Friday, April 23, 2010

A West Coast Loss is Ultimately a Gulf Coast Gain

The big news in ship deployment this week is Royal Caribbean Intl's announcement that Mariner of the Seas will be leaving its Los Angeles homeport, effective in January 2011. While repositioning, Mariner of the Seas will offer a short South America season before debuting in the Mediterranean as Royal Caribbean’s record-setting 11th ship in the region for summer 2011. Mariner of the Seas will homeport at Rome (Civitavecchia) from March through Oct 2011, replacing Splendour of the Seas, which will now homeport in Venice, offering 10- and 11-night Greek Isles and Turkey itineraries for the season.

Mariner of the Seas will then return to North America for the 2011-12 winter season, offering 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Galveston, Texas, replacing Voyager of the Seas. As a result, Voyager of the Seas will herald Royal Caribbean’s return to New Orleans in winter 2011-12, offering vacationers another Gulf Coast port to embark on a memorable 7-night Western Caribbean cruise.

Adam Goldstein, President and CEO Royal Caribbean Intl revealed yesterday in his "Why Not?" blog that, "Our deployment decision reflects both strategic and financial considerations. Royal Caribbean has had a major presence at the Port of Los Angeles and on the west coast of Mexico for many years with various ships and it is our hope to return in the not too distant future. Our preference would have been to continue to deliver Mariner of the Seas’ Mexico Riviera itinerary. Unfortunately, while the ship delivered great value to its guests on that itinerary, it will deliver superior performance for our shareholders as well as great value for our guests on the routes that we have announced."

Goldstein added, "One postscript from behind the scenes–in the days leading up to this announcement our team created and then implemented an entire communications strategy. We had to take into account local, regional and federal authorities in multiple countries including of course port authorities who will be affected by these changes whether favorably or unfavorably. Given that our ships move and that cruise industry trends and consumer preferences are dynamic, it’s critical that we maintain positive relationships around the world. While it’s not fun to call someone and tell them we are going to move our ship from their port, it’s better to let them know directly from us than for them to see it first online or in a newspaper."

Important Information for Booked Passengers:

Guests currently booked on Mariner of the Seas’ Mexican Riviera sailings from Jan 16, 2011, and onward will be contacted with the following offer. Until May 6, 2010, affected guests can opt for a full refund of any fares paid, or enjoy $200 onboard credit per stateroom ($400 per suite category stateroom) when they rebook their vacation, at the same fare or lower prevailing fare, on a Mariner of the Seas sailing before Jan 16, 2011, or on the same 2011 departure date aboard Voyager of the Seas, sailing from Galveston. More information is available at

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