Ensuring that our guests have the best possible vacation experiences drives each and every one of our employees. We continuously evolve and improve the experience through innovation and personalized service across our fleet.
Working together to achieve ambitious sustainability targets is only one part of ensuring the long-term health of the oceans. Through our partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) we are engaging our guests to participate in the protection of our oceans and marine wildlife. Across Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises—our three largest brands—the partnership is educating guests about the importance of ocean conservation and what they can do to contribute during their cruise and after. Educational materials include WWF conservation-themed television content that plays in guest staterooms, distribution of a special edition of the WWF magazine, and ocean-conservation themed children’s programming. This past year, our partnership has also developed ocean-themed activities such as fund- and awareness-raising walks for sea turtle conservation, a WWF speaker series on Azamara, and symbolic species adoptions and signature t-shirts that benefit WWF. As guests sail from port to port, it is our hope that we inspire them to be engaged in the cause of conservation long after their vacations end.
It takes a village, the old proverb says, and in the case of wildlife trafficking, it takes a global village. On March 3, 2016, World Wildlife Day, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) joined that village along with 16 other companies and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA) pledging to crack down on wildlife trafficking and educate consumers on the dangers trafficking poses to animals around the world.
The illegal wildlife trade not only threatens the survival of many species in the wild but generates approximately $10 billion per year in illegal profits for sophisticated criminal syndicates that are masterminding the killing, transport and marketing of illegal wildlife products.
As a travel and hospitality company we are joining the cause by building awareness of wildlife crime and influencing buying behavior through the education of our 60,000+ crew members and upwards of 5 million travelers annually. We also are working to identify and eliminate any indirect sale of products and souvenirs made from illegal wildlife products, through our onboard shopping vendors and suppliers.
Although upwards of five million people cruised with us in 2015, we don’t think of our guests as numbers on a page. We understand that behind every statistic is an individual—with unique expectations and needs—and want all of them to have the same opportunities for a worry-free vacation. This year, to ensure that guests with autism could fully enjoy their time onboard, we became the first in the hospitality industry to offer complimentary on-demand access to exclusive content from The Autism Channel.
Available on all Quantum, Oasis, Freedom, Voyager and Radiance class ships, The Autism Channel provides educational and entertainment programming ranging from a look inside the daily lives of families with children on the autism spectrum, to interviews with medical and legal professionals. But this is just one of the many autism friendly initiatives that led us to be named the first certified Autism Friendly Cruise Line by the Autism on the Seas Foundation.
To help families with autism prepare for their cruise vacation, a Cruising Social Story booklet describing social interactions and situations is available online. Additionally, RCL offers priority check-in, boarding and departure for guests with autism, as well as special dietary accommodations and autism-friendly activities, including autism-friendly film screenings and our autism-friendly toy lending program.
As inclusion is an integral part of our culture, we strive to grow the RCL family—one guest at a time.
Most of our guests share our passion for protecting the environment, but those craving a hands-on role in its conservation tend to cruise through one of the most unique and scientifically important areas on earth— the Galápagos Islands.
Our water and land excursions at the archipelago are led by Galápagos National Park naturalists, who inspire guests to fully immerse themselves in the Galápagos ecosystem and partake in its restoration.
Since 2014, we have encouraged guests aboard Celebrity Xpedition to plant trees in support of the Scalescia reforestation effort. The native trees' ongoing deforestation has rippling effects on the wildlife that relies on the trees for survival. Guests were eager to participate, with 90% of them taking part in the project. More than 20,000 trees have been planted in collaboration with the Galápagos National Park, well exceeding our goal of 5,000 trees.
After marveling at the raw beauty of the islands, guests often feel compelled to continue helping the conservation efforts. While onboard, we provide the opportunity to make donations to the Galápagos Fund, which we manage in partnership with the Virginia-based Galápagos Conservancy.
Protecting customer data is a topic of growing international importance due to the proliferation of internet-based cloud computing and online data sharing applications; increased use of smart devices and mobile applications; and the emergence of new laws regulating the processing of personal data. Protection of customer data is a high priority for our Company. We have implemented a Data Leak Prevention Initiative, which involved investment in a sophisticated security technology that monitors and detects credit card and social security numbers either entering or leaving our network. To reduce the impact in the event of a credit card data breach, we also have instituted a data retention policy where we keep no more than six months of customer credit cards on our reservations system. We also implemented a tokenization solution that replaces a credit card number with a token acting as a surrogate value that is useless in the event that the data is stolen or lost. To protect our own network, we have also implemented a network access control solution throughout our corporate offices to enforce integrity checks before allowing a computer onto the network. In 2015, we did not experience any breaches of customer data, however, our emphasis on data protection continued to remain strong. In 2015, focus areas included the following: Our Data Privacy, Security and Governance Working Group is developing a Personally Identifiable Information framework to enhance our Company’s ability to execute on our data governance, data security and data privacy policies and requirements. We will continue to focus on security user awareness, educating employees on the importance of protecting customer information.