Starbucks to Open on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship
Chris Carr, senior vice president and general manager of Starbucks Licensed Stores, tells AOL Travel News the coffee retailer goes where customers want them to be, and that includes on the ship.
"It's exciting for us to have the ability to extend our relationship with our customers, the local neighborhood Starbucks experience they have on land... out at sea," Carr says "We're ecstatic about the opportunity to reach our customers in this unique place."
The Starbucks on the 225,282-ton Allure will be located in the Royal Promenade, a massive atrium area with shops and restaurants that feels like a mall, on a ship that population-wise is the size of a small town.
The outlet will sell the same signature drinks – Frappuccinos, lattes, et al – and seasonal specialties as on land, and food too, at a la carte prices comparable to what's charged at U.S. Starbucks outlets. Allure passengers will be able to pay with cash or their shipboard credit card, Carr says.
Baristas will work for Royal Caribbean, as part of the licensing agreement, but be trained by Starbucks. Carr says the outlet will look like a Starbucks and provide a "seamless experience" for customers.
Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean, tells AOL Travel News the cruise line is excited to introduce "one of the most recognizable brands in the world" on its newest ship.
Royal Caribbean likes partnering with popular brands, Goldstein says, pointing to the success of Johnny Rockets hamburger outlets on several of the line's ships, as one example.
For nearly 10 years, the cruise line has had an agreement with Seattle's Best Coffee, which became a Starbucks subsidiary in 2003, so the opening of the outlet on Allure "was a very logical next step to explore in this relationship," Goldstein says.
Seattle's Best will still be offered in the main dining room, room service, Café Promenade and other outlets on Allure, at no charge.
Asked if the deal will expand to Starbucks outlets on the line's other 21 ships, Goldstein says opportunities are being explored.
While he declined to comment on specific financial details of the agreement with Starbucks, Goldstein says "Both companies have a real opportunity here from an economic standpoint."
Branding-wise, he says the companies are also a good match. "It makes a lot of sense why the first Starbucks at sea would be on Royal Caribbean International because of the broad (demographic) base of our offerings," Goldstein says. "Starbucks is broad -based enough in their appeal that we think it's a pretty positive marriage."
Goldstein himself does not drink coffee but is a self-described "hardcore" hot chocolate fan. "I've had lots and lots of Starbucks hot chocolate," he says.
Allure of the Seas, sister ship to Oasis of the Seas, officially debuts in December.
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Photos, Starbucks, Royal Caribbean