Royal Caribbean, a leading global cruise ship operator, plans to end Middle East cruises out of Dubai after this winter, according to a report in Seatrade Cruise Review.
It said Royal Caribbean's 2,100-passenger Serenade of the Seas will sail a shortened season of 11 seven-night voyages from Dubai to ports in the UAE and Oman starting in January and then not return to the region in 2014.
"We were initially very pleased with the business development there and expected continued growth," the report quoted a Royal Caribbean executive as saying. "The demand has declined in recent seasons and as a result we have had to make some difficult decisions, driven by strategic and financial considerations, about discontinuing our program there," she said.
"There are two key parameters that drive our deployment decisions: strategic and financial considerations. We study the economics of each ship deployment and itinerary, and also the profitability of the ship in that scenario before concluding that it's the best place to position it. We are currently working on our 2014/15 season plans, and it's too early to comment about any specific plans for the Middle East or any other region. However, we will continue to review our program for the region and monitor developments there to see if demand and interest improves over time," a spokesperson told TradeArabia.
"In past years, Royal Caribbean has been proud to take delivery of a new ship almost every year. In the past two years, we've made news by sending two large ships to the Asia region - a key growth market for the brand. We also explored other deployment programs - this was the case for the Middle East and our Dubai program. We were initially very pleased with the business development there and expected continued growth; however, the demand has declined in recent seasons. In addition, the planned transfer of Monarch of the Seas out of the Royal Caribbean fleet next spring has made us face some difficult decisions about continuing existing programmes for us. In this case, the trends for Serenade of the Seas did not justify continuing to deploy her in the region," she said.