Growth sails in from Middle Eastern directions
Royal Caribbean’s revenues for 2007 are up – it experienced a 45 per cent increase in gross revenue sales over 2006, plus a passenger volume increase of 37 per cent.
There was a high percentage of growth in secondary markets such as Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, according to Helen Beck, Royal Caribbean International’s regional sales director, Europe, Middle East and Africa.
One of the key challenges the company faced locally was the tendency for guests to book late, resulting in them not always getting their choice of sailing date and preferred accommodation. “However, we have seen indications that this trend is slowly changing,” said Beck. “For example, in 2006 more than 46 per cent of our guests booked their cruises less than two months before the departure date. In 2007, 36 per cent booked less than two months out and that is a very positive trend.”
Royal Caribbean International's newest ship - Independence of the Seas – sails out of Southampton to the Mediterranean and Europe from this month and will be among those promoted at this year’s ATM.
The cruise ship offers unusual entertainment in the form of the world’s first onboard surf park, a children’s water park, with water cannons, interactive fountains and swimming pools. The ship also features a large rock climbing wall, ice skating rink and cantilevered whirlpools that extend 12 feet from the side of the ship.
“Independence of the Seas will offer a few short Mediterranean taster cruises at the beginning of the season and then continue with 14 night Mediterranean sailings. The Navigator of the Seas’ will be sailing from Rome offering four, five and six night short Mediterranean cruises during April, May and June, and then during July and August she will sail seven night Eastern Mediterranean cruises,” said Beck.
RCI’s Voyager of the Seas will continue its seven night Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, while the Splendour of the Seas offers seven night round trip cruises from Venice, Italy, while Brilliance of the Seas will sail 12 night Mediterranean Venice and Mediterranean Greek Isles cruise itineraries.
“Locally, here at our regional representation office in the Middle East we will continue to service the travel trade for all their sales and reservations needs,” concluded Beck.