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Mariner of the Seas

First look at the changes and additions Royal Caribbean has made to Mariner of the Seas

In:
21Jun2018

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas arrived in Miami this morning following a massive bow-to-stern upgrade and we have a glimpse of the new changes the cruise line made.

Mariner of the Seas now boasts the Sky Pad, a first-of-its-kind virtual reality bungee trampoline experience at sea, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, a tiki-chic lounge and a wide range of dining experiences.

Mariner of the Seas recently underwent $120 million revitalization that includes bold, new features and experiences. Mariner will offer exciting 3- and 4-night cruises to from PortMiami to The Bahamas, giving thrill seekers a break from their ordinary routine and adding adventure to their weekends.

Mariner of the Seas is the second Royal Caribbean cruise ship to be upgraded as part of the Royal Amplified program that will add new features to the Oasis, Freedom and Voyager Class ships.

Video: Mariner of the Seas - Constructing Bold, New Adventures for Quick Caribbean Getaways

In:
05Jun2018

Mariner of the Seas is being amped up with $120 million worth of bold, new features and experiences. When complete, Mariner will offer exciting 3- and 4-night cruises to The Bahamas, giving thrill seekers a break from their ordinary routine and adding adventure to their weekends. The transformation will include an out-of-this-world and first-of-its-kind virtual reality bungee trampoline experience at sea, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, a tiki-chic lounge and a wide range of dining experiences.

Royal Caribbean releases Mariner of the Seas upgrade photo update

In:
22May2018

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas is currently being upgraded at a dry dock in Cadiz, Spain and we have a look at the progress being made.

Mariner of the Seas is the second Royal Caribbean cruise ship to be upgraded as part of the Royal Amplified program that will add new features to the Oasis, Freedom and Voyager Class ships.

After an extensive $90 million makeover, Mariner's is scheduled to offer 3- to 4-night Bahamas cruises beginning in June 2018 out of Miami, Florida.

Royal Caribbean talks social media, Symphony of the Seas, Cuba, guest spending and more

In:
26Apr2018

During Royal Caribbean's first quarter 2018 financial call with investors, the company shared some interesting anecdotes, facts, and insight into the ever changing cruising environment.  While most of the information discussed in these earnings calls deal primarily with financial indicators, cruise guests can glean some insight into how Royal Caribbean runs its business.

Social media driving demand

Off the bat, Royal Caribbean's top brass was quick to point out that social media is crushing it in terms of raising the brand's awareness to consumers, assuaging myths about cruising and most importantly, driving demand.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) Chairman and CEO Richard Fain spoke about the impact of social media, "I attribute some of the recent healthy growth and demand to our success in the social media environment. Our social media teams really are doing an amazing job."

RCL Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty also talked about how social media has helped Royal Caribbean this quarter, "Levers, like social media and so forth, are really helping break through stereotypes on cruise and we have seen a real change in our new to cruise volumes.  That is also suggesting that a lot of these past detractors are becoming fans of cruise."

Symphony receiving tons of good press for a sister ship

There is no question that Royal Caribbean is proud of the launch of its newest ship, but the executives were down right impressed by how well Symphony of the Seas is selling, especially considering she is the fourth sister ship in the class.

Mr. Fain spoke about the public's reaction to Symphony of the Seas, "The public reaction to Symphony of the Seas was surprising even to us. Even though she is the fourth in the amazing Oasis Class series of ships, she has so many new amenities and attractions, that our guests and the media were simply blow away. Rarely has a sister ship received such press, and rarely has it been so deserving of it."

Mr. Liberty expanded on the results Symphony of the Seas has brought to the cruise line, "Prices for Symphony have not only exceeded our lofty expectations, they have also been even better than we saw from Harmony last year."

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley shared an anecdote about Symphony of the Seas' early success, "The week after we introduced Symphony of the Seas, our bookings beat track by 50%. That is the week after we introduced the ship, so it's really performing well."

Consumers want shorter, more frequent vacations

A trend that Royal Caribbean has picked up on is the desire for short Caribbean getaway cruises.  As a result, Royal Caribbean has invested heavily in Mariner of the Seas and the improvements coming to CocoCay.

"We're seeing more and more people opting for shorter, but more frequent vacations. We are responding to that call by modernizing Mariner of the Seas, which is one of our Voyager Class ships, and we're raising our game in the short cruise market with this upgraded vessel, " Mr. Fain explained, "At the same time we also announced a major upgrade to our private destination in the Bahamas at CocoCay that we are calling, appropriately I might add, Perfect Day. Perfect Day in that destination will be another great addition to our Caribbean offering.  It is really thrilling to see the work take shape, and I'm certain that this destination will get tongues wagging just as much as our new hardware has done."

Michael Bayley also spoke about what Royal Caribbean is doing to meet customer demand, "We're very excited about Mariner as a product coming into the shorts market, and that's very much focused on new to cruise, and Millennial, and that really is the on ramp for that market.  That ship is literally like having an Oasis Class ship in the short product market, because its capacity is just over 3200-3400 every three or four days."

Guest spend & onboard revenue is up a lot

If you want to find the "secret sauce" to what is making the biggest difference in Royal Caribbean's quarterly growth, onboard revenue is a big factor.  This means the things guests spend on their cruise above and beyond the cruise fare.

Mr Liberty spoke about the growth the cruise line is seeing in this area, "The main driver of the positive earnings in yield was the continued strength in onboard revenue, which was up 6.3% for the quarter. This result is notable considering that it follows an 8.9% improvement from the first quarter of 2017."

"Guest spend from onboard activities has continued to shift towards areas that involve experiences over buying things, and this quarter was no different. Beverage packages, specialty restaurants and internet were the main revenue streams driving the quarterly beat."

Mr. Bailey also spoke about the onboard revenue growth that Royal Caribbean is seeing, "We've been really pleased with our pre-cruise sales, and we've seen a significant uplift year over year that's been increasing for the past couple of years and it's been a big driver of onboard spend.  We kind of figure, for every dollar that we earn pre-cruise, we'll see somewhere between a 30 and a 50% uptick in the onboard spend."

"And then of course over the years, we've invested quite heavily in new venues, new attractions onboard of our ships and many of those are revenue generating.  We're beginning to see a lot of those now yielding superior revenue because of the kind of services they provide."

Cuba update

Another area that we received an update on was Cuba and cruises there.  A recent leadership change alongside strong demand for cruises to Cuba generated an update on where the cruise line stands with regard to this newly offered destination.

Royal Caribbean Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldstein spoke about Cuba, "We've been commenting over time about the fact that the Cuban market has been a good market for us to enter. The customer satisfaction about Havana has been very, very high. But the reality is that there is still just one functioning pier that ships can go to on either side of the pier in Havana.  There is going to have to be some type of considerable infrastructure improvement that takes place over the next several years, that will probably take time."

"I think what we've been seeing lately is that the Cuban Government has gotten a little bit more efficient in maximizing the use of the pier on both sides, and our company has definitely been a beneficiary of that. We've been able to increase the number of sailings on a year over year basis, even though their capacity hasn't increased."

"For what it is, it's been terrific, but in the overall sense of our portfolio, it is still fairly small. And we haven't seen any change whatsoever in their attitude towards us or their dealings with us, as it relates to their change in government to this point."

A look at the state of digital marketing

Michael Bayley provided a look at how Royal Caribbean is leveraging digital marketing (as opposed to traditional marketing) to better reach customers.

"We think that there's better targeting, and it's a more efficient channel. And certainly, with our social media presence, we believe that we've maneuvered ourselves into a really strong position in our space. In fact, we just recently conducted an independent survey of where we are positioned in terms of the social media universe, and we came out of it exceptionally well, in terms of how people view Royal Caribbean through that lens and how they are engaging with Royal Caribbean."

"We are also seeing that with the response from onboard internet, and how people are using the accelerated internet to utilize social media to actually promote our brands, which has been really quite effective."

Video: Royal Caribbean Reimagines Mariner of the Seas

In:
14Mar2018

Royal Caribbean International is inviting adventure seekers to break out of their ordinary routine and take their weekends to new heights with the debut of the reimagined Mariner of the Seas. After an extensive $90 million makeover, Mariner's 3- to 4-night Bahamas cruises will offer the chance to do, see and experience more than any quick getaway has ever done before, complete with an out-of-this-world bungee and trampoline virtual reality experience, a glow-in-the-dark laser tag arena, a tiki-chic lounge and more.

Royal Caribbean announces new features coming to Mariner of the Seas

In:
01Feb2018

Royal Caribbean revealed today new features coming to Mariner of the Seas as part of a $90 million refurbishment this year.

Mariner of the Seas will undergo a refurbishment this year, where she will recieve all-new features including:

  • A new bungee trampoline experience — Sky Pad

    • This brand-new bungee trampoline experience will launch guests sky high for gravity-defying fun with a virtual reality headset option.
    • Guests will strap in and don their virtual reality headset to transport them to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages, and also can be enjoyed without virtual reality headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.
  • FlowRider surf simulator
  • Perfect Storm waterslides
    • Dual high-speed racer slides.
  • Jamie's Italian specialty restaurant
  • Polynesian-themed "The Bamboo Room" bar, with "tiki-chic" decor.
    • A laid-back, punched-up Polynesian-themed watering hole that will whisk guests away with its throwback vibe and kitschy cool cocktails.
    • The retro lounge will heat up the ship's already vibrant nightlife scene with its tiki-chic décor. Guests can choose their favorite specialty handcrafted cocktails to sip and savor, plus, make their friends jealous with Instagram-worthy moments throughout the kitschy-cool, uniquely styled space.
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi specialty restaurant
  • Battle for Planet Z laser tag
    • It’s bots versus aliens in a battle for the last planet. Grab a blaster, choose a side and gear up for a stellar glow-in-the-dark time.
  • Escape room
    • Guests can team up to find hidden clues and figure out codes in an attempt to rescue a time-traveling scientist in Puzzle Break: The Observatorium
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
    • Enjoy all the biggest live sporting events over ice-cold brews, wings, sliders and more.
  • Starbucks at Sea

As part of the ship's refurbishment, Royal Caribbean will be adding new staterooms, as well as updating all the existing staterooms on the ship.

"At Royal Caribbean, we believe in the constant pursuit of adventure and that every weekend is an opportunity to experience something new and live life to its fullest," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "With the new Mariner of the Seas, we invite travelers to weekend like they really mean it and make the most of a quick getaway than they even thought was possible."

Mariner of the Seas will call Miami, Florida home in 2018, and will be the first Voyager Class ship to offer short Caribbean sailings. Mariner of the Seas will offer 3- and 4-night itineraries from PortMiami, beginning on June 21, 2018.

First look at Royal Caribbean 2019-2020 Short Caribbean itineraries

In:
20Nov2017

Royal Caribbean will be putting on sale this week its 2019-2020 Short Caribbean itineraries, and we have a look at the various itineraries that will be available.

The new bookings will go on sale tomorrow, November 21st, 2017.

You can view each ship's sailings here:

The opening schedule for the 2019-2020 sailings is as follows:

  • Northeast, Canada & Bermuda: Summer 2019: Week of December 4, 2017
  • Europe Phase I & Alaska: Summer 2019: Week of December 11, 2017
  • Remaining deployment: Spring 2018

Royal Caribbean adds 10 additional sailings from Singapore

In:
08May2017

Royal Caribbean announced that Mariner of the Seas will begin her upcoming Southeast Asian season a month earlier, adding 10 roundtrip sailings from Singapore in September 2017.

Mariner of the Seas will be returning to Singapore on September 10th this year for her 2017/18 season, instead of October as originally scheduled. The sales for her new September cruises open for sale today. They include the nine-night one-way cruise from Shanghai to Singapore on September 1st with calls at Xiamen and Ho Chi Minh City plus an overnight in Hong Kong which coincides with the Singapore one-week school holidays; and a mix of three- to five-night Southeast Asian itineraries.

Following her Singapore season, Mariner of the Seas will then be deployed to Miami, Florida in April 2018, after having homeported year-round in Asia out of Singapore and China since 2013.

Sister ship Voyager of the Seas is expected to bring several thousands more tourists to Southeast Asia’s ports for her 2018/19 winter/spring season. Itineraries will be revealed later this month when the season opens for sale.

Royal Caribbean announces new Gulf Coast cruises in 2018

In:
01May2017

Royal Caribbean announced today a number of new sailing options to the Caribbean from New Orleans, Galveston and Miami.

After a three-year hiatus, Royal Caribbean will return to offering cruises from New Orleans, Louisiana with Vision of the Seas in the winter of 2018-2019. Beginning on December 15, 2018, Vision of the Seas will offer 7-night itineraries to the Bahamas and Yucatan Peninsula.  

Before making her way to New Orleans, Vision of the Seas will offer two 16-night sailings through the Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles, California. This will be the first time in three years that Royal Caribbean has offered a cruise through the Panama Canal.

Lastly, Mariner of the Seas will call Miami, Florida home in 2018, following a transpacific cruise.  Mariner of the Seas will be the first Voyager Class ship to offer short Caribbean sailings. Before she offers cruises from her new home, Mariner of the Seas will undergo an extensive 32-day revitalization. Once back in service, Mariner of the Seas will offer 3- and 4-night itineraries from PortMiami, beginning on June 21, 2018.

Enchantment of the Seas will join Liberty of the Seas in Galveston, Texas, offering 4- and 5-night Caribbean cruises. She arrives in Galveston on June 23, 2018.  Guests currently booked on Enchantment for sailings departing Miami after June 23 will be contacted individually to transition the original booking to Mariner of the Seas.

Sailings onboard Mariner of the Seas will become available to book on May 1, 2017.  Enchantment of the Seas and Vision of the Seas sailings will be available to book as of May 5.

5 interesting facts from Royal Caribbean's first quarter earnings call

In:
28Apr2017

Each quarter, Royal Caribbean's management gets on the phone with investors to discuss its quarterly earnings.  Much of the call is dedicated to the discussion of rather uninteresting fiscal reports, however, there are a number of tidbits that Royal Caribbean fans can glean during the discussion.

During Royal Caribbean's first quarter 2017 earnings call with investors, we picked up on five interesting points worth noting.

Sneak peak at features for new smart phone app

Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain made a quick reference to some of features coming to the new smart phone app that the cruise line is developing. 

Dubbed, "Project Excalibur," this new app will offer new ways for guests to have a simpler experience onboard.

"Starting over two years ago, we have found intuitive digital applications to make the guest experience simpler and more comfortable," Fain announced during the call. "You'll be able to open the door to your room without pulling out a card or a key, request a beverage real-time from the comfort of your lounge chair, and get recommendations for your traveling companion based on their preferences."

"We take our guest vacation time seriously, and technology is a great enabler to improve the use of that."

Guest spending is fundamentally changing

Royal Caribbean CFO Jason Liberty made mention of the fact onboard revenue continues to grow, and that is a reflection of a shift in where guests spend their money.  Specifically, they are spending more money on experiences, in lieu of buying things.

Onboard revenue yield was up 8.9% for the quarter, which was driven by new hardware, shore excursions and Voom.

"As I mentioned over the past couple quarters, guests spend has continuing to shift towards areas that involve experiences over buying things," Liberty explained.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley added, "What we are seeing is a switch to more experience-related revenue streams, and obviously we are trying to leverage that. Things like shore excursions obviously, and beverages and beverage packages. "

"I think really what we are seeing is we're seeing a really good pick up on our pre-cruise sales, and that has been driving a lot of these revenues. There's various theories on how impactful pre-cruises sales are, and one of the theories is that if you sell a dollar pre-cruise, you'll probably see anywhere from 20 to 50% uptick in the onboard spend by the very same guest."

Mariner of the Seas will receive a drydock

Two days ago, Royal Caribbean announced that Mariner of the Seas would return to North America after spending many years in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley explained, "With Mariner moving back into the States, that was really about timing. Mariner was coming out anyway when Quantum Plus came into the market, and we had an opportunity because we have some revitalization and drydock work that's quite extensive that we're planning for Mariner."

Symphony of the Seas bookings are doing well

Bookings in general are quite good for Royal Caribbean, and even the yet-to-be-launched Symphony of the Seas is doing well with guests booking it.

"Symphony of the Seas, which comes out in April of next year, the forward bookings are terrific."

How millennials cruise

An investor asked how passengers under 35 years old view Royal Caribbean, and Michael Bayley elaborated on the appeal of cruising to millennials.

"When a millennial has a child, they really come into our sweet spot...for Royal Caribbean certainly. As soon as those millennials get kids, then they really want to have a great time with their family, and we work very well for them. "

"The one obvious thing that's quite meaningful is digital technology and access through Voom to the world around them. Of course, that's something we put into place a couple of years ago, and I think that's really proven to be successful."

"The other component is the whole idea of multi-generational vacations, and that's something we really do focus on. This idea that we can offer a multi-generational experience to our customers. And of course, the Oasis Class ships really are  the great expression of that."

"And then dining I think is becoming something that's slightly different with the millennial market, and that's something we're obviously focused on, both in our current fleet, and also as we look at our new builds coming online."

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