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Allure of the Seas

Dredging of St Thomas Harbor halts

In:
05Oct2010

West Indian Company Ltd. President and CEO Ed Thomas said it and Royal Caribbean were going to spend a combined $15-$20 million to dredge St. Thomas Harbor so that mega ships Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas could dock there but not anymore.

The cruise lines are not going to put up that money because they accomplished their goal,” he said. “Their ship is in St. Thomas. Certainly the West Indian Company is not going to put up money to do that kind of dredging because the ship is already in St. Thomas.

Problems started back on October 14, 2009 when Governor John deJongh Jr put the dredging project on hold after substantial public opposition.  Those opposed to the dredging plan were concerned about the part of the plan that called for dumping 162,000 cubic yards of material into an existing depression in Lindbergh Bay.  While searching for an alternative, Oasis of the Seas would have to dock in Crown Bay.

Despite the halt in the plan, deJongh was confident that the dredging project would be complete in time for Allure of the Seas' first stop in St Thomas on December 10, 2010 during the busy tourist season.  However, talks never progressed very far according to Thomas, talks collapsed in January.

The trend of cruise ships getting larger and larger means St. Thomas Harbor will eventually need to be dredged acrroding to Thomas and that the harbor is already due for maintenance dredging thanks to all of the debris kicked up by departing and arriving cruise thips over the last few years.

Royal Caribbean ships contribute to Bahamian economy

In:
01Oct2010

Last month Nassau, Bahamas completed extensive dredging and refurbishment of Nassau Harbor and businesses in downtown Nassau are reporting healthy business as a result.

Ships like Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, which docks in Nassau every other Sunday, is responsible for increasing revenues in the city.

The Bahamas was amongst many countries which were seeking to have these ships call on their ports,” said Carla Stuart, director of Cruise Development in the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation. “By the end of December, the Oasis would have made 34 visits and brought at least 183,600 passengers for the year 2010. Head tax to be derived is estimated at $2.7 million while spend from the passengers of this vessel is estimated at $12 million. The ship will continue to call every other week.”

Thelma Miller of Vintage Island Handicraft, a Festival Place souvenir store, pointed out that the Oasis’ calls have been good for business on Sundays, which would otherwise be slow. Meanwhile, Senor Frog’s has also been happy with the business that the Oasis brings.
 
It does make a difference when the Oasis comes in,” said Chester Williamson, manager of Senor Frog’s. “I think the second week it came in with 3,000 people on board.”
 
Things will get better for Nassau after December when Oasis of the Seas' sister ship Allure of the Seas joins the Royal Caribbean fleet and will also make regular stops in Nassau.  this will allow for a stop each week by one of the mega-vessels.

Royal Caribbean announces Royal 5K in St. Maarten

In:
01Oct2010

Royal Caribbean announced its first ever "Royal 5K" running event to be held in St. Maarten on December 16, 2010.  This race will be open to those cruising aboard Allure of the Seas.

This special race coincides with a cruise itinerary dedicated to running enthusiasts that include vitality-themed activities, such as

  • Join fellow runners by exploring the different ports of call with group fun runs
  • Meet high profile racing athletes during private meet & greets
  • Attend seminars & lectures with high profile athletes
  • Receive personal training tips from experts
  • Test your speed with a chance to set a world record time at sea
  • Recognize everyone's accomplishments with an awards ceremony
  • Be entered for a chance to win prizes including a grand prize trip to ESPN Headquarters

The race package costs $50 for adults and $35 for children.  Guests may register onboard the ship or in advance at the Royal 5K site.  Participating guests will receive a commemorative race t-shirt, as well as exclusive access to a post-race reception on board.

Royal Caribbean is delighted to offer this very special Royal 5K run in St. Maarten to Allure of the Seas’ guests,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “As part of our commitment to provide guests healthier vacation options, we look for opportunities like these to enhance our Vitality programming onboard and drive awareness of a health-conscious lifestyle. Coupled with an unprecedented line-up of new entertainment aboard Allure of the Seas, guests on this sailing will have a wide spectrum of exciting and heart-pumping options for an amazing cruise vacation.”

While the Royal 5K will be offered exclusively as a shore excursion on Allure of the Seas, all guests aboard the sailing have the chance to set the first Royal Caribbean jogging track record. Guests are invited to sign up in advance for a time slot on Tuesday, December 14, to test their running speed. Certified with RFID timing technology, they can attempt to set the cruise line’s record for the fastest run at sea on Allure of the Seas’ 0.46-mile long jogging track, the longest at sea.
 
Royal 5K participants also will be able to attend onboard seminars and receptions featuring running talents including Bart Yasso, the chief running officer of Runner’s World magazine; Frank Shorter, an Olympic Marathon Gold and Silver Medalist; Sonja Friend-Uhl, a member of seven U.S. world teams, 2000 Olympic trials competitor in the 1500m, and currently ranked in the top 24 women in the U.S. for distances from the 5k to the Half-Marathon; and Sean Jefferson, an NCAA All American, 1600m National Champion and professional runner and tri-athlete.

Interview with musical arranger of new "Summer Breeze" show on Allure of the Seas

In:
23Sep2010

Recently we had a chance to sit down with John Hinchey, the musical arranger for the brand new show "Summer Breeze", which is set to debut on Royal Caribbean's brand new Allure of the Seas ship.

This show, that is being performed each cruise in the Aqua Theater, is a brand new show never seen before on Royal Caribbean and we talked with Hinchey and took a look at this new show and how it came about.

Hi John! Tell us a little about your background in the music industry
I started out arranging music for cruise ship production shows for legendary cruise ship show producer Jean Ann Ryan and her music producer Bruce Fisher in 1981. Since that time Iʼve worked as a music director, producer, composer and arranger for a wide variety of music productions on land and at sea, in the recording studio and at live venues. The projects have been as simple as arrangements for a few instruments or vocalists to full symphony orchestra. The variety of musical styles and situations I find myself working in is very exciting. One time I was asked by a corporate client (KraftMaid) to compose a 10 minute piece using only things youʼd find in a kitchen, played as percussion instruments and 8 tap dancers. So Iʼve been literally asked to compose for “the kitchen sink!”
 
One of my recent projects was writing horn arrangements for Stingʼs Rainforest Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall this past May, featuring Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Debra Harry and Dame Shirley Bassey. This was the 5th of these Rainforest Benefit Concerts Iʼve arranged for and itʼs always quite exciting to be involved. You can stop by my website www.hincheymusic.com for more on details what I do and what Iʼve been up to.
 
Summer Breeze is the name of the new show you're working on for Allure of the Seas.  Tell us about what this show is all about.
This is a really fun show! RCCL had me arrange and produce music for a show by the same name on the Oasis Of The Seas last year. It was such a hit with the passengers, that I was asked to do another version of the show with all new music for the Allure Of The Seas.
 
This show is really a live concert event featuring the shipʼs 6 production singers and the fabulous 9 piece band on the ship. It takes place in the Aqua Theater, an open air venue on the fan tail of the ship. On the Oasis it is a “sail away” event, with the sun setting in the background as the passengers relax and enjoy the show. My understanding is it will be similar on the Allure The Seas.
 
Summer Breeze features up beat, fun, feel good music mostly from the 70ʼs but I snuck in a few appropriate songs from the 60ʼs and 80ʼs too. With the exception of one medley, all of the arrangements are full length songs, so the audience really gets to hear these amazing singers show off their talent. This venue also gave me the opportunity to write some arrangements that showcase the horns and the rhythm section in a way you might not get to hear them elsewhere on the ship.
 
Let's dive deeper into the music of Summer Breeze. What are a song or two you selected for the show and why?
Well letʼs see, the opener is the Christopher Cross hit “Ride Like The Wind.” I wanted to open the set with a song that lets you know, “This band means business and you are in for a great time!” We follow up with the B-52ʼs “Love Shack.” When you hear that drum beat and the singer says, “If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says, ʼ15 miles to the LOVE SHACK!ʼ” it really is hard to keep from getting on your feet and even harder to keep a smile off your face. I donʼt want to spoil all the surprises but a highlight of the show for me is the medley of songs by Boz Scaggs. I wanted to select some material that was very familiar but also some songs that make you say, “I forgot about that song but I love it!”
 
What is going to make Summer Breeze a show that you think will compel guests to see it?
Hereʼs my suggestion, when you look at the schedule of events for the day and see “Summer Breeze” put it on your schedule. About 20 minutes before show time go to your cabin, put on some loose fitting, comfortable clothes and shoes you can dance in or kick off easily. Then head up to the Aqua Theater, get one of those great fruity drinks they serve or your favorite beverage. Then find a nice comfy chair but donʼt plan to be in it too long because dancing and singing along to some songs you love is in your immediate future.
 
Where will Summer Breeze be performed on Allure of the Seas?
I believe it will be in the Aqua Theater.
 
How does creating a show like Summer Breeze on a cruise ship differ from creating a show in any other venue?
As far as the technical details of what I do, there really is no difference. Wherever you do a show, it is to entertain, to lift the audienceʼs emotions, to give their mind a brief respite from everything else going on in their lives. If you think about it, the same reason you might take a vacation.
 
But I will say this, as a professional in the entertainment industry, there is something that sets RCCL apart from most others in this business whether itʼs on land or at sea. That is their commitment to quality and excellence in entertainment. These shows take months, sometimes years, to plan and produce. But RCCL seeks out some of the best talent in the industry on the production side as well as that incredible talent the passengers see onstage. Through the entire process from the people we work with to the tools and equipment we use for sound, lighting, costuming etc, itʼs all top notch.
 
Matt, thanks so much for asking me about Summer Breeze, it is a show Iʼm really proud of and I think the audiences on the Allure of The Seas are gonna love it.
 
For information about John Hinchey and Hinchey Music Service see Johnʼs website at www.hincheymusic.com or visit his blog on music production “Notes On Notes” at http://johnhinchey.com/

Preview of Allure of the Seas' show "Blue Planet"

In:
20Sep2010

A sneak preview of Allure of the Seas' newest show "Blue Planet" was presented at Nova Southeastern University’s Don Taft Arena earlier this week.  Blue Planet is a high energy aerobatic show and includes a good dose of songs written by the Beatles with depictions of scenes in the jungle, desert and underwater.

This new show is Royal Caribbean's attempt to compete with other cruise line's Cirque du Soleil style shows.

Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein was excited about the show, “We like to deliver the wow to our guests. For the last 22 years, I have seen our entertainment group constantly push the envelope to bring to our guests the most compelling entertainment we can produce. … We should do groundbreaking work. We don’t say, ‘We are a cruise ship we have limitations.’”.

Blue Planet will be held in the 1,380-seat Amber Theater aboard Allure. The performance at NSU was without full costumes and scenery, but a video screen on the side showed sketches of what the finished product will look like.

The show opens with an ethereal scene, and performers in blue and gold costumes walk on stage from behind and in front of the audience. The first number is “Because,” off the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album, and the second is “Across the Universe,” sung by John Lennon on the “Let it Be” album.
 
Featuring multiple Beatles songs makes sense because cruise entertainment is increasingly like Las Vegas at sea, and the “Beatles Love” Cirque du Soleil show has been a big event at the Mirage in Las Vegas.
 
In the opening number, most of the 25 cast members tumbled and danced across the stage, while others descended from the ceiling. The set will have lush foliage.
Another scene will have a Tree of Life, with performers costumed in outfits with bark-like colors and greenery, so the tree will seem to erupt into action.

Allure of the Seas performed well in a test drive

In:
16Sep2010

Soon after leaving its dock, Allure of the Seas reached the ocean for it's test runs.  It had been in the Baltic Sea this week for tests, although a storm caused minor changes in the test program.

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas is one of STX's ships being built in Turku for the construction of the world's largest cruise. Its sister ship Oasis of the Seas was completed a year ago.

Allure has so far, at least, behaved well in a sea of expectations.

- Test drive and test all the things that berth can not be tested: the propulsion machinery, steering, navigation equipment. Everything has gone very well, that can be satisfied, "says project manager Sisko Hellgren sea.

Essentially a test has taken place in northern Baltic Sea, but the Allure of the Seas  was on Thursday afternoon near the island of Gotland, where the waters were calmer.  A sea gale was blowing in so some tests have been moved slightly to another location to avoid the wind issues.

Allure of the Seas will return to Turku shipyard again on Friday. In late October, Allure will leave Turku finally, when the ship is handed off to Royal Caribbean.

Prices for Royal Caribbean cruises fall

In:
10Sep2010

Royal Caribbean President and Chief Executive  Adam Goldstein said prices for their voyages have fallen over the past year.  Moreover, Goldstein added that that those on sailings aboard Allure of the Seas would find cheaper rates than those for last year’s prices on her sister ship, Oasis of the Seas.

Goldstein avoided referring to reports of fares for Oasis of the Seas costing less than $1,000, he did reveal that the debut of Allure of the Seas has doubled capacity and therefore, is leading to more space and it's not unusual to see prices drop a bit for them.

Obviously this is great news for consumers who may want to try out the latest and greatest ships Royal Caribbean has to offer, as well as potentially lure new cruisers to give it a try.

Meanwhile Mr Goldstein revealed that “on some cruises I think there are more customers from the UK than from the US”. He added that the UK market remained an increasingly growing sector for the cruise industry, signalling that UK cruisers look set to continue an enjoyment filled relationship with one of the world’s largest cruise operators.

Allure of the Seas features more new restaurants

In:
09Sep2010

Showcasing onboard experiences all her own, Royal Caribbean International's Allure of the Seas, the world's next largest and most innovative cruise ship debuting in December 2010, will introduce new culinary concepts and tempting twists to signature Oasis-class restaurants. A Brazilian steakhouse will be a destination restaurant that comes to life for dinner service in the Solarium, featuring authentic Brazilian-style meats and seafood dishes, from Picanha cut sirloin steak to Atlantic salmon marinated with sea salt and garlic, served table-side and sliced straight off the skewer. In Central Park, recently anointed Chef de Cuisine Molly Brandt will present guests with a one-of-a-kind menu and distinct dining experience at Allure of the Seas' 150 Central Park, a signature fine dining experience.

 
"As churrascaria concept restaurants gain popularity on land, Royal Caribbean is taking advantage of having a new ship to introduce a Brazilian steakhouse and bring a new dynamic and colorful nightlife ambiance for adults in the Solarium," says Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "Guests onboard Allure of the Seas will have a new arrangement of dining experiences throughout the ship, from the Adagio Main Dining Room to new venues on the Boardwalk and Royal Promenade."
 
Combining the best of classic Mexican beach bars and Southern California's famed taquerias, Rita's Cantina will be a vibrant new restaurant in the Boardwalk neighborhood. Adults and kids alike will enjoy some of their favorite Mexican fare, such as shrimp ceviche tostadas, warm tortilla chips with salsa and fiesta guacamole, as well as entrees, such as fajitas, fish tacos and Chipotle-style flautas. The more casual setting will be a favorite lunch, snack or dinner spot for guests seeking a flavorful fiesta onboard Allure of the Seas. Rita's Cantina also will boast some of the best and widest selection of margaritas at sea, offering both authentic and signature concoctions mixed with a choice from the extensive list of quality tequilas, served on the rocks or frozen in a variety of fruit-flavor combinations. In addition, the restaurant will introduce new nightlife to Boardwalk with live guitar music, drinks and dancing. Rita Cantina's design will include large open breezeways and an outdoor seating area complete with high top tables and stools, and will be located in place of Seafood Shack onboard sister-ship Oasis of the Seas.
 
Also new to Boardwalk's dynamic and engaging scene will be The Boardwalk Dog House, an outdoor hot-dog specialty counter located where The Donut Shop is on Oasis of the Seas. Guests can choose from traditional hot dogs, wieners, brats, sausages and other delicious linked meats and a variety of toppings to split a long bun. The Donut Shop will remain on Boardwalk in a new location next to the Ice Cream Parlor.
 
The following includes a variety of other palate-pleasing options available throughout the neighborhoods on Allure:

THE BOARDWALK

Rita's Cantina: A casual yet vibrant indoor/outdoor restaurant exclusively on Allure's Boardwalk, caters to families by day, and adults by night; traditional Mexican fare, comprehensive selection of margaritas and live guitar music and dancing for evening entertainment
 
Boardwalk Bar: The main bar on the Boardwalk; offering fruit, salads and sandwiches
 
Boardwalk Donut Shop: A classic haunt for casual snacks and delicious treats
 
Ice Cream Parlor: A variety of ice cream flavors and toppings take center stage against a backdrop of 1950s kitsch
 
Johnny Rockets: '50's-style diner with server-entertainers

CENTRAL PARK

150 Central Park: A trendy, upscale and intimate restaurant with a tasting menu and customized wine pairings created by Molly Brandt, winner of the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge co-hosted with The Culinary Institute of America, as well as Food and Wine's 2006 best student chef
 
Giovanni's Table: An Italian trattoria with both indoor and alfresco seating featuring Italian classics served family-style
 
Park Cafe: An indoor/outdoor gourmet market featuring salads, sandwiches, soups, pastries and to-die-for fudge
 
Vintages: A wine bar with pre-dinner tapas and cheeses along with a robust selection of fine wines
 
Chops Grille: Royal Caribbean's signature steakhouse with views of Central Park, and premium cuts or quality meats

POOL AND SPORTS ZONE

Exclusive to Allure of the Seas, the new churascarria, styled after popular Brazilian steakhouses, is an interactive experience where guests choose from a variety of meats, chicken and seafood brought table-side by servers, ready to slice and serve upon request
 
Solarium Bistro: A health-conscious dining option for breakfast and lunch
 
The Wipe Out Cafe: A casual self-service buffet with pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches and fresh salads
 
Izumi Asian Cuisine: Featuring mouthwatering flavors and a sushi bar with hot-rock cooking

ROYAL PROMENADE

Sorrento's Pizzeria: Featuring New York style pizza, with both made-to-order pies and by the slice
 
Cafe Promenade: Offering Seattle's Best coffee, fruit shakes, pastries and sandwiches all day
 
The Cupcake Cupboard: Featuring fresh-baked gourmet cupcakes as well as parties and design classes

VITALITY AT SEA SPA AND FITNESS CENTER

The Vitality Cafe: Offering healthy snacks, sandwiches, wraps, fruit and smoothies
 
THE CLASSICS, Royal Caribbean hasn't forgotten the classics of its fleet:
 
Adagio Dining Room: The ship's main restaurant features a three-tier venue with a 1920s Art Deco style; flexible My Time Dining and traditional assigned seatings, as well as the highly anticipated DreamWorks Character Breakfast
 
Windjammer Marketplace: A casual buffet fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner
 
In-Stateroom Service: Order from the complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, or choose an original Johnny Rockets hamburger or Ghirardelli chocolate cookies from the new Dine In Delights menu

Florida Lottery features Royal Caribbean cruise as grand prize

In:
07Sep2010

If you like playing those scratch off lottery games and are a fan of Royal Caribbean, now you can combine your favorite two passions in one.  Starting today, the Florida Lottery will be selling a new scratch off game with a Royal Caribbean theme called "Cruise for Cash".

Tickets cost $5 and the game offers players the change to win up to $200,000 instantly and a second chance promotion on the Florida Lottery website has the possibility to win a 7-night Caribbean cruise vacation for two aboard Oasis of the Seas or Allure of the Seas. The new game is available at Florida Lottery retailers statewide.

If you win the cruise, you also will receive $1,000 in ship credit and premium accommodations for two at a deluxe hotel prior to departure. There will be a total of 112 cruise packages awarded with this game. Cruise winners will have the option of selecting from various Royal Caribbean International cruise vacations, subject to availability and the terms of the CRUISE FOR CASH game.

Allure of the Seas ahead of schedule

In:
07Sep2010

Johanna Jainchill is reporting that Allure of the Seas' construction is ahead of schedule, which is good news for Royal Caribbean that is eagerly waiting for its newest ship to debut.  While visiting the STX Finland shipyards in Finland, Jainchill reports progress on Allure seems to be ahead of its sister ship Oasis of the Seas was at the same point in her construction schedule.

During a tour of the Oasis at this time last year, the theater was all scaffolding. Today, the Allure’s theater appeared ready for the cast of Chicago to start rehearsals.The loft suite one year ago was metal and wires. Today, it was ready, with the bed made and bathroom products on the sink. The cupcake shop was merely a shell one year ago. Today, it was only lacking actual cupcakes.

If you're thinking that because Allure of the Seas is ahead of schedule that the ship will debut sooner, think again. Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein reiterated that Allure of the Seas will stick to the schedule she is currently on and would not take an even earlier delivery of the vessel. Royal Caribbean has already moved up the Allure’s inaugural cruise twice, "The program was so locked in with the arrival and training of the crew and the transatlantic [voyage], and we already sent the invitations out for the South Florida [inaugural] events. We will stick with what we have scheduled."

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