Ask Adam Blog Series – September 2012 Q & A

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Fall is in full swing and so are the answers to the September Ask Adam questions. To see responses from August please click here, or if you have a question you would like to ask Adam regarding Royal Caribbean or what he’s been up to, please follow this link to our Facebook Discussions page and submit your questions there.

Good day, Adam. With airfare to and from Europe putting a cramp on many people booking cruises overseas, has the company considered doing occasional Transatlantic cruises from spring to fall so we can have an enjoyable, affordable way to cross “the pond”? I understand the difference between a cruise ship and an ocean liner, but an Oasis class ship should be comfortable on this route, plus it would keep us entertained on the crossing. Sure would be nice! – Jim M.

Hi Jim, air fare to Europe has been a challenge in regard to price, but the Oasis class ships have challenges when it comes to the size of various ports, especially the ports necessary for fueling which are not yet able to take a ship of this size.

The good news is that we do have Freedom-class vessels, the second largest cruise ships, performing Transatlantic itineraries on the shoulder seasons. Liberty of the Seas departs Barcelona on October 27, 2012 and Independence of the Seas is leaving from Northern Europe, out of Southampton for a Thanksgiving cruise on November 22, 2012 and we are currently offering reduced air rates on this sailing.

Adam, we have been on many cruises with Royal Caribbean as well as other cruise lines and we have noticed one thing, Royal Caribbean does not offer traditional afternoon tea (other than in the Windjammer). We would love to see traditional afternoon tea served in the beautiful dining rooms that Royal Caribbean ships offer! – Adam T.

Thank you for your feedback regarding afternoon tea. We have offered this in our dining rooms and specialty restaurants in the past and still do a traditional afternoon tea service on select sailings. We have found that even when we advertise this onboard we rarely see much interest on most sailings. There are many itineraries where a more casual approach to afternoon tea with great food offerings remains popular; therefore we have increased the level of service attention and our product variety to meet those demands.

We just returned from a cruise to Alaska onboard Radiance of the Seas. The cruise was great and it was our second time onboard, but the first time since its “upgrades”. We loved the changes and in our comment card offered a suggestion about the Boardwalk Dog House on the ship.

We did not like the Boardwalk Dog House at all. I have seen better hot dog stands on street corners. The hot dogs were not grilled enough, but the major problem in my opinion was the lack of appropriate condiments and accompaniments. Every hot dog stand must have chili, melted or shredded cheese, some chopped raw onions, baked beans, hot relish, chopped jalapenos, and hot wet sauerkraut. In addition, how about having some corn dogs? The condiments, including mustard, ketchup, relish and all other items should all be added by the server rather than having them available as pre-packaged condiments. Have the server “dress” the hot dogs with all of what the passenger wants and then wrap it in a wax or foil paper. That’s what I expected at the Boardwalk Dog House, not what you are presenting. What I am suggesting is very simple, easy and doable with little if any additional expense. – Ed T.

We really appreciate your feedback Ed, regarding our Boardwalk Dog House.

When we opened this venue on Allure of the Seas we couldn’t have imagined the level of interest people had for a hot dog, sausage, or bratwurst. In fact, it’s been so popular we had to increase staffing levels to meet the demand which is a complimentary dining option to all guests on several ships.

We feature eight varieties of hot dogs and sausages. Each one comes prepared differently and is made to order and we feel our authentic approach to each dog has been very well received by most people. Our chicken sausage and Polish Kielbasa are served in baguettes, which we make onboard. Of course the Austrian style wiener and the American Hot Dog, which is Kosher beef from New York, are also favorites. The German bratwurst and the smoked bratwurst are favorites and the cheese & jalapeno sausage and the Tuscan sausage, served with oregano, garlic and Italian sausages are also a lot of fun for our guests. All of our sausages and hot dogs include your choice of warm sauerkraut, sautéed onions or mixed peppers. We do not feature raw onions simply because we work very hard to keep raw foods in a controlled environment. Condiments we do have available for guests to serve themselves include mayonnaise, mustard, and relish. All of the hot dogs feature a side dish option of coleslaw or potato salad and are prepared before your eyes. Admittedly, we have had to keep the overall offering to a point where we can actually deliver the experience to such a high demand.

Adam, I would like to suggest that if you really want good feedback from your patrons, that on each cruise you invite a dozen or so Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle passengers to a special hour-long session, like a focus group, to present their ideas and concerns to the ship’s staff. Listen to the suggestions and complaints from those who cruise the most often with you. – Ed T.

Hi Ed, at this time we do not conduct focus groups on a sailing by sailing basis. We are always collecting feedback and want to hear about our guests experiences either through comment cards, surveys, or through reviews on our websites. We will however pass your suggestion on to our Marketing Research team.

Hi Adam! First, thank you and all the staff that work on your ships for making every cruise the most wonderful trip imaginable! Would you consider having longer cruises from New Jersey, Baltimore or Fort Lauderdale? We feel they are still not long enough! Of course, I’d live on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship if I could. Maybe a round trip cruise from the United States through the Mediterranean? – Susan C.

Thank you, Susan. Longer itineraries are always something we consider when it comes to deployment options for our ships. Traveling from the Northeast does have its advantages as you need some additional cruising days to get to the Caribbean ports of call. We have done research in the past with offering longer itineraries from New Jersey and Baltimore but we actually do not see as much interest when it comes to guests needing to take 2 weeks off work. We do offer 7, 9, 10, and 11 night itineraries from New Jersey on Explorer of the Seas. We also offer 7, 9, and 12 night itineraries out of Baltimore on Enchantment of the Seas. We will continue to evaluate other deployment options when it comes to longer itineraries from the Northeast.

I understand that Royal Caribbean offers internships to college students. Do you know when the 2013 summer program will be online? Also, I see you currently have an employment position open for an “Air Market Planning Specialist” and am curious to whether you will offer an internship in a similar field to this job. I am studying at the Florida Institute of Technology (studying aviation and business) and have always had a passion for anything aviation and cruise line related. – Alex M.

Opportunities for our Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for 2013 should be posted on our career site by this December or in early January. The program runs for 8 weeks between June and July and there are usually internship opportunities in every department of the Company including Air & Sea. Please check back on our career site later this year.

Dear Mr. Goldstein, my family and I have been on several Alaskan cruises, all with Royal Caribbean and one of the ports that we enjoyed the most was Sitka. We were not at the port for a long time and were looking forward to re-visiting it on our next cruise. However, we haven’t been able to find a cruise that goes to that port. I was wondering, why is it not on your list of ports to visit anymore? – Jennifer S.

Thanks for your comment and feedback in regards to our Alaskan itineraries and Sitka in particular. Sitka, Alaska is a wonderful port of call, and we do try to place it in our itineraries whenever we can. Alaska has various ships each summer and due to the congestion, there are ports which cannot be called. Alaska is like a jigsaw puzzle when it comes to fitting in ships on different days and with only 7 days to work with, Sitka has been omitted, but not forgotten. We will continue to monitor our customer feedback cards in regard to the Alaskan itineraries to see if we can make your request happen as we want to ensure we are meeting our guest’s desires when it comes to our ports of call

There is also the opportunity for guests to take a cruisetour before or after the cruise which allows you to really explore all that Alaska has to offer, including Denali, another popular Alaskan destination.

Adam, I’ve been cruising over 15 times, seven onboard Royal Caribbean. On six of the cruises with Royal Caribbean I was in the teen club. Those were the best cruises I’ve been on so far because the teen club is designed to help teens meet other teens onboard. On my most recent cruise in August onboard Oasis of the Seas, I was in the 18-20 year old group… the age group where we’re too young to drink alcohol with our older friends, but too old to easily meet people in places such as the teen club. Are there plans for a better program in the future where guests between the ages of 18-20+ can more easily meet up, similar to the 12-14 or 15-17 clubs that I was in as a teen? I think this would make it easier for families that are traveling with young adults in the border age groups. Thanks! – Brian L.

Hello Brian, there are a variety of ways 18-20+ year olds can engage and interact with other young adults onboard. Young cruisers can utilize the Community Bulletin Board to organize a meeting or party with fellow like-minded guests. Also, young adults tend to gravitate to areas such as the sports deck. And of course guests over the age of 18 are allowed to play their hand in the casino or enjoy dancing in the nightclub and visit adult only areas, such as the Solarium, Parties & Adult games shows. The one thing we do not recommend is staying in your stateroom!

Also, on all ships we offer a variety of 18-20+ programs, activities and events, which can be found in the Cruise Compass. On both Oasis and Allure of the Seas, we have a separate 18-20+ flyer which lists these activities for the 18-20+ age group.

Hi Adam, why don’t you send more Voyager class ships to Brazil? – Wania G.

Your question is an excellent one and I am glad you asked. Voyager class in Brazil is something we look at often. Currently we have other itineraries that require Voyager-class ships and we do not have one available for Brazil at this time. In the meantime, please check out the offerings of Splendour of the Seas out of Sao Paulo (Santos). Itineraries vary in length from 3 to 7 nights, and you can always plan two consecutive cruises if you want longer itineraries.

We appreciate some of the more innovative itineraries you offer, but are wondering if you are considering a Black Sea itinerary? – Ann K.

The Black Sea is a very interesting, exotic region and we would love to have ships call there. Unfortunately, there is a low bridge while traveling through the Bosporus Straits which prohibits larger vessels from entering the region. Mostly smaller size vessels, smaller than our ships, can call there as they can travel below the bridge.

Hi Adam, I know you’re an avid runner, so I’m hoping you have some love for your brethren bicyclists. Some of us would love to take our bikes on vacation with us so that we could explore the amazing ports that are offered. While I know this might cannibalize some shore excursion bookings, I don’t think the damage would be significant. Do you foresee a time when we will be able to bring our bikes onboard and make them accessible for self-guided cycling tours in ports of call? After all, you know what they call a runner with bad knees… a cyclist! – Paul K.

Hi Paul, thank you for your suggestion, this is not something we offer today but we can look into this for the future.

My comment is in regard to Explorer of the Seas out of Cape Liberty. I must say that I’m very glad our first cruise of 14, was not this one. The terminal was terrible and the ship was not up to the same standard as other aged ships we have cruised on. Some of our experiences included warm water out of the cold water faucet and lack of water while they worked on the warm water problem. Fortunately the service, cabin attendant, dining room and entertainment were top notch and as good as any of our previous cruises. I heard rumors that the terminal situation is in planning and the ship is slated for refurbishment. Would you care to tell us if either or both are in the works? Thank you. – Billy M.

I am sorry to hear that your cruise on Explorer of the Seas was not up to your and our standards. I have reached out to our Guest Port Services department in regards to the Bayonne, Cape Liberty terminal. Your comments were passed on and they will ensure that more attention is made to turn operations and the terminal as a whole. Unfortunately, I cannot speak to future plans in regards to the terminal, but we will closely monitor the situation with the port authority and see if there are things which we can do to better guest experience.

As for Explorer, she did have some improvements done in January 2010, with a full enhancement planned as part of our revitalization program.

Dear Adam, why did you change the main seating time to 5:30 from 6:00PM? That leaves little time to chat with friends at the Diamond Club before dinner. – Tina

This is a very good question, Tina, and it does come up from time to time. With over 1,100 sailings and nearly 500 itineraries (and so much more in the works), we have needed to be flexible with our onboard traditional dining times. We always try to meet the demands of the guests sailing each cruise and sometimes our most popular dining times are quite early, while on other sailings, such as those ships sailing on Latin or European itineraries, require much later dining times. Plus, we always feature My Time Dining, where you can dine in the main dining room at your own time, on every sailing across the fleet. Flexible dining times and My Time Dining helps us meet the demands of all our guests and we hope to meet your dining time expectations on your next cruise.

Hi Adam, I have gone on 14 cruises with Royal Caribbean and enjoy cruising with you very much. I have stayed in a range of rooms, including a small room all the way to the Aqua Suite onboard Oasis of the Seas, usually with my youngest granddaughter. She enjoys watching movies in the room when her parents are doing other things. My question is why don’t you have a DVD player in the suites? Since we pay a good price for these rooms for the space and convenience, it would be really nice if there was something small children could be entertained with in the room. This would really help a lot. Thanks – Virginia V.

Hi Virginia, currently all suites across the fleet have DVD players with the exception of the Oasis & Allure of the Seas. We will make sure to pass your suggestion along for these two ships.

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