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Royal Caribbean CEO teases "big news" to be announced soon

In:
18 Oct 2021

Let the rampant speculation begin.

Royal Caribbean on list of companies possibly under investigation for violating Florida's vaccine passport ban | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley posted a short and cryptic teaser on his Facebook page about a big announcement coming soon.

Mr. Bayley wrote three sentences in his teaser, "Get ready for the news of a lifetime. A big announcement is on the horizon.  Stay tuned!"

Less than an hour after posting it, he edited the post to change some of the wording.

"Get ready for some big news. We’ve got an announcement on the horizon. Stay tuned!"

What could it be? We will have to wait and see.

Cruise fans were quick to jump in with their guesses, ranging from new ship announcements, to Covid-19 protocol changes, President's Cruise announcement, and pretty much everything inbetween.

Here are some of the interesting ideas people shared in the comments of his Facebook post.

  • Icon of the Seas information
  • Vaccine mandate change
  • Free cruise giveaways
  • Wonder of the Seas news
  • $18 per day Deluxe Drink Package

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley talks about when cruises will restart and other hot topics | Royal Caribbean Blog

Since there is not any kind of hint in direction of what to expect, numerous possibilities loom. Not to mention the fact there is no telling if this big news will come out tomorrow, this week, or even this year.

Mr. Bayley is no stranger to posting on Facebook, having often shared his thoughts about what is happening in the cruise industry, as well as sharing behind-the-scenes peeks of what is forthcoming.

Royal Caribbean has a number of projects planned, as well as speculated upon, but it is difficult to know what sort of announcement to expect.

Besides the upcoming Icon Class cruise ships to be built over the next few years, Royal Caribbean also has port projects in Vanuatu, Antigua, and Labadee that have all been placed on hold.

Meanwhile, progress quietly is made on the Royal Beach Club in Paradise Island, and a new port project in Freeport, Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean Group Chief Product Innovation Officer, Jay Schneider, recently confirmed ship upgrades under the Royal Amplified program will pick back up in the future.

Royal Caribbean announces $97 million Voyager of the Seas amplification | Royal Caribbean Blog

"We're going to pick up Amplification again. We're going to keep making sure that the Amplification we have is working."

Moreover, new ship construction is not stopping either, "Our new build portfolio isn't isn't stopping. We're going to continue to build amazing ships."

"You're going to see new concepts come out on future ships and you're going to see us experiment with new fun ways to, again, get people to have an amazing vacation."

Royal Caribbean announces $97 million Voyager of the Seas amplification | Royal Caribbean Blog

When Mr. Bayley and/or Royal Caribbean makes the announcement, I will share it immediately on RoyalCaribbeanBlog.

Share your best guesses of what Mr. Bayley is hinting at in the comments below!

Royal Caribbean CEO talks about upcoming end of CDC's Conditional Sail Order

In:
13 Oct 2021

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate over Covid-19 protocols is set to expire at the end of this month, leaving many to wonder what will happen next.

The Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) is a phased approach for cruise lines to follow in order to get ships approved to sail from the United States again. It is set to expire on November 1, 2021 unless extended.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley was asked about the upcoming end to the CSO and what it means for his cruise line going forward.

He was asked to provide the latest information related to the CSO, and he shared his thoughts on what is still very much an unknown situation.

Why haven't cruise lines been more aggressive with the CDC? | Royal Caribbean Blog

"There has been discussion with the CDC and with other government entities that are part of this process," Mr. Bayley explained. "We're waiting to get guidance on what could be the next steps."

Mr. Bayley then offered some ideas of what options might be possible, "One of those next steps could be that the Conditional Sailing Order would just expire, and we would continue as we are voluntarily working with the CDC and operating with various protocols and guidelines that have been recommended."

Mr. Bayley believes the success cruise lines have had in getting back to service has been a result of the work with the CDC, "We've got 15 ships operating and the protocols are really working."

Friday Photos | Royal Caribbean Blog

"Everything is operating extremely well, and that really was only possible through a lot of collaboration with the CDC and working with them and other health authorities around the world."

"We don't know what the next step will be. I think what's important is that, there's different ways of doing it, but everybody has the same goal and that is to keep people safe."

He added the CDC has been largely been supportive of what the cruise lines have been doing under the CSO, I think in many of the calls I've been on with the CDC, I think they have a sense of accomplishment that that the cruise industry really now is used somewhat as a gold standard example for other forms of travel and transportation on how things can really operate well."

Protocols

Face masks not listed on Royal Caribbean's August health protocols | Royal Caribbean Blog

Dovetailing into that conversation is the question of protocols on Royal Caribbean's cruise ships, and when a change may occur there as well.

Related to the CSO, Mr. Bayley added, "I think what's what we're all hoping for is a continuation of an improvement of the environment and a decrease in all of the protocols that are currently in place."

When asked about protocols being changed, he pointed to the fact the stringent protocols are mostly tied to what is happening with Covid-19 case counts around the country.

First look around Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

"The relationship between these protocols...masks, testing vaccines, et cetera, is directly related to what's really going on with COVID and how the in the case of the United States, the CDC views that."

Mr. Bayley provided a possible outlook at protocols changing, "I think what we'll see is as infections decline and continue to to to decline, these things will will change."

He admitted while he is not "a big fan of masks," he said wearing it on the ships "was really no big deal."

Adventure of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

"I would pop it on when I was walking through corridors or if I was going to get into an elevator. And most of the time I didn't have it on. I was outside most of the time. You don't have to wear a mask outside plenty of places in spaces where it's not required, so I didn't find it to be too too bothersome."

"I think we just have to try and work within these, these these guidelines that have been offered to us. But I do think it's all going to start stripping away as the environment gets better."

Update on Perfect Day at Lelepa

Perfect Day at Lelepa | Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Bayley also briefly talked about previously announced plans for a new private island in the South Pacific.

Royal Caribbean announced Perfect Day at Lelepa, which is an island in Vanuatu that would be used to bolster the Australian cruise market.

"That project, we paused, you know, for obvious reasons. But we will plan is to re-engage and restart that project in the coming months."

Royal Caribbean CEO gives updates on return to service, loyalty benefits and more

In:
01 Sep 2021

With all the changes and updates related to Royal Caribbean's return to service, the cruise line's CEO shared a new update.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley sent an email to Crown and Anchor Society guests with a look at the most important facts related to the restart process.

Royal Caribbean has been busy with getting its ships back in service, and there have been a lot of changes and tweaks along the way.  With half the fleet back in service, Mr. Bayley took some time to provide cruisers with where things stand.

Here is everything Mr. Bayley included in his email update to guests.

Halfway to the goal

Royal Caribbean CEO says pent-up demand still exists for cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

In just a few short months, 13 of the 26 ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet are now back in service.

"It has been full steam ahead since June, when Adventure of the Seas became the first Royal Caribbean International ship to sail the Caribbean after many months," Mr. Bayley noted.

The plan is for every single ship to return to service by spring 2022, as outlined by the cruise line in an update earlier this month.

"It’s onward and upward on all fronts — including several new developments I’m excited to share with you!"

Mr. Bayley also pointed out that every single of the test cruises in the United States have "passed with flying colors", coinciding with the effective health and safety measures onboard.

More ships will be restarting very soon, including Oasis of the Seas from Cape Liberty on September 5.

He also pointed t o other ports being able to resume cruises, such as Tampa, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico in October and November.

Perfect Day at CocoCay expansion

Royal Caribbean hoping to reopen Perfect Day at CocoCay soon | Royal Caribbean Blog

Snuck into the email was an announcement of a new expansion to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The new area is called "Hideaway Beach", and there were not many details included.

"I can also hardly wait to share more news about our plans in The Bahamas, including another expansion to make Perfect Day at CocoCay even more perfect with an entirely new experience we’re calling Hideaway Beach — you heard it here first!"

"A herculean effort"

Royal Caribbean begins vaccinating crew members in Miami | Royal Caribbean Blog

Thus far, over 160,000 guests have sailed on Royal Caribbean cruises from ports in the U.S., U.K., The Bahamas, Cyprus, Italy, Singapore and Spain.

Mr. Bayley gave credit to the hard working crew members who made this all possible, "This has been a herculean effort, and throughout it all, our crew have been the shining stars you’ve always known them to be. "

"Their commitment, positive attitude and smiling faces have made this all possible. And we can see the results of their impact in the feedback and record-setting guest ratings."

Adjusting to changes

First look at Royal Caribbean's new health protocols when it restarts cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Bayley also talked about the challenges the cruise line has faced in dealing with changes. 

"Our health and safety measures will adapt to however many more curveballs and changes COVID-19 may have for us, including requirements from various countries and authorities."

He pointed to a recent change, where The Bahamas issued a new policy prohibiting anyone over the age of 12 that is unvaccinated to be able to visit their ports on a cruise ship.

The result is all ships sailing from Florida visiting The Bahamas now requires guests 12 and older be vaccinated.

"This now means every Royal Caribbean cruise from the U.S. will sail with fully vaccinated guests, while still welcoming children under 12 who are ineligible for the vaccine today."

Crown and Anchor Society update

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

With the email going out to Crown and Anchor Society guests, a lot of eyes are focused on the onboard experience for the cruise line's customer loyalty program.

Mr. Bayley said they are bringing back several Crown & Anchor Society benefits that were paused due to Covid-19.

As of September 1, this includes:

  • The Diamond Lounge is fully opening its doors to welcome more Diamond members and above
  • The exclusive Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club Top-tier Event 
  • Complimentary breakfast in specialty restaurants for Pinnacle Club members 

Mr. Bayley also referenced the recent announcement for Pinnacle Club members that will have access to a new lounge while the temporary pause on access to the Suite 
and Concierge lounges remains in effect.

"Pinnacle Club members, please know we have been determined to bring you a dedicated space to come together in the meantime."

"This will be available to each member through November 1, during which we’ll consistently evaluate the current public health circumstances for everyone’s well-being on board. We’re committed to returning this benefit to you as soon as practically possible."

Read the full email

If you want to read the entire email, here is a copy.

Royal Caribbean CEO gives update on cruise ship restart, Covid on ships, limiting capacity and more

In:
17 Aug 2021

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley is proud of his company's restart plans, and did not hold back in recognizing Royal Caribbean's victories, as well as challenges that still exist.

In a new social media post, Mr. Bayley posted an update on Royal Caribbean's restart plans, which read like a mile marker on the company's journey back to full operations.

While the process has had, "ups and downs and twists and turns", he was undeniably proud that by the end of August 13 cruise ships will be back in service, which represents half the fleet.

"All of our ships starting operating with reduced capacity either by government mandate," he shared on Facebook

Mr. Bayley added that all Royal Caribbean ships have limited capacity that range between 30 to 50 percent, and the company will increase capacity ship by ship over the course of each month.

Mr. Bayley also talked about the realities of cruising again, and that while there have been Covid-19 cases onboard the ship, they have been limited.

"As all guests are required to be tested before boarding regardless of vaccination status, we typically have 2 to 10 guests a week (out of thousands of guests boarding 12 ships) who do not board because they test positive."

"Do we have Covid positive guests onboard," Mr. Bayley shared. "Yes! How many guests are positive? Typically 1 or 2 of a thousand plus guests a week per ship."

Mr. Bayley attributes the the cases that do get caught onboard as a result of an incubation period for the virus, "Testing captures status at a point of time and if the guest is incubating infection then the test will miss it."

"Yes, vaccinated guests test positive for Covid and typically are asymptomatic."

If a case is found onboard, Mr. Bayley says those guests are quarantined and the crew members test immediate travel party, contact tracing and testing of all contacts and quarantine if positive.

"Repatriation home via private jet in the majority of cases."

Read moreRoyal Caribbean is flying passengers home on a private jet if they have Covid-19

Mr. Bayley also said the crew members are fully vaccinated, and all crew members are tested now being tested every week, instead of every two weeks, due to the Delta variant.

He said there are sometimes positive Covid cases among the crew, primarily during quarantine as they join the ship and are vaccinated and tested or during regular testing.

A few other thoughts from Mr. Bayley:

  • Guest satisfaction is "super high"
  • Total onboard vaccinated community ranging from 90 to 97 percent.
  • Mixed vaccines: "we continue to work with multiple authorities to find safe solutions."

Mr. Bayley ended by saying, "Please remember, we as a company, are trying our absolute best to protect our guests, employees and the communities we visit!"

Royal Caribbean CEO addresses mixed vaccines and vaccine requirements

In:
30 Jul 2021

While cruise ships are sailing again, there is still confusion about Covid-19 vaccine requirements, and Royal Caribbean International's CEO tried to address the issue again this week.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley posted on social media an explanation of where things are right now with vaccine requirements.

Mr. Bayley has taken on a "hands on approach" to addressing customer concerns, especially on social media.

He started off by acknowledging the trouble some cruise fans have had with new protocols lately, "There is a lot of confusion and understandable concern over vaccine requirements."

He explained that depending on where a ship sails from, each country can have different regulations, "What guides our policy is primarily determined by which port and country the ship is home ported and sails from and returns to."

"For example If the ship sails from and returns to a USA port we are guided by CDC/FDA guidelines."

Mr. Bayley brought up the example of the United States, because he has heard from many Canadian guests and how they were guided by their government on when and how to get vaccinated against Covid-19 versus the U.S.

In recent weeks, cruise lines have added new protocols that prohibit some level of mixed vaccines, which depends on the mix of manufacturers and where you are sailing from.  

Royal Caribbean issued a mixed vaccine policy, but then revised their policy after getting a lot of questions from Canadian customers who would suddenly find themselves unable to sail.

The revised policy allows mixed vaccines in some situations, which is a step ahead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) preference for vaccinations not be mixed.

According to Bayley, Royal Caribbean has brought up the issue of the differences in the Canadian government's approach with that of the CDC, "Please understand we are not in a position to disregard the relevant governing authority."

"I have received many emails on this issue and we raised this yesterday with the CDC and while obviously sympathetic they cannot change the current position. All cruise lines are in a similar position."

Celebrity vs Royal Caribbean's approach

Mr. Bayley also addressed the different paths Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have taken in getting back to service.

In a comment to the same mixed vaccine post, Mr. Bayley responded to a question about, "Why Celebrity cruises, sailing out of Florida ports, are following the CDC guidelines, while Royal is bending to Governor De Santis’ orders?"

Mr. Bayley explained the different restart plans have to do with Royal Caribbean being a family cruise brand.

"In a normal year the majority of our guests are families. At any time throughout the year we carry approx 10 per cent plus of our guests who are kids 12 and under and they of course travel with their family."

"Because of the kids we have been sailing at around 90 percent vaccinated and so we would not be able to operate at the CDC 95 / 95 and so like Disney Cruises or MSC all family brands we chose this path. 

He said Florida's law, "presents challenges", but he said Royal Caribbean always complies with federal, state and local laws.

"Our wonderful sister brand Celebrity also welcomes kids and families and while they have a great time the number of kids and families is far less than Royal. Hope that clarifies."

"To be very clear both brands fully follow above and beyond the CDC guidelines."

Michael Bayley addresses concerns of requiring Covid-19 vaccine on Royal Caribbean ships

In:
04 Apr 2021

Royal Caribbean has proudly announced the restart of some ships this summer outside of the United States, but the role of the Covid-19 vaccine for those sailings has some cruisers concerned.

Based on comments across social media, there is a vocal contingent of cruisers who are unwilling or unable to get the Covid-19 vaccine at this time.

As part of the March 2021 newsletter to Crown and Anchor Society members, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley addressed the undetermined role of a Covid-19 vaccine in the cruise line's overall plans.

Mr. Bayley acknowledged the issue in his message to guests, "I know there are questions when it comes to our future plans, health and safety re measures, vaccines and more. The current vaccine requirements for our new sailings this summer, in particular, have raised concerns."

"I want you to know that we understand. This environment we are in is one we're navigating as best we can with the ever-evolving information that tells us what will help reduce the chances of COVID-19 impacting any cruise."

He added that changes in protocols and the approach to the virus may change this summer, "There's nothing more we would like than to welcome everyone back on board and for today's needed measures, like vaccinations, to become unnecessary in the near future."

"We believe that much will change leading up to summer, and we're working through it all with the Healthy Sail Panel, public health experts and governments around the world."

"One thing is tor sure: Delivering memorable vacations is still what we do, and you, our crew and the communities we visit matter most."

Read moreEverything we know about if Royal Caribbean will require a vaccine

Despite the fact all of the recently announced ships that will resume cruises this summer will require the Covid-19 vaccine, Royal Caribbean has been adimant no decision has been made if they will or will not require the vaccine across the fleet.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has said on a few occasions that nothing firm has been established, and things could very well change as the science evolves.

Most recently, Mr. Fain talked about the role of vaccines this summer during a webinar last week, "As the science continues to progress, I think we will change and we will adjust to that. And I think we're now trying to predict the future. Remember, these cruises don't start till June. And so we're starting on this basis that they will require vaccines, but that could change tomorrow."

"We do respond to the facts and the evidence, and so we started out on the new cruises that we've announced and they are going to require initially vaccines. But we don't know how long that will be a feature."

Royal Caribbean is not alone in its indecision. 

None of the major cruise lines have announced if they will or will not require the Covid-19 vaccine when they resume cruises.

Royal Caribbean CEO "worried" CDC will give "pretty outdated" instructions for cruise ship restart

In:
31 Mar 2021

The entire cruise industry has been on the offensive over the last few weeks to compel the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to lift its ban on cruise ships, perhaps to avoid belaboring new requirements.

During a webinar with travel agents, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley urged travel agents to tell their government representatives to allow cruise ships to sail again because he fears what may come next.

Mr. Bayley used the word, "worried" to describe what the CDC may tell cruise lines to do if they actually provided any kind of guidance.

"We're worried that the guidance that we're going to get is going to be pretty outdated."

He noted that it has been, "many, many months since we've had any guidance", and added "we're kind of concerned".

This concern has compelled Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines to ask U.S. citizens to write to their elected officials to ask them to call on the CDC to allow cruise ships to sail again.

Through the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), there is an easy form anyone can use to email, call, and/or tweet elected officials with a short message to voice their support for getting ships to sail again.

"Just put in a little bit of information and then it automatically populate your local representative, elected officials basically saying, come on, let's get this cruise restarted."

Mr. Bayley's words follow months of inaction by the CDC to provide any kind of information to cruise lines that would allow them to resume cruises.

Cruise ships have been shutdown in the United States since March 2020, when the cruise industry volunteered to stop cruising in the early days of the global health crisis.  Since then, the CDC instituted a ban on cruise ships.

The hope is a write-in program that CLIA has set up will allow cruise ships to sail again from the United States as early as July.

CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead believes strict health protocols and the rapid pace of vaccination are what is needed for cruise ships to safely return to service, " the successful resumption of cruising in other parts of the world demonstrates that a return to cruising can and should occur here as well."

Lifting the CSO

The Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) is the policy instituted by the CDC that prevents cruise ships from sailing in U.S. waters at this time.

By lifting the CSO, cruise lines would not have to conduct test sailings, or any of the other requirements outlined by the CSO. Instead, cruise lines would implement new health protocols and rule changes aimed at making ships as safe as possible.

By keeping cruise lines shutdown, CLIA claims it has cost jobs and revenue to the U.S. economy.

CLIA estimates restarting cruises as part of the broader travel industry will provide a much-needed boost to the U.S. economy—with the cruise industry supporting nearly 450,000 American jobs and contributing over $55.5 billion annually, prior to the pandemic.  

Royal Caribbean CEO offers holiday message of hope to guests

In:
23 Dec 2020

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley offered cruisers a Christmas message of hope and gratitude.

Christmas and New Years is right around the corner, and Mr. Bayley sent an email to Crown and Anchor Society guests to wish them a good holiday season that centers on two common themes.

Mr. Bayley believes the words "hopeful" and "grateful" are key phrases that apply to what has happened this year.

First and foremost, Mr. Bayley thanked past cruisers for their loyalty to the cruise line that has served as motivation for the company, "your encouragement and enthusiasm for cruising has kept us going."

Of course, everyone wants to know when cruises might actually restart and the "hopeful" nature of his message spoke to the New Year's resolution that Mr. Bayley says Royal Caribbean is committed to seeing through, "We are hopeful for the future of Royal Caribbean International."

Your confidence in us, along with the hard work of our employees and partners around the world, will soon get us back to what we love to do. Cruising the oceans of the world and having your smiling faces onboard again is one New Year's resolution we plan to keep."

The email sent to guests includes a special video message from Royal Caribbean's cruise ship captains and crew ambassadors.

"They miss being onboard with you even more this time of year — so they’ve put together a special video with their best wishes."

Lastly, Royal Caribbean shared the recipe for a holiday cocktail they think will be great to enjoy this year, the cranberry margarita.

The recipe combines a Thanksgiving staple—cranberry—with the sweetness of honey to create a refreshing and vibrant drink.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 3/4-ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons cranberry sauce or jam
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Brown sugar-rimmed martini glass
  • Lime wheel as garnish

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
  • Strain into the sugar-rimmed glass, then top with a lime and enjoy!

Royal Caribbean CEO updates guests on where Royal Caribbean is right now

In:
17 Nov 2020

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley sent an email to guests on Monday with an update on cruises starting up again, more cancelled cruises, where the cruise ships are right now.

The email touched on a variety of topics meant to catch someone up on what's been happening with Royal Caribbean over the last few months.

Here is a summary of everything Mr. Bayley talked about in his email (with the full email at the bottom of this post).

Lifting the No Sail Order

Mr. Bayley start off the email with the fact the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted the No Sail Order at the end of October, and replaced it with the Framework for Conditional Sailing.

"It’s a step in the right direction we can all appreciate – a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel."

Royal Caribbean is "poring over the details of the order" as the cruise line prepares for its next steps.

"While we all know there is still more work to be done, I’m still as confident as ever about our comeback."

Cancelled December 2020 cruises

While the cruise industry now has an avenue to cruises restarting, more work is needed, which is why Royal Caribbean had to cancel the remaining 2020 cruises through December 31.

"As eager as we are to welcome your smiling faces back on board, we are sticking to our promise to take things slow for your well-being, our crew and the communities we visit."

"I can imagine how disappointing this was to hear. If there’s one thing we’re all looking forward to doing, it’s spending time on board a ship with family, friends and your favorite crew members again. That day will soon come."

Quantum of the Seas will restart in Singapore first

Mr. Bayley highlighted the fact that Quantum of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to resume sailings when it sails from Singapore on December 1.

The three and four-night cruises are open only to residents of Singapore. 

"In anticipation of our startup in Singapore, we’re in the process of bringing back our crew members. Each of them take a series of steps before they can travel and join Quantum, including quarantine and COVID-19 testing. And for weeks now, they’ve been preparing by going through extensive training on the new protocols."

Crew members

Mr. Bayley almost always mentions the hard working crew members on their ships, and in this email he mentioned there are almost 3,000 crew members across the fleet helping keep cruise ships ready.

"There are close to 3,000 crew members currently on board who are keeping our fleet in ship shape for your return. The thousands of other crew in our family are home with their loved ones and feeling hopeful about the movement forward toward getting back to what they love to do."

Where are Royal Caribbean's ships now?

Mr. Bayley also included a list of where Royal Caribbean's ships are right now:

  • Ovation, Quantum, Radiance, Spectrum and Voyager in Asia
  • Empress and Majesty in Greece
  • Jewel, Explorer, Allure and Anthem in the UK
  • Other ships are around The Bahamas, Barbados and South Florida.

Odyssey of the Seas under construction in Germany.

"Her progress is fantastic, and we can’t wait to welcome her to the family next year in March."

Royal Caribbean CEO says pent-up demand still exists for cruises

In:
29 Oct 2020

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley spoke about demand the cruise line is seeing for cruises during a call with Wall Street analysts.

One question raised was if Royal Caribbean will have to wait for them to prove cruises can sail safely before substantial demand returns.

Mr. Bayley talked about the pent-up demand customers have, even before the cruise line is ready to restart.

Surprised by the level of demand

A great example of this demand comes from the newly added Quantum of the Seas cruises from Singapore, which will begin in December.

Despite the fact Quantum will offer cruises to no where, with no port stops at all, demand has been very strong.

"We were really quite surprised by the level of demand that came into the product of the winter season that we've got it open," Mr. Bayley shared during the call with investors.

"Within the first two weeks, we had literally the triple demand that we were expecting at rates above what we were expecting."

In addition to Singapore, Mr. Bayley said despite COVID increases in Europe, "there is demand in the marketplace and it's coming quite naturally."

A look at the American cruise market

Mr. Bayley also touched upon demand for cruises in the American cruise market, which he sees tied to how Americans feel about the nature of the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean is conducting a great deal of market research to get a sense of what consumers are thinking.

"About three or four months ago, most people believed that COVID would be kind of moving behind us by the end of 2020. Of course, that shifted now. And the belief from most consumers is that as you move through '21, COVID will move behind us with vaccine, therapeutics, etc."

"You very much see a correlation between what people are believing and how they're booking."

To that point, the data shows Royal Caribbean that people want to vacation again once things start to settle down.

"We kind of see that in the booking behavior out of the American market for our products through '21, with a particular emphasis on Summer 21, " Mr. Bayley described. "It feels and it looks as if customers are thinking this is going to be behind us and we're going to have a summer vacation."

Of course, the No Sail order looms large in the United States, and while a lifting of that prohibition would be helpful for bookings, Mr. Bayley believes ultimately consumers want to see cruises begin before booking in large numbers.

"I do believe that if there is a change in the No Sail order and a pathway is created for the safe return to cruising, there will be an uptick in demand. But I think people will naturally wait and see."

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