Ask Adam Blog Series – December 2011 Answers

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Thanks to everyone who continues to read our blog and submit great questions about Royal Caribbean and cruising. This past month’s questions were once again exceptional and an absolute pleasure to answer. If you missed November’s questions please click here, or if you have a question you would like to ask Adam regarding Royal Caribbean news, what he’s been up to or just curious about all things Royal Caribbean, please follow this link to our Facebook discussions page and submit your questions there.

How often do you go on cruises? Are you also the CEO of Royal Caribbean’s sister lines? – Stuart S.

Stuart, I am the President & CEO of Royal Caribbean International and I work closely with Dan Hanrahan, the President & CEO of Celebrity Cruises, and Larry Pimentel, the President & CEO of Azamara Cruises. The answer to your first question is easy: not often enough! Everyone in the family enjoys cruising but we all have to contend with busy schedules, sports training and our attachments to skiing and to Maine. In the end, we cruise about every other year.

Hi Adam, big question about what’s next for Royal Caribbean, Oasis and Allure are so amazing, how can you guys do better? What new things can be done? What innovations can be made? Will there be another ship in the Oasis Class? – Dillon F.

Dillon, I’m happy to hear that you are impressed with the innovations on Oasis and Allure. We’re taking many of these innovations to other ships in the fleet. For example, we recently added the digital way finding system to several ships as well as additional dining options that were originally introduced on the Oasis class ships. You can learn more about this here. As for new ships, our focus is on the new Sunshine class ship that will go into service in 2014.

I was just wondering why the ships do not have more food choices for a diabetic. We just got off Liberty of the Seas and there were limited food and drink choices for a diabetic person. – Jeff R.

I love to cruise RCCL, my only complaint is you don’t cater to your vegan cruisers, we take family cruises all the time and half of my family are vegans and there cruise experience is not as good as the non-vegans. Our next cruise is 12/17/2011 and we are hoping for the best. – Angela M.

We have a special diet request system available, however guests should inform us as early as possible with their specific needs so we can try to accommodate the best way possible. We require a minimum of two weeks’ notice for regular requests, and up to two months for ships based Internationally. All dietary requests are handled by our special needs department. Travel agents or guests should email special_needs@rccl.com with their specific request, sail date and booking ID. Once on board, guest should contact their Maitre’d and/or headwaiter to discuss the arrangements.

Later this year we plan to revamp our dietary needs program by incorporating Gluten Free and Lactose Free selections into the regular menu program and call these dishes out. This should eliminate the majority of all special dietary needs requests. We currently receive very few requests for vegan meals and with about 400,000 meals served every day in the fleet, we need to prioritize the needs of our guests. However we are discussing the possibility of incorporating vegan selections into the regular menu program, the same way we did with vegetarian and Indian vegetarian. This in turn allows us to concentrate on the other remaining special needs, such as allergies and do a better job with those. Many of these changes will be incorporated mid-year. In short, dietary needs are a major focus in 2012, to make it easier, more accessible, provide improved training and execution.

Is Royal Caribbean considering adding Charleston, SC as a port of departure? – Hillary C.

Hillary, we do not have enough ships to allow us to home port in all markets. However, we are always considering new itineraries and homeports for our vessels and will keep this in mind for our future planning.

Hi Adam, I was just wondering if there are any plans for an Australia to America cruise. I’m sure this would bring in lots of customers so why not do it? – Noah A.

We have Rhapsody and Radiance that transit the Pacific Ocean between Sydney Australia and Vancouver, Canada via Honolulu, Hawaii. Rhapsody departs Sydney on April 13, 2012 for 18 nights to Honolulu, and then continues on for another 11 nights on April 30, 2012 to Vancouver. Radiance has a similar voyage on April 5, 2012 for 18 nights from Sydney to Honolulu and 12 nights on April 22, 2012 to Vancouver. These voyages are also available in April 2013 and in the reverse direction in September 2012

Hi Adam, please keep RCCL sailing from Bayonne, NJ for many years to come! LOVE Voyager class ships, how about Freedom class to New Jersey?? Thanks! – Gary

Gary, I appreciate your passion for our Voyager Class ships. We will keep your request for a Freedom class ship in mind as we plan our future itineraries.

As a travel agent, I am always looking for better options for my customers. I was very disappointed when Royal Caribbean abandoned the West Coast. So, I am asking you, when are you coming back to the West Coast? Thanks in advance for your reply. – Kelly.

Thank you for your suggestion. We continue to evaluate opportunities to add additional departures from the U.S.west coast. We recently announced Vision of the Seas’ winter 2012-13 Caribbean season for sale. In addition to a robust Caribbean program, we are offering Panama Canal-transit sailings, and two of the Panama Canal itineraries (14 Night and 15 Night cruises) will sail from San Diego in Spring 2013. You can find the specific itineraries here.

I love RC and am a platinum member. I am very concerned about the many negative reviews Liberty has gotten recently about their food! Our family is Italian and the quality of the food is extremely important. What is RC doing to rectify this?

In addition, I too have noticed a significant decline in service (less staff) and increase in onboard costs. We have always raved about RCCL to our family and friends, but now I am going to have to think twice.

Please ADAM, please save RCCL and bring it back to the quality and excellence that it once was! – Annette C.

Thank you for your question, Annette. The dining experience onboard is something that we take very seriously. Culinary training of our staff to the standard and certification of the American Culinary Federations remains at the core of our culinary operation. We have not made any changes to the quality of food in recent years other than improvements. In 2010 we invested an additional $2 million in food upgrades in addition to investments to offset inflationary costs. In 2011 we invested again to offset inflationary costs. We continue to develop and update our menus to our guest’s expectations and requests. We continue to review guest comments and closely monitor guest satisfaction ratings. In 2010 we received the highest level of guest satisfaction ratings based on guest survey results in the past decade for food and these results have held steady in 2011.

In regard to costs, we continue to offer core complimentary products such as The Main Dining room, The Windjammer, Cafe Promenade, and more. In fact we have added more choices and selections, such as chef’s suggestions/special, Vitality menus and daily alternatives. As part of our ship revitalization program we have also added more complimentary dining venues to several ships such as Park Cafe, The Boardwalk Doghouse, Wipe-Out Cafe, Vitality Cafe, Sorrento’s Pizza and Concierge Gourmet. At the same time our specialty dining venues continue to grow in popularity as well and guests have the choice of either option. We have added additional choices for a charge such as Giovanni’s Table, Chef’s Table and Izumi in our revitalizations.

Hi Adam, I will be traveling on the Explorer of the Seas on July 19, 2011 for a 9 night Eastern Caribbean cruise with my large family and cousins. Is there anyway for us to find out ahead of time who our cruise director will be? I would love to know if it is the same gentleman we had last time, such a delight! Thank you for your time. – Kelsey M.

Hi Kelsey, the cruise director for your sailing will be Richard Spacey, enjoy!

Which is the easiest way to plan a cruise for a group of 20+ persons? We would be coming from Trinidad Tobago to Miami to the Bahamas. – Koretta

The choice is yours when it comes time to plan a cruise for a group of 20+ people. You can either contact your travel agent who is professionally trained on what Royal Caribbean can offer, or you can contact one of our Certified Group Vacation Planners who can walk you through the process step by step. Both options will ensure you have the easiest booking experience so you can begin your group vacation. To find your travel agent, go to www.royalcaribbean.com and use our Travel Agent Locator. To speak to a Certified Group Vacation Planner, call us at 1-800-465-3595 (residents of US and CAN) or 305-341-0204 (residents outside of the US and CAN). You can also learn more here.

Have you given any thought to adding an artificial reef at Labadee? I know one was built at CocoCay, but it would seem that putting one in Labadee would provide some short term jobs and also provide other activities at that stop, such as snorkeling and SCUBA. – Mike P.

There are plenty of reefs in Labadee so there isn’t really any need to add an artificial reef. At CocoCay we have experimented with “reef balls” and other structures to attract the growth of coral and marine life with limited success. So in short, we are not planning anything at Labadee. Also, over the last two years we have been offering two snorkel tours in at Labadee where the local tour operator takes guests to one of the local reefs and a sandbar.

I recall that the Explorer of the Seas was outfitted with science laboratories, but that project ended several years ago. Is there still scientific data being collected by the ships in your fleet? – Ken H.

Hi Ken, while the Explorer of the Seas laboratory no longer has guest displays, we have enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in running this lab onboard the Explorer since it first set sail in 2000. Since 2008, the lab has been fully automated, sending continuous, real-time oceanographic and atmospheric data to external servers, which is utilized by the academic and scientific community to better understand climate and ocean dynamics. We are currently expanding this program to the Allure of the Seas and will also be selecting a third ship in the next few months on which to deploy this innovative technology. .

Thanks to everyone for submitting questions, and remember if you have a question you would like to ask, please click here. If you have a customer service related issue, the quickest way to obtain a response is to fill out our contact form here: http://bit.ly/c44GkU