New RCL head For Aussie market

THE new vice president and managing director for Australia and New Zealand for Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL), Susan Bonner, believes port development remains the biggest challenge facing the cruise line over the next year.

Bonner recently told travelBulletin she was “very well aware of the capacity constraints in Sydney and will continue to bring these to the attention of all stakeholders, particularly the NSW and Federal Governments”.

“The cruise industry needs a new terminal east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as soon as possible… our support for Port Botany as an option is pragmatic, we believe a solution there is possible, but we are providing input into the government’s consideration of both options,” Bonner said.

Despite the capacity constraints, Bonner says she is looking forward to getting to know the local market in more detail and how it differs from the American market, where she was most recently based.

“I think Australians are typically more curious and adventurous cruisers who seem to be more willing to take the road less-travelled,” Bonner said.

“Although Americans and Aussies like to relax in very much the same way, what constitutes a thrill can be quite different. Americans might consider a thrill as an adrenalin-pumping double-loop roller-coaster ride, while an Aussie thrill would more likely involve a connection with nature and the outdoors, something like diving or snorkelling in the South Pacific,” she added.

RCL is gearing up for a busy next 12 months with Ovation of the Seas preparing for its longest ever season in Australia, and Radiance of the Seas offering Royal Caribbean’s very first departure from Melbourne. Explorer of the Seas is also returning to Australia for her fourth season.

Celebrity Solstice will also return for its seventh Australian cruise season, offering four brand new South Pacific destinations in Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa, as well as its first roundtrip sailing from Auckland.