This Week in Cruise: Caribbean Looks Good, Ritz-Carlton Sets Sail, Disney Adds Croatia

Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, sees smoother waters ahead, describing Caribbean cruise load factors as “very strong.” Speaking at the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, he told attendees that his line’s ships that are sailing short Caribbean cruises are at 110 percent occupancy and longer cruises at about 100 percent. “It’s good to see that it’s all come back,” Bayley said.

In the same vein, Barbados announced that it's expecting 700,000 cruise passengers between now and March. More than 25 cruise lines are slated to arrive at the southern Caribbean island this winter 2022-2023 season. 

Separately, Royal Caribbean International announced that Icon of the Seas, its largest ship ever and the first powered by LNG (liquid natural gas), will arrive in late 2023 in advance of its early 2024 voyages. Look for five new neighborhoods including “Thrill Island,” home to the largest waterpark at sea and the 46-foot-tall “Frightening Bolt,” the tallest drop slide at sea. Bookings for the line’s Crown & Anchor Society past guests will open today, while bookings for the public will open tomorrow. 

In Europe, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s new ultra-luxury yacht Evrima has set sail, as reported by sister publication Luxury Travel Advisor. Explora Journeys first ultra-luxury ship, Explora I, will set sail on its maiden voyage on July 17, 2023, from Southampton, U.K.; that’s a shift from the previously planned May 31 debut in Barcelona.

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Atlas Ocean Voyages named world adventurer Karen Lundgren and Theresa Scalzitti, chief sales officer for Cruise Plannersas the ceremonial godmothers for World Navigator and new sister World Traveller.  Each of the women will christen one ship on November 20, 2022, at the Garibaldi Glacier in Chilean Patagonia.

Adventures by Disney will add Croatia sailings in 2024 by chartering Ponant’s Le BougainvilleScenic Group announced its 2023-2024 Caribbean collection for Scenic Eclipse. The Discovery Yacht will sail to such off-the-beaten-path ports as Puerto Rico’s Isla de Culebra, GrenadinesMayreau, and Colombia’s Isla de Providencia.

On the energy front, Royal Caribbean Group opened the world’s first zero-energy cruise terminal in Galveston, TX. Separately, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released results for its "2022 Global Cruise Industry Environmental Technologies and Practices Report," showing progress towards achieving the industry’s vision of net-zero carbon cruising globally by 2050.

To assist advisors who are new to selling cruise vacations, CLIA also is planning three new-to-selling-cruise virtual training sessions.

As part of a new partnership with Coral Gardeners, Windstar Cruises has donated $35,000 to adopt coral for all guests sailing with the line in French Polynesia for the rest of 2022, which marks Windstar's 35th anniversary of sailing in the region.

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