RCI Says Suite Class Makes It A Major Luxury Player

Cruise Week

It's telling that RCI Senior V.P. Vicki Freed is providing details about the new Royal Suite Class with a soft launch at Virtuoso Travel Week this week in LAS. After all, Virtuoso is an agency group very much associated with successful luxury cruise sales, and the Royal Suite Class experience sounds unlike anything to date in terms of the luxury market.

Freed reports that a full launch won't take place until September, and by then Royal will have a separate brochure on the new offering. But even now, details emerging make it clear that Suite Class won't be confused with Norwegian Haven, MSC Yacht Club, Celebrity's Suite class, nor any of today's leading luxury lines.
During Royal's recent earnings call, RCI CEO Michael Bayley discussed the main impetus for the program, which will focus on inventory in 2016 from spring forward aboard Oasis and Quantum-class ships, as well as Harmony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas when they debut.
"[Royal Suite Class is] really part of our focus on segmenting the market, segmenting our distribution, and making sure that we can provide the kind of product that we think people are
willing and able to pay a premium for," Bayley said.
Bayley was CEO of Celebrity when that brand introduced its Suite Class: "And I think they found it to be quite successful in terms of offering the kind of premium space with a premium on it. The people are certainly willing and able to pay for it as long as you can bundle the right products and services into that category."
He added this new segmentation within the Royal brand may not stop with the Suite Class Experience. "We are looking at other categories within the Royal fleet, and we think there are further opportunities there."
Bayley emphasizes this is a different way of looking at luxury. He told Cruise Week, "If you look at Royal Caribbean's suite class of staterooms, we're one of the largest luxury brands in the market. Capacity-wise, we're a major player in the luxury segment."
He concedes people don't think of Royal that way, but says the figures bear him out: "People are paying $20,000 to $30,000 for our suites. They are paying top dollar, because this is such a great family brand, so you can have your loft suite, you can have all of that exclusiveness, you can bring the family, your extended family, and you can have a blast."
To that end, the tagline for the new Royal Suite Class experience is "Luxury that is Anything But Boring."
Exclusive amenities will be based on 3 tiered service levels. Premium features include a ‘Royal Genie,’ certified by the British Butler Institute to meet guests' every need; free VOOM, billed as the fastest WiFi at sea; complimentary specialty dining; an unlimited beverage package; inclusive gratuities; preferred seating at select onboard venues and upgraded room amenities.
The Suite Class will comprise 3 service levels based on suite category: Star Class, Sky Class and Sea Class. 

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