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NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW 4


Harry Kemble harry.kemble@travelweekly.co.uk


Royal Caribbean International will not bring its new Quantum Plus-class ship Spectrum of the Seas to the UK as expected next year, but is “still looking at options to increase ex-UK deployment in 2019”.


One of the nine ships already


sailing in Europe is likely to be moved to the UK for “a partial season” next year, in addition to Independence and Navigator.


5


Royal designs family cabins with new pricing


Harry Kemble harry.kemble@travelweekly.co.uk


Royal Caribbean International has revealed it is designing “family-friendly accommodation” which it will “price differently”, after agents said new-to-cruise families were put off by cost.


Sharon Fleming, owner of Thompson Travel in Northern Ireland, said it was a “great challenge” attracting new-to-cruise families onto Royal’s ships because rival lines’ family fares were cheaper. At a Travel Weekly executive lunch last week, Fleming asked


Royal president and chief executive Michael Bayley: “Is there any consideration of family pricing and the age groups of children on [Royal] ships? We are selling your competitors on the basis of their value for money. We want to get customers on to Royal ships but it’s been a great challenge for us.” Bayley replied: “We are


creating more family-friendly accommodation which requires a different design. Families need space. It will probably come into effect on Oasis [class] 5.” And he added that Royal “would


probably create a different pricing structure for that inventory”.


6 travelweekly.co.uk 8 February 2018


Skypad is a new virtual reality trampoline experience


Anthem of the Seas will then return to Southampton in 2020. When asked last year about


where Royal would base its first Quantum Plus ship [Spectrum], president and chief executive Michael Bayley said things were “looking encouraging for the UK” for


the summer. But speaking at a Travel Weekly event last week, Bayley said: “We have changed our mind. We have made a different decision.” He cited the UK’s decision to


leave the EU for the change of heart. “The big thing for us is the value of sterling. We are an American


“All of our revenues have to come to us in dollars. When Brexit hit, that was a 15% cut”


company. All of our revenues have to come back to us in dollars. When Brexit hit, that was a 15% cut. The UK is a big side of our business.” But while the UK won’t get


Spectrum, vice-president EMEA Stuart Leven insisted: “The UK is flying and leading Europe, so it’s very attractive for adding more ex-


5 STORIES HOT Royal will not base Spectrum in UK


UK capacity. So at worse we’ll have the same as this year, but at best we’ll move another ship here.” Ben Bouldin, Royal’s associate


vice-president and managing director for the UK and Ireland, said Anthem of the Seas, which launched in 2015, would sail ex- UK in 2020 following a dry-dock. When challenged that the UK


was no longer earmarked for a brand-new ship, Bouldin said: “We would classify Quantum class [introduced in 2014] and up as


‘new’ hardware.” › Brexit challenges, back page


Royal currently offers a reduced


rate for third and fourth guests but does not offer a significantly reduced fare for children under 18. Royal’s website states “if children stay in your stateroom, their rate may be lower”. By contrast, rival operator MSC Cruises allows


children under two to sail for free. Travel Weekly sourced quotes


for two comparable sailings. Similar seven-day round-trip cruises from Barcelona for a family of four next year cost £2,846 in a balcony room on MSC Bellissima


and £5,150 for a 5D Ocean View


Balcony cabin on Royal’s Oasis of the Seas. Royal vice-president EMEA


Stuart Leven argued Royal invests far more than any other line on family-friendly facilities, which justified its prices. Bayley revealed the features aimed at families on


the revamped Independence of the Seas. They include Skypad, a trampoline/bungee virtual reality experience; Planet Z Laser tag; Perfect Storm water slides; and Playmakers Sports Bar.


FAMILY HOLIDAYS


SPECIAL ISSUE


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