We wrapped up a busy week of Royal Caribbean fun, but if you missed any of it, we have it all wrapped up nicely for you in this weekly news round-up!
Royal Caribbean began releasing its 2019-2020 itineraries, starting with the 7-night Caribbean sailings across six ships.
Bookings opened up earlier this week for Allure, Freedom, Harmony, Liberty, Oasis, and Symphony of the Seas. Bookings will open next week for short Caribbean summer 2019 sailings.
Royal Caribbean News
- Royal Caribbean announced four cruise ships will be redeployed in 2018-2019.
- U.S. News and World Reports named Royal Caribbean the Best Cruise Line for the Money.
- Our step-by-step instructions for how to book specialty restaurant reservations.
- Royal Caribbean has completed some of the beach enhancements on Labadee.
- Adventurist Shay Mitchell shared a number of videos from Oasis of the Seas.
- Six cool features we really like in Royal Caribbean's new smartphone app.
- Check out our Anthem of the Seas Grand Loft Suite photo tour.
- Spark Cooperative is looking to disrupt the cruise industry with its new guest experience planning software.
- ABB is ready to deliver its first fuel cell system for Royal Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean Podcast
In this episode, Matt reviews what was announced by Royal Caribbean in its Project Excalibur reveal. Matt talks about why each of these new innovations represent a major shift in the guest experience.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Travel Agent Central talks with a Royal Genie, to get a sense of what to expect from Star Class.
The Cruisington Times shared what they saw at Royal Caribbean's tech announcement.
Eat Sleep Cruise has a list of 10 foods you must try on Harmony of the Seas.
Have you ever wondered what the Grand Loft Suite on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas looks like? Today, we are happy to share a photo tour of one such room.
RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Michael C. took photos of his room from a recent Anthem of the Seas sailing. These photos are from stateroom 10724.
Main level bathroom
Upper level bathroom
After a few months of work, it appears at least some of the beach enhancements at Adrenaline Beach on Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee are complete.
RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader twangster shared photos from his visit to Labadee that occured today.
In September 2017 there was construction on the Labadee beach with areas sectioned off by fences.
The work is now complete and they have introduced small bump outs into the water complete with palm trees as a mini-oasis.
There are three such areas under the length of the zip-line.
This side of Labadee faces the Atlantic Ocean and large rocks serve as a break wall to protect from crashing waves
Each of the three bump outs feature a number of palm trees for shade.
These areas provide a relaxing panoramic view of the water complete with the sound of waves crashing against the rocks to soothe you to sleep as you enjoy a Labradoozie.
Unrelated to Adrenaline Beach, the over the water cabanas at Barefoot Beach are still missing. Those cabanas are missing due to recent hurricane damage.
Royal Caribbean made big headlines with their recent tech announcement that will usher in a new generation of smart technology to enhance the guest experience. At the heart of this new initiative is a brand new smart phone app that the company has been working on in earnest to provide a seamless experience online.
The new app is packed with features, and we picked our six important ones you should be aware of before using it.
6. Track your luggage
With the new app, guests can see exactly where their luggage is on embarkation day to know precisely when it has been delivered to their stateroom.
This feature means you do not have to play the game of walking back to your room on a number of occasions to see if luggage has been delivered. Instead, simply open the app and follow the luggage's status, just like you would a package in the mail.
5. Book shore excursions and dining reservations
From the palm of your hand, you can manage your shore excursions and dining reservations onboard your Royal Caribbean ship. This is great for when you are at the pool, breakfast table, or milling about in your stateroom and have your family around to make a decision. Open the app, select the option you want and you are all set.
The new app means guests can quickly manage their onboard and on shore plans without making a trip to Guest Services, or anywhere else onboard. This means less lines to wait in, and no restaurant phone extensions to look up.
4. Chat with friends
A really common question we get asked is how to stay in contact with friends and family on a Royal Caribbean ship. The new Royal Caribbean app will allow for easy text communication, and no internet plan is required.
Unlike Royal Caribbean's previous smart phone app, Royal iQ, there is no additional cost to use the texting feature in the app. This means everyone can easily communicate onboard and synch up.
3. Interactive Cruise Compass
Carrying around a paper copy of all of the events and remembering to pack a highlighter is so twentieth century. With Royal Caribbean's app, you can easily see what events and activities are occurring onboard.
Moreover, you can add any Cruise Compass entry to your own personal calendar, so you never forget which events you wanted to check out.
2. Board the ship even faster
Royal Caribbean wants to streamline the check-in process to the point that it is as simple as walking in. Forget the forms to fill out, pictures to take, or agents to speak with. The new app will allow for a "frictionless check-in" that gets you onboard your ship very quickly.
Royal Caribbean is utilizing technologies ranging from facial recognition to RFID tagging to GPS mapping to Bluetooth-enabled beacons to streamline boarding, manage check-ins automatically and improve wayfinding.
This means other than the security check, there are no lines to stand in.
1. Order drinks to delivered to you
By far the most intriguing feature of the new app is the option to order beverages and have them delivered to wherever you happen to be seated or standing.
You simply order the drink from the app, and the bar staff use software on their end to triangulate your position. The waiter has a photo of you that you took when you set up the app, so it is easy enough to track you down and deliver your drink.
This means there is no more trying to flag down a waiter, or squirm your way to the bar in hopes of getting an order in among other guests competing to do the same.
Which feature are you most excited about to use? Let us know in the comments below!
If you're ready for a mental escape to a Royal Caribbean cruise, then you're at the right place because we have some great Royal Caribbean photos our readers have sent in. Each week we ask our readers to send us their best Royal Caribbean photos to showcase right here on the blog so be sure to send yours in too!
First up this week is a photo by Thomas Bissland of Empress of the Seas docked in Havana, Cuba.
Pascal Everard sent in this photo of Jewel of the Seas in Santorini, Greece.
Next is a photo of Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas side by side in Cozumel, taken by Stephanie Bally.
JV Miranda took this photo while trying out Ripcord by iFly on Quantum of the Seas.
Robert Snipes took this photo from Rhapsody of the Seas as the ship approached the Dawes Glacier in Alaska.
Here is a look at Singapore, as seen from Mariner of the Seas. Photo by Connor.
Our final photo this week is by Nicole DiChristina of Allure of the Seas in Cozumel.
Thanks to everyone who sent in their photos this week. Be sure to send your photos in as well by using this form.
Royal Caribbean informed travel partners that four of its cruise ships will be redeployed in 2018-2019.
In an unusual occurrence, Royal Caribbean is changing the deployment of ships that have already been announced. Much of the change is merely swapping one cruise ship for another, but there are some cancellations included as well.
Majesty of the Seas will move to Tampa for sailings between 6/22/18 - 4/29/19.
The following Majesty of the Seas sailings are being cancelled: 5/7/18 - 6/18/18.
Guests on these canceled sailings will have their ship changed to Enchantment of the Seas.
Empress of the Seas sailings for 5/9/18 - 3/30/19 will be changed to Majesty of the Seas.
In addition to the change in ship, the 6/25/18, 8/6/18, 9/3/18, 9/17/18, and 10/1/18 sailings' itineraries will be modified.
Enchantment of the Seas will move to Port Canaveral, Florida for sailings between: 5/4/18 - 4/15/19
Guests on these sailings will be moved to Vision of the Seas, a ship in the same class.
The following Enchantment of the Seas sailings are being cancelled: 6/23/18 - 3/13/19 & 4/19/19.
Vision of the Seas is being moved to Galveston.
The following Vision of the Seas sailings are being cancelled: 3/9/19 - 4/13/19.
New sailings will be open and ready to book on November 21st, 2017.
Royal Caribbean's Thanks & Thrills Sale starts today, which offers bonus instant savings.
Guests can save up to $100 instantly when they book Royal Caribbean cruises between November 16 - 20, 2017 11:59 p.m. EST on sailings departing on or after December 16, 2017.
The Thanks & Thrills sale offers
- 50% off cruise fare of second guest who must be booked in the same stateroom as a first guest who books at full fare
- 25% cruise fare savings for 3rd guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests
- Thanks and Thrills sale provides instant savings determined by category booked and sailing length:
- $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View on sailings 5 nights or less
- $50 savings for Balconies and $75 savings for Suites on sailings 5 nights and less
- $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View on sailings 6 nights and longer
- $75 savings for Balconies
- $100 savings for Suites on sailings 6 nights or longer
Deck the Holidays and Thanks and Thrills offer exclude China departures.
BOGO offer is combinable with NRDB OBC, promotional OBCs and instant savings, NextCruise offers, restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military), Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Deck the Holidays and Thanks and Thrills are combinable with each other, NextCruise offers, NRDB OBC, and restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military) but is not combinable with Shareholder benefits and Crown and Anchor discounts. BOGO50 bookings made for China departures are combinable with NextCruise offers and Crown and Anchor balcony/suites discounts only. All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates.
Offer available to residents of United States and Canada.
Royal Caribbean cruise ships offer a variety of specialty restaurant choices, and guests have the option of making a reservation in advance. Regardless of when your cruise is, it is always a good idea to book ahead to secure a day and time for your meal.
Here is an overview of how to book a specialty restaurant meal for your upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise.
How to make a reservation online
Guests can make specialty restaurant reservations prior to their cruise up until 4 days before your sailing date.
Keep in mind that Royal Caribbean does not allow specialty dining reservations to be made until you reach amount of days that are left until your cruise. If you do not see the option to reserve specialty restaurants, check back later.
In order to make specialty restaurant reservations online, you will need to pay any cover charges that may exist at the time of booking.
Booking specialty restaurants in advance offers you the opportunity to lock in exact day and times for meals as well as being able to space out the total cost of the cruise.
1. The first step in booking a Royal Caribbean specialty restaurant is to go to RoyalCaribbean.com and click LOG-IN from the top right navigation. Then click LOG-IN TO MY CRUISES.
2. Log into My Cruises with your Royal Caribbean username and password.
You will need to have an account with Royal Caribbean (free) and have linked your upcoming cruise with your account. We won't cover how to do this in this article, but I will assume you have done this earlier.
3. Once logged in, click on the Reservation Number for the cruise you want book a specialty restaurant. It will be located in the middle of the page under PURCHASED & HELD CRUISES.
4. From the top navigation, click on Cruise Planner.
5. Click on the GET STARTED button to bring you to the Cruise Planner.
6. Click DINING link in the top menu.
7. Select the restaurant of your choice. You will be able to read more about the restaurant, see a sample menu, and get pricing details.
We keep an archive of Royal Caribbean specialty restaurant menus for your reference.
8. Read the description of the restaurant, menu and more and when you are ready, click ADD TO CART button.
9. At this step, you will select which guests in your booking will be joining you. Just click on each guest's name to add them to the reservation.
Optionally, you can add other guests from another reservation via the ADD GUESTS FROM ANOTHER RESERVATION link at the bottom. For this feature, you just need their last name and their reservation number.
When you're ready, click NEXT button at the bottom right.
10. For the next step, you will select the day and time for your reservation. Select the DAY dropdown field first and then choose from the available times from the TIME dropdown.
When you are satisfied with the date you picked, click ADD TO CART.
11.You have added your reservation to your shopping cart succesfully and now can either CONTINUE SHOPPING and add other items to your shopping cart, or click CONTINUE CHECKOUT and enter your payment information to finish your purchase.
How to make a reservation onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise
If you are on your cruise or have less than 4 days until you go on your Royal Caribbean cruise, then you will need to make a reservation for the specialty restaurants onboard your cruise.
You can book any specialty restaurant from the following locations
- Any specialty restaurant
- Guest Services
- From your stateroom television (on select Royal Caribbean ships)
- Via a Royal Caribbean smart phone app (Royal iQ or Royal Caribbean app). The app is currently limited to select ships.
- Any dining reservations you make online via the Cruise Planner are fully refundable. If you change your mind or want to change restaurants or even dates, it is easy enough to cancel and rebook.
- Do not make specialty reservations for children. Children between the ages of 0-5 are complimentary and ages 6-12 are half the adult price.
- Royal Caribbean recommends making a reservation for all guests who wish to dine. Adult price will be applied for all guests regardless of age; the difference between the adult price and child price will be refunded in the form of a refundable onboard credit (unless booked with non-refundable credit, in which case OBC will be non-refundable).
- If your cruise is too far out, you may not see dining reservations available. Keep checking back closer to your sail date. There is no set amount of days prior to a cruise when specialty restaurants appear, so check periodically.
For more Royal Caribbean dining information, such as what food is included with your cruise, drink package options, dining packages, and more, visit our Royal Caribbean food overview page.
Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!
Matt had the opportunity to try out some of the new technology Royal Caribbean will be rolling out to its ships over the next couple of years and shares his thoughts on the implications of this next-gen tech.
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!
U.S. News & World Reports published its Best Cruises Lines 2018, and Royal Caribbean came away with the top honor of being the Best Cruise Line for the Money.
Royal Caribbean also came in second place for Best Cruise Lines for Families, Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean and 8th place for Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean.
U.S. News & World Reports compiles its rankings based on "expert evaluations of cruise ship quality, reputation among travelers, results from health assessments conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other factors such as price class and itinerary offerings."
"There are a variety of cruise lines to consider when planning a vacation, and the Best Cruise Lines rankings offer insights to make that decision a little easier," said Gwen Shearman, travel editor at U.S. News. "By highlighting the best excursions, amenities and activities available on board for family vacations and romantic getaways alike, readers can narrow down their search based on their ideal vacation. If you're looking for a specific cruise line experience, we can help you find it."