A Brief Overview of Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean: Overview
Royal Caribbean is a Norwegian-American cruise line that was originally founded in Norway in 1968 and is headquartered in Miami. The company currently has twenty-one ships in service, through which Royal Caribbean controls an impressive seventeen percent of the global cruise market. The brand has a long history of offering premium cruise experiences in the Caribbean as well as other parts of the world, including the Mediterranean and Alaska.
History and Fleet
Royal Caribbean launched its first cruise ship, the Song of Norway, into service in 1970. This original ship weighed 18,000 tons and included accommodations for 724 passengers. The ship was later lengthened and remained in the fleet until its eventual sale in 1996.
In the intervening years, Royal Caribbean launched many additional ships to keep up with the growing demand in the cruise industry. The company became known for its innovative spirit when it began lengthening older cruise ships in the 1970s. This was not standard procedure at the time. The company built the first mega-sized cruise ship in 1988: the Sovereign of the Seas. This was the largest cruise ship afloat at the time.
Another innovative idea embraced by the company was leasing coastal resort property in Haiti (Labadee) in 1986 for use as an exclusive destination for its cruise line. Royal Caribbean has a second private destination option CocoCay, located between Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas. The island offers guests 140 acres of private beaches, in addition to shopping and activities exclusively for Royal Caribbean passengers.
From 1990 until today, Royal Caribbean has frequently added new ships to their line from six different classes of vessels. Many of these are mid-sized or larger ships, and all of them have a variety of on-board entertainment and dining options with broad appeal.
In 2011, Royal Caribbean won several awards in the Family category of that year’s Cruisers’ Choice Awards. Many ships in their cruise line are currently receiving upgrades to give them the same level of technology availability and modern convenience enjoyed by newer ships, such as those in the Oasis Class.
Their cruises routinely receive excellent reviews from passengers and from travel guides and critics. Royal Caribbean is especially popular among families, first-time cruise ship passengers and seniors seeking voyages lasting longer than seven nights. Shorter voyages are favored by vacationing adults and families.
Royal Caribbean also has a reputation for being a force for good on the high seas, having recently rescued sailors who were adrift near St. Maarten in December 2013. Less recently, the cruise line provided relief supplies and needed personnel during the Haitian Earthquake crisis of 2010 via their exclusive port of call in Labadee, Haiti.
Royal Caribbean has a long history in the cruise industry with many innovations and years of expansion and growth behind them. In the future, they intend to increase their fleet size. The 158,000 ton Quantum of the Seas, a 4,100-passenger vessel, is scheduled for launch in autumn 2014. A sister ship will debut in early 2015. These and other ships in the fleet will offer additional services, ports of call, and unique experiences for their passengers.
For a cruise line that offers it all to nearly every type of passenger, Royal Caribbean offers an excellent travel solution.