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Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International is a cruise line brand founded in Norway and based in Miami, Florida, United States. It is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.. As of October 2015, the line operated 23 ships, had three additional ships on order, and controlled 17 percent of the cruise market worldwide. All ships under the Royal Caribbean International brand have names ending with "of the Seas" (e.g. Liberty of the Seas) a practice which began in 1991. Sister brands owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. are Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises and CDF Croisières de France.

Company and brand history

Royal Caribbean International was founded as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 1968 by three Norwegian shipping companies: Anders Wilhelmsen & Company, I.M. Skaugen & Company, and Gotaas Larsen. The newly created line put its first ship, the Song of Norway, into service two years later. A year later, the line added the Nordic Prince to the fleet and in 1972 it added the Sun Viking. In 1978, Song of Norway became... Read more

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International is a cruise line brand founded in Norway and based in Miami, Florida, United States. It is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.. As of October 2015, the line operated 23 ships, had three additional ships on order, and controlled 17 percent of the cruise market worldwide. All ships under the Royal Caribbean International brand have names ending with "of the Seas" (e.g. Liberty of the Seas) a practice which began in 1991. Sister brands owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. are Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises and CDF Croisières de France.

Company and brand history

Royal Caribbean International was founded as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 1968 by three Norwegian shipping companies: Anders Wilhelmsen & Company, I.M. Skaugen & Company, and Gotaas Larsen. The newly created line put its first ship, the Song of Norway, into service two years later. A year later, the line added the Nordic Prince to the fleet and in 1972 it added the Sun Viking. In 1978, Song of Norway became Royal Caribbean's first passenger ship to be lengthened. This was accomplished via the insertion of an 85-foot (26 m) section to the vessel's severed center. Following the success of this work, Nordic Prince was also stretched in 1980. During the stretching on both ships, their sterns were modified. However the Sun Viking wasn't stretched or modified and remained the same size and shape. Royal Caribbean received widespread global recognition when in 1982 it launched the Song of America, over twice the size of Sun Viking and at the time the third largest passenger vessel afloat (after the Norway and the Queen Elizabeth 2).

In 1986, Royal Caribbean leased a coastal property in Haiti which it used as a private destination for its guests. This destination is now called Labadee. After a corporate restructuring in 1988, the line launched Sovereign of the Seas, the largest passenger vessel afloat at the time. Two years later, Nordic Empress and Viking Serenade were also entered into their service line. In the same year, Royal Caribbean purchased a second private destination, Little Stirrup Cay, an island in the Bahamas, which they rechristened "Coco Cay."

Monarch of the Seas, the second ship of the Sovereign class, entered service the next year. The third ship of the Sovereign class, Majesty of the Seas, was delivered one year later. Royal Caribbean went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1993. Over the next two years the company experienced rapid growth, and it built a new corporate headquarters in Miami, Florida, and replaced the Nordic Prince with a new vessel, the Legend of the Seas.

Following these events, two new Vision-class vessels entered service, the Splendour of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. In 1996, the company contracted with Finland's Aker Finnyards for the construction of 130,000-ton vessels and, in 1997, the line's oldest ship, Song of Norway, was sold and two new Vision-class ships entered service, Rhapsody of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas. The company also merged with the Greek cruise line Celebrity Cruises and changed its name from "Royal Caribbean Cruise Line" to "Royal Caribbean International." The next year marked a transition to a more "strictly modern line", when the last of the company's older vessels, Song of America and Sun Viking, were retired. In 1998, Vision of the Seas came into service, the last of the Vision-class ships.

In 1999, the Voyager of the Seas, the line's newest and world's largest cruise ship entered service with much attention from the news media. Two years later, the line took delivery of a second Voyager-class ship, Explorer of the Seas, and the first of a new Radiance class of more environmentally friendly cruise liners, Radiance of the Seas.

In 2000, Royal Caribbean placed into service a series of land-and-sea based "cruise tours" in Alaska, featuring glass-domed train cars to scenic destinations within the state and Canada. Over the next two years, they also introduced cruise tours to destinations throughout Europe.

The Voyager-class Navigator of the Seas and the Radiance-class Brilliance of the Seas were put into service in 2002. Mariner of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas, another pair of Voyager and Radiance-class ships, were introduced the next year, and rock-climbing walls were made a feature of every Royal Caribbean ship that year. A fourth Radiance-class ship, Jewel of the Seas, followed in 2004, and the line's Nordic Empress was reconditioned and re-christened as Empress of the Seas, which was later sold to Pullmantur Cruises in 2008. In 2005, Enchantment of the Seas underwent a massive renovation including enlarging the ship with a 74-foot (23 m) midsection.

Construction commenced on Freedom of the Seas, the line's newest ship, at Aker Finnyards in 2005, and the vessel launched the next year as the largest passenger vessel in the world. Freedom of the Seas' sister ship, Liberty of the Seas, was launched in 2007, and Independence of the Seas was delivered in 2008.

An even larger class, the Oasis class, featuring Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, was launched in 2009 and 2010, guaranteeing Royal Caribbean the ship size lead for years to come. In December 2012, Royal Caribbean announced that they had ordered a third Oasis-class cruise ship from STX France, which would be larger than the previous ships in the class. In March 2014 Royal Caribbean announced that they had ordered a fourth Oasis-Class ship from STX France.

In February 2013, Royal Caribbean announced the first two ships of their newest Quantum class, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, which were being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard. In May of that year, Royal Caribbean announced that they had signed a contract for a third Quantum-class ship for delivery in mid-2016.

In September 2014, Royal Caribbean announced that the third Quantum-class ship would be named Ovation of the Seas, and in February 2015 they announced that the third Oasis-class ship would be named Harmony of the Seas.

In March 2015, Royal Caribbean announced that they had agreed to sell Splendour of the Seas to TUI Cruises in the second quarter of 2016.

Royal Caribbean cruise ships

Quantum class:

Ovation of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas

The Quantum-class of ships debuted as the second largest class of cruise ships in the world. The Quantum-class ships were the first ships built for Royal Caribbean by Meyer Werft since the Radiance class and share many features with those ships, including indoor pools with retractable roofs, vast expanses of glass, outdoor seating in the Windjammer buffet, and self-leveling pool tables. Other distinctive features of the Quantum-class include the "North Star" observation capsule mounted on the end of a 41-meter-long (135 ft) crane arm, "RipCord by iFLY" a skydiving simulator, the three-deck-high Two70° lounge and performance venue at the aft of the ship featuring panoramic windows that convert into projection screens, and the multi-purpose SeaPlex facility which hosts activities such as basketball, roller skating, bumper cars, and a trapeze school. The Quantum class was the first class designed specifically for Dynamic Dining, and feature several separate complementary dining facilities instead of a single main dining room. Each venue will maintain the same menu and staff throughout the cruise. Unlike the earlier Voyager, Freedom, and Oasis class, Quantum-class ships do not feature a Viking Crown Lounge or ice skating rink, and the Royal Promenade mall down the center of the ship is not featured in its traditional form.

The first ship in the class, Quantum of the Seas debuted in 2014. A second ship Anthem of the Seas debuted in 2015, A third ship Ovation of the Seas, debuted in 2016, a fourth ship is planned for 2019, and a fifth ship is planned for 2020

Oasis class:

Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas

The Oasis class ships are the largest cruise ships ever built, having surpassed Freedom-class ships. They can accommodate up to 5,400 passengers at double occupancy and they have a maximum capacity of 6,296 passengers. Furthermore, have a gross tonnage of 225,282 tons, and cost the line around US $1.4 billion each. The first two ships in the class, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, were delivered in 2009 and 2010 by STX Europe Turku Shipyard, Finland. The third in the class, Harmony of the Seas, was delivered in 2016 by STX France at Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, which is also constructing a fourth ship. Royal Caribbean International, in conjunction with USA Today, sponsored a contest to name the first two vessels.

Freedom class:

Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas

The Freedom-class ships are lengthened versions of the second-generation Voyager-class ship, and contain a 400-foot (120 m) Royal Promenade mall running much of the length of the ship, an ice skating rink, basketball court, several pools, a mini-golf course, and a rock wall. New features on the Freedom class include the FlowRider surfing simulator, the H2O Zone kids water play area, a boxing ring, and hot tubs cantilevered over the side of the ship. At 154,407 gross tons, the Freedom-class ships were the largest ships in the world from 2006, until the debut of the Oasis class in 2009.

Radiance class:

Jewel of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas

Radiance-class ships have a gross tonnage of 90,090. All ships have environmentally friendlier gas turbine engines. The Radiance-class ships have over 3 acres (12,000 m2) of glass, glass exterior viewing elevators, over 700 balcony staterooms, two-level glass windowed dining rooms, alternative restaurants, a retractable glass roof over a pool, an outdoor pool, as well as the first self-leveling billiard tables at sea. The Radiance class ships were constructed at Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany. Unlike the preceding Voyager class, these ships are built to the Panamax form factor, allowing them to pass through the Panama Canal.

Voyager class:

Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas

The sixth largest passenger ships at sea (Royal Caribbean's own Oasis, Quantum and Freedom classes, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Epic and Cunard's Queen Mary 2), the Voyager-class ships were the largest class of cruise ships in the world when constructed and were the first ships to have an ice rink at sea and the first to have Royal Caribbean's iconic Royal Promenade. They were built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards' (now STX Europe) facility in Turku, Finland. They have a gross tonnage of around 137,000 tonnes. These ships include a 350-foot (110 m) indoor mall known as the Royal Promenade, featuring indoor pubs, shops, cafes, and bars. Activity options on all five ships board include a basketball court, at least 3 pools, a mini-golf course, a rock wall, an ice skating rink and, originally, an inline skating track. Navigator of the Seas replaced the inline skating track with a Flowrider surf simulator in 2014, and similar upgrades are planned for Voyager and Explorer.

Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas are second-generation Voyager-class vessels, and feature glass stateroom balconies that extend out from the superstructure of the ship and a larger Windjammer buffet area.

Vision class:

Vision of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Legend of the Seas

Technically speaking, the Vision class consists of three pairs of sister ships and is not a "class" of ships in the same sense as the Radiance, Freedom, Voyager, Quantum or Oasis classes. Legend and Splendour, built at Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Saint-Nazaire, France have a gross tonnage of approximately 70,000 and are the only ones which have a golf course. Grandeur and Enchantment were built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards, Helsinki, Finland and had an original tonnage of approximately 73,000 GT. The final pair, Rhapsody and Vision were also built at Chantiers de l'Atlantique, and have a tonnage of 78,000 GT. In 2005, a 74-foot (23 m) midsection was added to Enchantment of the Seas, bringing its tonnage to over 80,000 GT. All ships of this class feature over 2 acres (8,100 m2) of glass. Royal Caribbean sold Splendour of the Seas and will sell Legend of the Seas to TUI Cruises, with the final sailing of Splendour of the Seas for Royal Caribbean departing on 4 April 2016 and the final sailing of Legend of the Seas for Royal Caribbean departing on 13 March 2017.

Sovereign class:

Majesty of the Seas

At approximately 73,000 GT, these were the first "mega-ships" in the industry (with the exception of the SS Norway, an ocean liner converted into a cruise ship), built at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The first one, Sovereign of the Seas, was launched in 1988. The Sovereign-class ships were the first cruise ships to have an open atrium area. Like larger Royal Caribbean ships, the Sovereign-class ships have pools, open bars and lounges inside, and grand theaters.

Both Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas were transferred to the fleet of Pullmantur Cruises in October 2008 and April 2013, respectively. Plans to transfer Majesty of the Seas to Pullmantur in 2016 had been announced in November 2014, however in July 2015, Royal Caribbean reversed those plans, instead stating that Majesty of the Seas would stay with Royal Caribbean International.

Empress class:

Empress of the Seas

The ship was originally named Nordic Empress and was the final Royal Caribbean ship whose name did not end with "of the Seas" until the name was changed to match the rest of the fleet following an extensive rebuilding that ended on 8 May 2004. Nordic Empress was the first mainstream cruise ship especially designed for the 3 and 4 day cruise market. On 26 March 2007, it was reported that in March 2008, the Empress of the Seas would be transferred to the fleet of Royal Caribbean's subsidiary Pullmantur Cruises. Her final voyage for Royal Caribbean took place on 7 March 2008. The maiden voyage as Empress for Pullmantur Cruises took place on 15 March 2008.

In October 2015, it was announced that Pullmantur would be transferring Empress of the Seas back to Royal Caribbean.

Future fleet:

TBA Oasis class (2018), TBA Quantum class (2019 and 2020), TBA Oasis class (2021) 

Ship amenities

As of August 2014, complimentary amenities available on all ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet include in-stateroom televisions and telephones, a main theater featuring Broadway-style and headliner shows, a rock climbing wall, a basketball court, an outdoor movie screen, an indoor fitness center, a multi-story main dining room, the Windjammer buffet, 24-hour room service, the Adventure Ocean children's program, a multi-deck atrium with glass elevators, and multiple lounges. Paid amenities on all ships include ship-to-shore calls from stateroom telephones, cell phone access at sea, a casino, bingo, a full-service spa, and multiple shops and bars. All ships have WiFi internet access available, with high speed "VOOM" internet access provided by O3b available on all ships sailing in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Asia. All ships except for Majesty of the Seas have a concierge lounge for guests staying in suites and Crown and Anchor Diamond-Plus-level members. 

Royal Promenade

The Voyager-class, Freedom-class, and Oasis-class ships feature the Royal Promenade, a centerline promenade in a long multi-deck atrium featuring a pedestrian mall with shops and restaurants. At night, the promenades are used as entertainment venues, hosting dance parties and parades. The upper levels on the Royal Promenade are home to "Promenade Staterooms" that feature a window overlooking the promenade. The Royal Promenades on the Voyager-class and Freedom-class ships are 390 feet (120 m) and 400 feet (120 m) long, respectively, and are 4 decks high. The Royal Promenades on the Oasis-class ships are only 3 decks high but are twice as wide and feature a mezzanine level. The Quantum class does not feature a Royal Promenade, but instead features a 2-deck-high "Royal Esplanade" shopping area that does not have any overlooking cabins.

Dynamic Dining

In 2014 and 2015, Royal Caribbean introduced their new Dynamic Dining concept to replace the Main Dining Room on the Quantum-class ships. Ships with Dynamic Dining do not feature a main dining room. Instead, these ships feature several complimentary table service restaurants with their own theme and menu: "American Icon Grill", "The Grande", "Silk", and "Chic". Guests staying in suites also have access to the complimentary "Coastal Kitchen" restaurant. Similar to the Freestyle concept used on Norwegian Cruise Line, guests make reservations for their choice of restaurant for each night in advance, and each venue will maintain the same menu and staff throughout the cruise. On Anthem of the Seas, a "Dynamic Dining Classic" option allows guests rotate between restaurants but keep the same tablemates, waiter, and assistant waiter from night to night (similar to rotational dining on Disney Cruise Line).

Royal Caribbean had planned to extend dynamic dining to Oasis-class ships as well. During drydock refurbishment in 2014 and 2015, signage and décor was installed on the three levels of the main dining rooms of Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas to prepare them to function as separate "American Icon Grill", "The Grande", and "Silk" restaurants, although the three levels continued to operate as a single dining room. The "Coastal Kitchen" restaurant was also installed on both ships for suite guests. However, on 15 July 2015, Royal Caribbean announced that dynamic dining would not be rolled out on the Oasis-class ships or any other ship classes not specifically designed for it. They also clarified that the upcoming Harmony of the Seas will debut with the traditional and "My Time Dining" options.

Private resorts

Royal Caribbean operates two privately owned resorts that are used as stops on some Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries. They are Labadee, a resort on the northern coast of Haiti; and Coco Cay, a private island in the Berry Islands region of The Bahamas. Each resort features canopies for eating, lounge chairs, palm trees, white sand beaches, and a number of activities.

Controversies

Norovirus outbreaks

In January 2014, an outbreak of norovirus aboard the Explorer of the Seas sickened 689 of 4,237 passengers and crew (16.3%), causing the ship to return to port two days early. The outbreak reportedly marked the greatest number of cases of illness aboard a cruise ship in two decades, barely exceeding a 2006 outbreak aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Liberty that sickened 679 of 3,970 passengers and crew (17.1%). Royal Caribbean offered all passengers aboard that cruise a 50% refund of their cruise fare, an additional 50% (plus 10% for each day sick passengers were quarantined) of their cruise fare as a credit towards another cruise, and reimbursed extra travel expenses for guests returning home early.

Docking in Haiti

In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Royal Caribbean continued docking cruise ships at the Labadee resort, located approximately 60 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, during the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The ships provided a source of income to the devastated Haitian economy and delivered valuable relief supplies to the affected. Furthermore, the company promised to donate all proceeds from the visit to help the earthquake victims. Most passengers on board understood this, although some were "sickened" by the company's decision to dock in Haiti. Associate vice president John Weis defended the company's decision by stating that the company had "tremendous opportunities to use our ships as transport vessels for relief supplies and personnel to Haiti ... Simply put, we cannot abandon Haiti now that they need us most." The Labadee resort is leased to Royal Caribbean by the Government of Haiti.

George Allen Smith case

On 5 July 2005, passengers on board the Brilliance of the Seas reported what appeared to be blood on a part of the ship below the passenger balconies. After a search, George Allen Smith was discovered to be missing and thought to have fallen overboard. A criminal investigation into possible foul play was conducted, and a brief press release on the company's investor relations website announced the settlement of the case, later revealed to be more than $1 million.

Environmental record

In 1998 and 1999, the company was fined US$9 million because one of its ships, the Sovereign of the Seas, had repeatedly dumped oily waste into the ocean and tried to hide this using false records, including fake piping diagrams given to the US Coast Guard. Because the company was and is incorporated in Liberia, Royal Caribbean argued that this case was not in the jurisdiction of US courts. Despite their argument, they were unsuccessful.

Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Royal_Caribbean_International

Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

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