MIAMI - Heading into World Tourism Day later this week, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that 1,400 sustainable tours, from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean and beyond, are now available for booking. Offered by certified sustainable tour operators, these special tours are available across Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s (RCL) family of brands — including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara — and include unique experiences around the world, from kayaking along Mallorca's west coast to an underground Mayan River Cenote in Cozumel and grape harvesting at Pizzorno Winery in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The initiative began as part of the company's 2020 World Wildlife Fund (WWF) target to offer guests 1,000 tours provided by operators certified to the UN-created Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standard. By reaching and surpassing the goal nearly one year ahead of schedule, RCL is underscoring its commitment to operate sustainably and provide its guests with responsible options while ashore.
"Our guests are eager to explore and discover new cultures and places, and we want to do our part to ensure those destinations continue to thrive," said Roberta Jacoby, Managing Director, Global Tour Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Achieving this goal was a truly collaborative process with our motivated tour operators and with the dedicated team at Global Sustainable Tourism Council."
Engaging with its portfolio of global independent tour operators was a key part of the program. Together with GSTC, RCL's Global Tour Operations team conducted informational sessions to educate its tour operators of the company's commitment, the importance of certification and sustainable operations, and the process to become certified by any of GSTC's accredited certification bodies.
GSTC standards, known as the GSTC Criteria, are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing negative impacts to the environment.
"The scale and scope of Royal Caribbean Cruises' commitment to sustainable shore excursions and accomplishments to date are unprecedented," says Jim Sano, Vice President for Conservation Travel, WWF. "This initiative not only helps advance WWF's conservation mission, it elevates the sustainability bar for the entire travel industry."
The team worked with GSTC-accredited certifier Travelife to provide access to training materials and reporting tools to help tour operators gain GSTC certification. Tour operators also had access to webinars and seminars at industry trade shows and are entitled to recognition on RCL brand websites and tour collateral.
"GSTC commends Royal Caribbean for taking these important steps encouraging tour operators to adopt--and seek GSTC accredited certification for--sustainable tourism practices," stated Randy Durband, Chief Executive Officer of GSTC. "Royal Caribbean's efforts to boost the global supply of certified sustainable shore excursions is a watershed moment for the cruise industry. Having almost 1,400 tours in Royal Caribbean's portfolio is an important milestone, and we congratulate them for their ongoing efforts."
In 2016, RCL announced a partnership with WWF to take its sustainability performance to the next level. This partnership set ambitious sustainability targets in three key areas: emissions reduction, sustainable food supply and destination stewardship. This effort takes the company beyond its self-contained operations and supports sustainable travel and livelihoods at RCL destinations.
New adventures headline $110m. amplification of Explorer of the Seas
From coast to coast and bow to stern, Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas will sail the Eastern Mediterranean in style come summer 2020. The cruise line has released details of the ship’s upcoming $110 million amplification that will debut a mix of unparalleled feats and Royal Caribbean hits. Guests can embark on historic adventures ashore and on board with new thrills, tastes and sights on deck, including The Perfect Storm racer waterslides, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, a fresh twist on a guest-favorite; a redesigned, resort-style poolscape with signature poolside bar The Lime & Coconut; and transformed kids and teens spaces. Beginning May 7, 2020, Explorer – the first amplified ship to cruise from Rome (Civitavecchia) – sets sail on 7- and 9-night itineraries to the best of Italy and the Greek Isles, from Santorini to Mykonos and Crete.
Vacationers will soak up a new scene on Explorer’s maxed-out top decks. Adventures of every kind and for every guest will join the lineup of Royal Caribbean favorites already in play, like the FlowRider surf simulator, a decked-out Sports Court – complete with basketball, soccer and volleyball – rock-climbing wall, and mini-golf. The noteworthy experiences are:
- The Perfect Storm, the popular duo of waterslides, raise the stakes and friendly competition. Guests with the need for speed will race each other through three stories of twists and turns on Cyclone and Typhoon
- A reimagined poolscape brings a new, resort-style look and all-day island vibes, making for the ultimate place to unwind under the sun or stars with a wider variety of seating, from hammocks and daybeds to casitas and in-pool loungers. Adults looking for alone time can escape to the rejuvenated Solarium
- The Lime & Coconut is Royal Caribbean’s signature, poolside bar. The three-level slice of the Caribbean will serve up live music, vacation-mode cocktails and the best views of the action on board and the Mediterranean landscape from the rooftop deck
Ample Culinary Possibilities
While sailing the Mediterranean, guests can savor even more flavors from around the world on board Explorer. Royal Caribbean will expand on the diverse offering of restaurants, bars and lounges that include Asian cuisine at Izumi, the popular Chops Grille American steakhouse, Boleros Latin lounge, Schooner Bar and more. New venues coming to the table include:
- Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen is the cruise line’s new take on its signature Italian restaurant. The reimagined trattoria will welcome guests to a casual setting and offer classics with a contemporary flair. From hand-tossed pizzas fresh out of the oven and made to order, to charcuterie delights, the elevated menu caps off the “Sunday Supper” experience with a wide selection of wines and limoncellos from many of Italy’s well-known regions
- Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, the high-energy spot where guests can root for their home team as the game plays across 52 TVs. On offer will be an extensive menu of bar fare favorites with a twist and ice-cold brews, games of all kinds – arcade classics, trivia, tournaments and pool – and the Owner’s Box VIP area
- Johnny Rockets Express makes its way poolside with American favorites – even spiked shakes
- Starbucks comes aboard with its signature menu of drinks and pastries
More Ways to Play
Explorer’s amped-up activities and entertainment will take center stage. From a new laser tag experience to a top-to-bottom redesign of the dedicated kids and teens spaces, everyone can revel in the excitement. The featured highlights making their way on board are:
- Glow-in-the-dark laser tag debuts in Studio B, the venue that doubles as an ice-skating rink for guests and jaw-dropping shows. The latest Royal Caribbean challenge, Clash for the Crystal City will bring two clans – the Yetis and Snowshifters – head to head in the ultimate faceoff to escape extinction
- The new Adventure Ocean will come to life following a major makeover. The award-winning program for younger guests and their families introduces an open, imaginative layout with whimsical and immersive activities. Kids 6 to 12 years old can choose their own adventure, while babies and tots, and 3- to 5-year-olds enjoy specially designed spaces for each age group
- An exclusive teens hangout will sport a whole new look and features, including the latest in movies, gaming and music, and the addition of a private outdoor deck
During its time in the Eastern Mediterranean, Explorer will be joined by the reimagined Allure of the Seas, the iconic Oasis Class ship cruising the Western Mediterranean from Barcelona. Summer 2020 marks Royal Caribbean’s boldest season in Europe yet, with two amplified ships among the lineup sailing to bucket-list destinations filled with culture, history and adventure.
As Explorer rounds out its Europe season, the newly amplified ship will set course for the Caribbean. Guests can choose from 5- and 9-night Eastern and Southern Caribbean sailings, roundtrip from Miami, including visits to Royal Caribbean’s new private island destination – Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Explorer of the Seas is the fourth ship in the Voyager Class to be transformed as part of the cruise line’s Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort. An investment of more than $1 billion, across 10 ships in four years, the program touches every facet of the guest experience and introduces a wide range of thrilling adventures spanning one-of-a-kind attractions and experiential dining and nightlife.