Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2022

4 0 A new Royal era Jason Liberty, the new president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group’s global cruise brands, has overseen a smooth return to cruise in his new role. He tells Anthony Pearce how he is preparing the company’s brands for an exciting and sustainable future During the 33 years that Richard Fain served at helm of the Royal Caribbean Group both the brand and the global cruise industry changed almost beyond recognition. Under his leadership, the group introduced some of the most famous and innovative classes of cruise ships ever built – including Royal Caribbean International’s Sovereign, Quantum and Oasis classes, as well as Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice and Edgeseries ships. It also introduced pioneering new onboard experiences, such as the cruise industry’s first-ever rock climbing wall, ice-skating rink, surfing simulators, Aqua Theaters for diving shows, and much more. Together, these innovations ushered in a new era of cruising. Certainly, Fain is close to the top of the list of people who have had the largest impact on the modern cruise sector. Consequently, when he retired at the start of January 2022, Royal Caribbean Group knew that he would leave big boots to fill, particularly in an industry still recovering from an unexpected and prolonged shutdown due to the ongoing pandemic. However, Jason Liberty, the group’s new president and CEO, is quickly proving that he is more than qualified for the role. Liberty joined Royal Caribbean Group in 2005 and served in financial, strategic and operational roles before becoming chief financial officer in 2013. He spent the past 10 years working alongside Fain, before making the step up. “I think the transition and adaptation to the new position has gone very well – my predecessor Richard and our board did an outstanding job with preparing me for the role,” he says. “I am also blessed to have the best team helping me deliver the best vacation experiences in the world through our leading brands and fleet.” Now, Liberty leads the company’s three global cruise brands – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises (which the COVER STORY “ We look to wake up every day and deliver the best vacation experiences on Earth responsibly”