The cruise industry is under a bit of a makeover. Due to economic conditions and shifting demand, the cruise line industry is looking for new ways to attract cruise vacationers while maintaining the market that already exists. There are numerous ways to go about this. Royal Caribbean is being creative in its methods. Generally, Key West is one of the most frequented ports of call. However, as Phillips (2005) states The Sentry is canceling 26 port calls next year, and the Rhapsody of the Seas normally goes every week while next year it will only go every other week. RCL has had the same schedule for a long time and now they want to try other things. This is a sign of things to come. Royal Caribbean can no longer rely on old methodology to be successful. Where are these ships going to go if they are not going to Key West?According to Stevenson, there is an increasing demand for more “drive-to” locations. This means that people do not really wish to fly to the port where their cruise is leaving from. They’d rather drive to a closer port to go on a cruise. Some of the ports of call that are increasing in demand are New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and more in the Northeast (Stevenson, 2005). Royal Caribbean needs to expand to these markets. As of now, Royal Caribbean does service these markets. However, there seems to be much more demand for these cities. These cruises will offer an abundant amount of fun-activities to do on board. There will be: a splash deck for kids, and bungee trampolines that send guests soaring into the air (Blenkey, 2005).
It is not cheap for a cruise line to expand its fleet. Royal Caribbean has been increasing capacity for quite some time. Because of this expansion, RCL increased revenues by 10.3% (Oza, 2005). RCL has been fairly aggressive in doing so. These ships are very expansive to build. According to www.clearstation.com, RCL has a high LT debt-to-equity ratio (1.31) compared to the industry average (.69). This means that the company relies more on creditors for financing rather than the owners. In order to continue to expand RCL will have to issue more stock or continue to pay extremely high interest expenses. Currently, 49% of the company is owned by one family. These owners have worried about diluting the stock price.