Royal Caribbean's next ship launch could be outside the U.S.

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The Quantum of the Seas in Singapore. Royal Caribbean executives said its next ship launch may also be outside the U.S. market.
The Quantum of the Seas in Singapore. Royal Caribbean executives said its next ship launch may also be outside the U.S. market. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Travel Weekly Asia

Royal Caribbean Group's fleets may still be idle in the U.S., but it is continuing to operate in Asia. And the next ship that it launches into service may also be outside the U.S., the company said during its fourth quarter earnings call Monday.

Royal Caribbean International was the company's first fully-owned brand to launch service during the pandemic, on cruises out of Singapore on the Quantum of the Seas in early December.

"The timing and pace of the ramp-up will likely vary by region based on local conditions," said CFO Jason Liberty. 

"We are already operating Quantum of the Seas in Singapore, and our second ship in the water could also be outside of the U.S."

When asked by an analyst where a second ship might sail from, Michael Bayley, the CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said the company was talking to different governments and looking at their situations in terms of Covid and vaccine progress.

"There is a lot of opportunity that's starting to open globally in terms of what's occurring with Covid," he said. "We are in discussions around the world."

Royal's jointly owned brands, Tui Cruises and Hapag Lloyd, have both been in operation in limited service in parts of Europe and the Canary Islands. The Quantum will continue to operate from Singapore instead of repositioning to Alaska, as had been originally planned.

Bayley said that bookings for the Grandeur of the Seas out of Barbados, which will operate the line's first cruises from the island later this year and is focused on the North American market, "exceeded our expectations quite significantly." 

"We sold 25% of our load factor within a couple weeks," he said. "There is a lot demand that's building up globally for vacations and cruise and for Royal Caribbean. So we are quite optimistic about where this is heading." 

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