Harry Kemble reports from on board Symphony of the Seas in the Mediterranean

Royal Caribbean International is set to build a further four ships by 2027 in addition to existing vessels on order by 2024.

The line’s current order book, first signalled four years ago, is for 10 new ships by 2024.

But Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean’s president and chief executive, indicated the line will place orders for four more ships for delivery by 2027.

Bayley would not reveal what class the ships would be, but hinted some of the four additional vessels could be Icon-class.

Speaking on board Symphony of the Seas’ shakedown cruise from Malaga to Barcelona last week, he told Travel Weekly: “We are going to build multiple Icons, so they could be Icon-class.

“We are building two Icon-class vessels [due in 2022 and 2024] and if it is as successful as all the other classes, I am pretty sure we will build more. There will be 10 ships in 10 years [from 2018] with total orders and options.”

The UK market, Bayley said, could expect more hardware coming to the UK if the pound “stays in the same place”.

“I feel that if the pound stays in the same place you will see more growth coming out of the UK,” he said.

“Whether it will be new hardware, old hardware which is modernised or new entrants into the market, who knows? But the market is looking better.”

He said Royal would start designing new stateroom family accommodation which is likely to be rolled out with the fifth Oasis-class vessel, due in 2021.

Symphony’s new 980sq ft Ultimate Family Suite, the first in the Royal Caribbean fleet, has proven immensely popular with customers, according to the line.

The two-floor room, which can sleep up to eight people, has been sold to a family for $85,000 over Christmas for a week.

Bayley said the line would draw on feedback from passengers who stay in the Ultimate Family Suite to get a “sense of what is great and what needs to change” when designing more-affordable family options.


Symphony of the Seas in numbers

228,081 gross tonnage
6,680 passenger capacity
2,759 staterooms
1,188 feet long
215.5 feet wide
18 decks
7 onboard ‘neighbourhoods’
1 Ultimate Family Suite

Line expects high UK sales for Jewel sailings from Dubai

Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas ship will move to Dubai for winter 2019-20.

Michael Bayley said he expected the UK market to provide “70%” of the Radiance-class ship’s bookings.

The 2,701-passenger vessel will sail seven-night cruises when it moves from Rome to Dubai next winter.

Vision of the Seas was 
the last Royal Caribbean ship to be positioned in Dubai two years ago.

Bayley said: “It is a new deployment announcement that is particularly focused on the UK market. The UK market will be 70% of the sourcing of that product.”

He added that being based in Dubai would make the programme popular for cruise-and-stay bookings.