Royal Caribbean and Celebrity: Strategic Deployment Approach

Icon of the Seas

“The general strength of the Caribbean has been a factor,” said Marc Miller, director, deployment and itinerary planning, Royal Caribbean Group, pointing to more capacity in the region for both the Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brands.

“For Royal Caribbean we have added more hardware year-round and we also have two Celebrity ships in the summer,” he said.

For Royal, the new Icon debuted earlier this year in Miami. The Utopia follows from Port Canaveral this summer while the new Star of the Seas will also sail from Florida’s Port Canaveral when she arrives in 2025.

“Perfect Day at CocoCay has been a real game changer and allowed us to amplify our itineraries,” said Miller. “Celebrity will be going there for the first time this year.”

The premium brand will mix in the private destination on its new short cruise program out of Port Everglades with the Celebrity Reflection on a three- and four-night rotation. A second Celebrity ship is also in the Caribbean this summer with the Beyond sailing from Port Everglades on longer cruises.

Best Places

In short, Miller said the company was simply looking for the best places to deploy its ships.

“Whether that is long cruises, short cruises or seven-night sailings,” he said. “We are leveraging all factors like guest experience, ratings, revenue and more, we put all that together and determine the best place to go.”

Other news includes a buildup on the West Coast, with the Navigator of the Seas being joined by the Quantum in Los Angeles. The 2014-built Quantum will offer short cruises from the California port.

In South America, Celebrity is opting to skip the 2024-25 season, but will be back for 2025-26, Miller said.

“The Mediterranean is a big piece of our deployment we are really trying to spread out and differentiate our itineraries” Miller said, with new cruises from aboard the 2,850-guest Celebrity Equinox will calls into Portugal, Spain and France.

Up north, the elephant in the room continues to be the Baltic without Russia.

“We have shifted our deployment more toward Norway, the UK and Iceland,” explained Miller. “We have a new Celebrity program roundtrip from Reykjavík, homeporting there for a mini season. That will be a new to differentiate us in Northern Europe.”

Further Out

With shorter cruises, berth availability becomes even more critical.

“But, the ports are expanding. Nassau recently finished its big project that helped and we are bringing upwards of 3 million guests through Perfect Day.

“We are planning further out. We don’t have as much flexibility with the large ships, and we aren’t the only ones with the large ships.”

While some itineraries are planned a couple of years out, Miller said in some cases he has plans 10 to 15 years in advance when it comes to deployment.

“It’s about where we see our brands’ growth, where we see the congestion and where we may be investing,” he said.

Miller said they work to future proof itineraries, and that includes looking at potential port infrastructure.

Excerpt from the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine Spring 2024


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