Royal Caribbean will offer higher Crown and Anchor Society balcony discount during Member Appreciation Week

In:
10Aug2016

Royal Caribbean is celebrating Crown and Anchor Society Member Appreciation Week by giving all Crown & Anchor Society members an exclusive perk to celebrate.

From August 15-22, 2016, all tiers will enjoy balconies and suites discounts for the tier above them on sailings departing on or after August 17, 2016, and it is combinable with our current offer of 30% off every ship, every guest! 

Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Crown & Anchor Society member will receive an increased discount for making a reservation for a sail date outside of six months.

Royal Caribbean dropping balcony discount for Crown and Anchor members on cruises within 6 months

In:
10Aug2016

Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society has posted an update that it will stop offering a balcony discount for members that book a cruise less than six months out.

As of September 1, 2016, balcony and suite discounts that Crown and Anchor members are eligible for, will only apply to sailing’s booked more than six months out.  Royal Caribbean has offered a discount on balcony and suite staterooms to Crown and Anchor Society members that were at least a Platinum level member on all cruises, but this will now change a bit.

In the event a guest purchases an upgrade within six months of sailing, the Balcony & Suites Discount will be protected.

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean shared on their Facebook page a little more insight into why this change is occuring: "We've found that a large majority of our Crown & Anchor guests reserve outside of the 6 month window. For those who do not, we've noticed that, due to the lack of promotional combinability, it's more beneficial for our guests to take advantage of other promotions offered. We appreciate your honest feedback, and are using it to research ways to improve our Crown & Anchor offerings."

What do you think of this change in the balcony discount? Will this change what stateroom you book? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Royal Caribbean announces longest-ever Singapore with three of Asia's largest cruise ships

In:
10Aug2016

The largest cruise ships in Asia, Ovation of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, will be back in Singapore from October 2016 through May 2017 to offer Royal Caribbean's longest-ever homeporting season in Singapore.  The season will run for eight months, totalling 55 cruises and will bring about 200,000 guests to ports in Southeast Asia.

Photo by Royal Caribbean International

The 2016-2017 cruise season will see a 30% increase in Royal Caribbean's capacity in Southeast Asia over last year.

Ovation of the Seas, which is Asia's largest and newest cruise ship, will be back in March to April 2017 with a total of 10 new sailings, comprising three to five nights to Penang, Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and a 12-night one-way cruise to Tianjin with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) for an overnight, Hue/Danang (Chan May), Hong Kong and Seoul (Incheon).

Mariner of the Seas will offer 39 sailings until next March, ranging from three to seven nights to popular destinations such as Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My). The new itineraries for the season are the 3-night Penang Weekend Cruise which will feature night touring and the 4-night Phuket Cruise.

Voyager of the Seas is returning in May 2017 to offer six sailings of three to five night Southeast Asian itineraries to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang, Phuket and an 8-night one-way cruise to Hong Kong, with stopovers at Bangkok (Laem Chabang) for an overnight, Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Nha Trang.

Royal Caribbean drink package prices

In:
09Aug2016

Royal Caribbean's drink packages have become incredibly popular and many guests have expressed an interest in purchasing these packages in order to enjoy unlimited beverages on their upcoming cruise.  These drink packages allow cruisers to pay one flat fee for all the alcoholic drinks onboard.  That means a predictable cost to indulging onboard, as well as a convenient means of enjoying beverages without worrying about costs.  

If you are wondering what the Royal Caribbean drink package prices are, then check out this easy to understand guide for pricing basics.

Drink Package

Deluxe drink package: Costs $55 per guest, per day (before gratuity) and includes beer, wine by the glass (up to $12 value), frozen cocktails, house and premium cocktails (up to $12 value), non-alcoholic cocktails, premium coffee and tea, bottled still and sparkling water, fresh-squeezed juice, fountain sodas with a souvenir Coca-Cola cup and a 40% percent discount on wine bottle purchases under $100 (wines above $100 will receive a 20% discount).

 

Drink package discounts

Lately, Royal Caribbean has offered guests discounts on the Royal Caribbean drink package prices when purchased before the cruise, via the Cruise Planner web site.

If available, we typically see a 20% discount to the daily cost of the drink package.

Not all sailings have discounts available, but if they are available, guests can log into their My Cruises section of the Royal Caribbean web site, navigate to the Cruise Planner section for their sailing and check if there are any discounts available on the Royal Caribbean drink package prices.

Drink Package rules

All-inclusive beverage packages are available on all sailings. Everyone in a stateroom do not have to purchase a drink package, but an individual drink package is for personal consumption and not to be shared with other guests.

Onboard, the all-inclusive packages are available for purchase throughout the voyage with at least 4 days remaining. Must be purchased for the duration of the cruise; prorated price based on date of purchase.

Guests with a drink package that want to purchase a more expensive cocktail that is not covered by the drink package will only have to pay the difference in the price.

Guests who have pre-purchased the premium package can upgrade to the ultimate package onboard. Guests will be charged the $10/day price difference.

Prices subject to change without notice, gratuities may be added based on itinerary. Packages cannot be shared, are not transferable. Beverage Package refund requests must be submitted within 48 hours of purchase to be considered. Your check may reflect an additional tax for certain ports or itineraries. When ordering a beverage selection onboard, you must present your SeaPass card bearing the package sticker to your server. Package does not include mini bar items, Evian water, canned sodas, bottled juice and souvenir glassware, specialty beers as listed on bar menus, or super premium category beverages. Package is subject to the terms of Royal Caribbean International’s Alcohol Policy. 

Royal Caribbean art: Fighter jets on Freedom of the Seas

In:
09Aug2016

Located in the Forward Centrum deck 10 of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, is a mixed media art display that features fighter jets that you might notice when taking a ride in one of the elevators.

This is not just a display of F-18 and F-16 planes, but actually the work of Italian artist Antonio Riello, entitled "Komba Tiepolo 30, 31 and 32".

If you look closely, you can see that Riello has taken fighter planes and decorated them with mythological fragments from Giambattista Tiepolo frescoes found in Italian churches and palaces.  The artist likes to explore the common territory and the curiosities of our collective imagination.  By turning what we desire or fear into a mix of the banal and the sublime, he creates the unexpected and the unpredictable.

Riello gathers his inspirations from the great amount of historical and artistic heritage found all over Italy - Roman ruins, medieval walls, Baroque churches and more.  He likes to mix these elements of the past with contemporary Italian life.

In this piece, Riello uses the Tiepolo frescoes to mask war instruments, which turns them into delightful and irresistibly bizarre paintings.

“Komba Tiepolo 30” The paintings are inspired by G.B. Tiepolo’s frescos in Wurzburg Residence. The aircraft is a copy of an F18 (Hornet).

“Kompa Tiepolo 31” Paintings are inspired by G.B. Tiepolo’s in Wurzburg Residence and Venice’s Ca Rezzonico. The aircraft is a copy of an F16.

“Kompa Tiepolo 32” Paintings are inspired by G.B. Tiepolo’s frescos in villas of the countryside in Venice. The aircraft is a copy of an F16.

The pieces are made of fiberglass, resin, metal wood and acrylic. 

Video: A Day in the Life of a Royal Caribbean Hotel Director

In:
09Aug2016

The hotel director on Royal Caribbean sees to every detail that impacts the guest experience. Watch as Hotel Director, Gary Davies, gives a behind-the-scenes look at managing the day-to-day operations onboard Anthem of the Seas to ensure a memorable vacation for guests.

Food on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
08Aug2016

There is no question that dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise has become a major aspect of the cruise experience.  The food available onboard ranges from simple and classic to extravagant and contemporary.  In short, there are a lot of great dining choices available on Royal Caribbean.

With so many choices, often guests preparing for their cruise have many questions about what is included, which options are available and how it all works.  What follows is our guide to understanding better the basics of dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Complimentary food

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.

Royal Caribbean ships have different names and venues for its dining options, but you will find some basic characteristics among them all to prepare you for what to expect.

Main dining room

The main dining room is the stalwart and institution upon which cruise ship dining was established.  It has changed over the years, but the principles remain the same and is available on all Royal Caribbean ships except for Quantum-class ships.

Guests may dine in the main dining room for dinner every night and breakfast every morning. Lunch is served in the main dining room on sea days only. The basics of the main dining room are it is a large, sit-down restaurant with waiter service that is included in your cruise fare.

For dinner, Royal Caribbean offers a traditional set time with assigned seating, or an alternative first-come, first-served option (My Time Dining).  Both offer the same menu, which changes every night and in both cases, there is the possibility that you will be seated with other guests.

Dinner is the most popular and common time to dine in the main dining room, when the main dining room offers appetizers, entrees and desserts to choose from each night and you may order as much (or as little) as you like and it's nearly all complimentary.  The exception for food that is not complimentary in the main dining room are a few premium dishes that have an additional surcharge and premium beverages, such as soda, alcohol and specialty coffee.

Breakfast and lunch is less formal than dinner, with guests seated as they arrive, with posted hours of when the dining room is open. In both cases, the meals are served to you at your table.  The breakfast menu does not change, but the lunch menu does.

The main dining room has a dress code.  Dinner has a dress code that changes each day, while breakfast and lunch have a more casual dress code requirement. When guests hear the word, "dress code," that often causes a lot of concern about what to wear.  The reality is on most nights, guests can easily wear what would be defined as "resort casual," which can mean a sundress or skirt for women and a collared shirt and slacks for men.  "Nice" jeans are appropriate for both men and women too.  On formal nights, the suggested attire gets a bit fancier, with cocktail dresses or gowns for women and suits for men.

Windjammer Cafe

First time cruisers often imagine a large buffet when they think of eating on a cruise, and the Windjammer is the closest thing to that concept.  

The Windjammer Cafe is a buffet restaurant that is included in your cruise, which serves meals throughout the day.  Most are not open all the time, but have long enough hours to cover nearly all the times guests would like something to eat.

The Windjammer has lots of seating and even more food variety than anywhere else on the ship. You will find burgers, soups, sandwiches, ethnic dishes, salads, pastas and much more every day. Guests will find the greatest variety of food at the Windjammer compared to any other dining location on the ship, complimentary or paid.

Guests serve themselves from the buffet and then bring their food to a table in the area. Guests are also free to take their food elsewhere on the ship, like the pool deck.  There are wait staff who will clear plates, clean tables and bring you drinks.  

Unlike the main dining room, the dress code for the Windjammer is casual.

The Windjammer is a great alternative to any sit down restaurant, including the main dining room.  Some guests opt to eat exclusively at the Windjammer for dinner instead of the main dining room for a variety of reasons.

Quick service restaurants

The bulk of complimentary food on a Royal Caribbean cruise is available from quick service restaurants, which offers prepared and short-cooked food to guests.  The sort of food you find here are sandwiches, snacks, pizza and everything between.  Each Royal Caribbean ship will offer a number of these locations around your ship, so you are never too far away.

There is usually limited  seating available at these locations, but most guests go into get the food and then bring it somewhere else on the ship to eat, such as their stateroom or by the pool.  It is designed for guests that want something quickly to eat on their way to somewhere else.

Room Service

Yes, room service is complimentary on your Royal Caribbean cruise and offers a fixed menu throughout your cruise, which is available 24 hours per day.

Just like room service at a hotel, you can call room service and place an order to have a crew member deliver the food to your room.  Royal Caribbean has also added a room service ordering option via the stateroom television, which simplifies the ordering process.

The room service menu does not change and is limited in scope.

While room service is complimentary, a cash tip is traditionally given to the crew member delivering the food. Also, as of 2009, Royal Caribbean instituted a $3.95 surcharge for any food ordered between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

Dynamic Dining

On Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class cruise ships, there is no main dining room.  Instead, there are smaller specialized restaurants included in your cruise fare to dine at.  In addition, there are no ship-wide dress codes and no set times for dinner.  Think of it like being in your hometown and deciding on dinner.  You probably consider a few different restaurants and then decide to call ahead for a reservation or walk-up and see what is available.

There are two types of Dynamic Dining.

Dynamic Dining Choice functions much like My Time Dining, where cruisers are free to eat at any of the complimentary restaurants at different times, with different table arrangements.  Guests can make reservations at one of the complimentary restaurants or at one of the specialty restaurants, or just show up for a table on a whim.

Dynamic Dining Classic is a hybrid option that includes elements of the original Dynamic Dining and the traditional dining that many Royal Caribbean fans are familiar with on other ships.  Guests in Dynamic Dining Classic rotate among the complimentary restaurants each night of their cruise with the same wait staff and table mates each evening.

Specialty dining

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 recommends making a reservation in advance for its specialty restaurants to ensure there is a seating available, but there is usually walk-up availability although there is a greater risk of waiting to be seated.  Unlike the main dining room, you will not be seated with other guests with the exception of the Izumi Hibachi experience.

Specialty restaurants are priced in one of two manners: cover charge or a la carte pricing.  With a cover charge, there is one price for all the food on the menu (except for beverages).  There can also be a surcharge for ordering more than one entree, although this rule varies based on the specialty restaurant you happen to be dining at.  A la carte dining charges you just for what you order, and is similar to how food is billed at a conventional land-based restaurant.

Specialty dining can be booked prior to a cruise via Royal Caribbean's web site or once onboard the cruise.  Reservations made online for a specialty restaurant with a cover charge will charge that amount at the time of booking.  Reservations made for specialty dining onboard your ship will not be charged to your SeaPass account until you dine at the restaurant.

Specialty restaurant costs

The cost of specialty dining varies considerably and we even see different pricing across the fleet.

Most specialty dining has a flat-fee surcharge, ranging from $6.95 (Johnny Rockets) or $25 (Giovanni's Table) to $85 (Chef's Table).  Most specialty dining restaurant cover charges fall into the $20 to $45 range.

The a la carte priced restaurants will have item prices of just a few dollars to around $20.  

Specialty restaurant hours

All Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants are open for dinner, with some open during breakfast and/or lunch.

Lunch meals at specialty restaurants usually are priced a bit lower and only on sea days.  Breakfast is quite rare to be offered at Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants. Some specialty venues, like Johnny Rockets on Oasis-class ships and Chops Grille, transform to offer breakfast for no additional fee.

For breakfast or lunch, advanced reservations are not usually available nor required.

Kids at specialty restaurants

Royal Caribbean welcomes children that are 13 years old or younger to its specialty restaurants (when accompanied by an adult) and even offers them special pricing.

Kids ages 6-12 can dine at specialty restaurants for a $8 cover charge. Kids 5 years old and under eat free.

In fact, some specialty restaurants have a special kids menu, which kids can order off that offers kid-friendly favorites from the regular menu.  Children under the age of 5 will have a menu similar to the kids menu from the main dining room.

Royal Caribbean does recommend, but does not restrict, Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, 150 Central Park, and Chef's Table are best enjoyed by children 13 years or older.

Dietary restrictions and special requests

Royal Caribbean is very accommodating when it comes to guests who have special dietary needs. The cruise line can handle a number of requests, such as food allergies, Gluten-free, Kosher, Low-fat, and Low-sodium.

Vegetarian Meals (including Indian-style vegetarian) are available on all menus in the Dining Room and Windjammer Cafe every day. Guests do not need to make a special request for these meals.

Lactose-free/soy milk, Ensure, and kosher meals are available no extra charge. All you have to do is notify Royal Caribbean at least 45 days prior to sailing (90 days for European/South American Itineraries).

For any and all dietary requests, contact your travel agent or Certified Vacation Planner and request that the remark be noted in your reservation details. If you made your reservation online at royalcaribbean.com you may add your request to the "update personal information." section. You may also send an e-mail request to special_needs@rccl.com; please include in the e-mail the guests' names, booking number, ship name and sail date. E-mails will receive an automated response. 

More Royal Caribbean food info

This blog post is just the beginning of the many options, choices and tips about dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise.  Here are a few more resources that will help you better understand what to expect once onboard:

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 7, 2016

In:
07Aug2016

Can you believe August is already here? It is the middle of Summer and there is a lot of Royal Caribbean news to catch up from during this week.

Royal Caribbean has added a new swim up bar at its private destination of CocoCay.

The popular island that is exclusive to Royal Caribbean guests now features a new bar that guests cans swim to and enjoy a drink, surrounded by the natural beauty of the ocean.

Royal Caribbean is in the midst of upgrading a number of experiences on the island, including new cabanas and even a dock for the island.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 157th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we have an exclusive interview with Anthem of the Seas' Godmother.

In this episode, Matt talks with Emma Wilby about her role as Godmother to Anthem of the Seas, as Emma shares her story of how she was chosen to become the Godmother along with Emma's favorite aspects of Anthem of the Seas.

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

Travel Weekly has a summary of their recent cruise on Empress of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean has a look at how they are fostering fuel efficiency.

CNBC interviewed Royal Caribbean Ltd CEO Richard Fain about the state of the company.

Man Travels World has a look at what it was like to be a crew member on Adventure of the Seas.

Bloomberg has a photo tour of Harmony of the Seas.

The National provides a look at the high-tech that Royal Caribbean is investing in.

First time cruisers: Can I get a table for two people in the main dining room on my Royal Caribbean cruise?

In:
06Aug2016

Royal Caribbean's main dining room is elegant, sophisticated and serves guests some amazing food.  It is a staple of the cruise experience, but some guests do not love the idea of sitting with other guests at the same table.

Whether you prefer some time alone at dinner, or just would prefer to sit at your own table, there are some options for getting a table for two on your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

If you are in My Time Dining, tables for two are generally easy to get.  If you do not arrange anything in advance, simply go up to the My Time Dining reservations table and when you make your dinner reservation, simply ask then for a table for two. It shouldn't be a problem, even if you don't have a reservation, although if it's a peak period, you might have to wait about 15 minutes.

If you are in traditional dining, when you make your initial cruise reservation, you can request a table for two.  You also send an email to rcldining@rccl.com about 2-3 weeks prior to your sailing with your request.  This strategy usually works for most folks. 

Once onboard the ship, you can still make the request.  On embarkation day, go to the main dining room and speak to the head waiter and ask for a table for two.  They are usually quite accommodating.  

Royal Caribbean adds more Vision of the Seas sailings from Galveston through April 2018

In:
06Aug2016

Royal Caribbean has added even more Vision of the Seas sailings from Galveston, Texas, with guests now able to book sailings through April 2018.

Royal Caribbean announced initial Vision of the Seas sailings for November and December 2017, but has now expanded those offerings to extend through April 2018.

Vision of the Seas will offer 4- and 5-night itineraries to destinations in the Western Caribbean, such as Costa Maya and Cozumel.

Vision of the Seas is the second Royal Caribbean ship offering cruises from Galveston, joining Liberty of the Seas.

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