SHA and Royal Caribbean Cruises collaborate on hospitality immersion course

Jul 19, 2016

Contact: Teresa Bell, 607.255.4646,


Ithaca, NY, July 19, 2016 - The School of Hotel Administration (SHA) at Cornell University has launched a new hospitality-immersion course as a learning partnership with one of the world's largest cruise companies, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the parent company of six cruise brands, most notably Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. SHA associate professor of services marketing, Rob Kwortnik, created the course in collaboration with two SHA alumni: Mark Tamis ’88, SVP of hotel operations for Royal Caribbean International, and Brian Abel ’97, VP of hotel operations for Celebrity Cruises. The course, HADM 4425 - Introduction to the Global Leisure Cruise Industry, was successfully completed for the first time at Cornell earlier this year.

"We are excited to welcome Royal Caribbean as the industry sponsor of this course," said Steve Carvell, associate dean for academic affairs, SHA. "This collaboration offers our students a customized opportunity to learn cutting-edge practices from a leading innovator in this rapidly growing sector of the hospitality industry." Added Kwortnik, "This is an extraordinary learning experience for our students who will get to see service management of a highly complex product from the inside, thanks to the support of Royal Caribbean and several passionate Cornell alumni at the company."

Kwortnik, who conducts research in the cruise industry, developed the course curriculum to bring service-operations theory and concepts to life. During each week of the course, Kwortnik explores key topics associated with cruise management, such as strategy, hospitality operations, pricing, marketing communications, product innovation, human-resource management, and more. Subject-matter experts from Royal Caribbean then provide guest lectures to ground the conceptual learning with case studies and their own experience guiding the fast-growing global company.

"The Cornell School of Hotel Administration has always been about top talent. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is also about top talent bringing to life amazing vacations for millions of guests around the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One of the greatest strengths of SHA is its alumni network, and I am proud to partner with my colleague, Brian and Professor Kwortnik to bring this course to life. It gives us a great opportunity to meet and get to know passionate students focused on the cruise industry and will allow us to share real-life learnings as a key component of Professor Kwortnik's curriculum," said Mark Tamis.

"It is incredibly exciting to launch the new course in partnership with Cornell University—the pioneers of the hospitality industry. Together, we share a passion for delivering exceptional service and world-class experiences to guests," said Brian Abel. "During the course, we share our experiences of running a global cruise company and encourage students to push the boundaries of what's possible. We hope to inspire and create the future leaders of our industry."

About Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture. Together, these six brands operate a combined total of 47 ships with an additional twelve on order. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents. Additional information can be found on