By Royal Caribbean International · November 2020
Whether you’re yearning to escape reality, dreaming of your feet in the sand, or seeking a relaxing and rejuvenating reset, it’s safe to say we can all agree that it’s time to rediscover the “sunny side.” With brighter days ahead, we reached out to Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Sales and Trade Support & Service at Royal Caribbean, to learn what RCI is doing to embrace our new normal and set sail into the horizon once again.
Q: Tell us a bit about Royal Caribbean and the types of cruises the company offers.
Royal Caribbean has been delivering innovation at sea for more than 50 years. Each successive class of ships unveils new architectural marvels, always pushing the envelope of what is possible onboard a cruise ship. What I love most are the industry “firsts” for which we’re famous — like ice skating, surfing, ziplining and rock climbing at sea. You’d never expect to do any of those things on a cruise ship, and such activities capture the imagination of families and adventurous vacationers alike.
Royal Caribbean changed the game of cruising when we introduced Oasis Class ships in 2009. Our seven neighborhood concept shook up the industry with numerous first-at-sea activities and attractions. These ships happen to be my personal favorite. In fact, every year since launch, my family has taken an annual winter holiday cruise onboard an Oasis Class ship.
And when it comes to itineraries, you’ll find Royal Caribbean offers vacations across the board, ranging from 2 to 19-nights and sailing to more than 270 destinations in 72 countries on six continents. One of my favorite destinations is our private island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay. This island is just the first in the Perfect Day Island Collection. I encourage you to make travel memories with Royal Caribbean and find out why Travel Weekly readers have chosen us as “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 17 consecutive years.
Q: What type of traveler does Royal Caribbean cater to?
Royal Caribbean offers adventure and relaxation to all types of travelers, whether it be a multi-generational family or a couple looking for a getaway. There’s something onboard for everyone. Kids will be super entertained in our award-winning Adventure Ocean® program for children and teens, and everyone can come together for our Broadway-style entertainment and activities. And for a little me-time, look no further than our incredible Vitality Spa & Fitness Center.
Q: How have your voyages and offerings changed in response to the pandemic?
As everyone is likely aware, we’ve suspended our sailings since mid-March. During this pause in our service, we’ve taken the time to tap into market research and listen to valuable feedback and input from guests and trade advisors. Based on what we learned, you’ll find for several upcoming itineraries we’ve upgraded to another ship or ship class. We’ve modified our schedule to add entirely new 2021 itineraries to the lineup. Plus, guests will now have more options to choose from in Europe. And if you’re not looking to fly, we’ve added more close-to-home ports you can drive to. We know people are ready to travel again. And so are we!
Q: What types of safety protocols has Royal Caribbean put in place to protect travelers?
In June, we formed The Healthy Sail Panel, consisting of globally recognized experts experienced in various disciplines including public health, infectious diseases, biosecurity and marine operations. This Panel has spent the last several months studying how to best protect the health and safety of guests and crew. They’ve made 74 recommendations across five core focus areas that every cruise operator should address to reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships:
One silver lining from all of this is the new safety drill onboard, now called Muster 2.0TM. This first-of-its-kind program reimagines the former drill, a process traditionally conducted with large groups of people, providing a faster, more personal approach that encourages higher levels of safety. Muster 2.0™ is among the comprehensive protocols Royal Caribbean is developing with the Healthy Sail Panel. Stay tuned for more to come!
Q: What can travelers expect when it comes to Royal Caribbean’s cancellation policies?
We introduced our Cruise with Confidence Program in early March, which provides guests with different options and additional flexibility when booking or changing a Royal Caribbean cruise. A variety of choices are offered to fit each guest’s specific needs — and now you have until November 30, 2020 to take advantage!
Q: How does Royal Caribbean embrace the “sunny side” on board?
Our Royal Amplified program has added next-level thrills, bolder flavors and more unforgettable experiences to some of our existing ships, especially on our ever-popular pool deck. The pool deck is overflowing with new spaces to spend your day in the sun, lounge and keep connected to the water. Plus, the new Splash Pad offers a fun-soaked play area for tots.
Some of these new-to-ship features include the only headfirst mat racer waterslide at sea, RipTideSM — complete with an exhilarating translucent curve right off the side of the ship. On The Blaster®, five waterjet blasters propel you and a friend through dips, drops and the largest stretch of slide suspended over water on the longest aqua coaster waterslide at sea. Round out your sea day with two stories of Caribbean cool, plus a rooftop sun deck or a moonlit lounge spot at The Lime and Coconut® Caribbean bar. And the list goes on, with virtual reality bungee jumping on Skypad® and more!
Q: BONUS: If you could recommend just one Royal Caribbean voyage, which would it be?
I would have to recommend one of our Oasis Class ships that sails to Perfect Day at CocoCay. This vacation really does represent the sunny side of life — whether you want to hang ten high above the sea on the FlowRider® surf simulator, watch acrobats splash down in the AquaTheater, or catch a full Broadway-style production of the hit musical, Mamma Mia, all is possible on our Oasis Class fleet. Package this with a stop at our reimagined private destination in The Bahamas, full of mind-blowing thrills and relaxation maxing spaces, and you can’t make a better choice for a family vacation.
Image Credit: Royal Caribbean International