Key executives from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. participated today in the 2009 European Cruise Council Conference to discuss the expansion of the cruise industry in Europe and the industry’s future.

Now in its third year, the event brings together cruise lines, shipyards, suppliers and ports operating in Europe. The 2009 edition of the Conference is being held in coordination with the European Commission and its European Maritime Day event. Topics addressed at the conference included the European Commission’s Integrated Maritime Policy, the status of the cruise industry in Europe, including its economic impact, environmental issues, destinations and port infrastructure, as well as sustainability issues and new regulations.

As one of the leading global cruise companies, Royal Caribbean personnel took part in several sessions of the Conference, with speakers including Michael Bayley, senior vice president, International; Jamie Sweeting, vice president, Environmental Stewardship; John Fox, vice president, Government Relations – United States and Europe; and John Tercek, vice president, Commercial Development.

“The European market is well positioned as the international cruise industry continues to expand globally,” said Bayley. “We see strong development opportunities in Europe, as a destination and a source market. This includes future growth and extended deployments. Increasing our market share in this region is an important part of our company’s international growth strategy.”

Royal Caribbean has increased its European deployed fleet from 13 to 22 ships in the last 12 months. The company also has significant economic impact in the broader European cruise industry through its new ship construction. Activity include:

• Six ships under construction in European yards. Royal Caribbean’s orderbook includes: Royal Caribbean International’s eagerly anticipated Oasis of the Seas (2009) and her sister ship Allure of the Seas (2010), which are under construction at STX Europe, Finland; and four additional ships in Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice class, which are under construction at Meyer Werft, Germany – Celebrity Equinox (2009), Celebrity Eclipse (2010), Solstice IV (2011) and Solstice V (2012).

• Five brands dedicated to the full range of target audiences and categories, including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Cruises, as well as market-dedicated brands such as Pullmantur, serving the Spanish market and Croisieres de France serving France.
• Twenty-two of 38 ships in service will be deployed in the European region in 2009, verses eight in 2005.

• Significant investment and support in developing local infrastructure, such as the Roma Cruise Terminal.

• In 2009, the Royal Caribbean International brand and its guests will contribute to the European economy in 87 ports across 32 countries; Celebrity Cruises and its guests will do the same in 76 ports throughout 29 countries, and Azamara Cruises and its guests will do the same in 91 ports across 36 countries.

• Additionally, Royal Caribbean has a 50 percent investment in a joint venture with the German-based company TUI A.G. The joint venture, TUI Cruises, began sailing its first ship last week.

“The Economic Impact Report presented at the 2009 European Cruise Council Conference shows that in 2008, 21.7 million passengers visited a European port, 4.7 million passengers joined their cruise at a European port and the number of cruise ships operating in Europe in 2008 rose by 35% compared to 2005,” Bayley said. “With over 190 ships operating in the European region, and Europe leading the way in cruise ship construction, I’m excited to be part of a company that recognizes the importance of this region. Ongoing, industry-wide investments continue to stimulate the European cruise industry, and this region continues to be one of the leading growth markets in the world.”