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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After a few weeks of this blog, I asked myself “What have I learned?” and I wrote my impressions to that point in time. After a few months, I’m asking the same question again. Here are some updated comments in no particular order of importance:
It’s nice to receive comments. The passion for our brand is amazing and all the comments are a reminder of this. Of course many of the comments are not positive and some are downright nasty. That clearly comes with the territory and is the flip side of how much people care about what we do at Royal Caribbean International. Any time there are a lot of comments the thread tends to go all over the place and at some point or many points includes angst about what we are doing or not doing, offering or not offering. That’s clearly not going to change although hopefully the occasions where we give offense in the future will be few and far between.
Readers post comments on a regular basis wanting to know what we are going to do about topics such as the combinability of discounts or the eligibility for access to the Concierge Lounge. When I have already given answers/explanations to the best of my ability, as I have in each of these two cases, it’s hard to know what more to write. If we have any additional news on such topics, you will read about it here for sure.
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I’m in an airport (Boston Logan in this case). So what’s new? This got me thinking about where do I like to go, as opposed to where do I have to go.
There are still a lot more places I would like to go that I haven’t yet seen. Not that I’ve been a shabby tourist with visits to over 50 countries on six continents. But of the places I’ve been, one thing that surprises me after all these years is that my favorite natural phenomenon I’ve ever seen and my favorite man-made attraction I’ve ever seen are both in South America. I visited both of them 25 years ago and I haven’t seen anything more impressive since on either count.
The natural phenomenon is Iguazu Falls between Brazil and Argentina and the man-made attraction is Machu Picchu in Peru. It’s easy to research both of them so I won’t dwell on the details. Suffice it to say they’re both incredible. A slightly less incredible reminder of that trip is the distinct mark that a Saba ant’s pincers left on my ring finger in the Peruvian Amazon. Still there after 25 years! My wife is sick of that story.
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I’ve been threatening a guest entry on our ship deployment process and here it is courtesy of Diana Block, VP, Revenue Management & Deployment, and Chris Allen, Director, Deployment & Itinerary Planning. Diana and Chris also do this work for Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises not to mention that Diana is responsible for the pricing of our cruises. So we’re talking a lot of responsibility. Some of you no doubt would like more specific information on the actual choices we make (e.g., why aren’t there year round cruises out of Galveston?). Unfortunately, for legal reasons we cannot comment on those specifics in public plus we argue so much about these things in private that we don’t want to air our dirty laundry. Deployment issues are BY FAR the most frequently recurring discussion topics at my monthly staff meetings.
Diana Block, VP, Revenue Management & Deployment
Recently, Adam mentioned that readers of this blog have a keen interest in how we decide where to deploy our ships. As he said, this is a particularly difficult task as we have demand from across the US and around the world from consumers to both cruise from near their homes and to visit new and exciting places in the world. Our goal is to provide the best possible experience for our guests while delivering profitability to our shareholders. So, the big question is…how do we do this?
The process starts with a significant amount of research. It’s the feedback of our Crown & Anchor guests, potential guests and our trade partners that guide us on the types of vacations we should be offering. First, we conduct formal consumer research. Then, we actually go through the enormous task of reading every free form comment ever written on a guest comment card about itineraries or specific destinations. We augment this information with post cruise surveys on specific port experiences, and feedback from tour operators in hundreds of destinations, and from our travel agent partners.
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In June, 2009 I had the opportunity to speak at the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) annual conference at the University of Miami. MSI is where marketing professionals and academics specializing in marketing meet to understand and further each others’ interests. I gave a talk on the role of innovation in our brand. Afterwards they taped a brief segment related to the speech.
Watch the segment
The development of our global interests, even in difficult economic times, is key to our future. As a result, my most significant travel is to countries where cruise markets and/or ship deployments are very promising but in a less developed state. Often that means China, Singapore, Australia, Brazil or even Dubai where I visited last week and am pictured here with a representative from Abu Dhabi. I like to say that our guests and crew come from everywhere and our ships go everywhere. This is more obvious with each passing year. Royal Caribbean International is already a truly global brand with even more global opportunity ahead whenever the worldwide recession abates.
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On behalf of Adam and all of us here at Royal Caribbean International, we’d like to thank all of you who have taken the time to check out Adam’s new blog and leave comments on his first post. We are extremely excited by the number of visitors in our first few days and the level of discussion already taking place here. We fully encourage our readers to exercise their voice for all types of feedback, be it praise, concerns, questions or suggestions, but we also ask that you keep the conversation appropriate to the format of a blog, which is exchange of ideas and opinions. The purpose of this blog is for Adam to address important issues and questions pertaining to Royal Caribbean, share his thoughts on the industry, and provide insights into Royal Caribbean. Any unique personal customer issues regarding past or future cruises, or Royal Caribbean policies, should always be directed to Royal Caribbean customer service. If you have such an issue, please get in touch with customer service representatives at (866) 562-7625 or email us using our contact form here.
In regards to all other feedback, you can be certain that we value every opinion shared and will constantly be listening to what our readers have to say. Adam is personally following the commentary and is looking forward to the opportunity to address your thoughts and suggestions as time permits. A company blog is a unique opportunity to engage in conversation with our partners, customers, and potential customers and we look forward to using it as a platform upon which we can continue to make Royal Caribbean cruises the best offering on the market.
Hello and thank you to all who have said "Why Not take a look at this new blog?" I appreciate your time and hopefully participation as well. I’m not certain the world needs another blog but there is always incredible interest in Royal Caribbean International. If this blog can give useful insight into our world then it should be of value over time.
On April 29th, I participated in a live chat for the first time with a general market audience. Almost instantly there were over 300 questions. Clearly I (and my fellow leaders of our brand) need to make ourselves available online on a regular basis. This blog should serve as a forum for me to address overarching questions such as the Nation of Why Not campaign, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, itinerary planning, our Crown & Anchor loyalty program, Swine Flu, etc., new products and services, our amazing people, etc. Of course, for those of you who are keenly interested in following the remainder of the construction process of Oasis of the Seas, our Chairman & CEO Richard Fain is blogging about that at
A CEO blog is typically a mix of personal and professional stuff. Your comments and questions will be the arbiter of that mix so I very much look forward to hearing from you. As it happens, I am writing my first blog on the day of the
Miami Corporate Run. I have been working towards this day for two years and I definitely have that race day feeling. In fact, I was able to draft this first blog entry because I am looking to do anything and everything to keep myself occupied between now and 6:45 p.m. when almost 20,000 people start this crazy and even somewhat dangerous 5k race.
It’s been a pleasure sitting down and writing my first blog post. Thanks to you all who have come to visit my blog. I encourage you to post comments, and look forward to interacting with you.