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Royal Caribbean to exit Dubai after 2013


According to the latest issue of Seatrade Cruise Review, Royal Caribbean will pull its ships out of Dubai following the 2013 cruise season.

Royal Caribbean regional director, Helen Beck, discussed the reason for the change, "We were initially very pleased with the business development there and expected continued growth; however, the demand has declined in recent seasons and as a result we have had to make some difficult decisions, driven by strategic and financial considerations, about discontinuing our program there."

Beck said that Serenade of the Seas, will remain in Dubai as scheduled for the 2013 winter season but operate an abbreviated season of 11 seven-night cruises out of Dubai to Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Muscat starting January 28.

Royal Caribbean had initially announced 17 sailings; the upcoming Gulf season will be shortened because Serenade of the Seas is scheduled for revitalization in late 2012.

Royal Caribbean could return to Gulf waters if demand improves over time, Beck told Seatrade Cruise Review.

Bahrain officials say Royal Caribbean considering returning to the area


Bahrain's Culture Ministry tourism marketing and promotion acting director Mohammed Al Subaie claims that Royal Caribbean and Costa Cruises are considering returning their cruise ships to the country of Bahrain, after pulling the ships due to civil unrest.

"Discussions are also being held with Costa Cruises and Royal Caribbean, who have expressed willingness to come to Bahrain."

"After the last two seasons were severely affected due to the unrest, we spoke to several of the cruise companies who said they were reluctant to come to Bahrain because insurance premiums had been substantially increased," he said.

"They said they could look at Bahrain favorably if there were other incentives so we took a decision to do that."

Bahrain agreed to a number of measures to offset higher insurance costs and Bahrain feels there is has been expressed willingness to return.  These measures include cutting the port fees in half for cruise ships.

The civil unrest in Bahrain meant cruise operators would have to pay an additional $300,000 in insurance charges over the course of the cruise season.

Nine days at Sea? No problem! Writer tells of first cruise between Bahrain and Spain


Can you imagine nine sea days? Can you imagine nine sea days on your first cruise?  Curt Brandao's first foray into cruising was aboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas from Bahrain in the Middle to East to Spain in Europe.  His cruise included nine straight days at sea, a Royal Caribbean record, and he wrote about his experience.

Some said it was the cruise equivalent to making Mount Everest your first hike. Actually, there is no cruise equivalent to hiking Everest, which is, indeed, part of the appeal of cruising - but that's the kind of hyperbole that begins to make sense after several days on the water.

We found our first day on the ship was like the first day at a new school. We got lost a lot, staring at deck maps near the elevators for minutes and not seconds. But it was a lot to take in. While not the biggest floating hotel on the water (a title that belongs to one of its sister ships, the 360-metre Allure of the Seas), the nine-year-old, 293-metre Brilliance of the Seas has 12 decks and can hold more than 2,500 passengers. From rock-climbing walls to pools and Jacuzzis to golf simulators, not to mention a cinema and a two-tier theatre for live performances, it takes a while to learn not only where to go, but what you can do once you get there.

The beds were particularly cosy. The bathrooms were cramped, of course, but the water pressure in the tiny shower was better than in my last four apartments. For the last week of the cruise, we managed to get a cabin upgrade, which afforded a few more square metres of space and a private balcony just in time for great views of Sicily and Italy.

Ultimately, it was like summer camp in the ocean, and I'm glad I went. I feel so brave.

Royal Caribbean dominating holiday cruises in Bahrain


Good news for Royal Caribbean stock holders, travel agents in Bahrain have reported an 80 percent increase in bookings compared to the first six months of last year and Royal Caribbean is leading the way.

Travel agents said the US-Norwegian company Royal Caribbean International was leading the sales with Princess Cruises and the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) not far behind.

Travel agents there seem to be quite pleased with how well Royal Caribbean itineraries are selling.  Oasis of the Seas is generating a lot of interest as well as their most popular package that sets sail from Singapore to Phuket, Thailand and Penang, Malaysia and then back to Singapore over a period of two nights.

"Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruise and NCL are all in the market selling like hot cakes."