Royal Caribbean International Wins Big at the Travel Weekly Awards; And More on 2010 Planning

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A victorious evening for Royal Caribbean International at the Travel Weekly Awards in the Big Apple! A real tribute to all of the men and women who work for this great brand. We won Best Cruise Line Overall, Best Caribbean Cruise Line, Best Cruise Ship Overall (Freedom of the Seas) and Best Sales and Service. Not only that but our sister brand Celebrity Cruises won Best Premium Cruise Line, Best Cruise Ship Rookie (Celebrity Solstice) and Best Cruise Ship Premium (Celebrity Solstice). So our two brands won 7 of the 11 awards. Outstanding.

A reader posted an interest in knowing more about our 2010 Plan that I referenced in my previous entry. Obviously the content of our annual operating plan is confidential and I would not disclose any of it. Some things about next year are obvious and I have commented on them through the brief history of this blog. We need to prepare for the arrival of Allure of the Seas late next year. We need to leverage the incredible publicity that has surrounded Oasis of the Seas for the benefit of the entire fleet. We need to continue our aggressive global expansion.

In general, the Plan process involves hard thinking about where each department is and needs to be. The same is true for the brand overall. There are inevitable tradeoffs especially in the current environment. We start the Plan process in the spring and it continues until the end of the year. Every area would love to have more resources to accomplish their objectives faster and better. No surprises there. The key is the caliber of the dialogue and the professionalism of the participants. There has to be mutual respect. I believe it is helpful that most of our leaders have diverse management experience and can see the plan picture and the tradeoffs from more than just their current departmental point of view. Besides our internal dialogue we have had a robust and helpful interaction with Richard Fain, Brian Rice (CFO) and our Board of Directors.

Today is my final staff meeting (Brand Ops) of the year. Most of the team will go on vacation next week and deservedly so. I believe “A Tale of Two Cities” starts out “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” That pretty much sums up 2009 for Royal Caribbean International. We are looking forward to 2010. Happy Holidays to all.

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