Adam Goldstein, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Intl blogged last week that the cruise line is now in the midst of its full global portfolio of “winter” programs. Not surprising to cruise industry watchers, Goldstein said, “The word winter of course reflects a northern bias. We have Splendour of the Seas and Vision of the Seas in Brazil and Rhapsody of the Seas in Australia because it is very much summer in those regions. Plus Legend of the Seas is in sunny Singapore and Brilliance of the Seas is a few weeks away from its first voyage from Dubai. Still in the Caribbean, but very much part of our global expansion strategy, Enchantment of the Seas has begun our Panama/Colombia program.”
Goldstein further explained Royal Caribbean's international strategy, “The preparation for these programs is a year-round phenomenon. We are either delivering these programs or we are processing the lessons learned and developing the next season’s program. As we have grown our international offices’ capabilities, we look increasingly to our distant colleagues for feedback on product content, distribution and pricing. We’re very happy to have Americans and all nationalities cruise on these products, but I will note that the ships in Brazil have mostly Brazilians onboard, the ship in Australia has mostly Australians onboard and so forth. That’s no different than if you take a land vacation to such countries, but some of our guests are surprised to find this to be the case. In the 1990’s our worldwide cruises were primarily to take Americans on exotic itineraries. Now our worldwide cruises are for all nationalities with the usual case being that the nationalities nearest to the homeport are the largest % of the guest mix.”
That revelation might come as something of an eye-opener to many North Americans, who have traditionally felt themselves to be the center of US-based cruise line attention and marketing. While that’s still true in some regions, most notably the Caribbean and Alaska, cruise lines are now reaching out to attract passengers worldwide. More and more, ships are deployed on itineraries to appeal to locals in Europe, South America, Asia, and the South Pacific.
Even American-centric Caribbean cruises may soon be even more international in flavor as lines such as Royal Caribbean market more aggressively around the globe. As announced during its introduction, it is expected that Oasis of the Seas may host as many as 25% of its weekly passengers from other countries.