Royal Caribbean Group CEO talks new private islands, new cruiser demand, innovations & more

In:
09 Apr 2024

As the cruise industry stands on the merits of multiple quarters of financial success, cruise line executives see a lot of reason for even better days ahead.

Cruise industry keynote

Speaking at Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami, Florida, Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty joined a panel of other CEOs during the keynote "State of the Global Cruise Industry" session to share insight into where cruising is going next.

The overarching theme for the keynote is cruise lines see many opportunities ahead.

Trends favoring taking a cruise

Royal Caribbean ship at sea

Mr. Liberty sees good times ahead for the cruise industry, thanks to secular and demographic trends that are favoring going on a cruise.

Thanks to a very healthy U.S. consumer, Mr. Liberty thinks so many data points are leaning in the direction of cruises.

"The appreciation for building memories with your friends and family coming out of Covid is at extraordinarily high levels of cruise."

Main dining room

In addition, he talked about the wealth transfer going on between generations, "Grandparents wanting to see that wealth transfer live, watching their kids and their grandkids experience that is also at all time highs."

He seemed to agree a lot with Carnival Corporation CEO Josh Weinstein's outlook on state of the cruise product, "we have evolved our product and our experiences to be at the very forefront of what our different customers and their different segments are looking to achieve."

One interesting statistic mentioned was there was 30.7 million people cruise passengers last year, and Mr. Liberty said about a third of them were brand new to a cruise ship.

"And you think about 10 million new people, coming in and will that number will grow each and every year. They are 4 or 5 times more likely to cruise again once they've had the experience."

Ambitions to do more private destinations

Concept art for Royal Beach Club

One question asked of Mr. Liberty was for an update on destination developments.

While he did not announce anything, he did allude to the idea that Royal Caribbean wants to offer more of those experiences, "I think for us, between the Royal Beach Club and Perfect Days, we have ambitions to do more of that."

"It's by far our highest rated experience that happens on land and that connected to other destination visits to other places is what's winning for us."

People that go on a cruise want a story

Kids on an Alaska cruise

Mr. Liberty thinks people are going on a cruise not just for the typical vacation reasons, but to be able to share a humble brag when they get home.

"Our guests want to walk away with a story and they want to build a story," Mr. Liberty explained during the keynote.

"They're less focused on city tours. They're more focused on those kind of immersive culinary experiences that might happen on land, and then they want to build memories on the ships."

Pushing the experience with innovation

icon-pearl

When the topic of innovation within the cruise industry came up, all eyes turned to Mr. Liberty because of the early wins on Icon of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean's first Icon Class ship has been a major innovation, setting a new standard for a family vacation and it was clear all the executives knew it too.

First and foremost, Royal Caribbean wants to ensure they are matching their customers' needs, "we all, I think, do is meeting our guests on the experiences that they're looking to deliver. Also meeting our guests when we think about in the dreaming and booking process, how do we take friction out of that customer experience, which I think is very important."

Hideaway beach

He also says while not necessarily super innovative, the progress with their land projects stands out, "you're seeing more immersiveness because the guests expectations of what their vacation experience should be like has broadened."

"If you want to compete with land, you want to take that share, and you need to have a product from end to end. You need to have an experience from dreaming to delivering that matches those expectations."

Nuclear power and the future of cruise ship fuels

Nuclear power plant

How to make cruise ships more sustainable was a big topic of the keynote, with each executive talking about the challenges facing them. Supply of a next-gen fuel source seemed to be the overarching issue.

There are a number of options to help their cause, but cruise ships needs more options from suppliers. Shore power, marine bio fuels, and hydrogen are all options but severely lacking in availability.

Mr. Liberty pointed to the U.S. power grid as improving, but he wants more from it, "getting access to green sourcing, like nuclear as an example for shore power, we think is an important thing."

Terminal A gangways

More importantly, he wants better access to cleaner fuel sources, "I think the key thing is bringing forward in the US to have those fuel sources, whether it's a green methanol or LNG, etc., available to us at the ports of call that we that we access and most of our bunkering takes place."

With reliable supply, then cruise ships can truly prepare for the future, "how do we make sure that when we come in and we fuel, we bunker our fuels, that those fuels are going to be available to us? And once we know that, then we can think about how do we retrofit our ships or what other actions can we be taking on the newer ships to get them ready to take on those alternative fuels into the future?"

Demand for China

Spectrum of the Seas in Japan

When asked about future plans for China, Royal Caribbean Group has Spectrum of the Seas ready to go there now, with Anthem of the Seas going there in 2025.

Mr. Liberty said his company is "thoughtfully growing" in the Chinese market in order to return to their position there pre-2020.

"They are continuing to look for a Western experience that has the fine details of their Chinese culture and culinary etc. and we're all collectively very good at putting that together."

"We see very kind of prosperous future there, but we're going into it with a measured approach."

Royal Caribbean Group CEO talks how cruise ships will handle anti-tourism

In:
02 Dec 2023

Travel has its challenges, and a rising anti-tourism sentiment is one of them that is affecting cruise ships just as much as land tourists.

Rhapsody of the Seas in Venice

As more people than ever are choosing to travel around the world, some popular destinations are pushing back on encouraging more tourists.

Whether it's limiting the amount of cruise ships that can visit in a day, or banning ships from city centers, anti-tourism is one of the top concerns for Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty.

Celebrity Ascent

While speaking aboard Celebrity Ascent, Mr. Liberty was asked what he thought was the biggest threat to the cruise industry.

"There are parts of the world that the volume of passengers going to those locations create a local sentiment of anti tourism movement," is what he responded with first.

He was also quick to point out that it's not necessarily cruise ships that evoke that reaction.  He mentioned Airbnb as an example of something else causing elevated tourist numbers.

View of Venice

European cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice have recently moved to get rid of cruise ships from their city centers.

Venice banned cruise ships in 2021 and has went as far as to introduce an entrance fee of €3 to €10 to access the city and its islands to reduce the number of visitors.

In Amsterdam, they voted to ban cruise ships from coming into the city after instituting a "discouragement campaign," that did things such as ban outdoor marijuana smoking in the red-light district and put posters around the city that told young British men to "stay away."

Serenade of the Seas in Amsterdam

Regarding cruise ships, Amsterdam officials argued cruise ships in the city, "do not fit in with the task of combating mass tourism and are not in line with the sustainable ambitions of the city."

A prediction by the World Tourism Organization is by the end of this decade, the flow of international tourists will exceed two billion.

Serenade of the Seas in Venice

To address it, Mr. Liberty sees a changing gameplan, "we need to be sensitive to make sure that we continue to diversify our destinations. We need to continue to build incredible concepts like the Perfect Days and beach clubs, et cetera across our brands."

He also said the company needs to keep its ear to the ground, "make sure that we're really good listeners in our community, and we build up our communities that support us."

Reducing their carbon footprint

The other threat that Mr. Liberty sees is an environmental one.

"The second thing, which I think is just we all, you know, we're all trying to figure it out, which is how do we decarbonize or how do we get to a net zero emissions basis," he went on to say in his response to the initial question.

Companies around the world are looking for solutions to getting to carbon neutral, and Royal Caribbean Group is no stranger to this task, "we spend hours around the clock trying to figure out how do we solution that. And so we need to make sure that we're set on a path to prepare ourselves to take on alternative fuels as they become available."

Net Zero

The company already has a plan in place to be carbon neutral by 2050, known as "Destination Net Zero".

Announced in 2021, it has two primary goals: get to net zero emissions by 2050 and take delivery of a net zero emissions cruise ship by 2035.

To achieve this, there isn't one thing to do, but a series of steps. As an example, the company has experimented with using biofuels on some of its ships.

LNG Tank prep

Royal Caribbean Group said it plans to continue to use alternative lower carbon fuel as part of its overall plan.

In addition to biofuels, Royal Caribbean Group is building ships that can leverage liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to reduce emissions.

Incredible tailwinds

Family at entrance to CocoCay

While those issues that Mr. Liberty brought up are challenges, he sees a very positive outlook for cruising.

He sees a lot of demand for a cruise vacation, "the tailwinds for cruise on the demographic standpoint, secular trend standpoint, population standpoint is really exceptional compared to other forms of travel and other and other forms of where people spend their consumer discretionary dollars."

"The propensity to cruise is at all time highs," he explained.

"As the younger generations come in, as people started having more and more families and multigenerational families, as people have more time, whether that's through retirement, more discretionary funds, and most of all, as we kind of came through Covid, we all really appreciated what we have."

Royal Caribbean Group CEO: more new cruisers than we had in 2019

In:
07 Jun 2023

While it's no surprise that demand for cruising has never been higher, you might be intrigued to hear how much those that have never cruised before are booking cruises.

People enjoying a cruise

Royal Caribbean Group saw terrific results in the first quarter of 2023, and its top executive is seeing all sorts of positive signs that the cruise giant has rebounded significantly.

One metric that stands out is how much demand for a cruise resembles pre-2020, signaling that the effects of the cruise industry shutdown are all but forgotten among consumers.

View of cruise ship at CocoCay

Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group CEO, said in a recent interview demand from people that have never cruised before is actually better today than in 2019.

"We're seeing more new to cruise than we had seen in 2019," he said in reference to who's booking cruises this year. "We're seeing more first to brand, which is very much in line with our growth expectations for our capacity, growth as our new ships come on."

"Historically, you know, pre-pandemic, about a third of our guests were new to cruise, a third of our guests were loyalists, and the third of our guests refers to brand."

"What we see now is one propensity to cruise has completely returned back that was in 2019."

Oasis of the Seas in Port Canaveral

The return of new cruisers to the market is what drives a cruise line like Royal Caribbean back to profitability, because the amount of people that have never cruised before is the largest source of new customers.

The cruise industry was unfairly singled out in 2020-2021 as it was the only industry federally prevented from restarting for months, then had to get approval to restart as well as reporting cases.

Any concerns of consumers being wary to get back on a ship since seem to have been abated with these new numbers.

Demographics of who is booking a cruise

Pool deck on Royal Caribbean cruise ship

In terms of who's cruising, Mr. Liberty explained what sort of customers the company is attracting in 2023.

"So we have really three core brands that are really in their different segments," he explained.

"And so they all address different age and demographic categories. Like our Royal [Caribbean] brand is very focused on multigenerational family. Our Celebrity brand, people that are in their early 50s, more Gen X in nature. And our SilverSea brand, which is Ultra Luxury and Expedition, tend to attract a little bit of the Baby Boomer side of things."

Family at Windjammer

That being said, younger cruisers are definitely coming to cruise.

"What we are seeing is the guest is actually a little bit younger on average than what we saw pre-pandemic."

"And a lot of that is because there's more millennials that are now into the system as they got married and started to have kids and are looking to experience incredible travel experiences."

"We continue to see the ability to raise price in the current market"

SURFSIDE FAMILY VIEW BALCONY

It's not your imagination, the price of a cruise is going up and that's because the market is tolerating it.

In a question about pricing, Mr. Liberty talked about the fact the company sees an opportunity to raise prices without negatively impacting demand.

"We continue to see the ability to raise price in the current market," Mr. Liberty explained.

Perfect Storm waterslides on Wonder of the Seas

"The main driver of that, one, I think, is having best brands, best ships win. And our guests get this incredible experience on our ships. And that gets broadcasted through advocacy of our guests, who are experiencing that."

Essentially, Royal Caribbean Group believes a combination of their ship quality and word of mouth is helping their cause.

Suite Sun Deck on Wonder of the Seas

Mr. Liberty also brought up a point of how much value a cruise vacation has over a land vacation, a statistic he's talked about quite a bit in the past.

"There's also a pretty significant value gap to land-based vacation."

"That gap was about 15% to 20% pre-pandemic. Today, it's about 35% to 45%. And we're going to make, you know, a pretty good dent in it here in 2023."

Tipping

Couple at Bar on Wonder of the Seas

One of the hot button topics is gratuities on a cruise ship, and Mr. Liberty answered a question about tipping on a cruise ship.

He was asked about the backlash related to "tip-flation" that's happened recently.

"We have a gratuity. It raises typically just based off of how inflation is changing. And that's more what is. It's pretty much a standard fee. Of course, our guests and can provide more. The guests can also choose not to, you know, not to tip if they don't choose to."

Read moreShould you prepay gratuities for your Royal Caribbean cruise?

"But-- but a gratuity-based system, a service-based system, we think is really important. But we're not chopping at every corner here on tipping. We have pretty much a standard fee for it."

Read moreCan I remove cruise ship prepaid gratuities?

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Interview with Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty

In:
21 Dec 2022

Listen to the Show

I have an exclusive interview to share with you this week with Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty about where he sees things right now, and what the short term future holds for the cruise line!

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

On this episode:
Running time:

Royal Caribbean Group CEO talks ordering new ships, port projects & more

In:
13 Dec 2022

With the new year nearly upon us, Royal Caribbean is looking forward to a new year of growth and its top executive seems very optimistic for what the future holds.

Wonder of the Seas aerial rear

Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty took the helm of the company at the beginning of 2022 and has worked through guiding the company to rebound from the depths of the cruise industry shutdown.

There's no doubt things look better today on the company's balance sheet than a year ago, but beyond the numbers, what does he think of where things are going?

Wonder of the Seas naming ceremony

During the naming ceremony for Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Blog had an exclusive sit down interview with Mr. Liberty to get his sense of where things are today and what the future holds for the brand.

State of the Cruise Union

Wonder and Freedom in CocoCay

When asked about how he sees things at the moment, he feels confident in the sense things are returning back.

"All the assets that made us everything that made us so great pre-pandemic is all back," he started saying about the business today. "Our load factors are returning to normal, the experience is exactly what it was pre-COVID, if not even better. Our incredible crew are well trained and enthusiastic and ready to go."

In short, he sees the trajectory on the right course, "when we look at our business, whether it's corporately or by brand, everybody's accelerating."

When will Royal Caribbean order more ships?

Icon of the Seas float out December 2022

When Mr. Liberty was the Chief Financial Officer in 2019, he told investors he regretted the company didn't spend more money on new ship orders during the financial crisis of 2008.

There is definitely regret that we have in terms of our pullback 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 an even stronger position than we are today.

It seems to me given the financial slow down of today coupled with the fact Royal Caribbean Group hasn't placed any orders for new ships recently that history is repeating itself and if we can expect new ship orders soon.

One thing he mentioned was the time to build is different today.

"Back in the financial crisis, on average, it was taking about three or four years to get a ship when you ordered it, especially a ship that was not a new design. "

"The level of demand for new ships was so high that you had to order ships much further out in order to have access to those slots. So you were seeing people order ships six or seven years out."

"We have a little bit more runway here than what we had pre-pandemic or in the financial crisis."

"If you think about the Icon one's and the Icon two's, there's a little bit more breathing time for us to have to place in those orders because of that structural change pre-pandemic."

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from September 2022

While he didn't commit to any kind of plan or reveal anything new, he did talk about the direction of growth, "we're going to grow our business over the next five years at about 6% a year."

"We have to get our footing here into 2023. But I think we want to continue to grow our fleet."

What's happening with Royal Caribbean's port projects announced before the shutdown?

Just before the cruise industry shut down in 2020, Royal Caribbean had announced plans for a number of new port projects that would provide cruise ship guests more to do while ashore.

These plans included new private islands, beach resorts, and revamping a current private island. The promise was exciting new places to spend your day while on a cruise.

Then the world had to deal with Covid-19 and those plans seemed to fall to the sidelines as Royal Caribbean struggled with an extended shutdown coupled with crippling loans to stay in business.

Royal Caribbean's Freeport project

But what about those other projects? Are they cancelled? Still planned? And when can we expect to see them?

"Certainly we had to put a pause on some of these things... but our ambitions around Perfect Days around the world, Beach Club concepts, are still very much there."

Mr. Liberty also pointed out that construction on land can take significantly longer than you might thing.  Perfect Day at CocoCay took almost seven years, as an example.

Perfect Day at Lelepa artist rendering

I asked Mr. Liberty if it's fair to say all the projects announced pre-pandemic were in some status of pause or moving forward, as opposed to being cancelled.

"Yeah, there's nothing that has has been canceled."

Both Mr. Liberty and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley both said the new adults-only beach expansion to Perfect Day at CocoCay is slated to open towards the end of 2023.

Cruise prices in 2023

Search results

It's no secret that prices for travel are up in general, so what is Mr. Liberty's outlook on the price of a cruise and how that affects the average cruise ship passenger.

"Our customers tend to have a pretty strong personal balance sheet. They're not overly levered. And that space just in the US alone, has trillions of dollars of savings sitting there on the sidelines."

Coupled with the fact consumers are interested in experiences more so than acquiring things, along with demographic trends, he feels good about demand for a cruise vacation.

Couple in Solarium

He also still believes the value of a cruise is second to none in the leisure travel market.

"The value gap between a cruise and land based vacation during the pandemic expanded quite a bit."

"As we increase our pricing, we're still at a significant value to what it would cost for you to have anything close to a similar experience on land. That's also why our pricing, what our guests are willing to spend on our ships, continue to rise because of the demographic secular trends as well as just that value gap to land based vacations."

What can we expect with Terminal G?

Cruise ship docked in Miami

Last month, Royal Caribbean Group signed a deal with PortMiami to build a new Terminal G cruise terminal.

Mr. Liberty said it won't quite be on the same scale as Terminal A in PortMiami, but it will help support the company's needs, "we have a lot of ships coming online. We need infrastructure. We need to make sure the experience from from when you arrive to getting on our ships is seamless and free and has no friction inside of it."

"That commitment to us is really just our commitment to our growth that we know is coming on."

Royal Caribbean Group CEO: 2023 will be better than pre-pandemic

In:
26 Apr 2022

The cruise industry is poised for a major comeback, and Royal Caribbean sees better things to come over the next year and a half.

Explorer of the Seas docked

Speaking at Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami on Tuesday, Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty shared his thoughts on the prospects for emerging from the depths of the pandemic.

"We expect the back half of this year to normalize and 2023 to look and behave like the pre-Covid period," Mr. Liberty shared when asked about his thoughts of the future.

Mr. Liberty expects this to be a transitional year, with 2023 performing better than pre-pandemic, "That means all ships back up and running and full capacity."

A strong 2023 has largely been Royal Caribbean Group's plan since talking to Wall Street in February.

During the company's earnings call with investors in February, executives said they expected a a return to profitability in the second half of 2022.

Part of getting customers back is establishing confidence in the experience, "By doing our jobs and building that confidence, the desire to cruise is back to where it was before Covid."

"Throughout the pandemic, we’ve learned a lot about the capabilities of our organizations, especially in terms of health and safety."

Joining Mr. Liberty at the keynote event was Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and MSC CEO Pierfrancesco Vago.

Mr. Donald also thinks things are looking brighter in the near future, "The overall trajectory for the cruise industry is good … it’s resilient and there is a tremendous amount of growth potential. The overall future for cruise is extremely bright."

Cruise industry resilience

Vision of the Seas sailing away

The same day of the keynote, the cruise industry took a moment to celebrate some important milestones that point to more people wanting to get back on a cruise ship.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) shared their new findings of how strong demand has been for cruises despite all the challenges.

In a statement, CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead talked about the recovery process, "As the industry resumes operations, passenger volume is expected to recover and surpass 2019 levels by the end of 2023, with passenger volumes projected to recover 12% above pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2026.

Odyssey pool deck couple

"Cruising is accessible, responsible, and experiential - making it the best way to see the world for people of all ages and interests. With the support of an incredibly resilient community, the future of the cruise industry is bright."

CLIA's consumer research had some interesting facts:

  • Intent to cruise is rebounding, with 63% of cruisers or potential cruisers indicating they are ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to cruise in the next two years.
  • 69% of respondents that have never cruised said they are open to cruise, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
  • Millennial cruisers are the most enthusiastic about taking another cruise, with 87% indicating they will take a cruise in the next few years, followed by Gen X at 85%.

Who is Royal Caribbean Group's new CEO Jason Liberty

In:
18 Jan 2022

Royal Caribbean Group has a new CEO, Jason Liberty, but who is he and how did he get to be the new head of the cruise giant?

Just a few weeks ago, Royal Caribbean Group began the year with a new CEO, following the departure of former CEO Richard Fain. The company announced in 2021 that Richard Fain would be stepping down from his CEO role and would be promoting Jason Liberty to Chief Executive Officer and President. 

According to Royal Caribbean’s website, Jason Liberty, 46, will be the President and CEO of the company’s three global cruise brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea cruises.

In addition, Liberty will oversee TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd cruises, which it is a 50% owner in a joint venture. Liberty will also oversee the Group’s strategy, technology, supply chain, port operations and legal functions. 

Royal Caribbean parent company officially renames itself Royal Caribbean Group | Royal Caribbean Blog

Stepping into this role, Liberty will oversee the company’s 60 ships that carry more than 7.5 million passengers to ports around the world, including all 7 continents. 

Fain’s departure from Royal Caribbean Group came as a surprise to some, as he was the third-longest serving CEO among current S&P 500 leaders. When it comes to contributions, Fain was an instrumental leader for the Royal Caribbean Group. He introduced new ship categories and helped transform Royal Caribbean’s classes of ships from Sovereign, Voyager and Oasis ships to Celebrity’s Solstice and Edge classes.

Fain most recently was a leader for the company through the unprecedented nature of the pandemic’s shutdown on the cruise industry. Many have praised his role and involvement as CEO during the cruise shutdown, including his visionary leadership and creation of Royal Caribbean's Healthy Sail Panel. 

History with Royal Caribbean

Jason Liberty | Royal Caribbean Blog

Liberty is not a new name to the Royal Caribbean Group, as the new CEO joined the company back in 2005. With more than 16 years of experience under his belt, Liberty has held many positions with Royal Caribbean Group. 

Liberty joined Royal Caribbean Group as a Vice President of Audit and Advisory Services before moving into Corporate Strategy, Revenue and Planning.  In 2012, Liberty transitioned into his role as Senior Vice President of Finance and Strategy. The following year, he was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Liberty held those positions for 8 years before his current promotion to President and Chief Executive Officer. 

Royal Caribbean Group announces new $700 million loan | Royal Caribbean Blog

Prior to his positions at Royal Caribbean Group, Liberty worked for the account firm KPMG LLP as a senior manager. According to LinkedIn, Liberty held this position for 8 years before transitioning to Royal Caribbean Group. 

Throughout his many roles with the Royal Caribbean Group, Liberty has been heavily involved in the company’s biggest strategic initiatives. He’s also been praised for his leadership during the pandemic, an especially difficult time for the cruise industry. 

Education

Jason Liberty is a graduate from the University of Miami School of Business, where he holds a bachelor's degree in accounting. Liberty also attended Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, where he earned a second bachelor’s degree in finance. 

In addition to his bachelor’s degrees, Liberty attended University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagar Business School in Chapel Hill to earn his Master of Business Administration. He currently serves on the board of directors of WNS Limited, which is a business process management company. 

A New Chapter

Richard Fain announces he is stepping down as Royal Caribbean Group CEO | Royal Caribbean Blog

With help from the board, Fain has stated that he had carefully planned a succession process for when the time was right for him to step down. After seeing most of the company’s ships return to service, Fain felt it was the right time for Liberty to take over as CEO and President.

On the topic of Liberty’s new role, Fain stated, “He is a highly versatile and strategic leader, who has been integral to all aspects of the company’s accomplishments and performance.” Fain expressed, “I couldn't be happier to have such a superbly qualified and principled leader succeed me as CEO. Jason will lead the Group to new heights.”

Royal Caribbean Group CEO talks about vaccine and Florida's vaccine passport ban | Royal Caribbean Blog

Additionally, Fain praised how Liberty has played a crucial role with organizing over $12 billion of financing during the pandemic cruise shutdown. Because of Liberty’s ‘methodical manner’, Fain is confident that the company will be well served for many years to come. 

In his new position, Liberty will also join the board, which Fain will continue to chair. In addition, Fain will continue to be involved in the company’s ship construction program

‘Humbled and Honored’

Top 10 Royal Caribbean questions people are asking Google | Royal Caribbean Blog

Liberty will be stepping into his role as CEO as a very qualified and principled leader. With culture at the forefront of the Royal Caribbean Group’s business success, Liberty will be embodying the company’s values through his leadership. 

In reference to his new role, Liberty shared that he is both honored and humbled to become CEO for the Royal Caribbean Group. He stated, “Our incredible people and culture, combined with our leading brands and the most innovative fleet in the world are what make our organization so successful."

"I'm grateful to both the board for selecting me, and to Richard, for his friendship, mentoring and guidance. I look forward to building upon the company's remarkable record in the years ahead."

'This is a meteor that hit our industry': Royal Caribbean Group CEO talks about impact of omicron

In:
12 Jan 2022

Royal Caribbean Group's new CEO Jason Liberty talked on a webinar for the first time in his new role about a variety of topics, such as becoming CEO and the short-term impact Omicron variant is having on business.

The big questions for Royal Caribbean's 4th quarter earnings call next week | Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Liberty took over for Richard Fain as CEO of Royal Caribbean Group on January 3, and he was invited to speak to travel agents during a Royal Caribbean International webinar.

Here are a few of the intriguing topics covered during his talk.

100 Day Goal

Richard Fain announces he is stepping down as Royal Caribbean Group CEO | Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Liberty was asked what he wanted to do in his first 100 days as the CEO, and he is starting off by listening more

"Most of my time is going to be around learning and listening from others," he explained. "Spending time with our travel partners, I'm spending time with our customers and spending time with our employees, and I'm spending time with many of our partners ...to make sure that I have the kind of firm understanding of of what everybody is looking for."

He also said continuing the company's return to service is a priority, "we have about 80 percent of our fleet up and running, making sure that we continue to execute on that successfully is certainly a priority."

When will bounce back from Omicron

Jewel of the Seas, Civitivechia - Royal Caribbean Discussion - Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Liberty also asked about the effects of Omicron on the business, and his view on the rebound.

He indicated that the good news is people want to cruise, but consistency is the key, "[it's] really, really clear that there's really strong demand for cruise and I think people are just looking for consistency."

Do's & Don'ts of Symphony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Liberty leaned in the direction of the second quarter for things to feel better overall, "I think to you as we get into Q2 and beyond, we're going to see a much more global state of things based off of where the experts believe the disease will be, as it relates to Covid, and us getting our fleet back up and running."

He later said he thinks the second quarter should look more like the first quarter was supposed to before Omicron, "as it relates to our expectations, when we look at kind of Q2 and beyond, it's very much in line with what we expected in Q1 because of some of the cancelled sailings impact."

No compromise on guest experience

Video: 8 Things Royal Caribbean Pros Do, and You Should Too! | Royal Caribbean Blog

Despite the challenges of Covid, Mr. Liberty was adamant about not allowing it to compromise what passengers can look forward to onboard its ships.

"I think it's very important to note that even through this entire journey, we have not, and we will not, compromise our guest experience."

"We have a strong long-term business. This is an exceptional business that does very well financially."

'This is a meteor that hit our industry'

Brilliance of the Seas Live Blog - Day Three - Cozumel | Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Liberty used a few different metaphors to describe the hit cruise lines have taken during the last two years due to Covid-19.

"This is a meteor that hit our industry and we have survived that hit," he said later in the interview. The silver lining, as he describes, is that it demonstrates they can adjust and overcome challenges by working together.

"I think that that comes through the innovation and continuous improvement oriented mentality that we have."

"These are good businesses that have just had to deal with a black swan event."

Is he a "bean counter"?

Royal Caribbean stock joins Wall Street plunge | Royal Caribbean Blog

Since being named Richard Fain's successor, some have pointed out the fact Mr. Liberty comes from a financial background as a negative to choosing him to lead the company.

In response to such questions, Mr. Liberty explained he is not what you may think, "I know sometimes there are things that come along with, 'Hey, he was a finance guy, he's a CFO guy', but you really should understand and appreciate... that's actually the opposite of how I am."

He pointed to the fact he was a major proponent of the company providing commissions and loans to travel agents during the pandemic, as an example of putting the collective industry ahead of the company's bottom line.

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