Photo tour of Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

In:
29Apr2017

The Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is a popular choice for guests who want to indulge in a suite experience. It offers a lot of living space, and the Sky Class benefits of the Royal Suite Class.

This photo tour comes to us from Royal Caribbean Blog reader Ron Lodowski, who recently sailed on Harmony of the Seas.

Ron took photos of his Grand Suite, which was in stateroom 12254 on Harmony of the Seas during an April 2017 sailing.

The Grand Suite measures 371 square feet and has a balcony that is 105 square feet.

Grand Suite staterooms on Harmony of the Seas include a bedroom area with two twin beds that convert to a Royal King. There is a living room with a sofa that converts to double bed. The private balcony has a seating area and private dining.

Also includes minibar, TV, stereo, DVD player, larger private bathroom with bathtub and double sink, vanity area, hair-dryer, phone, vanity table with an extendable working surface for laptop computers and 110/220 electrical outlets. Sleeps up to four people and can accommodate a rollaway bed and/or Play Yard.

All photos by Ron Lodowski

Friday Photos

In:
28Apr2017

Fridays mean we take some time to showcase our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos.  It is a kind of "virtual escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise, and the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

We begin with this photo of Radiance of the Seas in Moorea, taken by Pascal Everard.  It is a beautiful photo from a Transpacific cruise and I love it.

Next is this photo of Labadee, by Haley Mills. It is a shot of sunrise as her ship was pulling into Labadee.

George Alcázar took this photo of a sunny day on Harmony of the Seas.

Next is a photo of Sydney harbor, as soon from Explorer of the Seas.  Jen took this photo in March 2017, and even on a cloudy day, Sydney is lovely.

Paul Morrison took this photo of his partner, Gosia, "sandwiched" between Vision of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas after a day at the Ephesus ruins.

Here we have Oasis of the Seas and Empress of the Seas in Cozumel, taken by Bob (aka Sailor_to_Cruiser).

Our final photo is by David Donnelly, taken at the top of the hill in Villefranche-sur-Mer. C'est manifique.

Thank you to everyone for sharing their lovely photos with us this week.  As always, we welcome all of our readers to share their favorite Royal Caribbean photos with us by using this form. Have a great weekend!

5 interesting facts from Royal Caribbean's first quarter earnings call

In:
28Apr2017

Each quarter, Royal Caribbean's management gets on the phone with investors to discuss its quarterly earnings.  Much of the call is dedicated to the discussion of rather uninteresting fiscal reports, however, there are a number of tidbits that Royal Caribbean fans can glean during the discussion.

During Royal Caribbean's first quarter 2017 earnings call with investors, we picked up on five interesting points worth noting.

Sneak peak at features for new smart phone app

Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain made a quick reference to some of features coming to the new smart phone app that the cruise line is developing. 

Dubbed, "Project Excalibur," this new app will offer new ways for guests to have a simpler experience onboard.

"Starting over two years ago, we have found intuitive digital applications to make the guest experience simpler and more comfortable," Fain announced during the call. "You'll be able to open the door to your room without pulling out a card or a key, request a beverage real-time from the comfort of your lounge chair, and get recommendations for your traveling companion based on their preferences."

"We take our guest vacation time seriously, and technology is a great enabler to improve the use of that."

Guest spending is fundamentally changing

Royal Caribbean CFO Jason Liberty made mention of the fact onboard revenue continues to grow, and that is a reflection of a shift in where guests spend their money.  Specifically, they are spending more money on experiences, in lieu of buying things.

Onboard revenue yield was up 8.9% for the quarter, which was driven by new hardware, shore excursions and Voom.

"As I mentioned over the past couple quarters, guests spend has continuing to shift towards areas that involve experiences over buying things," Liberty explained.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley added, "What we are seeing is a switch to more experience-related revenue streams, and obviously we are trying to leverage that. Things like shore excursions obviously, and beverages and beverage packages. "

"I think really what we are seeing is we're seeing a really good pick up on our pre-cruise sales, and that has been driving a lot of these revenues. There's various theories on how impactful pre-cruises sales are, and one of the theories is that if you sell a dollar pre-cruise, you'll probably see anywhere from 20 to 50% uptick in the onboard spend by the very same guest."

Mariner of the Seas will receive a drydock

Two days ago, Royal Caribbean announced that Mariner of the Seas would return to North America after spending many years in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley explained, "With Mariner moving back into the States, that was really about timing. Mariner was coming out anyway when Quantum Plus came into the market, and we had an opportunity because we have some revitalization and drydock work that's quite extensive that we're planning for Mariner."

Symphony of the Seas bookings are doing well

Bookings in general are quite good for Royal Caribbean, and even the yet-to-be-launched Symphony of the Seas is doing well with guests booking it.

"Symphony of the Seas, which comes out in April of next year, the forward bookings are terrific."

How millennials cruise

An investor asked how passengers under 35 years old view Royal Caribbean, and Michael Bayley elaborated on the appeal of cruising to millennials.

"When a millennial has a child, they really come into our sweet spot...for Royal Caribbean certainly. As soon as those millennials get kids, then they really want to have a great time with their family, and we work very well for them. "

"The one obvious thing that's quite meaningful is digital technology and access through Voom to the world around them. Of course, that's something we put into place a couple of years ago, and I think that's really proven to be successful."

"The other component is the whole idea of multi-generational vacations, and that's something we really do focus on. This idea that we can offer a multi-generational experience to our customers. And of course, the Oasis Class ships really are  the great expression of that."

"And then dining I think is becoming something that's slightly different with the millennial market, and that's something we're obviously focused on, both in our current fleet, and also as we look at our new builds coming online."

Spotted: Royal Caribbean offering ultimate dining package

In:
28Apr2017

Fans of Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants will love the cruise line's Ultimate Dining Package offer.

The Ultimate Dining Package has been spotted on Harmony of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, and allows guests to pay a fixed price and enjoy dinner at a specialty restaurant every night of their sailing. Plus, they can also eat lunch in specialty restaurants on sea days.  The Ultimate Dining Package can be purchased online at Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.

For restaurants with a la carte pricing, guests will receive a $50 food credit.

Just like the other dining packages, Royal Caribbean will make a courtesy dinner reservation on the guests' behalf in a pre-selected restaurant. On Day 1, a reservation confirmation will be waiting in the stateroom.  Guests are free to amend or to complete additional dinner reservations by visiting a Hospitality Desks or any specialty restaurant.

The Ultimate Dining package is valid for one specialty dining restaurant per meal. Beverages not included.

Children ages 6-12 can be added to reservation for a $10 cover charge once onboard. Not available on holiday sailings. Not valid for Chef's Table, Izumi Hibachi, or Culinary Experiences/Activities. Guests will receive 20% off when booking Chef's Table and/or any Culinary Experience/Activity onboard.

The Ultimate Dining Package is non-refundable, non-transferable and not combinable with Crown & Anchor discounts or any other offer or promotion.

Thanks to Michael for alerting us to this new option.

Is the Ultimate Dining Package an option you will be purchasing? Share your thoughts on the appeal of this kind of option in our comments!

Royal Caribbean reports better than expected first quarter earnings

In:
28Apr2017

Royal Caribbean reported its first quarter 2017 earnings, with a net income of $214.7 million. The earnings per share were better than expected mainly due to improved revenue and overall bookings for the rest of the year continue to perform as expected.

The company also announced today board authorization for a $500 million share repurchase program.

Royal Caribbean reported thus far, the year has developed very much along the trajectory the company projected at the beginning of the year. Bookings started the year on a very strong note and continued to please. This strong demand for cruises generally has offset the recent headwinds from the disrupted Korean sailings mainly during the second and third quarters.

You can read the full quarterly earnings report here.

Royal Caribbean officially breaks ground on CocoCay pier

In:
27Apr2017

Royal Caribbean held the official groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for a new pier to be added on its private destination of CocoCay.

Photo by Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society

The groundbreaking ceremony was held while Enchantment of the Seas was visiting CocoCay on a short Bahamas cruise.

Last month, Royal Caribbean announced the small island in the Bahamas will get a number of enhancements over the next couple of years, with a pier being among the first changes coming.  Once complete, the new pier will be able to handle even Oasis Class ships.

Guests visiting CocoCay have had to be ferried over on tender boats, but weather conditions have had a tendency to impede on that process.  With a pier, Royal Caribbean ships can more easily visit CocoCay.

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean confirmed the pier should be complete in June 2018.

Royal Caribbean announces Quantum Ultra Class ship and plans to send it to Asia-Pacific region

In:
26Apr2017

Royal Caribbean announced the first Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship will be based in the Asia-Pacific region. Set to be launched in spring 2019, the yet-to-be-named ship is the first Quantum Ultra Class ship, and will join sister ships Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas.

The new ship will specifically be designed for guests in the region, featuring even more cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities. The announcement was made as Royal Caribbean unveiled its full roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries.

2018-19 China, Singapore, Australia Deployment Highlights

As part of the deployment plans for 2018-19, Mariner of the Seas will reposition to a new home in Miami, Florida embarking on a “Global Odyssey” from Asia that features three long sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami. The “Global Odyssey” opens for sale on May 2, 2017.  Voyager of the Seas will have her first full season in Singapore in 2018-19, offering 3- to 7-night adventures throughout Southeast Asia with stops that include ports in Thailand and Malaysia.
        
The new 2018-19 deployment season presents additional highlights, including an expanded offering of open-jaw itineraries for adventure-seekers traveling down under with new 10-night open-jaw itineraries between Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne or Sydney, Australia on Radiance of the Seas. During the winter, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to Sydney for her longest season in Australia, reclaiming the title as the largest ship based in the region.

Royal Caribbean’s China 2018-19 itineraries for Quantum and Voyager will be available to book beginning April 26, 2017, followed by Ovation on April 27. Australia and Singapore sailings will be open as of May 16, 2017.

Royal Caribbean schedules Adventure of the Seas refurbishment for January 2018

In:
26Apr2017

Royal Caribbean announced to travel partners that Adventure of the Seas will undergo a 30-day refurbishment to add new features and updates and complete work that was delayed last year.

Adventure of the Seas dry-dock will begin on January 31, 2018 and will include the addition of specialty restaurant Izumi Japanese Cuisine, new inside and oceanview staterooms and a Suite Lounge.

In order to accommodate the dry-dock, Royal Caribbean canceled the January 13, 2018 through February 10, 2018 sailings.  Guests booked onboard for the affected sailings will need to be reaccommodated.  As a gesture of good will, Royal Caribbean will be offering the following compensation package.

  • Guests will receive $200 onboard credit per standard stateroom, $400 onboard credit for suites (category JS and above) when rebooking any Royal Caribbean sailing.
  • Guests who incur a fee due to the change in their airline reservations will be reimbursed up to $200 per person, for Domestic Flights & $300 per person, for International Flights.

Guests may re-book on the select sailings below, in like accommodations, at the protected/lowest available cruise fare or any other Royal Caribbean sailing at prevailing rate. Price protection is limited to the cruise fare only. Taxes, fees, gratuities and other non-cruise fare items are subject to prevailing rates regardless of the sailing chosen.

  • Adventure of the Seas – February 12, 2018
  • Adventure of the Seas – March 10, 2018
  • Adventure of the Seas – March 17, 2018
  • Adventure of the Seas – April 7, 2018
  • Adventure of the Seas – April 14, 2018
  • Jewel of the Seas – January 14, 2018
  • Jewel of the Seas – January 21, 2018
  • Jewel of the Seas – January 28, 2018
  • Jewel of the Seas – February 4, 2018
  • Jewel of the Seas – February 18, 2018
  • Jewel of the Seas – February 25, 2018
  • Jewel of the Seas – March 4, 2018
  • Jewel of the Seas – March 11, 2018

The work scheduled is to complete upgrades that were originally scheduled for Adventure of the Seas' revitalization in November 2016, but had to be cut back due to Hurricane Matthew

Staying in a suite on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
26Apr2017

Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!

Episode 195 is available for downloading, where we take an in-depth look at what staying in a suite on a Royal Caribbean cruise truly entails.

In this episode, Matt talks about the general suite experience, and why someone might want (or not want) to stay in a suite.  Matt shares what the benefits and perks are, which benefits are the most useful and evaluating when it makes sense to give it a try.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 195. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Video: Technology Stars in the Royal Theater: One-of-a-kind Venue Raises the Bar for Royal Caribbean Entertainment

In:
25Apr2017

With limitless capabilities across lighting, technology and scenery, the Royal Theater even makes Broadway directors and producers feel like kids in a candy shop. The state-of-the-art venue rivals those on land with impressive technology ranging from lifts and a tracking system to a fly space that allows performers to soar overhead. Royal Caribbean’s entertainment team thrives on innovation, and with the endless possibilities, they produce next-level original shows and Broadway-favorites to treat guests to an incredible experience at sea.

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