Royal Caribbean International will not bring its new Quantum Plus-class ship Spectrum of the Seas to the UK as expected next year, but is “still looking at options to increase ex-UK deployment in 2019”.
One of the nine ships already sailing in Europe is likely to be moved to the UK for “a partial season” next year, in addition to Independence and Navigator. Anthem of the Seas will then return to Southampton in 2020.
When asked last year about where Royal would base its first Quantum Plus ship [Spectrum], president and chief executive Michael Bayley said things were “looking encouraging for the UK” for the summer. But speaking at a Travel Weekly event last week, Bayley said: “We have changed our mind. We have made a different decision.”
He cited the UK’s decision to leave the EU for the change of heart.
“The big thing for us is the value of sterling. We are an American company. All of our revenues have to come back to us in dollars. When Brexit hit, that was a 15% cut. The UK is a big side of our business.”
But while the UK won’t get Spectrum, vice-president EMEA Stuart Leven insisted: “The UK is flying and leading Europe, so it’s very attractive for adding more ex-UK capacity. So at worse we’ll have the same as this year, but at best we’ll move another ship here.”
Ben Bouldin, Royal’s associate vice‑president and managing director for the UK and Ireland, said Anthem of the Seas, which launched in 2015, would sail ex-UK in 2020 following a dry-dock.
When challenged that the UK was no longer earmarked for a brand-new ship, Bouldin said: “We would classify Quantum class [introduced in 2014] and up as ‘new’ hardware.”
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