Royal Caribbean to extend third season

ROYAL Caribbean International’s second Gulf Season was almost fully booked before its Brilliance of the Seas set sail from her homeport Dubai leading to an extension of the 2011/2012 season.

Since January the ship (pictured) has been offering seven-night cruises in the region, starting in Dubai and calling at Fujairah, UAE and Muscat, Oman before spending a day at sea and heading back to Dubai via Abu Dhabi.

This season the company has also introduced two new 12-night itineraries which, for the first time, include ports in India. Sailing from Dubai to Muscat, Brilliance of the Seas calls into Cochin, Goa and Mumbai – for an overnight stay – before returning back to Dubai.

According to Helen Beck, Royal Caribbean International’s regional sales director, EMEA, this year’s itineraries have proven to be very popular, in fact nearly all sailings were fully booked at the season’s outset.

She said: “We were in the happy position that the majority of our seven-night sailings were close to being sold out, with some limited availability on the late March and April sailings. We’re equally pleased with the performance of our new 12-night itineraries to India and they are on track to sail at full capacity also.”

Due to the high demand, the company has decided to extend its third consecutive season which will comprise 18 roundtrip seven-night sailings and two Dubai to India 12-night sailings from November 2011 through to April 2012.

The Brilliance of the Seas features indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centre and day spa, an indoor and outdoor sports deck with golf simulator, sports courts, a rock-climbing wall and a jogging track. It also boasts a wide range of dining options, shopping arcades and a movie theatre.

The company recently signed a letter of intent with shipyard Meyer Werft to build the first of a new generation of Royal Caribbean International cruise ships. Developed under the code-name ‘Project Sunshine’, the vessel design incorporates new and exciting features that take advantage of the best of Royal Caribbean’s experience and imagination following more than a year of dedicated research and development.

The order calls for one ship to be delivered in the autumn of 2014 with an option for a second ship for spring 2015. The 158,000 gross registered tonnes (GRT) new build will carry just over 4,100 guests based on double occupancy. The estimated all-in cost per berth is about €170,000 ($240,474). This includes the yard’s base contract price plus everything needed to design, operate and build the vessel, from architect fees to supervision costs and all loose inventories from computers to art and bed linens.