Occasionally I like to relate items I come across in the company progress report. Here are a few from this week:
Choice Air – slowly but surely we are reaching milestones, albeit slower than I would have imagined. Nearly 30% of our guests who are booking flights as well as cruises through us, are now booking their air through our Choice Air offering, rather than through our traditional air/sea offering. Choice Air allows the travel agent or guest, to compare and then select the best air deals available in the market vs. any air offer that Royal Caribbean has negotiated with the airlines. The same protections that we provide traditional air/sea customers in case of unforeseeable events, such as the volcanic ash, are also provided to Choice Air customers. Plus, flight number and seat assignments are available at time of booking. Choice Air is a major enhancement to our air offering and we need to do a better job of communicating this feature.
ValidFill Soda Dispensers – We sell a lot of Unlimited Fountain Soda Packages either in advance of the cruise or during the cruise. Until now, if you wanted to get your free refills you needed to find one of our bar staff, which on the pool deck often entailed waiting at the pool bar including for children. That is beginning to change. Freedom of the Seas will soon have two soda dispensers on the pool deck that detect a chip implanted in the bottom of the Coca Cola soda mug and provide the refill automatically based on the presence of the chip. Majesty of the Seas has had one of these units as a test and we are very pleased with the results. Our goal is to extend this fleetwide.
Royal Celebrity Tours 10th Anniversary – In the “we really are getting old” column, on April 21st we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the incorporation of Royal Celebrity Tours (RCT). During this decade we have provided approximately 250,000 cruise guests with fabulous land extensions to their cruises, usually in Alaska and usually featuring a segment on our state of the art Alaska train cars. We have also branched out our portfolio to include cruisetours in most parts of the world where we deploy our ships. The quality of the offerings has been extremely high since RCT’s inception and I am very proud of what this group has accomplished. Kudos to Craig Milan, Bob Stone, Andy Nelson, Maggie Kelly, Stephen Franz and the entire RCT team for a great 10 years.
- The 5k corporate run in Miami last Thursday was fun but frustrating. My fancy GPS watch was telling me I was having the race of my life, but the race clock had a different version of the facts and I didn’t even achieve a personal best. Meanwhile, a top runner my age entered the CEO competition and although I was much closer to him (13 seconds) than in any previous race, the bottom line is I did not defend my title. Finally, although we finished first in our division in the co-ed competition, we also failed to defend last year’s overall city title. I have already picked up the intensity of my training. I want to congratulate our ladies who easily defended our city title in the women’s competition.
- Last night I received the International Golden Compass Award at a fund-raiser for Seafarers’ House which is based in Port Everglades. Crew can take a break from their ships and go to Seafarers’ House to eat, shop, hang out, communicate with family, pray, and more. It was a nice affair, we raised a lot of money and I very much appreciated the honor. The event gave me the opportunity to publicly express how fortunate all of us in the industry are that crew are willing to work on our ships for a living. Without them there is no cruise or cargo shipping business.