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Woman airlifted after becoming ill on Independence of the Seas


A 57 year old disabled woman was airlifted from Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas on Saturday after she became critically ill.

A spokesman for Portland, UK Coast guard said the passenger was wheelchair bound with little mobility and the airlift was called for by the ship's captain because of her critical condition.

As of yesterday morning, the woman is in stable condition at Dorset County Hospital.

Evidently there was an issue with the airlift, as Independence of the Seas had left Southampton, England on its way to Gibraltar.  The airlift had issues because the woman and her wheelchair were too heavy and the ship’s helicopter landing pad was too light for the helicopter.  The helicopter had to return to base to refuel before returning to Independence of the Seas to finally get the woman.

Royal Caribbean adds flight connections from London


Royal Caribbean is planning on offering direct cruise connection from London's Stansted airport in June by utilizing British Airways charter flights to make a connection to Venice, Italy.

These flights will connect to a seven-night Adriatic sailing on Voyager of the Seas.

Jo Rzymowska, Royal Caribbean's United Kingdom and Ireland general manger, says the move comes in response to guest demand, “Feedback from cruise travellers tells us that convenient flight connections are a factor when selecting their next cruise experience.

“Around 6.7 million people live in Stansted’s main catchment area, putting our cruise connections onto the doorstep of millions of potential customers.  

“The new service will deliver an efficient route for thousands of UK cruisers to begin their holiday immediately on the day of departure”.

Royal Caribbean booking trends slowest in six years


Royal Caribbean Associate Vice President & General Manager Jo Rzymowska said that booking trends in the United Kingdom are the slowest in the six years since she joined the company.  Rzymowska believes Britons are waiting longer than usual to book their summer holidays.

Speaking at the launch of a new travel agent training website in London last night, Rzymowska thinks people are just waiting until it's closer to their vacations to book, “This year the booking trends have been the latest in my six years in tenure,” she said. “There are definitely people who haven’t booked their summer holiday yet who are holding out.”

So why the slow down?  Rzymowska believes it's a combination of recent global events and concerns of economic uncertainty.

The good news for Royal Caribbean is that despite the reluctance of some to book, sales for 2011 are still up and Rzymowska thinks the rest of the year will be good as well.

Royal Caribbean moves towards simpler pricing


In the United Kingdom, Royal Caribbean is trying to make pricing a cruise easier for its customers. Royal Caribbean will now adopt a "what you see is what you get" approach to pricing its cruises in an attempt to foster earlier bookings.

Mark Walter, Head of field sales for Royal Caribbean, thinks this move is a step in the right direction, "he new ‘what you see is what you get’ campaign from Royal Caribbean International marks a step-change in the promotion of cruising.  All the prices and campaign elements are aimed towards making it easy for first-timer cruisers who will be comparing a holiday at sea with traditional land resorts options. We’ve scraped the traditional cruise jargon and focused on the incredible value that a cruise represents."

Royal Caribbean says UK is vital to company


Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein, speaking to Travel Weekly on Allure of the Seas's debut, says that the performance of the United Kingdom market is now a vital factor in the overall success of Royal Caribbean.

The market must come through for us on these types of initiatives.  It’s not like 25 years ago when we were interested in the UK but in the final analysis the US performance would determine the company’s performance. We are now reliant on the UK to perform overall. When you must perform for the company to perform it’s a very different environment that it just being something nice to talk about."

Royal Caribbean will become the biggest cruise ship operator in Europe in 2011, in terms of the number of beds available.  Royal Caribbean will pass Italian-style Carnival brand Costa Cruises.  Royal Caribbean believes the international nature of its product is unrivalled and it will soon have 50% of guests sourced outside of the core US cruise market from 40 different nationalities.

“Royal Caribbean’s versatility is unmatched in the world of cruising. Anywhere we go with our 22 ships, it’s identifiably a Royal Caribbean experience and only we are able to flex our product so consumers of all nationalities are really pleased by what they are experiencing,” said Goldstein.

Royal Caribbean names new head of UK


Royal Caribbean has announced that Dominic Paul will become the managing director for the UK and Ireland. Paul, who is now chief operating officer at bmi will join the cruise giant in September 2010.  In addition to his other duties, Paul will be responsible for the management of Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s year-round UK and Ireland dedicated ship.

Michael Bayley, executive vice president, International Royal Caribbean Cruises said Paul would compliment the skills of UK and Ireland general manager Jo  Rzymowska, and the pair would be a “successful force” in the industry.
“As a company, we’re very focused on achieving our international business expansion plans.  Within these plans, the UK and Irish markets are critical to our international success.  Dominic’s track record in leading and shaping international businesses whilst delivering financial results reinforces this commitment.