Royal Caribbean is a leader in providing exceptional cruise experiences around the globe. We caught up with Mechelle Connor, a Strategic Account Manager for Royal Caribbean International, to learn more about how this beloved brand is still innovating today. Read on for some exciting cruise news:

What’s new in the world of Royal Caribbean?

Mechelle:  We are extremely excited about our newest ship, the Ovation of the Seas, which will  launch this month. She’s on her way to Asia, where she will be homeported.  The Ovation is the third Quantum-Class vessel, a class we launched three years ago beginning with the Quantum of the Seas and then introduced Anthem of the Seas last year (based in Bayonne, NJ). We refer to this class of ships as the “smart ships.”  They have some really incredible technology on board and the fastest wifi at sea. Passengers can stream movies or Skype, or even order drinks at a robotic bar. The ship also has this amazing lounge called Two70 — the lounge is located aft on the ship, overlooking the ocean, and spans three stories high.  It contains windows that wrap around 270 degrees. During the day you have phenomenal views, but at night the windows turn digital, and we can virtually bring you anywhere in the world. The whole screen could mimic bringing you under the ocean or into the rainforest, and we have 6 robot screens and super talented aerialists that are lowered down from areas in the ceiling to enhance the show. It’s truly an amazing experience!

We launch another amazing ship next month called the Harmony of the Seas; she will be our third Oasis-Class vessel – which are the biggest cruise ships in the world. The ship has seven different neighborhoods, each with its own distinct feel. For example, one neighborhood dubbed “Central Park,” has over 15,000 trees and plants in the area, a wine bistro, plus dining and shopping options. It’s quite serene. But if you go aft on the ship, the neighborhood vibe is completely opposite — The Boardwalk Neighborhood has zip lining overhead, rock climbing, dining, and an aqua theater show performed in an 8,000 square foot pool with a stage that drops 18 feet for the high diving performance. It’s all very lively.

What else makes the Harmony ship special?

Mechelle: The Harmony will also have DreamWorks characters — like Shrek and Fiona and characters from the movie Madagascar — which the kids always love. The Broadway musical on board will be Grease.  The director and producers require it to be produced just as you would see on Broadway, so the experience is incredible!  The Harmony also includes some of our Promenade View cabins overlooking a Royal Promenade where cruisers can enjoy shopping, dining, a little karaoke and more.

How does Royal Caribbean differentiate itself from competitors in the crowded cruise market?

Mechelle: When it comes to cruise lines, there’s something for everyone, but I’d say one thing that sets us apart is our staff and crew members.  They are from all over the world. It’s like a mini “United Nations”.  They truly are top notch.

I’d also say the innovative hardware sets us apart. Our Ripcord by iFly gives our passengers the chance to try sky diving, without the risk. We have bumper cars and ice rinks and rock walls, robotic bars, and even self-leveling billiard tables. The Harmony has a slide that drops 10 stories! With so many amazing features, our ships have become destinations in themselves. But every ship will still have nooks and crannies and cozy little corners for relaxation.

I’ve been with company for 28 years, and over these years Royal Caribbean has evolved into an amazing cruise vacation experience always setting the bar a little higher with each ship we introduce. I love seeing the first-time cruisers on ships — they get so excited and are in complete awe in what Royal Caribbean has to offer onboard.

Who do you think Royal Caribbean cruises work best for?

Mechelle: I believe we are a multi-generational cruise line. We have ships that have a tremendous amount of activities.  If grandma and grandpa were taking their kids and grandkids on a cruise, from Bingo to Broadway to surfing at sea, we have something for everyone. Our younger cruisers have a lot of activities to choose from; when I cruise, I can relax in the Solarium not worrying about if my kids are having a good time — I know they are! That’s what helps make a great cruise vacation — when children are happy, parents are happy, and that’s what I call a win-win.

What are some of your personal favorite itineraries?

Mechelle: For me, my favorite is still Alaska — it’s absolutely beautiful, and it’s the opposite of what I thought it would be. I thought Alaska would be cold and snowy, so I went up there kicking and screaming the first time — but I’ve since been back a dozen times! I love it!  We also offer a variety of land packages that can bring you up to Denali Park, Talkeetna or Fairbanks.  All with simply breathtaking views!  It’s so amazing to see the untouched countryside and massive glaciers, and take in all that fresh air.

My other favorite is our Mediterranean cruises. They’re full of history and rich in culture, the food, the wine, the people … it’s all so amazing! When you go into Venice, for example, you see this incredible sinking city with all its cathedrals and romantic canals — it’s unlike anywhere else. In Rome, where you’ve heard about the mythical & biblical stories told as a little kid and then it all lays out for you throughout the city.  And then there is Ephesus, Turkey where you get to see the Library and where Paul preached to the people and then go on to visit the House of the Virgin Mary. Now you’re walking where they walked, where history was made — it makes the hair on my arms stand up just thinking about it. I would go back any time, day or night!

Ready to cruise with Royal Caribbean and experience all the amazing activities and amenities that Mechelle has described? Get in touch to start planning today! The Harmony of the Seas will begin her Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises sailing this fall from Ft. Lauderdale.

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