Some Thoughts on Our Exciting Week of Crown & Anchor Updates and News of our Alliance with DreamWorks Animation

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It’s been an exciting week for Royal Caribbean International. We are gathering feedback from the market in the aftermath of our two big announcements: the program enhancements to the Crown & Anchor Society and our new relationship with DreamWorks Animation.

We’ve received overwhelmingly positive responses on the Crown & Anchor changes. It isn’t my intention to repeat all of the compliments here (not that it isn’t tempting) but to make a few observations/clarifications.

First, the current Ultimate Value Books (a.k.a. coupon books) expire on June 30th and the new ones will arrive before then. In the interim, we’re giving our guests immediate access to the three most significant new or augmented benefits: Internet, laundry and photo. An insert will be placed in the coupon book onboard until the new ones arrive. On most ships the books will arrive in the next two weeks. Legend of the Seas will get her books in late June.

Second, some of our shareholders who are Crown & Anchor members are displeased that the shareholder benefit cannot be used together with Crown & Anchor discounts, including the new onboard booking bonus. We are sorry that this is the case but we cannot modify our approach in this area. In order for the onboard booking bonus to be as robust as possible and to be used together with the Crown & Anchor discounts, we could not allow the shareholder discount to also be used together with it. Please bear in mind that the reason to own our stock is that you believe the stock represents a good investment in connection with your personal investing strategy. The cruise benefit is a nice opportunity to have, if applicable, but not a reason to own the stock.

Third, we have received comments from members who want the benefit of the new onboard booking bonus retroactively applied to previously made bookings. I hope most of you appreciate that we needed to pick a time to introduce this benefit and that there would always be customers who had booked not long before the implementation date. There is no way to draw a line on retroactivity and so the bonus is applicable for eligible bookings made on or after our June 1st announcement.

Finally, as we have intimated previously, we look forward to introducing more enhancements to the Crown & Anchor Society in the not too distant future.

Returning to DreamWorks, we are really excited about this major step forward in our entertainment and programming. DreamWorks is the leader in animated films and Royal Caribbean International is the leader in cruising. Although these companies have worked in very different spaces, they have in common vision, inspiration, creativity, scale and global reach. Not to mention that both companies’ products make people happy.

From the beginning of the dialogue last year until the announcement on Friday, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and his team have been a pleasure to be around. Their dedication and commitment to exploring the possibilities of a relationship made this relationship come to life. They are very serious about what they do, about the development of their world-renowned characters and about building a foundation for long-term success. We don’t see limits to what we can achieve together.

While we still have a lot of work to do before Allure of the Seas comes out with DreamWorks programming and characters onboard, we have already had a taste of what this will mean to our guests. We brought the costume characters on Oasis of the Seas for a trial run and were amazed at the excitement from guests of all ages as well as the crew. Adults wanted to take pictures with the characters as much as their children did. The crew waited in line to get their pictures taken. The breadth of appeal of DreamWorks’ properties to people of all ages was readily on display.

This has been a fun assignment for our people. They have enjoyed finding the best ways for the characters to interact with our guests and working to integrate the DreamWorks experience into our entertainment programs.
We will have experiences for adults and children including the 3D theater, in-stateroom programming, exclusive entertainment and character breakfasts and all are complimentary. Besides Allure of the Seas, DreamWorks’ programming and characters will be onboard Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas by early 2011.

This blog entry has already gone on too long, but that won’t stop me from mentioning that the big week actually got going in earnest when I FINALLY broke 19 minutes for the 5k, reaching my goal with an 18.59 on Memorial Day. I’m still behind the Big Six in my age group, but I’m getting closer.

  • Chris

    Hi Adam
    Thanks for clarifying a few of the new benefits for crown and anchor members. I had a question however in regards to your best price guarantee program announced May 17th. It says you are only eligible for price drops 48 hours after booking. However this seems like it would make more work for your side as what is to stop people from canceling the cruise and re-booking at the lower price. I have called and spoke with several different representatives and each have given me different answers. One said its 48 hours after book and two others have said it is 48 hours after final payment could you please clarify for all your readers I am sure they would be grateful. Thanks for all of the memorable cruise vacations looking forward to my 14th cruise with you on Liberty in the next few months.
    Chris

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Hi Chris, our Best Price Guarantee states that “when you reserve with Royal Caribbean and subsequently find a lower rate advertised by Royal Caribbean within 48 hours from the time the reservation is made, we will honor that lower eligible rate by applying an onboard credit to the reservation equal to 110% of the price difference.” To learn more about our policy please visit http://ht.ly/1VkmY. We can’t wait to see you onboard the Liberty of the Seas and we hope that you have an enjoyable cruise vacation.

  • Arvids R ernstons

    Adam after seeing the Dreamworks video I most likely will be booking a cruise on Allure as it looks fun. And yes at 49 I still love being a kid.

    Congrats on breaking 19 fantastic accomplishment.

    It will be nice to see the new benefits on our upcoming back to back on the Monarch in September. And of course on the Oasis in October.

    Being in business myself for mega years. Its hard to please some people all the time but you can please most of the people all the time.

    We are all ready planning on booking something else for April 2011 on the Monarch. We love RCCL and may even try Celebrity soon but dont worry we are not going anywhere else. We love RC too much.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Arvids, we’re pleased to hear that you’ll be reserving a cruise onboard the new Allure of the Seas due to our new partnership. As you mentioned, our new DreamWorks Animation Experience will not only appeal to the kids but attract adults as well. We hope that you’ll enjoy your Monarch of the Seas cruise and we look forward to seeing you onboard the Allure!

  • dale fishner

    Thank you for returning the combinability of benefits it was a sore spot when it was taken away. I am glad RCL reversed that decision it made my day when I read it was brought back now I cannot wait to board Oasis and book our next cruise when we are on the ship.. Thank you for listening

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Dale, thank you for the positive comment about our benefits for our Crown & Anchor Society members. We appreciate our guests’ comments and enjoy listening to their suggestions.

  • Javier Alegre

    Adam – It’s incredible and exciting how the entertainment programming at Royal Caribben International continues to evolve over time – we are looking forward to sail on Allure next year and experience the 3D theater. Congratulations on the strategic alliance with DreamWorks and reaching a new goal for the 5K!

  • Marvin

    As a diamond C&A member who has been critical of last years trashing of the loyalty program I believe the latest enhancement measures are a reasonable approach to recreating a well balanced program. As i saw movement in a positive direction I began to rebook several cruises with RCI, I was pleased with the first and look forward to a renewed cruising relationship.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Marvin, we’re happy to hear that we’ve gained your seal of approval and that you’ve returned to cruising onboard with us. We appreciate our guests’ comments and suggestions and are always looking to enhance their cruise experience.

  • alma bozeman

    I for one appreciate the enhancements to the Crown and Anchor benefits. I was probably one of your biggest critics when you took away everything in January, 2009.
    What you have added goes a long way in making amends with all of your disgruntled diamond members

    (me being one of them). You may not be quite there yet in gaining all of our loyalty back but you are making headway.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Alma, we’re happy to hear that you’re excited our new changes to the Crown & Royal Society benefits. We are thankful for our guests’ comments and suggestions as we are always looking to improve our guests’ experience with Royal Caribbean.

  • Janey Layman

    Adam…Congrats on breaking 19!!! I love how genuine you are in these blogs. It really feels like we all know you a little. What other CEO does something like this? Thanks and great job!

    Any chance of getting some type of animation workshop while onboard???? On a different note, any chance of partnering with Weight Watchers so those of us who are fat challenged (or just plain fat) know how much we’re consuming and make better choices when we cruise? :)

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Janey, I’m glad to hear that you enjoy reading the Why Not? Blog, and appreciate your kind words. I hope it helps to give you an insight on our company and what we do. Check out our Vitality Program at http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/experiencetypes/home.do?cS=NAVBAR#/?detail=912&wl=0 which works wellness into every aspect of your cruise vacation. Also, thanks for sharing your suggestions and we will pass these along to the appropriate department.

  • helen rutenber

    With regard to shareholders benefits and not being able to combine them with other benefits. I have 10 cruises booked between now and end November. At least half have been done through my Vacation Planner in Miami, the rest onboard (but before the new deal came in). Would it not be possible to consider letting shareholders, who make a booking through Planner to combine? seeing as they are not getting the onboard credit?

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Helen, in regards to your question, we cannot combine shareholder benefits with Crown & Anchor member benefits. As noted on our Investor Relations website http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=103045&p=irol-shareholderbenefit our Shareholder Onboard Credits are no longer combinable with other Onboard Booking Credits, Loyalty Programs and/or other Reduced Fare Offerings as of December 31, 2008. Thank you for your feedback and we hope that you’ll enjoy your numerous cruises with us.

  • karen golembe

    Is there a way I can email Adam directly<

    • Royal Caribbean Communications

      Karen, this blog is a great venue to address Adam, so feel free to write your comments or suggestions on here.

  • Marvin

    As diamond C&A members who have been critical of last year’s program reductions we wish to express our appreciation for the latest enhancements. You have taken positive steps to recreate a well balanced loyalty program. Because of this change of direction we have rebooked RCI for several cruises. We have enjoyed the first, and look forward to a renewed cruising relationship with RCI. No-one should expect perfection but a reasonable effort to correct past missteps deserves recognition and support.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Marvin, we’re happy to hear that you are happy with the changes we’ve made to our program, and returned to Royal Caribbean for your cruise vacations. We appreciate our guests’ suggestions and feedback and are always looking to enhance their experience with Royal Caribbean. We’re looking forward to having you back onboard with us again.

  • michael Ambrose

    Adam:
    Congrats on the time. While I can no longer run, bad knee, I am excited for those who are still able to and are still striving to improve. In the meantime, I can still walk a 1/2 marathon in 2:40. Also, thank you for the prompt answer on the shareholder benefit question. My family, all 8 of us, is looking forward to our cruise on Freedom next week.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Michael, thank you for the congratulatory message and great job on your time as well. We’re looking forward to having you onboard Freedom of the Seas and best wishes on your next marathon.

  • helen rutenber

    Must have said a wrong word in the comment I posted yesterday, it disappeared.
    Just wanted to ask if the shareholders benefit could be used when making your booking off ship i,e, via your friendly vacation planner? Phrased that wrong. What I meant was could it not combine with those thank you coupons you send us after a cruise? If you book onboard you can combine 2 different lots of savings but not if you do it ashore. I have 10 cruises booked between July and November, 5 booked on ship and rest through Luis in Miami. All but one before this new rule came into effect and that one doesn’t qualify because it was via Miami. Hope that you will think again about shareholder benefits combinations.

  • helen rutenber

    Hello Adam. I always enjoy my cruises! Why do you think I keep coming back?. And by the way, Monarch may be the oldest and smallest ship in the fleet but she has the best crew and the biggest heart ( the other ships are great as well).

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Thank you for your comment, Monarch of the Seas is a magnificent ship. Thank you very much for your loyalty and for all of your kind words about our crew. Please keep us updated on your cruise vacations this year.

  • Bob

    I appreciate the improvements but still think there is a good compromise on providing stock holders the ability to combine their benefit.

    Your response “In order for the onboard booking bonus to be as robust as possible and to be used together with the Crown & Anchor discounts, we could not allow the shareholder discount to also be used together with it. Please bear in mind that the reason to own our stock is that you believe the stock represents a good investment in connection with your personal investing strategy. The cruise benefit is a nice opportunity to have, if applicable, but not a reason to own the stock.” concerns me in one way in that it might encourage current cruising shareholders to sell off their stock which could impact the price. Since there are no dividends, there is currently no good reason to holds it other than the hope that the price will go back up or dividends will return.

    A reasonable offering would be to let those who don’t book on board combine the on board credit with the Crown and Anchor cabin discount. This would have no impact on on-board bookings.

    I frequently post on Cruise Critic that I understand the business reasons for cutbacks and limitations on perks/discounts, but I still appreciate the things that go beyond the basic product (which is the reason I sail with you in the first).

    But thanks for taking some really big steps in a positive direction.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Thank you for your comment Bob. We’re happy to hear that you are excited about our new changes for the Crown & Anchor Society Member benefits. We’ve taken note of your suggestion and will be sure to pass it along. Thanks again for your feedback.

  • mary

    Hi Adam

    we are intending going on the Vision in October but nobody seems to know if there is a Concierge Club or Diamond Lounge for Diamond Plus or Diamond members. When I called your UK office just now, I was told maybe, maybe not it depends if they want to open a section of one of the bars. Not very encouraging!

    Appreciate if you could clarify.

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Hi Mary, in Vision of the Seas there isn’t a dedicated space for a Diamond Lounge. However, for certain sail dates some ships may provide a temporary location that will be announced on day 1 in your welcome letter.

      If a Diamond or Concierge Lounge isn’t available, we’ll extend the morning breakfast in the dining room with specialty coffees and the Nightly Diamond Event will be open between 5 pm and 8 pm.

  • Carol

    Glad you are getting positive responses for restoring and enhancing some C&A benefits. It’s important to see that Royal Caribbean has realized that loyalty is a two way street. Many C&A members have felt neglected and ignored in the recent past and these latest changes should help to restore members’ lost confidence. Some websites are reporting plans to add additional tiers to the C&A society. Any plans for this?

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Carol, thank you for your comment and for your feedback regarding 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable

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