Royal Caribbean ‘Out-Wowing’ Itself

Perfect Day at CoCoCay
Perfect Day at CocoCay

“We are going to keep pushing the envelope. At Royal Caribbean we are never satisfied with the status quo,” said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and trade support and service.

“That is why, as we Royal Amplify an Oasis-class ship, people might say ‘Vicki, there was nothing wrong with it, why do you need more bells and whistles?’ But we do not build ships like cookie cutters. With the Oasis, Allure, Harmony and Symphony, we continued to innovate aboard each new ship in the class, while most cruise lines build identical ships after the first one in a class, just changing the decor,” she continued.

“Our chairman has always said ‘Do not think about cost, (instead) think about how we can make our product better and better.’ And if you push the cost aspect aside and are driven by what is going to be the best experience for the consumer, that does change how you think about your product.

“So we will keep pushing the envelope, with new features aboard our ships, a new class of ships, the Icon class, and enhancing Perfect Day at CocoCay and other islands in the Perfect Day Collection.

“Perfect Day at CocoCay is probably the most talked-about destination today,” Freed continued. “Of all the places we call around the world, this is our number one rated port of call, so it is definitely resonating with our guests.”

The island has turned out to be so popular, in fact, that on some itineraries ships call twice during the same cruise.

Royal Caribbean is also driving innovation elsewhere, its latest newbuilding, the Quantum Ultra-class, 158,000-ton, 4,100-passenger Spectrum of the Seas, introduced in 2019, is deployed in the Chinese market.

Royal Amplified
Royal Amplified
Also going to China in 2021 will be the next Oasis-class ship, the 227,626-ton, 5,448-passenger Wonder of the Seas.

Meanwhile, the Quantum-ultra class Odyssey of the Seas will be deployed in the North American market, launching service from Port Everglades in November, moving to the Mediterranean for the 2021 summer season.

In addition, the 2009-built Oasis of the Seas just underwent a $165 million renovation last fall.

“Even though the ship is only 10 years young,” Freed said, “we are adding some new features. We always want to out-wow ourselves.”

The Oasis is sailing seven-day Caribbean cruises from Miami this winter before moving to Cape Liberty for the summer season.

Added Freed: “She will be very popular in the Northeast market. Our guests will be able to get on an Oasis-class ship in their own backyard. They will also call at Perfect Day at CocoCay.”

Building a new port facility in Galveston, the port said it will be able to accommodate Oasis-class ships.

“Anytime we build brand-new facilities, we want to make sure that all our ships will fit into that facility,” Freed commented.

Freed continues to be as committed to travel agents as ever. And despite the changing industry, fewer retail storefronts, and the internet, she said that travel advisors are very important to cruise sales.

“Cruising is a complex product. You are talking about somebody’s vacation that they have worked hard for all year long, and we see the need for travel advisors becoming even more important, because people want to make sure they get it right.

“It is true they can go to the internet and find a lot of information, but at the end of the day, there can be too much information, and you get consumer confusion. That is when you need a professional who can guide you to make the right buying decision. You need someone who can be a valued interpreter.”

The new-to-cruise are asking for a shorter cruise experience, according to Freed. They are looking for a three-, four- or five-day getaway, which is a good way for them to test the waters and find out if cruising is right for them.

“This was one of the motivators that led us to flip the short-cruise market upside down. Instead of putting older hardware in the market, we put in the Royal Amplified (modernized) Navigator and Mariner of the Seas, ships that typically in the past would not have been in the short cruise market.

“Their next step may be a seven-day cruise on an Oasis-class ship. Or they can be millennials who prefer shorter vacations, but may repeat their short cruise three to four times a year.”

What are the basic selling points for Royal Caribbean? “There is so much I can say,” Freed answered, “but I like to sum it up in a few words: we are a combination of quality and energy.

“There are some beautiful quality brands out there – Celebrity is a quality brand, and then there are some lines that have energy, but nobody has the unique combination of Royal Caribbean.”

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2019-2020

Coco Beach Club Set to Debut for Royal Caribbean

Coco Beach Club

Royal Caribbean International has announced the Coco Beach Club at its Perfect Day at CocoCay private island.

Coco Beach will feature the first cabanas over water in The Bahamas and will have a capacity of 450 guests in total, according to a press release.

Coco Beach Club

Available to book now – the private, premium area will include 20 floating cabanas, and 10 landside cabanas each accommodating up to eight guests.

There will also be a club house, 2,626 sq. ft oceanfront infinity pool, complimentary dining at The Grille at Coco Beach Club, day beds, and elevated amenities and services.

To gain access to Coco Beach Club, guests sailing to Perfect Day at CocoCay can book in advance for a fee on the cruise planner.

When Dorian threatened, Royal Caribbean had a balloon to deal with

AUSTIN, Texas — Royal Caribbean had a myriad of decisions to make before, during and after Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas. 

And while it’s Up, Up and Away helium balloon at private island CocoCay was not at the top of the list, it was still something the company had to address. To deflate or not to deflate?

Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain talked about the balloon, and Royal’s other efforts surrounding Dorian, during a press breakfast last week at Signature Travel Network’s Owners’ Meeting at the Fairmont Hotel Austin.

At first glance, it seems like an easy decision to deflate the balloon and not risk hurricane damage. Giant custom helium balloons aren’t exactly for sale on Amazon.

However, deflating the balloon wasn’t a cheap option. The balloon takes over a week to inflate, and with a worldwide helium shortage, filling Up Up and Away costs around $350,000.

The company took the more conservative route and deflated it.

After the storm, a team of about 300 people were flown to a nearby island, then took boats to get to CocoCay. They worked to restore the island, and it has since reopened.

Fain confirmed that the Up Up and Away balloon is being reinflated.