The fall temperatures may be dropping, but the Royal Caribbean news from this week is as hot as ever, and we have it all summarized for you in this week's round up!
Sit back, and catch-up on all of the Royal Caribbean news and happenings form this week.
Late in the week, Royal Caribbean filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark office for a new cruise ship name.
On October 17, Royal Caribbean registered, "Icon of the Seas" to presumably use for its first Project Icon class of cruise ships that were announced last week.
Assuming Icon of the Seas is in fact the name of the first Icon class ships, that ship will debut sometime in 2022 and be powered by liquefied natural gas and fuel cell technology.
Royal Caribbean News
- Royal Caribbean has become the first cruise line to be named Gay Travel Approved.
- Our photo report of CocoCay, following Hurricane Matthew.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones are now banned on all Royal Caribbean ships.
- Royal Caribbean scheduled its third quarter earnings call for late next week.
- Our in-depth look at the deluxe drink package.
- What you need to know about the neighborhood balcony staterooms.
- A video overview of Harmony of the Seas, by the numbers.
- Royal Caribbean has extended its Singapore cruise season until next June.
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
It seems like everyone is discussing the big news of Royal Caribbean's Project Icon ship announcement, including us on this week's podcast episode.
In this week's Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast, Matt and Michael discuss what we know about Project Icon ships and speculate on the long-term and short-term impact this news has for Royal Caribbean fans.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Reuters has a look at how big brands (like Royal Caribbean) use Periscope.
Royal Caribbean shared top picks for what to do in the Caribbean from a crew member.
Eat Sleep Cruise has a review of Chops Grille on Oasis of the Seas.
ShermansCruise has a look at what it is really like on board a mega ship.
Canada.com thinks the Radiance class ships still can dazzle guests.
The Kitchy Kitchen offers a list of their favorite things on Harmony of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean has won another impressive award this year, taking out Australasia’s Leading Cruise Line at the prestigious World Travel Awards Asia and Australasia, presented in Danang, Vietnam.
The award is determined from votes cast by travel and tourism professionals throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, as well as the general public.
"It’s been an incredible year for Royal Caribbean, and we are honoured to have such a prestigious international award under our belt," says Adam Armstrong, Managing Director of Royal Caribbean Australia and New Zealand.
"Australasia has really shown us the love since the arrival of our first ship down under nine years ago, and we can’t wait to welcome our guests back onboard our award-winning, innovative ships again this season – set to be our biggest ever."
A little over a week after announcing it would build a next-generation type of cruise ship dubbed the Icon-class, Royal Caribbean registered a trademark for one of those ships.
On October 17, Royal Caribbean filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for "Icon of the Seas".
Royal Caribbean had previously announced it was ordering two cruise ships for this new class of ships that would be powered by liquefied natural gas and fuel cell technology.
Royal Caribbean is notifying its guests that the much maligned Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cell phones are no longer allowed to be brought on its cruise ships.
Emails have been sent to some guests with cruises coming up to notify them of the policy change.
This decision was made in light of recent incidents and safety concerns raised by Samsung about this particular device, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recent ban of the phone from all airplanes.
Royal Caribbean joins many other cruise lines in banning the device after reports of fires from the device, as well as recalls, have created safety concerns with operating the device safely.
Royal Caribbean will hold a conference call on October 28, 2016, at 10am to discuss its third quarter 2016 financial results.
The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations web site, www.rclinvestor.com. To listen to the call by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number.
A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.
Every Friday, we show off the Royal Caribbean photos that our readers have sent us in a special blog post. Each week, we invite our readers to send us their favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we post them right here.
Without further adieu, let's jump right into this week's batch of photos!
We start off this week's edition with a photo by Scott Singer, waiting to see Grease on Independence of the Seas. It is still amazing to me that Royal Caribbean shows full Broadway shows on its ships!
Julius Lacano took this photo of Grandeur of the Seas, as seen from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor, ME. Incredible view!
Check out this photo of Anthem of the Seas about the pass under the Verrazano Bridge, in New York City by Lauren Ogonowski. I have done this type of sailing a number of times and it never gets old.
Here is Oasis of the Seas docked in Labadee, as seen by Iuliana Scott. I will never tire of Labadee photos!
Jan-Arild Knutsen sent in this photo of Rhapsody of the Seas in Darwin, Australia. Those Australia cruises have some really great itineraries to enjoy.
Jennifer H. shared this photo from her excursion in St. Thomas, while aboard Freedom of the Seas. It was a sailing to Buck Island to snorkel with turtles on what looks like a beautiful day in paradise.
Our last photo this week is of Oasis of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas docked in Cozumel. Frank Battiston shared this photo and it really shows the difference in size between a tonnage of 225,000 and 90,000 when they are side-by-side, like this.
Would you like to submit your Royal Caribbean photos for a future Friday Photos post? Use this form to send them to us and we will feature them very soon!
Royal Caribbean will offer bonus instant savings of up to $100 for cruises booked over the next 100 hours, in addition to the current 60% off second guest promotion.
Royal Caribbean cruises booked between October 21 - 25, 2016 applies to sailings on or after November 19, 2016 (excluding China departures).
The offer includes
- 60% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first full fare guest.
- 30% cruise fare savings for 3rd and 4th guests booked in the same stateroom as first two qualifying guests.
- Instant savings
- Sailings 5 nights or less
- Interior and oceanview staterooms: $25
- Balcony and suite staterooms: $50
- Sailings 6-nights or longer
- Interior and oceanview staterooms: $50
- Balcony staterooms: $75
- Suites: $100
- Sailings 5 nights or less
- Eligible Caribbean and Bahamas holiday sailings, offer includes a per stateroom savings based on stateroom category.
- For eligible holiday sailings 5 nights or less departing December 22-31, 2016 and 2017
- $50 off per stateroom for interior and oceanview and $100 off per stateroom for balcony and suite categories.
- For eligible holiday sailings 6-nights or longer, departing December 15-31, 2016 or 2017
- $100 off per stateroom for interior and oceanview, $200 off per stateroom for balcony, and $300 off per stateroom for suite categories.
- For eligible holiday sailings 5 nights or less departing December 22-31, 2016 and 2017
BOGO60 is combinable with 3rd and 4th Guest Savings, Instant Savings, Holiday Savings, Anthem Free Upgrade, Crown & Anchor discounts and NextCruise offers. BOGO60 and 3rd and 4th Guest Savings are not combinable with restricted rates. Instant Savings and Holiday Savings are combinable with restricted rates and NextCruise offers.
Instant Savings and Holiday Savings are not combinable Crown & Anchor discounts. All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion.
Offer open to residents of U.S. or Canada.
Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage Package is the cruise line's unlimited alcohol offering for guests to enjoy a wide variety of drinks for one fixed price.
Since Royal Caribbean revamped its unlimited alcohol packages in September 2016, there is now one unlimited alcohol package for guests who wish to "have it all" and lock in their price. Beer, wine, cocktails, coffee, water and more are all included in this package and purchasing the deluxe drink package means you will know your cost for drinks in advance and be able to lock it in now.
You can read more about what the different unlimited beverage packages are and how they work.
What does the deluxe drink package include?
Guests can choose between unlimited cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, premium coffee, tea, and bottled water. This package includes drinks with a value of up to $12. For guests that would like to enjoy a beverage over that threshold, a $12 credit will be applied towards the beverage of choice and guests will be required to pay the balance.
Guests with Deluxe drink package can also get 40% discount on wines under $100. Wines above $100 will receive a 20% discount.
All Beverage Packages exclude any beverages served inside licensed Starbucks stores, such as those on Oasis-class ships.
How much is the deluxe drink package?
The base price is $55 per person, per day excluding the service charge, which will be added to the package price upon purchase.
This means the daily price you pay covers all the drinks in the package as well as gratuity.
Often, there are pre-cruise discounts available for guests that purchase the drink package online, via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner.
Who is the deluxe drink package best for?
Guests who want to be able to pick from the widest variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will want the deluxe package.
Royal Caribbean advertises the deluxe package as having "virtually unlimited options" and that is pretty close to the truth. Guests who can consume a lot of cocktails, beers, coffees, juices and more are well-suited for this package.
A common scenario we hear about is a guest who likes to drink a lot of coffee and/or juice in the morning, and then enjoy alcoholic beverages during the day and evening.
Can I get souvenir glasses/mugs while using the deluxe drink package?
You can get drinks like Labadoozies, Coco locos, after dinner shots or the drink of the day with the deluxe drink package but does not include the souvenir mugs/glasses they are often served in.
You should tell your waiter or bartender to get the drink without the souvenir cup to avoid being charged extra for the souvenir cup.
Can I purchase the deluxe drink package and share drinks with someone I know onboard?
No, sharing beverages on any of Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages is strictly prohibited.
GayTravel.com announced that Royal Caribbean International is the first and only cruise line to receive the distinction of being Gay Travel Approved. According to the group, Royal Caribbean "has shown an ongoing commitment to the LGBTQ community by demonstrating a spirit of diversity and inclusion on all of its 25 ships that visit exciting destinations around the world."
The Gay Travel Approved Seal of Approval is awarded by GayTravel.com to select travel partners that offer a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ travelers. This accolade is reserved for travel partners whom a panel of experts, editors and tastemakers have deemed deserving of a higher level of recognition by the LGBTQ community.
"Royal Caribbean has always been known and recognized for extraordinary service that is warm and attentive and remains committed to creating a diverse, welcoming environment on each and every one of our ships," said Grant Van Ulbrich, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Royal Caribbean. "To take our efforts to the next level, we recently introduced a new Diversity and Inclusion department and one of its first priorities is to focus on continued training and education for our international crew members."
"This designation has been a long time in the making," said Steve Rohrlick, CEO of GayTravel.com. "Our GayTravel Cruise Guru Stephen Prisco has sailed on more than one hundred Royal Caribbean cruises. The recent appointment of Grant Van Ulbrich as the first openly-gay Diversity Executive on a major cruise line and the steps he is implementing are indicative of Royal Caribbean International's commitment to the LGBTQ community. It is therefore our distinct pleasure to bestow GayTravel Approved 2016 to Royal Caribbean International."
Among the many impressive features on Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships, are two neighborhoods that offer a lot to see and do, as well as incredible staterooms that look into these areas.
Central Park balcony and Boardwalk balcony staterooms are a compelling choice for anyone looking at stateroom choices on any Oasis class ship, and here is the important information to consider when booking these kinds of rooms.
What is a Central Park or Boardwalk balcony room?
These neighborhood facing balconies are a balcony category stateroom that offer a balcony that looks towards either Central Park or Boardwalk, instead of a balcony that overlooks the ocean.
The idea was a first in the cruise industry because prior to Oasis of the Seas, balconies had never been internally facing.
The neighborhood balconies offer the same fresh air and light that ocean view balconies do, but with the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of the Boardwalk or Central Park neighborhoods. In addition, neighborhood view balcony staterooms tend to be slightly cheaper than ocean view balconies.
The exact size of a neighborhood view stateroom with balcony is 182 square feet with a 52 square foot balcony. Both types of rooms include twin beds that convert to a queen, a desk, sitting area (some with sofa bed), TV and minibar and a balcony with two chairs and small table.
Central Park balcony rooms are on Decks 10 through 14, and Boardwalk balcony rooms are on Decks 8 through 14.
Why might you not want to book a Central Park or Boardwalk balcony stateroom?
Other than what you can see from your balcony, the room experience between a neighborhood balcony and an ocean view balcony are pretty much the same. For some folks, a balcony without an ocean view is not desirable.
A common concern that we hear about is noise from the neighborhood impacting the guest experience. In our experiences, the ambient noise from Central Park or Boardwalk is negligible and does not bleed into the stateroom itself. Of course, if you desire the sound of the ocean with your balcony, that will be missing here. It is worth noting that Boardwalk balcony rooms can have more noise when there are shows occurring in the AquaTheater, but your stateroom location and noise tolerance will vary.
It is also worth noting in terms of privacy, there are neighborhood balcony rooms on the opposite side of the ship that will face your balcony.
What do neighborhood balcony rooms offer that ocean view rooms do not?
There are some inherent advantages to booking a neighborhood balcony room over an ocean view balcony room. First and foremost, the price for neighborhood balcony rooms is often less expensive than ocean view balcony rooms.
In addition, Royal Caribbean is offering complimentary perks for neighborhood balcony staterooms on Oasis class ships. Beginning in November 2016, guests staying in Boardwalk or Central Park view balcony staterooms will be able to enjoy complimentary amenities such as free food, drinks and more.
Moreover, neighborhood balcony rooms allow guests staying in them to enjoy some great people watching opportunities and enjoy the general ambiance of the neighborhoods you can view. Boardwalk view balcony rooms also have an added benefit of some offering full or partial views of the AquaTheater performances.
Differences between Central Park and Boardwalk rooms
As the name implies, the primary and most noticeable difference between Central Park and Balcony rooms, are the view.
Central Park view balcony rooms offer a view of the Central Park neighborhood below. Central Park is
Central Park is one of seven distinct "neighborhoods" that help break up an Oasis class ship. It is an immense area in the middle of the ship that offers a lush park for guests to enjoy with tropical plants, trees and walkways. Central Park features a lush garden in an area about as long as the Royal Promenade and twice as wide. Central Park rooms tend to have a bit less noise from the neighborhood because there are no shows in this area (there is live music in the evenings), and there tends to be less guests hanging out in the area.
The Boardwalk neighborhood is reminiscent of the whimsical seaside resorts that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island. There is a carousel, restaurants and the AquaTheater stage. Unlike Central Park balcony rooms, there is a partial view of the ocean when facing aft, and some rooms even offer views of the AquaTheater (the more aft your room is, the better the chance). Because of the shows and the fact the Boardwalk tends to have higher foot traffic than Central Park, it can be a bit noisier than Central Park.
In the end, Royal Caribbean's neighborhood balcony appeal will depend on how you cruise. Do you like quiet time watching the sea, or enjoy arriving into port? Do you find the Central Park or Boardwalk neighborhoods particularly intriguing?
When you consider the usual less expensive cost for neighborhood balcony rooms and the new perks for neighborhood balcony rooms, it is a particularly compelling option. In addition, many Boardwalk balcony rooms still offer a view of the ocean when looking to the aft of the ship.
While neighborhood balcony staterooms do not offer a full view of the ocean, having a balcony, regardless of view, is still what makes a great cruise experience.