Majesty of the Seas Live Blog - Day 5 - CocoCay

In:
18Jan2017

This morning I woke up at 6am; no idea why, I am on vacation but I figured since I’m up I should go watch the sunrise. I am happy I did because it was so beautiful and I took some great pictures. 

 At 8:30am I decided to head over to Coco Cay. They actually start the tender process at 8am and usually invite all guests down around 9am. If you are looking to avoid lines, I would suggest getting down there early. I was doing a Periscope and could not believe how the Voom Internet held from the ship until we pulled up to Coco Cay. 

The weather was perfect today and I was able to walk around and take some great photos. I walked the whole island and really enjoyed the island so empty that early in the morning.

The cabanas facing the ships are different from when I had one in July, so those are also new from the storm.

I also explored down to the beach beds are which is past the floating bar.

The beach beds are the furthest point down the south side of the island. If you were looking for a quite day, these would be perfect. The whole area is all brand new and very nice looking beach beds and beach cabanas. 

For lunch I went over to the VIP party, they had fruit and my favorite shrimp. I met a lady cruising solo for the whole year, so we talked quite a bit. I grabbed my favorite island drink Coco Loco! 

I spent most of my afternoon down at the floating bar.

This was added last year and now a little closer now it used to be. Before you would have to swim out, but now it’s not in such a deep area. The bar holds up to 35 people and you must be 21 to enter.

At 4pm I decided to head back over to the ship to nap before dinner. 

Evening on board 

Tonight was the flag ceremony in the centrum in between the two dinners, so all guest could join. If you have never seen it before, they honor the countries of the crew members. They also have some doing a dance from their culture back home.

For dinner tonight, I was invited to the Captain’s Table. The meal was outstanding, and again I had the filet. I felt so lucky to be apart of such an amazing meal.

 After dinner I enjoyed the ship a little and called it a night. The sun in Coco Cay was getting to me.

Guide to Labadee on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
18Jan2017

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

Episode 181 is available for downloading, which provides an overview of Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee.

There is so much to see and do in Labadee, and Matt has a guide to what to expect when visiting Labadee and a look at the various popular options and activities onshore.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 181. 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!

Is Royal Caribbean's fourth Oasis class ship named Symphony of the Seas?

In:
18Jan2017

It looks like the name of Royal Caribbean's fourth Oasis class cruise ship may have been leaked by a partner company that works with the cruise line.

FlowRider touted the work it is doing with its largest client, Royal Caribbean, and repeatedly referred to the fourth Oasis class ship as Symphony of the Seas.

The blog post mentions the new ship in reference to the the fact it will have a FlowRider onboard, "But what does all of this have to do with music? Well, Symphony of the Seas®, that’s what. This is what RCCL will call their fourth OASIS Class cruise ship and it’s due to be commissioned later this year! Translation: we are super busy building #17 and 18 on the beautiful Ms. Symphony. With even more in the pipeline, can we ask for a better advertisement for repeat business? For customer AND consumer satisfaction? And if it is “good to great” enough for RCCL, shouldn’t it be for you?"

Royal Caribbean has not officially announced the name of its fourth Oasis class ship yet.

Oasis 4 is under construction in STX France and will join Royal Caribbean's fleet in spring 2018.

Credit for spotting this news goes to Harmony of the Seas Facebook group first.

How to get a get a discount on a Royal Caribbean drink package

In:
17Jan2017

Did you know Royal Caribbean offers discounts on its very popular unlimited alcohol drink packages? These days, discounts are available for Royal Caribbean's beverage packages, but you will need to be proactive to get it.

Many readers reach out about how to snag their own discount, and here are the ways to find a discount for a drink package.

Online

Generally speaking, Royal Caribbean has been offering regular discounts on its drink packages for guests that opted to pre-purchase a package via the Cruise Planner site. There is no guarantee your sailing will have a discount on drink packages via the Cruise Planner, but the pre-cruise discounts seem to be widely available.

The exact discount will vary, although it is common to see a 20% discount off the daily rate. Royal Caribbean has been known to run even more lucrative discounts from time to time. The intriguing aspect to that discount is the daily price for a drink package seems to vary from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing.  If you have more than one cruise booked on different ships, you may find different sale prices.

To find the discounted rates, log into the My Cruises section of the Royal Caribbean web site, and navigate to the Cruise Planner section for the sailing you are interested in.

Once logged in, navigate to the Beverage Packages section and look for advertised rates. You will likely see something similar to this: 

If you are comfortable with the price, you can purchase it for as many (or as few) guests as you like.  Keep in mind that you will be charged in full for the drink package at the time of purchase.

It is also worth noting beverage package purchases made online can be canceled and full refunded at any time, up until about 3 days before your sail date.

Onboard

Recently, Royal Caribbean has begun offering discounts on its drink packages onboard the ship to its Crown and Anchor Society members who are Diamond, Diamond Plus or Pinnacle level.

We have seen discounts offered at 20% off for Diamond, 30% off for Diamond Plus, and 40% off for Pinnacle.  Onboard discounts for the drink packages a relatively new offering, so these discounts may vary. As with all onboard discounts available to Crown and Anchor Society members, it is up to you to ask the crew member for the discount to be applied at the time of purchase.

If you are not a Diamond or above member in Crown and Anchor Society, there are no discounts available for drink packages.  

Regardless of which method you use to take money off the cost of your drink package, one of these strategies will save you a good amount of money on your next Royal Caribbean vacation. Enjoy!

Video: Retractable Roof on Royal Caribbean's High-Tech Ship Ensures Fun for Guests

In:
17Jan2017

From Asia to the Caribbean, in the summer or in the winter, guests on Royal Caribbean's Quantum class ships can luxuriate by the pool no matter the weather. The smart ships fully retractable roof can open or close to suit all climates.

Majesty of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Turnaround Day

In:
17Jan2017

Today we are docked in Port Canaveral, Florida offloading passengers and picking up new ones. I ended up waking up pretty early, so I watched us pull into the pier. If you have never done this I highly recommend it. I think it is a different way to end the cruise; it's peaceful and a nice way to end the cruise.

My friend Nick decided to do express disembarkation at 7:30am. If you want to get off the ship first, I recommend getting down to the Centrum between 7am-7: 15am.

Once he left me it was time to pack up for me cabin change. I have sailed back-to-back sailings before and they have always provided me with a one-pager of information on the process. This sailing, I didn't get anything, so I asked the Loyalty Officer and he said to show up at his desk at 9:30am. My cabin change process was uneventful but the hallways were packed with everyone trying to depart.

My new cabin is on deck 4, standard Ocean View cabin. This cabin is a great location because it’s right beside the Centrum, #4098. I did have them put the beds together, but as you can tell there is plenty of room with them apart. I like that there is space by the window for storage, a built in shelf against the wall for more storage.

Around 10am they walked the six of us off to US Customs. I decided to leave the group and head over to grills for breakfast once we were cleared. Grills is only a 3-5 minute walk from terminal 1. The restaurant is a lot of fun because it's right beside the ship and they often have live music.

At 12:30, I headed back to the ship to enjoy the perfect weather we were having.

Once I went through security, I just headed right to the gangway since I already had my sea pass card in hand. I grabbed a 20% off Johnny Rockets coupon at their table in the centrum and off I went. I went with the same smoked house burger I got the other day. Again the restaurant was empty and the service was great.

Sailaway party was great because the weather was so perfect and everyone was out on the top decks. I didn’t go to the spa raffle today, because I wanted to enjoy the views as we sailed away. 

Evening on board 

For dinner, I had My Time Dining, which lets you eat whenever you want. However, if you do not want to wait you can request a time you will come each evening. I sat at a small table that was for two. The table was very close to the table beside me, so I ended up talking to them the whole meal.

For tonight, I just went for the main course, no starters or desert. And it’s a good thing, because look at the size of this prime rib! It was almost the same size as my plate!

They wanted to bring me desert, but I just couldn’t eat anymore. 

Tonight was the 70’s party, and I had thought it would be in the centrum, but it was actually held in the boleros lounge. The party was epic, the activity’s director Moe was the host and seeing him dressed up like that was so funny! I’ve known Moe for many years now; he used to be on Enchantment but switched over to Majesty last year. 

Well that’s a full day, and after the 70’s party it was almost midnight so off to bed I went. Tomorrow we are back in Coco Cay! This is one island I’ll never get tired of visiting.

Majesty of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - CocoCay

In:
16Jan2017

 No matter how many times I have been to Coco Cay, I just never get tired of it. Coco Cay is Royal Caribbean’s private island, which requires a tender ride to get there.

Majesty of the Seas was ready for tenders around 8:00am, and were off the ship by 8:30am. The tender process is not as painful as many report. I think the key to avoid all the crazy lines is go early right when they start the process.

For those that have never been over to Coco Cay before they have a towel station right before you get off, so that you are able to check-out (with sea pass card) some beach towels.

They also have a full lunch set-up on the island that you can enjoy, so that you don’t have to go back to the ship for lunch. 

Once we arrived over to the island all we did was explore and check out all the new changes that are happening. Coco Cay is undergoing quite a bit of changes if you compare it to a few years ago. They have added beach cabana beds for rent and the floating bar has returned since the recent hurricane.

If you are wanting to spend a lot time at the floating bar, I would recommend renting the beach shells for $45, as they are right in front of the floating bar now.

We ended up laying in a beach cabana for around an hour, since we were over there so early. I really enjoyed them and these might be really great for families so the kids have some shade.

Lunch on the island 

We were invited to have lunch on the patio over beside the jet skis and boat area. They had some lite options, which is good since I’ve felt like all we have done is eat! I had 8 or so shrimps and that’s about it, they were so yummy.

I also enjoyed my favorite island drink, a Coco Loco. If you ever visit the island they have a signature frozen drink on the island called a Coco Loco. After some snacks we deiced to head back over to the ship and enjoy some pool deck sunshine. 

Afternoon on board 

Once we were on board I experienced my first issue with Voom internet. They were conducting some maintenance and it was offline for around an hour. I suppose they conduct these maintenance when most of the guests are off the ship. Since we are talking about Voom Internet, this is the fastest internet I’ve ever experienced on a ship. 

The pool deck ended up being very busy as the afternoon went on. Everyone was watching the football games in the water. The Majesty of the Seashas a new pool deck TV that was installed during her last dry dock. The quality of the TV looked very clear just like watching HD at home, so they are using an upgraded TV now compared to other ships. 

Evening on board 

Tonight we started our evening in the Crown and Anchor Diamond event like every evening.

I went early so I could watch the sunset from the Viking lounge. This ship is the only ship in the fleet that has wide-open 360-degree views that’s open for all. We talked with a lot of new friends about their day and experience on board since it was the last night of the cruise.

At 7:30pm we decided to see our first show on board called Boogie Wonderland. This is the longest running show in the fleet and was outstanding. It was the singers and dancers last performance of the ship, as a new crew boards tomorrow. They even had the CD get up there and dance with them as a farewell. 

Tonight in the dining room it was Italian night, so you know what that means… Lasagna! We asked them to use a red sauce on the lasagna vs their standard white sauce and it made it taste that much better. We also ordered chicken marsala and this was a first for me.

The chicken was very tender and gravy on top really brought the flavor out. I think I’m still stuff as I write this, no breakfast for me tomorrow. 

 After our dinner we said our goodbyes to the staff and I let them know I was staying on board the next sailing too. 

Random Thoughts on Majesty of the Seas

  • Ship is in great condition: new carpet everywhere, new chairs in schooner bar, and doesn’t have that “older” feeling like Monarch did when I was on her.
  • Voom Internet works great, no issues at all, stayed connected throughout the day.
  • Crew: They really make this ship, everyone always smiling and always looking happy.
  • Entertainment was great; my only wish is there was a venue to listen enjoy the centrum music in the evenings. 

 This wraps up my first 3-day cruise, but we still have 2 more to go. My next cruise leg is the 4 days sailing going back to Nassau and Coco Cay!

5 things to love about Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas

In:
16Jan2017

Have you cruised on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas? It may not be the newest or largest ship in the fleet, but Navigator of the Seas is a fantastic ship for a vacation that offers cruises in the Caribbean and Europe, depending on the time of year. Once onboard Navigator of the Seas, it is easy to see why this ship is a lot of fun. Here are five of the many reasons we love Navigator of the Seas.

5. Royal Promenade

No matter how large Royal Caribbean ships get, the Royal Promenade remains a favorite feature that captures the imagination of all who experience it themselves. The Royal Promenade is a focal point of activities onboard, and also a hub of dining and shopping options. 

Pubs, lounges and many shops the line the Royal Promenade and are a great for guests to stroll down anytime of day and explore what is available. In addition, guests will find a number of activities on the Royal Promenade to enjoy. Demonstrations, parades and meet-n-greet opportunities are just some of the things to do on the Promenade.  In short, there is lots to enjoy and besides the pool deck, the Royal Promenade might be the spot onboard Navigator of the Seas you spend the most time.

4. R-Bar

When you consider what makes for a great bar experience and very likely the answers will line up with what is offered at the R-Bar on Navigator of the Seas.

R-Bar is a throwback experience, with hand-crafted cocktails provided by some of the best bartenders and servers we have met on any cruise ship. Guests will find a sophisticated 1960s vibe, complete with iconic furnishing throughout the bar.  In fact, the swanky chairs are as comfortable as they are fun to look at.

When ordering drinks at the R-Bar, be sure to look at the special drink menu created just for the R-Bar on Navigator of the Seas.  If you are not sure what to order, ask your server for a recommendation. The R-Bar staff is wonderful at making recommendations and even creating custom drinks based on a particular spirit you enjoy.

3. Virtual balcony staterooms

Did you know Navigator of the Seas was the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to offer virtual balcony staterooms? Balcony staterooms are always highly desirable because of the fantastic views, but balcony staterooms also come with a higher price tag. Royal Caribbean innovated with a new kind of stateroom that brought the balcony experience to an inside stateroom, with the added benefit of being significantly cheaper than a real balcony stateroom.

Virtual balcony staterooms are inside staterooms with an 80-inch high definition LED screen attached to a wall that delivers views outside of the ship, just like a real balcony stateroom. Guests can turn the virtual balcony off at any time, especially at night when sleeping but it's available anytime they want.

The screen stretches from floor to ceiling and will show you exactly what you would see if you had a real balcony.  Using high definition cameras, these virtual balconies give you a glimpse of what's outside.

2. FlowRider

In 2014, Royal Caribbean went as far to add an iconic Royal Caribbean experience to Navigator of the Seas, the FlowRider surf simulator.

The FlowRider is a simulator that sends water a very high speed across a small area that mimics what it is like to surf on the ocean. Guests can try their hand at stand-up traditional surfing or boogie boarding.

The FlowRider is included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare, and you may try your hand at surfing as many times as you like. Just hop back in line and wait for a turn.

1. Specialty restaurants

We love to indulge on any Royal Caribbean cruise with some great food, and Navigator of the Seas has plenty of it.  In addition to the terrific food included with your cruise, there are a number of great specialty restaurants to consider dining at onboard.

Chops Grille is known across the fleet for amazing steaks that are tasty, cooked to perfection and a fan-favorite restaurant.  They even have dry-aged steaks as an option for guests that want the very best flavor in their steaks. 

Guests that enjoy classic Italian food will really enjoy Giovanni's Table, a specialty restaurant that serves up classics like lasagna, hand-made pasta and some great seafood.

We would be remiss if we did not mention Sabor Modern Mexican, a specialty restaurant first introduced on Navigator of the Seas, that serves some of the tastiest food we have found on a cruise ship. Tableside guacamole, handcrafted margaritas and a wide variety of tacos, quesadillas and lots of other Mexican favorites. 

Your favorite

What is your favorite thing about Navigator of the Seas?  Is it on our list or do you have something you think is worth the cruise fare alone? Tell us about in this blog post's comments!

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: January 15, 2017

In:
15Jan2017

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.

Royal Caribbean highlighted what is new and notable for 2017, including new several new itineraries.

While there is no new cruise ship joining the fleet this year, Royal Caribbean fans will be delighted to see changes to offerings in many different markets.

Chief among the changes for 2017 are cruises to Cuba (finally!). Empress of the Seas will provide vacationers with the opportunity to discover the timeless sights, sounds and culture of this island nation. The newly revitalized Empress of the Seas will make history for the cruise line with its first visit to Cuba during a 5-night sailing departing Miami on April 19, 2017.

In addition, Royal Caribbean will operate the three largest cruise ships in the world out of the state of Florida.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 180th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we take an in-depth look at going on a Royal Caribbean cruise with young children.

Bringing toddlers and babies on a Royal Caribbean cruise is something many families choose to do, but there can be some unique challenges associated with traveling with kids of that age.  This week, Matt and Christy discuss their strategies and share tips for parents looking to cruise with the very young.

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

Porthole Magazine has a full review of Harmony of the Seas in this month's edition.

Everything Zany shared a helpful list of cruise ship terms that you should know.

Cruise Critic shared their list of favorite drinks on Harmony of the Seas.

Chris Cruises shares an ode to sunsets at sea.

Eat Sleep Cruise has a list of the best hotels near Port Everglades.

Majesty of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Nassau, Bahamas

In:
15Jan2017

Morning on board 

Today was our first stop in Nassau, Bahamas from noon-midnight. So this morning we had our “sea morning” as we made our slow approach into the Bahamas.

I started my day in the main dining room with breakfast. I am sad to report I forgot my camera in the cabin, so no food porn of my ham & cheese omelet. We sat in the Diamond section, which the only real perk does not have to wait for a table; you just simply walk in and seat yourself. Breakfast was fast and we were on our way to start enjoying our day. 

After breakfast, we attended the top-tier Crown and Anchor event, which started at 10:30am. The on board officers introduced themselves and what their role was on the ship.

They also presented some guests receiving their loyalty cruise block. Once you reach 140 C&A points, you receive a crystal block and again every 70 points after. During the event they have free cocktails, champagne, and wine so that’s reason enough to attend right? 

Nassau, Bahamas 

At 11:45am we made our approach to the pier in Nassau. I noticed while we were docking a tug boat was pushing us, so the high wind didn’t take us off course.

Around 12:30pm we made our way down to exit the ship for our day in Nassau.

I was really looking for something new while we were here, since I’ve been coming here a lot recently. We walked past Senor Frogs, down to McDonald’s to catch the local city bus. For $1.25 per person each way this public transportation will take you all over the island.

My friend Nick wanted to visit one of his favorite places called The Daiquiri Shack over on Cable Beach. The bus ride over took 8-10 minutes and was a unique experience to say the least. Once we arrived we quickly noticed the shack was closed down for a few days. We were so excited by the time we arrived it was a little let down. That being said, we were across the street from a beautiful resort Melia. We decided to walk over to the resort to check it out, since we already made our way out here. The resort was absolutely breathtaking when we walked in.

We inquired about their day passes and it seems it’s $45, but doesn’t include anything with it just access to the property and their free Wi-Fi (which works great). 

After we explored the resort we decided to head back to the port area and visit one of my favorites Pirate Republic Pub. If you have read my live blogs recently you know I’ve been coming here every visit in Nassau. It’s the only craft brewery on the island and it’s the first thing you see coming off the ship. We had a few beers before we got back on board, average price here for beers are $5-$8 each.

As we were walking back to the ship we decided to check out this restaurant we have been hearing a lot about. The place is called Café Matisse and I’ve often heard about it from crew members eating here. They were very inviting and let me come in to take pictures. 

Evening on board 

Tonight around 5pm I watched the Empress of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas dock in Nassau. I really love both of those ships and the excitement level was pretty high watching them dock during sunset.

 

Dinner this evening is at the Captain’s table at 8pm. I was lucky enough to get an invite due to my friend going, so a new experience for me. 

Our invitation for dinner said to meet at 8:15pm at the Schooner Bar. Once we arrived they had a section reserved for us, with card note that said VIP on the tables.

I have never been called a VIP before but I will pretend I am one! We had a round of drinks with the hotel director and then headed to our table at 8:30. During dinner I actually thought, "how am I going to explain this dinner in the blog post."

Of all my dinners at sea, I will remember this one forever. The level of service was outstanding. Even when they brought our food over it we always received it at the same time. I ordered the filet, think Chops Grille but better! I won’t go on and on about the dinner, but I felt so lucky to experience that meal. 

After dinner we went up to the pool deck party for our sail away out of Nassau. I can’t remember a sail away party this packed before, but I had a blast. 

Well friends, that was my full day in Nassau, tomorrow we tender in Coco Cay.

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