CCN Travel has an interesting article this morning "Cruise Line Chief: We're in a Better Place." The cruise line's President Adam Goldstein talks about the "enormous excitement" generated by its two new mega cruise ships, the Oasis of the Seas which debuted last December and the Allure of the Seas which is now sailing from Europe to Fort Lauderdale and will arrive in South Florida later this week.
Royal Caribbean's Goldstein claims that the cruising experience on Oasis of the Seas has been so "universally positive" that he no longer hears criticism that the ship is "ugly," "obnoxious" and a "monstrosity." But it is always interesting to contrast happy talk like this to the comments from readers who complained about the mega ship as a "giant floating shopping mall with a captive audience," as well as "long lines, rude employees, and indifferent customer service."
Although Royal Caribbean experienced a strong third quarter, its financial improvement came at a price to its own employees and crew members. Over the past two years, the cruise line slashed employees from the company's payroll and terminated medical benefits for hundreds of injured and ill crew members. Royal Caribbean has also reduced the daily stipend for most ill and injured crew members from $25 a day to $12 - an amount that no one in the world can live on.
In the process, the company's stock rose from a low of just under $6 a share to around $40.
Not coincidentally, last week President Goldstein unloaded 30,899 shares of RCL stock for $1,200,000. Not to be outdone, the cruise line's CEO, Richard Fain, pocketed $6,000,000 by selling 150,000 shares.
Yes, Royal Caribbean's President Goldstein and CEO Fain are in a "better place."
But their crew members certainly are not.
Photo credit: nationofwhynot? blog