Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

With Our Guests in Mind, These are Some of Royal Caribbean’s 2010 Initiatives

When I saw people at the Cruise Shipping Miami show, they invariably asked about Oasis of the Seas first and possibly Haiti second. This is understandable but it does not give props to the endeavors that are coming to fruition throughout the year for the benefit of all of our guests. While many initiatives are not ready for public airing, I will mention a few that have recently become public.

Our website is a major reference source for travel agents, repeat guests and prospective guests. This phenomenon only grows and therefore we must be responsive to the hunger for better information. If we don’t do a great job of informing people about our brand through our website, they may very well take their next vacation with someone else. We have recently completed a facelift designed to reflect the look and feel of our Nation of Why Not global marketing platform. We have also simplified the steps of the booking process for those who are interested to book on the website. While the people coming to the site for information far outnumber those who book on the site, we are pleased to provide an improved experience for those who wish to book. A work in progress is our effort to bring oasisoftheseas.com and nationofwhynot.com directly under the umbrella of royalcaribbean.com.

After enduring episodes of three steps forward and two steps backwards, we have launched eDocs. We still provide guests the option to receive paper documents for a $35 fee, unlike some of our competitors who have eliminated the paper option altogether. But our focus will be to leverage the new eDocs technology to provide our guests with much richer pre-cruise communications. With eDocs, guests can order self adhesive luggage tags pre-printed & customized to their specific ship, sailing & stateroom location and we’ll mail them to guests free of charge. When you consider this initiative in the context of the website, SetSail (pre-cruise check-in) and the ability to purchase and/or reserve many elements of the cruise in advance of sailing, the quality of the pre-cruise interaction between us and our customers has elevated considerably. We believe there are yet more opportunities to advance the pre-cruise experience and plan to bring more enhancements to market.

Choice Air continues to grow in usage amongst travel agents and their guests but not at the rate I would have expected given the nature of the offering. For eons, our customers faced a distinct choice regarding their air travel to/from their cruise – book through us and find out later on about the routing and seat assignment, with more of an emphasis on securing a seat than offering the best price, or go to the market with no connection to the cruise booking. Choice Air gives travel agents and their guests the best of both worlds. One can compare and then choose from the best we have to offer and the best the market has to offer, and the choice is reflected in the cruise booking. We continue to add airlines to Choice Air that may be harder than others to access. For example, we recently added Virgin America that has attractive flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale.

A final initiative is more on the global side of things. We have select programs that we refer to as interport. I don’t know why it is called this, but what it means is that on very select itineraries, we have two homeports where people can begin and end their cruise. The most significant example of this is on Enchantment of the Seas (next winter this will apply to Grandeur of the Seas instead) where our main homeport is in Colon, Panama but we also board a substantial percentage of our guests in Cartagena, Colombia. Our guests either cruise round trip Panama or round trip Colombia. Another example would be having an ancillary homeport in Korea for cruises primarily based out of Shanghai. We have made adjustments so our ability to implement such programs is much easier for our own people, travel agents and guests.

Parting note – I received a complaint letter about a cruise from the (adult) grandchild of an iconic American athlete. The stationery has a picture of this iconic athlete from the early 20th century in full athletic gear. An impressive attempt at intimidation. Well, there may not have been any intimidation intended but it crossed my mind.

25 responses to:
“With Our Guests in Mind, These are Some of Royal Caribbean’s 2010 Initiatives”

  1. Mike P

    The idea of more interports seems to be a great one. I would love to read a ‘guest post’ from an executive in charge that explains in detail the benefits and challenges the company deals with when considering an itinerary.

    The most unique thing a blog such as this can offer is insight into the workings of the company, which is always a fascinating read and it’s usually available no where else.

    Another great example of a unique blog topic would be the process (and examples) by which RCI changes ships ‘on the fly’ so to speak, in a series that are under construction as they learn from earlier ships in that series that have just been put into service.. ie How do you decide what to change and what specifically did you change after the release of Voyager to the rest of her class, Freedom to Independence and Liberty, and ofcourse Oasis to Allure.

    Keep writing. I know I speak for most of us when I say we love to see new posts in this blog.

  2. Mike P

    one more thing… In the spirit of initiatives of 2010.. Any news on Falmouth development? I can’t find any updates or photos of the progress online. Would love to hear a progress report on that project… and maybe more information on what’s involved from the company’s standpoint.

  3. Karina wright

    Out of curiosity, was that last paragraph intended to be pasted into a different document? It seems out of place in this one.

  4. Douglas Riley

    As a Diamond member, I am usually very pleased with the cruises I have been on. I do; however, write a detailed comment card upon leaving each ship and answer the email surveys honestly when asked. My question is does anyone ever reply back to those comments? It feels like I am writing to a black hole and that my comments are either not considered or valued. Just wondering if I am wasting my time…. Back on the Jewel for the fourth time for 11 days in January, 2011.

    • Adam

      Thank you for taking the time to fill out the comment cards, Douglas. The feedback we receive from these cards plays a major role in our ability to deliver the Wow to our guests. Although we do not respond to every comment card, we do read every one and take the feedback very seriously. In fact, we collect and share the feedback with each ship on the very same day so that any comments are addressed on the very next cruise. This is the secret to our success in delivering the Royal treatment to ensure our guests have a great experience. We truly appreciate your candid observations. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us and we look forward to welcoming you back on your upcoming trip.

  5. Paul r

    Dear Adam,
    Was wondering if you could update us on progress at Falmouth, Jamaica? We are booked on the Allure and scheduled to stop there next February.
    Thanks

  6. Mandy

    I would like more flexibility in search options on the Royal Caribbean website. Your biggest competitor, as well as some on-line cruise websites, offer the ability to enter a wider range of parameters in searching for an appropriate cruise vacation. On Royal’s site, I have to choose a specific month, rather than a range of months. I have to specify a cruise lenghth, rather than a range of lengths. I can’t choose multiple departure ports unless they are all close together. For example, if searching for a Caribbean cruise, I may want to include San Juan or Florida, but perhaps not Texas. My only option is to allow the site to provide ALL departure ports.

  7. Marian Gellman

    My husband and I finished a 12 night cruise last week aboard Explorer of the Seas. Although we enjoyed the cruise as a whole, we were disappointed in the entertainers onboard (not including Marty Allen and his wife, who were wonderful).
    Also, we were also surprised at the nastiness we were subjected to at Cape Liberty Cruiseport. The baggage handlers were needlessly rude and obnoxious to the passengers. I’m sure many things were broken and damage was incurred from the careless, (literally thrown) care our possessions received. Also, having difficulty walking (using a cane), I was made to stand in a long line before we were able to check in, even though we are currently platinum Crown and Anchor Society members. We have previously departed from Miami, Vancouver, B.C. and Harwich, England. Never have we received such treatment and disrespect.

  8. Rhonda

    I am a Diamond Member and I am wondering why Jr. Suites are not included in your suite program. My husband and I always travel in Grand Suites and above when traveling alone, but we are booking in Jan 2011 with our 24 and 21 year old children and their friends so we are booking three jr suites together and are disappointed to find we will not be able to use concierge services under the suite program?

    • Adam

      Rhonda, we are so glad to hear that you will be sailing with us this coming January and we are looking forward to welcoming you onboard. To ensure an ultimate guest experience in our concierge lounge access is limited to guests in our Presidential, Royal, Royal Family, Owner’s and Grand Suites . As a Jr. Suite guest you do receive upgraded amenities such as: terry bathrobes, slippers, Vitality bathroom amenities, coffee maker, a hot water pot for tea as well as Suite Attendant service.

  9. SHELDA pAYNE

    I have been looking so forward to our cruise on Oasis of the Seas which we booked back before the beginning of the year. We have booked our cruise with another couple and booked at the same time as to have out rooms close and all our meals and excursions booked together. Since March 20th we have had the worst experience with our booking we have ever had with any cruise line. The couple we were going with had their bookings canceled after full payment had been made. We have spent an entire week and made countless phone calls trying to straighten our bookings out. RC has finally gotten all but one excursion fixed but we are now no longer on the same deck as the couple we are cruising with. They were originally on our same deck only two doors down, then after the mix up they were booked on the deck above ours and while trying to get our dining preferences and excursions fixed they again gave our room to someone else and rebooked a third time three decks above ours and on the opposite side of the ship.

    After canceling our friends reservation in error they also canceled an excursion I had paid for using my charge card and booking one person on my reservation number and one on theirs. My reservation was not effected but it then canceled theirs and put the money I paid using my charge card on their account! Now I cant get my money back for the canceled excursion because they applied the payment to my friends account as payment for their cruise as opposed to leaving as payment for an excursion and crediting my charge card! We now will have to go back and have our friends pay us back the money for the excursion that was canceled and applied to their room balance and rebook the excursion on their account. During all of this mess all we wanted was the same setup we had before the mix up yet now we have had to settle for less than ideal situation not to mention days of countless hours on the phone to get this solved…. I surely hope after all this disaster the cruise itself makes up for the stress and confusion.

  10. Jennifer glancy

    Can you please adopt Celebrity Cruise Lines alcohol drink package? It would be a great addition to RCCL! For instance, they have beer packages at $34.50 a day. Please adopt their packages!!!

  11. RoNALD/MADELYN SMYTH

    We celebrated our 80th RC cruise on the Oasis on January 23, 2010. We were told that the glass block commemorative milestone gift was not available as yet, and received a card from the Future Cruise Consultant, Cindy, which stated “Congratulations for reaching a milestone with Royal Caribbean Internationsl. Your “Oasis of the Seas” crystal block will be mailed to your home address within three weeks. Thank you for your continued loyalty. We look forward to seeing you again.” After two follow-up calls with the Crown & Anchor Society, we have still not received this milestone gift. Are there any other avenues we can take to ensure receipt of this much anticipated crystal block (to add to our collection thusfar).

    • Adam

      Hi RoNALD and MADELYN. Congratulations on your 80th cruise with us and I am sorry to hear you did not receive your crystal right away. Your item has been shipped and you should receive it within three to four business days. Congratulations once again.

  12. michael

    Bigger is really Better – Our 40th Cruise on RCCL

    Although a bit skeptical due to over 6,000 passengers and what we thought would be droves of people everyone couldn’t be farther from reality. This was our 40th cruise on RCCL. And as much as I hate to admit it, Bigger is Better.
    The ship is stunning, still having the new car smell. If you were to blindfold someone and put him in the middle of the promenade, they’d never guess they were on the world largest cruise ship. Its spacious and thoughtfully laid out. Enough elevators never to wait more than a minute. RCCL really did their homework not missing anything on this monster ship.

    The boarding and disembarkation was seamless and took literally minutes to get on and off. Our luggage showed up within a hour onboard.

    A huge benefit to Diamond Plus members is access to the Concierge lounge where you can cooked to order breakfast and lunches besides the normal cocktail hour in the evening.

    A must, if available is the Chef Table dinner. At $ 75 a head, its worth every penny. A private room with max 20 people with a sommelier, waiter and the Chef explaining everything you are eating and drinking. Fabulous Caymus Family Wine was included. A real treat.

    Izumi was ok … the soup was very salty and its a Ala carte menu so for the 7 of us including wine and sake was almost $ 200.

    Giovanni’s was a nicer Portofino .. however they actually have Italians working as waiters. For $ 15 pp, worth it.

    Central Park 150 was another fine dining experience. At $35 a head plus wine, not sure if I’d do that again.

    Seafood Shack was good as was Johnny Rockets.. worth the few extra dollars.

    The real find was the Solarium dining room for lunch, a lite fare with salads, wraps and Asian inspired food. I missed the dinner there .. for our next cruise.

    We ended up eating in the dining room only 3 times which was very good.

    Shows ..
    Hairspray – Great
    Aqua Show – Great
    Temptation Tribute – Missed it .. saw it too many times
    Ice Show – slow start, great finish
    Main Show – Cirque du Soleil style – Good
    Comedy Shows – very good but you can’t get in if you’re late
    On Air and Atlas Globe Pub – Lots of fun

    The ship docked at a distant dock in St Thomas which was a bummer as no real shops around .. $ 4 pp to get to main street. Didn’t get off in St Marten and took a quick stroll in Nassau. (It was fun docking at noon next to a small Carnival Ship .. The Oasis was the main attraction at the port)

    Rooms – We opted for the Owners Suite .. nice and roomy plus you get access to a private deck for suite guests only .. nice feature especially on sea days. My in laws had a junior suite and the sons had an Central Park view cabin, just what you’d expect. The Gym/Spa is on the 6th floor forward and your looking out of port holes instead of the big windows that I’m use to. Additionally some machines were already broken and the TV’s didn’t work.

    The Casino is split in half .. Smoking and non Smoking .. Not sure what it is but the casino is missing something I can’t put my finger on.

    The Cruise Director, Richard Spacey seems to need a vacation … if you want to play a game .. count the number of times you hear him say “Ladies and Gentlemen” … got to be close to a 1000.

    Don’t Miss – - outdoor movies in the Aqua Theater day and night – $ 2.95 cupcakes – Chef Table Dinner – Purchase the water option – Sorrento’s make your own pizza – Go online before your cruise and make reservation everywhere. Saves you lots of headaches.

    It will be hard to go back to another class of ship after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas.

  13. John

    We are headed for England on the April transatlantic cruise on Independence of the Seas. As a long time cruiser with no need for a port every day I am looking forward to the first 6 days at sea before we get to the Azores.

    My only frustration has been the inability to use the pre-cruise planner to order various beverage packages. Of course the web site doesn’t say it is not functioning and advises to try back closer to the sail date. My emails and telephone contacts with customer service finally resulted in one rep saying there was a software upgrade needed to solve the problem and that it “likely” would not be up and running before my sail date. However the web site continues to promote the pre-cruise planner and the beverage packages but when you try the same old error message comes up. Perhaps a little up front honesty would be better and would not leave cruisers who should be getting excited about an upcoming cruise more frustrated than excited. I know that it isn’t a big issue and beverage packages can be purchased aboard the ship. However, sometimes the little things if not corrected become big things.

    Also the response time from emails to customer service is increasing. Two weeks is not reasonable since they are our contact point with the cruise line for most questions and issues.

    By the way we are excited about this cruise and will reach Diamond level upon its completion. RC is our cruise line pre-cruise planner glitches or not!

  14. Nicholas

    Adam- I have been on 11 RCL cruises and every one has been phenomenal!! I am thinking of trying another cruising “option” just to compare a different “experience”. Although I know that on Celebrity I still get my Diamond Memeber benefits, however we dont get C&A cruise credits. It would a great incentive to cruise on Celebrity if we got C&A Cruise Credits..otherwise it wouldnt make much of a difference if we tried Princess instead.

    Has RCL ever considered giving C&A cruise credits if we cruise on Celebrity or Azamara?

  15. Mark Merkel

    Adam-

    It’s nice to see that you are integrating your website. However, I must ask what is going on with your advertising as of the past year…it’s terrible! Royal Caribbean used to be the gold standard of cruise advertising, from Lust for Life to the initial introduction of the Nation of Why Not. But the low production quality and uninspired messaging of the past year or so of ads have set you back more than 20 years! Where’s the bold marketing leader you once were?

  16. Dennis boyle

    We love RCL and are looking forward to our next cruises in just a few weeks! One of our favorite cruises was the round trip to Hawaii from Southern California. Have not seen this cruise on the docket in some time and we are hoping it will be added again in the near future. Any hope?

  17. Jim Scheffel

    Adam, we recently returned from the 7-day Caribbean cruise on Oasis. Congratulations on creating such an awesome ship/experience! The reason I am writing is that my wife purchased me a baseball cap on the ship, that had the inscription “Oasis of the Seas, Inaugural Season.” It was stolen from my back as we were awaiting debarkation to Ft. Lauderdale. I wrote to RCCL’s customer support email address, asking how I could purchase a replacement (it means a great deal to me). I was told that it is not available to me except on the ship, due to customs regulations??? I don’t get this. Why–since RCCL markets a number of cruise related items on your web page–can I not get something that was available on the ship? Can something be done? Why don’t you market these items on your web site? I guarantee you would make money!

    Thanks for your consideration.

  18. Debbie Ruisi-hiwa

    I was very pleased to find this blog. We cruised on RCI a little over 8 years ago and the experience left a bit to be desired. I cruised on Radiance of the Seas a few months ago and with the exception of not being able to resolve our dinner seating issues (there were 6 of us) for two days the entire experience was fabulous.

    I’ve wanted to suggest this to a cruise line for a while–why not charge everyone a bit more on the fare and make fountain drinks available to all. All I see when I look around are cans that, while recyclable, didn’t need to be there in the first place.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Adam

      Debbie, we are glad you had an amazing time on Radiance of the Seas. Sorry to hear about your dinner seating issues, we truly appreciate your feedback. In regards to our fountain drink service, we currently provide a Fountain Drink Package, with unlimited refills at any of our bars or lounges. You can find more details on this and our other package here: http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/experience/html.do?exCode=592

  19. kenneth blagrove

    would you consider putting another ship in the new york new jersey area during the march,april months,with some different ports?

    • Adam

      Kenneth, as you know we currently have Explorer of the Seas sailing year-round from Cape Liberty and she offers a variety of itineraries. We don’t have plans for a second ship out of Cape Liberty at this time.

  20. john rushman

    will be traveling Oasis on Nov. 6,2010Hasit been decided when the Nassua landing will be Sunday or Friday? Also please suggest to Jazz on 4 how about a tribute to Eva Cassidy Thank you

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