More cruise cuts: Royal Caribbean hops on board the cull of cabin services

Philipsburg, St Maarten, - February 01, 2013: Royal Caribbean cruise ship Freedom of the Seas leaving port in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Dutch Caribbean at sunset.

Not long after similar announcements came from Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean is the latest to announce cutbacks in service to cabins on ships.

The service to cabins has long been a key trademark that separated cruising from land-based holidaying and resorting. The cuts from three of the biggest brands in cruises is what some have deemed a sunset to the gloriously over-the-top extravagance of cruising that even the mass-market vessels could once afford to boast.

As reported by Gene Sloan on TPG, Royal Caribbean has now instructed room attendants to cut back from twice-daily cleans, the traditional cruising gold standard for even the most frugal of fleets, to once daily for most of its cabins.

Royal Caribbean told TPG: “Royal Caribbean International is implementing a once-a-day cleaning service for staterooms across the fleet.

“Vacationers will still regularly see the familiar faces of their stateroom attendants, who will continue to do thorough cleaning, provide new towels, refresh amenities, and be available to guests for questions and stateroom requests throughout the cruise.”

Many cruise liners are still reeling from the effects of the COVID pandemic, and still deeply entrenched in record debt.

Service fees were already been hiked up on the Royal Caribbean by up to 10 per cent last August. It doesn’t bode too well for the future of the industry with further measures in service cuts now being enforced.

As the world’s largest cruise line, the industry views Royal Caribbean’s moves as a harbinger of the times. Only time will tell if other mass-market cruise lines still offering the twice-daily services, such as Princess Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises, will take heed as such.

In a recent conference call with Wall Street, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and CEO Frank Del Rio said:

“We’re trying to balance what customers pay, what they actually pay for, and what they receive. So, for example, we did not cut the turndown service across all brands or across all cabin categories…

“Look, it’s management’s responsibility to optimise revenue and minimise costs. That’s economics 101, and that’s what we’re doing.”

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