Royal Caribbean's big bet in Latin America
The cruise company expands its presence in the region after 9 years with new cruises and itineraries
Royal Caribbean is making a great effort to expand its operation in Latin America, offering new itineraries that surprise the industry. To learn more about this novelty, we exclusively interviewed Alberto Muñoz, Associate Vice President - Latin America and Caribbean. We share his responses below:
What does it mean for you to be able to expand your presence in Latin America?
Without a doubt, it is a great achievement to be able to return to Latin America after 9 years, since it is a key point for all our clients and without a doubt a magnificent destination for all our future guests. Similarly, returning to Panama will be a great attraction for guests, as it is known as the crossroads of the Americas due to its location between North and South America, which makes it the ideal place for the world famous work of engineering such as the Panama Canal. In addition, we will have departures available from the paradisiacal Cartagena in Colombia.
Why did you decide to return to Latin America?
Because we are convinced that Latin America has a diversity of ports to create the best experiences for the whole family. With the incorporation of Rhapsody of the Seas to the Latin American market, we will have a product that will not require a US visa, offering a season with a variety of itineraries, including the Panama Canal. In the same way, we are very motivated with our return with a base port in Panama, since it is the only country with cruise ports in the Pacific and in the Caribbean and with the Panama Canal that connects both.
What routes will they offer, in what season and with what ships?
For the season in Latin America there will be 3 different routes departing from Cartagena, Colombia, Colón and Fuerte Amador in Panama. Guests will be able to enjoy these tours aboard Rhapsody of the Seas visiting Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Punta Arenas and the new port of Quepos, Costa Rica. In addition, they can be magnified by crossing the impressive Panama Canal, one of the great structural and engineering attractions in Latin America.
What kind of health protocols will be in force on these itineraries?
Our top priority is the well-being of our guests, the communities we visit, and our crew. We hope that by the end of 2023 all protocols will be more relaxed; protocols change as the world progresses and it is still too early to anticipate. But what I would like to highlight is the professional team of the Healthy Sail Panel, who have led us down the path of safe sailing, creating a foundation for the industry, where our protocols are efficient, easy to understand, based on science and above all , elevating the passenger experience.
How was the reaction of the market when hearing the news?
The reaction has been wonderful, it is something that people have been waiting for a long time and as always we listen to them and take action. Since it was announced, all of our agents have wanted to book so they can offer their clients this wonderful itinerary. It is a great opportunity, since Latin Americans will be able to travel without having an American visa. We will always continue working to give our market the best opportunities and satisfy them with the requests they make of us.
When will this long-awaited season begin?
In December 2023, Rhapsody of the Seas will begin its season in its new temporary home, Latin America. The first departure will be on December 2, 2023 and it will be making itineraries until April 2024.