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Mein Schiff 2 to remain in Germany, older and smaller ex Century to Marella Cruises

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The termination of a Chinese joint venture of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd (RCCL) and its partner Ctrip means that Marella Cruises, the British cruise line owned by TUI AG, will acquire the 72,458 gross ton Golden Era that was built in 1995 as Century of Celebrity Cruises, from the venture.

Delivery is expected to take place in December, RCCL said in a statement.

“As a result of this transaction, TUI Cruises will now retain Mein Schiff 2 in its fleet, rather than selling it to Marella Cruises, giving TUI Cruises increased capacity in the strong German market,” RCCL continued.

Mein Schiff 2 was built as Mercury of Celebrity Cruises and delivered in 1997. It is of 76,552 gross tons.

RCCL and Ctrip end China joint venture

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) and its Chinese partner Ctrip have announced that they are ending the SkySea Cruise Line joint venture.

After the sale of Golden Era, it is expected that SkySea will wind down its business operations before the end of 2018. The companies expect that favorable business conditions in China and elsewhere will allow them to absorb most SkySea employees into available positions at RCCL and Ctrip, the two companies said in a statement.

Through its Royal Caribbean International brand, RCCL will continue to serve the Chinese market, with the largest fleet deployment in the region and a strong collaborative relationship with Ctrip.

Royal Caribbean expects the impact of the transactions to fall in a range of $0.12 to $0.15 a share in FY2018. The loss will be excluded from 2018 Adjusted Net Income.

RCCL appoints Adam Goldstein Vice Chairman

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, said it has appointed Adam Goldstein to serve as Vice Chairman. Goldstein, a 30-year RCCL veteran, will assume his new post in May, after having served as RCCL's President and Chief Operating Officer since 2014.

RCCL's Chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, said, "Adam has played a pivotal role in our success since he joined the company in 1988. He has exerted a positive influence across the company and provides exemplary leadership in our industry and in the communities we serve. As Adam transitions to his new role, I look forward to working with him to continue to build on these successes."

Goldstein said: "It remains an incredible privilege to work with the men and women of RCCL, who help create the memories of a lifetime for our guests, and who know the importance of doing good while we do well. I look forward to focusing my efforts in a few key areas where I can help advance the cause of both RCCL and the cruise industry."

In his new role, Goldstein will continue to oversee RCCL's global government relations and destination development efforts, and will represent the company in industry associations. Both areas have been a constant focus for Goldstein across a career filled with challenging assignments.

Goldstein began his career with RCCL in 1988. He has served in numerous senior roles, including president and CEO of the Royal Caribbean International brand. He led the brand during the introduction of the Oasis- and Freedom-class ships and has been a driver of the company's global expansion.

Goldstein has also played a prominent role in industry affairs. He currently serves as chair of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and previously served as chair of Cruise Lines International Association (2015-16) and the Travel Industry Association of America (2001, now US Travel).



Royal Caribbean International to invest $900 million in fleet modernization

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Royal Caribbean International is amping up vacation adventures by reimagining its fleet with a $900 million investment. The Royal Amplified program spans 10 ships in four years, and touches every facet of the guest experience on a lineup of its ships, including Oasis and Allure of the Seas, as well as all Freedom and Voyager class ships. "The program is set to introduce a wide range of innovative features and bold new experiences that will further build on Royal Caribbean’s best-in-class global vacation offering," the company said in a statement.

In developing Royal Amplified, the global cruise line analyzed multiple years of guest satisfaction ratings, venue utilization data and crew interviews to focus the major investment on key features and experiences that matter most to travelers. Full details on each ship’s new amenities will be revealed on a continuous basis in the next three years.

“Royal Amplified is built on our passion for innovation, relentless attention to detail and commitment to always exceeding our guests’ expectations,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We sail with more than five million guests worldwide each year, and recognize the need to always innovate and stay ahead of the curve. We have designed this program to wow our loyal guests while also attracting the next generation of adventurers.”

Iconic pools and attractions

With Royal Amplified, outside decks will be reimagined for thrill seekers to discover everything they want under the sun and beneath the stars. From pools specifically designed for family fun and relaxing spa-like environments, to lively activities day and night, more specialized pool spaces will catering to diverse preferences. Upper decks will be amped up and evolved with exciting new attractions and first-of-its-kind thrills such as Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience along with waterslides, and waterparks.

Elevated dining and nightlife

Guests crave cornerstone cuisines, like Italian, seafood and Mexican, and Royal Caribbean will deliver on that with the introduction of more experiential dining concepts. Travelers also will see more of the cruise line’s recently unveiled experiences, including Hooked Seafood, Royal Caribbean’s New England-style restaurant; Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, and family-friendly El Loco Fresh with popular Mexican fare. Additional casual, grab-and-go eateries to keep guests fueled between their adventures will also make their debut.

What’s more, adventurers will have the opportunity to drink, clink and live it up in distinct new bars and nightlife spots that deliver on the three tenets of a great night out: unique drinks, delicious food and live entertainment. This makes for more multidimensional nightlife venues offering food, live music and craft cocktails, like The Bamboo Room, and a signature outdoor Caribbean Bar. Other new concepts include a world-class music hall, a go-to spot for karaoke, and a lounge-style nightclub that will take the nightlife to a whole new level.

Redefined short Caribbean getaways

Royal Caribbean believes that vacations should provide maximum levels of adventure no matter how long or short. With quick getaways becoming increasingly popular and necessary for today’s traveler, the cruise line will ensure that its 3- and 4-night cruises are just as exceptional as longer escapes. With the Royal Amplified focus on innovative attractions, iconic pools, distinct bars and dining, guests can enjoy an ample variety of options and features that will allow them to escape from their routine and redefine their weekends.

Royal Caribbean is not only amping up the adventure on its ships with the Royal Amplified program. The cruise line is also set to raise the bar in vacation adventures on land with the introduction of its Perfect Day Island Collection of unrivaled private island destinations around the world. The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, scheduled for completion in fall 2019, will offer the ultimate in thrill and chill with a number of distinct experiences and iconic features giving guests first-time experiences that will top any bucket list. Four Royal Caribbean ships in the Royal Amplified program, departing from New York, Maryland and Florida, will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, providing guests with a vacation like no other in the Caribbean.

A look ahead at Royal Amplified

Freedom class – Independence of the Seas will be the first ship in the Royal Amplified program to reveal multimillion-dollar upgrades, including Sky Pad, Battle for Planet Z, a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides and a new Escape Room: The Observatorium challenge, where competitors can solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. Not to mention the addition of new dining venues, from Fish and Ships – a seaside seafood spot with freshly battered fish and chips and other guest favorites – to Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Izumi Hibachi and Sushi and Sugar Beach. Independence will offer 3- to 14-night sailings from Southampton, England beginning in May 2018, before she heads across the pond in Nov. 2018 to sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on 4- to 5-night Caribbean cruises. Freedom of the Seas will be up next, debuting new features in 2020, followed by Liberty of the Seas in 2021.

Voyager class – In summer 2018, the transformation of Royal Caribbean’s short Caribbean cruises will begin with the $90 million amp-up of Mariner of the Seas. Mariner will redefine the quick getaway by giving guests the chance to take their weekends to new heights with the addition of new thrills, such as Sky Pad and laser tag; The Bamboo Room, a retro lounge with its tiki-chic décor; and the fun and vibrant Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. The program will continue in 2019 on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, which also will be redesigned to specifically cater to those who seek a quick getaway.

Oasis class – Oasis of the Seas will be completely reimagined in fall 2019, ten years after her revolutionary debut. The ship will gain new thrills, pools, bars and culinary creations, as well as introduce new restaurants and onboard adventures found on the newest Oasis class ship, Symphony of the Seas. These enhancements will cascade to Allure of the Seas in spring 2020, making every ship in the class more adventurous than ever.

Cruise industry’s struggle to win over UK Millennials far from over

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The efforts of the cruise industry to attract Millennials – roughly those born between 1980 and 2000 - on board ships appear to face stiff headwinds, figures released by CLIA Europe suggest.

Meanwhile, CLIA UK & Ireland figures show that in 2017, the only age category in which the passenger count increased was those over the age of 70.

The average age of cruise passengers from the UK was 56 years in 2017, the highest among major European markets. The corresponding figure in Germany was 50 years, while it was lowest in Italy, at 42 years, CLIA Europe said.

CLIA UK & Ireland figures show that the average age of British cruise passengers was 55.4 years in 2016 and 56.2 years in the previous year. In a review period that started in 2005, the figure hit a high at 58.2 years in 2014 and a low at 53.2 years in 2007.

CLIA Europe noted that the average length of cruises booked by British passengers was also the highest among major European source markets, 10.4 nights compared to just under nine in Germany and about 7 in Italy.

Older people tend to book longer cruises, which according to CLIA Europe explains the high average age of British passengers.

Meanwhile, CLIA UK & Ireland figures show that 17% of the British cruise passengers were aged up to 44 years in 2016, a drop of one percentage point on the previous year. The figure hit a low at 14% in 2014 and it has not exceeded one fifth of the total passenger count since 2011, when the figure stood at 22%.

In the 2005-11 period, the figure dropped below the 20% threshold only once, in 2009 when it hit 19%, while in both 2005 and 2006 it had hit the high of the review period, at 24%.

In the 2018 Cruise Report, CLIA UK & Ireland changed the way it looks at the composition of passengers numbers in terms of their age and the age brackets it is using in the latest report differ from those it used in the previous years. 

The fresh figures show the in the up to 12 year age group, the number of passengers fell by 5.0% to 53,000, in the 13 to 19 year range the fall was 8.1% to 47,000 while those aged 20 to 29 numbered 63,000, which was 2.7% fewer than in 2016.

In the 30 to 39 year age category the passenger count also fell by 2.7% and came to 77,000, while those aged 40 to 49 numbered 143,000, a fall of 9.1% and the sharpest fall in any age category. The lines carried 298,000 passengers aged 50 to 59 last year, a decrease of 5.8% on 2016 and 384,000 passengers that were aged 60 to 69, marking a fall of 7.0%.

The only increase took place in the 70 year old plus age category, with 342,000 passengers in 2017, an increase of 3.9% year on.