Royal Caribbean offering third and fourth guests free on select Empress of the Seas sailings

In:
27Sep2016

Royal Caribbean is offering for a limited time third and fourth guests sailing free onboard Empress of the Seas.

The new 3rd and 4th passengers sailing free offer applies to Empress of the Seas sailings booked Sep. 26-Oct. 11, 2016 , on sailings departing Nov. 1, 2016-Dec 15, 2016. Offer excludes sailing departing Nov. 21, 2016.

Offer provides for free cruise fare of third and fourth guests booked in the same stateroom as the first two offer qualifying guests in a triple or quad occupancy stateroom. All other charges, including, but not limited to, taxes, fees and port expenses, are additional and apply to all guests.

Empress 3rd and 4th guests sail free Sail Free is combinable with Savings offers, BOGO offers, Instant Savings offers, Crown & Anchor discounts, and NextCruise offers. Empress 3rd and 4th guests sail free is not combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military). 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, Shareholder Benefits.

Offer available to residents of the United States and Canada.

Royal Caribbean creates Ultimate Abyss slide in Miami mall to promote Harmony of the Seas' arrival

In:
27Sep2016

If you are in the Miami area (or can be), then head over to the Aventura Mall to see Royal Caribbean's latest creation that previews one of the big thrills on its newest ship, Harmony of the Seas.

Guests in the mall can see a miniature replica of the thrilling slide found on the aft of Royal Caribbean's newest ship.  The slide is a limited-time marketing idea that aims to inform Floridians of Harmony of the Seas' imminent arrival in the area, as well as showcase one of the most impressive features of the ship.

Thanks to Erik Clauson aka Cruiseboy for providing these photos!

Video: Royal Caribbean's Royal Genies Curate a One-of-a-Kind Luxury Experience

In:
27Sep2016

Guests indulging in Royal Caribbean’s luxurious Star Class have the chance to enjoy the ultimate perk – a Royal Genie dedicated to building the ultimate personalized cruising experience. From planning once-in-a-lifetime destination adventures to a perfect dinner to celebrate a milestone, Royal Genies cater to their guests’ every whim – and create experiences that can’t even be imagined.

Royal Caribbean changes Allure of the Seas itinerary due to tropical disturbance Invest 97L

In:
27Sep2016

Royal Caribbean sent a letter to guests aboard Allure of the Seas yesterday to tell them that their itinerary will change due to the anticipated path of a tropical disturbance.

Allure of the Seas had been scheduled to sail on an Eastern Caribbean itinerary to the St. Thomas and St. Maarten.  Royal Caribbean noted that the path of this disturbance is expected to track through the east-southeast region of the Windward Islands.  For the safety and comfort of guests and crew, Royal Caribbean has decided to revise Allure of the Seas' itinerary as follows.

Day Port Arrival Departure
September 25 Port Everglades, Florida   4:30pm
September 26 Nassau, Bahamas 7:00am 2:00pm
September 27 At sea    
September 28 Labadee, Haiti 8:00am 4:00pm
September 29 Falmouth, Jamaica 9:00am 7:00pm
September 30 At sea    
October 1 At Sea    
October 2 Port Everglades, Florida 6:15am  

Guests that booked shore excursions in St. Thomas or St. Maarten will have those funds refunded to them in the form of onboard credit.  

The ship's Captain, Ronald Holmes, sent a letter to each guest's stateroom explaining the change, "We have been closely monitoring the storm to ensure you have an enjoyable, safe and comfortable cruise. Your safety and that of our crew members is always our foremost concern."

Thanks to Kevin Korman and TickledBlue for providing information in this post.

8 ways Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is different from other Oasis-class ships

In:
26Sep2016

Despite the fact Harmony of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's third Oasis-class cruise ship, she offers a number of different experiences that distinguish her from her sister ships.  While Royal Caribbean may build many ships within a class of vessels, they are not, "more of the same," when it comes to what these ships offer.

Harmony of the Seas is the newest Oasis-class ship and offers a lot of fun activities for guests to enjoy.  Here is our list of the top eight ways Harmony of the Seas is different from Allure of the Seas or Oasis of the Seas.

1. Art

Nearly every Royal Caribbean ship is different from each other in the art work featured all over the ship. Harmony of the Seas has thousands of art pieces that Royal Caribbean has added for guests to see as they explore the ship.

The art found onboard Harmony of the Seas consists of a $6.5 million art collection of more than 3,000 works. Inspired by the theme “The Wonder of Our World, The World We Live In”, artists from around the world – more than 60 countries, from Argentina and Australia to Greece and Morocco – created unique pieces to intrigue Royal Caribbean guests and crew, alike.

Once you get onboard Harmony of the Seas, be sure to explore the ship to discover the many pieces of art.  You will find art all over the ship, from the stairways to the restaurants, staterooms and even out on the decks.

2. Starbucks

If you have cruised on Allure of the Seas or Oasis of the Seas, you will know the go-to spot for a caffeine fix is Starbucks on the Royal Promenade.  However, if you want a latte, frappuccino or macchiato on Harmony of the Seas, you will have to look elsewhere.

Royal Caribbean decided to move Starbucks to the Boardwalk neighborhood, just outside the Carousel.

In addition to the new location, the Starbucks on Harmony of the Seas is more of a real store, with seating inside and bright, colorful designs all around.

Ordering your drinks at this Starbucks is very similar to ordering at any Starbucks location. The barista takes your order, as well as your payment. You then step to the preparation area and pick up your Starbucks drink when it is ready.

3. Water slides

One of the largest and noticeable differences to Harmony of the Seas is this Oasis-class ship offers a number of water slides for family fun throughout your cruise.

Copyright, Simon Brooke-Webb Photography

Harmony of the Seas features three water slides: Cyclone, Typhoon (the yellow and blue slides) and Supercell.

Cyclone and Typhoon racer slides twist and turn, while Supercell slide is a "champagne bowl" slide, which has clear sections so guests can see those riding the slide. Guests exit Supercell in the Beach Pool.

In short, these new slides are not only something unique to Harmony of the Seas, but a really fun spot for everyone in your family to take a wet, wild ride!

4. Ultimate Abyss

Speaking of slides, there is one more slide on Harmony of the Seas that involves no water, but does offer a really big thrill.

The Ultimate Abyss is a 10-story dry slide on the aft of the ship that is 150 feet above sea level.  Guests descend down one of two side-by-side slides that will accelerate down 10 decks at a speed of 9 miles per hour.

Unlike the water slides, guests are handed a black mat with an opening for one's feet.  All that someone has to do to ride is sit down, lean back, and while holding onto a strap, wait for their turn to go. Screaming optional.

5. New restaurant choices

Oasis-class ships are known for their many dining options, and there are two restaurants on Harmony of the Seas that are not available on Oasis-class ships.

Jamie's Italian is a specialty restaurant created by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver that offers rustic Italian dishes made from seasonal ingredients and tried and true recipes.  It is located in Central Park and replaces Giovanni's Table, which is available on the other Oasis-class ships.

In addition, Wonderland is available to guests on Harmony of the Seas. Wonderland is an imaginative take on specialty dining, where the experience is just as important as the food offered.

Wonderland debuted on Quantum-class ships first, but the Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas is actually the first two-story Wonderland restaurant.  It is only natural for the Wonderland on an Oasis-class ship be larger than any other!

6. Grease

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas made big news when the cruise line added the first Broadway show at sea back in 2009, and Harmony of the Seas continues that tradition with the hit Broadway classic, Grease.

The all-new stage production, specially adapted by Royal Caribbean Productions, boasts a soundtrack of crowd favorites such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Born to Hand-Jive,” “Beauty School Dropout” and more.

Not only is Grease an entertaining and fun show to watch, it is a great example of the first class entertainment Royal Caribbean is known for.

7. Lots more new entertainment

Speaking of shows, Royal Caribbean did not just "copy and paste" its entertainment line-up from other Oasis-class ships for Harmony of the Seas.  A number of brand new productions are available on Harmony of the Seas that are shown throughout the ship and a brand-new experience for all guests.

In addition to Grease, there is a lot more wonderful entertainment to enjoy. Here are some of our favorites

Columbus, The Musical!: An original Royal Caribbean production created in the spirit of “Spamalot” and “Something Rotten,” the story recounts the imagined history of Marvin Columbus, Christopher’s fictional, down on his luck, distant cousin. A breathtaking and revolutionary set design, transporting the audience across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, will awe the entire family and adults will thoroughly enjoy the smart, nuanced humor.

The Fine Line: A journey from extreme to extraordinary, The Fine Line is the AquaTheater redefined with high-flying feats, mind blowing stunts and physically demanding acrobatics brought to life by the world’s best extreme-sport athletes.  Designed as a 360° immersive entertainment show, revelers will be wishing for eyes in the back of their head to take in all the action happening around them.

1887: An original Royal Caribbean production about love and adventure that begins in Paris on February 14, 1887 at the height of the career of Jules Verne, renowned author of timeless adventure novels such as “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (1864), “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” (1870), and “Around the World in Eighty Days” (1873).

Puzzle Break Escape the Rubicon: A 60-minute escape room game, where guests must work together to solve a puzzle from the hidden clues in the room that will eventually unravel the mystery of the Rubicon.

Totally Awesome 90s: Harmony of the Seas debuts the evolution of Royal Caribbean’s much-loved Promenade 70s Party as the clock is pushed forward to the 90s. Guests can party it up in a new era when soundtracks are dominated by teen pop, dance-pop and the growing popularity of hip hop. A live DJ spinning favorite 90s hits, live pop-up performances and crazy neon track suits set the stage to transport party goers back to this totally awesome decade.

8. Bionic Bar

Harmony of the Seas is the first Oasis-class ship to offer the same robotic bar that made headlines on the Quantum-class of ships, the Bionic Bar.

The idea is simple: guests place orders via tablets and then can watch the robot bartenders start mixing the cocktails. Bionic Bar combines two big trends, robotics and mixology.

The single armed robot will get the ice, mints and lemon and then squeeze and shake them to make your drink. Eventually, there wont be a limit on what the drinks the robots can make. The customization is what Royal Caribbean is aiming for.

Royal Caribbean to call at the Kingdom of Tonga for the first time

In:
26Sep2016

Royal Caribbean announced it will offer cruise stops at the Tongan ports of Vava'u on December 12, 2016 and Nuku’alofa on December 13, 2016 for the very first time.

Radiance of the Seas will offer these new stops in the 2016/2017 cruise season, as part of a 13-night South Pacific, Fiji and Tonga journey.  The cruise begins in Sydney on December 3 2016, and calls at the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia, Lifou in the Loyalty Islands, Suva and Lautoka in Fiji, as well as Tonga, before arriving in Auckland. 

The two new destinations offer a host of experiences unique to Tonga for guests to enjoy, such as the islands of Vava’u are renowned for their coral gardens and sparkling lagoons, while Nuku’alofa, capital of Tonga and home to the only royal family in the Pacific Islands, is a thriving hub of island charm and regal tradition. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the islands further with a range of optional excursions, including whale-watching and snorkeling in Vava’u and a cultural tour in Nuku’alofa.

"We’ve had our eye on Tonga as a destination for our guests for some time, with its vibrant culture, diverse marine life and stunning natural beauty," says Adam Armstrong, managing director for Royal Caribbean International in Australia and New Zealand.

"Radiance of the Seas is the perfect size for us to explore new ports in our region, paving the way for a number of new, exciting destinations for our guests."

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: September 25, 2016

In:
25Sep2016

Happy Sunday! We are celebrating the first full weekend of fall with our pumpkin-flavored coffee and sharing all of the Royal Caribbean news from this week!

Sit back, and enjoy this week's round-up.

The big Royal Caribbean news this week is the announcement that all three Oasis class ships will meet in early November for an epic photo opportunity.

Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley made the announcement onboard Allure of the Seas that Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas will appear together on November 4, 2016.

Royal Caribbean will have a helicopter ready to shoot photos and videos of the event, which is sure to be an incredible sight.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 164th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we review the changes to Royal Caribbean's beverage packages.

In this episode, Matt provides an update on the revamped drink packages that debuted the other week.  Royal Caribbean has simplified the offerings and Matt breaks down what the changes are and if a drink package is something you should purchase.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around The Internet

Royal Caribbean UK shares their ideas for what to wear onboard.

Express interviewed a surfing champion, who says everyone should learn to surf on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

International Travel Report reports Grandeur of the Seas received a perfect health score from the CDC.

In Africa and Beyond shares the magic of cruising, as experienced on Splendour of the Seas.

Friday Happy Hour: Margaritas at Sabor on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
23Sep2016

Looking for an unique margarita? Well, look no further than Sabor Modern Mexican!

Located on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas, this contemporary take on Mexican cuisine is something of a hidden gem.  Word is getting around about Sabor among Royal Caribbean fans, but guests new to Royal Caribbean may not yet know about the frankly amazing food and drink at Sabor.  

Sabor Modern Mexican has earned itself a solid reputation for its fresh, authentic food that boasts an impressive selection of Mexican dishes across their menu (including some amazing tuna tacos), and a staff with a passion and knowledge about what they serve.

When you talk about a Mexican meal, margaritas may quickly come to mind and if you have a reservation to dine at Sabor on your next Royal Caribbean cruise, then you need to need to treat yo self and indulge in their margarita list!

So, join me as I try the various margaritas found on the Sabor Modern Mexican menu.

Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas

Once seated at Sabor for lunch or dinner, your waiter will provide you with a menu of the available margaritas.  Some of the margaritas are hand crafted at your table, while the others are freshly made behind-the-scenes.

Margarita list

Featured margaritas are made table side

Of course, for "research purposes," we have no choice but to try all the margaritas from the margarita menu.  Across various Royal Caribbean ships, we have tried these great cocktails and it is easy to find a favorite.

We will begin with my personal favorite, the Avocado Margarita.  It is smooth, flavorful and has (a lot of) smooth Patrón tequila.

The Avocado Margarita consists of Patrón Silver tequila, orange liqueur, avocado and lime juice. Rimmed with Aleppo pepper/lime salt.  I dare you not to like this one.

If you are more of a traditionalist, there are two good choices for you.  First up, is the Sabor Grand Margarita.

The Sabor Grand is great for anyone who is either new to margaritas or prefers a fruitier taste to their fine Mexican beverages.  It is made of Patron Reposado tequila, Grand Marnier and Cedilla Acai liqueurs with lime juice.  The Cedilla Acai is what gives this drink its red color, and also adds a pleasant flavor.

The Simply Perfect Margarita is very similar, but more of a classic look and taste.

With a name like Simply Perfect, there are some high expectations set and I am happy to report it does not disappoint.  Unlike many conventional margaritas, there is no compromising on the tequila or flavor of the drink.  Patrón Reposado tequila, Patrón Citrónage liqueur with lime and orange juice makes for a very solid beverage.

If you fancy yourself a more adventurous margarita drinker, there are two margaritas that are great for you.

First up is the Sweet and Spice Margarita.  As the name implies, it starts off with a sweet, traditional margarita taste but once the drink passes by your lips, your mouth will be left with a little kick to it.

The Sweet and Spice Margarita is definitely a different kind of drink, and perfect for anyone that wants something different from the usual kind of drinks one might get a restaurant.  Different does not have a negative connotation, rather, it means there is little like this unique margarita.

Speaking of spice, if you prefer a little less sweet and a little more spice, go for the Jalapeño-Cucumber Margarita.

When you have bits of jalapeño floating in the drink, rest assured that this is not a wimpy drink.  It is made of Don Julio Plata tequila. Cointreau liqueur, cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and for fans of spicy, this is the perfect margarita to compliment the food that can also be ordered spicy.  A good tip is to ask your waiter to make the table side guacamole extra spicy too, and you are sure to destroy many of your taste buds by the end of the meal!

You might note that we have included all of the margaritas from the menu, but we have a bonus margarita to share!  While dining at Sabor Modern Mexican a third time during our cruise (I'm only human!), our waiter inquired if we wanted to try a margarita that is not listed on the menu, the Mezcal Margarita.  Not being one to shy away for hard-hitting "research," I bravely ventured forth into this brave new margarita world.

Our waiter explained that Mezcal is agave-based liquor. Tequila must be made from the Blue Agave. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from more than 30 varieties of agave, including the Blue Agave. What you need to know is that Mezcal has a smoky flavor to it, and it is unlike any other margarita on Sabor's menu.  I really enjoyed it and only wish I knew about it earlier!

I cannot be certain the Mezcal Margarita will be available on your sailing, but if you want something different, there is no harm in asking for it. 

Since Sabor Modern Mexican opened on Navigator of the Seas, the restaurant catapulted to the top of my favorites list and I look forward to seeing (and tasting) whatever come up with next!

What is your favorite margarita flavor? Please let us know with a comment below!

Friday Photos

In:
23Sep2016

Welcome to this week's edition of Friday Photos, where we showcase our readers favorite Royal Caribbean photos.  If we all cannot be on a Royal Caribbean cruise at the moment, then the next best thing is to look at photos of a cruise longingly as a means of getting a "cruise fix."

If you want to submit your photos for a future Friday Photos post, be sure to send them to us via this form.

Our first photo this week is from Julie and it is of Empress of the Seas.  A quick anecdote about Empress of the Seas, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley mentioned earlier this week that in its internal guest satisfaction surveys, Empress of the Seas scored at the top of the list recently.  It is a fun little ship!

Next, we have a photo of Dan's daughter & son-in-law ice skating on Freedom of the Seas.  Cruising is such a great multi-generational vacation experience and ice skating at sea is just plain fun for everyone!

I absolutely never get sick of sunset photos, and here is one from Vision of the Seas as taken by Krisztina Benko.  Beautiful!

Matt shared this photo of his kids, Matty and Kennedy, in Falmouth while cruising on Liberty of the Seas.  Balloon animals and a cruise on a ship with amazing water slides equals an awesome vacation!

Bill Higgins sent us this photo of the Aqua Theater sign on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.  Check out the diver in mid-jump behind the sign!

Todd Raucci sent us this photo from CocoCay, waiting to head back their Royal Caribbean ship.  Looks like another beautiful day in CocoCay!

Our last photo this week is from the behind-the-scenes Culinary Tour on Anthem of the Seas. Lauren Ogonowski sent it in, and this is a shot of where all the bread on the ship is made fresh daily.  Pass me a savory bite!

That wraps up this week's edition of Friday Photos. If you want your Royal Caribbean photo featured here, use this form to send them in!

Patti LaBelle performs for guests aboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas during President's Cruise

In:
22Sep2016

Guests aboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas were treated to a special performance by Grammy award-winning legendary artist Patti LaBelle.

The VIP performance was for guests on the first-ever Royal Caribbean President's Cruise that featured President and CEO Michael Bayley

LaBelle was onboard to treat members of the cruise line’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program to an exclusive performance of her best hits including “Lady Marmalade,” “New Attitude,” “On My Own” and “You Are My Friend.”

During the special seven-night Caribbean cruise, sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, FL,  guests onboard Allure are visiting popular ports of call including Nassau, The Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.

Pages