2018 Royal Caribbean Beverage Package Info, Tips, Pros & Cons

In:
15Jan2018

A Royal Caribbean beverage package offers the choice to enjoy an unlimited amount of drinks for a fixed daily price. This post offers tips for saving money with these drink packages and our reviews of the various plans.  

We will get to what each version of Royal Caribbean's Beverage Packages include and whether the Royal Caribbean Drink Package is worth the money below.  Our tips and opinions are based on our first-hand experiences with the drink packages, and the current versions for this year.  

Before we get to the dollars and cents, let us cover some basics.  For those who are unfamiliar with it, Royal Caribbean's drink packages are a fixed daily cost plan offered on all Royal Caribbean ships so guests can budget their beverage costs in advance and (potentially) save money.  The various plans provide guests with unlimited drinks that can be used at any bar or restaurant on Royal Caribbean ships (and private destinations).  The drink package benefits are available on the guest's SeaPass card or WOWband, which any waiter or bartender can verify they have the package.

Royal Caribbean guests wishing to purchase a drink package can do so either prior to their cruise via the Cruise Planner web site or once onboard their ship. Once purchased, you must pay for the package for the duration of your cruise.  If purchased during your cruise, guests will pay for the remaining nights of their cruise.

Let’s get more into the nitty-gritty of the 2018 Royal Caribbean drink package…

The drink packages can be redeemed at pretty much any restaurant or bar on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship or private destination.  There are only two places a drink package cannot be used: room service and stateroom mini-bars.

A lot of information exists about Royal Caribbean drink packages, with most of the focus on whether or not the package makes financial sense.  In fact, our most popular articles concerning Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol packages include Are the unlimited drink packages worth it, Answers to common Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol package questions,  Should you buy the unlimited alcohol packages. Frequent users of Royal Caribbean's drink packages become pretty adept at getting more bang for their buck on the packages, but with some advance planning, first-time Royal Caribbean cruisers can also make the most of the packages.

From time to time, Royal Caribbean sometimes offers discounts to its guests on the drink package price. These discounts are offered selectively and can vary in terms of how much the discount is and for which sailings they are eligible.  Nearly all discounts we have seen are offered prior to the cruise on the Cruise Planner web site. These discounts have the potential to add to the potential value a guest can get from a drink package, but remember any discount does not necessarily make the value proposition a drink package offers a "slam dunk" deal.

Before even booking a drink package, you should determine roughly how many drinks per day you think you can and will drink over the course of your cruise.  For some folks, 5-6 drinks per day is easy, while others may think that is a lot every day of a cruise.

That is probably enough background on Royal Caribbean's drink packages.  You likely still have some more questions, and we will dig into them below and get them answered.  For a simple system, it can be surprisingly complex, do not feel bad if it takes some reading before you fully understand how the drink package works and whether it is a good for for your party.


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Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: January 14, 2018

In:
14Jan2018

Welcome to this week's round-up of all the Royal Caribbean news and happenings.  Hope you are staying warm and are ready to cozy up to some great Royal Caribbean fun.

Grandeur of the Seas had to go in for immediate repairs to fix an issue with her rudder earlier this week.

During a sailing, Royal Caribbean notified guests that Grandeur of the Seas was experiencing a technical issue which limits the operation of one of the two rudders used to steer the ship. As a result, the ship would be delayed in returning to Baltimore by two days.

The repairs took place on January 11, with the ship returning to Baltimore on January 13.  This caused the current sailing to be extended by two days and the next sailing to be shortened by two days.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 232nd episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we talk about what to do if the price of your Royal Caribbean cruise drops.

Getting the best possible price for your cruise vacation is a goal every savvy traveler seeks, and on this week's episode, Annette and Matt talk about how to find price drops and what to do if the price does indeed change.

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

Orlando Sentinel listed five new cruise ships slated for Florida debuts in 2018.

Eat Sleep Cruise listed 10 signs you are addicted to Royal Caribbean.

Cruise Habit explained cruise line transfers that get you to and from your cruise.

Top 10 tips for going on a Royal Caribbean cruise solo

In:
12Jan2018

Going on a Royal Caribbean cruise by yourself may sounds like a weird idea and feel intimidating, but in reality, it is an incredibly enjoyable experience.  If you have never taken a cruise solo before, it may seem off-putting, but if you talk to those that have done it before, it is a great decision.

If you are thinking of taking a solo Royal Caribbean cruise, here are some good tips for making the experience even better!

10. Look for solo cabins...

Did you know that Royal Caribbean offers some staterooms designed specifically for those that cruise alone?

These studio staterooms are available on select Royal Caribbean ships, and offer a private stateroom without a single supplement fee. Quite often, the single supplement fee is equivalent to double the cost of a single guest. Because the cruise lines business model depends on staterooms filled with at least two guests in them, single supplement fees have been the means of ensuring the cruise line is not taking a loss on a solo cruiser.

With single staterooms, there is no single supplement fee. When Royal Caribbean added these rooms, they designed them to be respective of the ship's business model and this means solo cruisers do not have to pay double the cost of what the cruise should be.

9. ...but regular cabins work too

Studio staterooms are a wonderful idea, but there are very few of them and they tend to sell out quickly.   As a solo cruiser, paying for a traditional stateroom has two distinct advantages that should not be overlooked.

First, Royal Caribbean will give you double Crown and Anchor Society points per night of your cruise if you book a traditional stateroom alone (and triple points if you book a suite by yourself).  This means you can move up the Crown and Anchor Society levels quite quickly!

Second, booking a standard stateroom provides many more choices of room types, along with a lot more living space. Studio rooms can be a good financial decision, but they are not spacious, nor do they typically offer a balcony.

In short, while paying a single supplement fee is not ideal, it is not the worst idea either.  In fact, many solo cruisers book regular rooms with an eye on getting a good deal to make it worthwhile.

8. Don't be afraid to dine alone

Just because you are cruising alone does not mean you should skip sit down meals in the fabulous restaurants on your Royal Caribbean cruise.

While you can certainly relegate yourself to dining in the Windjammer, Cafe Promenade, and other grab-and-go spots, you would be doing a disservice to yourself by skipping the other restaurants.

Most importantly, it will not be weird or awkward if you go to a specialty restaurant or main dining room alone. Most people likely will not even notice, and plenty of guests with family onboard opt to dine alone for a variety of reasons.  The bottom line is dining alone is not a bad thing, it should be embraced!

By going solo, you get to choose the restaurants you want to dine at and eat at your pace.

7. Splurge!

If you are going to cruise alone, take advantage of the fact you only have to pay for yourself and treat yo self.  After all, this is your vacation, so enjoy it!

Book a massage at the spa, or try a new shore excursion.  Pick up an unlimited alcohol package, or upgrade to a nicer stateroom and make your solo cruise your best one yet.

6. Talk to crew members

While you may not know any other guests onboard, make a special effort to talk to crew members.

Royal Caribbean crew members are friendly to all guests, so if you are cruising solo, getting a chance to talk up your waiters, stateroom attendant or bar servers is a great way to not only feel like you are talking to other people, but get to know some really fun and interesting people.

Crew members are not just a great communication outlet, they are a great resource for learning tips and tricks on shore, as well as hearing stories about past cruises.

5. Meet internet friends

If you would like to see a few friendly faces onboard your ship, make an effort prior to your cruise to meet others who will be on your sailing via the internet.  One thing the internet is fabulous at is helping connect people.

To find people on your Royal Caribbean cruise, try one these resources:

You are under no obligation to spend all cruise with these people.  However, you never know who you might meet and even if you get together to share a bus on an excursion or just a couple drinks at the bar, it can be a great opportunity to talk to other people.

4. Travel at your pace

Cruising solo means you get to do what you want, when you want it.  When you cruise with other people, almost anything you do involves ensuring they want to do it as well (unless you are inconsiderate, of course). But cruising solo is all about you.

When you cruise solo, you can be as flexible as you like, and try something you have always wanted to experience.  When you are by yourself, you can easily pivot and do things on the fly, as there is no collaborative element. Not having any plan may make you feel somewhat “naked” at first, but it is another way to have a different type of day on Royal Caribbean. Spontaneity is one of the highlights of a solo cruise.

3. Share your experience

Social media can be your lifeline to the outside world. While there is something to be said for actually experiencing what you are doing rather than sharing the supposed experience, a solo trip is somewhat different because it gives you a chance to engage with others.

Part of what makes a trip with others fun is sharing those little moments in the parks with someone else. Sharing online provides a quick and easy way to have a semblance of that, while still traveling solo. 

There are many great online groups that would not only welcome your membership, but relish in living vicariously through your adventures.  Here are a few of our favorites

Oh, and be sure to bring an external battery charger for your phone. The dullness of sitting around by yourself can dramatically increase your use of your phone, which will use a lot of battery.

2. Try lots of activities

If you are feeling lonely, or simply want to meet other guests onboard, embrace the daily activities offered on your cruise ship.  

Your cruise director and staff pack the Cruise Compass with lots of great activities from morning to late night, and that means plenty of opportunity to meet other guests. Since all of the events involve many guests, the fact you are by yourself is irrelevant.  It is not only a great way to get involved with the fun onboard, but you get immersed with other guests and you may find yourself making new friends.

Cruising solo may allow you to get out of your usual cruise routine and try out a new activity.  Having the opportunity to see shows, participate in contests, or get together for meets is a great way to not only expand your Royal Caribbean cruise experience, but strike up conversations with others.

1. Take a class or tour

Royal Caribbean offers a number of classes and tours that are perfect for any number of guests, including solo cruisers.

Sign up for a cooking class, try out a fitness course, or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship.  These are just some of the fun ways to participate onboard. Moreover, these activities are intrinsically enjoyed alone, which makes them perfect for solo cruisers.

Your thoughts

Have you taken a solo Royal Caribbean cruise? Any additional tips? Are you thinking of going solo on Royal Caribbean? Does a solo trip seem like something you would enjoy, or would you miss being with your friends or family? Hearing from you is half the fun, so if you have other thoughts or questions, please share in the comments!

Friday Photos

In:
12Jan2018

Get your weekend started with our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos! Each week, we show off Royal Caribbean photos that our readers submitted.  It is a great way to enjoy lovely photos, as well as take a "virtual trip" back on a cruise.

Our first photo is of a foggy Anthem of the Seas in Portland, taken by Loren and Carrie Sullivan.

Speaking of Anthem of the Seas, here is a photo of her in Labadee, taken by Anoop.

Check out this beautiful photo of the Milky Way by Ken "CookingYo" Licwinko, talken on Jewel of the Seas from his balcony!

I think Martine's photo of cocktails on the top deck of Harmony of the Seas captures the essence of what we all want in a cruise right now: clear skies, a warm breeze, and cold cocktail!

Dennis Chimelis shared this great sunset photo with Majesty of the Seas visible on the horizon.

Here is a photo of Belinda Maxwell on the left side of the photo, with a look at the Royal Promenade on Independence of the Seas.

Our final photo this week is by Bob & Trish Kaelblein playing mini golf on Oasis of the Seas.

Thank you to everyone for this week's fabulous photos. If you would like to send in your own Royal Caribbean photos to be featured here, use this form to have them included in a future edition!

10 ways to save money on your 2018 Royal Caribbean vacation

In:
11Jan2018

Are you looking to take a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2018 without breaking your budget?  This post is aimed at helping you figure out ways to budget for the vacation to save money! To help you get the most out of your vacation dollars, we’re here with 10 money-saving tips for your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

Regardless of your budget, it is never a bad idea to consider ways to save more money. Some may find cutting spending onboard is the only way to make a Royal Caribbean cruise financially viable, while others may find cost savings a means of affording more to do onboard (or a second cruise).

Here are some of our recommendations for saving money on your 2018 Royal Caribbean cruise vacation.  Not all of these strategies may be for everyone, but the hope is at least one (if not more) will result in more money in your pocket and that generally makes everyone happier.  

10. Bring your own wine

Did you know that Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom on their Royal Caribbean cruise?

Each bottle of wine may be up to 750ml in size and should be brought on in the luggage you carry onto the ship. Do not put the wine in the luggage you hand over to the porters on embarkation day.

Wine lovers will be able to bring a couple of bottles of their favorite wine on their cruise at a savings compared to purchasing the wine onboard.  Moreover, bringing your own wine means you will save money on your total bar tab during your cruise.

My favorite aspect of bringing your own wine is if you do not finish the bottle of wine, Royal Caribbean can store the wine for you and deliver it another restaurant at that time.

It is important to be aware that Royal Caribbean will charge you a corkage fee for personal wines opened at any restaurant or lounge onboard.  Even with the corkage fee, you will still save a significant amount of money compared to purchasing a bottle of wine onboard.

9. Buy a specialty dining package

Specialty restaurants are an optional way to gastronomically indulge while on your Royal Caribbean cruise, and these days, it seems like specialty dining has never been more popular.  If you have your heart set on trying out places like Sabor, Izumi or Chops Grille, you should consider buying a dining package to save money overall.

Royal Caribbean offers on most, if not all, of its cruise ships specialty dining packages, where guests can dine at 2, 3, 4, or 5 specialty restaurants during their cruise for one low cost. The advantage is these packages cost less than trying to book the same restaurants individually.  Of course, you could forgo specialty dining completely and really save some money, but there is no reason to not save some cash when checking out these favorites.

Your best bet is to purchase the dining packages on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner and to read the terms and conditions of how they function.  There is no question these packages will save you money on specialty dining, provided you were planning on eating out while onboard in the first place.

8. Do most of your drinking on shore

In our experience, Royal Caribbean's drink prices are about what we pay for drinks at many restaurants on land, but there is no question you will save money by drinking at the ports of call you visit compared to onboard.

Bars and restaurants at the ports your Royal Caribbean ship will visit regularly offer cheaper drink prices for beers and cocktails and that can mean big savings if you can wait to enjoy some drinks when on land, compared to on your ship.

Depending on your itinerary, this strategy may be more lucrative than others, but it is a good way to indulge in your favorite mixed drink or cerveza for a lower cost.

7. Look for drink specials onboard

If you are going to enjoy a few cocktails onboard your Royal Caribbean ship, you can avoid paying top dollar for them. When looking at Royal Caribbean drink prices, many guests base their math of whether a drink package makes sense off the regular price for drinks, but in reality, there are drink specials all around the ship that bring that price down.

One of the best ways to get a deal on a cocktail is to order the drink of the day.  The drink of the day is a select cocktail that changes every day, which has about a 20% discount on it and is available from most bars onboard.  You can just ask the bartender or waiter what the drink of the day is and take advantage of those savings.

In addition, individual ships will run their own bar specials, like 2 for 1 deals, drink combo deals and other happy hour discounts.  The exact details of a drink special will vary from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing, but it is important to understand that they exist.  

To find drink specials, consult the Cruise Compass for some advertised deals, as well as walk around bars and look for posted signs.

6. Use credit cards before your cruise

Personal fiscal responsibility aside, proper use of a credit card can definitely save you some money on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean has its own branded Visa credit card, which allows guests to earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit on future cruises (as well as other rewards too).

For each purchase made with the credit card, you can earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit or even free cruises.

Of course, there are lots of other credit cards out there with various reward programs that can help offset the cost of your cruise.  Credit card reward programs with cash back bonus are popular options. Regardless of which card you use, if you can manage to pay off each month's balance on time, you ought to be rake in the credit card rewards quickly, which can go towards paying for the cruise, or the various costs associated with the cruise (new clothes, airfare, hotels, etc).

5. Book shore excursions on your own

At each port of call you visit, Royal Caribbean will offer plenty of shore excursions to consider, however you might look past those excursions to save more money.

While Royal Caribbean's shore excursions offer convenience and reliability, they tend to cost more and (arguably more importantly) involve larger groups that move at a slower pace.  Instead, consider booking shore excursions on your own.  This will likely save you money, or at the very least offer you more variety in options available as well as customization in what you see and do.

In many ports, you can skip booking an excursion all together and simply walk off the ship and start exploring the port.  Taking a taxi into town, walking the streets and discovering things around you are at the core of what makes port days so much fun. 

If you are looking to book a shore excursion on your own, we recommend planning it out before your cruise.  This will give you time to consider all options, research the tour operator, and find the best prices.

4. Book spa treatments on port days

Royal Caribbean's Vitality Spa is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a treatment that is customized for you and feel rejuvenated.  While the spa is a magical place for those looking to relax, it can also be expensive.  The key to saving money on the spa is to wait for port days to book a treatment.

The spa is open everyday of your cruise, but on days your cruise ship is docked in a port, they will often run much better deals to convince guests to stay onboard and indulge in a treatment.  The Vitality Spa is a business, and when the ship is in port, most guests are off the ship exploring, which means the spa is not nearly as busy.  As a result, they will run different specials that are more lucrative than normal to get folks to book something and stay onboard.

You can inquire about port day specials at any point in your cruise at the Vitality Spa desk and see if it looks like a good deal to you.  Often, the port day spa specials are the best overall values found in the spa.

3. Put your phone into airplane mode

This tip has more to do with not incurring a large bill when you get home.  These days, a smartphone is as essential to bring on a cruise as sunglasses or your passport, but if you do not prepare your device properly, it could cost you a lot of money.

Before your ship is ready to sail away, be sure to put it into airplane mode, which disables your phone's ability to use a cellular signal.  The reason you want to do this is once your cruise ship leaves your home country, your phone will look for a signal outside the regular cellular network and connect to the ship's cell tower, which is known as roaming.  Roaming means you are out of network, and will result in high fees for pretty much anything you do that uses the cellular signal.

You should place the phone into airplane mode, and then be confident in using your phone for taking photos, playing games or even connecting to the ship's WiFi without fear of a monster bill later that month.

2. Skip the souvenir glass

Imagine this: you are on the pool deck, enjoying another beautiful at sea and suddenly you see a drink station set up with the cutest glowing/flashing/colorful glasses.  They are cool looking and the drink inside looks even better, but you are better off asking for that tasty cocktail sans souvenir cup.

The souvenir cups are nice, but it tacks on a few extra dollars to the cost.  You can ask for the same drink without the souvenir glass/mug/pineapple and save on the cost of the drink.  This saves you money, but you still get to enjoy drinks by the pool.

1. Use a travel agent

The best way to ensure you are getting the lowest price on your Royal Caribbean vacation is to use a travel agent. Regardless of if this is your first or fiftieth cruise, a travel agent is a worthwhile "investment," and the best part is they are free to use!

Travel agents provide great service to folks looking to take a Royal Caribbean cruise because they are keyed in on the latest promotions and they can be your best advocate for finding promotions that help you, not just the day you book but every day until final payment.

A good travel agent will be able to assist with the booking process, and give you every single permutation of pricing to figure out which itinerary, stateroom or promotion makes the most sense for you.  I cannot count the time I have saved by having the travel agent jump through the proverbial hoops for me to figure out what is the best deal for my family.

The reality is you only stand to benefit from using a good travel agent, both in convenience and time saved.

Your thoughts

Do you have any of your own money-saving strategies when on a Royal Caribbean cruise, or perhaps saving for a Royal Caribbean vacation? Disagree with any of our tips? Share your thoughts in the comments!

4 Easy steps for getting a Royal Caribbean dining package

In:
10Jan2018

Have you heard about Royal Caribbean's specialty dining packages? These are convenient options that allow you to enjoy multiple specialty restaurants on your Royal Caribbean cruise at a discount.  By purchasing a package, you can save a fair amount of money compared to trying to eat in the same amount of specialty restaurants individually.

If you have not heard of the dining packages before, or want to learn more about how they work, check out this overview

If you are considering purchasing a specialty restaurant package, here are the four easy steps you need to follow to ensure you have a fabulous dining experience once onboard.

1. Pick a dining package

This may seem obvious, but you will start off with actually purchasing a dining package before your cruise via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.

Royal Caribbean offers a number of dining packages, so compare the offerings for your sailing and see which fits your needs the best.  Deciding on the right dining package boils down to how many specialty restaurants you would like to dine at during the cruise.  Some guests like to sprinkle in specialty dining, while others prefer to dine exclusively at a specialty restaurant.

If you do not see any specialty dining packages listed yet for your cruise, don't worry.  That may simply be a result of your sail date being too far from now.  You will just have to periodically check back, as there is no set window of time when Cruise Planner purchases like a dining package become available.  You just have to check back now and then to see if they are available.

2. Pick a time for first meal

Once you pick the right dining package for you, you will have to select a day and time for your first meal. 

Part of the arrangement with any dining plan, is you must dine at one restaurant on either the first or second day of your cruise.  The Cruise Planner site will allow you to pick a day and time, although not the restaurant.  

You should not worry too much about the day and time you pick, nor the restaurant Royal Caribbean will pick for you, because you can always change this once onboard the ship (we will get to that in step 4).

Pick a day and time that make some sense to you and then go ahead and purchase the package.

3. Consult the Cruise Compass for schedule of events

Between when you purchase the dining package and your actual cruise, carve out some time to look at a schedule of events to get a sense of when you might be busy, and conversely, want to dine at a specialty restaurant.

Royal Caribbean does not publish a schedule of entertainment in advance of your cruise, so your best bet is to look at a past Cruise Compass for a recent sailing on the same ship you are going on soon.  While the Compass is for a past sailing, a lot of the schedule of events (especially the evening show times) tend to be the same from sailing to sailing. 

Your goal is to look at the show times, and then figure out which restaurants you would like to dine at and at what time.  

The reason you want to do this now, and not on your ship, is this will save you time once you get onboard.  Plus, you will be one step ahead of everyone else and that means less time on your cruise planning, and more time having fun!

4. Make reservations once onboard

The last step is board your Royal Caribbean cruise and on embarkation day, make reservations for your specialty restaurants as early as you can.  Booking the restaurants on embarkation day and as early in the day as you can will ensure you the largest array of availability.

You can go to any specialty restaurant or Guest Services to make reservations for your dining package.  Alternatively, we have seen on some Royal Caribbean ships stations set up exclusively for those with dining packages to make their reservations quickly.  Look in the Cruise Compass when you board the ship for that option.

If you completed the previous step, this step will be quite quick.  You can always change your mind later about restaurants and/or times, but locking in reservations early will provide you the most choices.

Royal Caribbean holding Symphony of the Seas preview event in London

In:
10Jan2018

Attention all Brits, Royal Caribbean is inviting you to preview Symphony of the Seas at a special event in London!

Between February 2 and 3, 2018, the public is invited to "a first ever interactive, theatrical cruise experience on dry land and gain an exclusive preview of what will be the world’s newest and largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas."

The event is in Central London, and tickets are free. You simply need to register online.

Symphony of the Seas will be the fourth Oasis class cruise ship, and will launch in April 2018, offering cruises to the Mediterranean.

How to check for price drops on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
10Jan2018

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

Episode 232 is available for downloading, where we share how to check for price drops in your cruise fare and how to take advantage of it.

Matt and Annette talk about what to do if your Royal Caribbean cruise price drops, and share tips for locking in th enew price.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 232. 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!

Royal Caribbean announces immediate repairs to Grandeur of the Seas

In:
09Jan2018

Royal Caribbean informed guests scheduled to sail on Grandeur of the Seas, that the next sailing will be delayed due to an immediate repair need.

In an email to guests, Royal Caribbean indicated that Grandeur of the Seas is currently experiencing a technical issue which limits the operation of one of the two rudders used to steer the ship.

The cruise line went on to explain, "While the ship is fully operational, in an abundance of safety, we will be making the repairs immediately." Moreover, Royal Caribbean apologized for the schedule change, "We are very sorry for this impact to your vacation and thank you for your patience."

As a result of the repairs, the January 11, 2018 sailing has a new departure date of Saturday, January 13th.

Royal Caribbean is actively working through the details and will have another update today at 12:30 PM EST. This update will include boarding times on Saturday, compensation details and all other necessary information.

1:00PM EASTERN UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has provided an update on the shortened Grandeur of the Seas sailing.

Compensation details

Royal Caribbean will offer guests sailing on the shortened Grandeur of the Seas sailing a 50% refundable Onboard Credit to their account.  This amount will be based on the cruise fare portion paid, non-inclusive of taxes and fees.  If their onboard spend does not reach this amount, the remaining balance will go to the credit card on file.

If guests are unable to travel and need to cancel their cruise, Royal Caribbean will provide them with a refund to their original form of payment.  

For guests flying in

For Air2Sea guests or guests that purchased air directly with Royal Caribbean, Royal Caribbean will be reaching out to work through new travel arrangements.

If guests purchased air on your own, Royal Caribbean will be reimbursing change fees of up to $200 per person for Domestic flights and up to $300 per person for International flights (change in airline reservations must be like-for-like cabin class and a faxed/email copy of air fees assessed must be provided for reimbursement).  Please submit receipts to RoyalGuestRelations@rccl.com.

Pre-purchased items

If guests have a pre-purchased beverage package or an internet package, Royal Caribbean will provide them with a refund of the prorated 2 days.

Itinerary update & check-in

Day

Date

Port Name

Arrival Time

Departure Time

Sat

1/13/2018

Baltimore, Maryland

 

4:00 PM

Sun

1/14/2018

Cruising

 

 

Mon

1/15/2018

Port Canaveral, Florida

12:30 PM

9:00 PM

Tue

1/16/2018

Nassau, Bahamas

2:00 PM

11:59 PM

Wed

1/17/2018

Cococay, Bahamas

8:00 AM

5:00 PM

Thu

1/18/2018

Cruising

 

 

Fri

1/19/2018

Cruising

 

 

Sat

1/20/2018

Baltimore, Maryland

7:00 AM

 

Cruising with kids on Royal Caribbean

In:
09Jan2018

A Royal Caribbean cruise is a great family vacation choice, where both they and you can enjoy plenty of fun at sea and on shore.

Royal Caribbean welcomes children of all ages, and you will find plenty of other families on all Royal Caribbean sailings.  In fact, Royal Caribbean offers a variety of activities and programming for children and their families to ensure there is plenty to do onboard.  Royal Caribbean has dedicated facilities for children, where trained crew members supervise the children and guide them through different daily offerings.

What's available for kids on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean offers programming for children as young as six months old, all the way through the teenage years.

Infants and babies

For most cruises, infants sailing on a cruise must be at least 6 months old as of the first day of the cruise. For transatlantic, transpacific, Hawaii, select South American and other selected cruises, the infant must be at least 12 months old as of the first day of the cruise. Moreover, any cruise that has 3 or more days consecutive at sea will require infants to be 12 months old on the first day of the cruise.

Children between the ages of six months and 36 months old can participate in the Royal Babies and Royal Tots (6-36 months) program.  Most Royal Caribbean ships offer a nursery, where parents can drop children off throughout the day and evening. Use of the nursery comes at an hourly charge. Young children can enjoy soft play areas and age-appropriate toys, as well as cribs and cots for napping or sleeping.

If you have children under the age of three, be sure to book a Royal Caribbean cruise that offers a nursery.  For child and parent alike, the nursery is a wonderful resource.

In addition to the Nursery, there is often a open play area set up during the day for parents to bring their young children to and play.  This is unsupervised play time, but does provide an opportunity every day for parents with toddlers to have space to crawl, play, and have some fun.

Children 3 years and older

Royal Caribbean's primary program for kids is Adventure Ocean and is offered in three segments

  • Aquanauts (3-5 years old)
  • Explorers (6-8 years old)
  • Voyagers (9-11 years old)

Adventure Ocean is complimentary and is offered for most of your day onboard your ship, whether the cruise is in port or at sea.  From when Adventure Ocean opens until 10pm, there is no additional cost to use Adventure Ocean. From 10pm to 2am, Royal Caribbean offers an after hour option that has an hourly cost for parents that want to let kids stay a bit later.

There's a lot for kids to do here and the programs specialize for each age group.  It's a mix of learning, play time and socializing.  

Kids are checked in and out by parents and it's fully supervised by Royal Caribbean staff. The requirement for children to participate is to be at least 3 years old and be fully potty trained.  There are after hours programs offered as well in Adventure Ocean for an hourly fee if parents want their kids to have supervision later into the evening.

On sea days, Adventure Ocean is typically open

  • 9am - noon
  • 2pm - 5pm
  • 7pm - 10pm

On port days, Adventure Ocean is open for the entire duration your Royal Caribbean ship is in port.  Once the ship leaves port, it resumes the normal schedule described in sea days.

In addition, Royal Caribbean will open Adventure Ocean early enough for guests booked on Royal Caribbean shore excursions to drop children off.  Check with the staff on exact times.

Tweens and Teens

Tweens and teens have their own programming on Royal Caribbean ships. Just like the younger children, there is crew member supervision, but the activities are designed to be more open and less restrictive to the kids. Royal Caribbean built the teen programs to be about empowering teens to do their own thing but still offer activities and fun events to help introduce everyone.

There are teen-only spots onboard the ship where they can come and go as they please. Each day there are teen only events planned in the Cruise Planner, where teens can have dedicated time to enjoy special activities. Royal Caribbean ships are known for their amazing features, like ice skating rinks, surf simulators, bumper cars, and more, so teens will have opportunities to enjoy these activities exclusively.

Sample Activities by Age Group

If you want to get an idea of the kind of activities offered by Adventure Ocean, here is a sampling from previous cruises.  This list is not indicative of everything offered by Royal Caribbean, nor is it a guarantee that it will be offered on your sailing.  It is merely an example of the sort of programming available in the past.

Aquanauts (3 - 5 years)

  • Finger Painting
  • Camp Aquanaut
  • Building Blocks
  • Play dough sculptures
  • Music Activities
  • Dot Dancing
  • Games – animal, color and shape BINGO 

Explorers (6 - 8 years)

  • Pirate Night
  • Backstage Tour
  • Nutty Nicknames
  • Carnival Night
  • Sports Tournaments
  • Wide World of Sports Night
  • Autograph Hunts 

Voyagers (9 - 11 years)

  • Karaoke
  • Sports Tournaments
  • Adventure Challenge
  • GaGa Ball
  • H20 Thunder Races
  • List-o-Rama
  • The Art Walk 

Navigators (12 - 14 years)

  • Sports Tournaments
  • Pool Parties
  • College Night
  • Challenge Series
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Karaoke
  • Disco Dancing
  • Video Games 

Teens (15 - 17 years)

  • Dancing
  • Pool Parties
  • DJ Training
  • Battle of the Sexes
  • Karaoke
  • Coffee Talk
  • Talent Show
  • Formal Night
  • Survivor Series 

Cruise pricing for kids

A common question is if kids are charged the same as adults on Royal Caribbean, or if there is a cost to bring infants onboard.  

Like most of the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean charges all of its guests the same regardless of age. Cruise line pricing is based on double occupancy in a stateroom, and this has to do with the pricing model the cruise industry relies on to be profitable.

If your children will be the third or fourth (or more) passengers in the same room as two adults, their cruise fare is usually far less than the first two adults.  Occasionally, Royal Caribbean offers discounts on third and fourth passengers, as well as Kids Sail Free deals.  Be sure to consult your travel agent for guidance on taking advantage of these deals when they are available.

Staterooms

Most families book a single stateroom for their family during the cruise.  Royal Caribbean has staterooms that can accommodate three and four passengers easily, along with some stateroom configurations that can handle even more guests.

In recent years, Royal Caribbean has begun offering family staterooms, which provide extra space and are designed to handle families of five or six passengers.  If you need more space, some suites can handle even more guests.

Depending on your family size, age of your children, and your comfort level, booking multiple staterooms can often be the same or cheaper than booking a large room.  Multiple rooms provides not only additional living space, but extra restrooms and separation from parents and children. Royal Caribbean does offer some rooms with a connecting inside door between rooms.  

If you need a crib, Royal Caribbean can provide a pack 'n play upon request.  You can request this prior to your cruise by contacting Royal Caribbean or your travel agent, however, you can still get one once onboard the ship.

Speaking of toddlers and young children, you will need to bring your own supply of diapers, bottles, and other supplies.  Royal Caribbean provides milk to all guests without an additional charge (skim or regular).  Some parents prefer to bring their own kid-friendly snacks and food, which is permissible by Royal Caribbean. Refer to our Taking an Infant on a Royal Caribbean cruise article for more information.

Kids activities on Royal Caribbean beyond Adventure Ocean

There's lots going on onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise regardless of if your kids are in the kids club or not.  There are pools and even dedicated pool and splash areas on select ships.  Known as the H2O Zone or Splashaway Bay, these areas offer water spouts, slides, colorful decorations and lots of areas to get soaked and the perfect place for kids to run around.

Speaking of fun in the water, Royal Caribbean has begun offering water slides on some of its cruise ships.  Water slides are open to all guests, provided they are tall enough to enjoy the slides safely. We do not have to describe the virtues of water slides, but families with older children may want to ensure they book a cruise that offers water slides.

Oasis, Quantum, and select Freedom and Voyager Class cruise ships offer the DreamWorks Experience, which incorporates the DreamWorks film characters into meet-n-greets, parades and character breakfasts.

Each day of your cruise, the Cruise Director's staff offers many family-friendly activities in the Cruise Compass. Families can join in trivia, scavenger hunts, tournaments on the sports deck, pool games and more. 

The signature activities on many Royal Caribbean ships is also open to children, such as mini-golf, the FlowRider, the rock climbing wall, ice skating and more.

Eating with kids on Royal Caribbean

Every parent knows that dining out with their kids is an adventure that can never be predicted.  Luckily, Royal Caribbean offers a variety of culinary choices that are sure to appeal to all palates.  Whether your child is a pizza and chicken fingers kind of kid, or enjoys the finer foods in life, there is lots available.

The main dining room has a special menu just for kids (adults can order off of it too), which has plenty of kid-friendly fare.  This includes pasta, hot dogs, burgers, mac and cheese, and more.  Of course, kids are free to order off the regular menu too. 

The dining room staff is usually very accommodating to families, and can work with parents to find something that their child will eat.  On past cruises, we have had instances where the waiters went to other restaurants onboard the ship to bring our kids a food not offered in the dining room.  That level of service is what makes dining (and cruising) with kids on Royal Caribbean such a pleasure.

My Family Time Dining

There is a special dinner option in the main dining room known as My Family Time Dining, which is offered for the first seating time in the main dining room, for children ages three to 11.

Here is how it works

  1. You arrive at the dining room with the kids and let your server know that the kids will be headed to Adventure Ocean as part of the My Family Time Dining program.
  2. The kids order and are served right away so that they can finish their meal within the first 40 minutes.
  3. After about 45 minutes, the Adventure Ocean staff arrive in the dining room lobby to sign in and hand off the kids.Parents will need to escort their children to the designated Main Dining room entrance doors at 6:45 pm to check their child in with the Adventure Ocean counselors. Once checked­in, the Adventure Ocean counselors will then escort their children to Adventure Ocean for ongoing evening activities.
  4. Adults return to their table to enjoy the rest of their meal at a more leisurely place.

Prior to the cruise, you can can contact Royal Caribbean or travel agent to book it. Alternatively, guests can sign up onboard in the Adventure Ocean area. Pre­-cruise reservations are encouraged.

Windjammer

The holy grail of kid friendly dining is the Windjammer, which is Royal Caribbean's buffet style restaurant.  Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, it offers the greatest variety of food that includes many different types of food.  

Most importantly, there is lots of ice cream available on Royal Caribbean! In fact, there is usually a self-serve ice cream station conveniently located near the pool for anyone to enjoy throughout the day.

Specialty Dining

If you want to take your children with you to a specialty restaurant, they are more than welcome to eat there as well.  Kids ages 6-12 can dine at specialty restaurants for a $10 cover charge. Kids 5 years old and under eat free.

Kids 5-12 have a modified adult menu,which is a round-up of kid-friendly favorites from the regular menu. Kids under 5 are free and have a kiddies menu similar to the kids menu in the main dining room. Some restaurants do not have kids menus and so kids order off the regular menu.

Royal Caribbean specifies restaurants such as Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, 150 Central Park, and Chef's Table do not have kids menus, as those experiences are better suited for guests age 13 and older.

More cruising with kids info

You may have additional questions about cruising with kids on Royal Caribbean, or simply would like to learn more tips and advice.  Here are some good resources to consider:

Your thoughts

Now that you have read over our guide to taking kids on Royal Caribbean, let's hear from other parents. What tips do you parents think are most important? Which advice we shared do you agree with? Where do you disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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