Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

Guest Post: Bark Blog

Psychology 101 teaches us that first and last impressions have a disproportionately large impact on memory formation. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the process of departing a cruise figures prominently in our guests’ recollection of their experience with Royal Caribbean International. Guests have been asking us for a long time to improve the debark experience. Lisa Bauer, our Senior VP, Hotel Operations is my guest today to tell you what have done in this regard. Congratulations to Lisa and her team as well as Craig Milan and his Guest Port Services team for moving us forward in this important area.

Lisa Bauer

Lisa Bauer

You may wonder why I’ve titled this particular blog “bark” and what it could possibly mean. The subject matter is actually about the enhancements we’ve made to the departure, or debark processes. So, when we formed the working team to review guest feedback, recommendations and current practices with a focus on materially changing the process, my staff thought that it would be fun to name the project “Bark” because I love pets and have 3 dogs, and that it would be one of my favorite projects if it was named “bark.”
The review of the “bark” processes highlighted that we had the opportunity to improve the guest experience.
Before I get into the disembarkation process I wanted to make one small comment regarding our embarkation process. One of the best ways our guests can ensure a speedy embark process is to complete the online ‘Set Sail’ check-in prior to arrival. This greatly expedites the process so that you can be well on your way to enjoying a wonderful cruise vacation.
With regard to our disembarkation procedures our customers told us what was most important to them was not to be “kicked out of their rooms at 6am;” that all the announcements created a hectic environment; and that we had the opportunity to improve the overall experience. We also had some challenges with the length of time the process takes. The majority of these items are directly in our control, so we listened to the feedback and made changes. However, to truly have an expedited departure, we are also highly dependent on the local customs and border patrol staffing and support, and this is an area that we don’t directly control. We continue to work with local officials to improve in this area as well.
Based on the suggestions and requests, on departure day, guests now have extended access to their staterooms, as well as continued in-stateroom TV entertainment. In addition, guests are receiving an “As You Depart” notice the day before departure, which communicates the location of departure lounges offering refreshments and light entertainment as well as information related to local immigration and customs and the anticipated timing of departure for various groups. We also saw the opportunity to ensure that families had a unique experience, so one of the departure lounges is now a dedicated Family Zone, which will include refreshments, toys and games geared toward younger cruisers. One of the key highlights of the new process is the minimal amount of ship-wide public announcements all morning to maintain a relaxing atmosphere, with nearly all departure updates limited to the departure lounges and through the in-stateroom TV programming. The overall feedback so far has been very favorable, and we continue to focus on how we can improve both the embark and debark process.

16 responses to:
“Guest Post: Bark Blog”

  1. tom young

    I live on the Canadian Border in Vermont so going through the identification process is important and takes time. Realizing again your company isn’t trying to start the cruise process by pissing people off and you have to do what is needed to keep 2200 to 6000 people safe and happy is no easy task. I have never felt hassled by the registration process. It is just the anticipation of the good time you are about to embark on makes every minute seem like an hour. One time the phote machine broke at the port but that was another cruise line and we won’t go there. Please keep doing whatever it is you do to keep us safe and improve where you can to make it user friendly. I can only imagine the first time the Oasis sails the crunch there will be at the port. Good Luck in trying to figure all that out.


  2. John Longcrier

    I am disappointed that we cannot take advantage of our shareholder on board credit benefit in addition to the Diamond level discount on a balcony cabin. This does not seem fair! we may as well shop another cruise line for sales on balcony cabins!

  3. nolan

    The debarking process is done every well in my Mind.
    never had a problem getting off. Keep up the good Work
    RCL. Thanks for help me have a nice vacation.
    When I Go Cruzing

  4. Juergen Haar

    The idea sounds very good, BUT twice we had to participate in the Express Departure to make our plane connection. Twice there were about a thousand people doing express departure and carrying their luggage themselves. So we took a later flight next time and waited in the lounge provided by the Crown and Anchor club. After 15 min. the coffee and donuts were gone, there was no one to talk to, etc, etc.
    Lets hope that under the new concept this will change.If it works, we shall be very grateful.

  5. Patricia hunter

    Thanks for improving the departure procedure. We like to enjoy every moment of our RCCL cruises and maybe stay up a little to late on the last night. We feel better if our luggage could be found more easily especially on the larger ships leaving from Miami.

    Now we know why we sail RCCL. We’re Phillies fans, too!

  6. thomas lamb

    Our departure from Grandeur of the Seas at Norfolk, Va. in May 2009. We were able to depart in less than two hours. We have used this port several times and have been very pleased with the service.

  7. RCL4EVer

    I do hope things have improved since my Independence cruise (November, 2008). Debarkation was total chaos! The “new” process was being implemented and was a disaster!!! We were still asked to vacate our cabins early (8am) and the TV’s were off by 7am. The only channel available was CNN or MSNBC (can’t remember exactly which one). Debarkation needs to take place at the both ends of the ship. People had to walk (elderly and physically challenged) all the way from the back of the ship to the front and down 4 flights of stairs to debark!!!

  8. Edna taylor

    We have taken two RC cruises on the Freedom and we have booked a Loft Suite for 9/11/10 and cannot wait. We love everything about RC, ESPECIALLY, the Flowrider and now we will have TWO to chose from. My only issue with debarkation is that my cruise has to end :( Maybe a little extra time, some nice calipso music while we leave the ship will help keep everyone upbeat because I don’t know about the other passengers, but I could very easily turn around and unpack my bags for another week :)

  9. H. Steele

    Love the title of your blog…. glad to know you like pets and dogs, also! We would like to compliment you and RCCL for the wonderful people you have in your “chain of command”. We would especially like to say how wonderful we feel Anthony Curtis and Robert Taggert are! As are so many others who work in the “Hotel Operations” on your ships…
    As to the embarkation process we feel the pier staff do a wonderful job at the Miami Port… with many challenges, yet still they are professional, friendly and get the job done. The disembarkation process in Miami works very well… most of the time… as you mentioned… you can’t control all the factors. We have had problems at Port Everglades… do think some of the ships have some challenges… both with the execution of on-board systems as well as physical challenges. The new system of allowing a more leisurely debark process should help…. and coffee/refreshments always makes things more pleasant…. in fact that would be nice in the terminals before boarding :-)

  10. Debbie Robinson

    I think a key component of the debarkation process is out of your control. I totally appreciate the extra effort, extended hours, snacks, entertainment diversions that are currently in place (yes-I most definitely noticed as we disembarked on our Mariner cruise), but you can’t control people’s temperament. I find people simply aren’t as agreeable at the end of their vacation and that likely isn’t going to change. Improving the process and offering comforts is great, but once those lines start snaking around corridors, elevators, stairs, etc. it becomes a free for all!! And invariably, 1% of the population will make it extraordinarily unenjoyable for the 99% of those who can manage an inconvenient hour of waiting their turn! (P.S. I’d like to think I’m part of the 99% – keep up the good work)

  11. Alva Medbery

    I truly enjoy RC and have found in the past that they were the best cruise line. I am not so sure of that today. We just returned from a Venice cruise and I found RC a little cheap. They have taken away the little fancy things that made them RC. Candy on the pillow at night and the little things we all took for granted. Selling botttled water when you are checking in at the peir. Shame on you! How could you ever let people think that the water on board is not safe to drink!

  12. cheryl Brawders

    My concern is Embarkation. We have had problems with long lines at both Port Everglades and Vancouver B.C. I feel there needs to be expedited lines for Platinum, Suite guests & above prior to customs not just after. This is where the lines are the longest. While we appreciate the seperate lines afterward it’s before customs that has been horribly long. You keep taking away Diamond Level ammenities how about getting us on quicker…….

  13. Ernest Shepard

    This is our first cruise with RCL. We have cruised on three other lines. Hopefully debarkation will not be a night mare as with the others. Passengers need to be treated as nice leaving as when they came on board. We are looking forward to this being a enjoyable cruise.

  14. Maria

    I just returned from the Nickolodean Cruise on the Mariner of the Seas. I was impressed with the organiazation of the embarkation process until I went to retrieve my 3 pieces of luggage. Only 2 were in the cdesignated colored area. Apparently a patron fell to check their luggage tag and accidently to my luggage. The RCCL staff was very helpful in their attempt to locate my luggage. They attempted to contact the person that left their bag in the waiting area. Luckily I had an identifiable tag on my luggage and was able to describe to an RCCL staff. The staff went outside and by the grace of god spotted my luggage and was able to make the swithc. I would encourage all patrons to check their luggate tags and RCCL staff should encourage this too.

  15. Robert Lorrey

    We love the new disembarkation process. We particularly appreciate being able to stay it our cabin until our group is called.

    I have one request. Please enable the TV’s while we wait in our room so we can watch programming, while simultaneously scrolling information about the current disembarking group (and all previously called groups) across the bottom of the screen.

    I realize your systems may not currently be able to handle this, but please consider it in any future upgrades or new builds.

  16. JinLeeHui

    Thanks for your post and that wonderful blog you are running!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Connect With us

Tab indicator
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@tmsc14 Can you please tell us which ship you were waiting to board? Thank you.
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@Anju_Gattani We're sorry to hear about this. Please visit to provide us with more details of your experience.
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@antonia_chelle So soon! What are you most excited for onboard?
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@_SookStackHouse You can find all of our current openings here: Good luck!
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
We're excited to welcome @chefmschwartz as Quantum's Culinary Advisor. Peek inside his menu at Michael's Genuine Pub.
Explore even more of the world. See where your favorite ship is sailing from in 2015.
When are you constantly moving, but always in the same place? 
Next step in building #QuantumOfTheSeas: putting the azipods into place.
Countdown to November: Today the final block of #QuantumOfTheSeas was moved into place. 
You've got questions, he's got answers. CEO Adam Goldstein is hosting a Google hangout today at 1:30 / 12:30 CST to talk about Quantum dining: 
Watch Adam Goldstein and Moderator Colleen McDaniel as they answer questions and discuss the latest innovations coming to Quantum of the Seas
Get a taste of our next Quantum reveal. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement next week.
Disembark to a new world. #norway  
So much more to explore.  #stmaarten  
Cross Europe off your bucket list. Booking is now open for Anthem of the Seas and Allure of the Seas 2015 sailings (and Allure has a few new stops on her itinerary): 

JavaScript and Flash are required to view video content. View the playlist on YouTube.

  • Swim with dolphins i Swim with dolphins in Roatan, Honduras. 5 hours + 17 minutes ago
  • Glowing pink sunset Glowing pink sunset in Bathsheba Beach, Barbados. 5 hours + 17 minutes ago
  • Bridgetown, Barbados Bridgetown, Barbados in the crystal clear Caribbean. 5 hours + 17 minutes ago
  • A taste of the Medit A taste of the Mediterranean. The Greek farro salad at Michael's Genuine Pub is made from the freshest ingredients available. ... 1 day + 5 hours ago
  • The banana toffee pa The banana toffee panini. Simple, sweet, sublime. Enjoy it this November at Michael's Genuine Pub. #MGPUB #quantumoftheseas ... 1 day + 5 hours ago
  • The ultimate comfort The ultimate comfort food: thick-cut potato chips with pan-fried onion dip pairs perfectly with Michael’s Genuine Home Brew. ... 1 day + 5 hours ago
  • Love 150 Central Par Love 150 Central Park? We're partnering with Michael Schwartz again to create his newest restaurant onboard Quantum of the ... 1 day + 5 hours ago
  • See every shade of b See every shade of blue. #caribbean 2 days + 49 minutes ago
  • See you soon. #oasis See you soon. #oasisoftheseas #cruise 2 days + 2 hours ago
  • Cool your feet in Du Cool your feet in Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica. 2 days + 4 hours ago
  • The banana toffee panini. Simple, sweet, sublime. Follow the link our profile to see the full menu for Michael's Genuine Pub.
  • A taste of the Mediterranean. The Greek farro salad at Michael's Genuine Pub, made from the freshest ingredients available. (Follow the link in our profile to see the full menu.)
  • The ultimate comfort food: thick-cut potato chips with pan-fried onion dip. Coming this November to Michael's Genuine Pub onboard Quantum of the Seas. (Link to full menu in our profile.)
  • Love 150 Central Park? We're partnering with Michael Schwartz again to create his newest restaurant onboard Quantum of the Seas. All this week we're giving you a sneak peek of the menu (or follow the
  • When are you constantly moving, but always in the same place?
  • Your chance to be the captain.
  • Skip along the tree tops in St. Maarten.
  • Not to be missed in Labadee: speeding 30 mph down the Santa Maria Mountain on our Dragon's Tail coaster.
  • We're one step closer to Quantum's maiden voyage. The construction team at Meyer Werft
 in Papenburg, Germany has moved her azipods into place.
  • See CocoCay by kayak (and check in this weekend for our favorite adventures in Labadee and St. Maarten, too).
Why Everyone Should Get Involved and Volunteer Everywhere

Friday, April 18, 2014 11:50 AM

GIVE Day (Get Involved Volunteer Everywhere) is the corporate global volunteer day for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and is our largest employee community event. My name is Helen O’Connell, Manager... Continue Here to Read More…

Quantum Class Ships: Empowering Guests to Take Full Control of Their Dining Experience

Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:14 PM

Hi everyone. I’m excited to begin our Quantum of the Seas blog series by sharing details about a new approach to dining at sea onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum Class ships. Our... Continue Here to Read More…

How to Connect with a Colleague When You Have Conflicting Interests

Monday, March 10, 2014 10:11 AM

We are not all the same.  Not in life and not in business.  As a consequence, maintaining a healthy perspective on differences among people is a critical success factor in a business career. Some... Continue Here to Read More…

Humorous Travel Stories

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 3:30 PM

It might be my impending trip to Shanghai for dinner with four red eye flights in five nights.  I want to believe this will be tolerable.  So I find myself thinking of some of the humorous things I... Continue Here to Read More…

Why We Needed Bumper Cars to Go Head to Head

Friday, February 14, 2014 1:56 PM

Guest post by Nick Weir I’m Nick Weir, the Vice President of Entertainment at Royal Caribbean International.  As usual we’ve been hard at work and are very focused on Quantum of the Seas in... Continue Here to Read More…

She’s Back…Navigator of the Seas Emerges After Massive Makeover

Friday, February 7, 2014 6:20 PM

Guest blog by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo It’s a very exciting week for us here at Royal Caribbean International. After spending a month in drydock, we’re pleased to announce Navigator of the Seas is... Continue Here to Read More…

Productivity Hacks: Build a Great Team at Work and at Home

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 12:35 PM

When you live at the outer limits of multitasking, you never feel productive enough. So it’s nice of LinkedIn to assign a topic on the premise that I am in fact productive. Time is the scarce... Continue Here to Read More…

Why Project Radiance Didn’t Turn Out as Planned

Monday, January 13, 2014 3:00 PM

A reader recently asked if there was a time where I did something and it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, and what I did after that.  There are probably many relevant examples, but the one... Continue Here to Read More…

The Importance of Shipyard Visits

Monday, January 6, 2014 5:59 PM

Recently I visited both shipyards that are currently building ships for Royal Caribbean International.  First I traveled to Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany (builders of Quantum of the Seas,... Continue Here to Read More…

Looking Forward to 2014

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:17 PM

Happy New Year to all of our loyal readers and especially to our loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers.  As we head from one intense year in the cruise industry to the next, I would like to express my... Continue Here to Read More…