Royal Caribbean President & CEO Discusses Onboard Alcohol Policies

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Normally I am writing about something positive because that is mostly what goes on at our cruise line. Unfortunately that is not the case this time. Yesterday, the television show “Inside Edition” aired a segment that included video that was filmed onboard one of our ships during spring break. I am very disappointed at the sensationalistic portrait the story painted of the behavior of some of our guests. I am also very disappointed at any indication that our personnel onboard do not uphold their responsibilities.

Royal Caribbean International takes the issue of alcohol service and consumption very seriously, and we closely monitor it on all of our vessels. I apologize that an explanation of what goes into our preparations and oversight comes off as formal sounding compared to what you usually read in this blog, but this subject is a serious one and I think some formality is inevitable. So please bear with me as you read this.

In January 2006, we introduced a comprehensive SafeServe training program for all of our shipboard bartenders and servers. The program, which was developed by the Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association, teaches our staff how to serve alcohol responsibly. Our bartenders and servers are required to participate in this training and successfully pass a test.

As part of this program, our bartenders and servers are trained to recognize over consumption, and once recognized, to deny additional alcoholic beverages, serve additional water or non-alcoholic drinks, and/or provide food. And while the bartenders and servers on our ships work for tips, just like those in shoreside bars and restaurants, we have strict policies designed to prevent over serving. It is unacceptable and forbidden for any crew member to knowingly serve any intoxicated guest. If we become aware of any employee violating our policies, we take disciplinary action.

Unfortunately, when a person wants to over consume, they sometimes find ways to circumvent even our best efforts to stop them. This may include having another guest purchase alcohol and bring it to them. Or they go ashore and purchase drinks at a port of call. We want our guests to have fun and enjoy themselves while onboard our ships.  However, consuming alcohol to excess impairs one’s judgment and reduces one’s ability to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations. Our alcohol policies and procedures are in place for the safety of our guests and we expect them to drink responsibly so that they may have an amazing and memorable cruise vacation.

While we consider “Inside Edition’s” portrayal of the spring break cruise to be highly misleading and not indicative of what happens onboard our ships day in and day out, we will carefully review the show for any evidence of breakdowns in our policies and procedures. Regardless of which of our ships you cruise on, or what time during the year you cruise with us, our goal and commitment is to deliver the vacation of a lifetime to you…every time. Thank you for reading this entry.