Royal Caribbean's Liberty highlights port and destination investments

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CFO Jason Liberty, right, with editor in chief Arnie Weissmann at CruiseWorld.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CFO Jason Liberty, right, with editor in chief Arnie Weissmann at CruiseWorld. Photo Credit: Creative Focus

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Royal Caribbean International is doing more to elevate all aspects of a cruise experience so that they match the improvements made to ships in recent years.

Jason Liberty, CFO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., outlined the strategy in a talk here to travel agents attending CruiseWorld, a Travel Weekly event.

A case in point is RCCL's $247 million glass-walled Terminal A, which recently opened at PortMiami.

"We're really trying to take more ownership of the guest experience from the time they get out of their car to the time they get off the ship," Liberty said.

Liberty said another example is Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay, which is getting $200 million of "thrill and chill" upgrades. That will make it more consistent with the experience guests have on the ships.

"They're expecting an experience that is common across everything our brands are producing," Liberty said.

Liberty joined RCCL in 2005 and was named CFO in 2013. He's the company's chief spokesman on financial strategies.

On another issue, Liberty said that Royal Caribbean International's recent decision to add more field sales staff reflects the complexity of the cruise product and the value of travel agents in selling it.  

"I get questions from investors all the time about why we spend so much money on travel agents," Liberty said. "There's a real high level of appreciation of how important the trade is, how important touching the trade is with training, tools and technology. That really is what supports why we believe we need a higher level of field sales support."

Discussing the new Celebrity Edge, a ship due to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 19, Liberty said the long and elaborate introduction of the ship has been worth the cost.

The push, which began 18 months ago, has worked well, Liberty said. "It has been a very long time since Celebrity got a new ship, so we wanted to make this a very special build-up," he said.

"A lot of things we that revealed have never been seen before," Liberty added. "We wanted to make sure that was able to simmer in the minds of travel agents and guests."

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