As we cross the fall equinox into October, we enter the period where Royal Caribbean ships on seasonal deployments move from one region to another. This includes ships leaving Alaska, Canada, Europe and China and going to the Caribbean, Australia, Dubai, Brazil and Singapore. Our customers know this as a time for interesting itineraries and often longer cruises.
What is less obvious is the work that goes into enabling this seasonal transition. Our people start preparing well in advance to operate these transition cruises and the season that follows them. As we know in much of our lives, it’s easier to manage a routine and harder to manage change. Even ships as large and complex as Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas have it “easy” in this sense – they do the same thing 52 weeks per year. Most seasonal ships face changes of region, guest mix and cruise length. The shipboard management and their shoreside support teams started preparing for these changes last fall as soon as the transition cruises ended a year ago. As cruises ended that would be repeated this fall, we assessed how well we delivered the cruise experience, the characteristics and preferences of the guests, the infrastructure in the ports, etc. From this assessment come adjustments that we are implementing this fall and during the upcoming season.
Of course, the Royal Caribbean experience doesn’t stand still. So in addition to evaluating what happened before, we are always in the process of starting something new, from enhanced internet connectivity to the Barbie program to new shore excursions. Also, the ship that did a given program a year ago may not be the ship that is doing the program this year. Or the ship may have been revitalized since the previous year’s program. Not to mention that there are varying holidays and special occasions affecting many ships’ schedules.
So, the reader may begin to get a sense of the multiple dimensions involved in getting seasonal ships and crew ready to deliver the Royal Advantage of the industry’s best ship features, seamless Gold Anchor Service and exciting destinations around the globe. I would like to extend my appreciation to all of our men and women shipboard and shoreside who dedicate themselves to ensuring that we offer a consistent, outstanding Royal Caribbean experience all over the world all the time despite many challenges and ever changing variables.
In their honor, I would ask the readers to post their favorite memories of transatlantic, transpacific or other cruises between seasons.