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Spotted: Royal Caribbean cruises scheduled from Miami beginning in July

In:
31 May 2021

We already know Freedom of the Seas will begin test cruises in June 2021, but are revenue cruises already planned as well?

A week ago, Royal Caribbean announced it would start test cruises on its first ship to get approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Freedom of the Seas.

Friend of RoyalCaribbeanBlog @UltimateCruiseNews spotted on the Miami Dade County cruise ship schedule at PortMiami listing Freedom of the Seas cruises, beginning on July 2, 2021.

The schedule seems to have Freedom of the Seas offering 3- and 4-night cruises from PortMiami through the month of July.

In addition, the Royal Caribbean app shows very similar dates for Freedom of the Seas on its schedule.

Royal Caribbean has not cancelled its July sailings across the board, and still has bookable cruises on Freedom of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey on the cruise line website.

Royal Caribbean has not made any announcement about a redployment for Freedom of the Seas, but the schedule might shed light onto what could be coming.

In comparing the Royal Caribbean app dates to the PortMiami schedule, as well as what is listed on Royal Caribbean's website, it seems the app has both sailings loaded in at the moment.

Of course, the docking schedule does not contain much information in the way of determining what the intent is for the ship. Could these sailings in July be revenue cruises? More test cruises? A mistake by the county?

Freedom of the Seas will definitely be conducting test cruises from PortMiami between June 20-22, 2021, and that is reflected on the schedule.

Simulated voyages (also known as test cruises) are when cruise lines can operate ships with volunteer passengers in order to prove their new protocols work.

These are not cruises you can book, but rather, are limited voyages where a cruise line invites certain unpaid volunteers to help go through all the necessary steps and procedures to ensure cruise ships can be run safely.

Each cruise ship needs to be approved by the CDC in order to conduct test cruises.

As to how accurate the July sailings listed are, and if they are the precursor to Royal Caribbean announcing revenue cruises remains to be seen.

In March 2021, the Port of Los Angeles website listed Navigator of the Seas on their schedule prior to Royal Caribbean making their own announcement.

Los Angeles pulled down their schedule for a short time until Royal Caribbean made their formal announcement.

PortMiami wants to broker a deal for shared cruise terminal between Royal Caribbean and MSC

In:
18 May 2021

It looks like there is a chance Royal Caribbean Group and MSC Cruises may come to an agreement on a new cruise terminal in PortMiami.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced a large preferential berthing rights agreement between the two lines.

Essentially, if this deal were to happen, it would provide a new cruise terminal at PortMiami, where Royal Caribbean ships would give  Royal Caribbean Group ships "first dibs" on access to the terminal if a ship would need to dock there, while MSC would also have access to the facility.

The agreement stipulates that Royal Caribbean is the primary third-party cruise line at the shared terminal facility and negotiate terms for minimum revenue guarantees, financing, timing, and construction of Berth 10, a facility which will be operated and maintained by the County and have shore power capability. 

According to Seatrade Cruise News, MSC was originally looking to work with Disney Cruise Line on a joint project that would include Berth 10. 

MSC had plans for a new cruise terminal project for births 8 and 9, with berth 10 available for another cruise line. However, Disney is now looking at a long-term agreement at Port Everglades.

Royal Caribbean also has a new cruise terminal at Terminal A, which opened in November 2018.

Royal Caribbean had been using Terminal G when Terminal A was not available.

Mayor Cava announced the accord, "As we work closely alongside our industry partners to usher in the safe return of cruising, I am pleased to recommend a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) between Miami-Dade County and Royal Caribbean Group to negotiate a preferential berthing rights agreement for the future shared cruise terminal at PortMiami."

"This MOI will be presented to the PortMiami and Environmental Resiliency Committee on June 8 and the Board of County Commissioners on June 15."

The shared cruise terminal will be the first of its kind at the port with the capability of simultaneously berthing three cruise vessels (at Berths 8, 9 and 10) by more than one cruise line. vessels (at Berths 8, 9 and 10) by more than one cruise line.

"This partnership will further solidify the Port’s role as a leader on innovation and sustainability, while generating more good-paying jobs and bringing more passengers as we work to bring back cruising stronger than ever," the Mayor said.

What are berthing rights?

A ship's berth is a designated location in a port used for mooring vessels when they are not at sea.  Essentially, it was what most people commonly refer to as "docking a cruise ship".

Parking a cruise ship is not like finding a parking spot for you car. Berths are limited in any port, and in a port as busy as PortMiami, there is limited availability to get a ship in on specific days.

Cruise lines have to pay to park their ships in a port. Depending on the port, there can be shared terminals or dedicated terminals.

As an example, Royal Caribbean built Terminal A to provide an exclusive spot for its ships to dock when they come to PortMiami.  Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival have similar facilities.

Preferential berthing rights are used when more than one cruise line uses a particular facility, and it basically means if more than one line wants to use the terminal on a given day, the line with preferential berthing rights gets the first opportunity.

Royal Caribbean joins movement to bring shore power to cruise ships

In:
17 Feb 2021

Royal Caribbean joined five other cruise lines in signing up for an initiative to bring shore power to PortMiami.

Along with the CEOs of Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Virgin Voyages, Royal Caribbean announced they support a new push to bring shore power to PortMiami.

This marks the first step in making shore power a reality for cruise ships for cruise ships at Port Miami.

Miami Dade's mayor's office will convene a working group with representatives of each company to work toward an initial installation and eventually a full rollout in the years to come. 

Entrepreneur and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is helping lead this initiative as a volunteer special advisor focused on the future of cruising, working with the Mayor's office, the Port, and cruise companies to shape a more resilient cruise industry.

What is shore power?

Ordinarily, when a cruise ship is docked at a pier, it runs off its engines while in port, similar to how your car idles at a red light.  The ship is burning fuel during the process, which like any fossil fuel burning mode of transportation, emits smoke into the air around the port.

Shore power allows cruise ships to "hook up" to electricity at the port, so that the engines do not need to operate while the ship is letting passengers off the ship and bringing new ones onboard.

This means ships using shore power save on fuel use while on port that they would otherwise need to keep the ship going. It also reduces air pollution emissions.associated with consumption of that fuel.

Many ships were built to use shore power. Cruise industry expert Stewart Chiron says over half of Carnival's fleet could take advantage of shore power.

The source of this electricity for shore side power will likely be provided by Florida Power and Light, which obtains most of its electricity from natural gas, followed by Nuclear power.

While natural gas and Nuclear power are cleaner than Diesel engines, there is still air pollution from the electricity generated by natural gas and Nuclear power has its own sets of challenges, including where to store the waste.

Royal Caribbean employees will begin returning to its Miami headquarters

In:
03 Jun 2020

Royal Caribbean's employees will begin returning to its Miami headquarters in the next couple of weeks for the first time since the current health crisis forced the cruise line to have everyone work from home.

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Vicki Freed confirmed that employees will begin returning to the corporate headquarters in Miami beginning on June 8, and the second group will go back on June 15.

The factor in determining the date of return for each employee will depend on which building they work in on Royal Caribbean's campus.

Employees working at the company's headquarters were forced to work from home for a number of months in order to foster proper social distancing and adhere to Florida's regulations. With the state relaxing some of those laws in order to reopen many aspects of life, working from headquarters will now be permitted.

Royal Caribbean has paused construction on its new Miami headquarters in late March. The new headquarters will eventually replace the existing corporate campus, as well as provide more space for other employees to work directly in the company's headquarters.

 

Royal Caribbean has paused construction on its new Miami headquarters due to coronavirus

In:
26 Mar 2020

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd's brand new headquarters that is under construction will remain under construction for while longer.

The Miami Herald reports the construction work for the cruise line's $300 million corporate headquarters in PortMiami is on hold due to uncertainty over the coronavirus.

In May 2019, Royal Caribbean announced plans to expand and renovate its corporate campus on the southwest corner of Dodge Island. 

Work on the site will cease, with the exception of the parking lot adjacent to the building that will be completed as planned, according to the Miami Herald.

Work will resume "at the appropriate time," according to Royal Caribbean.

Once complete, the new campus will be landscaped with indigenous flora and sport a soccer field, volleyball court, basketball court, and fitness center for employees.  It will include a new parking garage and built-in sustainability features, such as electric car chargers, photovoltaic cells, and rainwater collectors.

At the heart of campus will be a 10-story, 350,000 square-foot building influenced by the graceful utility, fluidity, and innovative designs evident in the company’s ships.   

The new corporate headquarters would include a fitness center, a day care, a cafeteria, an auditorium and a maritime innovation center for the design development and renovation of cruise vessels.

Prior to the announced pause, the new headquarters was scheduled to open at some time in 2020.

Photos: Oasis of the Seas arrives home to PortMiami

In:
24 Nov 2019

Following a $165 million drydock, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas arrived to her homeport in PortMiami.

The talented photographer AdamsAway was able to snap these brand new photos of Oasis of the Seas at her new homeport at Terminal A.

Photos by AdamsAway

Beginning today, Oasis of the Seas will offer 7-night sailings to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

New lighting added to Terminal A in PortMiami

In:
20 Nov 2019

Royal Caribbean added new lights to its Terminal A in PortMiami, that really make the building stand out once the sun goes down.

Royal Caribbean Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet shared photos on Twitter of the new lighting.

Mr. Van Fleet also indicated the lights are capable of changing colors.

What do you think of the new Terminal A lights? Let us know in the comments.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East Hotel Review

In:
24 May 2019

If you ask anyone that is looking for a hotel before or after their cruise, they usually want a clean, safe and reasonably priced hotel. Getting all three of those requirements is no simple task, but I may have just found that with the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East.

Prior to a recent Royal Caribbean cruise, I needed a hotel for two nights prior to my sailing.  I usually stay near downtown Miami, but I spotted a brand new hotel that seemed to offer a great value.  Plus, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East is located right near Miami International Airport.  This means the drive from the airport to the hotel is a mere couple of minutes, and the drive to PorMiami is about 10-15 minutes.

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East is one of Holiday Inn's new "Formula Blue" properties.  Formula Blue is meant to appeal to Holiday Inn Express’s target guest—the "smart traveler."  The hotel is designed so that public space is wide open, so guests can immediately scan the area when they walk into the hotel and understand where everything is without having to ask for help. Another design element that supports the smart traveler is a headboard that minimize noise transfer between rooms, ensuring this busy demographic is able to get a restful night sleep.  

Walking into the lobby of the hotel, you can see exactly what Holiday Inn was planning, with an open lobby area that you can easily spot the elevators, kitchen area, seating and more.

The hotel offers an outdoor pool, fitness center, continental breakfast each morning, and complimentary coffee throughout the day in the lobby.  The hotel does offer a shuttle service to PortMiami at regularly scheduled times for a price per person.  In my opinion, you are better off using a ride-share service like Lyft for value and convenience.

For my stay, I reserved a standard King-size bed for $80.75 for the first night, and $84.55 the second night.  That is an incredible price for a name-brand hotel.

Walking into my room, I found a very large amount of living space.  There was even a coffee nook, complete with Keurig machine available for my use.

The bathroom is large as well, which means there is plenty of space for two people to get ready in the morning.

One thing I loved about this room is how many outlets there are around the room. In fact, there are USB outlets, in addition to electric outlets, on each side of the bed and at the desk. This is incredibly convenient.

Overall, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East is exactly as advertised: a convenient hotel that is well-priced, clean and safe to stay in. The worst thing I can say about this hotel is that you cannot walk anywhere nearby for dining or entertainment.  You will be dependent on taxi or a rental car to get to the fun things to do in Miami.  Of course, a lot of people that want a pre-cruise hotel are only really looking for somewhere to spend the night, and you can always order delivery to the hotel.

What is truly compelling about this hotel was the price combined with the well-kept rooms and building. If you can snag a rate of less than $100 per night (or closer to my $80/night rate) then it becomes an absolute steal compared to paying one or two hundred dollars more per night to stay in downtown Miami.

Your thoughts

Have you stayed at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East? Is this a hotel you’d consider? Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below!

Royal Caribbean receives approval for headquarters expansion plan

In:
08 May 2019

The Miami-Dade County Commission approved Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd proposal to renovate and expand its corporate headquarters in PortMiami.

The South Florida Business Journal reported that approval was given to amend the lease on county land.

Last month, Royal Caribbean International's parent company proposed an expanded and renovated corporate campus on the southwest corner of Dodge Island.  The new campus would expand the company’s workforce capacity from 2,200 to 4,200. The project is estimated to cost approximately $300 million.

The campus, landscaped with indigenous flora, will sport a soccer field, volleyball court, basketball court, and fitness center for employees.  It will include a new parking garage and built-in sustainability features, such as electric car chargers, photovoltaic cells, and rainwater collectors. At the heart of campus will be a 10-story, 350,000 square-foot building influenced by the graceful utility, fluidity, and innovative designs evident in the company’s ships.   

The new corporate headquarters would include a fitness center, a day care, a cafeteria, an auditorium and a maritime innovation center for the design development and renovation of cruise vessels.

The project groundbreaking is slated for June, and should debut in 2020.

Royal Caribbean looking to expand its headquarters in Miami

In:
15 Apr 2019

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, the parent company of Royal Caribbean International, is looking to renovate and expand its corporate headquarters.

South Florida Business Journal reports the project would cost approximately $300 million and be located at the southwest corner of Dodge Island next to where its older offices sit now. The new campus would expand the company’s workforce capacity from 2,200 to 4,200.

The plan is to would demolish the building at 1040 Caribbean Way. It would build a Terminal K parking garage with about 1,820 spaces plus a new unspecified size office building. Royal Caribbean would perform major renovations to the buildings it leases at 1050 and 1080 Caribbean Way.

When finished, the renovated and expanded headquarters would include a fitness center, a daycare, a cafeteria, an auditorium and a maritime innovation center for the design development and renovation of cruise vessels.

The Miami Herald reports the design for the new buildings is by New York architecture firm HOK. The building is designed to look like a ship.  Royal Caribbean’s giant crown logo will be emblazoned on the roof to catch the eyes of airline passengers overhead.

Royal Caribbean’s Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty also talked about the focus on climate change and the need to make changes to the buildings now. Liberty said to prepare for inevitable sea level rise, the company plans to build the structures 15 feet above sea level and store critical machinery on higher floors. Many climate models project Miami streets will be flooding daily by 2070.

On Monday the Miami-Dade Tourism and Ports Committee approved a deal, but the full board of commissioners will vote on the proposal in May.

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