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Michael Bayley

Royal Caribbean CEO offers holiday message of hope to guests

In:
Category: 
23Dec2020

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:
Category: 
17Nov2020

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:
29Oct2020

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."

Royal Caribbean CEO part of task force to safe return of tourism to the Caribbean

In:
11Sep2020

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley revealed on Thursday he is the co-chair of a task force that is working on the safe return of cruising to the Caribbean.

At a meeting of the Miami-Dade County Tourism and the Ports Committee, Mr. Bayley spoke of the work everyone in Royal Caribbean is doing to get back to cruising, including this Caribbean island task force.

Made up of over 40 different Caribbean countries, the Americas Cruise Tourism Task Force is co-chaired with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley.

According to Ms. Mottley, the ultimate goal of this effort is to ensure that the Caribbean region can prepare to reopen the borders for cruise tourism in a safe way.

Mr. Bayley spoke of the task force's work as being in conjunction with the Royal Caribbean Healthy Sail Panel work to prepare a new set of guidelines and protocols for the cruise line to employ once it resumes service.

"We have been working over the past several months on the creation of a universal set of guidelines that dovetail and fit into the work that's being created by our panel, and ultimately our collective submission to the CDC."

Ms. Mottley spoke of the group's work in July, noting the need for a firm set of new guidelines to ensure cruise lines will want to return to the islands.

"... That allows those people within our community to be able to see economic activity again, from vendors, to taxi drivers, to tourism attractions, etc. But they will not benefit if the cruise ships are not coming in, and the cruise ships cannot come unless there are safe protocols that we are satisfied on and that they are too, as owners of companies are satisfied can work for us."

Part of the work Royal Caribbean has outlined in its Healthy Sail Panel work has been to coordinate its efforts with the ports they visit.

Earlier this summer, Mr. Bayley outlined the four major areas of work for the Healthy Sail Panel, with the ports of call being one the top priorities.

  • Upgraded screening prior to boarding
  • Enhanced processes on board
  • A special focus on addressing the destinations
  • Procedures for addressing any reports of exceptions

Other cruise lines that have restarted operations in Europe have instituted strict rules for guests who go on shore excursions, such as MSC Cruises requiring guests only go on cruise line approved tours.

Royal Caribbean CEO updates on resuming cruises, President's cruise, which ships will sail first and more

In:
Category: 
05Aug2020

Royal Caribbean International President & CEO Michael Bayley spoke to travel advisors on a webinar and spoke on a number of commonly asked topics surrounding the current situation and the cruise line's recovery.

Mr. Bayley spoke for an hour on a variety of questions that travel agents had submitted prior to the webinar related to the timing and plans to resume cruises.

The questions were all about the current situation Royal Caribbean is facing in the midst of no sailings and the global health crisis.

More time needed to develop new health policies

  

A few hours before the webinar, Royal Caribbean announced they had cancelled more cruises, extending their voluntary suspension of cruises through October 31, 2020.

Mr. Bayley indicated that Royal Caribbean is "actively engaged" in the Healthy Sail Panel working on a healthy return to service plan.

He then went on to say that the combination of the CDC requesting public feedback, along with the submission of Royal Caribbean's return to service plan is one of the reasons why there needed to be another month of cancelled cruises.

"We think it's going to take obviously some time for back and forth with with the CDC when they see the full detail of the plan, and they've received all of the public comment."

Which ships will start first

Another question raised was which ships might start up first, and it looks like Royal Caribbean is still looking at short sailings to begin the return to service.

"I think when we resume service, our thinking is that will probably we'll probably start with short product, Perfect Day, and that'll be the how we'll start phasing in operations."

In addition, Mr. Bayley said during an employee-only call, he is committed to the idea of starting with an employee-only sailing in order to test out the new protocols.

"I said that the first cruise that we will operate through, Royal Caribbean International, will be an all employee cruise, a little bit like a shakedown cruise, because then we can test and take a look at in real-life operations all of the protocols that we're putting into place. And so our first cruise is going to be an employee cruise."

Healthy return to service update

Ultimately, Royal Caribbean wants to ensure when they resume cruises, they do it the right way.

A lot of this is going to be about trust.

Mr. Bayley reiterated a notion conveyed by different Royal Caribbean executives that they want to start cruising again once it makes sense, and not just for the sake of starting up.

"We would never want to resume service unless we were incredibly confident that we could create an environment that was healthier and safer than the environment from which people were coming."

"I think that's really why we're being really thoughtful and taking our time on creating all of the protocols that we we hope we will introduce when they're ready to be introduced."

President's Cruise cancellation

Included in today's announcement that Royal Caribbean would cancel its sailings through October is the 2020 President's Cruise has also been cancelled.

Mr. Bayley lamented the fact there will not be a sailing this year, but did say he hopes to announce a new sailing for 2021.

"We haven't yet decided when we'll do the 2021 President's Cruise, but we certainly will do it."

"So we'll probably announce in the coming weeks when the next President's Cruise will be."

Crew repatriation is almost complete

Some good news is the fact that Royal Caribbean is nearly complete with repatriating crew home.

Mr. Bayley said Royal Caribbean is about 97-98% complete, with some crew facing "unbelievable restrictions".

"One of the positive things that's happened in the past few weeks was that the CDC approved our accruing No Sail order plans and converted many of the ships of Royal Caribbean international and Celebrity to what's called the green code, which means that for 28 days or longer, none of those ships have had any COVID on them whatsoever."

"That green code designation means that the the ability to use commercial air, which which makes logistics a lot simpler."

Impact of coronavirus outbreaks on other cruise lines starting again

The big cruise news this week has been smaller European cruise lines have attempted to restart cruising, but have already experienced COVID-19 outbreaks on their ships.  This has many questioning what impact it will have on Royal Caribbean's ability to restart sailings.

"It's unfortunate, I think also it just shows it shows what a complex challenge this is."

"It's also interesting that what hasn't been reported is that both TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd, which are larger cruise brands, have been operating now, I think, TUI has now done four cruises without any incident"

Despite the fact that smaller lines will operate in a different way than Royal Caribbean, it is provides a good learning experience to overcome these challenges.

"The last thing we want to do is to return to service and get it wrong. And I think and I think our customers and our travel partners really do expect to get it right. And that's our focus."

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

In:
Category: 
13May2020

Royal Caribbean International President & CEO Michael Bayley spoke to travel agents on a webinar on Wednesday and commented on a number of commonly asked questions surrounding the current situation and the cruise line's recovery.

Mr. Bayley answered a series of questions that travel agents had submitted prior to the webinar about a variety of concerns related to the timing and plans to resume cruises.

The questions were all about the current situation Royal Caribbean is facing in the midst of no sailings and the global health crisis.

When will Royal Caribbean cruises resume?

Naturally, the question everyone wants to know is when will Royal Caribbean start cruising again.

Mr. Bayley indicated internal research is showing guests are more interested in traveling again, and bookings improving, particularly for 2021. He believes people are getting fatigued with the quarantine and everything else going on, and people want to plan their vacations once this all ends.

"You need to be timing your return to service so it fits with how consumers are thinking about taking a vacation. We have some protocols that we need to really get right, and of course we need to be working with the CDC on all of these things."

"There's going to be a point in time in the future, I think, when all of these things cross and it'll be the perfect moment to announce that we'll be returning to service. I really don't know when that will be."

Mr. Bayley made a comparison to what is happening in China to what may happen in the United States and Europe. May signifies a major travel opportunity in China, and Royal Caribbean sent their team in China to visit Shanghai Disneyland to get a sense of what recovery looks like in a major tourism center in a country so hard hit. They saw a major bounce back with demand for tickets there, along with travel all around China.

Which ships will restart sailing first?

Another question posed was in what way will Royal Caribbean bring back its ships into service.

"It's pretty logical that when we restart our operations, when everything's good and when we've got everything figured out, that it will be the most popular products on the most popular itineraries with the best ships going to the best destinations."

"I would say the startup, depending upon the circumstances and timing, will be relatively gentle. It won't be a sudden, 'Wow, everything's operating.' I think we'll put our toe in the water and begin operations and make sure everything is perfect, and make sure the guests are having a wonderful time, and making sure we've got all of the protocols established."

"Probably the short product to Perfect Day will be among the first to start."

Private destinations role in recovery

Many travel advisors were curious what role private destinations, such as Perfect Day at CocoCay or Labadee, play in starting back up.

"The great thing about the destinations is we have a massive amount of control over who comes, who goes, all of the protocols. We can manage those destinations exceptionally well. I think the private destinations will be integral to the recovery."

What will onboard experience be like for guests when things resume?

Equally high on the list of concerns among guests and travel agents alike is what will it be like to be on a Royal Caribbean cruise, especially in the first few months cruises resume sailing.

"Of course it has to be fantastic, making sure that everybody is safe, both from a practical operational perspective, and also from a very optical perspective of making sure people understand that this is good, I don't need to worry about these concerns, I'm going to have a great vacation."

"I think when we're ready to announce all of the processes and protocols that we'll be introducing, I hope people will be excited and comforted by the way that we're approaching this."

In terms of the Windjammer buffet, Mr. Bayley did talk a little about what it may look like going forward.

"We've got teams working on every single element of the guest experience, and we obviously have a team working on the buffet. I think in the beginning, there will not be a buffet in the beginning, that's how I see it. It depends again upon the timing. We will utilize the space, we will utilize the Windjammer, but in all probability it won't be a classical buffet. It will be something more akin to a restaurant."

"I think the key focus on dining, for example, is making sure that our guests have plenty of choice. But now, that plenty of choice has to be put through the lens of distancing, and safety and health, etc. in a more acute way. I think there will be changes for sure, and I think the word 'buffet' will diminish and we'll replace it with a new concept."

Will the delivery of Odyssey of the Seas be delayed?

Last week it was disclosed that new ship deliveries will be delayed, and that lead to a question about if Odyssey of the Seas will be on time or not.

"We are working on that with the yard. Everything was on schedule. There have been delays because of obviously there has a lot going on around the world, and it impacted the shipyard at the same time. Our newbuild organization is deep in project discussion now with the yard itself. We don't have any definite dates yet. I would hope in the coming weeks we will have something firmed up."

"I think there may be some delays, but we're working through it as a team to try and figure that out."

What Royal Caribbean is doing to repatriate crew members

At one point, Mr. Bayley interrupted the question and answer session to bring up a point he wanted to raise concerning the work Royal Caribbean is doing to repatriate its crew members, as well as dispel inaccurate media reports on those efforts.

Mr. Bayley characterized getting crew members home as, "genuinely a massive challenge," due to being caught in the middle of different laws and restrictions related to quarantine rules.

"We've been getting those crew home over the past two months, and we've managed to get over 10,000 crew home and we've got about another 20,000 crew going home in the coming weeks."

Related to those efforts, Mr. Bayley commented on news reports that painted a different picture than what the cruise line was conducting.

"There were some media reports that quite honestly we're one-sided and really unfair," Mr Bayley stated.  "I can assure everybody that we are passionate about our crew. We love our crew. We are doing everything in our power to take care for them, and to make sure that they get home to their families. By the way, over a thousand crew decided they just simply wanted to stay on our ships because they didn't feel safe going home."

"We're doing everything we can to take care of our crew and get them home. The crew are pleased with what we're doing, they're thankful, they're understanding."

What will happen to the President's Cruise this year?

One travel agent wanted to know what the outlook was for this year's President's Cruise in Europe and if it will occur.

Mr. Bayley responded, "I'm feeling pretty bullish that I'm going to be on that President's cruise, and I'm really looking forward to it."

Will there be a shift back to smaller ships?

Another question brought up was if the current health crisis will lead Royal Caribbean to shift back to smaller ships instead of larger ones.

"Through the lens of COVID-19, it's really about density and space. I think people may assume because there's less people on a smaller ship, that makes it better, but that's really not correct. A larger ship has a lot more space."

What questions would you ask Michael Bayley? Share your top concerns in the comments!

Royal Caribbean executives take pay cut as coronavirus impact on cruise industry deepens

In:
01Apr2020

According to paperwork filed with the SEC, Royal Caribbean's top executives are taking a pay cut while the cruise industry deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has volunteered to not take a salary through the end of September, while Royal Caribeban International CEO Michael Bayley took a 25% pay cut.

Other executives taking a 25% pay cut include CFO Jason Liberty, and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO of Celebrity Cruises.

Effective as of April 1, 2020, Richard Fain, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, agreed to forego payment of his base salary and Jason Liberty, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, each elected to reduce their respective base salaries by 25%, in each case, through September 30, 2020. These reductions were made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative financial and operational impacts resulting therefrom.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative financial and operational impacts resulting therefrom, the Board of Directors approved to forego all cash retainers and fees payable for Board and committee service, effective from April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

COVID-19 has completely disrupted the cruise industry, with Royal Caribbean in the midst of cancelling all sailings through at least mid-May.

Royal Caribbean CEO teases Odyssey of the Seas

In:
24Oct2019

Royal Caribbean International's President and CEO Michael Bayley seems very excited about its next new cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas, because he recently talked about some big things coming with this ship.

According to trade publication Travel Market Report, Bayley spoke to a number of travel agents about Odyssey of the Seas and the impact it will have on the industry.

"We’re not going to talk about it yet, but it will be a game changer with a lot of brand-new ideas, just as Oasis class was a real game changer. We’ve got a huge amount of innovation and new stuff coming online in the next couple of years that’s going to change the game.”

"We’re working on something super-special for Odyssey. We were in a meeting yesterday and I’m very excited about what we will be announcing, a twist we will be very pleased to announce."

Mr. Bayley also mentioned Odyssey of the Seas will be sailing out of Rome into the Eastern Mediterranean. Following the ship's inaugural season out of Port Everglades, Odyssey will sail back to Rome in the spring for seven- and nine-night sailings in summer 2021 and then return to Fort Lauderdale.

Odyssey of the Seas will also re-focus on its kids programming with new features for children. The ship will feature an area known as The Play Place and include:

  • Climbable creations
  • Art and science projects workshop
  • Tech studio
  • "The Arena" for competitive sports and games
  • The Hangout with video games
  • Revamped Adventure Ocean babies program, with lots of interactive and learning play and music
  • Adventure Ocean Junior space (for 3-5 year olds)

Senior VP of Sales, Trade Support and Service Vicki Freed talked about a significant change to the teens area on Odyssey.  The teen club will feature a secret Speakeasy entrance. “It won’t have a sign; it will be a secret place,” Freed said. “To get in, you have to know where it is.” Teens also will have a private outdoor deck and a new arcade lounge with arcade games teenaged guests have suggested.

Royal Caribbean CEO predicts 50% increase in Caribbean passengers

In:
Category: 
21Oct2019

Speaking at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) outlook forum, Royal Caribbean's President and CEO, Michael Bayley, predicted that its Caribbean cruise tourism business will grow by 50 percent by 2030.

Mr. Bayley sees continuing growth in the Caribbean, with 8 out of the top 10 cruise destinations worldwide are in the Caribbean, and that more cruise passengers will be coming to the Caribbean in the future.

“The Caribbean was, is, will always be, the number one cruise destination in the world,” Bayley told the gathering of ministers, chief executives, policymakers and other senior Caribbean tourism professionals at the gathering in Antigua and Barbuda.

 

“There are considerations that we need to take into account in terms of some of the destinations’ ability to absorb the growth that is coming – in some places the growth is perhaps already at a critical mass – but we need to find a way to accommodate the growth that is inevitably coming to cruise tourism in the Caribbean,” he stressed.

Bayley touted the success of Perfect Day at CocoCay, citing it as an example of collaboration that benefits both the destination and the cruise line.

“There is a lot of demand for these products and if we can figure out how to collaborate together to create these experiences, they don’t always have to have this shape and form, they can be other types of experiences”.

 

“As we evolve in terms of our ship design and experiences and what we are creating for our customers we really believe there is a huge opportunity to take all that knowledge…and transfer it into the destinations in a very meaningful way,” he added.

Royal Caribbean CEO talks tech and Icon Class

In:
25Jan2019

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley spoke to TTG about a variety of topics related to the future of Royal Caribbean, and touched upon a few topics that revealed a few hints of what is to come.

When questions about the features and innovations of sister cruise brand Celebrity Cruises, Michael Bayley confirmed that the cruise line is looking at bringing the Infinite Veranda idea over to Royal Caribbean, “Edge has a lot of innovation. We need time to assess what works well and what doesn’t but we will take on some elements and put them on the new class of ship – Icon class and potentially Oasis 5."

Bayley's comments follow up on guest surveys from last year that showed off a possible Infinite Veranda for Royal Caribbean.

Mr. Bayley also commented on the status of the cruise line's new smart phone app, saying the new tech rollout will be available on around 12 ships by the end of year and the rest by "early 2020". He added, “We’re looking at facial recognition and notifications based on the profile of the passenger.”

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