From Brazil to Finland, and My Visit to see Oasis of the Seas

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I just found out how easy it is to get behind on the blog. And it’s still summer!

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks starting with a quick trip to Brazil to celebrate the opening of our company office in Sao Paolo. One thing that always surprises me is when I say something at a function and then see it in print thereafter. I said to the people at the evening function “Brazilians love Royal Caribbean and Royal Caribbean loves Brazilians.” A week later that quote showed up as the headline of an article about my visit. Fortunately the statement is true. As an aside, Brazilians really, and I mean really, love to party. Our office opening celebration was a truly festive affair. I tried to stay as long as I could but I couldn’t even manage to stay as long as the wife of our country director. And she gave birth two days later!

Just two days after that I was on my way to Finland to see Oasis of the Seas in the shipyard in Turku. I hadn’t been there since the keel laying so it was my first time seeing the ship in real life. If that seems strange to you please remember that our Chairman & CEO Richard Fain, the author of the Oasis-centric blog on, practically lives at the yard (STX Europe). In fact he’s there again as I write this two weeks later. Richard and I and the senior management of Royal Caribbean International visited the ship together to make sure we were all on the same page with our understanding of Oasis as we approach the delivery and inaugural period.

The general sentiment amongst the team, even those who have been traveling to Turku from time to time, is that the ship is now much more in real life than one could imagine it would be. For me, having sat in countless hours of meetings and thought semi-continuously about Oasis for over five years, the ship in real life was very much like what I imagined it would be. Incredible. There is nothing like it. What I particularly valued about being there in person was the opportunity to digest the size and distance from one area to another. Suffice it to say I was very pleased.

There was another aspect of the trip I want to note. Several of the Senior VP’s commented that they really appreciated the quality time with their peers. Walking the most amazing cruise ship ever built for three days and eating three meals a day together in Finland is a bonding experience that daily life in the office doesn’t afford. This was a real bonus from a great trip.

Oh yes, there was one other bonus. I saw on the Turku city map there was a stadium not far away from the hotel. I jogged up there and sure enough it was Paavo Nurmi Stadium – named after the famous Finnish distance runner – with a beautiful synthetic track with lots of people on it. I asked a woman if I could run on the track. She said yes, it was a public access track. I said “what a great country”. She said “for the taxes we pay it should be a public access facility.” I had a great workout on the track. Subsequently I found out that probably every track in Finland is named after Paavo Nurmi.

  • Barbara

    Oasis sounds wonderful! Wish you had shared a little more detail with us about if all of the employees have been chosen, when and where they will join the ship, will it be fully supplied before it reaches Fort Lauderdale?

  • cheryl Brawders


  • James Cunningham

    Mr. Goldstein: I just got off the Freedom for the 8/23 sailing. It appeqrs that the dining room food has been affected by your recent cost cutting measures for Diamond members.I am disgusted by the many take-a-aways for Diamond members. Specifically you have:
    1.Drastically changed the Concierge room benefits
    2.No free photo
    3.No free Ben and Jerry’s popsicle
    4.No daily news bulletins
    5.Only one coffee from Seattle’s Best. I think there used to be two
    6.No chocolates on pillow
    7.No gift in room
    8.No wine tasting
    9.No free Johnny Rocket’s
    10.No free cocktail.
    I don’t know why you print the coupon booklets since most benefits have been removed.I am going to write my dissisfaction to Mr. Thomas J. Pritzker, Chairman of Hyatt Hotels Inc.,71 S Wacker Drive, Chicago, Il 60606 who I understand is on the Board of RCCL and owns more than one third of RCCL.I hope he is concerned about the value of his investment since you have upset so many of the Diamond cruisers and you will need us to fill up the nw]ew ships you are building.

    • Adam

      Hi James,

      Thank you for your recent comment regarding
      our company policies. This particular topic has been addressed on the blog here, If changes are made to these policies in the future, we will be sure to address them at that time.

  • paul m

    I have a broken promise to my little girl for a once and a lifetime vacation. I booked a cruise on your newest boat Oasis of the seas Western Caribbean. I have been saving for this cruise for over a year now and we got an itinerary change in the mail from our travel agent telling us Royal Caribbean removed the Jamaica stop and added another Mexico stop. Needless to say we where upset but we decided to switch to the eastern Caribbean cruise same boat but royal Caribbean would not honor our original price and because of that it is costing us an additional $500 and another $220 because the 6pm seating is full putting us on any time dinning. It is really sad because my wife and child where really looking forward to this cruise in sept 2010 but because of the $700 cost increase we might have to cancel. I talked to Royal Caribbean customer service and they where extremely rude telling me that they cannot do anything talk to your travel agent and the travel agent tells me that Royal Caribbean is responsible for pricing. No help anywhere the economy is so horrible that $700 is a big deal to us now, we my not be going on any vacations for a while that is why we where looking forward to this one. My family has always taking cruises with Royal Caribbean because they are so good to us especially my daughter, this time no help. I just thought you might want to know, from middle class worker !!

  • Phillip S

    As a long standing Diamond member I am furious as to what RCCL is doing to its most loyal members. You have taken away almost EVERY benefit we have earned and given us NOTHING in return. What is the point of being a shareholder if we now dont get the onboard credit. Or booking a future cruise to get the onboard credit. Or being a diamond member and getting a discount for booking a balcony cabin or higher and not being able to get the onboard credit if we use a futrue cruise certificate or a coupon YOU offered us in the first place. You’ve taken away the concierge service, most of the benefits of your coupon book, which had numerous free offerings, now I have to settle for 2 for 1 milk shakes? Do you really think your most loyal members are going to help you fill your big and new ships after the way you just treated us. Well, I certainly will NOT!. I am going to write several of the other cruise lines (your competition)and see if they will honor my diamond status and offer additional discounts or upgrades. If they will its “goodby” royal caribbean.

  • Scott

    Some of this seems to be a bit harsh. I understand the critique above, but I can say that in my workplace (and in most other workplaces), extreme measures are being taken to reduce costs/increase revenues. No need to get into them, as most of you are aware of what’s going on around all of us.
    That said, on behalf of all of the loyal RCI sailers (A diamond member, my self), we shouldn’t see an increase in cost for a cruise (that is to say, no discount), AND a decrease in quality. There should never be cut-backs in the daily pleasures that keeps your customers coming back, especially in the service industry.
    The latest rounds of ships have been designed to create new revenue streams, mostly around dining, with the advent of “specialty restaurants” and the not so newly created charge you for every drink concepts (soda used to be included).
    These ships are designed to get every dollar out of you before you leave (and then even after you leave).
    Some things, which are made to seem convenient, such as the ability to book your specialty restaurants in advance and the ability to book shore excursions in advance, do nothing but insure RCI that they will have booked everything that they can, before they even set sail. There are plenty of ways to cut costs or increase revenues, and not make it obvious to your customers.
    Some ideas include:
    Don’t print photos until they are purchased! Let guests select their photos from their Cabin TV (preview them, if you will), and then order them.
    Do away with the coupon books all together! You know that certain coupons are available to certain classes of repeat customers. Why not have those associated to the person’s account, and when the customer uses the coupon, remove the coupon from their account (paperless coupons)?
    Things like chocolates, wine tastings (which can also generate revenue), etc don’t have to go away, just build them into the cost of a cruise (Here’s where I may start to lose some people)! If you figured that on average, it may cost you another $100 per cabin to keep these things, then i’m sure this cost can be burried somewhere.
    Do a tie in to Facebook so that people can see passengers pictures while they’re on board (publish the photos taken to a facebook account)and give people from shore the opportunity to purchase pictures of their family and have those picures delivered to their stateroom.

  • tom young

    Dear Adam,
    As the time draws near for my Fall cruise on the Jewel out of Boston, I hope all goes well. Reading some of the comments from recent cruisers is almost scary. When I cruised on Mariner last year I was disappointed but certainly not to the point of irritation. You solved most of those problems by eliminating the events that caused the frustration.
    Oasis seems like it will be a good time but I feel most people will shy away from committing bigger dollars if they don’t feel they got enough bang for their bucks out of their last less expensive cruise. I am sure you will have early success but I hope it merely isn’t pirating people from other ships. This happened to Donald Trump when he opened the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and his other properties suffered. I guess curiosity could make some want to try it but I am just not that curious. To me it sounds like the Cruise Industry for Royal Carribean is turning into something like those deals they use to offer in Florida. Come down and stay for free, and we will pay for even your Air Travel, for 3 days. Then they used every trick in the book to get you to buy property. I guess time will tell.
    Getting back to reality I will see you fine folks on the Jewel on October 3rd and I hope what I am reading turns out to be comments from people that just like to hear themselves complain. I will know better in 4 weeks.


  • Scott wood

    Glad to see that I am not the only one who thinks that RCCL is no longer loyal to their return cruisers. Their lying about what we would receive for the re-routing of the Mariner in May was atrocious (we got half what we were promised before sailing!), but more so was the rude manner that it was dealt with by the customer relations department. My letter to the CEO and the president of the company was re-routed to a flunkee in the same department that was rude to me in the first place. We are trying one last time in October, and this may be our last if we are not treated better by RCCL.

  • Daniel

    Mr. Goldstein,

    When in Turku, are you able to spend the night on the Oasis, or do you go to a surrounding hotel?

    Thanks for keeping us updated.

    • Adam

      Hi Daniel. I wish we could have stayed onboard the Oasis this time, but the rooms were not ready for that yet. They will be soon though! Thanks for the comment.

  • Jennifer Reyes

    Dear Mr. Goldstein,

    I am sailing on OASIS in December and I am very excited to do so. However, I’m wondering about the enhanced suite amenities because I just recently (8/21) sailed on Monarch of the Seas and discovered the hard way that not all the amenities marketed on the website and the in-suite booklets are available. After being declined from ordering lunch from the main dining room menu, I spoke with David, the Food and Beverage office and was told that the amenities are only offered when available. No where did I see such a footnote stating that very important piece of information. In addition, I was told by David that tendering tickets were not available on Monarch (even though they tender to Nassau). Only on ships sailing to such places as Alaska. I stayed in a Grand Suite and was very much looking forward to taking advantage of these amenities. I’m also a Diamond Member and a shareholder and I would just like to suggest that maybe a footnote should included so that guests staying in a suite don’t have the same experience I had.

    What suite amenities are available for Oasis? Thank you for your time and consideration.


  • Barbara Przyblinski

    I’m also a Diamond Member and will be sailing on the Oasis in December of this year and recently booked a cruise to Bermuda on the Explorer for next June. If the quality of service and benefits for Diamond Members is as bad as what the above comments say, I may be cancelling the Explorer and choosing another cruise line to cruise to Bermuda. I have taken more than 50 cruises (18 of which have been on Royal Caribbean and 2 on Celebrity) during the past 25 years so I have a very idea what other cruise lines offer their repeat passengers. Will the Oasis be coming into NYC or Bayonne prior to beginning cruising from Ft. Lauderdale?

    • Adam

      Thank you for your comment, Barbara. We hope, and believe you will have a wonderful time on both of your cruises. To answer your question, The Oasis of the Seas will not stop anywhere between Finland and Port Everglades.

  • CAPT Bob


    As a stockholder/diamond etc with Oasis and Freedom booked for the winter, I give you credit for not screening the comments. Ouch! If people are upset that 3% of the “cruise experience” is changing maybe cruising is not for them. Just think of the new features on Oasis. Can’t wait.

  • Scott

    CAPTBob –
    How did you arrive at a number like 3%? Was it scientific calculation?
    One of the pleasures that was brought to us by RCI has been the concierge lounge. My wife and I have been on many cruises with RCI. We too are Diamond members. I can vouch for RCI that overcrowding has been a problem in the lounge, but on a vessel like Oasis, this should have been accommodated. Maybe create two Concierge Lounges (not a diamond and a conceierge lounge), or maybe limit entry to just Diamond and Diamond Plus members. People that own suites can have concierge service in their cabin without the lounge, if they prefer. It sounds like an easy fix…
    I understand the chocolate waste issue, however, what if there were chocolates by request? This way they’re not wasted. As far as alluminum foil waste with these chocolates, maybe find a chocolate company that packages them in paper. Be creative!!!
    BTW – if you don’t think that food and drinks are a big part of cruising, then you obviously don’t cruise a lot. In the concierge lounge, drinks and food (hors d’vours) were free.

  • Kathie

    We just completed the Jewel of the Sea transatlantic. I would like to express my total disbelief at the actions of your Diamond and Diamond plus C&A members.

    They waited outside the Windjammer every night to take a huge portion of the Sushi to “Their Lounge” as the were no appitizers offered in “Their Lounge.” The doors opened and they ran like little thiefs…hey “Diamonds” they are free! There is enough for everyone.

    One Diamond Plus member screamed at a Windjammer employee for not moving people from “His” table. Helloooo they is NO assigned seating in the Windjammer, as a Diamond Plus member you KNOW that! The member then “stalked” the people setting at “his” table. And let them know he was “Diamond Plus”. People with class do NOT have to advertise it!

    At disembarcation the “Diamond folks” clogged the whole system causing people to miss flights, faint while being forced to stand, waiting for the “Diamonds” to get their priority disembarcation. They screamed at Security that they were “Diamond” and did not care what Security had to say. You could have waited in the lounges with the rest of us, instead of setting on the dirty bus waiting for the rest of us to arrive.

    I hope those rude “Diamonds” will think about skipping a short cruise or may a bottle of bubbley and invest in a class that teaches good manners and class. Some of you are out of control.