I arrived in Genoa on Friday for my fifth and final daily meal — an appetizer of early plane rides followed by a main course of relentless business appointments topped off with 100 to 150 emails for dessert. First we had lunch with an impressive delegation of local dignitaries including the Governor of the region (Liguria). Genoa is the company headquarters of our competitor Costa Cruises but Costa stopped using Genoa as a homeport for its ships, moving down the coast to Savona. It was nostalgic to be back here nearly 15 years after we were here doing due diligence on possibly buying Costa. Anyway, without Costa using their own “home” port, the local community is very interested in us building up our business here. I was curious to know about their view of their embattled Prime Minister Berlusconi and enjoyed the discussion.
Later in the day I found out to my great surprise that I was going to do a cover photo shoot for an Italian magazine named Gentleman. Oh no. It didn’t help when they showed me a photo of one of their team in the ridiculous pose they wanted me to assume for the cover photo – in shirt and tie sitting on a marine rope spool with an absurd oversized rain hat, an ersatz captain’s jacket draped over one shoulder and holding a sort of fishing pole like Poseidon’s trident. The photographer told me to smile like a sea wolf. Is there even such a thing as a sea wolf? Lupo di mare. I wouldn’t want to see that on a menu. The scene was so surreal that even having a black eye for the shoot made it barely more insane. Instead of America’s Next Top Model it was Italy’s Most Recent Boxing Failure Goes Fishing. Actually, my Italian colleagues are such lovely people that I survived this ordeal. And I’ll probably survive for a lot longer if the photographer loses the film.
Thank you to our country directors Robin, Roar, Belen, Tom and Lina and their teams for a week of true maximum impact notwithstanding the maximum impact to my face and ear just before the trip started. In the last 90 days I’ve visited our nine company offices in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. In every one of these places we have wonderful people who exude dedication to growing our business in their markets.
The final chapter of my tour of our foreign offices is underway. If you have been reading this blog you probably get the idea that I have traveled a lot in my 21+ years at
Royal Caribbean. Correct. You might also surmise that some trips are more memorable than others. Right again. This definitely fits into the more memorable category.
The itinerary took a lot of work and maybe a few years off the life of my assistant Marta. The jigsaw puzzle finally looked like this: Monday in London, Tuesday in Oslo, Wednesday in Madrid and Barcelona, Thursday in Frankfurt, Friday in Genoa. Maybe not the best way to enjoy Europe but we have cruises to sell and
and many other initiatives to promote. Plus I was long overdue to say hello to my team in Europe. Oasis of the Seas
All of the above would not have pushed this trip into the memorable category. But this did: Sunday morning I wanted to get one more workout in before the trip. I wanted to run my 3.7 mile loop around UM campus in record time. I started at 5:15 a.m. By 2.5 miles I was on 6.45 per mile and I knew I wasn’t going to set my course PR. But I was running fast enough that when I tripped over an unseen barrier alongside the road I wiped out injuring my toe, shoulder, cheek and most of all my ear. I jogged home and my wife did her best to help me. I was a mess. So what does one do under these circumstances with a taxi scheduled to arrive in 45 minutes to take me on a one week European trip?
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This just came in from a guest. Material like this sure makes life easier for a blogger. Way to go Charlotte! You delivered the Wow to us. And thanks to your family for contacting us.
World Record Set by Royal Caribbean – Radiance of the Seas Passenger; Set In Alaska; by Local Woman
If Charlotte Fagen had been traveling down the highway, she likely would have gotten a speeding ticket, but she was not in a car on the highway, in fact she was not in a vehicle. Charlotte was riding the world’s longest zip line in Hoonah, Alaska.
Charlotte Fagen, launch
What makes this ride amazing is not that it is over one mile long, or that it reaches speeds up to 60-miles-per hour, or that the adventure drops over 1,300 feet in the Alaskan wilderness, what is so amazing is that Charlotte is 91 years old.
Today, Charlotte Fagen of Sigourney, Iowa, holds the title as the oldest woman to have ever run the ZipRider course at Icy Strait Point in Southeastern Alaska.
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Here’s a glimpse into my table tennis activity.
Management life – We had a Board of Directors meeting last week. Obviously it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on matters we discussed with the Board. But I mention it because each of our four Board meetings per year is a big deal. Although we discuss issues that we already spend a lot of time on as management, preparing for a Board meeting really makes you think about what you are doing and saying. It isn’t just the Board meeting itself. The committee meetings the day before are important too. The audit committee is not usually an edge of the seat affair but it is a crucial component of proper governance in the 21st century. Meanwhile, the discussions we have in the safety, security and environment committee are always extremely beneficial to our oversight of the most sensitive areas of the business. I thought this was a particularly good meeting especially in light of the challenging nature of the current business environment.
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Recently someone posted that they would like to hear from a crewmember who will be serving on Oasis of the Seas. I asked Lisa Bauer about this and she knew immediately which crew she wanted to invite to write a guest entry. Lisa said this about Jacques de Kock: “For background, when I was on Brilliance of the Seas for Anchored in Excellence [Adam’s note: this is our 11 year old program where our executives visit every ship every year to meet with the crew and officers], he served us in Portofino. He was amazing. He had a great relationship with Captain Zini, and I was very impressed. He mentioned to me he was going to Oasis, but didn’t know which specialty he would be assigned. I asked him to investigate, and to tell me which one he wanted. He did his homework, and respectfully requested 150 Central Park. So, he was the very first waiter hired for 150!”
[Adam’s note – there were no edits!]:
“My Royal Caribbean.
This is just something I would love to share with others regarding the Royal Caribbean Cruise line company. I am a crewmember currently onboard the
and feel that it is important that I let all know how amazing the company is that I work for, as I am overflowing with gratitude. My name is Jacques de Kock, I am from South Africa. I have now been working for RCCL for almost two years. Brilliance of the Seas
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Last week we did a live chat with a focus on the
entertainment and activities offerings on Oasis of the Seas. Labadee came up in the discussion but I neglected to mention the newest attraction there which debuted this past week for the guests on Liberty of the Seas – Dragon’s Tail Coaster. This is an attraction that exists at some ski resorts but certainly not at any other cruise line’s private destination. I tried the one at Park City, Utah, this past winter so I would know what we were going to offer. I can’t wait to try it at Labadee.
What does it entail (no pun intended)? Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of
Labadee as you slowly rise up from the beach on Santa Maria’s lookout mountain. Once you reach 680 feet, you’ll have just enough time to catch your breath and marvel at the view before turning and whooshing down at 30 miles per hour. As you race through 360-degree turns as well as dips, waves and curves, you can catch glimpses of the ocean. Roaring down the gorgeous mountainside forest, this alpine coaster is one thrilling ride you and your family will be talking about long after you get home.
Note: Minimum age to be a single rider is 12 years old. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 may ride in the same cart with their parent/guardian. Maximum occupancy per cart is 2 persons with a maximum combined weight of 360 pounds. Total ride time is approximately 3-5 minutes. Purchase a ticket and you can take a person along in your cart for free!
• Guest price is $35.00 per person
• Minimum age to be single rider is 12 years old
• Children 5 – 11 may ride with adult in same cart
• 2-person carts with combined capacity of 360 pounds
• Total ride time is approximately 3 – 5 minutes
• Total experience is approximately 25 minutes
• Purchase a ticket and you can take a person in your same cart for free
Although Richard Fain is keeping everyone up to date in his Chairman’s Blog on Oasis of the Seas, the amazing features of this ship cannot be contained in just one blog. So I have asked Lisa Bauer to write about several innovative uses of technology that will bolster the guest experience on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and (over time) elsewhere in our fleet.
Oasis of the Seas ended up the size she did because of the variety of guest amenities we wanted to include on our newest, most innovative ship. Similarly, the number of new technological enhancements on Oasis has also been driven by our desire to substantially enhance the guest experience. We never want to use technology simply because it’s cool or new, but rather because it somehow makes the guest experience better in a transformational way. I would like to share just a few examples of new technologies we have onboard this remarkable ship and what they will do for our guests on Oasis:
1. Two new advanced reservation options
First, guests will be able to customize their
Oasis experience by utilizing our entertainment reservations system prior to sailing. We call this “show tickets.” Guests can pre book shows (including Hairspray) and each guest’s Seapass card will act as their reservation and will be swiped at entry at showtime. For those that don’t pre book their shows, we will also have a Box Office onboard for reservations as well. We recently piloted show tickets on Liberty of the Seas and it was very well received by our guests.
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Usually I’m writing about being far away from the office while headquarters is humming along doing the myriad things necessary to support the business. Today is the opposite. Many of my senior colleagues are back in Turku showing off Oasis to journalists from around the world, and I am in the office. So what goes on around here?
I spoke with both
Richard Fain and Harri Kulovaara who were in Finland on the new ship today. They sounded extremely pleased with the progress even since we all saw her two weeks ago. Two months and a day until delivery. The big Wow is approaching.
There was a crisis management preparation exercise going on throughout the morning in our training rooms. A lot of upper management was involved. The brand presidents in our company (myself, Dan Hanrahan, Larry Pimentel) expressed our support and appreciation for their participation as they got going this morning. We cannot anticipate everything that might disrupt our world, but there are a lot events and situations that are reasonably foreseeable. We practice dealing with a variety of situations and this clearly helps us even when we encounter a situation we could not have anticipated, such as the implications of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
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