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Royal Caribbean UK Boss: UK only cruises have "limited appeal"

In:
Category: 
04Mar2021

Earlier this week, two cruise lines announced they would scale back their European cruises to only offer sailings from the United Kingdom, which prompts the question if Royal Caribbean would do the same.

Both Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises announced instead of sailing to destinations around Europe, they would offer sailings around the UK due to the global health crisis.

The Sky Princess, Regal Princess, and Island Princess will sail from Southampton and offer short sailings, with more details later.

P&O Cruises also announced new sailings around the British Isles for UK residents only.

Could Royal Caribbean follow suit and offer cruises from Southampton this summer to on the UK?

Royal Caribbean's vice president EMEA, Ben Bouldin, was interviewed by Travel Weekly about this very topic.

Mr. Bouldin says cruises around the UK could be done, but, "it's probably got limited appeal".

"Domestic cruising is probably looks and feels like the most likely opportunity in the short term based on the rhetoric we've had."

"I don't think Royal Caribbean for sure, is not a cruise line that wants to do that for too long."

Mr. Bouldin pointed out Royal Caribbean's cruise ships, namely Anthem of the Seas, is too large to go into many UK ports.

In terms of restarting cruises from the UK, Mr. Bouldin said they are "looking at a lot lots of options."

"I think all cruise lines are probably going to have to do some sort of test cruise. And we talked about the requirement for these test cruises previously, whether that's cruises to nowhere or whether it's cruises to a another U.K. port. I think there'll be some of those."

"It's not that we don't mind taking a bit of a punt and getting something up and running, but we need to know once we've started, there's so much cost involved in restarting that cruise program, we need to know we can continue it credibly. What we don't want to be in is this sort stop start pattern."

The topic of domestic cruising from the UK comes right after Royal Caribbean canceled its European cruise season for Odyssey of the Seas. Instead, Odyssey will sail from Israel during summer 2021.

Read moreWhy can't cruise ships sail from other countries instead?

In terms of cruises in Europe in 2021, Royal Caribbean executives spoke on this topic during their fourth quarter 2020 earnings call with investors.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said that while cruises from the UK are not beholden to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the rules will likely be the same.

"We know that the operations in some of the European countries, particularly Germany, Italy, have been ongoing for the past couple of month... and those protocols that have government operations have basically been based on the Healthy Sail Panel or the CLIA member policies, and then overlaid with specific instructions by the National Health Authority."

"I think what we're going to see is very similar to what we're going to see in the United States, which is as we continue to see infections decline and vaccines increase, then we're going to move to protocols that probably are some kind of hybrid between vaccines and testing."

"We imagine that they'll be very similar to the guidelines that we'll get from the CDC."

Royal Caribbean's UK boss talks about plans to restart cruises

In:
30Nov2020

Royal Caribbean's vice president EMEA, Ben Bouldin, spoke to cruise fans during an online webinar about what Royal Caribbean is thinking in regards to cruises starting up again.

Mr. Bouldin answered questions during a CruiseCritic webinar about how Royal Caribbean will approach their return to service, and what is happening right now to get closer to cruises resuming.

Today's talk with Mr. Bouldin provided an updated look at the latest changes and news.

Extensive test sailings

One of the first topics tackled was test cruises, and what to expect from them.

Royal Caribbean received a tremendous amount of interest from the public to be a volunteer on test cruises, and the question remains what to expect from these test sailings.

Mr. Bouldin believes the test sailings will be "critical" to preparing the fleet to start again safely.

The exact specifics of these test sailings still need to be defined fully, "We might need some volunteers in some markets to do so and we'll see how that goes. But the team are planning what those tests eventually look like."

The opportunity to sign up for test cruises is limited to Americans currently, but European test sailings will also need to occur and volunteers could be a part of that too.

"There will definitely be trial cruises on the ship sailing out of Europe, so we've had that confirmed."

"What form those are going to take was still working on, but there will definitely be some trial cruises and whether or not we open those up to the public and still to be defined."

"But I suspect we may well need the help of some of our very loyal, Crown and Anchor guests to come and help put some of the ships and the crews through their paces."

First cruise back on Quantum

On the topic of test cruises, Royal Caribbean just wrapped up its first test sailing with Quantum of the Seas right before she will start sailing again tomorrow.

Mr. Bouldin noted Quantum completed its first test sailing in Singapore with "friends and family" onboard.

"We've worked very closely with the Singapore authorities to produce a program that's fit for purpose and helps us return to service safely. And we're delighted to get that back up and running tomorrow."

"I'm sure we're going to learn so much about our future plans on the basis of how these sailing's developed evolve."

Of course, these cruises on Quantum have been designed with safety of crew and passengers in conjunction with the Singaporean government.

"There are so many different protocols, many different aspects from hygiene and cleaning crew to how we serve in restaurants and buffets, how we socially distance and theaters."

"All of these things have to be thought through practiced and implemented ahead of guests coming on board."

Technology will be critical

When cruises restart, technology will play its most significant role yet on cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean has always invested in new ways to leverage tech, such as facial recognition and a new app, but more changes are coming.

Mr. Bouldin noted that the cruise line wants to create contactless environments around the ship, such as how people can order drinks from their phone or open their stateroom doors.

"That's all going to evolve and continue to evolve. So planning your trip and having everything in the palm of your hand is critical."

One of the signature new features coming to the Royal Caribbean app is Muster 2.0, which makes the muster drill a self-service and easier experience.

Buffet is not going away

And for anyone still concerned, the Windjammer buffet is not going anywhere.

There was concern earlier this year that the buffet might be going away, but Mr. Bouldin echoed follow up comments from Royal Caribbean that there will still be a buffet, albeit with some changes.

"The buffet is staying. The Windjammer Cafe is one of the most loved and best loved features of our product and is genuinely adored by our fans all over the world."

"In the short term, we may have to look at some changes around how food is served, but ultimately that restaurant and the brand has no intention of getting rid of the buffet that everyone loves."

Royal Caribbean UK launches new family focused television ads

In:
18Dec2019

Royal Caribbean UK launched a new series of television ads aimed at showcasing how a cruise vacation can help families come together.

The new advertising campaign was developed by Truant London and officially kicks off on December 26.

Jodie Whittaker, best known for her work on Dr Who, narrates the new television commercial.  It will begin appearing across major TV channels and video-on-demand on December 26.

The new ads focus on bringing extended families together and reconnect during a cruise vacation.

Royal Caribbean will also sponsor The Masked Singer in January. 

Royal Caribbean UK Black Friday offer announced

In:
Category: 
28Nov2019

Royal Caribbean UK has a new offer for residents of the UK to take advantage of, beginning today.

The Black Friday promotion is applicable to new bookings made between Thursday 28th November to 2nd December 2019 on selected sailings of 5 nights or more departing between 2nd January 2020 and 30th April 2022.

It includes:

  • Buy one cruise fare and enjoy 60% off another on selected sailing.
  • Book between 28 November – 2 December to receive an additional £250 off each stateroom booked across all Royal Caribbean ships.
    • Saving per stateroom 5 night
      • Suites will receive a saving of £120 per stateroom
      • Balconies will receive a saving of £75 per stateroom
      • Interior and ocean view staterooms will receive a saving of £40 per stateroom
    • Saving per stateroom 6+ night
      • Suites will receive a saving of £250 per stateroom
      • Balconies will receive a saving of £120 per stateroom
      • Interior and ocean view staterooms will receive a saving of £75 per stateroom

Black Friday offer is applicable on sailings including Allure of the Seas European sailings, Anthem of the Seas sailings from Southampton, Middle Eastern holidays onboard Jewel of the Seas and holidays to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the brand’s private island in the Bahamas.

Guarantee stateroom bookings in ZI, YO, XB, XN, & WS categories are excluded from this promotion.

These Promotions are only combinable, with Crown & Anchor Discounts, Tescos Clubcard bookings, the benefits offered by booking onboard via our Future Cruise Consultants (Reserved or Open Bookings) and Future Cruise Certificates only and are not combinable with any other offer.

Royal Caribbean UK is looking to pay someone to cruise and share the fun on social media

In:
Category: 
04Feb2019

Royal Caribbean is looking for British or Irish citizens to become a Shore Explorer Apprentice and explore the world from a Royal Caribbean cruise and get paid a six figure salary for the work!

Royal Caribbean is looking for a new employee to sail round the globe, documenting their experiences on social media.

The role is open to British and Irish citizens aged 21 and over, and to apply you simply need to post an "extraordinary travel story, video, or image" on Instagram via Instagram stories, IGTV, or an Instagram post tagging @RoyalCaribbeanUK and #ShoreExplorer before the end of the day on March 1 2019.

The 20 Finalists will be announced on March 15, 2019 on the website and Instagram, and the overall winner will be informed by the Promoter via Instagram message by April 5, 2019 or as soon as practicable thereafter if a review is required.



View this post on Instagram


Today is the day!! @royalcaribbeanuk have just opened applications for an epic new role: the #ShoreExplorer Apprentice-ship programme. It's a search similar to the internship which ran two years ago and completely changed my life, taking me on some incredible adventures! The successful candidate will have the opportunity to seek out & test extraordinary shore experiences in the most jaw-dropping destinations across the globe - including Alaska, Japan, Dubai and the Caribbean - while getting paid equivalent to a 6 figure yearly salary. I am also happy to announce that I will be one of the judges and one lucky candidate will be accompanied by myself on part of their extraordinary journey around the world. Head over to the @royalcaribbeanuk page or search #ShoreExplorer for all the details on how to enter. Good luck! T&Cs apply. Visit @royalcaribbeanuk for more info.

A post shared by ʀᴜss ғʀᴀɴᴄɪs (@russ_francis) on

The Winner must be able to travel between May and August 2019 for at least three and up to four consecutive weeks if required to do so.  The winner will be able to visit

  • Perfect Day at CocoCay
  • Alaska, USA
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Norway
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Osaka, Japan

Royal Caribbean confirms Anthem of the Seas is headed back to UK

In:
24Oct2018

After months of rumors, it now appears Royal Caribbean will move Anthem of the Seas in 2020 from the New York market, and send her over to the Southampton, England.

Royal Caribbean UK and Ireland managing director Ben Bouldin confirmed the news to TravelWeekly.

"Not only that, I'm delighted to announce that the UK will see Anthem of the Seas returned to Southampton, and that will go on sale on the 20th of November. We're thrilled to have her back."

Word of a Quantum Class ship coming back to the UK first arose after Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley confirmed one of the ships in the class would sail from Southampton in 2020. Bayley did not mention which Quantum Class ship it would be, but cruise fans quickly narrowed down the choices by process of elimination to Quantum or Anthem.

If you are wondering when Anthem of the Seas sailings will go on sale, Royal Caribbean has indicated that Europe Phase I sailings will go on sale the week of November 19, and Europe Phase II will go on sale the week of December 17.  Bouldin indicated ex-UK and Europe departures in 2020 will be available to book from November 20.

It remains to be seen which ship will replace Anthem of the Seas in Bayonne, New Jersey. The nature of new ship deployment announcements is there are many moving pieces that comprise a deployment schedule.

Royal Caribbean holding Symphony of the Seas preview event in London

In:
10Jan2018

Attention all Brits, Royal Caribbean is inviting you to preview Symphony of the Seas at a special event in London!

Between February 2 and 3, 2018, the public is invited to "a first ever interactive, theatrical cruise experience on dry land and gain an exclusive preview of what will be the world’s newest and largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas."

The event is in Central London, and tickets are free. You simply need to register online.

Symphony of the Seas will be the fourth Oasis class cruise ship, and will launch in April 2018, offering cruises to the Mediterranean.

Royal Caribbean UK sponsors Chorley shirts ahead of FA Cup

In:
Category: 
02Nov2017

Royal Caribbean UK and the Chorley Football Club announced today a new shirt sponsorship deal.

The shirt sponsorship has been agreed for the Emirates FA Cup First Round game with Fleetwood Town, which will be screened worldwide on Monday 6 November. Royal Caribbean will also take TV arc advertising, programme advertising and hospitality as part of the sponsorship agreement.

Ben Bouldin, UK Managing Director, Royal Caribbean, said: “We are very excited to be sponsoring the shirts for Chorley FC’s biggest game in the club’s history. We wish Chorley FC all the best and look forward to a positive result!”

The FA Cup game will be screened on BT Sport in the UK and throughout Europe, North Africa, USA, Russia and China by FA official broadcast partners.

Royal Caribbean UK launches new fly-cruise packages

In:
Category: 
12Apr2017

Royal Caribbean UK announced new fly-cruise packages for residents of the UK to get them to their Orlando cruises.

Beginning in September 2017, the packages include flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick and Manchester, packaged with private transfers and hotel accommodation close to International Drive, Orlando.

The new packages include a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise on Oasis of the Seas out of Port Canaveral, Florida with stops in Labadee in Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico.

A standard fly-cruise package, including direct return flights, transfers and a night's stay in a hotel before the cruise, costs from £1197pp.

Royal Caribbean UK looking for Instagramer to be the cruise line's summer intern

In:
Category: 
03Jan2017

Royal Caribbean UK is kicking off a search for an Instagram user to be the cruise line's "summer intern" and share the cruise experience via Instagram.

The 3 week Instagram Intern-ship will take place over the summer of 2017 and involve, "capturing incredible content and uncovering amazing stories." The successful candidate will be responsible for finding and documenting the extraordinary on a daily basis via Instagram.

Royal Caribbean describes this "intern-ship" as a hybrid between being a photographer, documentary maker and a storyteller. A typical day will see the successful candidate immerse themselves in the extraordinary moments, experiences and stories that take place on land and at sea, and share them with the world via Instagram.

Anyone interested in applying needs to ensure they meet the following criteria

  • Skilled in Instagram with extensive knowledge of all 23 filters
  • Exemplary ability to capture stunning views, extraordinary experiences, beautiful sunsets and amazing stories on social media
  • Available to travel for three consecutive weeks between June –July 2017 to regions including New York, the Caribbean, Asia and the Mediterranean.
  • Inquisitive nature, love storytelling and enjoy sharing experiences
  • Unbeatable sense of adventure and hunger for the extraordinary
  • Own a smartphone
  • Note: Photocopying, administrator and tea-making skills are not required

Successful candidates will receive

  • Travel package including transport via three company cruise ships
  • All travel, accommodation and daily expenses included
  • £3,000 in prize money
  • Uniform is not supplied. Bring your own swimmers, sandals & shades
  • You will be traveling on three cruise ships over a three week period including Ovation of the Seas (Beijing), Anthem of the Seas (New York) and Freedom of the Seas (Barcelona)
  • Complimentary access to climbing walls, Flowrider, restaurants, swimming pools, zip wires, water-slides and onboard fitness facilities

If you want to apply, you must be 21 years old and a resident of the UK and Republic of Ireland with a full passport, no criminal record and no travel restrictions. If you meet these requirements, just post your most extraordinary travel photo or short video on Instagram, tagging @RoyalCaribbeanUK and #ExtraordinaryExplorer.

Participants may enter this free of charge competition from 09:00 GMT on 03 January 2017 until 23:59 GMT on 31 January 2017.

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