As the largest cruise line in the world recovers from the devastating effects of the pandemic, its CEO is optimistic about the company’s future.
Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said at the 28th annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) convention that demand was very strong and ships were sailing at high load factors in the Caribbean.
“Our short product ships are sailing at 110%, and our longer voyages are now sailing at approximately 100%, so it’s fantastic to see that it’s all comeback,” he said, noting that it had taken some time. “We’re feeling fairly optimistic about how things look as we head towards 2023.”
Profitability is still an issue, according to Bayley, who oversees a worldwide team of more than 50,000 employees who provide unforgettable family holidays to millions of customers aboard more than two dozen ships that visit more than 240 countries.
The demand has returned, our bookings are robust, and our revenues are rising. From onboard spending alone, for instance, we see very positive profits. As we work our way through everything, we’re feeling reasonably confident about the future, as Bayley put it.
The Caribbean is the most popular cruise destination in the world, according to Bayley, who oversees the entire cruise line’s operation. This includes the cruise line’s private destinations in Labadee, Haiti, and Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas, the first in a series of private island destinations around the world known as the Perfect Day Island Collection.
There is no seasonality. The solution is perfect. Its proximity to the (North American) market is a significant draw. Bayley remarked, “It has all these wonderful qualities, and the people are friendly.
He praised the FCCA for uniting the various players in the cruise industry and their preferred destinations to tackle the industry’s most pressing issue of our day. As one team member put it, “I think we’ve formed in many ways better relationships because we’ve spent a lot of time on Zoom and Webex over the past couple of years, and we’ve had to work through a lot of difficulties, problems, and challenges collectively as a team.”
He also spoke fervently about the significance of assisting mutually beneficial destinations during times of crisis: “We feel like a family not only aboard Royal Caribbean but throughout the Caribbean as a whole. The Caribbean was our first stop; our group is known as the Caribbean. Due to the large number of locals living on and working for Royal Caribbean, we’ve always considered ourselves a part of the Caribbean culture. So, when we hear that one of our neighbours is going through a tough time, we first wonder how we can help. And I believe you’ll find through the years and decades that we’ve always tried to step in and help as much as possible.”
Forty years ago, in 1981, Bayley started as an assistant purser aboard the cruise ship m.s. Nordic Prince. Today, he manages the digital transformation of the company’s operations and the growth of its destinations and ports.