After wrapping up the second month of our “Ask Adam Blog Series,” which we created as an open invitation to our guests to ask questions about Royal Caribbean International or me, I’m glad to share a new round of answers to your questions. Thank you to everyone who participated in April in the Facebook discussion and also thank you for your patience while I’ve been traveling and unable to respond right away. I value all of your comments and questions and look forward to seeing more of them in this month’s discussion.
Why is the merchandise on your ships never rotated or refreshed?
We actually do have a regular conversation about variety of merchandise with our retail partners at Starboard who oversee the shops on our ships. We are very interested in trying new ideas but at the same time Starboard is very mindful of what our guests are actually buying. Merchandise assortments vary by each ship and depending on the itinerary or port of call they may be rotated. We have very limited space for our shops which impact the amount of variety we can offer. The merchandise offering is based on historical best sellers and products that most relate to the itinerary the cruise ship is offering. New merchandise is added each quarter based on stock levels or any new trends in the market place.
Within our beauty and fragrance shop we offer new launches of product based on when it is introduced to the marketplace. We work very closely with many major brands to offer special promotions and savings compared to US land based retail prices.
Do you have any plans to have single rooms on any ships, as NCL does, so that a person traveling solo doesn’t have to pay double just to get a vacation?
Our business model depends on having two or more people in a stateroom, so we have traditionally been focused on that. We do recognize that there is a demand from single travelers. That is why we are looking to create a few staterooms for single travelers during the revitalization of Radiance of the Seas. If that experiment works well we will look to create other limited opportunities around the fleet.
Does Royal have plans to make the ships entirely non-smoking?
We are always reviewing policies and procedures, but at this time, there are no plans to change Royal Caribbean International ships to all non-smoking. The long-term trend towards more restriction of smoking is likely to remain intact.
Why are the photographs so expensive? Wouldn’t more people buy them if they were less?
We constantly review prices of the onboard photography services. We have not changed our base pricing in over 10 years. Despite increased costs our professional portrait prices have been $19.95 since 1995. We have found that because family photographs taken on vacation are so personal and trigger very strong emotions, that historically guests are very aware of the value of the services and appreciate the price structure. To be able to get a professional photograph taken at your convenience with no sitting fees and no purchase obligation, the price is considered to be very reasonable and consistent within the cruise industry, and in fact highly competitive with land based professional photo studios.
Our focus has always been to offer the greatest value on all our photo products and the package prices we offer on all our ships are a testament to this. In fact, our newest photography product ‘Get the picture!’ is the next generation of value offerings, where we offer a photo CD containing all of your professional photos taken onboard.
Why are European promotions not for those in Europe? Why can’t Europeans book their cruise directly on the website?
Our promotions and offers are tailored for specific markets. While some offers on Europe sailings have been available to residents of the United States and Canada, there are other promotions that are available for residents of other countries, and exclude the US or Canada. We try to balance the tastes and needs of different markets when deciding what offers will apply to which markets.
With regard to Europeans booking their cruise directly on RoyalCaribbean.com, our website allows users to select their country of residence which provides local currency rates and offers, however some countries do not have an online booking engine. As you might imagine, giving all of the major markets the systems support to enable what we would like to provide these markets entails a lot of systems investment. We are in the midst of a major systems investment at this time to allow all consumers what we call channel of choice – the ability to make a booking with us in any way they please whether through professional travel agents, the web site or by calling Royal Caribbean.
That wraps up the “Ask Adam” Q&A for April. Once again I would like to thank everyone who submitted a question last month. If you have a new question for me I encourage you to share them in this month’s discussion: http://on.fb.me/jlepUG.