it ends and wanting to keep the design contemporary and relevant to what's hip when the ship launches.

"The period of time that we start and finish is a fairly long period. Sometimes three to four years. Staying up on top of what's current and what's cutting edge is always a challenge," Barozinsky said about how time factors in. "That deadline at the end, they're still delivering that ship in October of 2014.  So, trying to stay current and make sure the design is right for the day it gets delivered is a huge challenge."

As an example, Jodi mentions on Quantum of the Seas they had designed all of the dining rooms and about a year later the Operations team felt the design wasn't, "current" and had to be re-designed.  Thus, the dining rooms have been designed twice so far on Quantum of the Seas.

Another challenge is living up to Royal Caribbean's slogans of delivering the "WOW" to their guests and so with every new class of ship, the designers are tasked with coming up with that new "WOW" while staying within the budgetary confines of the project.

"To get those WOWs in there, it may mean compromising something else that's not as critical and deciding on what those compromises are to get the WOW."

The other consideration for coming up with these WOW ammenities is the small details, like with Oasis class what to do when a deluge of rain hits the ship and where does the water go considering there's a huge "hole" in the middle of the ship where Central Park is and prevent flooding.

Another challenge for Quantum of the Seas is that the designers are calling the ship, "the technology ship", which refers to how the team wants to bring in the newest cutting edge technology onto the ship.  This includes the way Royal Caribbean operates the ship, the signage, art work and so more much. 

When asked about what guests should look for in the design of a Royal Caribbean ship, Barozinsky thinks it's the small, overlooked details of basic design that are major considerations that many guests don't notice.  An example is at any bar, there cannot be anything over the top that may collect dust for health code concerns.  Moreover, what they do design needs to hold up so that something does not need to be torn out and redesigned later due to a health issue.

Also Barozinsky is rather proud of the lengths Royal Caribbean goes to in terms of guest accessibility.  She mentioned Royal Caribbean has its own special guidelines for the cruise line to follow and the result has been a lot of compliments from guests with special needs because they find the ships very accomodating.

So what's the most rewarding aspect of designing a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?  Jodi thinks it's seeing the interest that they get from the highest executive level for what they do and so their work is very imporant and knowing what they work in sails in ports all around the world.  

"Anyone you talk to, whether I'm travelling next to some stranger on a plane and they ask what you do and you get into a conversation.  They know that ship, they know about that room that you designed.  To me, it just feels good.  It made a difference and someone actually noticed something that you worked on.  You can really take pride in that."

If Jodi's work sounds really fun and interesting and you're perhaps a student in college looking to be a designer to, her advice to them is take college courses on ship design, which are already being offered these days.  

Barozinsky also mentioned that Royal Caribbean offers summer internships to interior design or architecture college students and would be a great avenue to take to get the right background to work on a Royal Caribbean team.  She also says you have to love it and you give it your all and be willing to work hard.  And the reward?  The cultural aspect of working with the foreign shipyards as well as the guests you are designing for that come from all over the world.

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