This week is the Royal Caribbean International Fleet Operations Leadership Conference in Orlando. We have many of our Captains and Hotel Directors and some of our Chief Engineers and HR Managers there plus our shoreside leaders and guests from authors to travel agent producers to our onboard retail partners. Richard Fain and I kicked off the conference with a lively Q&A session. What a pleasure it is to be around this group of people. The longevity of some of the Captains is remarkable – several were reminiscing about being on Song of Norway in 1971. The focus of the conference is on the functioning of the shipboard Executive Committees because the success of a ship is a direct reflection of the success of the EC.
There are lots of things to discuss with this group and of course one of them is our continued global development. Among other things we will have 10 of our 22 ships in Europe in the summer of 2011. Just a few years ago we would not have imagined such a scenario. Over the next 90 days we will be releasing all of our itineraries from spring 2011 to spring 2012 for sale.
Almost any crisis in the world affects us. We are saddened by the destruction and casualties in Chile. While we don’t have as much involvement there as we do in Haiti, our sister line Celebrity Cruises operates out of Valparaiso, we are represented in Chile for sales and marketing by Interexpress and we had well over 100 crew there on vacation. While we are not aware of any of our own people who were killed or injured in the earthquake, there are some friends and family who lost their lives. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all Chileans.
On a much more positive note we have now accounted for all of our Haitian crew who were on vacation at the time of the earthquake there. Just after January 12th it seemed like we might not be able to account for dozens of employees. After weeks of little progress we have now made contact with everyone. We are very pleased about this but always mindful that many, many others were not so fortunate.