In Magazine Article

By Merrill Witty

Port Sept/Oct cover

Read this article in the digital edition of our September/October 2019 issue.

What do the strategic account managers sell for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines?

  • Perfect combinations of high-quality and energetic cruise experiences
  • Adventure-seeking vacations
  • Ports of call like St. Kitts, St. Lucia, the Bahamas and Bermuda
  • 15 minutes from baggage to margarita

The thousands of passengers boarding the cruise ship Grandeur of the Seas at the Port of Baltimore also find it’s an easy drive — not a flight — from their homes, with plenty of onsite parking when they arrive.

Grandeur of the Seas is the only Royal Caribbean ship sailing from Baltimore and goes to many destinations from the Southern Caribbean to Canada.

Roxanne Steele is in a team comprised of four strategic account managers all tasked with one object: putting people from the surrounding states onto that ship. Steele has the longest tenure in the cruising industry among the group (16 with Carnival and six with Royal).

Raised in Lancaster, Pa., she had long set her sights on the travel industry, earning an associate’s degree in Travel Tourism Management.

“As I was learning about the different sectors of the travel industry, I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to work for a travel supplier,” Steele said. “I started with a company in their reservations department. After a year in reservations, I then took on a sales manager position and started covering the New England area over the course of
six years.”

In July 1995, Steele was one of several sales managers a cruise line invited onto their Inaugural celebration. “I immediately fell in love with all aspects of the cruising industry,” she said. “I needed to sell cruise vacations!”

She then took on the position of Business Development Manager for a large cruise company in 1996, covering the Central Pennsylvania territory.

“I remember, that year, we were introducing the largest cruise ship in the industry,” Steele said. “Now I am a part of what was and still is the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry.”

She said an amazing opportunity opened up for her with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in October 2013. She is now the Strategic Account Manager for the Central and Eastern Pennsylvania territory. Steele also covered Northern Maryland for five of her six years with Royal Caribbean.

“I am very fortunate to be working for a cruise line that is a true leader in the cruising industry,” she said.

Roxanne Steele’s team consists of (from left): Kelley Winner, Royal Caribbean; Natalie Allaby, Port Saint John; Cindy Burman, Cruise Maryland; Sarah Rumley, Port of Halifax; Amy Bonheim, Royal Caribbean; Roxanne Steele, Royal Caribbean; Betty MacMillan, Port Saint John; and Laura Schwerzler, Royal Caribbean.

Steele added that a high point in her career with Royal Caribbean was making it into Royal’s 2017 “Top 10 President’s Club.”

“2017 was a year that all the stars were aligned just right! I continue to strive to do my very best every day. I am very lucky to have a wonderful territory, building long-lasting relationships with my amazing travel partners and working for a company that feels like our second family!” she said. “It’s very exciting to see that the cruising industry shows no signs of slowing down. Royal Caribbean will be introducing six new ships between now and 2025. We just introduced ‘Perfect Day at Coco Cay,’ our private island in the Bahamas. Grandeur of the Seas sails year-round from the Port of Baltimore and visits Coco Cay regularly. This island is a game changer!”

“Perfect Day at Coco Cay” consists of 100 acres of adventure. Twenty-one slides, including the tallest slide in North America, the largest freshwater pool in the Bahamas, ziplining, the largest wave pool in the Caribbean and views from 450 feet in the sky on “Up, Up, and Away!” are among the attractions.

Question is… “Do you want the thrills or do you want to chill?” she said.

“I know there are many more things in the works … so I am just thrilled to be a part of the Royal Caribbean team,” Steele said, noting that the four account managers who work the neighboring states are “not only my counterparts, but also good friends!”

She added: “We are all Strategic Account Managers for Royal Caribbean, covering the Maryland, DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania territories. We continue to work together in making sure that the Grandeur of the Seas and the Port of Baltimore are a success. We have the opportunity to showcase the Grandeur of the Seas when she is in port. It’s always very exciting to watch a travel partner and/or a potential new group leader visit a cruise ship for the first time.”

Cindy Burman, General Manager, Cruise Maryland, Maryland Department  of Transportation Maryland Port Administration added: “Royal Caribbean is one of our very special cruise partners and we’re honored to work with such a  dynamic team of professionals to promote cruising from Baltimore.”

A Royal Caribbean Cruise vacation offers “an amazing value that you just cannot get from a land-based vacation,” she said. “All your meals, entertainment, activities, along with visiting various ports of call, are included in one price! Plus, you have the convenience of departing from Baltimore. You just can’t beat that value.”