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

Passenger dies ‘jumping from cruise ship’

Image result for oasis of the seas
Oasis of the Seas.

A cruise passenger died after jumping from the tenth deck of one of the world’s largest cruise ships.

The 46-year-old man from Florida leapt from Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

He was reported to be an events contractor with LGBTQ+ travel firm Atlantis Events which had chartered the vessel on a week-long Caribbean sailing from Miami.

More: Royal Caribbean unveils raft of changes to the trade sales team

A four-hour search shut down the ship on Wednesday evening as the 4,000 passengers on the cruise were assembled to establish who was missing.

Dive teams and state police agencies in San Juan recovered the body several hours later, according to the US Coast Guard.

Royal Caribbean confirmed that CCTV footage seemed to indicate the man purposefully jumped from the ship although the circumstances around the incident have not been confirmed.

“We are assisting authorities with their investigation of the death of a male guest in San Juan, Puerto Rico,” the line told the Daily Mail.

“Security footage indicates the man intentionally went overboard from Oasis of the Seas. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Royal Caribbean completes Oasis of the Seas makeover

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The Oasis of the Seas now features the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is ready to begin its Caribbean season from Miami, fresh off of a 53-day drydock in Cadiz, Spain.

The 10-year-old ship received $165 million in refurbishments and improvements, including many elements that first appeared on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships.

Among those elements are the two-story Music Hall and the Bionic Bar, where two robotic bartenders mix drinks for passengers.

The Oasis of the Seas was the prototype for four Royal Caribbean International ships with an unprecedented capacity of 5,400 passengers each. Introduced in 2009, its design of two flanks of cabins around a central space open to the sky has never been duplicated. Having reached its 10th anniversary, the groundbreaking ship was sent to Cadiz, Spain, for a 53-day drydock in which a number of new features, such as waterslides, an escape room and a barbeque restaurant, were added to it. After being initially based in Fort Lauderdale, Oasis will move to Miami to do 7-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries starting Nov. 24.

Also retrofitted onto the ship was a package of slides that weren’t part of Royal Caribbean’s featured lineup when the Oasis debuted in 2009. The package includes the 10-story Ultimate Abyss dry slide and the Perfect Storm, three high-speed waterslides known as Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell.

Other features that have debuted on Quantum ships or on recent makeovers of Oasis-class ships include the Lime & Coconut multi-story pool deck bar, a Sugar Beach candy store, an El Loco Fresh casual Mexican eatery and a Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.