High-flying performers to train and live on FIU’s campus

Partnership win-win for university, Royal Caribbean

FIU and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. have signed an agreement to build a unique new rehearsal facility for shipboard performers, while affording FIU students unprecedented access to training, internships and exclusive research opportunities in hospitality and the cruise industry.

The 130,000-square-foot, $20 million facility will break ground this week on the FIU Biscayne Bay Campus and is expected to open its doors in January 2015. The facility will be outfitted with full automation capability, where performers can train in either of two leading rigging systems.

“Public-private partnerships such as this one are essential to the vitality of our university and our community. This is win-win for our students and for Royal Caribbean,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “Through this innovative relationship with industry leader Royal Caribbean, our students are going to gain access to this fantastic facility and internship opportunities with some of the best talent in the business.”

Entry Terrace RCL

Royal Caribbean Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard D. Fain said his team is pleased to have been able to find the ideal conditions right in South Florida to build a new state-of-the-art facility that will make it possible to produce the increasingly sophisticated shows Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises passengers have come to expect. The partnership provides Royal Caribbean with the opportunity to help train FIU students in other areas of the business through internships in operations and management.

“We are excited to partner with FIU on our new entertainment facility, not only because it will enable Royal Caribbean to continue to produce world-class entertainment for our ships, but because it will provide an opportunity for FIU students to receive a unique and hands-on education in the hospitality industry,” said Fain.  “Royal Caribbean considers South Florida home, and what better way to give back to the community than to be able to enrich the education of FIU students.”

The Biscayne Bay Campus is conveniently located midway between Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale and the PortMiami.

The new training facility will feature a number of capabilities that will make it unique in the cruise industry:

  • The building will contain two three-story high studios outfitted with state-of-the-art rigging systems. One will feature a Chicago Flyhouse system, while the other will have a Flying by Foy system.
  • 10 other rehearsal studios
  • A 300-seat black box theater
  • 20,000 square feet dedicated to costume creation and storage

The partnership will open extraordinary opportunities for students and faculty in the College of Architecture and the Arts and the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management:

  • 20 internships (corporate and shipboard)
  • Access to the unique training facility
  • Access to data and other proprietary information to be used for research purposes
  • Royal Caribbean performers will live in existing student housing, making it possible for FIU to build new housing for students. New student housing will also open in 2015.

South Facade RCL

“I have been on two of those ships and the shows are amazing,” said Ainex Carmona, 20, who is studying theater design at FIU. “It is going to be an extraordinary opportunity for us to be able to work with systems that are not typically available on a college campus.”

The deal between FIU and Royal Caribbean was envisioned by said Alan Kleber, the managing principal at Cresa South Florida, who advised Royal Caribbean on the possibilities of such collaboration more than three years ago and worked with all parties through the process.

“In many ways, FIU and Royal Caribbean are breaking new ground,” said Kleber. “They are among the pioneers of a new trend that involves higher education and large corporations tapping into synergies that drive exponential benefits for students, faculty, and industry.”