Royal Caribbean Group panel: Big ideas and bigger commission checks

MIAMI BEACH — Three Royal Caribbean Group executives, all holding the titles of president and CEO, spoke about the many new products coming online during the Royal Leadership Chat at Cruiseworld, a Travel Weekly event here.

Michael Bayley of Royal Caribbean International, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo of Celebrity Cruises and Rioberto Martinoli of Silversea Cruises told the kind of tales travel advisors love to hear — of new products, new experiences and larger-than-life commission checks.

World cruise is a hit

Royal Caribbean’s first world cruise in 2023 is selling amazingly well, said Bailey, and has found a surprising new market of customers planning to sail for a few weeks, then go home for a few days, and then sail again.

“In launching a world cruise, we wanted to make a statement about Royal Caribbean’s huge global reach,” he said. “We wanted people to reimagine the scale and scope of products we have available.” The cruise is already 70% sold and paid a $100,000 commission check to one travel advisor.

The Celebrity Apex, meanwhile, has introduced a vibe that appeals to a younger generation “and positions our brand in a place where no other brand is positioned,” said Lutoff-Perlo. Celebrity’s new tagline, “New Luxury is only a nuance away from modern Luxury,” gave the line permission to do new things in design. “We’re not competing with ultraluxury in an obvious way; we’re a different type of experience for people who are looking for a luxurious experience that also offers more,” she said.

‘Huge ambitions’ for private islands

On the topic of private islands, Bayley said Royal had “huge ambitions” before Covid. The line is now working on a new, adults-only element called Highway Beach for late 2022, is planning to “enhance and change the concept of Labadee” and is putting the finishing touches on plans for a new experience, the Royal Beach Club in Nassau.” There are also plans for another Perfect Day in the Caribbean.

“Our ambition is to rest and then press play again” as the business comes back, Bayley said.

And on Silversea, the new Sea & Land Taste (SALT) immersive culinary program has been “extremely successful, beyond our expectations,” Martinoli said, adding that the program will be expanded “island by island and port by port” as well as across the fleet, and in larger venues.

Asked by Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Arnie Weissmann to share some details about the new Icon-class ships, Bayley declined.

“We have been working on the concept for close to five years; we put everything we know about building innovative new ships into Icon, so you can imagine it will be an unbelievably stunning iconic experience,” he said. But “we’re very careful about when we start talking about the first in a new class of ship. We want to attach the communications to the normal cadence of sales, when the timing is right and we have everything ready for sales support and can get the information to our travel advisors.”

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