Onsite: Royal Caribbean Initiates New York Marketing Blitz

NEW YORK-New York- and New Jersey-area travel agents joined Royal Caribbean executives at the 21 Club in New York on Tuesday to learn more about the cruise line, which says it is looking to be a more "global brand." Agents got a taste of what's new at Royal Caribbean from the get go, as they were driven to the event in cars wrapped in Royal Caribbean signage. The cruise line is upping its marketing presence in the New York vicinity through December with subway signage and cabs and buses wrapped in specially designed Royal Caribbean advertising.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the marketing blitz is to showcase Explorer of the Seas' year-round five-, eight-, nine- and 12-night cruises from the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ. Lisa Bauer, Royal Caribbean's senior vice president of sales, told the audience about Royal Caribbean's performance in recent Gallup Polls-at the top according to her in Bermuda and the Caribbean. She also alluded to more deployment in Hawaii in the future.

One of the biggest pushes Royal Caribbean is looking to make is internationally. Diana Block, Royal Caribbean's vice president of revenue management and deployment, said a total of seven ships would be deployed in Europe in 2008, while, for the first time, Royal Caribbean will enter Asia next year with Rhapsody of the Seas. "We are trying to become a more global brand," Block said.

Royal Caribbean also looked to ingratiate itself with the agent community and assured them they are their most important selling arm. "We encourage consumers to book through travel agents," said Ken Muskat, vice president of sales for Royal Caribbean. Mobile billboards are already stating such, with advertisements in Las Vegas imploring people not to gamble with their next vacation and contact a travel agent.