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Fall and winter cruise season in Miami not what it used to be with Royal Caribbean


With the busy fall and winter cruise seasons approaching, Miami, Florida is typically a hub of cruise line activity but this year Royal Caribbean's global plans have left Miami with less ships than it's used to.

Royal Caribbean has 11 ships in Europe this summer but only two will be sailing out of South Florida this winter and both are in Port Everglades.  Instead of mooring in Miami, Royal Caribbean is basing them out of pots such as Baltimore, Port Canaveral, Tampa, San Juan, Dubai and Brazil. And Royal Caribbean’s two ships based in Alaska during the summer are going to Australia for the winter, not Miami.

So what's left in Miami this winter?  Just one ship will be sailing out Miami and that's Majesty of the Seas, which is offering three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas.

Falmouth, Jamaica Photo Update


On our cruise to Falmouth, Jamaica last week, we took some time to take some photos of the port area to give you an idea of what the construction progress is like.  To be honest, we found the port a lot further along than we had read about.  

Alicante, Spain busy with Royal Caribbean cruises this week


The Port of Alicante, Spain this week has received more than four thousand tourists arriving on board the biggest cruise ship that sailed the Mediterranean Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Independence of the Seas arrived at 8 am and departed at 4.30pm on Monday.

After just a few hours there were no shortage of visitors to Santa Barbara Castle and the Old City. According to the cruise line, these are along with the beach, are the great attractions of Alicante. Some charms, together with the short time of docking, the majority opted to stay in the passage in the city.  

The activity around a cruise begins early to use the time in port at 8.30am, where cruise ships dock, was already a hive. Nine buses, three of them bound for Benidorm for being the most requested tour and the rest to other parts of the province as Novelda, Elche, Guadalest and the Fuentes del Algar, waiting for the tourists to drop ship. Royal Caribbean explained that prices of the tours range from 19 euros it costs to transfer by bus to Benidorm to 35 or 45 euros for those who leave the other tours. 

"We've never been to Benidorm, but we hear it's beautiful," said Jean and Ray, a married Australian who traveled to the English port of Southampton to climb aboard this floating hotel.  

But "most people will visit for free the city and especially to the beach," said Coralia Leopea, responsible for Royal Caribbean's excursions. Hence the line of tourists can be seen walking along the pier throughout the day and the constant trips that a shuttle bus between the boat and access to the port to avoid the long ride cruisers without shade. 

Port Canaveral's new cruise terminal will be able to handle Oasis class ships


Port Canaveral, Florida is celebrating the start of construction of a new cruise terminal with a scheduled completion date of July 2012.  The new terminal should be large enough to handle any cruise ship in the world, including Royal Caribbean's behemoth Genesis class ships such as Oasis and Allure of the Seas.

Port Canaveral Port Authority Chief Executive Officer J. Stanley Payne says the new Terminal 6 dock will be large enough to accommodate "the absolute largest cruise ships in the world," including Royal Caribbean's 6,200-passenger, Genesis-class ships.

Currently Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas is home ported in Port Canaveral, which was the largest passenger ship ever built (by gross tonnage) from 2006 until construction of Oasis of the Seas, so large ships are something Port Canaveral can handle.

Royal Caribbean worried Australia's cruise ports could reach capacity by 2013


Royal Caribbean is planning on sending more ships to Australia, but the company has concerns that the Australian ports could become overwhelmed by demand in the very near future.

Royal Caribbean feels that if a new terminal in Sydney, Australia isn't built soon, the port will reach capacity in 2013.  Australia is enjoying increasing demand and the market for cruises is expanding so quickly that the facilities in place today will not be able to keep up with the increasing number of large cruise ships entering Sydney harbor.

Royal Caribbean's Australian managing director Gavin Smith released a statement that covers the growing concern, "We have a good situation that needs attention before becoming a problem."

Royal Caribbean wants the New South Wales government to reconsider the $60 million allocated by the previous Labor government to build a new terminal in White Bay, in Sydney's inner west.

Smith continued, "Our view is $60 million is a considerable amount of money to invest in a permanent terminal west of the Harbour Bridge that most ships calling into Sydney in the future won't be able to use.  It would be more prudent and viable to redeploy a large part of the funding towards a terminal (east of the bridge) the whole industry can use"

Royal Caribbean has a good reason to be concerned, given their announcement that they will quadruple the amount of guests they will handle over the next few cruise seasons.

Independence of the Seas will stop in Galicia, Spain next month


Officials of the Port Authority Ferrol-San Cibrao have confirmed that, as initially announced, Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas will return to the city of Galicia  on September 26 after docking for the first time on April 25.

The arrival of Independence of the Seas will, as happened in the time before a flood of tourists in just a few hours. This giant cruise ship usually bring more than 4,000 passengers on board, in addition to the compliment of crew members that can also descend upon the city

The September 26th is a Monday, so travelers will find all the retail and hospitality of the city open, which will make their shopping more comfortably than the previous occasion, which fell on a holiday.  This will also be an opportunity to give the tourists a good idea of what the city is really like. 

Cruise passenger traffic up at Port Everglades 2.4%


Port Everglades, home to Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, saw its cruise passenger numbers jump 2.4% up in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.

Port Everglades Director Phil Allen is happy about the results, “These trends show the resilience of the nation’s cruise market and the importance of the cruise industry to South Florida.  In a tough economy, cruising offers guests affordable vacationing options."

Jamaica Labor Party blasts Falmouth for slow development


Senator Dennis Meadows of Jamaica's Labor Party lashed out over the lack of development in Falmouth, Jamaica since the port opened to cruises in February 2011.  Falmouth's cruise port is a $7.5 billion endeavor that is a partnership between Jamaica and Royal Caribbean.

"The apparent abandonment of the town since the opening of the cruise ship pier demonstrates the perceived lack of commitment on the part of various government agencies in sustaining the focus on the development of Falmouth."

According to Meadows, businesses in Falmouth have experienced up to a 50 percent fall-off in their revenues since the implementation of the traffic management system in February.

When Falmouth was being planned, there were several projects that were to be included in the finished product including an artisan village, municipal market, and a transport center.

Meadows went on to claim that the people of Falmouth were feeling a sense of abandonment and urged the government agencies in the area to make plans to finish development of the area.

"There is a pervasive sense that the people are subjects of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines which seem to be the primary focus and the sole beneficiary of the development that has so far taken place, and this is unsustainable."

Dubai becoming a cruise line boom


Dubai has only been a cruise destination since the opening of its cruise terminal in July 2010 but already it's popularity continues to grow.

Royal Caribbean's General Manager for the UK and Ireland, Jo Rzymowska, sees the growth potential for cruises in and out of Dubai, "Dubai is really starting to boom on the cruising map - more than 325,000 people passed through the Cruise Terminal in 2010 and this is set to increase in 2011.”

Royal Caribbean should know exactly how well Dubai has been performing considering it's one of two cruise lines to home-port a ship in the Middle Eastern city.  

Dubai has been popular with Europeans, especially those in the UK, “Brilliance of the Seas is returning to Dubai in November 2011, two months earlier than her season in 2010, due to a really successful response to the Middle East cruises from UK travellers.”

Busan sees money in Legend of the Seas cruise stops


Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas makes stops in Busan, South Korea and that has meant a lot of money for the city. How much money?  Well, of the 1,800 passengers onboard the ship, all but 250 were foreign tourists and each foreign tourist represents on average $140 to $180.  That comes out to an economic impact for each ship stop of about $267,000.

Lee Gap-jun, head of Busan’s culture and tourism department talks about the value of cruise passengers, "According to research from the Korea Maritime Institute, the added value of one cruise ship passenger is equivalent to that of exporting one container box.  If there’s a constant increase in cruise ships entering the port of Busan, it will translate into economic growth for the city of Busan.”

Thanks to Busan's success, other South Korean cities are competing now to attract ships like Legend of the Seas, including Incheon, Jeju and Yeosu.