RCL branches into the online tour business with GoBe.com

Billy Campbell - GoBe open to 'every type of traveler, from hotel guests and staycationers to business travelers with a long layover' Billy Campbell - GoBe open to 'every type of traveler, from hotel guests and staycationers to business travelers with a long layover' (Photo: GoBe.com)

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. launched GoBe.com, a digital travel company that may be the company's answer to capturing a chunk of the 'independents'—passengers who don't book cruise line excursions. But it goes beyond that.

GoBe offers an interactive platform for anyone—not just cruisers—to book thousands of day tours and activities in hundreds of destinations worldwide. The company touts authentic local experiences, iconic attractions and off-the-beaten path adventures.

'We’re thrilled to officially open GoBe to every type of traveler, from hotel guests and staycationers to business travelers with a long layover,' said Billy Campbell, managing director.

The portal searches cruise itineraries for 15 lines ('Got a cruise booked? Thinking of booking one? Pick the details here and let us help you book your shore excursions'). Users can also search on pricing and availability for a wide variety of experiential activities, from architecture walking tours and culinary adventures to wildlife exploration and over-the-top experiences.

For example, one offering, 'Viva Lucha Libre: Authentic Mexican Wrestling, Food and Cocktails,' in Guadalajara, promises 'high-flying Mexican wrestlers and a raucous party atmosphere' with a pre-show visit to one of the city's oldest cantinas. The tour finishes at a taqueria. It's a seven-hour group activity for at least four people, priced at $117 per adult/$105 per child.

Some other options: a Brazilian surfing class, a Shanghai foodie tour, sea kayaking at Alaska's Icy Strait Point. Rome by private helicopter with a rooftop lunch at a five-star hotel includes a private car and driver to visit the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Via Condotti. It's priced at $3,785 per person, minimum two people.

The GoBe format allows users to customize and build private itineraries. Travelers can search features by destination, interest or group requirements.

Under interest, select 'adventure things to do,' for example, and there's a choice of 446 experiences. Or 'history and cultural tours,' with 1,341 experiences.

Other interests include air tours, bike tours, beach activities, boat tours, budget tours, bus and motorcoach tours, concerts and music events, family-friendly things to do, food and wine, full-day tours, luxury and VIP things to do, theme parks, sporting events—the list goes on.

Primary GoBe categories are high-value group tours, private excursions and exclusive, tailor-made 'Travel Creations' that the company said can't be found elsewhere online.

GoBe plans to add hundreds of experiences a week and aims to more than trip its quantity of activities by the close of 2017.

As of today, there are thousands of tours in 896 cities and 97 countries.

GoBe is a Cayman Islands-based independent subsidiary of RCL that's been in development for some time (originally as TourTrek).

Posted 23 March 2017

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review