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Allure of the Seas to serve as movie shoot location

By: Matt Hochberg

Allure of the Seas is booked to be the set for a few scenes of a new film starring Adam Sandler, Al Pacino and Katie Homles.  When Allure of the Seas arrives in Florida in November, the cast will board the ship to shoot scenes for the film "Jack and Jill".  Filming will take place on the ship from November 12 to 23, during which time final preparations to Allure of the Seas will be underway.

The crew of Allure of the Seas will be in some of the scenes of the movie as extras.

An internal memo invites staff to send a photograph of themselves to the extras casting department, and says: "The movie production is looking for people between 30-60 years of age of all ethnicities, plus kids between the ages of 6-14. They also are looking for couples or pairs that can share staterooms."

Don't worry, the movie shoot will not affect your planned cruise on Allure of the Seas as her maiden voyage wont happen until December 1, 2010.

Falmouth, Jamaica port still not ready

By: Matt Hochberg

Unfortunately the brand new port at Falmouth, Jamaica is still not ready for cruise business yet, a fact that cannot sit well with Royal Caribbean.  Royal Caribbean has tried infusing the project with millions of dollars to get things going and the port is still not ready for cruises due to a number of construction delays.

All was expected to be ready in time to welcome 1,800 passengers from P&O's Aurora and another 1,250 from Holland America's Ryndam on November 3, but those visits have now been cancelled and the ships will divert to Ocho Rios.

The new plan is to have Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas make the inaugural visit to the port on January 7, with Oasis and Allure following in March.  A Royal Caribbean spokesperson had this to say about the progress and future of the port.

"The revitalisation of Historic Falmouth Port is moving forward as scheduled and we look forward to beginning ship calls at what will be a great cruise port.
By mutual agreement between the Jamaica Port Authority and Holland America, initial ship calls to Falmouth that were scheduled during November and December 2010 will now anchor at Ocho Rios. This modification will minimize interference with the ongoing construction efforts that include more than 300 workers on site.
Royal Caribbean looks forward to the cruise port's successful completion and readiness by January 2011."

Royal Caribbean Third Quarter Earnings Report Scheduled

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has scheduled a conference call for Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 10am Eastern time to announce the results of it's third quarter fiscal calendar earnings.

If you're interested in hearing the results live, you can listen on-line at Royal Caribbean's investor relations web site, To listen to the call by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.

Rhapsody of the Seas makes maiden call to Australia

By: Matt Hochberg

Australia’s youngest and newest superliner, Rhapsody of the Seas, sailed into Newcastle Harbour at Dyke Point for the first time.

Not only is she Royal Caribbean International’s first cruise ship to visit Newcastle, but she was also the first international cruise ship to arrive for the Australian cruising season when she sailed into Sydney harbour on Saturday.
“We’re very excited to have included Newcastle as one of our new ports of call. It’s an exciting destination for visitors and an excellent gateway to the Hunter Valley and beyond for our guests,” said Adam Armstrong, commercial manager, Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia Limited. “Each year more and more Australians step onboard Rhapsody of the Seas, and we are committed to growing our operations in the local market and adding new and exciting ports of call.”
Over 2,000 guests disembarked the ship yesterday and took a variety of shore tours, including the wineries of the Hunter Valley, as well as spending time in the city of Newcastle itself. Guests also included a large number of tourists travelling on the ship from America, Europe and Asia.
Rhapsody of the Seas will be Newcastle’s largest cruise ship visitor this season with a further call in the city on 25 March 2011 as part of her 11-night Tropical Queensland cruise.
The popular cruise ship has returned this year for her fourth consecutive summer cruise season operating out of Australia, offering a total of 17 cruises for 2010-11.
Approximately 35,000 passengers will travel on Rhapsody of the Seas for the 2010-11 season, visiting 16 cities across Australia and generating income for local communities as part of the travel industry’s fastest growing sectors.
In addition to Newcastle, her other maiden calls this season include Champagne Bay in Vanuatu and Lautoka in Fiji.

Cruise guide labels Royal Caribbean's food as the worst

By: Matt Hochberg

The Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships has labeled Royal Caribbean's food as the worst of the major cruise lines, giving it five out of ten stars for its cuisine.

Book author Douglas Ward was particularly harsh on Royal Caribbean's dining room, afternoon teas and wine lists as being the worst. He did concede that Oasis of the Seas managed to earn a rating of more than six out of 10 in only one category: informal dining/buffet.

Ward attributes the poor rating to Royal Caribbean's unwillingness to spend more for their food.  He cited guest complaints that the food didn't look or taste as good as the brochures promised and the meats tended to be cheaper cuts.  Other issues contributing to the lower score include lack of green vegetables, herbs or garnishes; the quality of pastry items; the choice of salt, pepper or olive oils; and a lack of fresh fish.

How did Royal Caribbean's competitors do?  Carnival Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises did not do much better, while Cunard, Celebrity and Princess Cruises earned the best marks.

A spokesman for RCI said the company was surprised by the results. "Customer satisfaction is our number one priority. We have a very robust customer feedback system that we measure our on-board experience through. Some 250,000 guests have completed the survey this year. Over 90 per cent have scored our on-board service as meeting or exceeding their expectations.
"While we respect Mr Ward as an expert in his field, his ratings reflect his own personal opinions and differ strongly from the feedback from our many millions of paying guests."

DeFi Global will power new mobile device on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

DeFi Global, Inc. announced today its plans to roll out a next-generation mobile application for the Apple iPhone on board Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' latest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas. Allure of the Seas is the sister-ship of Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest and most innovative cruise ship. Currently under construction, Allure of the Seas is scheduled to make its maiden voyage in December of this year.

As does sister-ship Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas will offer guests the opportunity to use a revolutionary iPhone application integrated with state-of-the-art mobile communication tools and patent-pending navigational technology powered by DeFi. Jeff Rice, chairman and CEO of DeFi Global, Inc. said, "We have begun generating revenues from sales of rented, dedicated iPhones on-board Oasis of the Seas. We are now very excited to expand our relationship with RCCL to their new ship, Allure of the Seas, and add to the ship's unprecedented array of amenities for a truly world-class vacation experience."
Rice added, "Our next-generation software is fully integrated with other company-owned location-based products, including a watch wristband for children under 12 that automatically tracks their position on the ship. Now parents can have fun and peace-of-mind of knowing where their children are at all times. We are integrating these and other incentives to use the device more often to enhance the overall vacation experience. For the cruise operator, we deliver multiple new revenue-generating opportunities through mobile advertising and turnkey direct marketing platforms."

Royal Caribbean announces winner of Brazilian cruise director contest

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced the winner of their recent cruise director contest, created to select and recruit someone who will be responsible for managing and planning the program of entertainment activities on board ships of up to 4000 guests.

João Alberto Fontes of Rio de Janiero, 25, is the youngest director of the Brazilian Cruises Royal Caribbean. The winner had to go through four phases, including approval of the public through Twitter, and interviews. Among the interviewers: Amy Chambers, Department of casting in-flight entertainment, who came from Miami to personally evaluate the  and Steve Millslagle, chief expert of shipboard activities, through a video / audio conferencing.
Fans who voted via Twitter competed for a lunch aboard the Mariner of the Seas, the largest ship in the Brazilian season. João Alberto will begin his career with Royal Caribbean aboard the Vision of the Seas, in the next Brazilian season.

Royal Caribbean donates TVs to needy of St. Croix

By: Matt Hochberg

Nearly two dozen charitable organizations on the island of St. Croix received televisions from Royal Caribbean in a generous donation.

Royal Caribbean donated fourteen 25-inch Phillips color TVs that were previously used aboard the Serenade of the Seas to various charities on the island.  These charities include

  • Aldershville Senior Citizen Multipurpose Center
  • Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged
  • Bethlehem Homeless Shelter
  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Richmond Senior Citizen Center
  • Flamboyant Gardens Elderly Community
  • Wilford Pedro Home
  • Sunny Isles Housing Community
  • Catholic Charities
  • 10,000 Helpers

On behalf of the Department of Tourism, I would like to thank Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for their gift to the people of St. Croix,” said Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty. “We appreciate this act of goodwill and look forward to working with our partners at Royal Caribbean to continue building ties with the members of our local community.”

Maine city to vote on cruise ship restrictions

By: Matt Hochberg

Rockland, Maine is set to vote on a proposal to limit the number of cruise ships that can visit the city each year after the debate was sparked last year when Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas made it's inaugural visit to the city.

On October 18, Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas is set to return but city commissioners are considering a proposal to limit only allowing three of the biggest ships per year -- one in May and two in October.

Rocklan's mayor is in favor of the proposal because of the strain on the area where passengers unload from cruise ship.  The mayor cites the harbor infrastructure is getting old and any repairs that would be needed would be footed by the taxpayers.  Local businesses are against the proposal, claiming the restrictions would ruin the city's chances of becoming a regular cruise ship destination.

Mayor McNeil says she expects at least one councilor will try to eliminate the restrictions on the large ships. The Chamber of Commerce says it has no problems with the rest of the plan, just the portion that would limit the number of ship visits.