Cruise

Royal Caribbean’s biggest challenge “has been the same thing for 50 years”, says vice chairman

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

The vice chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises says that despite facing many challenges, the cruise giant has been battling its biggest one for half a century.

Speaking to Travel Weekly last month at an intimate lunch on the sidelines of Cruise360 Australasia, Adam Goldstein said Royal Caribbean’s largest challenge “has been the same thing for 50 years”.

“It’s how do we get people who have never cruised before to understand what an incredible vacation this is,” he said.

“After 50 years of doing this work, and reasonably successfully, there are still way more people who haven’t tried it who have the wherewithal to do it, and if they did it they would love it, than there are people who have tried it. That’s our challenge.

Goldstein said that with 98 per cent of the world’s holidays taken on land, Goldstein said cruise lines have to come up with some sort of rationale for why travellers would try such a small component of the overall market.

The global chair of the Cruise Lines International Association added that even though there are a lot of ships in the market and on order, Royal Caribbean doesn’t have enough needed to capture the kind of demand that the company believes is out there to be had.

“We’ve felt that way for 50 consecutive years, and we’re probably going to feel that way for a while more,” he said.

Bigger ships?

1200px-Oasis_of_the_Seas

When asked about whether the bigger ships can be expected from Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines, Goldstein said that not only has the trend been for the largest ships to get larger over time, the average-size ship in the mainstream market has also increased consistently.

“So, the ships have been getting larger – it’s just that the very largest ship [which happens to be Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas] hasn’t gotten larger,” he said.

“Not only has that been true, but if you look at, for example, the luxury category, where of course there are much smaller ships, they have gotten somewhat larger.

“When I came into the business, a luxury ship was somewhere between 100 and 400 guests. Now it seems to more like between 300 and 700 guests, because the ship owners and the ship yards have figured out ways to deliver today’s luxury experience in a slightly larger footprint because, just like with the bigger ships, you simply can offer more options in a somewhat larger footprint.”

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