Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get Royal Caribbean Group Report endlessly tweaks the onboard experience. In recent years, due to the pandemic, many of those moves have been very public. Mask rules have changed numerous times loosening and tightening as Covid and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention required.
Outside of pandemic-related changes, Royal Caribbean often tries out new things quietly. Over the past few months, for example, it has tried using water served in aluminum cans rather than plastic bottles on some of its sailings.
That may seem like a small change, but people like the familiar, and at least some cruise ship passengers have strong opinions about which container they prefer.
Royal Caribbean thus tends to very quietly try out new changes on a single ship or just a handful of them. That method enables the company to gauge its passengers’ reactions. It’s the equivalent of a fast-food chain introducing a new sandwich in a handful of restaurants to see whether it should roll it out nationally.
Now, Royal Caribbean has tried two very different new ideas and its customers may be very happy.
Royal Caribbean Fixes Something Annoying
Not every problem rises to the level of mask protocols. Some are just little annoyances or issues caused by solving another problem.
Back in late 2018, Royal Caribbean began getting rid of plastic straws on its ships.
“For over a year now, RCL ships have begun implementing a ‘straws upon request’ policy. That program will be taken a step further by the start of 2019 when guests requesting a straw will receive a paper straw instead of a plastic one,” Cruise Fever reported.
That was a noble effort, but it came with unintended consequences. Paper straws might be good for the environment, but they don’t work as well as plastic straws since they break down or melt in your drink. Using a paper straw becomes a bit of a race, and that’s no way to enjoy a beverage.
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The cruise line has been testing an alternative, according to Matt Hochberg at the Royal Caribbean Blog (which is not affiliated with the company). He reported that the cruise line has been testing biodegradable plastic straws on a few of its ships.
“So far they’ve been spotted on Harmony, Freedom, and Jewel of the Seas,” he wrote.
The straws, according to Strawfish, which makes them, function like traditional straws, but they break down in landfills.
Royal Caribbean Tries a New Brunch at Its Newest Restaurant
Cruise ships are famous for the sheer volume of food offered. Those choices, however, dry up late at night. In general, you can get pizza at Sorrento’s or light snacks at Cafe Promenade, unless you want to order room service.
Royal Caribbean has found a clever way to offer passengers on its newest ship, Wonder of the Seas, another late-night option that alleviates another problem as well,
Wonder of the Seas has the first installation of Mason Jar, the cruise line’s take on a southern restaurant. It has been so popular that it often sells out its full availability before the ship leaves port.
On at least one April sailing of Wonder, a five-day trip over Easter weekend, the cruise line is offering a 1 a.m. “brunch” at Mason Jar. That adds a late-night dining option while also creating more opportunities for people to try Mason Jar.
Neither of these is a huge change, but they both speak to how the cruise line works to give its customers the best experience possible.
That’s good for repeat business and word of mouth. Those drive results for Royal Caribbean, so while the changes are small, it’s really the process of constant revision that matters.