Brilliance of the Seas Live Blog - Preamble

In:
22Mar2016

Hello Royal Caribbean Blog readers, its Michael Poole here for another live blog, but this time from Brilliance of the Seas. 

This is going to be a very special cruise, because I’m staying on board for two sailings! 

The first sailing is a five-night cruise headed to Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico.  The second sailing is a four-night and only has one port day, back to Cozumel, Mexico.  I can think of worse places to visit twice in one week!  

The dates to my sailings are March 26th and March 31st, which is a total of nine days on the Brilliance of the Seas.

Background on the Cruise

In February 2015, Royal Caribbean came out with their WOW Sale and I was searching around for great deals.  I came across the Brilliance of the Seas in March 2016, which is when I usually like to cruise. 

I decided to book three sailings in the same cabin, but later dropped one sailing, so I could add the Allure of the Seas this summer. 

Cabin Type

Up until a few weeks ago, I was in the same cabin for both legs of the cruise.  I booked a Solo Cabin – SI category on deck 4 (4583). 

During the dry dock a few years ago, Royal Caribbean added three solo cabins, which are at a discounted rate for solo cruisers.  However, a few weeks ago I talked a friend into joining me to the four-day sailing (leg 2). 

On that sailing I’ll switch cabin’s to deck 8 in an Ocean balcony (8544). 

I’ll be sure to provide detailed pictures of both cabins. 

Drink Packages

Ever since Royal Caribbean launched the all-inclusive drink packages, I’ve also bought one.  Sometimes I go with the select package, since I’m a beer snob and other times with the premium package when traveling with friends. 

On this first leg, I’m going to pass on the drink package, but for a few reasons. 

On embarkation day, I do not plan on getting onboard until after 12:00, I have a few plans that morning with a local friend.  Then on day 2 we are in Key West, so I’d like to explore some local bars there and not feel guilty about spending money on drinks.  

Also, since I’m a diamond member I have a few options in the evening for free drinks.  Let’s see if I actually hold out and not purchase the package. 

On leg 2, when my friend Hillary joins, I will be purchasing the $49/per day premium package

Ports of Call

For the first leg, I’ll be visiting Key West and Cozumel. 

My plans in Key West are to revisit Sloppy Joe’s restaurant. 

If you recall from my Majesty of the Seas Live Blog, I ran into this place and fell in love with it.  I’ll also explore around Key West and enjoy the day. 

The only downside is we are only here from 11:30am-5: 30pm, so not a lot of time to explore. 

In Cozumel, Mexico, I’ll be headed over to my second favorite place in the Caribbean (Coco Cay is my first) Nachi Cocom for day.  If you have never been here I encourage you to read the blog post I wrote on Nachi.  

On the second leg, I originally planned to try something new, the Cozumel Bar Hop.  However, I asked my friend what she wanted to do and she said Nachi Cocom, so I didn’t say no to that! 

Okay friends, it’s time I get ready for my cruise coming up this Saturday.  I’ll be doing full ship tours on periscope on both sail away days, and again in Key West, FL.  I’ll also try my best to include the cost of my drinks without the drink package vs if I had the package. 

Next time I report it will be from my new home for the next 9 days!  

Royal Caribbean removes complimentary internet offer from Majesty of the Seas

In:
22Mar2016

It appears Royal Caribbean has removed the complimentary high speed internet offer for Majesty of the Seas once the ship completes her scheduled refurbishment.

Cruise Critic is reporting Royal Caribbean decided to remove the offer, "due to a need for more resources for the ship's overall refurbishment that will include an expanded pool bar and poolside movie screen, family-friendly hot tubs, a kids-only pool area with the Splashaway Bay aqua park, and upgraded cabins."

Royal Caribbean had announced the details of Majesty of the Seas' refurbishment in July 2015, but has since scaled back those plans in January 2016, when they announced  the ship will not be receiving a new waterslide, new specialty restaurants in Sabor Modern Mexican or Izumi, as well as not receiving the DreamWorks Experience.

Royal Caribbean will honor the promise of complimentary internet to all guests that booked a cruise on Majesty of the Seas cruises departing May 15 to July 1, 2016. In addition, passengers who booked a Majesty of the Seas cruise on or before March 15 for a sailing departing anytime on or after May 15, 2016, will also receive free Internet. All others (anyone booking a cruise on or after March 16 for a sailing departing on or after July 2, 2016) will have to pay for their onboard Internet use.

99 days of Harmony: A Shipyard Update from Royal Caribbean on Harmony of the Seas

In:
22Mar2016

With less than 100 days until the launch of Harmony of the Seas the construction teams are down to the wire. Get an update on her construction process and see how she is coming along.

Royal Caribbean offering new weekly email offer to guests eligible for upgrades on upcoming cruises

In:
21Mar2016

Royal Caribbean recently launched a new way to reward guests loyal to Royal Caribbean with upgrades.

Royal Caribbean will provide travel partners with a means for travel partners to provide upgrades to their clients at a reduced rate.

The new program began on March 16, 2016 and each week, Royal Caribbean will send travel partners an email with a list of your clients who are eligible for a reduced-rate upgrade on an upcoming sailing.  The email will include name, booking ID, upgrade category and upgrade fee.

Eligible Crown and Anchor Society members whose email address in Royal Caribbean's database and has given their permission to send communications, will also receive an email notification.  For all guests booked via travel partners, the call to action is to call their agent.

HOW TO SET YOUR UPGRADE PREFERENCES

All eligible Crown and Anchor Society members whose email is on file, regardless of channel booked, will receive the notification 24 hours after Royal Caribbean sends the email to the travel partner.

Upgrades are offered about 45 days prior to departure date.

The upgrade fee cost is per stateroom.

If an upgrade is from a balcony to a Junior Suite, the Crown and Anchor Society members will not receive the additional point per night.

99 days of Harmony: Chops Grille

In:
21Mar2016

There are less than 100 days until Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, debuts and every day we're counting down each day with something really fun on this brand new ship. Read our blog each day for a new post all about this amazing cruise ship.

Chops Grille

If there is one specialty restaurant that Royal Caribbean is known for, it has to be Chops Grille, and on Harmony of the Seas, guests will be able to experience a terrific steakhouse at sea.

Chops Grille is located in the Central Park and offers a number of cuts of steak, along with seafood, chicken and a whole lot more.  The Chops Grille menu on Harmony of the Seas features choices like Shrimp Cocktail with a chipotle kick, Roasted Organic Chicken with truffled chicken jus and fine dry-aged steaks from Iowa and Nebraska.

These dry-aged steaks are at the center of the new menu, which are aged for nearly four weeks to enhance the flavor, tenderness and aroma. Royal Caribbean is particularly proud to be offering dry-aged steaks first at sea and it's a tremendous addition.

Chops Grille is a specialty restaurant and has a cover charge to dine there. There is a smart casual dress code and it will be open for dinner.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post as we celebrate 99 days of Harmony!

Tips for taking a 3-night Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
21Mar2016

Royal Caribbean offers a lot of amazing cruise experiences, including 3-night getaway cruises that are the perfect escape for a weekend or just a few days away from it all.

Three night cruises are among the shortest sailings Royal Caribbean regularly offers and today we have a look at some tips to consider if you are going to try a quick Royal Caribbean cruise.

6. There is a formal night

Just because it's only three nights does not mean there is not a formal night.

Usually the formal night is on the second night of the cruise, and it is just like any other formal night on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

5. Consider Buying the Drink Package

I know there are so many mixed reviews about Royal Caribbean's drink packages and whether or not it’s a value to you.  However, you might find it to be a great value to you for just three days. 

The type of package you might want is going to deepened on what you like drink, but remember you are only paying for three days vs the standard seven cruise. One more deciding factor that might swing your decision is the drink package works in Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island. 

On both, Majesty and Enchantment weekend sailings, they visit Coco Cay so the package works all day in the island.  Even with all the Diamond perks I get, I still find the drink package to be a great value on the short three-day sailings. 

Ask yourself; can you drink 12-15 drinks in three days? 

4. Inside Cabins 

Since you are just going to be on the ship for a short 72-hours, consider an inside cabin. 

I don’t even look at the other cabin types when I’m going on the weekend sailings, because there is so much to do and so little time.  If the cruise is a special occasion I understand wanting to splurge a little and get a nice cabin. 

However, outside of showering and resting a few hours in the evenings, you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the cabin.  More often than not Royal Caribbean is offering some type of sale on the inside cabin’s. 

3. Planning shore excursions in advance.

Honestly, for any cruise I’d recommend planning port day activates in advance.  And this holds true when you have such a limited time on board, the last thing you want to do is stand in another line.  

Often the shore excursions desk can get a lengthy line, especially on the shorter sailings. 

Prior to the cruise you can make any shore excursion purchases online to avoid working with the desk on board.  I also find the planning part at home to be just as fun, as the cruise itself, okay almost as fun. 

2. Activities on board

On every Royal Caribbean cruise you get a daily Cruise Compass filled with all the activates throughout the day.  This Cruise Compass is going to have activates around the clock, so the problem you run into is, you just can’t do them all. 

Years ago, when I first started doing the shorter sailings, I tried doing as much as possible.  However, I’d find myself extremely exhausted by the evening.  So my recommendation is find a few activities you really want to do and left a few go for the next time. 

1. Board the ship early

Royal Caribbean often sends out text messages or emails advising guest with their boarding time.  Fact is, you can board the ship anytime you want, regardless of the message states.  It usually has times listed to board by which deck you are on, but just ignore this message. 

Again, you only have 72 hours on board and you paid for these hours, so do not waste them. 

I would recommend arriving to the pier at 10:30am and you should be on board no later than 11:30am, if not sooner.  

99 days of Harmony: 1887 ice skating show

In:
20Mar2016

Are you excited for Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas to debut? We are too and that is why every day, we are posting something new about this incredible new cruise ship leading up to her arrival in less than 99 days.

1887: A Journey in Time

Ice skating shows have become a staple of Royal Caribbean's entertainment line up and on Harmony of the Seas, guests can look foward to a brand new ice skating show, 1887: A Journey in Time.

The ice skating shows feature world-class skaters performing extraordinary skills, with stunning multimedia visuals, audio an state-of-the-art technologdy prociding a sight and sound theatrical experience. Guests will watch as the surface of the ice rink in Studio B transforms before their very eyes, creating a backdrop of ultra-high definition video, which blends fantasy with reality.

Luminous Creative Imaging is a group of talented creatives that focuses on putting their team together to create beautiful visuals. As simple as it sounds, Luminous specialized in 3D/CGI, Illustration, Digital Art, Manipulation, Photography and just to name a few and they are currenly based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

1887 is a brand new show by Royal Caribbean Productions that is about love and adventure and is best described as a, "steampunk styled ice show." 

Images by The Imagination House / Luminous Creative Imaging

It is set in Paris on February 14, 1887 at the height of the career of Jules Verne, renowned author of timeless adventure novels such as “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (1864), “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” (1870), and “Around the World in Eighty Days” (1873).

Beginning their journey on the frozen River Seine, Juliet and her mysterious time traveling companion, the Tempus, travel in multiple dimensions to discover the wonders of the world, and of the heart.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: March 20, 2016

In:
20Mar2016

It's Sunday and the good news is we are all one week closer to our next Royal Caribbean cruise! In case you missed any of the Royal Caribbean fun from this week, here is our weekly round up!

There was a lot of Royal Caribbean news this week, but the big story was Royal Caribbean's decision to cancel the first six Empress of the Seas sailings.

We were a about two weeks away from her debut, but the company stated it need more time to finish the upgrades and changes they planned on adding to her, and decided to push her debut back by six weeks.

For guests that were booked on one of the cancelled sailings, Royal Caribbean has offered the option of a full refund, or to be booked on another Empress of the Seas or Majesty of the Seas sailing.

We have a lot to share with you this week, so let’s jump right in…

Royal Caribbean News

99 Days of Harmony

To celebrate the countdown until Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas debuts, we kicked off a brand new blog series, 99 Days of Harmony, that looks at what makes this new ship so amazing.  

Each day we are posting a new blog post all about Harmony of the Seas, so here's what you might have missed this week.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 137th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we discuss eveything about dinner on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

In this episode, Matt talks about the subject of eating dinner on Royal Caribbean, and tries to provide a general overview of the process as a means of explaining what to expect and why dinner is such an enjoyable experience onboard.

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 Interent

The New York Post has 10 crazy facts about Harmony of the Seas.

Ren Behan has a review of Wonderland's "Dry Run" in London.

Cruise Critic's editor-in-chief has a new column about winter weather and cruising.

Fortune Magazine asked Royal Caribbean COO Adam Goldstein about what to do when you are overwhelmed at work.

99 days of Harmony: DreamWorks Experience

In:
19Mar2016

Each day we are posting a brand new blog post to countdown until Royal Caribbean launches Harmony of the Seas. There's a lot to get excited about on this amazing ship and we're highlighting it all.

DreamWorks Experience

Ever since Royal Caribbean partnered with DreamWorks to bring their characters onboard Royal Caribbean's cruise ships, it's been a big hit.  Not surprisingly, the DreamWorks Experience will be coming to Harmony of the Seas as well.

DreamWorks Animation characters including Po of Kung Fu Panda; Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots of Shrek; and from Madagascar, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien and the Penguins will be available for guests to meet during their cruise.

DreamWorks Experience activities onboard will include

  • A DreamWorks Character breakfast in the main dining room
  • 'Meet and greet’ experiences throughout the day
  • Photo opportunities with the characters
  • Adventure Ocean programming featuring DreamWorks Animation
    • Story time
    • Dance parties
    • Adventures rooted in the popular character stories

Kids also get the chance to play with their favorite DreamWorks Animation characters at Adventure Ocean.

Of course, you will be abloe to watch DreamWorks films in your stateroom.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post as we celebrate 99 days of Harmony!

 

Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescues 18 Cubans

In:
19Mar2016

Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas rescued 18 Cuban migrants off the coast of Florida on Friday morning, following a 22 day journey at sea for the migrants.

The United States Coast Guard reported the rescue by the Royal Caribbean ship, which unfortunately also resulted in nine deaths prior to the resucue.

Brilliance of the Seas spotted the raft while on her way to Mexico, west of Marco Island in Florida. The migrants on-board suffered from severe dehydration, the Coast Guard said.

"Our deepest condolences to the families of the nine people who recently did lose their lives," said Captain Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard's 7th District. "Unfortunately, tragedy is all too common when taking to the sea in homemade vessels with no safety or navigation equipment. The dangerous waters of the Florida Straights can be unforgiving for the unprepared on ill-advised and illegal voyages."

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