More Than Just a Blog: Royal Caribbean's President & CEO Talks About the Importance of his Blog

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So why do I blog?  I was forced to confront this question when I gave a speech to a Conference Board gathering the other day in New York.  The topic was on building brand loyalty.  In 2011 this topic requires one to talk about social media.  If you are doing a CEO blog and you are talking about social media to a group of CEOs, you are going to have to say something about your blog.  Or at least that’s how it seemed to me.

President & CEO Adam Goldstein

It’s not obvious that a CEO blog is the right thing for a CEO to do and in fact most do not.  Either you write your own stuff, in which case it takes a lot of time and imposes an extra set of deadlines on top of all of the preexisting professional and personal deadlines, or somebody else writes it for you, in which case it is not an authentic CEO blog.  So, as with everything else in life, there are trade-offs to consider.

At a minimum the blog needs to add something of value to all of our other efforts.  What might this be?  About a year and a half ago I noted that I sometimes asked journalists who mentioned my blog why they read it.  Their answer essentially was – because it isn’t the usual marketing speak.  This is true to a point as the traditional communications options did not afford us the “voice” that the blog enables.  Press releases are a required element of the marketing mix and normally the official means of disclosing news.  But they have to follow a tight format and I have said before that press releases are to the blog what tuxedos are to business casual.  In the end, however, the blog is inescapably part of the marketing mix along with all of our other communications.

This blog tries to cover a lot of ground over time.  It describes many of my professional activities, my personal involvements, different aspects of my life and those of diverse shipboard and shoreside colleagues especially through the “Day in the Life” series where we invite key members of our team to share details of their job and when applicable, life onboard.  Sometimes it addresses sensitive policy issues or shall I say our customers’ reactions to sensitive policy issues. And, memorably, it was the hub of our communications in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.

The question of whether a CEO should do a blog may be a function of the brand and industry in question.  Our sense at Royal Caribbean is that we are blessed to enjoy extraordinary interest in what we do, why we do it and who actually does it.  For us therefore, social media is a remarkable opportunity and the blog fits well into our social media universe. But that is just our opinion.  What is yours?  Feel free to state your opinion. Either I keep writing the blog or I have more time to read the Economist.  Your choice!

  • Judy

    Why are clothes steamers not allowed on the ship (but no where on your site is that listed) stating it is a fire hazard, but curling irons are? Curling irons have metal where as plastic clothes steamers don’t. Having everyone on the ship use your laundry/pressing services will entail that no one gets their stuff back in a timely manner. I leave in two and a half weeks so I really need an answer quickly.

    • Adam

      Hi Judy, the list provided here are just examples of items not allowed onboard our ships. These items are not allowed as we feel they could interfere with the safe operation of the ship or the safe and secure environment of our guests and crew. You can also check our our Guest Conduct Policy here. Thank you for your understanding.

  • helen-mama monarch

    Why the Blog? Well for one thing it makes you more approachable, a real person instead of someone that exists only in the prime corner office on the top floor of the corporate building down there in Miami. Please keep it going as I find out so many things about RCL and how things are done and for why! I really enjoyed the series of “A day in the life” and hope that there will be more to come. A clever marketing tool? maybe but it does keep you in the forefront of what your customers want and expect from the Company. I for one enjoy reading it, so thank you Adam, for taking the time to write it.

    • Adam

      You’re welcome, Helen, and thank you for taking the time to write. We are glad you enjoyed the “A Day in the Life” series.

  • Mark Fuller

    Hi Adam,

    I look forward to reading and following your blog. It’s an interesting and informal way to learn how some things work “behind the scenes”. Please keep blogging!
    I also like reading the bio’s of your executive team. Thanks for asking.

    Mark Fuller

    I’ll be on Navigator’s TA cruise on 4/14/2012, my first TA…

    • Adam

      Thanks for your kind words, Mark. We’ll see you next April.

  • Andrew

    Thanks for your thoughtful reflection on why you blog. I enjoy reading your blog and hope you continue to blog, while perhaps reading a few articles of the Economist every so often on those long flights. I also enjoy the YouTube videos about all of the different things happening on board and to the ships. I’m looking forward to my next cruise in October on the Serenade (only downfall is that’s right before it goes in for its makeover).

    • Adam

      You’re welcome, Andrew. And not to worry, she’s still a fine ship, we’re sure you’ll have a marvelous time onboard.

  • Kevin OConnor

    Hi Adam
    I want to say that I have sailed 3 times on your ships, Explorer 2 times and the Allure (WOW). I have been happy with all 3 cruises but many people have suggested Celebrity cruises. I know you are the same company but why do I feel guilty going on the Silhouette next week? Keep doing a good job, I will be on the Explorer again in January.

  • Jackie Condie

    I vote in favor of more blogs! As I’ve said before, I love the “behind the scenes” peek at what it takes to bring us passengers the “WOW!” on board. I was just watching a show last night on one of the Discovery cable network’s channels about “turnaround day” on the Oasis OTS and was absolutely glued to it.

    For me, your blogs personalize Royal Caribbean in a way that no press release or advertisement ever could. There’s an authenticity to them that suggests they aren’t written by a committee of marketers, but rather by someone who is excited to be doing what he’s doing every day.

    Bottom line: They are a pleasure to read. You can’t say that about a lot of corporate communications!

  • Renee MIller

    We just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Mariner of the Seas. However, we are now feeling incredibly guilty because even though we turned in our gratuity paper, it never hit the credit card and now we are told it’s too late to make sure our incredible waiter gets what he deserves. It’s put a stain on an otherwise wonderful trip.

  • Lisa Langrell

    There is a perception that somehow people in executive positions lose a human quality whether it be to their own employees or to consumers. I agree that a CEO blog if its decided to be done, should be done from the CEO themselves. They shouold blog in ammaner that shoots from the hip. I notice that you dont use over inflated words but just simply speak in a manner that people understand without having to seek a dictionary, you get excited about something you want to share whether professionally or personal, and everyday folks get to write to you and you actually write them back. I have written my State Senator a few times and the reply seemed so very cut and paste and most likely done by their staffers. That is a turn off. I think RCCL has been very engaging in the new media of blogging and Facebooking. Your company has grown a positive reputation for thinking outside the box and be daring. I see Facebooking and CEO Blogging as just that..thinking outside the box. But RCCL has taken a step further in that you actually RESPOND to bloggers..and that is HUGE. CONNECTION to consumers is key.

    • Adam

      We feel it is very important as well and we’re glad that it shows through. Thank you for taking the time to write, it means so much that our fans care about Royal as much as we do.

  • William Raffel

    Not all blogs are equal!

    Consumers base part of their purchasing decision on information that they have gathered over time. The information comes from many places; a company web site, blogs, social media sites, travels sites, and more. All of the individual pieces of information give the consumer a perception of what the company represents.

    Adam, your blog not only adds to the information stream, but it lets the consumers know you are concerned with what they think. You are willing to take the time to communicate directly with the consumers; you even go a step further and ask for responses. Your blog gives Royal Caribbean a personality, your personality!

    When faced with a purchasing decision, consumers usually purchase from the company they feel a “bond” with. Your blog is a big part of the “bond” and your reading of the Economist can wait.

    Keep on bloging!

    • Adam

      Thank you for your comment. We’re glad to hear we could make such a unique bond with our cruisers, William.

  • Dianne Cowland

    My husband and I are going on our first Royal Carribean cruise (Allure of the Seas). Wow. I am really excited about it. I must say I have been very impressed with Royal Caribbean so far and I haven’t even been on the ship.
    Adam, what I am about to say has been said before, but I just want to reiterate that it is amazing to me that a President and CEO of a huge company takes the time to write a blog and respond to various e-mails and comments. Please don’t stop! I will let you know how I enjoy the cruise!!

    • Adam

      We can’t wait to hear all about your cruise, Dianne. Thanks for your comment and have a marvelous time onboard.

  • Kathy Harness

    I went on my first cruise last year with RCCL on the Voyager of the Seas. I loved it and have already booked my second cruise. I didn’t know much about RCCL before that but after reading the blogs and keeping in touch through Facebook I feel like I really know about what the company offers. I love the personal down-to-earth approach these blogs take and look forward to reading them each time. They wouldn’t have that if they were written by staffers. I vote in favour of keeping them — it is probably one of the best PR moves you are making. Looking forward to the next one. Keep up the great work!

    • Adam

      We’re glad you think so, Kathy. Have a great time on your next cruise.

  • Krystal Gregory

    I have never sailed with Royal Caribbean, but I would like to someday. Your blog tells so many interesting stories and it helps me learn about the cruise industry better. I have a great time reading your blog. You have a wonderful connected relationship with customers which make your company stand out. So, keep on blogging on the high seas.

    • Adam

      We hope to see you onboard someday soon, Krystal, thanks for reading.

  • Kevin Cooney


    As a Diamond Member, it is safe to say I am hooked on your brand. From the call centre to the on-board staff and management, they are top notch. I check your web page at least once a week, have a link to your Facebook page and follow all info up-dates. I have found your BLOG an enjoyable read. A nice blend and balance of business information with a touch of personal life. From a customer & RCCL Fan, I see value in your BLOG. Hope is remain a regular feature. I also enjoy the weekly video clips about features and services on your fleet. Job Well Done Thanks

    • Adam

      Thanks Kevin! The feedback we get from blog posts like this really show us how much our cruisers cherish our brand and online presence.

  • Marshall jackson

    While I would certainly continue cruising Royal Caribbean with or without your blog, I’d say it is certainly something that makes your company more interesting, more real, and more fun. It increases your connection with your customers, and I think that’s a good thing. I’d be disappointed if you stopped blogging!

  • dominique lavigueur

    Dear Sir,
    I don’t read books, I don’t have the patience, I don’t do Facebook or Twitter and I don’t do windows either!
    I read three blogs: a Needlework one, a Pastry one and Yours!
    I look forward to it, I enjoy it and it keeps me informed and excited about my next cruise.
    Thanks for taking the time and putting in the effort You must have 26 hours in a day where you live!!

  • Jim Benge

    Hi Adam,
    People enjoy being a part of celebrities and other interesting peoples lives. If you are honest and genuine people are drawn to you. As you stated most company executives don’t what to put themselves out there. I am always looking for interesting people who have a positive message. Caring about your customers is what will bring you continued success. Many Blessings!

  • Jim Moore

    I enjoy reading the blog and you should continue that feature on the Nation of Why Not page. Sometimes the information provided just whets my appetite, such as wanting more information on Project Sunshine, but your audience understands that some aspects of the project are still a work in progress subject to change as construction goes on. And sometimes we loyal Crown & Anchor members will disagree with some company decisions, but overall, the company is on the right course and we appreciate it when the CEO comes forward to explain why certain courses of action are (or are not) taken in response to our questions and concerns. Keep up the good work, and keep the information coming!

    • Adam

      Thanks Jim, for both your comment and reading the blog. We’re glad we can be a part of your life.

  • Paul Tuten

    I’m writing this reply on the day that Royal Caribbean has most greatly disappointed me.

    You see, we’re increasingly loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers (currently C&A Platinum and gaining quickly), who’ve been using cruise-based travel as a time- and money-efficient means of reaching our travel goals (which includes visiting 100 countries and all 7 continents – we’re currently at 54 countries and 5 continents—tracked on our blog at We’re currently booked on the March 12 sailing of Brilliance of the Seas, as well as the June 23 sailing aboard Mariner of the Seas. And, in fact, we’d planned on sailing on Rhapsody and Voyager for Australia/South Pacific and Asia respectively in 2013 (for which I purchased an ‘open booking’ last week while aboard Navigator for our annual Thanksgiving family cruise)!

    In any case, your ‘brand loyalty’ post speaks directly to the issue that I’m now facing re: the Mariner itinerary. While viewing your web site today, I learned that the Mariner itinerary had changed. We received no notification or warning. Tunisia and Corsica were simply replaced with Valencia and Cannes. I immediately called for assistance / explanation. Unfortunately, neither the cruise planner nor the ‘resolution desk’ could provide details on the when/why/how of the change. I’d like to cancel this cruise (as it’s now too costly in terms of time and money, because it no longer meets our aforementioned travel goals / needs). However, I have $715 in non-refundable airfare between London and Rome for my family that I’d like RCI to credit to me. Yet, because this is a ‘change of itinerary’ and not a ‘redeployment’ , I was told that RCI is not willing to do anything to cover my outlay. However, I’m fairly certain (at least the timeline of geo-political events would suggest) that the decision to make this change has more to do with improving the salability of RCI’s product offering than for what I’d call a ‘legitimate reason’ for a change of itinerary (i.e., health, safety, weather, etc. – as we experienced this past February when our Antarctic visit aboard Celebrity Infinity was effectively scraped due to weather and for which I registered no complaints… as ‘things’ happen). Unlike Infinity in Antarctica, I believe this situation is qualitatively different.

    So, my question for you is this – if you’re interested in ensuring loyalty to your brand, is this an appropriate way to treat a loyal customer? For $715 in future cruise credit (I’m not asking for the cash), I’d be happy to cancel this cruise and claim ‘no harm, no foul,’ continue with our planned sailing on Brilliance as scheduled, and book the future cruises that we’re planning to take with RCI in 2013 (and I’m sure beyond). Alternatively, I could feel that my trust and faith has been abused, and I could (and would) seek other cruising products. Loyalty—in my mind anyway—is a two-way street. What say you?

  • Kevin

    Hello Adam,

    Glad to see you have a blog and can provide feedback when you are able.

    My family and I are frequent cruisers with RCL. I do all the pre-cruise – online formalities [check-in / excursions, etc]. RCL has a lot of our information via the Crown and Anchor society and the booking agents.

    Question: Is it possible to have that information [and more] automatically brought over or saved to the “Online Check-in”. For each cruise – I keep putting the same information in again and again.

    I’m guessing that for security reasons – The web site probably cannot store our passport information. But, something like that would be nice. Just thinking…

  • Gary Schmitt

    My family and I sailed on the Allure of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale for our annual Thanksgiving cruise November 20 – 27, 2011. we occupied four rooms, diamond and platinum members. After boarding the ship, we started to explore the ship to see if we were able to pick up on the differences between the Allure and the Oasis, which we sailed on the prior year. When we entered the dining room, we looked at our table setting. To our surprise it was set for six but we were a party of seven. We proceeded to wait for the head waitress Sylvia who assured us it would be taken care of by tonights dinner. Unfortunately upon arriving for dinner the table was not corrected. We sat at dinner with my wife and mother in law being hit by every waiter/waitress and guest bumping into their chairs because the chairs were set up in the access path.. We actually moved the table into the railing to try and fix the problem. I asked to speak to the Maitred, and to my disappointment he ignored my request and never came to our table. My wife and mother in law left dinner early because they were just too uncomfortable and disgusted from apologizing to everyone who bumped into them. I stayed after dinner to speak with a head waiter who finally resolved the issue and moved us to a new table that could accommodate all seven of us.

    By the second night on the cruise it was very apparent to me that there was a problem with the pipes in the walls/ceiling in our staterooms. I had my wife call down to customer relations about the noise.and explain the banging noise in our staterooms. After the second call and no response, my mother in law called down to maintenance for another issue, a constant running water noise. When maintenance came to her room, i asked them to listen to the noise in our room. At first Sherwin Martin thought it was simply a toilet flushing but after many minutes waiting, he heard this noise and called more maintenance to the room. With the maintenance staff i went to the rooms above and below us to see if something was wrong in their rooms. We called our room and flushed toilets to simulate the noise but that was not the problem. Maintenance indicated to me that they would continue to look into it and have someone get back to us , I sent my wife down in person to let customer relations know that they were in our room. She spoke to Elizabeth Diaz Orozco. Who promised she would let us know the outcome. Unfortunately she never responded to us so the next day when we went down to find out what happened. We were asked to wait until the Assistanat Front Desk Manager,Humberto Santos was available to talk to us. We waited and he told us that he had no answers for us. Later that night he left a message stating that there is a large pipe line that goes through the area where our rooms were (we were in rooms 9506, 9504, 9502) and this loud banging noise is to be expected as per the ship design.

    The entire week went by with little sleep and no satisfaction to resolving the problem and horrible custormer relations staff. I can not believe that a lluxury ship would have these rooms with constant noise and call it acceptable and normal.

    Upon returning home I placed a call to the post cruise customer service department and spoke with Norine. We explained to her all our issues and how we were very concerned becasue we have planned another trip on the Alllure February 19, 2012. This trip is a group of 30 people. My wife and family are booked in the same three rooms. Norine offered us a $400 on cruise credit for compensation for the Thanksgiving cruise. This offer is unacceptable since we paid close to ten thousand dollars for a vacation where we were not able to sleep. Our request to her was to help us move to a comparable room so we can be assured not to have these same problems. Unfortuantely she said she does not have authority to change rooms and we would need to call reservations. It is poor business practice to have your customer service individuals unable to assist customers in rectifying problems. I would like to know what you would advise us to do about our upcoming trip. Where is your loyalty to loyal customers? You provided use with two cards that were suppose to be used to in recognition of two employees who left you with the “wow”, but unfortunately i found my self extremely far from receiving that “wow” experience from any of your employees in guest services or guest relations. I’ve been very loyal to the Royal Carribean brand and I hope that this situation can be corrected.

  • Glenn Staines


    A CEO blogging: fantastic. I am a long time supporter of RCCL due to it’s family values. I recently received a sneak peek preview from Betsy O’Rourke of the new brand campaign and I have to say I really like what I see. Your got it right! RCCL is about delivering a life long memorable experience and being able to share it with friends and family. I am fortunate enough to have had over a dozen experiences with RCCL and best of all my kids (12 and 14) choose to cruise as the family vacation. They are experiencing cruise number 3 coming up. I shared the preview with my kids and you received two comments I would like to share with you: “Cool, I gotta to show my BFF this” and ” We need to book the next one (cruise) when we’re on the ship”, The BFF is coming on the cruise.

    • Adam

      We’re glad you think so, Glenn. We’ll see your family (and the BFF) very soon.

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  • Tammy Griffin

    Hello Adam:

    My husband and I just finished a cruse on the Manior, the first night was great we got a great night of sleep and was very rested for the day at sea. We stayed out late the next night got back into the room about 1:30 am and was planing to sleep in. About 3 am we were awaken by a very loud noise that sounded like they were building something on the other side of my room. We tried to sleep through it and couldn’t got up to let the room attendent know about the noise. He called his superviser to tell him about the noise I went to the customer service desk and told them about the noise in our room was asured that it would be taken care of. So we went to eat and shop around for something to do, did a line dance class and set on the deck for a while then went back to the room to take a nap everything was quite. Our heads hit the pillows and the noise started up again, this time I called the service desk and my husband went to the desk and told them that the noise was back. They said that they had a record that the noise had been reported but nothing had been done to resolve it but they were getting on it and it would be taken care of so they sent a maintaince man to the room and he was on the phone with his boss telling him he was standing in the room and the noise was very loud. We were told that it was something in the pool, it was music on the pool deck, and then it was caused by a group on contractors that had been brought abord to work on special project. We were told the noise was stoped and that it the contractors would only work when we were in port we were fine with that we just wanted to get some rest. We went to the room go ready for bed layed our heads down on the pillow and gess what the noise is back I called the front desk and demanded to be moved because the noise was the same as it was. They told us there was only room avaiable at the time my husband went to get the key so we could look at the room it was at the back of the boat we told them no we did not want the room we wanted the room i had picked out we just wanted the noise to stop. Once again we were told the noise would stop once again we tried to go to bed and the noise started again we called the desk again and demanded another room my husband went to the desk and they told him that another room had just become avaiable in the front of the boat the other one was a the back of the boat, my husband ask them if someone had jumped overboard for the room to become avaiable. We we told to go to our room and put the stuff in the draws in our bags and our other stuff would be moved by the staff to the other room while we were at dinner, So we went to dinner with our family and friends but were very tired. They all wanted us to go the the show and out dancing but we couldn’t because we were so tired from being up all night. We went to the desk and to see if our stuff had been moved and were told it was taken care of all we had to do is go to our room and relax. Went to the new room now on deck eight in the front of the room nothing in the room at all no clothing , no cases not even a sock our room attendant came to the room and told us that they were waiting on up in the old room to move our stuff. We went to the old room packed our stuff and had it carried to the new room where we had to unpack it and finally go to bed.
    This room was fine a little to ruff for my tast and not in the middle of the boat like I had ordered but no noise that is until the last day when it sounded like on the movies when the ship was sinking and the suff was floting around hitting the side of the boat wall this went on all night. You know I don’t think we were asking to much to have a good nights sleep or to have someone care about our concerns on this ship. This is not our first cruse it was number 7 and we were planing on taking many more we love to cruse. I will not be on the Manior again it is the noisest ship in the fleet and the customer service sucks. By The way this is the ship that came in to galveston as a code red. I sure hope you can make this right. I think everyone should think about it before sailing on the Manior.

    Thank you Tammy