Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

The Royal Oldies: An Ocean-Sized Reunion

My name is Michael Bayley and I am the Executive Vice President, International at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  Since joining Royal Caribbean in 1981 as Assistant Purser on the Nordic Prince I have worked with so many wonderful and talented people. Too many to count and too many to remember.

Over the years as I bumped into former shipboard and shoreside colleagues literally all over the world we would share our many memories and re-live some magical moments. Many times we would say good bye with the words “we really should get all the oldies together, it would be a blast”.

So about nine months ago I was on the phone with Michelle Wedig, a former shipboard colleague in the 80′s, and we were laughing about some of our escapades and Michelle said “you know we really should try to get all the old timers together”. Not sure why exactly, but perhaps as we had been talking about those characters that had recently passed on it seemed so right.

We decided “The Royal Oldies” needed to happen and off we went with a committee of two. We soon expanded the group to include my secretary, Eileen Szep another 30 year veteran, along with Linda Givens from Entertainment, Linda Thomas Smith, Pura Fritzius and Francisca Phillips from Human Resources, Casandra Guillen from our travel department and Sue Updike from Facilities and another veteran.

We had the idea! We had a team! How would we connect with so many people spread all over the world?

Facebook of course! We set up the “Royal Oldies Reunion” Facebook page and literally within a few weeks word had spread far and wide. It was amazing how many former colleagues from as far away as Australia, France, Norway, Ecuador, Thailand, Europe, throughout Latin America and all across the U.S.A. and Canada responded.

We found a great location for the event and set about working through the details. The team worked tirelessly to create a night to remember. Actually it was a weekend to remember.  September 17th at the Hilton in Fort Lauderdale overlooking the port where Oasis and Allure call home, we had a party. The Royal Oldies Reunion.

From the 70′s, 80′s, 90′s, 00′s, current and former colleagues gathered. The list of attendees was like the who is who of Royal Caribbean history.  The people who helped create and build such a wonderful company. 362 people attended, which is more than the entire crew of the Song of Norway in 1972.

Captain Stangeland, Cruise Director Tony Benade, EVP Sales and Marketing Rod McLeod, VP Hotel Operations Frank Basso, Karen Tritley Director of Revenue, Alan Sepe and Delvin Litchmore from Beverage operations, four hotel directors: Al Martin, Roderick Smith, David Armitage and Daibhidh Dent, Bill & Shelley Witiak from the Cruise Staff, Cruise Directors Jeff Martin and Paul Rutter to name just a few!

Captain Tor Stangeland & Michael Bayley

Our Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Mr. Ken Rush who is currently Allure of the Seas’ Cruise Director. He entertained us all throughout the evening making fun and bringing various personalities back to life. What memories.

Adam and Richard Fain (both eligible and fully paid up Oldies) spoke eloquently about our company, our success and how all of us had contributed to build such a company.

I read a letter from Peter G. Whelpton one of the first employees of the company who had sat with Mr. Stephan in his home as they made plans to start Royal Caribbean.

Our entertainment was first class with Kelly Monteith, Levent, the amazing Mr. Hal Frazier and Private Stock. Ken kept the evening alive with great stories and humour.  We all laughed! Cheered! And the noise of people sharing the sheer excitement and surprise of seeing friends from so many years ago was joyful.

We had old photographs and displayed a montage of memories.  Our menu covers at dinner were from the 70′s and 80′s. Russ Bogue who heads our facilities team and a collector of memorabilia brought multiple displays of old brochures, landing cards, souvenir passenger lists, marketing campaigns and new ship introductions! Do you remember what everyone said about the Song of America back in 1982? It’s too big!

As the night went on, the talking and excitement grew! We even had Eon Green one of the original shipboard photographers, set up for portraits! What a blast the night was. Full of happiness. So many people had grown families now it was a delight to see so many characters. Bret from the 80′s cruise staff wore his original blue jacket and white pants cruise staff uniform. It still fit him and looked great.

Michelle and Bret in his original blue jacket

The evening was truly memorable. So many friends, so many memories, so many stories to tell and lives to catch up on. A wonderful event in Royal style!

14 responses to:
“The Royal Oldies: An Ocean-Sized Reunion”

  1. penny lesavoy

    Hi Michael, Everyone is still talking about the great evening. Of course the only bummer was it was too short. Thanks so much to you and the team for putting this together. My 7 years onboard RCCL were better than my college days and the friendships and memories I made will keep me smiling and a warmth in my heart forever. How about every 5 years?? Hugs!

    • Adam

      We’re happy to hear you had such a great time at the reunion, Penny.

  2. Neomi D'Souza

    Great to see that Royal Caribbean head office appreciates past employees!

  3. Meredith McKie

    I was a guest at the hotel that night waiting to board the Allure the next day. It was great to see old co-workers having that reunion!

    • Adam

      We hope you had as much of a great time onboard Allure as they had celebrating at the reunion.

  4. Rick Strunck

    Greetings to all,
    Sounds like a great time was had by all; I’m sorry I missed it, Unfortunately, I had a prior engagement to visit the ports of Northern Norway (a region I had not explored previously). Hopefully, the success of the first reunion will be the catalist for a subsequent gathering in the future. If so, I’ll certainly be there to relive the early days of the best cruise line in the world!

    Bon voyages!
    Rick Strunck
    (RCL’s first itinerary planner)

    • Adam

      We’re sorry to hear you missed it, but certainly Northern Norway was something that could not be passed up. We hope to have you back for the next reunion.

  5. Teresa Byars

    Love the article and brought back great memories of our honeymoon cruise on Monach of the Seas in Sept of ‘93. This was our first cruise and had the chance to meet Capt Strangeland and take a pic w/ him which we still have in our scrapbook. He made such a lasting impression…and so glad to see his pic in the article. We have become loyal RCCL members since then and will be taking our 9th cruise this Dec. out of Galeston.

    • Adam

      We are happy to hear you had such a great time onboard so many years ago and that you have continued to sail with us. We are lucky to have cruisers as dedicated as yourselves.

  6. William Parada o

    Señores Royal Caribbean cruises:
    Me gustaria saber como me puedo incorporar laboralmente con ustedes, tengo experiencia en barcos de turismo pues trabaje un tiempo en costa cruseros, ahora resido en españa y me gustaria volver a trabajar en esta compañia.
    gracias por la informacion que me puedan suministrar.

    Royal Caribbean Cruises Gentlemen:
    I wonder how I can incorporate occupationally me with you, I have experience working as tourist boats on the coast time Cruisers, now reside in Spain and would like to work at this company.
    thanks for the information I can provide.

    • Adam

      Thanks for your interest in working with our company, William. Please visit for all available positions. Good luck.

  7. Emily "KAY" Rehm

    Great article! I wasn’t eligible to attend the party, but heard it was fantastic. The article brought back memories of Song of America as I took my Mother on Song of America…her very first and “only” cruise of her lifetime. Song of America was a magnificent beauty back then, but the ships only get bigger and better. WOW! And, Michael Bayley, what a guy! I will always remember him having served with him on the GO TEAM in Bermuda…hard work, but also great fun.

    • Adam

      Thank you for sharing your fond memories of Song of America.

  8. Lee Davis

    I worked at RCCL from 1986 – 1996. I keep in touch with a couple people but would like to know more about what’s going on and the possibility of another reunion, which I would like to attend. I loved working there and wish I had never left.

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
@stellahancock Thank you for your inquiry. Reservations will be open approximately 60 days prior.
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@LeeACollins We apologize for the delay. We've forwarded your contact information to our UK team and you'll be contacted shortly.
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@momofthebaby Unfortunately we don't have ABC onboard. We hope you enjoy your time onboard Freedom of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@PortsOfCallUK Sorry for the delay. Dining will be open approximately 60 days prior to your sailing.
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
Spend everyday like it's the weekend. #welcomeaboard
Sightsee from your deck chair.

#royalwow views captured by guest poordany on Instagram.
Vacation over too quickly? Sail back to back on Oasis of the Seas this fall and experience Europe like never before.
Some of our favorite guest photos from Labadee.
We had an amazing time showcasing Quantum Dining in Aspen. Thank you to our friends at +FOOD & WINE
Go behind-the-scenes of some of our favorite onboard shows.
In case you missed it, watch our Quantum Entertainment Hangout with Kristin Chenoweth here: Live Google+ Hangout with Kristin Chenoweth and Nick Weir
All-new shows and a Broadway favorite - Quantum of the Seas will have it all. Explore the world-class entertainment onboard:
Don't miss out - join our Hangout with Kristin Chenoweth at 4:00pm EST for a special #QuantumOfTheSeas Entertainment announcement, live from the +Hyde Bellagio in Las Vegas:
Questions about Quantum Entertainment? We’ve got you covered. Join Kristin Chenoweth on 6/11 at 4pm EST for a Hangout live from Las Vegas:
Fort Morro: adventure 500 years in the making. #sanjuan 

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

  • Caribbean bound. Caribbean bound. 9 hours + 43 minutes ago
  • Stingray City, Grand Stingray City, Grand Cayman. 9 hours + 45 minutes ago
  • Beach perfection in Beach perfection in Grand Cayman. 9 hours + 45 minutes ago
  • Smathers Beach in Ke Smathers Beach in Key West, Florida. 9 hours + 47 minutes ago
  • Sardine Bruschetta a Sardine Bruschetta at Jamie's Italian. #jamieoliver #thischangeseverything 1 day + 6 hours ago
  • Szechuan Beef Short Szechuan Beef Short Ribs wit tamarind glaze, scallion and lime - and that's just the appetizer. #thischangeseverything 1 day + 6 hours ago
  • Edible green apple t Edible green apple taffy helium balloons in the making. #thischangeseverything 1 day + 6 hours ago
  • Not just for decorat Not just for decoration. Grant Achatz's green apple taffy helium balloons are entirely edible. 1 day + 6 hours ago
  • Oasis of the Seas. Oasis of the Seas. 2 days + 3 hours ago
  • The best part of bal The best part of balconies? Sunsets. #oasisoftheseas 2 days + 3 hours ago
  • Nothing says vacation like sunsets at sea. #royalwow
  • Our favorite place to chill out. #alaska
  • Next stop: Jamaica. @AwesomenessTV's @yomuscleboii climbs one of our favorites, Dunn's River Falls. Follow the link in our bio to watch the latest episode.
  • Every day should be a beach day. #stthomas
  • Arrive in style.
  • Swim. Sun. Lounge. Repeat.
  • Leave your inhibitions at the door with Wink, an adults-only showcase.
  • Spanning from the stage to mezzanine, the Earth Harp will bring the Royal Theater to life.
  • Drummer's paradise: the unbelievable Drum Wall is made of 136 drums and is exclusive to Quantum of the Seas' Sonic Odyssey show.
  • Grab some sunscreen, we'll bring the beach blanket. #roatan
Royal Caribbean at the Food & Wine Classic

Monday, July 21, 2014 11:52 AM

By Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International I recently returned from Aspen, Colorado where Royal Caribbean International was the official cruise... Continue Here to Read More…

Have You Cruised on 30 Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 10:07 AM

By Adam Goldstein, President &amp; COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Less than four months to Quantum of the Seas! As one of my law professors like to say, the “relentless march of the... Continue Here to Read More…

Royal Caribbean Expands Cruise Vacation Offerings in Asia

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 8:30 AM

By Adam Goldstein, President &amp; COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. My latest travels brought me back to Asia the week of June 16 – 20.  As always, the pace and energy of the region are... Continue Here to Read More…

Personal Plans for the Second Half of 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014 9:51 AM

Blog by Adam A quick update on my other doings as the “empty nest” approaches even faster than the delivery of Quantum of the Seas. Our family continues our involvement with many aspects of... Continue Here to Read More…

How Entertainment on Quantum & Anthem Will Transcend Anything You've Seen on Land or Sea

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 4:22 PM

Blog by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International Hello, everyone.  Last week I had the pleasure of being in Las Vegas where we announced the amazing... Continue Here to Read More…

Catching the Travel Bug: My Explorations through SEED

Friday, June 20, 2014 11:18 AM

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s community support efforts often focus on education and social services for underserved youth. Over the years I have written from time to time about my long term... Continue Here to Read More…

Kristin Chenoweth Talks Entertainment on Quantum of the Seas

Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:05 PM

Blog entry by Kristin Chenoweth Kristin Chenoweth is a Tony and Emmy Award winning Broadway, film, and television actress. She is also the official Quantum Experience Advisor for Entertainment and... Continue Here to Read More…

How to Take Advantage of Opportunities Across the Globe

Monday, June 9, 2014 11:27 AM

It seems fitting to write this from a shipyard in Germany, because what I wish I had known when I was 22 was how global and networked my business and my life would become. When I was 22, the only... Continue Here to Read More…

Official Royal Caribbean Cruise Schedule for 2015-2016

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 3:57 PM

We announce the upcoming deployment of our ships throughout the first half of each calendar year. We typically state what they’re going to be doing from one year in the future until two years in the... Continue Here to Read More…

An Easier Way to Plan for a Group Vacation

Friday, May 16, 2014 11:02 AM

It has been a while since my last blog, however I recently returned from my first multi-generational family vacation and I want to share some thoughts about that experience with you. You may be... Continue Here to Read More…