Cuba Is "Trivial" Part Of Business Says Royal Caribbean Cruises Chairman & CEO; Not Quite Accurate

Mr. Richard D. Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (2016 revenues exceeded US$8 billion), referred to the company's planned April 2017 to May 2017 sailings to the Republic of Cuba as a "trivial part of our business" during an appearance on CNBC's "Power Lunch" program on 26 January 2017.

Mr. Fain is correct about the economic impact of the Republic of Cuba to the company based upon announced activity for 2017.  He is 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.

For the Republic of Cuba sailings, the company is using its 2,270-passenger Empress of the Seas (692ft), which was placed in service on 25 June 1990.  

The "Godmother" of the Empress of the Seas is the Republic of Cuba-born, Florida-based singer Ms. Gloria Estefan.

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.

Adventure Seekers Can Now Visit Havana On Empress of the Seas from Miami or Tampa

MIAMI, Dec. 9, 2016 – Salsa music, dominoes, Mojitos and historic Havana neighborhoods are easier to reach than ever before for guests on Royal Caribbean International. The newly revitalized Empress of the Seas will make history for the cruise line with its first visit to Cuba during a 5-night sailing departing Miami on April 19, 2017. The ship will then reposition to Tampa offering two itineraries with calls to Havana on April 30 (7-night sailing) and May 20 (5-night sailing). These Empress of the Seas sailings are now open for sale.

Empress of the Seas will homeport in Tampa for the 2017 summer season – the cruise line’s first-ever summer program from the destination – offering a series of 4- and 5-night sailings, including port calls to destinations in Cuba. Empress will provide vacationers with the opportunity to discover the timeless sights, sounds and culture of this island nation. Details of the summer itineraries will be released at a later date.

“Royal Caribbean is the world’s most exciting adventure company, and we’re thrilled to introduce culture-seeking travelers to Cuba. As the unrivaled innovators of the cruise experience, no company is better positioned to help adventurers explore and experience this culturally rich destination,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

Guests sailing onboard Empress of the Seas and visiting Cuba can enjoy curated people-to-people experiences created to immerse vacationers in the natural beauty of Cuba, its architecture, cuisine, music and art.  All cruises will be designed in accordance with current U.S. to Cuba travel regulations.

While in Cuba, guests will explore Old Havana – a UNESCO World Heritage site – some of the city’s most notable squares, historic neighborhoods, a local artisan market, Havana’s rum museum as well as Hemingway’s former residence and favorite haunts. Local experts will immerse guests in the history, culture and people of Cuba. These authentic encounters will give guests an unforgettable taste of what has made Cuba the gem of the Caribbean.

The authentic experiences aren’t limited to land. The vibrant culture will extend to Empress of the Seas, from cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal to salsa music, guests will have a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life during the entire journey. The revitalized Empress will bring the shipboard Cuban flair together with signature amenities, such as a thrilling rock-climbing wall for adrenaline seekers; updated pool and whirlpools; a Vitality Spa with an extensive treatment menu; and a complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program. Empress also will offer a variety of dining options with the casual atmosphere of the Windjammer Café and fine dining at Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse Chops.

The summer program on Empress of the Seas provides travelers with more opportunities to sample the unique Royal Caribbean experience from Tampa. Two other Royal Caribbean ships, Rhapsody of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas, will offer Caribbean itineraries from the homeport during the winter season. Guests interested in being one of the first to experience Cuba with Royal Caribbean can contact their travel professional, call Royal Caribbean at 1-866-562-7625 or visit

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 46-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 13 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 For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should call their travel agent; visit; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

Biography Of Mr. Fain:

"Richard D. Fain serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL). More than five million guests sail each year aboard the company's cruise lines. RCL owns and operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises and is part of joint ventures that operate Pullmantur and TUI Cruises. The company's 49 ships sail to nearly 500 ports on all seven continents.

Fain became the cruise line company's chairman and CEO in 1988, and has guided its growth to its current place on the S&P 500, as well as its listing by the Ethisphere Institute as a 2016 World's Most Ethical Company.Fain is chair of the University of Miami Board of Trustees, and serves on the board of the Posse Foundation and the executive committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council.

He has been recognized with the Federal Maritime Commission's Earth Day Award, the Travel Weekly Lifetime Achievement Award, the South Florida Business Journal Ultimate CEO Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and membership in the South Florida Business Hall of Fame. The French government honored Fain as a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, while the Finnish government named him a Commander, First Class, of the Order of the Lion.

Fain holds a B.S. degree in economics from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Fain and his wife, Colleen, have four children and six extraordinary grandchildren."