The internet tells me that today is World Photography Day and since we never shy away from an excuse to look at Royal Caribbean photos, here is a collection of beautiful photos recently taken on Royal Caribbean cruises for you to enjoy!
1. Cruise Ship Sunrise
Photo by OliverJD
Photo by tralain
3. Quantum of the Seas
Photo by Jan Saez
Photo by Noel Chian
Photo by e_kroll
6. Royal Caribbean ship just hanging out
Photo by Mark
7. Gulf sunset
Photo by Marc
8. Freedom of the Seas - Royal Caribbean
Photo by Matthew
9. View from Royal Caribbean cruise
Photo by Soriya Kung
10. Independence of the Seas
Photo by Ivan Castaneda
11. Enchantment of the Seas
Photo by Stephanie McGucken
12. Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas
Photo by Gary Membridge
13. Allure of the Seas
Photo by Omar Masri
Let me be blunt: I love desserts. And I believe I am not the only one!
Desserts are that indulgent and savory part of any meal, where we forget about life for a few minutes and enjoy the sweet taste of a pastry, baked good or frozen treat. Royal Caribbean has its fair share of desserts that guests may sample across the ships in the fleet but we wanted to seek out the best desserts in our quest to find the ultimate Royal Caribbean desserts!
After carefully considering all of our options (and saving room for dessert), here are the desserts we absolutely cannot get enough of (despite what our doctors recommend). Enjoy!
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
Ever since Royal Caribbean partnered with Ben & Jerry to bring premium ice cream to their cruise ships, this has been the spot onboard to get your ice cream fix.
It does not matter which flavor of ice cream hits the spot for you, the thing is, Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop has been a favorite spot to stop in for a treat.
And have you ever walked by Ben & Jerry's while they are making waffle cones? Not sure if it should be a crime to allow that kind of a smell out into the open or if the real crime is not stopping in to get one.
Whether you stop at Ben & Jerry's as a post-meal dessert or you just need a little ice cream break in your day, no Royal Caribbean cruise is complete without at least one ice cream cone!
Red velvet cake from Chops Grille
Chops Grille has become Royal Caribbean's signature specialty restaurant and guests have been flocking to this restaurant for years now. Sure the steak is really, really, really good but have you ever had the red velvet cake?
Maybe it is the generous serving size or maybe it is the red velvet flavor, but this cake is so good that it cannot be left uneaten. Trust us, we have tried to resist but it is futile.
The red velvet cake has been a staple of the Chops Grille menu for some time and while it seems like it may have changed a bit over the years, it remains a top dessert pick!
Huckleberry cheesecake form Chops Grille
Yet another dessert from Chops Grille makes our list and this one is relatively new to Royal Caribbean.
When Royal Caribbean revamped Chops Grille's menu in 2014, a new dessert was added, the huckleberry cheesecake.
I will be honest, I had never had huckleberries before and the name conjured up imagery from the famous Mark Twain character. Nonetheless, our waiters have been recommending the huckleberry cheesecake ever since.
You get cheesecake with huckleberries adorned on top and the combination is simply perfection! There is something about the tartness of the berries combined with the richness of the cake and it just equals yum.
Chocolate banana empanadas from Sabor Modern Mexican
While I am not the world's biggest banana fan, my wife insisted the chocolate banana empanadas from Sabor Modern Mexican make the list because they are just amazing.
What you have essentially is melted banana and chocolate inside a fried shell.
It seems like everyone at Sabor really loved these dessert empanadas and for good reason. They are rich, moist and small enough that you start to think, "Yes, I should ask the waiter for a few more".
My wife also wishes to give an honorable mention to the churros from Sabor as well. Like children, it is difficult to pick a favorite.
Cupcakes from the Cupcake Cupboard
The Cupcake Cupboard debuted with the Oasis class cruise ships but they have found their way to many other Royal Caribbean ships and for good reason. These cupcakes are awesomesauce!
First, the cupcakes are the size of a baseball, which means there is plenty to enjoy.
Second, the rich frosting and clever designs make these cupcakes just as much fun to look at as eat (although eating is quite good too).
You can get bonus points in our dessert checklist if you try creating your own cupcakes at one of the Cupcake Cupboard cupcake making classes.
There are classes for children and adults and it proves you can have a lot of fun playing with your food.
Carrot Cake Trifle from Chic
Carrot cake may not be everyone's go-to dessert choice but this bad boy is worthy of a taste.
Chic, one of the complimentary restaurants on Quantum-class ships, has simple yet elegant desserts and their carrot cake trifle makes up for in taste what it lacks in size.
You will find spiced cake with a cream cheese mousse and a raisin sorbet. Trust me, it's muy delicioso.
Cheesecake Lollipops in Cafe Promenade
Whichever genius decided to take little bits of cheesecake, roll it into a ball and place it on a stick has my respect for furthering the human species as a whole.
If you wondering if cheesecake lollipops are as good as they sound, the answer is yes. Yes, they are.
The thing about these cheesecake lollipops is you cannot eat just one. Somehow your brain compels you to get another, and another and yet another because they are so small, how could they bad for you!
Milkshake from Johnny Rockets
Johnny Rockets serves up a lot of classic American food but without a doubt, the item to get on the menu is the milkshake.
You can tell it is good when Royal Caribbean charges extra for just milkshakes but they are worth every penny because of how large, sweet and cold they are. It is the perfect way to cool down from a day out in the sun or compliment a fresh-off-the-grill burger.
Milkshakes at Johnny Rockets have been a staple of any Royal Caribbean cruise for a while now and year after year, guests flock to their beloved chrome decorated restaurant for a handmade frozen treat.
What are your favorite Royal Caribbean desserts? Be sure to comment below and let us know!
Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!
Episode 107 is available for downloading and this week we are reviewing a listener's recent cruise aboard Brilliance of the Seas.
Matt invites Kris back to the podcast to discuss his recent cruise to Norway and Iceland and discuss what Kris enjoyed about his Royal Caribbean adventure.
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!
There is something about having a cocktail on your Royal Caribbean cruise vacation that just puts you into that perfect "now I am on vacation" mood. Maybe it is the little umbrella or perhaps it is the combination of juice and liquor, but it is hard to go wrong with these delicious mixed drinks.
Over the last few cruises, we have engaged in some serious "research" by sampling a number of mixed drinks and frozen beverages on Royal Caribbean ships and came up with our list of ther drinks worth trying on your next cruise.
Sweet & Spice Margarita and the Sabor Grand Margarita from Sabor
The New Southern from American Icon Grill
Pineapple Special from Freedom of the Seas main pool area
Anything in the color changing mugs!
Labadoozie from Labadee
Mojito from Boleros
Pina Colada from Boleros
Wildberry Lava Flow from pool bar
Coco Loco from CocoCay
How much are these Royal Caribbean drinks?
If just looking at all these drinks makes you want to get onboard and book a cruise, you may also want to know how much these drinks are selling for.
Most of the drinks will cost about $12, not including any souvenir mugs and before gratuity.
If your drink is the drink of the day, Royal Caribbean will knock 25% off the cost.
Many guests opt for an unlimited alcohol package so they can enjoy plenty of these drinks for a fixed cost.
What is your favorite Royal Caribbean drink? Tell us (and share a photo of it) in the comments below!
If you have read this blog at length, you may know that I am a really big fan of Sabor Modern Mexican specialty restaurant.
Ever since Royal Caribbean first added it to Navigator of the Seas and I had my first taste of homemade guacamole and first sip of hand crafted margaritas, I was hooked.
Since then, to my pleasure, Royal Caribbean has added Sabor Modern Mexican to a number of cruise ships, including Freedom of the Seas as part of a refurbishment that occurred in early 2015.
While on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, I just had to eat at Sabor and enjoy it again.
Will my love for Sabor Modern Mexican continue and can this restaurant continue to win me over with amazing food and drink? Let's find out!
Sabor Modern Mexican is located on deck 4 of Freedom of the Seas, in the spot where the night club once existed and across the hall from the Schooner Bar.
Much like Navigator of the Seas, Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas is nearly identical in look and layout. You will find lots of browns, reds and oranges that accentuate a modern restaurant look and feel.
Sabor Modern Mexican definitely does not look like a typical Mexican restaurant found in the United States, with sombreros, art involving mules and mariachi band music playing. Instead, Sabor Modern Mexican has the kind of vibe that you are in a hip new restaurant that opened in a city close to you and if not for the food, there is not a whole lot here that says Mexican simply by looking at it.
The restaurant is laid out in a sort of rectangle, with a set of tables in the center and tables and booths around the edges. It is not a large space but it can comfortable fit a lot of guests inside.
Inside Sabor, you will find a lot of colorful flowers and woods. There is also a larger table near the entrance for bigger groups. Recently, Royal Caribbean has been adding one large table near the entrance that has the most interesting decor. Perhaps that is an indication to bring more friends with you!
On Freedom of the Seas, we elected to eat at Sabor twice. Frankly, I am surprised it was not more than that.
Sabor is open for lunch on sea days and dinner on every evening. There are slight menu differences, with the lunch menu offering a couple less options than dinner but otherwise the experience is indistinguishable. For the purpose of this review, we will refer to both experiences interchangeably unless otherwise important to note.
After being seated, your server will welcome you with menus and offer you chips and salsa as well as the option of having a bowl of guacamole made in front of you.
The guacamole is made via a portable cart that has all the ingredients. Guests can tell the waiter how spicy (or un-spicy) the guacamole should be and if there are any ingredients you want less or more of.
It is quite interesting to watch the guacamole be made and in just minutes, your guac will be ready for you to eat. In my opinion, this is the best guacamole I have ever eaten and I could easily come to eat the guacamole and chips alone. I was very happy to find the guacamole on Freedom of the Seas lived up to the expectations I had from Navigator of the Seas!
For beverages, guests may order from a variety of drinks. All beverages beyond water have an extra charge to them unless you happen to have a qualifying beverage package.
We opted first to try the handcrafted margaritas. Just like the guacamole, a different cart is brought to your table to have the drinks made for you.
There are only two margaritas (sweet and spice margarita and Sabor Grand margarita) that are brought to your table to be made in front of you, while the rest are made at the bar.
Being that we enjoy a show, we opted for the handcrafted margaritas (when in Rome, err... Mexico City, right?).
Watching the margaritas being made was enjoyable and tasting them was even better. The drinks are large and have some fantastic flavor that certainly masks the alcohol inside.
Sweet & Spice Margarita and the Sabor Grand Margarita
Simply perfect margarita & Jalapeno-Cucumber Margarita
The Sweet and Spice margarita is quite interesting because it tastes sweet as you drink it, but after you swallow, you get a spicy kick to it. Very interesting!
I also wanted to try one of the tequila flights available, after a friend recommended it. There are two tequila flights to choose from: the vertical tequila flight and the horizontal tequila flight.
Do not ask me what the difference is but the horizontal flight is slightly more expensive and comes highly recommended by our waiter. I went with the horizontal flight!
The flight offers three tequilas to try: Don Julio Reposado, Sauza Hornitos Reposado, Corazón Reposado.
I am no tequila expert, but I can say that each was very smooth and certainly puts you in the right mood to enjoy a meal!
Moving onto the food (assuming you have not filled up on chips and guac yet), the menu has a mix of appetizers and entrees but they are intermixed. Our waiter (hi Juan) knew which to bring out when but feel free to order whatever sounds good.
At lunch, we started out with the queso fundido and sopa de tortilla.
Both appetizers were great and I think my wife and I enjoyed both a lot.
It is worth noting that many of the dishes are on the small side, so it is a good idea to order more than you might ordinarily order at a restaurant.
Our entrees were the tres quesos quesadillas and the chicken and roasted corn empanada.
The quesadilla features melted Monterey Jack, queso fresco and Chihuahua cheeses. If cheese is your thing, this is your meal. My wife recommends dipping the quesadilla into the queso for maximum cheese levels!
The empanadas had good flavor to them but I found them to be a little dry. I compensated by dipping the empanadas in the salsa and guacamole and it tasted a lot better.
For my dinner appetizer, I tried the Tuna Crudo, 3 crispy corn tortillas, fresh tuna, salsa mexicana, guacamole.
My friends, this was one of the best things I ate over the course of the entire cruise and when I come back next time, I may just order a few servings of this. It was really outstanding!
Keeping with my change of pace, I also ordered a different entree at dinner and went with the pan-seared red snapper.
Had I not filled up on guacamole, chips, tuna crudo, guacamole, margaritas and guacamole, I might have enjoyed this a bit more but the red snapper was very, very good. It tasted wonderful and was cooked to perfection.
There are also side orders to be had and in both lunch and dinner, our waiter simply brought us all of them.
Yucca barrel fries, Mexican rice, calabacitas and Mexican beans are available to try. They all looked good and I sampled some of it but I was so full by this point that I did not eat much.
If by some miracle you have room in your stomach left, the desserts are really phenomenal.
Just like the accompaniments, the desserts are served family style on a large plate and are described as "Mexican inspired mini-desserts".
My wife still dreams about the churros and chocolate banana empanadas.
I have to say eating at Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas lived up to and exceeded my expectations.
I love the mix of freshly made food combined with plenty of choices. I feel like there is a good mix of traditional Mexican favorites (tacos, quesadillas, etc) and some new choices.
The guacamole, chips and salsa are supreme and I really considered a few times paying the cover charge again simply to dine on them along with perhaps a few drinks.
If you are going to try a margarita, go for the ones made at your table and my friend was definitely right about ordering the tequila flights. Both will set the right tone for the meal (and likely well into your evening).
Looking at the cost, lunch comes in at $15 and dinner at $25. I really feel both prices are well worth it and there is not much of a difference between the two to say one is better than the other. If you want to save some money, go for lunch.
Sabor Modern Mexican still lives up to the lofty heights I have in my mind and it is without a doubt a restaurant I would recommend trying and then going back again (and again) for on your next cruise on Freedom of the Seas.
Sabor Modern Mexican is open for lunch on sea days between noon - 1:30 p.m. and dinner every night between 5:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. for dinner. We reviewed Sabor Modern Mexican aboard Freedom of the Seas.
Just how impressive a spectacle is Royal Caribbean's newest Oasis class ship, Harmony of the Seas? There's a new visual means of understanding how big she is with this new infographic!
In anticipation of Harmony of the Seas' arrival in Europe in May 2016, Royal Caribbean compared Harmomy of the Seas to well known European landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa and Big Ben.
Royal Caribbean will offer a brand new aquatic adventure park on its third Oasis class cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas.
Harmony of the Seas will be the first ship to feature Splashaway Bay interactive aqua park for kids.
Royal Caribbean describes Splashaway Bay as, "a vibrant waterscape for kids and toddlers with sea creature water cannons, winding slides, a gigantic drench bucket and a multi-platform jungle-gym to keep everyone entertained for hours."
We first posted photos of Splashaway Bay last week and today we have more confirmation about what guests can expect for this special area.
In addition, Royal Caribbean reiterated its three new water slides known as The Perfect Storm, as well as The Ultimate Abyss slide that features a 100 foot plunge.
Ultimate Abyss is a 10 story slide that begins in the Pool and Sports Zone at the aft of the ship down to the Boardwalk neighborhood below.
The Perfect storm slides of Cyclone, Typhoon and Supercell will offer guests even more thrills, with Supercell featuring a champagne bowl swirling guests around as they descend into their approach towards a big splash finale.
Harmony of the Seas will debut in May 2016 for her inaugural summer season in Europe before heading to her homeport of Port Everglades, Florida in November 2016 to begin offering seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.
A Royal Caribbean cruise is a fantastic family vacation, even if your family consists of babies or toddlers.
Assuming your infant is old enough legally to cruise (6 months old from North America, 12 months for international and repositioning cruises), taking your toddlers on a Royal Caribbean cruise is a great idea.
Despite some folks advocating to. "wait for your kids to be old enough to remember the cruise", there are many good reasons to take a little one on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
5. Royal Babies & Tots Nursery
A parent's best friend is the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery, which is a facility created just for children up to 36 months old.
The nursery allows parents to drop their infants and toddlers off in a supervised environment, where the kids can watch TV, play with other children, explore and nap.
The nursery will offer parents a drop-off option in the daytime and evening, while always maintaining an optimum staff-to-child ratio.
For a modest fee per hour ($8 at the time of this blog post), parents can reserve time for their kids here to give parents some time alone to enjoy what Royal Caribbean offers or explore a port.
The nursery staff are trained child care professionals and they will make sure your child is taken care of in the time they are there. Parents also get a special mobile phone to use on the ship in case the nursery needs to call them or if the parents want to call and check in on things.
The Royal Babies & Tots Nursery is available on select Royal Caribbean ships
4. In-room babysitting
If you are looking for more personalized child care or perhaps are sailing on a Royal Caribbean ship that does not have a nursery, then the in-room babysitting program is for you.
The program is simple, go to Guest Services during your cruise and ask about availability for a babysitter. Guest Services will ask various qualified crew members if they are available to babysit and if there is a match, the crew member will meet you at your stateroom to watch the kids.
Royal Caribbean charges $19 per hour (at the time of this blog post) to watch children in a stateroom and what is great about in-room babysitting is it allows the kids to remain in their comfort zone and sleep or nap in their own beds.
Just like the nursery, in-room babysitting allows parents time to enjoy dinner, a show or a night out on the ship alone.
3. Babies 2 Go!
Any parent knows a great deal of the bulk with traveling anywhere with a toddler is all the supplies you need. Diapers, baby food and wipes are just a few of the things you will typically need when you travel.
Royal Caribbean offers parents the Babies 2 Go! program, where parents can pre-purchase Huggies diapers, wipes and cream, and Gerber organic baby food that will be delivered straight to your stateroom when you arrive on the cruise and even during your cruise.
This gives parents piece of mind for lessening the amount of stuff to pack, especially if you are flying to your cruise port and are limited by how much you can pack due to airline restrictions.
You can purchase the packages by calling (800) 722-5443 in the U.S. or Canada.
2. Baby splash zone
On select Royal Caribbean ships, guests will find a special pool just for little ones that are still wearing diapers.
The baby pool is an ankle deep pool, where infants and toddlers can crawl around and splash to their heart's content.
Parents can sit on the pool's edge or with their child in the pool as the kids enjoy cooling off, just like the big kids.
If you ask me, the best reason to bring your baby on a Royal Caribbean cruise is for the memories you will make. Just because they are young does not mean they cannot have a great time onboard the ship or in the ports of call you will visit.
The portrait sessions in the evening are among the best opportunities to get professional photos of your kids dressed up. Moreover, these portrait sessions can give you momentos from an early age that you will look back on fondly for many years.
In addition, there are intangible benefits to bringing a baby with you on a Royal Caribbean cruise, such as meeting their favorite DreamWorks characters, or their first visit to the beach and ocean. Perhaps it's a ride on the carousel or enjoying the parade on the Royal Promenade.
Your child may not remember every moment of the cruise, but bringing them on a Royal Caribbean cruise is a positive experience for families and one of the best ways to spend together on a vacation.
Have you brought a young one on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Share your experience in the comments!
Royal Caribbean has signed a multi-million dollar marketing deal with the Singapore Tourism Board and Changi Airport Group to promote cruises from Singapore.
The new deal runs between 2015 and 2018 and is expected to attract over 170,000 foreign visitors to Singapore to take a Royal Caribbean cruise, which should constitute growth of over 50 percent.
Royal Caribbean will be increasing the number of cruises from Singapore during this same period, to over 40 a year. Mariner of the Seas is currently offering cruises from Singapore at a pace of about 30 cruises per year.
Mariner of the Seas' next Singapore season which will be the largest ever starting from this October, will feature more long cruises of seven to 15 nights, aimed at attracting more overseas fly-cruise guests.
The new marketing campaign will consist of research studies and channel development activities in markets around the world, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Europe and North America.
Royal Caribbean managing director for Singapore and Southeast Asia, Sean Treacy, commented on the deal, "Having deployed ships here regularly for the last seven years, Royal Caribbean now looks forward to its next phase of significant growth in Singapore. Our three-year deployment plan is our strongest commitment ever to this market and we see great potential in Singapore as a source market and regional cruise hub. We highly appreciate this collaboration which will be a tremendous support for our business goals in Singapore and Southeast Asia, as well as the strong efforts of the Singapore Government for being so proactive in driving the cruise business in the country."
Providing a link between Royal Caribbean International, Singapore and its regional neighbors is Changi Airport’s strong connectivity to 320 cities worldwide, along with some 6,700 weekly flights, giving Singapore a strategic advantage to effectively tap fly-cruise traffic from across the globe and serve as a cruise hub for Asia.
Sit back and catch up on this week's Royal Caribbean news. We've gone through and hand-picked some fun articles for you to take a look at in case you missed any of it.
Royal Caribbean rolled out its new suite program called Royal Suite Class, where guests who stay in suite staterooms will receive a whole slew of new benefits.
Royal Suite Class is an ambitious new program that offers three tiers of service to suite guests and fills a void in Royal Caribbean's offerings that previously overlooked cruisers willing to pay a lot for unmatched service.
Guests may begin making reservations for the new Royal Suite Class starting on September 8, 2015, with sailings beginning May 2016.
The program will be available on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean News
- Royal Caribbean revamped its shore excursions.
- The next Royal Caribbean promotion will be BOGO Plus.
- Two of the mega blocks for Ovation of the Seas were floated out.
- The first block arrived for Royal Caribbean's fourth Oasis class cruise ship.
- Everything you wanted to know about the virtual balcony.
- Read our in-depth guide to Royal Caribbean's select drink package.
- A look at a day spent on CocoCay.
First Time Cruisers
During the past week, we featured new blog posts just for folks that are new to cruising or new to cruising with Royal Caribbean.
We love to share why cruising is so much fun and help those new to Royal Caribbean understand the basics so their first cruise can be a big success.
Here's what we covered this week...
- What makes Royal Caribbean different from other cruise lines
- Which drinks are included on you Royal Caribbean cruise
- What first time cruisers need to know about Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas
- How to find a deal on a Royal Caribbean cruise
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
This week, Matt talks about his favorite spots on a Royal Caribbean cruise to enjoy live music.
In this podcast episode, Matt shares why he loves live music on a Royal Caribbean cruise so much and then lists his top 5 live music experiences.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
This Island Life writes about their cruise on Quantum of the Seas.
Cruise News says Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines are monitoring the situation in Tianjin, China.