Royal Caribbean 2011: A Year in Review

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All years in the cruise industry are special. There is no such thing as a normal year or an uneventful year. 2011 will likely be remembered first and foremost as the year in which the earthquake/tsunami/radiation in Japan and the “Arab spring” had a profound impact on the business.

Notwithstanding these geopolitical and macroeconomic shockwaves, there were many notable and even wonderful developments that have advanced the Royal Caribbean International brand. Before I recap some of them, I would like to thank the 3,537,225 guests from all over the world who chose to cruise with us in 2011 as well as the travel agents who produced the overwhelming majority of those guests.

We entered 2011 with the momentum of a very successful launch of Allure of the Seas. We were worried Allure could not match the success of Oasis of the Seas launch one year earlier. In the event, the changes we announced on Allure (first Starbucks at Seas, Rita’s Cantina, the DreamWorks experience, 3-D movies, etc.) were so successful that we “rolled back” many of them to Oasis, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas early in the year. We also started the year with Taylor Swift’s concert on Allure (and bookended the year with Martina McBride’s concert on Voyager of the Seas in New Orleans).

In another early year development, we strengthened the Crown & Anchor Society by adding two new loyalty tiers with additional benefits and instituting cruise points in place of cruise credits.

In February we began to dock our ships at Falmouth, Jamaica. This huge commercial development effort, to my knowledge the largest infrastructure project in the Caribbean region in recent years, promises to be a mainstay of the cruise industry for decades to come. Falmouth was named Port of the Year at the Seatrade Insider Cruise Awards in its first year! In addition, Falmouth won the award for “Caribbean’s Leading Tourism Development” at the World Travel Awards – Caribbean & Americas Gala.

Behind the scenes, we negotiated a deal with Meyer Werft in Germany for the construction of a new Sunshine-class ship for delivery in 2014. A lot of our efforts are devoted to the design of this exciting ship. Unfortunately we cannot say much about it for the time being as we are in a very competitive business and we cannot divulge ship features that would represent helpful information to our competitors.

2011 has been Royal Caribbean’s year on the red carpet. Our immersion in the film business began with the release of our two Ocean Views movie shorts, The Allure of Love directed by Jenny McCarthy and Royal Reunion directed by James Brolin. Later in the year, our good friends at DreamWorks Animation held the world premiere of Puss in Boots on Allure of the Seas. Finally, Adam Sandler’s latest comedy film Jack and Jill opened in theaters with an important portion of the film taking place on Allure.

In May we completed a major renovation of Radiance of the Seas, the first of our revitalizations under the Royal Advantage umbrella. More recently we completed the revitalization of Splendour of the Seas. We are adding features to the Vision-, Radiance- and Voyager-class ships that that have distinguished our newest ship classes including new dining options, entertainment, technology and children’s programming. We are particularly excited by the addition of specialty restaurants to the Viking Crown on Splendour as well as the introduction of aerial entertainment into Splendour’s Centrum.

On the culinary front, we entered into a relationship with noted Miami-based chef Michael Schwartz. Michael has created the menu for our 150 Central Park restaurant on Oasis of the Seas. We are very pleased to bring Michael’s talents to Oasis.

While all of the above was unfolding, Royal Caribbean International continued to expand its presence throughout the world with additional programs in Brazil, Australia, China and Europe. We are extremely pleased to have won prestigious awards for best cruise line and/or for specific product elements in countries across the globe. I’m grateful for the recognition particularly as it reflects the phenomenal effort, skill and creativity of our people. But the ultimate praise occurs each time one of our guests says “Wow”.

Was there something about 2011 that you found memorable as it relates to Royal Caribbean? If so, I’d enjoy hearing about it. Please share your memorable moments with me by posting a comment here. Thank you.

  • Dee

    The day I first stepped into a cruise ship. Brilliance of the Seas is just that, BRILLIANT! I had such an amazing time and made friends that would last a lifetime! I’m already begging my parents to take me on another one! I’m still fifteen Ya know! I literally spend most of my time online on your website looking at your ships and itineraries I almost have them memorized by heart! I can guarantee you I would be able to navigate through Oasis or Allure without even going on either before! You have such an amazing company Mr.Goldstein, I hope you have many years of success!

    -All the way from Saudi Arabia, Dee

    • Adam

      Glad to hear it, Dee. Thank you very much for your kind words. We look forward to welcoming you onboard again soon.

  • Patricia Dempsey

    My memorable Royal 2011 moment was seeing Vision of the Seas return to Southampton 13 years after her original call when she was named. It also gave me a chance to sail from my home on my favourite RCI ship.

    • Adam

      Thanks for sharing, Patricia.

  • john wojnarek

    we spent thanksgiving week on the ALLURE . it was the greatest cruise that we ever took. there was a life time of just plain great fun.
    been on 6 cruise in the past 9 years and 4 of them were with ROYAL CARIBBEAN . we will always stay with royal caribbean because we know were the fun and great entertainment is.
    wish there was 10 days instead of 7
    to all you R C people a great thanks


  • alvin pimentel

    We are so excited we are going on our first cruise and we picked Royal Caribbean. Everything was going well until our first dinner at the Navigator of the sea, in the middle of dinner my wife is eating something and she said its good then all of a sudden my wife took out something in her mouth and she found a piece of thick paper or maybe cardboard. From that night my wife did not wanna eat there but I keep telling my wife to forget about it cause she gonna starved.

    I just want to let YOU & Royal Caribbean to be more thorough particularly on food.

    Thanks, Alvin

  • mira elmann

    The year 2011 was a Voyage of dreams romance adventures fun excitement joy laughter & treasured memories. Been twice this year on RCL Allure of the Seas. sailing again January 3rd ,2012. This ship is the real Love Boat took a piece of my heart with it enjoyed sailing on it. Happy Holidays, Happy New Year! Bon Voyage to 2011. Welcome the new year 2012 A Year of Hope Peace Love & Harmony.
    A beautiful song to listen to La Mer in French ( The Sea) Powerful…..

    • Adam

      We’re glad you enjoyed sailing onboard Allure of the Seas, Mira. We look forward to welcoming you again soon.

  • Monique Reece

    This is also NOT meant for your blog but it does need the immediate attention of Mr. Adam Goldstein, President and CEO.

    My question/comments is about THE TREATMENT OF YOUR HOUSEKEEPERS ON BOARD:

    Are you aware of the FACT that you have supervisors adjusting your employees time sheet and harassing them to sign it or else they will be in trouble? In particular the hardworking housekeepers who use to work for FREE if they got a below average score who now gets $10 a day when they are below average?!!

    This is just one area that needs your IMMEDIATE attention as a citizen of humanity and to improve your company and moral on board the ships.

    The way your company/managers treats these employees is atrocious; yes most are not Americans but they do have a work permit to be on board and you should really treat them with more decency. That means you should hold the people in charge, Chief Housekeepers responsible when they are disrespectful to their subordinates.

    It is against the law to adjust someone’s time because you don’t want to pay them for hours worked. Before you say others are working within the 8 to 1 time frame do consider the FACT that they sign out and then go back to work because they are being intimidated by those in charge.

    Everyone deserves respect and to work in an environment where they are NOT harassed!

    Fortunately, how those in management position behave is a great reflection on their leader, YOU because if they know you will hold them accountable to do the right thing then they will do better. I know you are a reasonable and responsible human being who will do the right thing if even to preserve your name.

    I do hope I hear back from you about what steps you are taking to correct this problem and looking into this matter among others and acting expeditiously to fix this crazy mess for everyone’s sake.

    Thank you

  • Lisa Metcalf

    In 2011 instead of going on the Freedom of the Seas High Seas Rally, 18 of us decided to do a “bucket list item” and cruise on the largest ship……Oasis of the Seas! It was a wonderful choice and we all had a fabulous time. It was made even sweeter to know that the cruise came in the middle of one of my dear friends battle with colon cancer and he arranged his chemotherapy around his cruise. In 2012 when we return to the Freedom of the Seas, hopefully it will be his “freedom” from cancer. Thank you for helping us fulfill a dream……. Lisa

  • Ruby Arnoth

    I see that door peepholes with covers have been installed on staterooms. That’s great, however, I am a short, older woman 60 inches tall. To see out the peephole, I would have to bring over a chair because it is installed so high, you would have to be six feet tall to look out. Women and children are the ones most likely to want to look through a door peephole, but why should they be mounted so high that a chair is required to see through them? Hotel rooms where I have stayed have mounted them much lower and I can see out without standing on a chair.