"Choose Your Own Port" with Royal Caribbean

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In the coming year, Royal Caribbean International will be expanding a program offering cruisers the option to choose from two homeports on a single cruise.

The news came in a blog entry on the company's 2010 initiatives from Adam Goldstein, President of Royal Caribbean International.

The idea is that on select itineraries, cruisers will be able to begin and end their cruise from different ports. One example already implemented by the line is on Enchantment of the Seas where the main port is Colon, Panama but the line also boards "a substantial percentage of our guests in Cartagena, Columbia," said Goldstein. Therefore, guests can either cruise roundtrip Panama or roundtrip Columbia.

Next year, the same program, referred to by Royal Caribbean as "interport," will be offered on the Grandeur of the Seas who is taking over the route. Another example Goldstein points to in his blog entry would be "an ancillary homeport in Korea for cruises primarily based out of Shanghai."

According to a report by USA Today, Royal Caribbean said there are "no current plans" to expand the program to additional itineraries beyond these two routes. However, Goldstein hinted in his blog, "We have made adjustments so our ability to implement such programs is much easier for our own people, travel agents and guests."

Another initiative mentioned in Goldstein's plans for 2010 is the launching of eDocs, a program providing guests with pre-printed adhesive luggage tags customized to their specific ships, sailing and stateroom locations. The line will mail these items to guests free or charge prior to departure to ensure a smoother sailing experience prior to check-in. Royal Caribbean also provides guests with the option to receive paper tickets for a $35 fee.

"When you consider this initiative in the context of the website... the quality of the pre-cruise interaction between us and our customers has elevated considerably," said Goldstein.
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