Friday was a glorious day for Royal Caribbean International with sunny skies greeting the arrival of Oasis of the Seas to Port Everglades. The crew looked marvelous around the top of the ship as she entered the harbor. Our executives were hosted by the top people at Nova Southeastern University who have a beautiful piece of property at the mouth of the harbor. There were loads of people who came to the area before 7 a.m. to greet the ship despite the sub-60 degree weather (translation: very cold for Floridians). There were many media opportunities covering television, radio and newspaper. After the ship was safely at Terminal 18, Richard Fain, myself, Lisa Bauer, Harri Kulovaara and other management walked much of the ship and we were impressed by the progress during the crossing. Our inspections will continue during the weekend. We are all curious to see the planting of Central Park in operation.
I would like to thank Lisa for her outstanding guest blogs during the crossing. It strikes me that this has been the first real visibility that hotel operations has had. Another benefit of the blog as a medium. Here is Lisa’s final entry from Friday night:
We are just hours away from our arrival into Port Everglades, and the level of excitement onboard with the crew is thunderous. Captain Bill and I hosted an all crew meeting in the Royal Promenade to share all the details of our arrival and the inaugural programs and let everyone know how important the role of the crew will be when we officially welcome our first guests onboard. The expression we used is “we will never get a second chance to make a first impression”.
I’ve been so impressed with how the crew has maintained their energy level over the nearly 14 days of the crossing. They have each had roughly 103 hours of training, which is exhausting in itself, but then they also had safety drills and their everyday responsibilities on top of that daily. However, everywhere I went I saw smiling faces, and they are so proud to be here. Even more dramatic, they are so proud of this ship. We have 2161 crew from 71 different countries, and somehow it all just feels like a community and family. Everywhere I go various crew members are telling me their favorite parts of the ship. For me personally, the time I’ve been able to spend meeting various crew members or seeing crew that I’ve met on other ships has been very special. I believe all of us on the leadership team believe the crew is our “secret sauce” at Royal Caribbean.
Since the weather is now on our side, we were able to open up the Flowriders and the Carousel for the crew to experience them. The carousel went non stop all day and the crew loved riding it – the amount of photographs they took of each other was heart warming. We also opened up the Comedy Club and stress tested that venue. Captain Bill was the center of the jokes in the comedy club based on his frequent announcements, “even though we are in 60 foot seas and the weather is terrible, the ship is handling it very well.” I think the name Captain Storm will stick!
All the last minute touches are being done to ensure we are ready for our arrival, and the crew will be out on deck waiving to everyone as we approach our new home.