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.

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