How We Operate

Supply Chain

Our supply chain, through a large and diverse network of suppliers, fuels everything we do, from food and beverage and information technology providers to the manufacturers of components for our ships.

Sustainable Seafood on Every Plate

While oceans are home to at least a million known plants and species, it’s estimated that approximately 90 percent of the world’s fisheries have been pushed to or beyond their biological limits. The use of unsustainable fishing methods and overfishing of our current resources have largely contributed to the decline of global fisheries. Pollution, poorly planned development, and the effects of climate change have also contributed to the degradation of the underwater environment.

That’s why in 2016 we embarked on a path towards sourcing more sustainable seafood. The goal is ambitious and a first for our industry, but it will ultimately allow our guests to join us in supporting making responsible seafood dining choices.

To make that choice easier for our guests, our aim is to source 90% of wild-caught seafood from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fisheries, and 75% of farmed seafood from Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-certified farms in North America and Europe. Additionally, we will achieve MSC and ACS chain of custody certification for our global fleet, affirming that both wild-caught and farmed seafood that is served as certified is coming from sources traceable all the way back to a sustainable fishery or responsible farm.

Our challenge will be the ability to sourcing enough volume of certified MSC or ASC product in certain regions. As a global company, we need to source product and find distribution channels within every region, and a concern will be sourcing in places that are not as far advanced as other nations in terms of sustainability.

It won’t be easy, but RCL wants to do the right thing for our customers and support organizations working to conserve the long term viability of global fish stocks.

We have eliminated endangered species
such as shark fin from our supply chain
of our wild-caught seafood will be from MSC-certified fisheries by 2020
of our farmed seafood will be from ASC-certified farms in North America and Europe by 2020

Sourcing Locally a Win-Win Initiative

Whether it is pineapples or towels, all our products must go through the Supply Chain Management Team before ending up on a RCL cruise ship. Over the last 10 years, RCL’s partnerships with countries in the Caribbean have increased, and our relationship with suppliers has grown stronger.

For example, when we initially partnered with Puerto Rico, we were only purchasing fresh produce from the island. Today, we have worked with Puerto Rico’s Ministry of Tourism to extend the number of food categories to fresh produce, soda, water and groceries.

By purchasing local products, Royal Caribbean supports its destinations’ local economies, obtains fresher, better-quality products and reduces its carbon footprint. The Supply Chain Management team continuously looks for opportunities to source local products and—having identified each country’s agricultural strengths—incentivizes suppliers to improve their production and works with them to achieve mutually beneficial business plans.

The Supply Chain team has also been working to increase local sourcing of food and beverage items in various countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. The team analyzes the local markets within each country to find their agricultural strengths and identify manufacturers, such as Coca Cola, that have local plants. Based on the pricing and the quality of the items, they determine which commodities should be purchased locally. The team tends to target locally grown and highly perishable items. Products currently being purchased locally include fresh produce, soda, water, beer and groceries.

RCL is focused on procuring products and services from suppliers that share their commitment to quality, safety, innovation, sustainability and customer satisfaction. In line with this effort, the team has developed a Supplier Registration Portal through which suppliers can apply to do business with RCL. The portal allows suppliers to learn more about RCL’s business practices, and enable those interested in doing business with RCL to pre-qualify for that opportunity. All suppliers must meet RCL’s Supplier Guiding Principles, which entails their commitment to fair labor practices, ethical business conduct and environmental protection.

To ensure potential suppliers’ products are on par with RCL’s standards and those of the country where they are produced, the team travels to the suppliers’ fields or facilities to examine the products for size, traceability and quality. Then, RCL works with the local governments within each country to develop a plan for the suppliers that allows RCL to monitor transactions.

A Quest for Quality

Becoming the first seafaring outpost of Jamie Oliver’s hugely popular restaurant, Jamie’s Italian, has allowed us to bring the rustic flavors of Italy to our guests aboard Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.

For Jamie and our supply chain team, the wellbeing of the animals — down to the type of hay they sleep on — is of the utmost importance. Jamie’s standards ensure the traceability of all meat items from farm to table and emphasize the idea that better ingredients warrant better dishes.

For Jamie and our supply chain team, the wellbeing of the animals — down to the type of hay they sleep on—is of the utmost importance.

There are few U.S. suppliers that hold themselves to those quality standards, and finding them proved to be difficult, particularly for pork items. But working with Jamie has pushed our supply chain team to dig deep, discover suitable suppliers and build connections with them that will help us achieve food goals beyond those of Jamie’s Italian – like our 2022 goal of gestation crate-free pork.

Our Supersize “Home” Improvements

Anyone who has ever attempted a home improvement project knows that it all boils down to logistics. It’s essential to have the right materials arrive at just the right time - that’s where our Logistics team, within our Supply Chain group, comes in for our revitalization projects.

We like to think of revitalizations as our version of a super-sized, deadline-driven, home improvement project. Essentially, they are opportunities for us to improve our existing ships by adding new guest features or operational technology. Generally ranging from mere days to month-long initiatives, these projects take apart a ship and put her back together.

Led by our Newbuilding team, in close contact with the logistic team and countless vendors and contractors, they involve intense months of planning and coordination with a touch of creative thinking to ensure all operations run smoothly.

Since 2011, 18 ships have been revitalized for the Royal Caribbean International brand alone and two more ships are in line to undergo the process. That rate and scope of work, can be daunting, for example Liberty of the Seas, which was just revitalized, has fifteen-hundred guest staterooms alone. But together with Newbuild and through collaborations with Porsche (yes, the car company), an efficiency system was created to allow us to complete those staterooms in half the time - twenty days, rather than the traditional six to eight weeks.

The efficiency system, known as LEAN, allows us to determine the best course of action to mitigate potentially costly delays across multiple projects that could keep a ship out of service.

LEAN helped us understand that logistics is a full circle process, which starts when materials are ordered and manufactured, continue when they are received and packaged, and conclude when they finally make it onto the ship.

The logistic teams are responsible for this elaborate puzzle. They need to ensure all the essential pieces arrive when they’re supposed to for the full picture to come together. Even if just one container arrives early, the whole operation can be thrown due to limited storage. It’s a hectic and exciting time for the group, but just like any home improvement, the satisfaction comes when the job’s complete and, in our case, the guests are making unforgettable memories.

Building a Better Barrel

Beer doesn’t exactly come to mind when you think sustainability. But that’s just what happened when we developed a 100% recyclable keg together with Heineken Global Duty Free. Dubbed the BrewLock, this new kind of beer keg delivers a better tasting product with less waste.

The BrewLock keg, made of PET recycled plastic, holds beer in a collapsible plastic sac inside a hard-shell plastic container. Pressurized air inside the shell squeezes the sac, forces the beer into a hose and on to the tap, without air or gases ever touching the beer.

Besides freeing up precious space on a cruise ship by off-loading the compacted plastic kegs in ports with appropriate recycling facilities, the BrewLock further reduces RCL’s carbon footprint in another way.

The new keg fits perfectly with our objective to recycle or reuse whenever possible. It allows us to free up precious space onboard by off-loading compacted plastic kegs in ports with appropriate recycling facilities. The BrewLock further reduces our carbon footprint allowing us to recycle empty kegs rather than store metal kegs and require shipping across the globe to refill.

Additionally this system delivers beer in “brewery quality” condition, according to Heineken, and uses nearly all the product, unlike the wasted suds left behind in traditional metal kegs.

Clearly the system is a win-win for us - it’s easy to operate, relieves the administrative burden of returning empty kegs and delivers on its promise of the freshest tasting beer. Additionally, the flow from the tap is smooth and the foam produced adds to the flavor, giving us a consistent quality for our guests to enjoy.

Snapshot on Sustainable Practices

Cage-Free Eggs

We have committed to only sourcing cage-free eggs by 2022

Source Locally

It is our goal to source locally when possible; for example, ships in the northeast source Romaine lettuce and asparagus from greater NY during the summer

Gestation Crate-Free Pork

We have committed to only sourcing gestation crate-free pork by 2022

Download Supply Chain Fact Sheet