Other finalists in the pitch included a Publicis Groupe team led by Saatchi & Saatchi and MediaVest and an Interpublic Group of Cos. squad led by DraftFCB and Initiative.
In addition to JWT and MindShare, WPP's "Team Royal" will also include RMG Connect of Miami for digital, direct and promotional duties; Vidal Partnership for Hispanic marketing; and UniWorld for multicultural marketing.
An Omnicom Group team led by TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York -- which also included media shop PHD -- earlier this month bowed out of the pitch, due to a lack of "chemistry" with the client, executives familiar with the matter said.
The incumbent agency, Havas' Arnold Worldwide, which had the account since 1999, defended but was eliminated before the final round. The decision to move Royal Caribbean's account follows the marketer's shift earlier this year of sibling cruise line Celebrity Cruises from Arnold to Omnicom's Element 79, Chicago. Media incumbent MPG, part of Havas, opted not to defend and still maintains its relationship with Celebrity Cruises.
Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises sails a fleet of 21 ships around the world, marketing itself largely to couples and singles in the 30-50 age demographic, as well as families. Last month, it posted improved earnings for the third quarter of $395 million, up from $345 million in the year-prior period, despite being plagued by rising fuel costs.
The review was handled by Rojek Consulting Group in Cleveland.