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Discussion: Mariner of the Seas leaving Los Angeles

In:
09Jun2010

Last month, Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein announced that Royal Caribbean was pulling Mariner of the Seas from it's Los Angeles port in favor of moving her to Europe to help with the ever rising demand.  This decision leaves Royal Caribbean without a ship cruising the Mexican Riviera at the moment and needless to say, it's left some folks upset.  Mariner of the Seas replaced Vision of the Seas, which also left it's Mexican Riviera route in favor of Europe.

The problems many have lay in a few categories.  First, there is no option for fans of Royal Caribbean out of Los Angeles.  Those in the western United States are without an option for a nearby ship that serves warm water ports.  Second, many Royal Caribbean fans in the United States are upset over the trend of much of the Royal Caribbean fleet heading to Europe to chase the all mighty Euro and the demand there for cruises. Third, many who have gone on Mariner of the Seas report that the ship is routinely full and that it's not like she was sailing half empty.  All of these concerns have left many with a combination of anger, disgust and frustration.

Royal Caribbean clarified its position on the move in a blog post by Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein when he acknowledged that while Mariner of the Seas was meeting its capacity while in Los Angeles, it was still being moved to Europe because "we are unable to generate acceptable levels of performance for Mariner of the Seas. We are obligated to our shareholders to deploy her where she can earn superior returns".  

For most in the United States, European cruises are interesting options, but ultimately too expensive for most given the high cost of airfare just to get onboard the ship as well as the time off needed for such vacations.  The problem of Mariner of the Seas leaving is compounded by the fact that there is no ship scheduled to replace her yet, and if you do live in a western state, it means you must travel east for warm water cruises, which adds extra cost for travel.  On the one hand, it's hard to blame Royal Caribbean for doing what they're doing.  After all, they are a corporation and their first goal is produce profit for their shareholders (as any publicly traded company does).  On the other hand, the cruise industry is built upon the notion of building customer loyalty and Royal Caribbean has demonstrated a strong will to retain its customers for future cruises.

So what do you think about the decision to move Mariner of the Seas to Europe?  Is Royal Caribbean justified in moving it, and many other ships to Europe to make larger profits?  Or should Royal Caribbean stem the flow of ships east and maintain the fleet it has serving the western hemisphere?