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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL - Analyst Report) recently re-launched a cruise ship, the “Serenade of the Seas”, under its brand Royal Caribbean International. This renovated cruise will sail from Port's Julia Street Cruise Terminal, New Orleans through Apr 2014.

The ship was completely refurbished in Dec 2012 and will replace the “Navigator of the Seas”. The cruise’s maiden venture will be a nine-night Caribbean sail to Key West, Fla.; Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and George Town, Grand Cayman. However, the ship's regular itineraries feature seven-night Bahamas cruises to Key West, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas; and CocoCay, Bahamas and seven-night western Caribbean cruises to Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.

This 965 feet ship can carry 2,360-passengers. Like other Royal Caribbean Cruises brands, Royal Caribbean International offers multiple dining options, swimming pools, and bars, lounges and nightclubs. Additionally, the cruise has attractive features like R Bar and Atrium Aerial Dancers.

The company has a couple of cruise ships, in the pipeline. Quantum of the Seas will begin sailing at the end of 2014 from Cape Liberty.  The second cruise ship named Quantum-class, Anthem of the Seas, will begin operations from Southampton, England in Apr 2015.

Royal Caribbean serves more than 4 million passengers annually. Given the strength and diversity of its brands and itineraries, the company has successfully captured potential and repeat cruise vacationers. The company caters to the mass-market cruise segment through its Royal Caribbean International brand and the premium cruise segment through its Celebrity brand.

Like other cruise operators, Royal Caribbean has undertaken a host of brand building initiatives such as initiating a travel agent outreach program in June, a vacation guarantee program and a marketing campaign on prime time.  We note that, recently another cruise company Carnival Corporation (CCL - Analyst Report) also entered into a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to provide a variety of exciting and immersive dining and entertainment experiences on its fleet of 24 "Fun Ships” as a part of its brand-building efforts.  

Royal Caribbean Cruises presently has a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the industry include Interval Leisure Group, Inc. (IILG - Snapshot Report) and Regal Entertainment Group (RGC - Snapshot Report). Both these stocks hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).


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