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CASE STUDIES - CRUISE SHIP: Royal Caribbean International
In 1997, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines changed its name to Royal Caribbean International, a rebranding intended to show that the cruise line started in 1968 with one ship – Song of Norway – was now cruising in all the seven seas. Royal Caribbean International operates cruises out of three dozen ports from Denmark to Dubai to San Diego. There are 20 ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet (with two under construction) in five classes: Freedom, Voyager, Radiance, Vision and Sovereign.
Royal Caribbean International is known for innovation. In 1978 they “stretched” the Song of Norway – cutting it in half and welding in an 85-foot mid-section to increase guest capacity from 700 to 1000. In 1998, Royal Caribbean International did away with rudders, stern thrusters and propeller shafts when they installed the Azipod propulsion system – which places the propeller on a steerable pod, which can be rotated 180 degrees.
Royal Caribbean International’s growth from one to 20 ships in 40 years has been phenomenal, and the success of the line is based on their attention to detail, and to providing a quality experience for their guests, and striving to present cruise ship passengers with new thrills and luxuries.
Royal Caribbean International has always prided itself on having the world’s most innovative cruise ships either under way or under construction. The cruise line redefined cruise vacations in 1999 by offering unexpected onboard amenities such as a rock-climbing wall and ice-skating rink on its Voyager-Class ships.
In 2004, the first of the Freedom-class ships were under construction at the Aker shipyards in Turku, Finland. When the ships launched they would be the largest cruise ships in the world: 3,634 guests, double occupancy, on a ship 1,112 feet long and 184 feet wide, all of its 160,000 gross registered tons cruising at 21.6 knots powered by 57,000 horsepower.
Freedom of the Seas would be the world’s largest and most spectacular cruise ship and the challenge for Royal Caribbean International was to offer more unexpected onboard amenities that would redefine cruise vacationing once again.
In August of 2005, Royal Caribbean International announced the first “onboard surf park” on a cruise ship, featuring a 28’ by 40’ FlowRider® which would flow 32,000 gallons of water in the stern of the ship, allowing guests to ride the wild surf while sailing on the high seas. At the shipyards in Turku, Finland, cranes swung FlowRiders onto the sterns of three of the Freedom-class ships. Freedom of the Seas put to sea in April, 2006, followed by the Liberty of the Seas in May, 2007 and Independence of the Seas in April, 2008.
As the ships cruised along at 20 knots, the FlowRider flowed at 25 MPH (40 KPH) in the stern of the ship. Guests loved it. Some got married on the FlowRider. Others rode the wild surf while sailing over the bounding main, laying down snaking tracks while watching the tracks of the cruise ship fan out for miles.
Royal Caribbean International featured the FlowRider in broadcast and print advertising, under the slogan: “Long board. Short board. Boogie board. Onboard.” And it worked. Family interest in the Freedom-class cruises jumped considerably because, as a company spokesman put it: “Get the teenagers, and you get the families.”
In August of 2008, Royal Caribbean showed new plans for its Oasis class of cruise ships. The largest cruise ships ever launched will be laid out in seven distinct themed areas: Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone and Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center.
In August of 2008, Adam Goldstein, the president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International announced: “We have developed the Pool and Sports Zone and the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center to give our guests even more choices on a unique and memorable Royal Caribbean cruise.”
Those choices include two FlowRider Doubles which will flank both sides of the elevated back deck. Four times the flow, four times the joy.