Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) has confirmed it is working on a new subsidiary focused on developing and marketing land tours around the globe.
The new company is still in formation, but RCCL has named John Weis, its former vice president of global tour operations, to spearhead its development.
RCCL already offers guests on its three cruise brands thousands of tours in hundreds of destinations. It said the new subsidiary, to be called TourTrek, will operate in 90 countries.
In a brief statement about the company, Royal Caribbean describes TourTrek as a technology company that will be wholly owned by RCCL.
Weis will report to Larry Pimentel, president of Azamara Club Cruises and chief destination experience officer for Azamara, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.
Pimentel has made destination a core attribute of Azamara, starting with Azamazing Evenings, a program of customized night events that is included at least once for all guests on each Azamara cruise.
Celebrity has also been venturing into more elaborate shore excursions. In March, the line said it would begin offering a land-sea package this fall that combines five nights in Africa with an 11- or 12-day Black Sea cruise.
The land portion included bookings at game lodges or four- and five-star hotels in Kenya and three safari expeditions, followed by transfers to Istanbul, where guests were to board the Celebrity Constellation with stops on the Black Sea and in the Greek Isles. Celebrity President Michael Bayley said the tours quickly sold out.
It was not immediately clear who TourTrek's target market would be, beyond clients of RCCL's cruise brands, or what role, if any, travel agents will have in distributing the tour products to clients.
Royal said it has hired longtime Carnival Corp. executive Roberta Jacoby to move into the role previously occupied by Weis. Her title will be managing director of global tour operations. After 35 years with Carnival, Jacoby retired in 2011 as senior vice president of corporate special projects, but she had spent much of her tenure at Carnival in shore excursion roles.
RCCL said that further details about TourTrek would be made available in the coming months.