Royal Caribbean sees no impact to Cuba cruises from new U.S. policy change

In:
16Jun2017

President Trump announced new restrictions on Friday to curtail travel and commercial ties between the U.S. and Cuba, but it appears there will be no impact on Royal Caribbean cruises to Cuba.

On Twitter, Royal Caribbean confirmed that there will be no impact to any sailings that visit Cuba as a result of the new U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Royal Caribbean currently offers year-round sailings to Havana, Cuba on Empress of the Seas from Tampa, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida through March 2019.

Friday Photos

In:
16Jun2017

When the calendar says it is Friday, that is when we share our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos.  

Our first photo this week is from Scuba Steve, taken while snorkeling at Coco Cay during a cruise on Freedom of the Seas.

Bob Carpenter took this photo of Empress of the Seas at Terminal Sierra Maestra in old downtown Havana.

Steve Nikazy shared this photo of sunrise, taken onboard Grandeur of the Seas.

Here is a shot of St. Thomas, taken by Jennifer as her Royal Caribbean ship was leaving port.

Check out this photo of Harmony of the Seas docked next to Rhapsody of the Seas in Cozumel, by Dana and Patricia Hall.

Jason A Mathis-White took this photo from the aft of Navigator of the Seas.  

Our last photo this week is from Deborah, taken in St. Thomas while on a Harmony of the Seas cruise.

Thank you to everyone who shared their photos with us this week.  As always, you can share your favorite Royal Caribbean photos with us too.

Royal Caribbean adds arcade credit to pre-cruise purchase options

In:
15Jun2017

Royal Caribbean is now allowing guests to pre-purchase arcade credit via its Cruise Planner site.

There are three options available to purchase prior to a cruise, which offers the convenience of pre-loading arcade credit, as well as a discount.

  • $25 Arcade credit for $20
  • $50 Arcade credit for $40
  • $100 Arcade credit for $80

We spotted these new options for Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, although it may be available on other sailings as well.

Cruising during hurricane season on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
14Jun2017

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

Episode 202 is available for downloading, focusing on what you need to know about taking a cruise during hurricane season.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic is a time of year when large storms have the potential to disrupt cruise vacations.  What risks are there? Should you avoid taking a cruise this time of year? Matt discusses the important considerations during these months.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 202. 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's 10th Anniversary WOW Sale offers 60% off second guest, plus reduced deposit and onboard credit

In:
14Jun2017

Royal Caribbean is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its most popular sale, the WOW Sale, with another WOW sale!

Guests that book a Royal Caribbean cruise between June 14-16, 2017 on sailings departing on or after July 14, 2017 (excluding China departures) are eligible for the WOW sale.  

The WOW Sale includes:

60% off second passenger

Onboard Credit

WOW Sale includes up to $200 onboard credit:

  • $50 for 5 nights or less
  • $100 for 6-9 nights
  • $200 for 10-nights and longer

Sailings departing between 12/19/17 - 12/31/17 and 12/18/18 - 12/31/18 qualify for additional onboard credit:

  • $75 total OBC for 3-5 Nights
  • $150 total OBC for 6-9 nights
  • $250 total OBC for 10 nights and longer

50% Reduced Deposit

Kids Sail Free

Kids Sail Free offer provides free cruise fare of third and higher guests who are 12 years or younger as of cruise departure date, booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests in a triple or quad occupancy stateroom on 5 nights or longer Bahamas and Caribbean sailings departing Sep. 1, 2017-May 31, 2018, excluding sailings departing 11/17/17-11/27/17, 12/17/17 – 1/8/18, 2/15/18-2/20/18 and 3/10/18-4/1/18.

All other charges, including, but not limited to, taxes, fees and port expenses, are additional and apply to all guests.

WOW Sale is combinable with BOGO60, 30% Savings for 3rd and 4th guests, Kids Sail Free, standard/full fare and Next Cruise offers. WOW Sale is not combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military, etc.) Crown & Anchor discounts, Shareholder Benefits or Loyal to Royal Sales. All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, and Net Rates. WOW Sale is valid for Cruisetour package. Bookings with a Cruisetour package will receive an OBC based on the combined length of the cruise and Cruisetour component

Offer available to residents of United States and Canada. 

Royal Caribbean non-refundable deposit program roll out details

In:
13Jun2017

Royal Caribbean has released details on the launch of its non-refundable deposit program, where guests can opt to make a cruise reservation with a no-refund policy on the deposit.

Beginning June 13, guests can expect to see the non-refundable deposit option live on various products. Royal Caribbean will work with these test products leading up to the fleet wide launch on July 1, 2017.

Here are the sailings eligible for the non-refundable deposit program

Caribbean

  • Freedom of the Seas departing San Juan
    • Sailing window: May 12, 2018 through August 25, 2018
  • Rhapsody of the Seas departing Tampa, FL
    • Sailing window: January 7, 2018 through April 29, 2018
  • Adventure of the Seas departing from Northeast
    • Sailing window: May 5, 2018 through October 8, 2018

Alaska

  • Explorer of the Seas
    • Sailing window: May 18, 2018 through September 7, 2018
  • Radiance of the Seas
    • Sailing window: May 18, 2018 through September 7, 2018

Europe

  • Jewel of the Seas departing from Rome roundtrip
    • Sailing window June 17, 2018 through September 2, 2018

Non-refundable fares booked 6-months or more from sail date, recieve automatic Early Booking Incentive bonus. The early booking credit is combinable with promotional onboard credit offers, Crown & Anchor discounts, and NextCruise benefits.

  • Sailings 1-5 nights
    • Interior/Oceanview: $25 OBC
    • Balcony/Suite: $50 OBC
  • Sailings 6+ nights
    • Interior/Oceanview: $50 OBC
    • Balcony/Suite: $100 OBC

A non-refundable deposit will become the only option for those guests interested in reserving an upper Suite. This also holds true for guarantee categories, including W/WS, X/XB, XN, Y/YO, and Z/ZI.

As of July 1st, 2017, the fleet-wide launch of nonrefundable deposit fares will debut across all ships.

A change fee of $100 per guest will be imposed to all reservations booked under a nonrefundable deposit fare that opts to change either the ship and/or sail date originally selected. Multiple adjustments to the ship and/or sail date of a booking will result in the assessment of a $100 per guest change fee for each qualifying change made to the reservation. There is no limit on the number of change fees that can be incurred.

Outside of final payment, when a nonrefundable deposit cancellation occurs, guests will receive a Future Cruise Certificate in the amount of their designated cruise deposit, less the $100 per guest change fee.

Royal Caribbean offering Crown & Anchor Society members up to $1,000 off suites on Oasis Class ships

In:
13Jun2017

Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program is offering up to $1000 off suites on Oasis class sailings, departing July 10 - September 30, 2017.

Crown & Anchor Society members with a valid membership number of Gold or higher status can take advantage of this deal onboard Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas sailings booked between June 9-30, 2017 and departing between July 10 and September 30, 2017. The promotion is combinable with 60% off your second guest and 30% off third and fourth guests.

Gold Tier and higher members will receive the following savings

  • Star Tier Suites: $1,000 in Instant Savings
  • Sky Tier Suites: $500 in Instant Savings
  • Sea Tier Suites: $300 in Instant Savings

BOGO60 is combinable with Kids Sail Free, Crown & Anchor Balcony & Suite Discount, Crown & Anchor Suite Instant Savings, Next Cruise offers, and Shareholders benefits. Not combinable with any other offer, restricted rate, or promotion. The Crown & Anchor Suite Instant Savings is combinable with BOGO60 and Kids Sail Free and is not combinable with Crown & Anchor Balcony & Suite Discount, restricted rates or any other offer or promotion.

Offer open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. 

Royal Caribbean changes Shore Excursions Cancellation Policy

In:
13Jun2017

Royal Caribbean has changed the Shore Excursions Cancellation Policy. The new cancellation policy will transition from a 24-hour prior to tour departure deadline to a 48-hours prior to port arrival deadline.

Excursions can be modified or cancelled up to 48 hours prior to port arrival without penalty. Tours involving flights, trains, special events, overnight stays, hotel stays and Private Journeys must be cancelled 30 days prior to sailing to avoid cancellation penalties. Other restrictions may apply.

The new policy goes into effect fleet-wide on June 15, 2017.

If guests have booked before June 15th and wish to cancel before 24 hrs., they will be allowed to do so. If they booked their Shore Excursions after June 15th, the Cancellation will fall under the new policy.

The deadline for exchanges is 48 hours before port arrival. In the event a tour is cancelled, a full refund will be provided to the guest’s onboard account.

Things not to worry about on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
12Jun2017

Many first time cruisers have concerns about what a Royal Caribbean cruise is all about, and what it entails.  There is certainly a fair amount of pre-trip planning that can be beneficial to improving a trip, but there are also a few aspects of cruise planning that one should not concern themselves with prior to sailing.

Here are five parts of any Royal Caribbean cruise that you should not worry about before getting onboard.

Getting sea sick

If there is one thing many first time cruisers ask a lot of questions about it, it is about getting sea sick.

Let us be clear, going on a Royal Caribbean cruise is nothing like going out on your buddy's fishing boat.  Royal Caribbean ships are massive vessels, equipped with precise GPS and stablizing technology. Moreover, the Captain will regularly plot courses that take optimal routes for guest comfort.

There are certain steps you can take to mitigate the risk of getting sea sick, such as over the counter medications and homeopathic treatments

The bottom line is while one could get sea sick on a cruise, it is a very low risk.  In fact, if you ask veteran cruisers, they will likely tell you their concern over getting sea sick is ranked somewhere around the feature film selection shown onboard.

Hurricanes

Hurricane season in the Atlantic runs between June 1 - November 30, and poses a significant threat each year to people all around North America. Despite the ferocity of hurricanes, a Royal Caribbean cruise is a very safe vacation choice, even if there is a possible hurricane.

First and foremost, Royal Caribbean sends its ships well out of the path of known storms. While hurricane forecasting is not always precise, once a storm forms, it will affect a certain region of the Caribbean or Atlantic, and Royal Caribbean makes proper plans to alternate itineraries when necessary to steer clear of these storms. The cruise line wants its guests and crew to remain safe, its equipment out of harms way, and maintain a high level of guest satisfaction.  So changing from an Eastern to a Western itinerary or dropping a scheduled port stop is an easy to achieve that.

First time cruisers should also be aware that bad weather can happen throughout the year, and storms occur outside of hurricane season too. In addition, no one can control the weather or with any definitive knowledge tell you any sailing will be free of weather concerns.  Your best bet is to book a sailing that works for you, and have trust in the cruise line and the ship's crew to provide an excellent vacation experience, rain or shine.

Handing out gratuities

In years past, one responsibility of guests were to hand out gratuities to crew members onboard.  Not only was this time consuming, it was awkward.  These days, Royal Caribbean has simplified the whole process with automatic gratuities.

Each day of your cruise, guests are charged an automatic gratuity that goes towards their dining room staff and stateroom attendant.  Onboard purchases at bars, restaurants and lounges also include an automatic gratuity to simplify things as well.

Guests have the option of pre-paying their gratuities before the cruise to help break up the cost of the cruise.

All of this means guests can focus on enjoying their vacation, rather than having to be concerned with who gets what tip and for how much.

Having enough to do onboard

When someone who loves going on a cruise tries to encourage a friend or colleague to try a cruise, all too often they will hear a response of, "I'm worried there won't be enough to do," or even worse, "I think I would be bored."

These sort of statements will likely give a cruise fan a good chuckle, because they know a Royal Caribbean cruise is anything but mundane or boring.  In short, there is so much happening onboard that the most likely result will there being too much to do, rather than not enough.

Royal Caribbean designs its cruise ships to be a destination, with lots of activities, dining, shows and more.  Between the ports your ship will visit and the seemingly non-stop options listed in the ship's Cruise Compass, there is plenty to choose from.

Of course, all the activities and events onboard are optional, which means you can do as much or as little as you like.  Most guests prefer to sprinkle in activities alongside old fashioned relaxing.

Being hungry

There is so much food available throughout the day and night on a Royal Caribbean cruise that being concerned with there not being enough to eat is one less thing to worry about.

On a Royal Caribbean ship, guests will find a lot of food included in their cruise fare, along with specialty dining options that augment the standard fare.

Complimentary food is available for all meals, and time inbetween. Simply put, there is plenty of great food included in the cost of your Royal Caribbean cruise. One can easily go an entire food and enjoy nothing but food that has no additional cost from morning to night. After all, that is what the concept of a cruise has been for a long time.

In addition to all the food that is included in your cruise fare are specialty dining options, that carry with it an extra cost to enjoy the food there. The exact amount extra will vary from restaurant to restaurant, and ship to ship.

In most cases, the specialty dining options offer a greater variety of food choices than what is available at complimentary dining locations. Royal Caribbean has designed its specialty restaurants around themes or cuisines (Italian, steakhouse, sushi, etc).

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: June 11, 2017

In:
11Jun2017

Happy Sunday! We hope you are having a great weekend and ready to talk a little Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean made headlines this week when Symphony of the Seas was floated out.

The important construction milestone took place at the STX France shipyard. With the exterior now complete, Symphony of the Seas was floated out of her dry dock to begin the next phase of interior construction.

Symphony of the Seas will remain at this position until her delivery date in mid-April 2018.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 201st episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, and we are sharing our best tips for first time cruisers.

In this episode, Matt and Billy each share two aspects of a Royal Caribbean cruise that everyone else seems to enjoy, but not them.  It is a tribute to unpopular opinions.

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

AmyUrquhart.com shared three activities they skip on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean celebrated World Oceans Day with a peek at the most eco-friendly destinations.

Cruise & Ferry reports Port Everglades will refit Terminal 25 as part of a new deal with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Cruise Radio has a review of Wonderland.

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