Royal Caribbean ends its longest season in Persian Gulf


Royal Caribbean wrapped up its third and most successful cruise season in the Persian Gulf with nearly all sailings fully booked.

Royal Caribbean Regional Director International Representatives of Europe, Middle East and Africa, commented on the good season, "We are very happy to see the success of Brilliance of the Seas sailing in the region. The sailings attracted large numbers of group bookings from Northern Europe, Russia, South Africa and China. With nearly every sailing fully booked we are proud that we brought around 40,000 guests to the region supporting tourism in the ports of calls."

One change that has occurred during the season was improving the safety of Royal Caribbean's ships. Ali Al Daboos - Executive Director of Operations for Dubai Maritime City Authority spoke about what Royal Caribbean has done, "On Brilliance of the Seas, we observed best management practices. For example, guests are immediately informed to proceed to the emergency areas and not back to their cabins. Children who are part of the children care programme receive colored bands immediately so that staff know to which area to bring them to in case of an emergency, while staff wear bright reflective vests and hats so that they can easily be found if someone needs assistance etc. We were very impressed by the professionalism and how safety and security was handled by the captain and staff of Brilliance of the Seas."

Royal Caribbean incorporates intelligent systems on Oasis of the Seas


Royal Caribbean chose Agilysys, Inc to develop intelligent point of sales systems for its ships back in December 2010 and today we've seen the fruit of their labors.

Agilysys has developed systems based intelligent Microsoft Windows Embedded solutions, in order to streamline the flow of information collected on Oasis of the Seas and optimize the quality of passenger services (catering, maintenance, points sales / services). 

About 325 Point of Sales (POS) terminals by EverServ 6000 and 50 tablets were deployed on Oasis of the Seas, allowing personnel to collect, centralize and share all the information collected on passengers to be more attentive to their requests. The collection of such information flow is crucial to ensure such quality of food on board (temperature of the dishes in the many dining rooms), to optimize the travel time for passengers on board, put in place of personalized promotions and mobile payment methods, etc.

Royal Caribbean wins Cruise Line Brand of the Year award


The 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study named Royal Caribbean the Cruise Line Brand of the Year by Harris Interactive, which measures corporate reputation and brand health.

Contributing to Royal Caribbean moving to the top of the list this year were a number of cruise incidents.

Also earning above average scores in brand equity are Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, which round out the top three in the category. Most notably, Celebrity Cruises posted a significantly better brand equity score this year, perhaps driven by an uptick in quality, but more so by a stronger intention to use the cruise line than compared to the previous year.

"Consumers are savvy, and before they buy, want to feel 'linked and connected' to the brands they're purchasing," according to Joan Sinopoli, Senior Vice President of the Brand and Communications Consulting group at Harris interactive. "And, although services may be similar, preferred brands more than often exceed a customer's expectations, making them more than likely to recommend to others."

Royal Caribbean believes impact of Costa Concordia is normalizing


Royal Caribbean's Director General of Italy, John Rotondo, spoke at a press conference in Genoa, Italy and commented that the impact on bookings from the recent Costa Concordia disaster seems to be lessening these days.

''The incident in Costa Concordia has had a major impact on the cruise market. But now the situation is normalizing. As of today, the levels of absolute satisfaction are booked.''

Rotondo commented further on how Royal Caribbean was helping convince the public to cruise again with lower prices, "To convince the customer, it required a lot of pressure on prices. The economic crisis, the large amount of supply capacity and the occurrence of Costa Concordia are the three elements that have emphasized the pressure on prices.'' 

Rotondo said in comparisson to 2011, Royal Caribbean has doubled the number of Italians onboard its ships.  Royal Caribbean's ships operating in Italy are Voyager class, with Italian passengers representing 35% of the 3,600 passengers each ship can hold.  The other two thirds are American, Canadian, British, Germans and citizens of Northern Europe.

Royal Caribbean unveils Explorer of the Seas 2013 schedule


Royal Caribbean has announced the summer and fall 2013 itineraries for Explorer of the Seas.  During both seasons, Explorer of the Seas will undertake 30 cruises to 17 different ports of call based on 7 itineraries.

From April to October 2013, Explorer of the Seas will sail out of New York City to Bermuda, the Caribbean, Canada and New England.

Explorer will remained in her home port of Cape Liberty, New Jersey. 

From April through August 2012, Explorer of the Seas will alternate five-night Bermuda and nine-night Bermuda & Caribbean itineraries. The five-night itinerary will feature an overnight at Kings Wharf, Bermuda, while the nine-night sailing calls at Kings Wharf; St. Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private destination on the north coast of Haiti. From September through October, vacationers can choose a seven-night Bermuda itinerary, which features three days and two nights at Kings Wharf.

Explorer of the Seas will also offer vacationers a Canada and New England sailing to catch the arrival of autumn and the changing of the leaves. Departing Aug. 31, guests will call at Boston, Mass.; Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Royal Caribbean plans to expand service to Taiwan


Royal Caribbean indicated on Tuesday that it plans to expand its service in the Asia-Pacific region by introducing a 140,000 ton ship to its Asian routes in August.

The new ship will offer cruies between Keelung and Shanghai as well as other destinations in Japan and South Korea.

At Royal Caribbean's Taipei office, the cruise line said its desire to sail out of Keelung is a sign of the company's desire to establish itself in the Asian cruise market.  In addition, Royal Caribbean is also considering making Keelung its home port in the Asia region.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescues Cuban refugees


Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas rescued 23 Cuban refugees during a cruise last week near Jamaica.

The Cubans were originally from the Manzanillo and Bayamo areas and were trying to reach Honduras but had been traveling in their makeshift boat for three weeks.  The group was spotted with binoculars the approximately 14ft boat bobbing four miles away.

Crew aboard Oasis of the Seas donated clothing to the people before they were turned over to Mexican immigration officials.

19 men and four women were brought on board the Oasis and kept in the conference room on the third deck until the ship docked in Cozumel, Mexico on Thursday.

Royal Caribbean releases plans for 2013 European cruises


Royal Caribbean has outlined its plans for cruises to Europe in 2013 and it will include sending Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas, among other ships, to Europe for the season.

Royal Caribbean calls for stopping in 30 ports and features 121 sailings over 25 itineraries.

Royal Caribbean had previously announced Independence of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas were being deployed to Southampton, England, and now there are more ships that will be sent as well. Royal Caribbean plans to have these five ships ready for bookings with additional deployments in the region that will be announced later this month.

Royal Caribbean vice president Dominic Paul commented on the plans, "Royal Caribbean International is the perfect choice for couples and families to experience and share all the wonders, flavours and colours of Europe. Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and Serenade of the Seas already offer holidaymakers so many things that other operators do not, such as the DreamWorks Experience onboard Liberty of the Seas, or a real ice-skating rink featuring breath-taking shows onboard Navigator of the Seas and even self-levelling pool tables onboard Serenade of the Seas."

Ann S. Moore nominated for election to Royal Caribbean board of directors


Royal Caribbean announced today that it has nominated Ann S. Moore, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Time Inc, to its board of directors.  The election will be held at the Company's Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 31, 2012.

If elected, Ms. Moore will serve for a three-year term, and the Board will expand from 11 to 12 members.

Royal Caribbean launches new Cupcakes & Scoops cookbook


Royal Caribbean's Cupcake Cupboard restaurant that is found on many of its ships has inspired a new cookbook that the cruise line has launched all about cupcake recipes as well as ice cream flavors.

"Cupcakes & Scoops" features recipes for $34.95 and can be purchased aboard Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas as well as online.

Included with the book is 1 apron, 1 piping bag, 3 piping tips, 25 regular cupcake liners, 25 mini cupcake liners and 12 decorative picks.

Royal Caribbean has also indicated that a $1 donation from each book sold will be benefit the cruise line’s charitable partner Make-A-Wish Foundation.