Royal Caribbean deploying second ship to sail Cuba cruises

Royal Caribbean International will add a second ship that sails a Cuba itinerary, along with two new Cuba destinations, starting in the summer of 2018.

The Empress of the Seas, currently sailing Cuba cruises from Tampa, will be redeployed to Miami. In addition to a five-day trip that visits Key West and overnights in Havana, the Empress will sail a seven-night “Best of Cuba” itinerary that includes Cienfuegos, Havana and Nassau, Bahamas. An eight-night cruise will include Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman and Labadee, Haiti.

Meanwhile, the Majesty of the Seas will shift from Miami to Tampa next summer to assume the four- and five-day cruises that that Empress had been scheduled to do. It will move to Fort Lauderdale from November 2018 to March 2019.

“Cruising remains the easiest way to visit Cuba, and with both Empress and Majesty sailing there in 2018 and 2019, we hope to make it that much easier for adventure seekers to experience the legendary island,” Royal Caribbean president Michael Bayley said.

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Untapped German demand is still very high, survey finds

AidaPrima in Hamburg. Photo credit James Jones

Many Germans want to go on a cruise holiday even though relatively few have actually been on an ocean trip so far, according to a new survey by GfK.

Plenty of pent-up demand in Germany for Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines, researchers say
Photo: RCL/Michel Verdure
Cruises are not only one of the fastest-growing holiday segments in Germany but also have the greatest potential, a recent study by market researchers GfK found. Only 7% of German tourists have taken a vacation on a ship over the past five years. Yet as many as one in four finds this way of travelling personally very attractive.

This gap between high attractiveness and an actual lack of travel experience is bigger than with any other kind of holiday, according to GfK. This means that more than two-thirds of those who find cruises very attractive were not yet on a cruise ship.

Almost 2.4 million ocean cruises were undertaken by Germans in 2016. It was the first sea voyage for a good third of the passengers while 63% had booked a cruise again. Both these factors support continued growth for this holiday segment, as the level of attractiveness for cruises more than doubles once tourists have actually been on a cruise holiday.

“Cruise operators are managing to win a high proportion of first-time customers,” commented Dörte Nordbeck, Head of Travel & Logistics Germany at GfK. “It is very likely that many of them would like to repeat this special experience.”

Cruises are particularly attractive to those who have already been on an ocean cruise (60%) or a river cruise (41%).

In general, the attractiveness of cruises increases with age. Although every third woman between the ages of 25 and 34 is enthusiastic about a holiday at sea, only 16% of young men are. Only with increasing age do the holiday preferences in favour of a cruise between women and men become more and more similar.

In contrast, river cruises are only an ‘in-trend’ for 24% of Germans and just 18% describe this form of holiday as “very attractive”. Yet even this figure is three times higher than the 6% of Germans who have holidayed on a boat in the past five years.

River cruises are considerably less attractive for younger people, with only 10% of men and 18% of women aged 25-34 describing it as “very attractive”. Respondents aged 65 and over, however, favor river cruises just as much as ocean trips.

Curacao opens second cruise pier


Adventure of the seas

The Curacao Ports Authority has opened Tula Pier, the second cruise pier in Curacao.

Tula Pier is in the Otrabanda area west of St. Anna Bay. The second pier was built to keep pace with increasing cruise calls and to accommodate the cruise industry’s largest ships.

For the first call, more than 3,000 passengers arrived at the pier on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas on Nov. 13.