Royal Caribbean’s Michael Bayley Sees Calmer Seas Ahead

The 28th annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) conference was held recently in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Speaking at the event, Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, revealed demand was very strong with ships sailing at strong load factors in the Caribbean.

“Our short product ships are sailing at 110 percent and our longer cruises are now sailing at around 100 percent, so it’s good to see that it’s all come back,” he said, adding that it has taken some time. “As we look forward into 2023, we feel pretty optimistic about how it’s all looking.”

Bayley, who leads a global team of over 50,000 employees, said profitability is still a challenge given the pandemic-related debt the company took on board. “The good news is that the demand has come back and our bookings are strong and the revenues are coming in. We’re seeing very positive revenues from onboard spend, for example, and we’re working our way through all of this, and we feel quite optimistic about the future,” he added.

The Royal Caribbean exec also described the Caribbean as the top cruise destination globally. “It’s all year round. It’s perfect. It’s very close to the American market. It’s got all of these incredible attributes and the people are friendly,” he said.

Bayley lauded the FCCA for helping cruise industry stakeholders and destinations come together to overcome the biggest challenge the industry has faced in this generation: “I think we’ve developed in many ways better relationships because we’ve spent a lot of time on Zoom and Webex over the past couple of years, and we’ve had to work through a lot of issues and problems and challenges collectively as a team.”

Bayley, who oversees the corporation’s digital transformation of its business as well as its destination and port development, began his 40-year career in 1981 as an assistant purser on the cruise line’s M.S. Nordic Prince.

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