Royal Caribbean weekend sale offers up to $100 in instant savings

In:
14Apr2017

Royal Caribbean's Explore More Weekend Sale is offering guests an added bonus of up to $100 in instant savings on top of the cruise line's 1, 2, Free offer.

Cruises booked between April 14, 2017 7:00AM EST to April 17, 2017 11:59 EST on sailings that depart on or after 5/13/17 (excluding China departures) qualify for the offer.

Every Third Night Free

This offer also incudes the 1, 2, Free promotion

  • 3-5 Night Sailing – 1 Free Night
  • 6-8 Night Sailing – 2 Free Nights
  • 9-11 Night Sailing – 3 Free Nights
  • 12-14 Night Sailing – 4 Free Nights
  • 15-17 Night Sailing – 5 Free Nights
  • 18-20 Night Sailing – 6 Free Nights
  • 21-23 Night Sailing – 7 Free Nights
  • 24 Night Sailing – 8 Free Nights

Instant Savings

The bonus instant savings are determined by sailing length and stateroom category booked:

  • $25 off per stateroom for interior and oceanview on sailings 5 nights or less
  • $50 off per stateroom for balcony and suite on 5 night sailings or less
  • $50 off per stateroom for interior and oceanview on sailings 6 nights or longer
  • $100 off per stateroom for balcony and suite on 6 night sailings or longer

Free Balcony Upgrade

Bookings made between April 14-17, 2017 on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas sailings departing June 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017 are eligible for a free upgrade from Ocean View to Balcony.

Along with bookings made between April 14-17, 2017 on Liberty of the Seas sailings departing May 28, 2017 through August 27, 2017 are eligible for a free upgrade from Ocean View to Balcony. Free upgrade refers to booking a balcony room at the price of the ocean view room.

1-2-Free is combinable with adjoining Dollars Off, Crown & Anchor discounts, NextCruise offers and Shareholder Benefits. Dollars Off is not combinable with Crown & Anchor discounts or Shareholder Benefits. 1-2-Free and Dollars Off are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including but not limited to, restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, and Military), Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, and Net Rates.

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

Answers to 10 commonly asked Royal Caribbean drink package questions

In:
13Apr2017

Our readers ask a lot of questions about the Royal Caribbean cruise experience, especially when it comes to Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages. These all-you-can-drink options have never been more popular with guests, but there is often a concern or two prior to purchasing one.

We dug through our inbox's, comment threads and message boards to find the sort of questions we get asked a lot and are sharing the answers to help everyone figure out if a Royal Caribbean drink package is right for them.

1. What drinks are included without a drink package?

Before you can decide if a drink package is worth the cost, you need to understand which beverages Royal Caribbean includes in your cruise fare.

You can expect these drinks to be included and available during your cruise for no additional cost

  • regular coffee
  • decaffeinated coffee
  • tea
  • iced tea
  • tap water
  • milk
  • chocolate milk
  • lemonade
  • flavored waters
  • juices (at breakfast, not fresh squeezed)
  • hot chocolate (via instant packets)

These drinks are available throughout your cruise at a number of locations, so there will always be somewhere to get something to drink for free.

2. Can I get the drink package only for certain days of the cruise?


 

Not exactly.  You cannot "cherry pick" days to have the drink package benefits.  Basically, when you purchase a drink package, you are buying it for the duration of the cruise.

There is one way to buy a drink package for only certain days, and that is if you skip a few days at the beginning of your cruise.  Royal Caribbean will sell you the drink package even after the first day.  If you purchase it on day two, three or six, the cruise line will only charge you for the days remaining on the cruise. This can be a good strategy for someone that is unsure how much they will really want to drink onboard.

3. Is the drink package worth it?

Trying to determine if Royal Caribbean's drink packages are worth it is ultimately a personal decision. Everyone cruise's differently, and everyone has different needs and wants.

You must weigh the benefits of having virtually all of your drinks paid for, the ability to try new drinks without much risk and not having to worry about your bar tab at the end of the cruise, versus considering if the drink package will actually save you money compared to buying drinks a la carte, and if you will want to drink enough drinks every day of your cruise to make your package investment worthwhile.

If you want a completely unscientific means of figuring out if a drink package is for you, ask yourself this question:

Can I drink 5-7 drinks per day, every day of my cruise?

If after thinking that you initially thought, "Whoa, that is a lot to drink" or "Whoa, that's it?", then you probably have your answer.

4. Is Starbucks included with the unlimited alcohol package?

On non-Oasis Class ships, the drink package includes premium coffee and tea from places like Cafe Promenade, where Starbucks drinks are brewed. It is Starbucks beans, but not a licensed Starbucks location.

On Oasis-Class ships (Oasis, Allure and Harmony of the Seas), the drink package does not work at the Starbucks location onboard, but there will be Premium Coffee offered at Cafe Promenade or Park Cafe.

5. If a drink costs more than my drink packages covers, can I just pay the difference?

Yes, your unlimited alcohol package covers the cost of your drinks up to $12 or $13 per drink (the exact amount depends on which ship you are on). Above that price threshold, anything you order will be charged you the difference.

So if you purchase a $25 shot of whiskey on Oasis of the Seas, you will be charged $12 to your SeaPass account.

6. How many drinks can I order at one time?

You may order one drink per drink package at a time. 

You are allowed to bring your spouse/friend/parent/guy you met 10 minutes ago/neighbor SeaPass card up to the bar with you and make a group order, provided each SeaPass card has purchased an unlimited drink package.

Royal Caribbean does not have a minimum amount of time to wait between alcoholic drink orders, so you can keep the good times flowing as you see fit.  This is probably the part of the blog post where we recommend drinking responsibly.

7. Does the unlimited alcohol package work in all specialty restaurants? Can I get a glass of wine at dinner?

Yes it does. You can use any drink package benefits (alcohol or not) at any of the specialty restaurants.  In terms of what is included or not, the same rules apply to specialty restaurants, as they do at the bars around the ship.

You can order glasses of wine at dinner, whether in a specialty restaurant or the main dining room.

8. If I get a drink package, why am I charged for the last day of my cruise?

Despite the fact a lot of verbiage you see refers to the drink packages being charged per day, the reality is you are charged for each night.

So on a seven night cruise, you will be charged seven times the daily rate (plus gratuity). This means you get to use the drink package benefits on embarkation day and disembarkation day.

9. How can I get a discount on a drink package?

The most reliable way to get a drink package discount is to purchase it before your cruise on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner. Here are directions on how to take advantage of the online discount.

To be clear, if you are going to purchase a drink package, you will save money if you purchase it online rather than waiting to buy it onboard. 

10. Someone in my stateroom wants a drink package, but I do not.  Does Royal Caribbean require all adults in a room to get a drink package?

As of October 2017, Royal Caribbean has changed the rule so that if one adult purchases an unlimited alcohol package, all adults in the same stateroom have to purchase a drink package.

There are provisions that allow for that requirement to be circumvented if certain conditions are met.  These include guests tha are

  • Pregnancy
  • Recovering Alcoholic
  • Medical Reason
  • Religious Reason
  • Does Not Consume Alcohol Due to Personal Preference

Royal Caribbean offering free balcony upgrades on Liberty of the Seas

In:
13Apr2017

For just a few days, Royal Caribbean is offering a balcony cabin for the price of an oceanview cabin on select Liberty of the Seas sailings, plus the current 1, 2, Free Promotion.

Bookings made between April 12 - 17, 2017 on sailings that depart May 28, 2017 through August 27, 2017 are eligible for a free upgrade from Ocean View to Balcony.

Free upgrade refers to booking a balcony room at the price of the ocean view room.

This offer also incudes the 1, 2, Free promotion

  • 3-5 Night Sailing – 1 Free Night
  • 6-8 Night Sailing – 2 Free Nights
  • 9-11 Night Sailing – 3 Free Nights
  • 12-14 Night Sailing – 4 Free Nights
  • 15-17 Night Sailing – 5 Free Nights
  • 18-20 Night Sailing – 6 Free Nights
  • 21-23 Night Sailing – 7 Free Nights
  • 24 Night Sailing – 8 Free Nights

1-2-Free is combinable with select promotions. 1-2-Free is not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including but not limited to, restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, and Military), Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, and Net Rates.

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

First time cruiser's guide to Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas

In:
12Apr2017

Designed to be one of the most technologically advanced cruise ships in the world, Anthem of the Seas has made a name for itself as one of the premier cruise ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet. She debuted in 2015 and combines first class style, exquisite dining and original entertainment productions to provide an incredible cruise experience. Anthem of the Seas is the sort of cruise ship that has something for everyone to enjoy, whether you are new to cruising or an established veteran.

Just looking at Anthem of the Seas it becomes quite clear that is a lot to see and do onboard, but first time cruisers will find the experience to be easy to navigate.  In fact, Royal Caribbean designed this class of cruise ships with first time cruisers in mind. 

If you are trying Anthem of the Seas for your first cruise, or just first sailing on her, we provide this planning guide to aid in becoming acclimated with the ship quickly. Here is your quick-start guide to Anthem of the Seas!

Overview of Anthem of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas is a Quantum Class cruise ship, and first debuted in 2015.  This 4,180-passenger ship offers a lot of entertainment and dining onboard, and is best known for some of the headliner attractions, such as bumper cars, the observation pod that takes guests 300 feet above sea level, and a skydiving simulator.  

At the heart of Anthem of the Seas is an area known as the Royal Esplanade, which is a dining and shopping district right in the middle of the ship. It is the main thoroughfare for guests on the ship, going from one part of the ship to the other.  It is also a hub of activity and stretches from one end of the ship to the other. The Royal Esplanade connects to an area known as The Via, which offers high-end shops, restaurants and drinking venues.

Elsewhere, guests will quickly pick up on distinct areas of the ship that make navigating the vessel more tangible.  

The SeaPlex is an indoor hub of physical activities.  You will find basketball, bumper cars, table tennis, foosball, XBox Live, Circus School and a whole lot more to do there.  The activities vary from day to day, so check the Cruise Compass for more information on specific programming.  Typically, teens and older children enjoy the options found in the SeaPlex. At the rear of the SeaPlex, guests can venture outside to experience the FlowRider surf simulator and Ripcord by iFly skydiving simulator.

Two70 is an area at the aft of the ship, which gets its name from the fact it has a two hundred and seventy degree view of the ocean.  Some of the signature Royal Caribbean entertainment is found in Two70, and it is also where many other events are held, such as lectures, meet-n-greets and more. Be sure to check out the amazing robot screens found in Two70 as well.

In terms of crowds, despite the fact Anthem of the Seas can accommodate over 4000 passengers, she handles crowds exceptionally well.  When designing this ship, Royal Caribbean wanted to deliver some game-changing features and to make that happen, they needed to build a larger ship. Royal Caribbean re-thought the flow of passengers on Anthem of the Seas, and that resulted in a large ship feeling less crowded than more traditional cruise ships. By offering multiple show performances, having more activities scheduled, crowds are dispersed because they do not feel they have to be at a certain place at a certain time.

Getting acclimated to where everything is on Anthem of the Seas is best accomplished by walking around and exploring the ship early.  Royal Caribbean packed Anthem of the Seas with impressive activities and entertainment, so the earlier you can get around the ship to see it all, the more great things you might discover. We especially love the 3,000 piece art collection that is based on the theme, "What makes life worth living."  Be sure to always be looking up, down and around you anywhere on the ship, because there are many wonderful pieces to discover in this extensive art collection.


Continue Reading

Australia cruises on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
12Apr2017

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

Episode 193 is available for downloading, which is all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise from Australia.

Perhaps no cruise market has become as popular in such a short time as Australia, and this week's episode is dedicated to all things cruising from the land down under.  Pippa joins Matt to talk about the basics of taking a cruise from Australia, including what to pack, what to do and the lovely places you will visit.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 193. 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 UK launches new fly-cruise packages

In:
12Apr2017

Royal Caribbean UK announced new fly-cruise packages for residents of the UK to get them to their Orlando cruises.

Beginning in September 2017, the packages include flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick and Manchester, packaged with private transfers and hotel accommodation close to International Drive, Orlando.

The new packages include a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise on Oasis of the Seas out of Port Canaveral, Florida with stops in Labadee in Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico.

A standard fly-cruise package, including direct return flights, transfers and a night's stay in a hotel before the cruise, costs from £1197pp.

Video: Hideaway Heist Steals the Show on Harmony of the Seas

In:
11Apr2017

From cops and robbers to high-divers and synchronized swimmers performing amazing feats in, on and around the deepest pool at sea, Hideaway Heist is an action-packed dive show brought to life at the AquaTheater on board Harmony of the Seas. Set in a swanky 1950’s resort, a crafty burglar has taken off with a bounty of jewels, and the staff of Hideaway Resort must take the audience on a high-flying adventure to solve the crime of the century.

Tropical Cyclone Cook forces Royal Caribbean to alter Voyager of the Seas' itinerary

In:
10Apr2017

Royal Caribbean has altered the itinerary for Voyager of the Seas due to the anticipated path of Tropical Cyclone Cook.

Cruise Critic is reporting Voyager of the Seas skipped a stop at Isles of Pines in New Caledonia on Monday, and instead took a sea day to avoid the path of the storm.

Voyager of the Seas is on a 13-night South Pacific and Fiji cruise, but the path of the Category 3 storm required a change in the cruise.

Excursion Focus: Kennedy Space Center on your own tour

In:
10Apr2017

If there is one shore excursion that stands out as the excursion to try in Port Canaveral, Florida, it has to be Kennedy Space Center.  Kennedy Space Center is known around the world for the incredible history that has taken place, and the new adventures that are coming just around the corner.  

Despite the fact that Kennedy Space Center is one of the premier attractions in the Central Florida area, I had never visited the complex, whether on a land vacation or by cruise.  So when my Anthem of the Seas cruise had a port stop listed for Port Canaveral, I felt it was time to give it a try and see what this was all about.

Description

Kennedy Space Center is about 15 minutes away by car from Port Canaveral, and is the center of NASA's space launch operations.  From the early days of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions to the Space Shuttle and missions of today, Kennedy Space Center has been at the heart of these historic milestones. The Visitor Center allows guests to explore the grounds, see historical artifacts that have global significance, and learn about the history and future of manned space travel.

We booked this shore excursion through Royal Caribbean.  These days, Royal Caribbean offers a variety of different tours to Kennedy Space Center. On our cruise, we took the 5-hour unguided tour.  This means bus transportation is provided to and from Kennedy Space Center, but we would be on our own while at the Visitor's Complex.  I wish I could give you a good rationale for why we choose this tour over the others, but it simply came down to the fact we waited to book this tour onboard the ship and this was the only excursion that was not sold out.

Like most Royal Caribbean shore excursions, we were given a time and place onboard the ship to meet prior to getting on the bus.  Once our group was called, we were escorted off the ship and onto a waiting bus to bring us to Kennedy Space Center.

The bus ride over is short, and our excursion guide gave everyone a brief overview of the Visitor Center and what to expect.  Once we got off the bus, we were on our own.

There are two main components to the Kennedy Space Center, the Visitor Complex and the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

The Apollo/Saturn V Center is open to guests, but requires a bus ride to get there.  Our guide on the bus ride over to Kennedy Space Center recommended doing that sooner than later, so we headed there first.  We waited about 15-20 minutes for our turn to board a bus, and we were on our way.  The bus ride over took us near the Vehicle Assembly Building, various operation centers and provided an excellent view of nature.  Along the way we spotted alligators, various birds and even a Bald Eagle nest.

Once at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, there is a brief exhibition about the Apollo launches, which sits guests in a recreated launch command room to experience the final moments leading up to launch.


 

Following that re-creation, guests can explore the grounds and see an entire Saturn V rocket, which is incredible to see in person.

In addition to the Saturn V rocket, there are a few smaller exhibits that have some pretty interesting pieces of history from the Apollo era.


Taking the bus back to the Visitor's Complex, there is a lot to see here.  The star attraction is Space Shuttle Atlantis, which features the fourth operational and the second-to-last Space Shuttle built, back in October 1985.  The shuttle conducted 33 missions and orbited the Earth a total of 4,848 times, traveling nearly 126,000,000 mi (203,000,000 km).

There are many more exhibits, including 3-D IMAX films (included with admission), rocket gardens, Astronaut Hall of Fame and much more.

Comments

I made two mistakes with booking this shore excursion. First, was waiting to book this until I got onboard and the second was worrying I would be bored.  Luckily my first mistake was cleared up thanks to the Shore Excursions team on Anthem of the Seas, and my second concern was completely unfounded.

Five hours visiting Kennedy Space Center might sound a bit dull, but I can assure you if anything, we wish we had another few hours to explore even more.  The facility and its history is simply incredible. Being there and bearing witness to the accomplishments of the past, with an eye towards the future, really gave me an appreciation for the remarkable work that has happened, and is still happening, at Kennedy Space Center.

Even the fastest power-walker will find it impossible to see and do it all at Kennedy Space Center. You really have to prioritize which exhibits you want to see, and even then, you will not have enough time to read about everything on display.  There is a tremendous amount to see and do.

Our tour provided no guide and no lunch.  I felt that not having a guide worked better than I anticipated, just because we were able to move at our pace and stop for the exhibits we really wanted to see, and skipped over others that did not hold our attention. That being said, the guides we ran into across the facility were incredibly knowledgeable.  Our bus drivers that took us to and from the Apollo/Saturn V Center knew so much about Kennedy Space Center, it felt like they were not just employees earning money driving a bus, rather, they were true die-hard fans who knew it all.  Hearing their explanations and stories from the past really made a difference.

After visiting the Kennedy Space Center, I lamented not visiting sooner and definitely need to come back again to see the exhibits we missed the first time around.  

Overall, we loved our time at Kennedy Space Center. It may have been one of the best shore excursions we ever took, and lived up to the reputation as the premiere thing to do in Port Canaveral.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: April 9, 2017

In:
09Apr2017

They say April showers brings May flowers, but Sundays bring you a round-up of all of this week's Royal Caribbean news!

The Royal Caribbean news everyone was talking about this week was another update to Royal Caribbean's suggested attire, where shorts, tees, and tank tops were removed from the list.

Royal Caribbean revised its dress code suggestions just around two weeks after it added shorts to the list, which generated a lot of discussion as well.

The change applies to the casual dress code, and as many cruise veterans have noted in our comments, the dress code has rarely been enforced.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 192nd episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, which has five rules for getting a great price on a Royal Caribbean cruise,

Among all the questions typically asked, Matt finds the most common one is about how to get a "deal" on a Royal Caribbean cruise.  In this episode, Matt shares the five things anyone can do to get a great price.

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.

Join us aboard the largest cruise ship in the world!

We are so excited to announce the next group cruise for readers and staff of RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com aboard Harmony of the Seas!  This is an exclusive group where we are inviting you, our readers, to join us on a fantastic Harmony of the Seas sailing on an 7-night cruise to the Western Caribbean.

This Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise is all about enjoying a fun Royal Caribbean cruise along with other fans who are big fans of Royal Caribbean.  Don't miss this opportunity to check out the amazing ship as well as be a part of exclusive events for those that book with our group!

For more details on booking the cruise, the itinerary and prices, check out the Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise page and if you have any questions, email me!

On This Week in Royal Caribbean History

Two years ago this week, Royal Caribbean took delivery of Anthem of the Seas at a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Ship builder Meyer Werft handed over the second Quantum-class cruise ship to Royal Caribbean. Immediately after that ceremony, Anthem of the Seas began heading to Southampton, U.K. for her inaugrual sailings.

Anthem of the Seas spent the summer in Southampton, prior to crossing the Atlantic to her permanent homeport in Cape Liberty, New Jersey later that year.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Mikayla Jane Travels offers an ultimate guide to Voyager of the Seas.

Travel + Leisure shared five things to know about Symphony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean has a list of how to make the best use of 8 hours in Labadee.

Cruise Habit answers what exactly are harbor pilots.

Royal Caribbean is also working with the WWF to find sustainable tour operators.

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