May 7, 2003
Royal Caribbean's announcement that it's introducing a new adventure-oriented water park on its private CocoCay is intriguing enough. Caylana's Castle Cove is a 20,000-square foot area, located just offshore, that's geared to adults and kids with highlights that include floating rock climbing walls, 25-foot floating trampolines and water teeter-totters. It's important to note that this is an a'la carte feature -- adults pay $15 for 50 minutes while kids under 12 are charged $10 and that both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships include Coco Cay on some itineraries. But perhaps even more interesting is the company's announcement that Coca-Cola is a sponsor of the water park. Royal Caribbean is pretty much out in front, as far as mass market cruise lines go, when it comes to bringing some of America's-most-trusted-brands into the cruise experience -- and that goes beyond mere product placement (serving a particular brand of champagne, licensing agreements on ice cream brands, etc.). One of the reasons for the name brand strategy, says Royal Caribbean's Dan Hanrahan, is that "when you associate with fabulous brands it gives the consumer, particularly the first-timer, more confidence." "Partnerships," Hanrahan says, Royal Caribbean International's senior vice president of marketing and sales, also create larger budgets that "help us build beyond what we originally thought we could build." Beyond the Coca-Cola involvement in CocoCay's Caylana's Castle Cove, he singles out another relatively new partnership -- the Vintages Wine Bar, which is featured on Navigator- and Mariner-of-the-Seas. Vintages was developed in conjunction with Robert Mondavi and Beringer Blass Wine Estates. The result, Hanrahan says, is nothing like the usual ship's interpretation of a wine bar. "It truly looks like something out of a wine cellar out of Napa Valley." Other Royal Caribbean International sponsor relationships include Adventure Art by Crayola in the Adventure Ocean program and the Johnny Rockets restaurant -- cruisedom's first ever chain eatery at sea.