Today’s the day Royal Caribbean executives have been waiting for and they’ve already issued birth (or would that be berth?) announcements. As of today, the shipyard will hand over the keys and Oasis of the Seas is officially a Royal Caribbean fleetmate.
As a bit of a bonus, in his Chairman’s Blog Richard Fain has revealed that, “The yard has discovered 4 extra cabins—I don’t know how they could have lost 4 cabins, but apparently they have now found them. Actually, it is not as surprising as it sounds because when a shipyard builds a ship, it commits to a certain number of cabins, in this case 2,700. But they build in a cushion because they normally lose cabins during the construction process (for equipment, storage, etc). Thus, we rarely get any extra cabins back because the yard ends up using them for other purposes. In the Oasis contract, we included a bonus for any extra cabins and today, the yard advised that they would increase the cabin numbers by 4. It may not sound like a lot, but it definitely helps.”
So, now with a total of 2,704 cabins on Oasis of the Seas, will Royal Caribbean be able to fill them on a week-in and week-out basis? We’ve seen fare price cutting for the ship’s initial sailings on the Royal Caribbean web site and the official inaugural cruise isn’t even sold out. Many ships sell out quickly for their maiden voyages and even have waiting lists. Of course none are as big as Oasis of the Seas and time will tell if the world’s largest cruise ship is also the world’s largest white elephant at sea.
What make us ponder that possibility? Hints that perhaps there’s a problem filling Oasis of the Seas came in the form of an innocuous press release earlier this week in which Royal Caribbean announced they are dedicating the month of December 2009 to honor the cruise line’s Crown & Anchor Society members on all ships. During the December Diamond Event, Diamond and Diamond Plus member guests on all sailings in the month will enjoy enhanced recognition benefits, as well as commemorative gifts, special events and exclusive offers on future sailings. So far, so good—the line is honoring loyal past passengers with special goodies, right? Maybe not all so good ...
Here’s where it gets interesting. The release goes on to say that Crown & Anchor Society members can still join more than 800 fellow Diamond and Diamond Plus members on the spectacular Oasis of the Seas inaugural cruise on Dec 5, 2009. In addition to the standard recognition benefits, Diamond and Diamond-plus level members will enjoy additional recognition gifts and benefits, including one additional cruise credit, exclusive special events, other surprise gifts that recognize the cruise line’s most loyal members, and tempting exclusive offers for future sailings.
As you may know, Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society is the cruise line’s guest loyalty program, recognizing guests with benefits and savings when they choose a Royal Caribbean cruise or cruise tour land package. While there are more than 800 of Royal Caribbean's most loyal past passengers booked on the Oasis of the Seas inaugural cruise, that's only more than 400 cabins out of 2,704 and we’re surprised that the line is resorting to giveaway offers to entice their loyalists to make what are essentially last-minute bookings at this late date. We’ll have to wait to see what that means. However, in the meantime, we offer everyone at Royal Caribbean our heartiest congratulations on the arrival of their newest vessel.
Additional information is available at Oasis of the Seas. For more information about Royal Caribbean, visit Royal Caribbean. To learn about the past passenger loyalty program, visit the Crown & Anchor Society.