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Increased cruise bookings in US for 2012

Posted by RCI fans on July 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said more than half of travel agents they polled are claiming to be selling more cruises this year, compared to last year. Moreover, 25% said by midyear the numbers were similar to 2011.


This is good news for the cruise industry after the Costa Concordia shipwreck hurt bookings, but the industry sees that as an "isolated event".


Travel agents report that 15 percent expected growth of more than 25% this year compared to last year and another 25% predict a rise of 11-15 percent.


CLIA president, Christine Duffy, commented on the news, ""Particularly for the U.S. consumer market, people certainly saw the Costa Concordia as a terrible tragedy that was a very isolated event and not indicative of how the broader cruise industry operates. And I think that bears out in the fact that we are seeing cruise bookings up over the same time last year. There is still a lot of consumer confidence in the cruise product."

free cruise a day offer for travel agents to boost sales

Posted by RCI fans on April 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Travel agents are being given the chance to win a cruise a day for two weeks in the latest drive from Royal Caribbean International to stimulate bookings.


The new trade campaign follows the launch of the cruise lines £1.6 million Don’t Wait To Book campaign and comes after it extended its free flights offer after the Costa Concordia disaster in January.


Any agent who makes a Royal Caribbean booking for summer 2012 from Thursday April 12 can enter a prize draw on the line’s Cruising Power agent website.


The prize is for two people and on offer is a choice of fly cruises in Europe on board Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas or Jewel of the Seas.


A winner will be chosen each day of the promotion at 5pm.


Jo Rzymowska, Royal Caribbean general manager, said: “Clearly it’s tough out there and lots of people have still not booked.


“Our campaign is all about telling people not to wait and book now. We know the market is still out there and we have just got to keep it moving.


“I think people are expecting a deal and we are saying that we are doing deals now and, quite honestly, at these lead in prices they will move quickly.


“With the Olympics, air fares are likely to go up and we have some very good reduced fares and some good allocations.


“However, once we get into late May or June with the Royal Jubilee, the Euro football championships and the Olympics, air prices are going to be impacted.”


Royal Caribbean is offering attractive lead-in prices for the peak season starting at £699 in July.

Travel Agents Given Assurances Over Cruise Safety

Posted by RCI fans on January 23, 2012 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Travel agents have received direct reassurance about the safety of mega cruise ships from the top expert at leading operator Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which owns the world's two largest vessels.

Captain Bill Wright, who was in charge of the 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas when it entered service as the world’s largest cruise ship just over two years ago, spoke to agents while on a visit to the UK.

Capt. Wright, RCCL’s senior vice president of marine operations - in London for the Cruise Lines International Association Passenger Shipping Safety Conference - took questions from agents seven days after the Costa Concordia disaster.

Forty agents dialled into a conference call as he addressed issues ranging from the size of ships, crew training, safety drills and the industry’s safety record.

Royal Caribbean International has withdrawn UK advertising in the immediate wake of the Costa tragedy, but associate vice president and general manager Jo Rzymowska said that the decision was being reviewed on a day-to-day basis.

Speaking as chair of the Passenger Shipping Association cruise section, she said: “It’s in times like this that we can unite as an industry and be even stronger.

"We are talking to Ace to respond to agents and to emphasise that cruise continues to offer the great holiday that it does.”

Capt. Wright said it was important for agents to emphasise the cruise industry’s exemplary safety record when dealing with customers who may be nervous about booking a cruise following the Costa Concordia incident.

“Agents should be simply talking about the facts about the safety record we have. Although tragic, this was a highly unusual event,” he said.

Capt. Wright described the cruise industry as being one of the most highly regulated in the world.

Emphasising the safety record of cruising, he said there were just 21 fatalities resulting from maritime incidents out of 117 million passengers carried worldwide between 2005 and 2011.

“Taking a cruise is one of the safest things to do, more so than driving to the port,” he said.

Capt. Wright said more than 99% of Royal Caribbean passenger safety drills took place ahead of ships leaving port, adding: “There should be no exceptions moving forward.”

Addressing the issue of bigger ships, he said: “There is no doubt that with the newer size of ships there has been escalating levels of on board safety.

"The lifeboats are small ships in their own right and we can keep life jackets close to assembly stations, this is all part of the basic design of these ships.”

New technology allows captains to monitor muster drills in real time with passengers required to swipe their cabin entry and payment cards as they attend. This enables the crew to ensure all passengers participate and are in the correct muster station.

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean rival P&O Cruises and Cunard parent company Carnival UK confirmed it pulled advertising immediately after the Costa accident.

"It was appropriate and considerate for the Carnival UK brands to immediately withdraw marketing activity from last Saturday where possible. We will monitor this closely on a day-to-day basis,"a spokesperson said.


Whats So Good About Cruising Over Christmas?...

Posted by RCI fans on January 6, 2012 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Christmas is a wonderful time and what better way to spend the holiday season than on a cruise!

We asked some cruisers a few questions on their experiences about cruising over Christmas.

Shon Ford aka CruiseMan3000 and avid blogger of The Ocean Escape, summed up his Christmas cruise onboard NCL's Norwegian Gem as ‘Loads of kids and very crowed!’

He also responded to us with his views and tips about cruising over Christmas;

First off, no matter what ship you sail, expect it to be completely sold out--mainly occupied with many families, and yes, that includes many kids. I spoke with one of the security officers abaord Norwegian Gem and he told me there were 600 kids on the Christmas sailing.

It was jammed packed everywhere! The buffet was a free-for-all mad house. It reminded me of the crowds you see in stores on Black Friday. But, it was nice to be in paradise and enjoy a taste of summer in Mid December.

Also, having sailed from NYC down the Atlantic, I thought I'd tell ya it was very very windy out there, but the temperature were pretty moderate and not too bad. The Atlantic was not as rough as I expected and we had smooth seas the entire trip.

I loved the cruise and the highlight was the extended stay the Captain gave us on Great Stirrup Cay--NCL's private island in the Bahamas. We arrived in our first port--Pt. Canaveral (Orlando)--due to an issue the ship had, causing us to stop twice on our first day at seas from New York. The ship was ah-mazingly decorated and all the crew members kept saying "Merry Christmas" and it truly felt heart-warming. On Christmas Eve, everyone gathered to sing Christmas Carrolls in the atrium and it was truly enjoyable! Another highlight of my cruise was Nassau! It was my 8th time there, and they just got a brand new straw market! I was able to experience it and get a picture with the plaque outside the facility.

We also asked Liz Salby, a cruise lover and mother of 2, who also cruised over Christmas. We asked her a few question about her time;

How was your cruise?

We loved it! The themed activities and shows that were put on were fabulous. It’s hard to find a vacation that every member of the family can enjoy. My 7 year old daughter loved the youth program, so she spent most of the time there. Tom, my son, also enjoyed the youth program, he also loved the rock climbing wall and water park that were onboard. It gave us some time for me and my partner, to relax and not have to worry about the children, which is not very often we get to do that, especially over the Christmas season.

What was the highlight of your Cruise?

Relaxing! It was so nice to forget about all the stress and strains of life and not have to look at your cell phone once!

Chris Harms (Founder of Cruisers Connect) and Brad Lenz (Editor-In-Chief of Cruisers Connect) boarded the Allure of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale on Christmas Day, where they would cruise around the Caribbean for the next 9 days over the Holiday period. Not only was the cruise special for the seasonal atmosphere, but they were also onboard for Allure’s first docking in St Kitts. We will talk about their experience of St Kitts later.

We also asked them questions about their cruise;

How was your Cruise Experience?

Having two holidays in one cruise was a great experience. Christmas and New Years were wonderful and we visited the great ports of St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Marteen, and Labadee, Haiti. As always, the shows were good, Oceanaria the Aquashow was one of the best, the activities were exciting as I really enjoyed participating in a Flash Mob organized by the cruise director’s staff and the Allure of the Seas is one truly incredible ship. One thing worth noting would be the length, having 9 days was really nice. Four days at sea allowed a lot of time to explore the ship and enjoy the endless activities that the Allure of the Seas hosts.

The staff was one of the best I have experienced on a cruise. They were attentive, friendly, had lots of energy, and made the cruise that much more enjoyable for myself and the 6,000 others. Speaking of which, even though the ship was full to capacity, it never felt too crowded in any of the neighbourhoods or activities.

How was the Allure decorated for the Festive season?

The Allure of the Seas was decorated very nicely for the Christmas holiday. The Royal Promenade—one of the ships seven neighborhoods—was where most of the decorations were concentrated. There was garland wrapped around some of the railings on deck six, snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, and in the center, near Sorrento’s, a two-story Christmas tree with basketball sized ornaments. As for the other neighborhoods, there weren’t many, if any, decorations. I was especially surprised that the Central Park did not have any Christmas or holiday decorations as the Promenade did.

On New Years Eve, there were hundreds of balloons hovering over the Royal Promenade in nets, as well as confetti, noisemakers and hats that passengers could use.

What Christmas activities/entertainment did they put on?

There was Christmas Carolling in the Royal Promenade. All the passengers that participated received a song book and Ken Rush, our Cruise Director led us through some of the most popular holiday tunes.

On Day 2 (at Sea) Santa came to visit in Studio B. Children up to 17 years old could visit Santa and receive a Christmas gift. The gift you received was determined by your age, so it ranged from a blanket to a backpack. We later learned that there were over 4,000 presents wrapped in preparation for the event. Santa and his elves most of been working over time! There were also children activities, hula-hoop contests, and games in Studio B for all those not wanting to wait in line to see Santa.

What additional Christmas dishes were served in the restaurants?

On Christmas Day, I dined in Chops Grille Royal Caribbean’s signature steak house for a $30 surcharge, and they did not have any special Christmas or holiday food. However the main dining room had some holiday themed dishes such as gingerbread soufflé, and traditional Hanukah brisket with a full holiday menu.

Were there many children onboard?

The Allure of the Seas was brimming with kids and teenagers. When I went into Fuel (teen night club) some nights, there were maybe a hundred teenagers or more. All around the ship too, I got the feeling that this was obviously a family cruise and everyone brought their children/grandchildren/nephews etc.

This cruise, like many of Royal Caribbean’s, was perfect for kids. They hosted activities everyday ranging from dodge ball tournaments to scavenger hunts. But some of the most exciting events centered on Royal Caribbean’s partnership with DreamWorks Animation. They hosted the parade in the Royal Promenade which was a spectacle; held the acclaimed How to Train Your Dragon ice show in Studio B; and got passengers dancing on their feet in the Let You Entertain Me aquashow.

What would you say are the advantages/disadvantages of spending Christmas on a cruise rather than at home?

I will say that the advantages very much outweigh the disadvantages. If you really think about it, being in the middle of say, St. Thomas, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, on Christmas is pretty amazing. Some people on our cruise missed their extended family that they are usually with, so that may be the only downfall I would say. But from the shows, to the ports, activities, and some of the spectacular individuals you meet, spending Christmas on a cruise is the best. New Years was absolutely incredible as well. Imagine having 4,000 passengers packed in the Royal Promenade. Everyone on the ship was having a good time and you are celebrating with new friends, and the energy is something you would never find at home on New Years.

What was the highlight of your Christmas cruise?

Being one of the passengers on board Allure of the Seas for her inaugural call to St. Kitts was one of the biggest highlights of the cruise.

(Allure of the Seas docks in St Kitts for the first time.)

Getting off the ship I couldn’t help but realize how fun and excited the citizens were to see us. They were all so intrigued with the Allure of the Seas and were grateful for all the passengers that visited. Immediately once you stepped foot on Port Zante, there was a parade, steel drummers, and schoolchildren singing; all of which boosted the energy of all the passengers. Little did we know, that was the start of what St. Kitts had to offer.

After a day long island tour, St. Kitts became my favorite island. The island was breath-taking; it had mountain bluffs, black sand beaches, and a bustling capital (Basseterre). We also got to see where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet in St. Kitts, which was very cool.

I hope Royal Caribbean will make St. Kitts a permanent stop on the Allure of the Seas itinerary so other passengers can experience this special port.

Cruisers Connect obviously enjoyed their cruise very much. There really does seem so much that took place on the cruise. The range of activities offered are amazing! I particularly love the sound of the Carol Singing in the Royal Promenade, that must have sounded super! I also like the idea of the ‘Meet Santa’ in Studio B. (I may have gone round more than once for extra goodies!!!)

As mentioned earlier, it was also the first time Allure of the Seas has docked in St Kitts. Cruisers Connect founder Chris Harms was the first person to disembark Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas on it's inaugural call to the island! This cruise must definitely be their best Christmas ever!

(Cruisers Connect Founder, Chris Harms was the first passenger to disembark Allure in St Kitts. This photo shows him being interviewed by Local News Channels.)

It has come to a conclusion that Cruising over Christmas is a wonderful experience and one far better than any on land!

We thank all of the people we asked for answering our questions. I hope this article gives you some more advice and information on what a Christmas cruise is like. If you have any pictures from your cruise over Christmas in the past, please send them in! We love seeing your cruise experiences!

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(A Video by a Local News Team. We do not own this video.)

All photos are uploaded with kind permission from Cruisers Connect and The Ocean Escape by Shon Ford. Please do not redistribute or add these images to your own website, without prior consent from Cruisers Connect or Shon Ford.

Paul Merton's Adventures

Posted by RCI fans on October 19, 2011 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Wow! I found Paul Merton's Adventures on Channel 5 awesome!

UK fans had a treat tonight, with an hour long travel documentary following Paul Merton on Allure of the Seas. It featured all the things that you can do on a Royal Caribbean ship and on a cruise in general. I didn't warm to Paul that much, but one character, I loved. This was Guest Relations, Scot, Sam! She was very funny!

We'll try to add the programme onto our site if it is released on YouTube.

Allure to feature on UK TV Show

Posted by RCI fans on October 17, 2011 at 12:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Allure of the Seas is to feature on a brand new TV show on Wednesday 19th October at 9pm. The program is called Paul Merton's Adventures and will be on Channel 5. The show follows comedian, Paul Merton on an adventure around the world.

The comedian will take a trip on the largest cruise ship in the world, Allure of the Seas. He will showcase some of the amazing features onboard, such as the zip line, but will Paul dare do it? Tune in to find out!

During filming, Merton was impressed on the size of the ship, he commented that "I was amazed by the vastness of the vessel. You only appreciate how tall the ship is when you disembark and realise you’ve been in a floating tower block.”

The show will be showcased on Channel 5 on Wednesday at 9pm and will also be available on Channel 5 HD and Demand 5.

View the trailer:

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