Royal Caribbean launched their newest ship – and the largest cruise ship in the world – the Symphony of the Seas in Saint-Nazaire, France, last week. The cruise line has a trade-specific event in Barcelona on 5 April hosting more 600 UK and Ireland agency partners. It has also invested in multiple training mediums to help educate agencies bout the product and support their sales efforts.
We caught up with Katy Markwardt from Royal Caribbean for insights on bookings coming into the launch as well as their plans for engaging the travel trade:
How are bookings for the the official launch cruise? Where are guests for the initial cruise coming from?
These sailings are fully booked! There’s been a strong interest from our UK passengers as well our American guests and of course those from Spain – with these three nationalities making up around half of the passengers booked.
Are the any special programmes in place for the travel agents around helping to support this launch?
We will have 662 of our UK & Ireland travel agent partners joining us onboard to see the ship first hand when she sails from Barcelona on 5 April, including 200 Club Royal members. During this sailing agents can enjoy Symphony Snapquest, an onboard game developed just for them.
Agents can download through Facebook Messenger and take part in quizzes and challenges in each of the 10 zones. On completing the questions in each zone correctly the agents will be entered into draws to win prizes! We have 10 amazing loft suites to be won during the 2 day event – agents can win these on both days by completing the 10 zones (the more zones they complete the more entries).
Plus we have 10 luxury spa treatments and 10 musical prizes to be won by uploading their best pictures to Instagram using #SymphonyoftheSeas. Also available to download through the game will be deck plans, infographics and fast facts!
What resources are available to help travel agents get prepared to sell this new product?
As part of our Club Learning mobile-friendly e-learning platform for travel agents, we have launched a brand new module exclusively on Symphony, which enables agents to understand the incredible holiday families can have onboard. In addition agents can take a 7-day virtual cruise as well as learn all about our different products and destinations around the world. For each completed learning they are awarded a virtual badge.
Strike up the band: it’s time for a Symphony
Symphony of the Seas becomes the world’s largest cruise ship welcoming 5,518 guests and more than 2,200 staff. It’s a family focused ship targeted to operate in Europe and the Caribbean. It’s the fourth Oasis class and 25th ship in the RCCL fleet.
The ship’s maiden 7-night Mediterranean voyage departs Saturday, April 7 from Barcelona, Spain. Symphony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy.
Beginning 10 November, Miami, Florida’s Terminal A will become the ship’s year-round homeport. The 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will call on Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s newly revealed destination in the Bahamas.
Michael Bayley, President and CEO was in Saint-Nazaire for the launch and reiterated the family holiday focus for the Symphony of the Seas:
“Symphony will take family vacationing to an all new level with energy and options never before found in one place. This ship is the perfect blend of our greatest hits we know guests love and a lineup of vibrant,new restaurants, activities and unparalleled entertainment – all purposefully designed around vacationers’ preferences.”
One of the signature cabins is the Ultimate Family Suite, a two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite filled with thrills for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Features include an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool.