Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said it has a new mobile app under development that should be ready to debut this summer.
On a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter and year-end earnings, RCCL chairman Richard Fain said the project, dubbed Excalibur internally, is expected to debut on six to 11 ships over the next year, followed by a rollout on one to two ships a month after that. RCCL’s major brands are Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.
Fain didn’t say much about what the new app will do, but said it will “reflect all of the technologies available today.” He said the Wow bands, a wearable RFID device that assumes many functions of the key card, have been “extremely effective in simplifying the process for our guests. But it’s also obvious that the technology has improved a lot in the last two years.”
Wow bands are available to guests on Quantum-class ships (including Anthem of the Seas) and the Harmony of the Seas.
He called Carnival Corp’s recent unveiling of its Ocean Medallion and Ocean Compass personal technology “a very positive thing for our industry. It was a terrific roll out and got a lot of positive publicity which in the end inures to the benefit of all of us.”
In other topics discussed on the call, CFO Jason Liberty said that the company’s Wave period “is off to a strong start,” and that it is “trending nicely higher” from last year. He said officials are particularly encouraged by strength in North America.
“Over the past three months, bookings have been well above last year’s levels,” Liberty said. “We turn the year in a record booked position. We have fewer staterooms to sell for the year.”
In the fourth quarter, RCCL had net income of $261 million up from $206 million a year earlier. Revenue was flat.
For all of 2016, net income was $1.2 billion, up from $665.8 million. In 2015, RCCL was impacted by a write-down for the Pullmantur brand. Revenue in 2016 grew 2.4%, to $8.49 billion.
RCCL forecasted 2017 earnings in the range of $1.48 billion to $1.53 billion.