The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) named Royal Caribbean a "2017 Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality", with a perfect score of 100 on its Corporate Equality Index (CEI).
The HRC is one of the oldest gay and lesbian political action committees in the U.S. and launched the index in 2002 to rank American companies. This year, for the first time since, the HRC required top-scoring companies to have a global non-discrimination policy or code of conduct that specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories:
- Non-discrimination policies
- Employment benefits
- Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion
- Public commitment to LGBT equality
- Responsible citizenship
This is the second year running that RCL earned a perfect score on the CEI survey, even with the addition of the new global requirements. In October, Royal Caribbean International became the first cruiseline to be designated “Gay Travel Approved” by GayTravel.com.
Another week has gone by and that means we are all one week closer to our next Royal Caribbean cruise!
This week, Royal Caribbean entered the record books when North Star was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The Guinness Book of World Records named North Star the “Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship".
The North Star is a one-of-a-kind and intimate experience that takes guests on an exhilarating journey high above the sea. This glass observation capsule gently rises more than 300 feet in the air and rotates upwards and over the sides of the ship to provide the most breathtaking, 360-degree views imaginable.
Royal Caribbean News
- Royal Caribbean Australia will now include gratuities in the cruise fare.
- Royal Caribbean released a variety of new discounts for the month of December.
- A photo tour of a balcony stateroom on Harmony of the Seas.
- Is a Royal Caribbean drink package right for you?
- We spotted a new specialty coffee card option guests can prepurchase.
- A guide to breakfast options on Harmony of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
In this episode, Matt offers advice for someone new to Royal Caribbean and wanting to try their first cruise.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Royal Caribbean wrote about its dedication to offering cruises to guests with special needs.
Cruise & Ferry interviewed the people that created the Ultimate Abyss slide on Harmony of the Seas.
Travelzoo takes a look at Harmony of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas has a lot to offer, including a number of staterooms. Today, we will look at the category D6 Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony, which will take you through the cabin to provide an idea of what to expect if you book this category stateroom.
On Harmony of the Seas, we reviewed stateroom 10662, which is located on Deck 10 aft, although it is very close to the aft elevators. The room was very convenient to be so close to the elevator bank. Entry to the room is by RFID scanner, which is above the door handle.
Like all staterooms on Harmony of the Seas, the light controls require a SeaPass card to be inserted into a slot near the entrance.
Staterooms on Harmony of the Seas look more like staterooms on Quantum class ships than other previous Oasis class ships. Plenty of storage space and a great aesthetic.
The bed is joined together but can be split apart if need be. There's a large, flat screen television across from it and two night stands on opposite sides of the bed. Access to the balcony is also on the other side of the bed.
A D6 stateroom features a full bathroom, including a stand up shower.
The room also has a rather large sofa to sit on during the day.
Arguably the best feature of this stateroom is the balcony, which provides a private space to enjoy the view of port or the ocean.
The balcony is 53 square feet in size, with the stateroom measuring 182 square feet.
Royal Caribbean Australia announced today a new fare structure that includes gratuities for stateroom attendants and dining room staff in the cruise price.
With this change, guests will pay a single inclusive cruise fare incorporating all main meals, accommodation, kids club, entertainment and activities. Passengers will continue to have the option to provide a discretional additional gratuity.
The new cruise fares begin on new bookings made December 12, 2016 and onwards, on sailings departing on or after January 15, 2017.
The change means free gratuities will no longer be available as one of the perks included in the Go Big, Go Better, Go Best promotion.
"Guests will see no change to the published price of cruises via any Royal Caribbean point of sale, including website, advertising and call centre pricing," the company said.
Friday is here and that means so is the weekend and our opportunity to share Royal Caribbean photos that readers sent us! Every week, we ask our readers to send in their favorite Royal Caribbean photos, so that we can feature them here.
Enjoy this week's photo set!
Our first photo this week is from Scott Shaffer of Oasis of the Seas sailing away from Cozumel. What a beautiful ship!
Speaking of sailaway, here is a shot of New York City from Thomas while he was onboard Navigator of the Seas. There is nothing like the Big Apple at night!
Congratulations to Alex and Curtis, who got married recently on Harmony of the Seas. Nadege Barnes shared this wonderful photo from their special day onboard.
Adrian Tassone sent in this photo of Explorer of the Seas docked in Circular Quay, Sydney. A beautiful ship in a beautiful city.
I never get sick of sunrise or sunset photos, and here is one by Khadijah that was taken on Harmony of the Seas during her transatlantic crossing. Simply stunning.
Speaking of Harmony of the Seas, here is another photo of Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship when she met Anthem of the Seas in St. Maarten, taken by Daniel.
Our last photo this week is from D J Epstein of Falmouth, Jamaica. I can still remember when the Falmouth port was being built, so it is still impressive to see what it has become in just a few short years.
Thank you to everyone that shared these great photos. Do you want your photo included in our weekly photo showcase? Use this form to send us your favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we will be sure to show it off to the world!
Royal Caribbean's North Star observational pod on its Quantum class ships has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
The North Star is a one-of-a-kind and intimate experience that takes guests on an exhilarating journey high above the sea. This glass observation capsule gently rises more than 300 feet in the air and rotates upwards and over the sides of the ship to provide the most breathtaking, 360-degree views imaginable. These views helped the North Star break the record for “Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship.”
North Star is available on three Royal Caribbean ships Quantum of the Seas from Beijing (Tianjin), China and Ovation of the Seas from Shanghai (Baoshan), China; Sydney, Australia; and Singapore. The third, Anthem of the Seas, cruises from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in New York Harbor to Bermuda, The Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean has announced a new batch of promotions for December 2016 that can provide some significant savings on new cruises booked.
There are a number of offers available, and here is a full breakdown of each.
1, 2, FREE
Every third night of the cruise is free. 1,2, Free is valid on all sailings departing on or after January 1, 2017. Excluding China departures.
- 3-5 night cruises
- Includes 1 nights free
- 6-8 night cruises
- Includes 2 nights free
- 9-11 night cruises
- Includes 3 nights free
- 12-14 night cruises
- Includes 4 nights free
- 15-17 night cruises
- Includes 5 nights free
- 17-20 night cruises
- Includes 6 nights free
- 21-23 night cruises
- Includes 7 nights free
- 24 night cruise
- Includes 8 nights free
The 1-2-Free Offer is combinable with Kids Sail Free, Anthem Upgrades, Crown & Anchor Balcony & Suite Discount, Cyber Sale, Next Cruise offers, and Shareholders benefits. It is not combinable with any other offer, restricted rate, or promotion.
Kids Sail Free
Kids 12 years and under, sail free on 5 nights or longer sailings departing January 5, 2017- February 15, 2018.
Exclusions: Sailings departing on or after, February 16-23, 2017, March 10-20, 2017, April 6-16, 2017, May 16-September 4, 2017, November 16-26, 2017, December 15, 2017-January 5, 2018 as well as China, Alaska itineraries and Harmony of the Seas sailings.
Enjoy balcony accommodations for the price of an oceanview on sailings departing on or after January 1, 2017.
Crown and Anchor Discount
From December 1, 2016 – January 4, 2017, Crown & Anchor Society members can enjoy the balcony and suite discount of the tier above them, on Anthem of the Seas. For a limited time, even Gold members can enjoy this benefit– a member benefit usually only valid for Platinum and above members. PLUS, Pinnacle members will receive an additional $25. See discount chart below for the discount amounts per tier .
The cyber sale allows guests to receive up to $100 onboard credit, per stateroom, when they book between December 1-7, 2016.
- Sailings 5-Nights or less
- Interior/Oceanroom views will receive $25 OBC per stateroom
- Balcony/Suites will receive $50 OBC per stateroom
- Sailings 6-Nights or longer
- Interior/Oceanroom views will receive $75 OBC per stateroom
- Balcony/Suites will receive $100 OBC per stateroom
You may have heard about Royal Caribbean's drink packages and wondered if a drink package is right for you and which package would be a good fit. There are a number to choose from, and here is your guide to knowing what the packages include and if they will benefit you.
Deluxe Beverage Package - $55 per person, per day
If you enjoy a having a few alcoholic drinks per day on your Royal Caribbean cruise, then there is one unlimited alcohol package to consider.
For the person that wants it all, the deluxe beverage package includes virtually unlimited combinations of beverages on their Royal Caribbean cruise. It includes
- Cocktails / Spirits / Liqueurs / Beer
- Bottled still and sparkling water
- Wines by the glass
- Fresh squeezed juices
- Non-alcoholic cocktails
- Premium coffees and teas
- Fountain sodas
- Coca-Cola® souvenir cup and Coca-Cola Freestyle® beverages
To break even on the deluxe beverage package, you will need to be drinking a lot but it does not all have to be alcohol. As Royal Caribbean describes it, it's virtually unlimited options. Of course, the daily cost of this package means a significant up-front cost.
It is worth noting that the Deluxe Beverage Package is very commonly discounted when purchased prior to the cruise, via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner. Discounts of 20-30% off are regularly seen, and anyone considering a drink package would be well-served to pre-purchase the package instead of buying them onboard.
Unlimited beverage packages
If alcohol is not your thing or you are just not old enough to be drinking yet, then Royal Caribbean has a number of beverage packages perfect for you.
Refreshment Package - $26.00 per person, per day
With the Royal Refreshment package, you will get premium coffee, premium tea, bottled water (sparking or still), fresh squeezed juice, non-alcoholic cocktails and a Coca-Cola souvenir cup.
If the drinks Royal Caribbean provides complimentary aren't enough to quench your thirst, this is the best choice for how much you get. It especially appeals to coffee drinkers because of the premium coffee and tea benefit.
The cost of $26 may not sound like a lot, but for a 7-night cruise it's still a few hundred dollars. Just like the alcohol packages, it is ideal for those that enjoy having a number of drinks per day.
Classic Soda Package - $8.50 per person, per day
The Classic Soda package is simple, it is all the soft drinks you can drink during your cruise.
Coke, Sprite, root beer and all the other carbonated drinks that are available from the self-serve machines, restaurants and bars are at your disposal.
To purchase a can of your favorite soft drink onboard otherwise, will cost you about $2, so the package requires the least commitment to get your moneys worth.
One more consideration
The basis for purchasing any drink package is to pay a fixed price for an unlimited amount of drinks, with the plan to drink enough over the course of the cruise to "break even" on the package cost.
Each package is above the cost of just one or two drinks per day and over the course of your cruise, drinking enough to make the packages worth it is critical for the up-front investment required. That up-front investment can actually be a benefit for some, because it allows guests to break up the total cost of their cruise. Rather than end the cruise with a large bar bill, pre-purchasing a beverage package allows for spreading out the cruise cost over different billing cycles.
It's also worth noting these packages work best when you're onboard the ship, so port days when you spend a majority of the day off the ship result in less time to enjoy the package's benefits.
At a minimum, the unlimited alcohol package requires around a half dozen drinks per day, every day to be a good value for you. Reading this, you will have instantly thought to yourself, "That is a lot of drinking" or "That is not really that much" and that is when you know if the packages in general may be a good choice for you.
Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!
Episode 174 is available for downloading, which offers advice for someone new to Royal Caribbean on a great first cruise.
There are a lot of ships and itineraries to consider, and so this week, Matt is discussing which options might make the most sense for someone looking to try Royal Caribbean for the first time.
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 guests can now pre-purchase a Cafe Select Coffee Card prior to their cruise via the Cruise Planner site.
The Cafe Select Coffee Card offers 15 specialty espresso-based coffees for a fixed price that can be used at any time during the cruise. Royal Caribbean claims the coffee card can save up to 50% on individually purchased coffees.
The terms and conditions for the card stipulates that the specialty coffees provided by the card do not include any beverages served inside licensed Starbucks stores/cafes.
The Cafe Select Coffee Card has been available on Oasis class ships since this summer, but this option is now available for guests to pre-purchase on the Cruise Planner site.