Legend of the Seas is an explorer, scouting out new destinations and itineraries for Royal Caribbean. “Legend is usually sent to open new markets. [Royal Caribbean] then sees how the market reacts to the product that Legend is offering,” Hotel Director Silvio Ghigo explained. For example, Legend was the ship Royal sent to open the English market. After that, it was in Asia, where it stayed for five years.
The ship moves around the globe doing longer and more varied itineraries than most cruise ships. “While other ships may do the same itinerary [each week] - - seven days to the Eastern or Western Caribbean - - here it is [always] changing. In the period of two, three, four months, you have very different itineraries. It is great for the guests but it is also good for the crew. I was on the Majesty a year ago and you have crew members who have been at sea seven years doing the same itinerary. They don't get to see anything else.”
“That does not mean it easier to work [here]. There is a lot of planning ahead. There are a lot of unforeseen things that may come your way. You have a totally different [guest] demographic in the Caribbean than the one you are going to have in Scandinavia or the one that you are going to have out of Quebec.” All of this impacts such things as the food served onboard, the entertainment, and the daily schedule. The crew must continuously adjust to changes in their work.
In addition to exploring new ports, Legend explores new concepts - - “[we] try and see what works best for the guest.” To illustrate, “last summer we were testing interporting. We started from Civitavecchia, then the next day in Genoa and the following day in Marseille.” Guests could begin and end their cruise in each of those ports. “It was easier to [attract] people from the northern part of Europe. It was easier for them to join the ship in Marseille or Genoa rather than fly all the way down to Civitavecchia.”
While Legend is a trail blazer, the cruise experience offered is very much a classic cruise. “It is more kind of a relaxed cruise. You find a lot of guests in quiet places. They sit down and play cards. They like to read. [They like] different types of entertainment [such as] the guitar player.”
Being a relatively small ship, Legend's primary appeal lies in its intimacy and personalized service. “We have such a great opportunity to connect with our guests. What we expect from our 743 crew members is not just a smile and 'good morning' but from the moment the guest steps onboard that homey feeling - - that welcome home feeling. We want them to fully give that feeling to the guests. The guests might not remember the captain and for sure, they are not going to remember the hotel director but they will remember that employee that made that lasting memory. That is what makes the guests come back to us. ”
And the guests do come back to Legend of the Seas. “We have an average of 60 to 70 percent repeat guests. What we notice is that we have quite a high number that stay for more than one cruise. We have quite a few guests who come aboard and stay for a long period of time.”
To maintain the ship's vitality, however, Royal Caribbean recently added some enhancements to Legend. “We just did a revitalization at the beginning of last year. They put in the 'Centrum Wow' where we have shows with flying artists in the Centrum. They added the Diamond Lounge and the Concierge Lounge. They added two specialty restaurants up in the Viking Crown: Izumi and Chops. They added the Chef's Table on Deck 5. They renewed the spa. The R Bar with the new concept of the mixologist.” In addition, balconies were added to some passenger cabins and new flat screen TVs were added to all cabins. The furniture and the bathrooms in the cabins were changed. Royal Caribbean also redid some crew areas.
Along the same lines, some new procedures and policies have also been implemented. The ship no longer charges guests for pool towels. Also, smoking is no longer allowed on guests' stateroom balconies.
The object of these changes was not to transform Legend into a new ship or to make Legend a junior version of Oasis of the Seas. While these changes make the cruise experience more interesting, Legend is not about the hardware. Its strength remains its people and “the friendliness of the staff is unbeatable. You have all 743 crew members aiming toward the goal of being friendly to the guests, helpful to the guests and connecting with the guests. Without a doubt our best asset is our people.”
Cruise ship interview - - Royal Caribbean - Legend of the Seas - Hotel Director