Royal Caribbean announced plans for a massive expansion to its private islands, as well as fleet modernization effort.
Leading the big news is the announcement of a $200 million transformation of Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay in the Bahamas.
CocoCay will be the first in the cruise line's most ambitious project yet, which they are dubbing the Perfect Day Island Collection. This will be a series of unrivaled and exclusive private island destinations around the world.
Perfect Day at CocoCay is aimed at offering "the ultimate family destination in the Caribbean."
Thrill Waterpark, featuring two brag-worthy water towers with 13 slides – the most slides found in any waterpark in the Caribbean – will include the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America. In addition, the waterpark will feature the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.
Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool, with a swim-up bar and in-pool loungers.
A 1,600-foot zip line that crisscrosses the island at up to 50 feet high and features the only water landing in the Caribbean.
A helium balloon, dubbed Up, Up and Away, floats up to 450 feet above the ground providing for the highest vantage point in The Bahamas.
Two specially designed beaches – Chill Island for the ultimate beach escape, complete with pristine, crystal-clear tropical waters and white powder-like sand – and plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation; and the action-packed South Beach with volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball.
The exclusive Coco Beach Club, will offer an upscale island experience that will feature the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas.
The island transformation will roll out in phases beginning September 2018 with the completion of a new pier, and by spring 2019 the majority of the island’s experiences will be open. Coco Beach Club, the final phase, is set to open November 2019.
Additional Perfect Day Island Collection destinations in Asia, Australia and the Caribbean will be announced at a later date.
Royal Caribbean also announced it will invest $900 million to reimagining its fleet through a new modernization effort called Royal Amplified.
Royal Amplified will cover 10 ships over four years, and Royal Caribbean promises the program will touch every facet of the guest experience, and introduce a wide range of innovative features and bold, new experiences, including specialized pool spaces, experiential dining and nightlife concepts, and first-of-its-kind attractions.
Royal Amplified will include the Oasis, Freedom and Voyager class ships.
Independence of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to receive updates under the Royal Amplified program. Mariner of the Seas will receive her upgrades in time for this summer. The program will continue in 2019 on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, which also will be redesigned to specifically cater to those who seek a quick getaway.
Oasis of the Seas will be completely reimagined in fall 2019, ten years after her revolutionary debut. The ship will gain new thrills, pools, bars and culinary creations, as well as introduce new restaurants and onboard adventures found on the newest Oasis Class ship, Symphony of the Seas. These enhancements will cascade to Allure of the Seas in spring 2020, making every ship in the class more adventurous than ever.
Freedom of the Seas will be up next, debuting new features in 2020, followed by Liberty of the Seas in 2021.
In developing Royal Amplified, the global cruise line analyzed multiple years of guest satisfaction ratings, venue utilization data and crew interviews to focus the major investment on key features and experiences that matter most to travelers.
Full details on each ship’s new amenities will be revealed on a continuous basis in the next three years.
Royal Caribbean announced to travel partners that Adventure of the Seas will undergo a 30-day refurbishment to add new features and updates and complete work that was delayed last year.
Adventure of the Seas dry-dock will begin on January 31, 2018 and will include the addition of specialty restaurant Izumi Japanese Cuisine, new inside and oceanview staterooms and a Suite Lounge.
In order to accommodate the dry-dock, Royal Caribbean canceled the January 13, 2018 through February 10, 2018 sailings. Guests booked onboard for the affected sailings will need to be reaccommodated. As a gesture of good will, Royal Caribbean will be offering the following compensation package.
Guests will receive $200 onboard credit per standard stateroom, $400 onboard credit for suites (category JS and above) when rebooking any Royal Caribbean sailing.
Guests who incur a fee due to the change in their airline reservations will be reimbursed up to $200 per person, for Domestic Flights & $300 per person, for International Flights.
Guests may re-book on the select sailings below, in like accommodations, at the protected/lowest available cruise fare or any other Royal Caribbean sailing at prevailing rate. Price protection is limited to the cruise fare only. Taxes, fees, gratuities and other non-cruise fare items are subject to prevailing rates regardless of the sailing chosen.
In 2016, Royal Caribbean will revitalize six ships in its fleet: Liberty of the Seas, Empress of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, and Radiance of the Seas. The massive project will introduce some of the many innovations the cruise line is known for. Take a look at how these ships are transformed bringing the best of Royal Caribbean onboard.
At a media event in New York City last night, Royal Caribbean mentioned Jewel of the Seas will have a revitalization in April 2016.
No word yet as to what the revitalization will entail, but TravelPulse reports the new features will be announced, "early next month."
Jewel of the Seas is one of the last ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet to not have had a revitalization yet as part of the fleet-wide effort to bring features and onboard amenities from the Oasis class to the rest of the ships.
One change that is very likely to happen is the removal of the Seaview Cafe, based on the fact all the other Radiance class ships have had their Seaview Cafes replaced with a new specialty restaurant when they had a revitalization.
UPDATE: We originall reported the date of Jewel of the Seas' refurbishment being in April 2017 but that was in error. It will be occuring in April 2016. We apologize for the error.
Royal Caribbean reported third quarter financial results today and the big "star" of the results was the onboard spending, with a 7% increase overall. So what is Royal Caribbean's secret? They think it's all about the revitalization program.
During the financial results conference call, Royal Caribbean Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty pointed to a few key factors that are part of the fleet-wide renovations to why the company is seeing better guest spending onboard their ships.
Unlimited alcohol packages
"We benefited from new onboard venues introduced as a result of our revitalizations, and we saw further strength in spending from our U.S. customers, which helped generate improvement in gaming, beverage, specialty dining and shore excursions," Liberty said during the conference call.
Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein elaborated on how the company is looking to get more onboard spending, "So as I believe we mentioned earlier, gaming, beverage, shore excursions, retail and also some of the smaller revenue streams, internet has been doing well for us, which we wanted to see because we made a significant investment in, I think, 7 or 8x more bandwidth to the ships this year, and that seems to be paying off. So a number of the investments that we have already made, we would expect to continue to pay dividends and revenue growth into 2014 and beyond. And we continue to look under every stone for onboard revenue opportunities that don't conflict with the satisfaction of the product offering."
Basically, guests are spending more money in all these aspects and most of these venues are areas of the cruise ships that get upgraded or added as part of the revitalization program.
When each ship is refurbished, more restaurants are added and wifi is spread out to more areas across the ship. Add to that the new drink packages and Royal Caribbean is offering its guests more opportunities to spend money.
During Royal Caribbean's third quarter financial results conference call, Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein mentioned that as part of the fleet-wide revitalization program, all Voyager class ships will recieve 75 new staterooms.
Voyager class ships are the next batch of Royal Caribbean's ships to get the upgrades that will roll out many new ammenities and upgrades, first seen on the Oasis class. These new staterooms, however, are a departure from other ship upgrades and unique to the Voyager class.
The order of upgrades is currently scheduled as follows
Navigator of the Seas: February 2014
Adventure of the Seas: April 2014
Voyager of the Seas: May 2014
Explorer of the Seas: February 2015
Mariner of the Seas received her upgrade back on May 2, 2012 and did not recieve a stateroom upgrade at that time.
The Navantia ship yard in Cadiz, Spain signed an agreement last year to make upgrades to Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas but a labor strike at the port could put those plans in jeopardy.
Royal Caribbean is scheduled to send Brilliance of the Seas on April 24 to the port, with the intentions of making improvements to the ship as well as perform maintenance. The date for the work coincides with the new threat of a labor strike in the metal sector and a call for demonstrations in Cadiz shipyards.
The strike could be avoided if labor can get the industry to sign a collective agreement between April 17-19 but unions have already threatened to extend the protests. Spokesmen for metal workers are in favor of going for an indefinite strike if no agreement prior.
The possibility of these labor issues clashes with Royal Caribbean's needs. The contract stipulates the shipyard has half a month to repair the cruise ship. Setbacks with labor could lead Royal Caribbean to cancel the contract, as was done in March when labor issues arose and forced the MS Grand Holiday to move the work to the French shipyard in Marseilles because of the uncertainty of the labor situation in Cadiz.
The port expect the strike to not happen again, especially since Royal Caribbean has a history of sending its ships to the port for work over the years. Starting in 2009, Voyager of the Seas was refurbished there as well as Splenodur of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas emerged from a month-long $50 million refurbishment in Singapore yesterday and will resume cruises in Asia before returning to Europe. The upgrades to Legend of the Seas are part of Royal Caribbean's fleet-wide upgrades to bring amenities from their Oasis-class cruise ships to all the ships.
Legend of the Seas refurbishment saw these additions to the ship
New speciality dining restaurants
Izumi Asian Cuisine
Viking Crown Lounge nightclub
Outdoor movie screen
New and updated staterooms
For the next few weeks, Legend of the Seas will offer Southeast Asia itineraries out of Singapore. Beginning in April, the ship will sail a four night Southeast Asia itinerary roundtrip from Singapore and then reposition to Europe for the summer season. It will begin by sailing seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries roundtrip from Rome.