Royal Caribbean looks forward to seeing the Dominic effect

//Royal Caribbean looks forward to seeing the Dominic effect

DominicPaul-1388.jpgIf you wanted to know which UK travel agents had travelled to Florida to sail on Allure of the Seas, the quickest way would have been tomake a late-night visit to the karaoke bar on the Royal Promenade to see who was behind the microphone.
To be fair, some of them can actually put on an impressive show; others would be well advised to confine their singing to the shower. You know who you are, guys.
They did manage to drag their hangovers to a series of working sessions on the ship, at one of which, they were advised to concentrate their selling efforts not on Allure, but on the 4,000-passenger Independence of the Seas, which sails out of Southampton, and on the 2,000-passsenger Grandeur of the Seas which will be based in Palma, Mallorca, next summer.
Head of sales, Mark Walter, said both ships should be “easy sells” for agents, and claimed that Grandeur – one of 11 of the company’s ships sailing in Europe next year – will be the only four-star vessel based in the port.
RCI claims to have 23 per cent of the European cruise market in 2010 – up from 10 per cent just six years ago. That leaves them behind Costa, but ahead of P&O and Princess, and new UK managing director Dominic Paul (above) is looking for more growth to take the share to 27 per cent next year.
An impressive target for a man who had never set foot on a cruise ship until a few months ago. He joined Royal Caribbean from BMI after a career which until now has been entirely in the airline industry.
After being appointed he took two of his four children for a holiday on Navigator of the Seas from Rome and was immediately impressed.
“Until then, holidays have been at a villa in the south of France, or in Barbados, where my wife comes from,” he told me. “This was the best family holiday we have ever had, apart from the fact that I couldn’t take my wife along because she was heavily pregnant. The children loved it and I was blown away. The sheer variety of things to do, the quality of the food, the service . . . it was amazing.
“There’s a real energy on the ships, and the kids’ club was great. My sister came with me, and her idea of a holiday is something like trekking in India. She has already booked another cruise with three of her friends.”
As well as the Royal Caribbean brand, Dominic is also responsible for the UK marketing of Azamara Club Cruises – “a different experience with destination-rich itineraries” – and Celebrity Cruises – “understated elegance and restaurants to match the finest in London,” he says.
He is planning an advertising blitz in the New Year, on top of the recent free flights offer which was intended to kick-start sales of the Mediterranean cruises, and is confident his UK team will be able to fill the ships.
But he also needs to start thinking about what enhancements he wants to put on Independence. Other ships in the fleet are being upgraded with new restaurants like the Allure’s Samba Grill, and updated entertainment including new shows and DreamWorks characters.
As the youngest ship in the Freedom class, Independence is not scheduled for a dry-dock refit for another couple of years – but you don’t need to take the vessel out of the water to bring Shrek on board.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:15+00:00 29 November 2010|Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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