Life is busy “behind the scenes” for our management team. That is always true but I thought I would take a snapshot of what’s going on this fall, leaving out any confidential (apologies) information.
One staple of every fall is the completion of the annual operating plan (AOP) for the following year. This is a global undertaking involving countless variables that ultimately must coalesce into a recommendation by management to the Board of Directors. In the case of the Royal Caribbean International brand, the quarterback of our plan process is Alain Ferzli, Vice President of Finance & Administration. I hope Alain likes planning, because he sure has to do a lot of it. In a world of scarce resources, he is not going to be popular with everyone all the time. But we have a mature team of leaders who work together for the common good of the brand and the company.
Fall is also the time for finalizing our deployment for another cycle. The cycle we are currently wrapping up is the period from spring 2015 to spring 2016, meaning the summer 2015 season and the winter 2015/16 season. Actually, this is not a correct description of our business as we are operating in both the southern and northern hemispheres. So I try to qualify what I mean by saying the northern summer or the southern winter or whatever the case may be for the specific product in question. Of all the questions I receive from readers about our business, the ones about where ships could or should go are by far the most frequent. We take the deployment process extremely seriously at the highest level of management on an ongoing basis.
Of course we are working on multiple projects behind the scenes at all times. All of our “newbuild” projects: Quantum of the Seas (2014), Anthem of the Seas (2015). Quantum III (2016) and Oasis III (2016) are the subjects of regular meetings. Even nearly identical sister ships each require their own tender loving care from our management team, the designers and shipyard management.
With Vision of the Seas having just emerged from a highly successful revitalization, we now turn our attention to our iconic Voyager-class ships. Navigator of the Seas is up first in January 2014. We will be communicating more about the exciting changes she will undergo in the weeks ahead.
Last but not least, we are always interested to receive your feedback on all aspects of the cruise experience. It’s pretty clear the readers love to comment on life onboard. We follow the commentary and often discuss changes in areas such as features we could add to our new ships, amendments we could make to policies where we know there are strong differences of opinion (e.g., dress code, smoking), and itineraries the ships could sail.
Please keep your comments coming. We like to stay busy. Thank you.