NOTE (2:22 pm): Incorrect data was obtained from RCC relating to the passenger count for the Empress of the Seas vessel. We have corrected the errors throughout the following text. We apologize.
Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (2016 revenues exceeded US$8 billion) has increased the number of sailings in 2017 that include the Republic of Cuba from four (4) to eleven (11); changing the number of passengers from a potential 6,408 to 17,622 and gross revenues from a potential US$8.3 million to US$22.9 million.
For the Republic of Cuba sailings, the company is using its 1,602-passenger Empress of the Seas (692ft), which was placed in service on 25 June 1990.
On 26 January 2017, with four (4) announced itineraries (one departing from Miami, Florida and three from Tampa, Florida), if the Empress of the Seas was fully-occupied for each sailing, the total number of passengers would be 6,408 with gross revenues of approximately US$8.3 million. In 2016, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. vessels carried six million passengers. The four Republic of Cuba sailings would represent .11% of the total passengers carried by the company and .10% of gross revenues to the company.
On 3 February 2017, the company announced additional itineraries. Thus, for 2017, Royal Caribbean Cruises will have eleven (11) sailings that will include the Republic of Cuba: ten (10) from Tampa, Florida, and one (1) sailing from Miami, Florida. The sailings, which range from four (4) nights to seven (7) nights, commence in April 2017 and continue through November 2017. If the Empress of the Seas sails at capacity, the total number of passengers that would visit the Republic of Cuba in 2017 will be 17,622 with gross revenues of approximately US$22.9 million. The eleven sailings would represent .28% of the total passengers carried by the company in 2016 and represent .29% of gross revenues to the company in 2016.
The economic impact on the Republic of Cuba by the eleven (11) sailings may be approximately US$2.2 million if the vessels operate at capacity.
During an appearance on CNBC's "Power Lunch" on 26 January 2017, Mr. Richard D. Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., referred to the company's planned April 2017 to May 2017 sailings to the Republic of Cuba as a "trivial part of our business."
Mr. Fain was correct about the economic impact of the Republic of Cuba to the company based upon announced activity for 2017. He was not accurately reflecting the commensurate effort by the company to obtain authorization from the government of the Republic of Cuba.
Reportedly, members of the Chicago, Illinois-based Pritzker family have substantive shareholdings in Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.; at one reporting they were the third-largest shareholder in the company. The Honorable Penny Pritzker (net worth reported as US$2.4 billion) served as United States Secretary of Commerce during the Obama Administration from 26 June 2013 to 20 January 2017 and visited the Republic of Cuba twice during her tenure.
The "Godmother" of the Empress of the Seas is the Republic of Cuba-born, Florida-based singer Ms. Gloria Estefan.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL OPENS NEW SAILINGS TO CUBA
Adventure Seekers Can Now Stay in Havana Overnight on Empress of the Seas
MIAMI, Feb. 3, 2017 – Guests looking to dive deeper into the culture and nightlife of Cuba will now have the opportunity to experience the island at night on Empress of the Seas’ new sailings to Havana. Royal Caribbean International has expanded its Caribbean itineraries sailing from Tampa, to include new 4- and 5-night cruises with day and overnight visits to Havana, along with stops in Key West, FL. and Cozumel, Mexico. The new sailings are available through Nov. 4, 2017, and all sailings are now open for sale.
Visiting Cuba with Royal Caribbean means guests can enjoy authentic people-to-people experiences curated to immerse them in the natural beauty and rich culture of the island. Adventures include taking a trip back to the 1950s in a classic American car to tour Havana, with stops at the historic and luxurious Hotel Nacional de Cuba and the Plaza de Revolución, as well as a scenic drive along the island’s famous Malecón waterfront. For guests who want to immerse themselves even more during their time in Cuba, a walking tour offers a close-up experience of the city’s most famous locales, including the old quarter and the Havana Club Museum, a renowned rum producer housed in an 18th-century colonial mansion. For those intrigued by literary greats, a unique excursion will take them to novelist Ernest Hemingway’s favorite haunts, including where he lived, fished, dined and sipped his favorite cocktails.
In the evenings, travelers can experience another side of Cuba – its diverse nightlife. From visiting the famous Tropicana Club to enjoying a performance by the Buena Vista Social Club or witnessing the family friendly ceremonial cannon firing at El Cañonazo, guests can enjoy the sights and sounds of Cuba after dark.
The vibrant Cuban culture extends beyond land to the experience onboard Empress of the Seas. From cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal to salsa music and dancing in the Boleros Latin lounge, guests will have a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life throughout the entire journey.
Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 48-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. Onboard, guests are catered to with the cruise line’s world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service by every staff and crew member. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 14 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.
The cruise line sails 25 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. Media can stay up-to-date by following @RoyalCaribPR on Twitter, and visiting RoyalCaribbeanPressCenter.com. For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should call their travel agent; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.