Photos by Steve Ritter.
For someone new to Royal Caribbean, one of the most common questions that is often asked is when exactly is the best time to book a Royal Caribbean cruise.
It is a simple question, but has major ramifications. We all want to get a deal on our cruise vacations, or at the very least, save money where we can.
Here are some helpful guidelines to help you plan the right time to book your first (or next) Royal Caribbean cruise.
If there is one mantra everyone taking a Royal Caribbean cruise should know, it is to book cruises as early as possible.
In general, the best prices are found the earlier one books a cruise.
Royal Caribbean sells its cruises largely based on the concept of supply and demand. When a sailing is first offered, supply is at its highest because no one has purchase a stateroom yet. As time progress, more and more staterooms are reserved and stateroom inventory drops, so the price increases conversely.
The earlier you can book, the best chance you will have at getting a good price on your cruise.
When we say "early", it essentially means as early as you can. Royal Caribbean puts its itineraries on sale as much as two years in advance of the sailing, and while that may be too far in advance for many to plan vacations, the earlier you can book the cruise, the better for that bottom line price.
Reprice when possible
Booking your cruise early not only lets you lock in a good price, but it gives you the maximum opportunity to ensure you have the lowest price.
Throughout the year, Royal Caribbean offers various cruise sales: BOGO deals, 72 hour sales, WOW sales, leap day sales and more are offered and each promotion comes with it different pricing and booking incentives.
From when you book your cruise until the final payment date of your cruise, North American guests can cancel and rebook under the new promotions without any penalty (residents of other parts of the world need to check local laws and policies).
Since Royal Caribbean pricing can change daily, or even hourly, re-checking the price of your cruise often is a good way to ensure you are getting the lowest price possible.
When it comes to re-booking (and booking in general), we are big fans of using a travel agent for the services they provide. A good travel agent will not only be knowledgeable about Royal Caribbean, but take the time to re-book the cruise for you and even notify you when new promotions come out that you can benefit from.
Not when you book, but when you cruise
If you are wondering if there is an ideal time to book a cruise for the best price, it is not so much about when you book as when you want to cruise.
While there are times of the year that offer deeper savings than others (Cyber Monday has been a good time), finding the lowest fares has more to do with when you are actually going on your cruise.
In general, you will find lower fares if you are willing to cruise during the "shoulder seasons" and/or when school is usually in session.
- January (minus New Years holiday)
- Most of February
- First two weeks of November
- First two weeks of December
Picking Royal Caribbean cruises that sail during these times of year often net the lowest fares because it is when less people have the opportunity or inclination to cruise.
What is your best tip for the best time to book a Royal Caribbean cruise? Share it in our comments!
Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!
Episode 140 is available for downloading where I will be reading more of your questions this week all about Royal Caribbean.
Matt is diving into the email bag this week to answer your emails all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise, including booking shows, what to do in Roatan, Liberty of the Seas changes and a whole lot more.
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 is offering guests the option of exploring select ports of call mid-voyage with new Multi-Day Adventures program.
Guests debark their Royal Caribbean ship mid-voyage, where they take part in a fully guided tour that includes hotel accomodations, meals, airfare (where applicable) and transportation, before rejoining the ship at another port.
Royal Caribbean is offering Multi-Day Adventures in destinations such as
These Multi-Day Adventure tours offer the opportunity to venture beyond the coast and explore the "heart" of each destination - from the Holy Land’s sacred spaces and the ‘lost’ Mayan ruins of Tikal, to visiting the site of the first Olympic games in Ilia, or admiring New Zealand’s magnificent Milford Sound.
To avoid cancelation penalties, Multi-Day Adventures must be canceled 30 days prior to sailing.
Program requires a minimum number of participants to operate at the advertised price. Should this minimum not be met, Royal Caribbean reserves the right to offer the program to those already booked at an adjusted price for a private excursion, or cancel the departure completely.
We love to share photo updates from around Royal Caribbean's fleet, and today we have a great look at the pool and sports decks from Liberty of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean Blog reader Steve Ritter is back from Liberty of the Seas and shared these photos of the new kids pool area and the miniature golf course.
Both areas were added during Liberty of the Seas recent January 2016 refurbishment.
At 10 stories high, Harmony of the Seas' Ultimate Abyss is not only the tallest slide at sea but also an amazing engineering feat. Get an inside look into the construction process with the manufacturing team as well as the world’s only thrill engineer. Hear what makes Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate Abyss such an epic adventure.
Royal Caribbean announced today that the brand new Ovation of the Seas will extend her maiden Australian and confirmed she will return for the 2017/18 summer season.
During Ovation of the Seas' first season down under, the ship will now offer four extra cruises during this forthcoming summer 2016/17 season.
In addition, it was confirmed that Ovation of the Seas will return for a second season in summer 2017/18 due to, "the extraordinary demand for the ship from Australians."
Final deployment details for the additional sailings and 2017/2018 season will be released later in April. Royal Caribbean Australia is offering a newsletter to get more information when they do become available.
“The level of interest for Ovation of the Seas has exceeded all of our expectations; we’re currently over 90 per cent sold for next summer’s sailings,” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Royal Caribbean Australasia. “She is a true game-changer and such was the high demand for the ship that we’ve been able to secure four extra cruises from Sydney, which will extend the season into late February 2017.
“This extension of her maiden season – plus her subsequent return in summer 2017/18 – reaffirms Australia’s position as one of the most significant cruising markets in the world and Royal Caribbean’s position as Sydney’s leading cruise line,” Armstrong continued.
“We are delivering Australians the most modern style of cruising from their doorstep – a style they previously had to travel overseas for. Australia has asked for more and we will deliver; four more cruises, a return at the end of 2017, and more opportunities to experience a brand new era of cruising on Ovation of the Seas, purpose-built for the Asia Pacific market,” Armstrong concluded.
It’s my ninth and final day on board the Brilliance of the Seas, and these days just fly by.
Today, we were at sea all day traveling back to Tampa, Florida.
I started the morning off with room service to the cabin. I’ll be honest; it’s not the best option if you are looking for great food. But I really enjoy just eating on the balcony and taking in all the views.
I’ll also mention, in my past cruises, the coffee they deliver was less than drinkable. However, on this cruise I actually enjoyed the coffee, so looks like they have made a change.
I sat on my balcony for over an hour this morning just enjoying my coffee and reflecting on my past 9 days.
We wanted to relax in the Solarium and just take it easy.
The ship was starting to rock a little, as we were in the middle of The Gulf of Mexico. The water in the pool was splashing around a lot and it was like a mini wave pool.
I really enjoyed my time in this pool; heated water is always a pleasant experience.
Since it was my final day on board, I had to enjoy one more roast beef sandwich. Look at all this meat they put on my sandwich!
I had to take one of them off and eat with a fork, but I didn’t mind. They also serve salad’s here and have a wide variety of toppings.
Evening on board
Tonight we got ready early, so we could take full advance of the ship on last evening.
I went to the photo lounge, to get my free diamond 8x10 photo. After which, it was time to get a pre dinner cocktail.
I went down to the R Bar since they were playing live music at 5pm. It was a band playing beautiful music with violins; it almost felt like formal night again.
I went with the classic old fashion and Hillary had the champagne cocktail.
Dinner at Giovanni’s Table
We loved our dinner last night at Giovanni’s Table so much; we decided to go back again.
I had did met a couple on the Enchantment of the Seas two years ago, and we dined with them this evening to celebrate their birthday.
They are Pinnacle members, and I’ll say, we received a little extra service at dinner.
Since it was a special occasion we were celebrating the chef made us lasagna. If you have dined here before you know they only serve this dish at lunch. However, if you request it in advance they will prepare some for you.
For our starters, our waiter just brought out a few to try family style. I enjoyed dining here with more people, because we got to try more options.
For the main course, I had the filet and lasagna, I know two dishes! Again the filet was absolutely amazing, so tender just like at Chops Grill.
The whole staff came out to sing our friend happy birthday, and made her a large birthday cake.
I must mention the beautiful sunset we saw this evening. Our reservations were at 7pm, and we were able to watch the full sunset at dinner.
I highly recommend eat there at this time, so you are able to watch the sunset while you are eating. Also, the restaurant is not very large, so no matter where you sit, you will be able to see outside.
We decided to end our trip in the pub, this is always were mine started. They had some live music playing, which I might add seems to be the case all the bars.
If you are a beer lover like myself, you will love their options here. They have beers from all around the world, and with the exception of 1 or 2 beers they are included in the drink packages. I loved being able to try different beers all week, and relaxing in the pub.
The only downside of the pub is the location itself. They added this pub during the dry dock, so it’s beside the casino on deck 6. After a few pints, we called it an evening and headed back to our cabin, this was a sad moment because the cruise was over.
Thank you for following along with me over the past nine days. I truly enjoyed sharing my experiences with you from the Brilliance of the Seas.
If you have any questions about the ship, feel free to comment them below and I’ll respond.
See you again in two months for another live blog from the Allure of the Seas!
We love looking at beautiful Royal Caribbean photos and today we have a handful of great ones to share.
Photographer Rob Starling shared these great shots of four different Royal Caribbean ships coming and leaving Port Everglades, Florida.
Liberty of the Seas
Legend of the Seas
Allure of the Seas
Allure of the Seas
Allure of the Seas
Independence of the Seas
All photos copyright Rob Starling.
Royal Caribbean announced that it was joining 16 other companies and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA) in a pledge to crack down on wildlife trafficiking and educate consumers on the dangers trafficking poses to animals around the world.
Royal Caribbean is joining the cause by building awareness of wildlife crime and influencing buying behavior through the education of its 60,000 crew members and upwards of 5 million travelers annually. The cruise line also will work to identify and eliminate any indirect sale of products and souvenirs made from illegal wildlife products, through its on board shopping vendors and suppliers.
The illegal wildlife trade not only threatens the survival of many species in the wild but generates approximately $10 billion per year in illegal profits for sophisticated criminal syndicates that are masterminding the killing, transport and marketing of illegal wildlife products.
These commitments are part of a broader effort towards sustainability by Royal Caribbean. As part of its environmental stewardship program, Save the Waves, and global partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), RCL will work towards ensuring that its ships, operations, suppliers, and vendors are not indirectly promoting illegal wildlife products, and has committed to removing high risk seafood species from their procurement.
Michael Poole is live blogging from Brilliance of the Seas. Enjoy!
Well friends, we are back in Cozumel, Mexico again.
We docked promptly at 8am and the Independence of the Seas was docked beside us again.
This morning, I ordered room service to be delivered to the cabin. The rooms have cards behind the door, and you can simply fill out what you would like, and the time block you want it delivered.
We selected the 8:00-8:30am window and it arrived around 8:10am. The options for room service are eggs, fruit, cereal, coffee and tea. You can get mimosas delivered to the cabin, but these are not included in the drink package, since they came from room service.
We enjoyed our breakfast on the balcony and both of us, how happy we were to have it. Now the question is, can I go back to a standard inside cabin?
As you know from my day 4 live blog post, I was also at Nachi Cocom.
Most of my experiences were very similar to the first time; in fact I sat in the very same seat. The only thing different is I arrived a little later and they greeted us with a welcome glass of champagne.
I’m a little picky when it comes to champagne, and I found this very pleasant to drink, and they also put strawberries in the glass.
We did have a beautiful sand creation that said, Cozumel. It was at the end of my chair and thought it was very beautiful.
I did ask where it came from and they said a family was sitting in those seats yesterday, and their children made it. The service this time was much faster than my first trip, but there were also about half the people here today. I enjoyed some time in the swim up hot tub today, and loved having the bartender just had me a drink over.
I will note there were about 20 women from a different ship at Nachi that started to get out of hand. I thought the staff would jump in and ask them to tone it down some, but they never did. But, this was only on our last hour of the day, and it was almost time to leave.
We ended up leaving Nachi at 3:45pm, and back on board by 4:15 (last call at 5:00), never been within an hour before. Once back on board, we napped for two hours.
For a pre-dinner cocktail we decided to head over to the Schooner Bar, since Giovanni’s Table is right there.
We have met a really great bartender named, Julie here and she was making better old fashions, than the R Bar. She would also surprise Hillary every time with a new champagne cocktail.
They have live music in here each evening, singing on the piano. I must say, this 4-day sailing the bars are much more crowded than on the 5-day. If you are happening to sail on the Brilliance anytime soon, stop in and see Julie.
Dinner – Giovanni’s Table
I had made reservations online prior to my cruise for Giovanni’s Table tonight at 8:30pm. The cost for the meal is $25 per person and that includes tips for the server.
The restaurant called our cabin at 5:00pm to confirm our reservation, and that we are welcome to come sooner than our time, if we wanted. We were seated by the window in a table for two.
Our server was outstanding; I could just tell he was one of the best, so informative and knowledgeable. We started out with some sea scallops and mozzarella. The scallops have so many flavors in them; only problem is we wanted more!
For the main course, I order the filet and Hillary ordered the shrimp.
The filet was just as good as chops, maybe even better. If you are a steak lover and want to save $10 per person in cover charges, just go to Giovanni’s Table.
They also role a desert cart over table side and all I can say, is save room, because this is the best part.
Dancing under the Stars
Tonight was the dancing under the stars party again, and I just could not miss that. Ricky Mathews was the host for the party and it was a fun time.
There were so many people out on the deck dancing, he decided to extend the party and close the nightclub for the evening. A few times Ricky brought the microphone over for me to sign a few lines of the songs.
We stayed out on the deck until 11:30pm and then called it a night.
Stay tuned for one more day, tomorrow we are enjoying our last sea day.