Cruising 101: Crown and Anchor parties


Once you become a member of Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, Crown and Anchor Society, and embark upon another cruise, you will start getting invitations to special events and parties just for you.

These parties are special ways Royal Caribbean likes to recognize its repeat customers and offer them complimentary beverages, share upcoming news about the ship and answer questions.

What happens at these parties?

Usually you are greeted by the ship's officers as you walk in and served complimentary cocktails and snacks while you mingle with other guests.

After a little while, there's a speech or two given by officers such as the loyalty ambassador, hotel manager and even the Captain.  Which crew members speak varies from ship to ship and sailing to sailing.

How do you get invited?

Royal Caribbean will offer a few parties each cruise for Crown and Anchor Society members of each level.  

Royal Caribbean will deliver an invitation for each party to your stateroom to let you know of the event.  On newer ships, such as the Oasis-class, the invitations are electronic and will arrive in your television's message inbox.

How many events are there per cruise?

Royal Caribbean will hold a number of events, usually a general event for all Crown and Anchor members and then smaller events for members of higher status in the program.

The main event is the Crown and Anchor Society Welcome Back Celebration, which is a general celebration of repeat cruisers.

After that, there can be other events for Platinum and above members.

The exact number of events and which events that are held will depend on the sailing.

Do I have to go?

No, these events are optional and your attendance has no consequences.

Why should I go?

There are two really good reasons to go to these events.  First, it's one of the rare opportunities on a Royal Caribbean ship to get complimentary alcoholic beverages.  The wait staff will come around with plenty for everyone and it's quite easy to get multiple drinks per event.

Second, the speeches by the staff can give you insight into upcoming changes onboard that ship as well as fleet wide.  It's also a good opportunity to ask questions about changes you may have read about online or just wanted to get clarification of.

Some speeches are more interesting than others but the free drinks and opportunity to meet other Royal Caribbean fans can be fun and the entire thing rarely lasts more than 60 minutes.

Royal Caribbean failing to attract Chinese cruisers in Australia yet


Royal Caribbean Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific, met with Australian officials to discuss the cruise market and attracting more Chinese tourists to Australian cruises was the first question raised.

Smith indicated despite the fact Royal Caribbean already serves over 300,000 Chinese cruise passengers each year, getting the Chinese market to try cruises out of Australia remains a hurdle.

“We haven’t got a proposition in the Chinese market for cruising from Australia. I can’t say it is in our short-term plan,” says Smith.

“(But) We stand better placed than anybody to cater to that market because of our activity in that market already, but we haven’t really created a product.”

Smith says the problem for cruising from Australia for the Chinese market is the lack of port density. “The market wants a port every day and unfortunately with the distance we struggle to do a port every day. And that is one of the limitations at the moment for that market. When they better understand cruising and they can relax then they will probably take some of our longer itineraries.”

Friday Photos


Happy New Year! If you're ready for a mental escape to a Royal Caribbean cruise, then you're at the right place because we have some great Royal Caribbean photos our readers have sent in.  Each week we ask our readers to send us their best Royal Caribbean photos to showcase right here on the blog so be sure to send yours in too!

First up this week is a photo by Don Donahue of Vision of the Seas while in Roatan, Honduras.  I could go for some Roatan weather right about now.

Since I am a sucker for sunset photos, I have to include this one by Michael Poole on Enchantment of the Seas.  Great colors!

Next is a photo by Francois St-Onge and he writes, "a good companion for a day at sea".

  Here's a great shot of Allure of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas docked side-by-side in Cozumel by Marc and Lisa Sandhaus.  Two giants!

Lastly we have this photo by Garry Flaws from the inaugural voyage of Quantum of the Seas.  Seeing this photo is getting me even more excited to go on her in just a couple of months!

Thank you to everyone that sent in their photos this week and if you have Royal Caribbean photos, well, we want to see them!  You can use this form to send us your photos and we will feature them on an upcoming Friday Photos blog post!

Photos from New Years Eve on Quantum of the Seas


Happy new year! Royal Caribbean celebrates the new year on all of its ships but this year was the first time the holiday was celebrated on its newest ship, Quantum of the Seas.

Quantum of the Seas offered free champagne, dance parties and even a live broadcast by CNN to show off what a fun time this ship was.

Friend of the blog Brian Altschul shared these photos from last night's festivities on the ship. Enjoy!

Royal Caribbean offering 50% off second guest plus onboard credit


Royal Caribbean is kicking off 2015 with a brand new WAVE season sale with buy one, get one 50% and onboard credit.

The new Vow to WOW Sale offers 50% off the second guest in a stateroom and applies to all stateroom categories and excludes third and higher occupancy guests.

In addition, you will get up to $200 in onboard credit for each stateroom you book. 

The amount of onboard credit is as follows

  • Ocean View staterooms
    • $100 onboard credit per stateroom
  • Balcony & suite staterooms
    • $200 onboard credit per stateroom

This promotion is valid on Royal Caribbean cruises booked between January 1-31, 2015.

Offer applies to all sailings, excluding Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, and all China departures.

This promotion is combinable with the adjoining onboard credit offer, Crown & Anchor discounts and NextCruise offers. Buy One, Get One 50% off offer is not combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents,Military, Kids Sail Free). Onboard credit offer is combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military, BOGO, Kids Sail Free) as well as NextCruise offers. Onboard credit offer is not combinable with Crown & Anchor discounts. Neither offer is combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, weekly Sales Events, Net Rates, Shareholder Benefits. 

Quantum of the Seas to be featured on CNN's New Years Eve celebration


How about a little Royal Caribbean to ring in the New Year? 

Tonight at 9pm ET/8pm CT, Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas will be featured as part of New Year's Eve with Anderson Cooper, Kathy Griffin and Randy Kaye on CNN.

There's no word if Quantum of the Seas will be on exactly at 9pm or later during the coverage.

All about the Vitality Spa on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast


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

Episode 74 is available for downloading where we look at everything the Vitality Spa has to offer.

When it comes to relaxing on your Royal Caribbean cruise, it's hard to beat a visit (or two) to the Vitality Spa.  This week, Matt looks at what the treatments and services the spa offers and which are his favorites.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 74. 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 Secrets: opening the balcony dividers


On Royal Caribbean ships, between each balcony is a divider that grants privacy for each guest, but if you're sailing with a group and have balcony staterooms adjacent to each other, it is sometimes possible to remove the dividers and open up a much larger balcony.

The secret to removing the dividers and opening up your balcony is pretty simple: you just need to ask.  Talk to your stateroom attendant and ask if you can have the balcony dividers opened up because you are friends with the balcony stateroom(s) next to you.

To be honest, the request can sometimes be approved and sometimes denied.  It seems the possibility to due so depends on the ship class and ship management policies.  

In addition, you may be told you have to wait for your ship to leave its homeport before they can take care of your request.  Many cruisers we've talked to about this reported that it was taken care of within a few hours of sailaway.

In general, we've heard on Voyager class ships the practice of opening up balcony dividers is prohibited (many of the ships' balcony dividers are attached to the hull so it's physically impossible) but all other classes of ships seem to allow it. Freedom-class ships seem to be the most consistant in allowing the balcony dividers to be opened. Ultimately, the decision lays with the ship's captain.

In short, you simply need to ask your stateroom attendant and if permitted, you can enjoy a much larger balcony experience as well as have a larger common space to spend time with your friends or family staying near you.

The best Royal Caribbean photos of 2014


With the end of the year nearly here, we wanted to look back at the best Royal Caribbean cruise photos we could find on Flickr.  Below you will find the photos that stood out to us as beautiful shots of various aspects of a Royal Caribbean cruise.  Happy new year!

1. Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas

Photo by Scott Sanders

2. Oasis of the Seas - Opus Dining Room

Photo by Mike Goldberg

3. Time to say goodbye

Photo by Dahal Z

4. Oasis of the Seas

Photo by Dale Morton

5. Oasis and Vision of the Seas

Photo by Dale Morton

Continue Reading

Royal Caribbean to plug into Vancouver shore power


Royal Caribbean will start using shore power when their ships dock in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, reducing at-berth emissions by allowing the ships to shut down diesel generators while in port.

The advantage of using shore power is it reduces marine diesel air emissions by allowing ships to shut down their engines and connect to BC Hydro’s electrical grid while at dock.

Royal Caribbean is joining other cruise lines such as Disney, Holland America and Princess who are already using shore power at Port Metro Vancouver.

"Since its inception in 2009, shore power connections in Vancouver have reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 11,000 tonnes," said PMV.