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Phuket port wants to expand port to accommodate Royal Caribbean ships


The head of the Phuket, Thailand Marine Department Office is trying to kick-start stalled negotiations to expand the port to allow larger cruise ships to dock there.  Represenatives from Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises met with Thai officials on July 12 to discuss the problems encountered by large ships using their port.

Located at Cape Panwa, the deep sea port has long been criticized as too small to accommodate large vessels, both cargo and passenger, for docking.

According to Marine Department Region 5 chief Phuripat Theerakulpisuk, Royal Caribbean wants to see the government become more involved in lengthening the wharf and dredge the seabed.

Chief Phuripat cited one example of a Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, measuring 312 meters long and 38m wide, that is forced to moor about four kilometers from the wharf and ferry its passengers ashore on smaller vessels.

Chief Phuripat commented on the need, "“It’s uncomfortable for passengers. Royal Caribbean Cruises has come to Phuket three times – once in May and twice in June, bringing 6,000 passengers each time. I truly believe if the port were improved, there would be a lot more ships from across the world arriving on Phuket.”

Royal Caribbean to complete designs for new Batumi port in September


The port of Batumi in the Republic of Georgia will see 14 cruise ships visit it this year, with 8 confirmed and the other 6 in the negotiations.  All the cruises will visit the brand new cruise terminal that Royal Caribbean has been designing.

The Deputy  Head of the Department of Tourism and Resorts of Adjara A.R, Sophio Lazishvili, commented on the work, "“In September 2012 the cruise company Royal Caribbean will complete the design works for the new port. Actual construction will begin in October 2012."

The new cruise terminal has hopes it will draw more cruise ships to the port.  Representatives of travel agencies say they do not offer cruises to Georgians because of the sheer lack of demand.

Royal Caribbean struck a deal with the port of Batumi back in June of 2011 to help develop the port for cruise ship traffic.

Royal Caribbean shows possible interest in Almuñécar, Spain


Royal Caribbean representatives along with representatives from Norwegian Cruise Line met with port officials from Almuñécar, Spain as a possibility for shore excursions on future cruises.

The port cities of Motril and Malaga, Spain were also on hand as these cities were looking for ways to bring back Royal Caribbean after they announced the company would cease port calls to Malaga next year.  

This visit is part of the campaign to promote the Port of Motril as a destination for cruise ships where other cruise lines are already operating with some regularity.

The visit began with a welcome by the Municipal Tourism Coordinator, Rafael Caballero, at the headquarters of the Tourist Board of Almuñecar. In addition to delivering information about the town municipality, Caballero informed the group of the availability of a guided service to show some of the most prominent monuments and archaeological sites.

For municipal representative, Rafael Caballero, the visit of two large cruise line representatives "is very important to Almuñécar so can be assumed in the projection of our community be included in brochures and possible destination of tourists arriving to the port as we have had the opportunity to meet, "he said.

Royal Caribbean to stop in Guadeloupe


Royal Caribbean passengers can for at least this winter, enjoy a cruise to Guadeloupe aboard the Brilliance of the Seas. The ship will offer departures from November 14, 2012 to April 3, 2013.

The ship will carry passengers every Wednesday to Pointe-à-Pitre for cruises of one week with two alternate routes: Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia, sea day, San Juan, Tortola, St. Martin, St. Kitts and return to Guadeloupe; Guadeloupe, Barbados, sea day, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John's and back to Guadeloupe.

Voyager of the Seas to dock in Keelung, Taiwain in August


Royal Caribbean will send Voyager of the Seas to dock in Keelung, Taiwan as part of its Asian itinerary in late August.

Lin Kai-ti, chairman of Royal Caribbean's Taiwan branch confined that Voyager of the Seas will bring its 3,800 passengers to the port later this year.

Voyager of the Seas has already been to Singapore in May and will make stop in Keelung across three cruises going from August through September. In addition to Keelung, the liner will take travelers to China's Shanghai and Tianjin, Japan's Fukuoka, and Jeju Island in South Korea.

Antigua excited for better 2013 cruise season


The island of Antigua is promising a better cruise season in 2013 thanks in part to Royal Caribbean bringing back ships during summer.  Jewel of the Seas will visit three times a month during the summer period from May to October 2013 and will remain for the 2013-2014 winter season.

Jewel of the Seas is planning to make 29 stops at the island, which translates to 72,500 passengers in 2013.  Jewel of the Seas replaces Serenade of the Seas.

Chief Executive Officer of Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James mentioned Royal Caribbean's return was thanks in part due to ongoing "lobbying efforts" by the island. A delegation involving the Antiguan Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture met with Royal Caribbean in recent weeks.

“I think this is excellent news for the destination because in the summer months things really dry up and it makes it very difficult for the key tourism partners on island to sustain their business during the summer month. It is good news for our destination and we are really pleased that the lobbying effort has borne fruit."

Royal Caribbean sending more ships to U.S. Virgin Islands


The U.S. Virgin Islands is excited to welcome two additional Royal Caribbean ships to its islands after Royal Caribbean announced its new Caribbean itineraries in 2013-2014.

Jewel of the Seas will visit St. Thomas while Adventure of the Seas will stop at St. Thomas and St. Croix, which is in addition to the other Royal Caribbean ships that had been visiting the islands.

USVI Governor Jogn de Jongh, Jr. commented on Royal Caribbean's new deployment plans and the importance of St. Croix as a destination, "The Virgin Islands has a wonderful relationship with Royal Caribbean, and that is reflected in the cruise line's newest itineraries, which frequently call on the territory's ports."

The change marks the cruise line's largest deployment ever in the region.

Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will continue to alternate seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries with stops in St. Thomas, while Freedom of the Seas' Eastern Caribbean itinerary lists calls on St. Thomas.

New Singapore cruise terminal ready for the biggest ships


The Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore is a brand new cruise terminal in Singapore that looks to draw in the largest cruise ships in the world, including Royal Caribbean's fleet.

The $395 million terminal will welcome Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas on Saturday, which will be the largest ship of its kind to dock in Singapore.   Voyager of the Seas is just the beginning, because the cruise terminal operator want to attract even larger ships.

SATS-Creuers Cruise Services commented on the plans the terminal has in a statement, "pave the way for the newer generation of larger cruise liners to dock in Singapore and Asia, including Oasis-Class ships."

Serenade of the Seas coming to Abu Dhabi in 2013


Cruise tourism in Abu Dhabi is going to get a bump when Royal Caribbean sends its recently revamped Serenade of the Seas to the middle eastern city in 2012-2013.  Serenade of the Seas replaces Brilliance of the Seas  and will mark the first time Serenade of the Seas has served the Middle East market.

Serenade of the Seas will make 17 stops in the UAE capital starting in January 2013.

Royal Caribbean Regional Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Helen Beck, commented on the news, "The resilience of the Middle East market is very encouraging. Bringing a new-look Serenade of the Seas to the region is testament to that belief. She will undergo a complete renovation and will boast a number of new food and beverage outlets and attractions that haven’t been seen here. It will certainly up the game for the regional industry."