Royal Caribbean to axe 55 non-sales job roles

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Anthem of the Seas is cruising from Southampton Summer 2020

Royal Caribbean International is to axe 55 non-sales jobs at its UK and Ireland office in Surrey.

Jobs in departments such as revenue management and direct business will move from Weybridge to the company’s Miami HQ.

The move is part of a wider restructure which will see Royal Caribbean Cruises brands Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara operate independently from April 1.

Ben Bouldin, who has been promoted to vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the shake-up would not affect the company’s sales team in the UK, where 300 people are employed.

He said: “This has been driven by three key things: a desire to have a real trade-focused business model, enable centralisation of non-sales functions and enable the brand to go single branded worldwide.

“The business is going to be split into two. We are going to have a managed part of the business and a non-managed part.

All of the 55 job roles will be phased out over the next eight months, however, some staff have already left.

Meanwhile, the French, German and Italian markets will be managed by third-party teams in each nation, while Gianni Rotondo, associate vice president, non-managed markets, will oversee them.

Bouldin said: “We had a situation where we had put a lot of people in these markets and it has not worked.

“We are essentially a kick-ass sales machine across the EMEA. There are a lot of good people in the jobs market, but I am delighted that we’ve kept a lot of good people too.”

The announcement follows a raft of changes to the trade sales team which were unveiled earlier this month.

Torey Kings-Hodkin, who was Thomas Cook’s former head of commercial partnerships, has taken over from Donna Carley as the line’s head of key accounts.

Bouldin added that restructure demonstrated how the line remains “most committed to the trade”.

He will report into Sean Treacy who has been promoted to senior vice president of international, moving from the role of vice president of Latin America and international strategy.

Treacy will be responsible for the cruise line’s business across the Asia Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

A subjective list of awards for cruise experiences

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Seven Seas Explorer

here’s no shortage of travel industry awards and accolades. 

Today I’ll offer some cruise-only nods — a mini Academy Awards lineup, if you will —  based on my seven years of cruising for Travel Weekly. Unlike the Oscars, in which categories of longstanding tradition are properly judged, my award categories and winners are completely subjective and based mostly on one moment on one ship, rather than a studious fleetwide evaluation over time.

Plus, mine aren’t broadcast on national television. And there’s no statuette. But they’re fun. See what you think, and offer your own winners in the comment section below.

So, with no further ado:

Best naming ceremony: Princess Cruises. Skies were grey in Southampton, England, on that June day in 2013, but who can beat royal princess Kate Middleton christening the Royal Princess? The British pomp and pageantry and the ladies in their gowns and fascinators made it unforgettable. Runner up: More royals, plus opera great Andrea Bocelli singing “Nessun Dorma” for the Seven Seas Explorer in Monaco.

Meal: Celebrity Cruises. I think it was on the Celebrity Reflection with former Celebrity public relations spokeswoman Liz Jakeway that I had a nearly flawless Italian dinner at the Tuscan Grille. Runner up: Guy Fieri’s burgers on Carnival Cruise Line.

Suite:  Viking Ocean Cruises. The Owner’s Suite on the Viking Star duplicates owner Tor Hagen’s book collection and comes with a (faux) fireplace and a sauna with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall for ocean viewing. Runner up: the duplex suites on Royal Caribbean.

Service: Azamara. I know, not what you’re expecting, but I say: try it. The relaxed style really made me feel at home on a 2016 Central America and Mexico cruise on the Azamara Journey. When my time was up, I didn’t want to leave. Runner up: Seabourn.

Entertainment: Norwegian Cruise Line. “After Midnight” and “Million Dollar Quartet” on the Norwegian Escape in 2016 was a knockout one-two punch, and Norwegian has kept up the pace with each new ship: “Jersey Boys,” “Kinky Boots.” Great value for guests. Runner up: Royal Caribbean, where too much is never enough.

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Pool: Seabourn. The cosy aft pool on Seabourn’s 450-passenger ships puts sunbathers close to the water in stylish luxury. Runner up: the Solarium Pool on Celebrity, with its dancing waters fountain.

Cruise Director: Star Clippers. The line’s longest-serving cruise director, Peter Kissner, hails from Bavaria and is the most personable, knowledgeable, interesting person I’ve yet encountered in the job.  Runner up: Azamara cruise director Eric de Gray does it all.

Internet: Royal Caribbean gets the nod for its Voom, which not only is fast and simple but was first to market. What a difference in seven years. Runner up: MedallionNet on Princess Cruises is also fast and simple (but was not first).

Children’s character: Disney Cruise Line for Cinderella. As played by one of Disney’s cast members, the Cinderella I saw could have stepped out of the 1950 animated feature film. The children were enchanted. Runner Up:  Ellie, the towel elephant that prowls the post-turn-down cabins on Carnival ships.

Deck BBQ: Windstar Cruises. A twilight summer deck party anchored off the coast of Portofino. Trust me, it doesn’t get any better than that. Runner up: Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Royal Caribbean and Azamara to operate Cuba cruises

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Newly refitted Empress of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said that two of its cruise brands, Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Crises, have been approved by the Cuban government to bring passengers to the island.

The company said it plans to announce its first Florida-Cuba itineraries in the near future.

“Our guests have expressed real interest in having the opportunity to experience Cuba, and we look forward to bringing them there,” said RCCL chairman Richard Fain.

Like other cruise companies, RCCL has been waiting for most of the year to begin service to Cuba. Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas went through a $50 million drydock earlier this year and inventories were offered on a rolling basis only several months ahead of time in hopes of quick approval.

RCCL’s brief statement mentioned that it will comply with Treasury Department rules regarding people-to-people excursions on all of its cruises.