Continuing with our international theme this week, I thought it would be appropriate to invite Michael Bayley, our Senior Vice President, International, to be my guest blogger for today. As you can tell from my own posts, our international business is near and dear to my heart. It has been a year and a half since I asked Michael to take on the role of driving our global growth. You can see he already has the passion for it that I have had since I became VP, International Sales & Marketing in 1991.
Hello and greetings from Tokyo, Japan, where my travels for Royal Caribbean have taken me as we prepare for the Legend of the Seas Asia season. I think that I may have the most interesting job in the company as I am responsible for growing our business in all of the international markets outside of North America. This year, over one million guests have sailed with us from those markets. [Adam's note: in 1991 we had 26,000 international guests, i.e. now we have 40 times more international business!] We have offices in London and Manchester, UK; Oslo in Norway; Barcelona and Madrid in Spain; Genoa in Italy; Frankfurt in Germany; Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in China; and we recently opened offices in Sydney, Australia. Next week I will be in Sao Paolo, Brazil where we are opening our Brazilian office.
I meet people from all over the world, travel to some of the most exciting cities and interact with business leaders from so many different cultures, all brought together through the love of cruising and the strength and reputation of our brand. Every day I learn something new and every day I begin to understand how all people are fundamentally the same, with a desire to have fun, enjoy their families, work and play and to be treated with respect. One of the greatest joys I have is speaking about Oasis of the Seas and watching the excitement in people’s eyes as they contemplate the fun they can have experiencing Oasis or selling and marketing such a product.
It’s hard to believe that I have been with Royal Caribbean since 1981. Wow, a scary 28 years have passed by and what’s even scarier is that I seriously don’t know what happened to that time. It sounds strange but for all of these years I have never thought I have had a job. It’s been a way of life, a part of me – from the time I first walked onboard the Nordic Prince (who remembers that beautiful lady?) as an Assistant Purser and for more than 10 years traveling the world on Nordic Prince, Song of Norway, Song of America, Sun Viking, Sovereign of the Seas and Nordic Empress as part of a team delivering outstanding vacations or as we used to say “excellent” vacations. So time has passed and our brand has gone from strength to strength and as I look into the future, it seems even more exciting.
The only downside to my travels (I have to put something in or Adam may propose a pay cut [Adam's note - thanks for the idea, Michael]) is that I miss my family – my lovely wife and two beautiful sons, Thiago and Romeo. The other challenge is jet lag as I literally pass through so many time zones that I have now become the king of cat naps (this explains why I sometimes fall asleep in meetings – just kidding). Well, that’s it for me folks. My first blog! Who would have thought I would be blogging from Tokyo.