Monday,  December 16, 2019  2:45 am

What to expect from Royal Caribbean in the coming years


What to expect from Royal Caribbean in the coming years
From RCI (left to right): Christopher Jeffrey-Racine, Quebec-NB strategic account leader; Éric St-Pierre, national accounts manager for Canada.
Antoine Stab

Antoine has worked as a journalist for a publication specializing in the great outdoors. His love of travel comes from the time he spent outdoors growing up. Originally from France, relocated to Quebec, he is curious about everything, from what is happening in his own backyard to what's going on at the other end of the world.

Royal Caribbean International celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. 

So, what's next?

READ MORE: VIDEO: Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas now open

PAX spoke with Christopher Jeffrey-Racine, strategic account manager at RCI, Quebec and New Brunswick to learn more about what's new, what's next, and what's on the horizon for the company.

Partly renovated fleet

Royal Caribbean currently has 26 ships, but is expected to welcome 10 more by 2029, an average of one new ship per year.

The latest one, launched in April, was the Spectrum of the Seasthe first ship of the class Quantum Ultra. Built specifically for the Chinese market, it will operate mainly in Asia.

The next to join the fleet will be the Odyssey of the Seas. The ship is currently under construction, and will be delivered in the fall of 2020. It will be the second vessel in the Ultra-Quantum class. The itinerary has not been revealed yet.

Part of the fleet already at sea will also be renovated as part of the $1B Royal Amplified program. Ten ships will be updated and reflect the latest trends in the industry, with new activities, new catering offers, new atmospheres, and more.

"It is said that cruising allows you to see several destinations in one trip. With these renovations and modernizations, we want every ship to be a destination in itself. Even if people know the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, they will be happy to return, because they will be able to experience the ship and discover its unique personality," said Christopher Jeffrey-Racine.

The Navigator of the Seas water slide

Among the novelties:

  • The biggest water slide, between 45 seconds and one minute down, on the Navigator of the Seas
  • A barbecue restaurant on the Oasis of the Seas
  • An escape room on the Harmony of the Seas, Allure, and all class ships Voyager and Freedom
  • Virtual reality experiences on the Spectrum of the Seas

"We always try to go further. We were the first with a surf simulator, a real water park on board, a 360-degree observatory (the North Star), climbing walls... those who want to have fun with more original activities will find their account. But there is also something to be satisfied who want to be quieter, with relaxation areas adapted for them. The idea is to develop the multigenerational character of our cruises, with different age groups, but where everyone has their moment and really enjoys their holidays," Jeffrey-Racine said.

What's up next

Perfect day of Coco Cay

  • Perfect Day at Coco Cay: the paradise and playful private island in the Bahamas, has been open since May 4. "The first returns are positive. Like our ships, the island is suitable for everyone, including the chill section, more relaxed, and the thrill section, hectic," Jeffrey-Racine said. On the attractions side, Coco Cay is home to the largest water slide in North America, the largest wave pool in the Caribbean, the biggest pool in the Bahamas and even a hot-air balloon.
  • Two ships will undergo renovations next fall, the Oasis of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, but will be back on the water in December 2019. 
  • On the destination side:
    • From this summer, the Anthem of the Seas will sail from Southampton, a port town on the south coast of England, for a cruise to the Canaries.
    • Next winter, RCI will offer for the first time stops in Martinique, between January and March 2020.
    • Alaska is growing and RCI will be there in the summer of 2020 with three ships, including the Ovation of the Seas, which has the highest observatory in the fleet, the North Star, a capsule open 360 degrees to 300 feet above sea level, making it the perfect place to admire Alaska's mountains, glaciers and wilderness. 
    • Another novelty for 2020 is the Alaska seven-night cruises starting and ending in Vancouver.
  • RCI also recently acquired a resort in the Bahamas, the Grand Lucayan Resort. Few details have filtered yet, but according to Bahamas Weekly, the development will take place over a period of two to three years, with an investment of $195 million in the first phase of the project. Once completed, a theme park and a five-star hotel will be part of the redevelopment effort.

Two tips to better sell RCI

According to Jeffrey-Racine, there are a few ways agents can better sell RCI: 

  • The Oasis-class "boardwalk" and "central park" neighborhood balconies are an interesting springboard for taking customers to another level. "These balconies have an affordable price and offer plenty of inclusions. Guests will certainly enjoy the experience and will consider a balcony with a sea view for next time."
  • Recognize the "suite clients." For him, agents are often afraid to sell suites because of the budget. "Maybe the customer is already buying a la carte all the benefits (drinks, internet ...), while many suites include them. So, why not invest that money in an optimal experience?"

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