The winter/spring “season” is over here in sunny, hot South Florida and with the end of it many of the ships have left the Caribbean for Europe or Alaska. I was driving to Miami Beach and upon seeing Liberty of the Seas at the Port of Miami it reminded me that next year at this time the only Royal Caribbean International ship at the Port of Miami will be Majesty of the Seas on Mondays and Fridays. A number of readers and others have remarked on this and I would like to comment on it.
First, we will continue our long term relationship with the Port of Miami and look forward to having other ships besides Majesty of the Seas based there in the future.
Second, we made a substantial commitment to Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood) when we did the deal that resulted in the new Terminal 18 and the homeporting of Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. One of the driving factors behind the transition of some of our ships to Port Everglades was to ensure we were on course to fulfill our commitment.
Third, while Port Everglades and the Port of Miami each have their advantages, we are very pleased to be able to leverage the proximity of Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood airport to Port Everglades. It’s remarkable how close together the port and airport are. That is a real convenience for our guests. Of course we realize many people will still fly in via Miami’s airport and we will continue to offer a robust transfer service.
Except for a few odds and ends, we’re essentially finished with the release of our itineraries through the spring of 2012. This month we begin the annual deployment cycle all over again with internal strategic conversations about the summer of 2012 and the winter of 2012/13. Ultimately those discussions will produce a new set of announcements beginning in eight months.
Sometimes we are so fixated on the calendar for two years from now that we lose track of the dates for the year we’re still in. One difference about the upcoming cycle is we don’t have a new ship coming into service for the first time since 2005 and only the second time since 1994.
Quick note #1 – at this point the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico does not pose an issue for our ships. Of course we are monitoring the spill for any unexpected developments but we have no ships in the area at this time.
Quick note #2 – our contract with Park West Art Services has expired and we have decided not to renew it. There is a wind down period in effect and the art auctioneers will finish on different ships at different times over the next few months. We are evaluating what if any art-related programming we may offer in the fleet in the future beyond Oasis of the Seas where Art Actually is our provider of art tours and art for purchase onboard.
Quick note #3 – speaking of monitoring things we are once again following the volcanic ash eruptions from Iceland that are affecting airspace in Portugal and Spain. Barcelona Airport was closed on Saturday and we began to activate contingency plans that might affect the turnaround in Barcelona on Sunday. In the event the turnaround went well.