Behind the Scenes: Cruising in Australia & Asia

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My travels recently took me to Sydney, Hong Kong, Tianjin and Shanghai.  It was a productive trip that reconfirmed how compelling the cruise market development is in that part of the world.  It was also a reminder of the region’s vast distances.  In total I spent just under 60 hours in the air and probably set a new personal record of six consecutive nights of dinners on airplanes.  In fact, I was on a plane 10 days in a row and never stayed in the same place for two consecutive nights!

The cruise market in Australia has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years.  The country has a strong maritime tradition and an innate ability to justify taking long breaks from work in order to go on holidays in the vicinity of Australia as well as throughout the world.  There are great places to see and the people are extremely friendly and upbeat.  The challenge in Australia, as I have mentioned in previous entries in this space, is the need for Sydney in particular to augment its infrastructure so that the industry’s newer, larger ships can homeport there.  As always when I am in Sydney, I meet with government officials in New South Wales to advocate for infrastructure investment.  Another thing I get to do when I am there is a long run in and around the Opera House and the Botanic Gardens.  That is really special.

The purpose of my fly-by of Hong Kong was to see the new, almost finished Kai Tak cruise terminal.  Wow, this is really going to be an impressive facility when it is completed this fall.  In mid-June we tested it out as a port of call when Mariner of the Seas was making her way to China.  This fall the new terminal will serve as a homeport for a few sailings in between the northern summer season in China and the southern summer season in Singapore and Australia.  If you are a cruiser you want to have the experience of sailing in or out of Hong Kong Harbor.  The new terminal at Kai Tak will massively enhance this experience.  Note to long time Royal Caribbean loyalists – the former Sun Viking was at anchor in Hong Kong harbor.

MA0613_Adam's Visit_02

In Tianjin we officially inaugurated our new training facility in conjunction with Tianjin Maritime College.  Both my hosts from Tianjin and my colleagues from Human resources were beaming with pride as we planted two “friendship trees” outside the new campus and spoke to the current student body which is there to train for all sectors of shipping.  The “Royal Operations Training Center” will provide thousands of well-prepared future crew to Royal Caribbean ships in the Asia/Pacific region and around the fleet.  For those of you who have not heard of Tianjin before or only know it as the port city for the Beijing region, it is a city of 13 million people!

In Shanghai the focus was the first call of Mariner of the Seas to Wusongkou terminal in the Baoshan District of Shanghai, i.e., the large new terminal that juts into the Yangtze River.  It was a festive occasion onboard hosted by Captain Nielsen, Hotel Director Shenk and Mariner’s outstanding officers and crew. The DreamWorks characters added to the proceedings on a hot, sunny day in Shanghai.  At the airport at night I ran into one of our guests who had cruised on Mariner from Galveston to Shanghai.  He showed me a group photo of the 20 or so hardy souls who made that 17,725 nautical mile journey.  Tough life!

If you’re in North America and you’re thinking you would like to visit Asia but it’s so far away, I have some advice for you.  Go.  Especially to one of our ships in the region.

mgmtteamsmall

  • Sandra

    Great news ! We are hoping to do a few cruises in the far east over the next few years.
    Never thought I’d say it but getting bored of the Caribbean & Med and would like somewhere new.
    Please send over some of the larger ships and bring out itinerarys at the same time as other destinations, as we book far ahead if time to get best rooms together

  • Pedro Jesus

    Hello.
    I would like to know why the cruises are finished to Dubai, because i try to check in the website of Royal Caribbean future cruises to Dubai and i don´t find and also i all ready saw the new catalogue and don`t find too.
    And it will be very good to have ships leaving from Lisbon, and do the mediterranean too in the summer.
    Other question is why Royal Caribbean don´t have cruise ships in south africa like others cruises companies.
    Thank you for answer me.
    Best regards.

    Pedro Jesus

  • Milla

    Adam that is so wonderful to be able to travel like that….. I am planning a very long cruise to far away places that I have never been to…I am going to pack my bags and set sail on a cruises that lasts thirty of forty days..and Royal Caribbean will take me there….

  • Suzanne Brunelle

    I am a single mom of an adopted chinese girl. She is now 12 and I will do everything in my power to save enough money to take a cruise to Asia. I have heard many great comments on Royal Carribean. I have done one cruise in the past with another company but I am now sold to Royal Caribbean. I keep looking at the videos of Oasis: looks like paradise… only better :)

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Thank you for the kind words, Suzanne. We hope to see you onboard.

  • http://www.bolee.com/ Bolee

    Cruising would mean a long awaited dream come true. What an amazing and fairy-tale like experience it would be. Sailing off in the deep blue oceans and watching the refreshing sunrises and the breathtaking sunsets along with the beautiful kaleidoscopes of colors. Simply ethereal and fantastic!

  • Donna

    Hi Adam,
    I really appreciate the opportunity to ask you questions directly. I have been reading about propulsion issues on the Allure. Can you elaborate on that situation. Have a cruise booked for May 2014 and am concerned. Thanks.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Hi Donna – Allure of the Seas currently has a small restriction on her top speed. All equipment is fully operational and there is no impact on the maneuverability of the ship or on the safety of our guests and crew.