Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas has returned to her homeport of Singapore, where she will begin her autumn 2015 cruise season with three- to 14-night cruises in Southeast Asia.
Legend of the Seas had previously homeported in the region between 2008 and 2013.
She will offer cruises ranging between three- and 14-night sailings, that will take her to 19 ports in 10 countries. Guests will be able to visit countries such as Vietnam, Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Legend of the Seas’ itineraries include a three-night voyage to Penang and Kuala Lumpur, a five-night cruise to Bangkok and Koh Samui, a 10-night cruise to Koh Samui, Bangkok, Sihanoukville,Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City, a 10-night one-way cruise to Koh Samui, Bangkok, Sihanoukville, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Danang and Hong Kong, a 10-night one-way cruise from Hong Kong to Taipei, Manila, Boracay, Puerto Princesa, Kota Kinabalu, Bandar Seri Begawan and Singapore, and a 14-night one-way cruise to Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Phuket,Bali, Lombok, Broome, Geraldton and Perth.
Legend of the Seas will leave Singapore in November 2015, to move to Australia for the winter cruise season.
Royal Caribbean has changed up how it advertises the cost of its unlimited alcohol packages and unlimited beverage packages.
Royal Caribbean is now including the 18% service charge into the daily cost of the package.
Previously, Royal Caribbean would advertise a lower rate for the packages and then add the service charge upon purchase.
The new pricing for the unlimited alcohol packages is as follows
- Select package: $42 per person, per day
- Premium package: $57 per person, per day
- Ultimate package: $67 per person, per day
In addition, the new pricing is reflected in the Royal Replenish and Royal Refreshment packages as well.
- Royal Refreshment (soda package)
- $8 per adult, per day
- $5.50 per child, per day
- Royal Replenish package: $22 per person, per day
The new pricing allows the total cost of the package to be more transparent to guests and without the surprise of a service charge added on just prior to purchase.
Do you like that the service charge is now part of the daily price? Share your thoughts in the comments!
1. Freedom of the Seas' godmother is Katherine Louise Calder
You may be aware that cruise ships have godmothers, who serve in ceremonial roles at the ship's launch and Freedom of the Seas' godmother is a woman named Katherine Louise Calder of Portland, Oregon.
Ryal Caribbean looked beyond a celebrity and instead, launched a nationwide search for an extraordinary "everyday" person to serve as godmother to Freedom of the Seas.
Calder was selected to be the ship's godmother as part of a contest to find a true "godmother" in the world.
For over 27 years, Calder was a foster mother to some 400 children over the years and was chosen by popular vote on The Today Show on NBC.
After being selected for the role, Calder flew up to New York City and broke a bottle of champagne across Freedom of the Seas' hull.
Calder also receives one free Royal Caribbean cruise per year for the rest of her life as part of winning the contest.
You can find a photo of Ms. Calder near Guest Services on deck 5.
2. Freedom of the Seas used to be largest ship in the world
When Freedom of the Seas launched in May 2006, she was the largest cruise ship in the world by gross tonnage.
Freedom of the Seas came in larger than the previous largest cruise ship in the world, Cunard's Queen Mary 2.
Freedom of the Seas enjoyed this distinction until Royal Caribbean built Oasis of the Seas in 2009.
To put that into scale for you, the Titanic was only 46,000 gross tons.
3. Ultra Voyager was the original name for the class
Every new Royal Caribbean class of cruise ships has a project name before the company eventually settles on the official class name.
The Freedom class was known as "the Ultra Voyager class" because it essentially was designed to be a larger copy of the Voyager class that proceeded it.
The Freedom class is roughly 15 percent larger than the Voyager class ships.
4. Ben & Jerry's Sweet
On the promenade there is a special stateroom that overlooks the promenade area, cabin 6305, which is unique because it is themed to the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream shop that is below it.
The stateroom is directly above the Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop on the Royal Promenade. And because on the porch of Ben & Jerry's two life-size cow figurines, the passengers look through their window behind these cows.
If you happen to stay in this stateroom, you will get certain extra amenities such as complimentary Ben & Jerry's ice cream as well as access to the concierge lounge.
5. Clarissa Parish designed many murals aboard Freedom of the Seas
Anglo-Italian muralist Clarissa Parish designed many of the beautiful murals found around Freedom of the Seas.
If you walk around Freedom of the Seas, you will see her work without ever knowing one person was largely responsible for the art.
In fact, Parish also created a number of murals again for Royal Caribbean on the Oasis class cruise ships.
6. There used to be a rare bookseller shop
When Freedom of the Seas launched in 2006, guests could find on the Royal Promenade the Book Nook, a room filled with over 3,600 books.
Royal Caribbean designed the space to have the ambiance of a rare bookseller's shop. There was cafe seating and invited guests to sit down with a book or magazine and enjoy a light snack.
Royal Caribbean had actually attempted to create a Book Nook earlier on Radiance of the Seas, but abandoned the idea because of the shop's remote location.
The idea did not last very long and in just a few short years, the Book Nook was regularly closed to guests and was eventually replaced by the Loyalty Ambassador's office. Today, the Next Cruise office is situated there.
7. There used to be a barber shop
Like the Book Nook, there also used to be a barber shop on Freedom of the Seas known as "A Clean Shave".
The idea behind A Clean Shave was to offer men a spa experience that was more masculine than the salon upstairs in the spa.
Men could choose from a basic haircut, shoe shine or opt for a full facial shave. Royal Caribbean designed the space to look like a classic barber shop.
A Clean Shave was replaced by the Cupcake Cupboard following a refurbishment in 2011.
Always on the cutting edge of technology, Royal Caribbean uses azipods to propel and safely maneuver its ships on the high seas. Watch as these powerful propellers make ship navigation more precise than ever before.
Cell phones are a way of life these days, with every guest bringing their phone with them onto a Royal Caribbean cruise, just like they would bring their wallet or identification. The obvious question is can you use your cell phone onboard a Royal Caribbean ship and what are the costs.
Here is an in-depth look at what you need to know about using your cell phone while on a Royal Caribbean ship.
Calls, texts and data
Once you are onboard a Royal Caribbean ship and the ship begins to sail, Royal Caribbean operates a WMS mobile network, known as Cellular at Sea, that will work with any phone that allows roaming.
When the ship is sailing out of range of land-based mobile phone networks, mobile phone service will still be available. When the ship is in port, you can connect to local roaming networks as permitted by your home carrier.
Cellular at Sea is compatible with both GSM and CDMA technologies.
The exact rates will depend on your carrier and the cell phone plan you have signed up for.
As an example, AT&T charges
- $2.49 per minute for voice calls
- $0.50 per text message
- $1.30 per picture or video message
- $19.97 per MB ($0.0195 per KB)
Verizon Wireless charges
- $1.79 per minute for voice calls
- $0.50 per message sent
- $0.05 per message received
- $2.05 per MB ($0.002KB)
Please note that calls to 800, 888, 866, and 877 numbers are not toll free. You will be billed by your home carrier for your international roaming usage on your regular mobile phone bill.
Not all prepaid phones are currently supported.
The bottom line is, using your cell phone on a Royal Caribbean ship while roaming can get very expensive, very quickly.
Cell phone plans for cruises
AT&T offers cell phone packages specifically for use on a Royal Caribbean ship.
There are three packages to choose from and they must be purchased prior to your cruise.
- $30 package
- 50 voice call minutes ($1 per minute overage)
- $60 package
- 50 voice call minutes ($1 per minute overage)
- 100 text messages ($0.50 per message overage)
- $120 package
- 50 voice call minutes ($1 per minute overage)
- 100 text messages ($0.50 per message overage)
- 100MB data ($10 per 10 MB overage)
These cruise packages can be added by calling 800.335.4685 and a one-month minimum required.
Verizon Wireless offers Cruise Ship Preferred Pricing
- $25 monthly access per line
- 100 MB monthly allowance ($25 per 100MB overage)
- For $15 more per line, add
- 100 minutes ($0.25 per minute overage)
- 100 sent texts ($0.25 per text sent overage)
- Unlimited received texts
Sprint offers international rates for Royal Caribbean ships
- $2.99 per minute voice calls
- $0.50 per message sent
- $0.15 per message received
T-Mobile offers international rates for Royal Caribbean ships
- $5.99 per minute voice calls
- $0.50 per message sent
- Messages received deducted from domestic texting plan allotment
- $15 per MB
Avoiding cell phone roaming costs
There are two simple ways to avoid the roaming costs that your cell phone provider may levy on you for using your phone while onboard.
Easiest and simplest is to turn your phone off before the ship leaves port.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to keep use of your phone in an offline mode, put the phone into "airplane mode".
Airplane mode disables the phone's ability to communicate with cell phone towers and will ensure you can use your phone without incurring charges.
For instructions on how to put your phone into airplane mode, refer to your phone manufacturer.
Using WiFi on your phone
Many guests choose to put their phone in airplane mode but use WiFi signals onboard or onshore to retain data communication.
Nearly all modern phones allow you to put the phone in airplane mode while turning back on the WiFi signal.
Royal Caribbean provides internet service via WiFi on all of its cruise ships that can be purchased in increments or as unlimited packages.
Royal Caribbean ships with Voom high speed internet can pay
- $15 per day, for one device for unlimited internet
- $22.50 per day, for two devices for unlimited internet
Royal Caribbean ships without high speed internet can pay
- $20 per day, for one device for unlimited internet
- $30 per day, for two devices for unlimited internet
Staying connected with other guests
Often we hear from guests who want the best way to be able to communicate with other guests onboard their Royal Caribbean cruise. Since voice calls are usually prohibitively expensive, here are some ideas for low cost ways to communicate with a phone.
- Text messages are usually the least expensive option to use and may also be the simplest. Depending on how much you text, the cost of this idea will vary.
- If you purchase one of Royal Caribbean's internet data plans, you can use text messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Viber to communicate without any extra cost beyond the internet package. iPhone users can use iMessage to also communicate for free with a internet package.
- We have heard about the Ripple Cruise Communicator that purports to allow free communication on a cruise ship, but have also heard mixed results of how effective it is.
There seem to be certain moments of absolute joy when it comes to a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation. It is the moments when you forget about everything else in your life briefly and are engulfed in the pleasure of the cruise.
Frankly, I think it is these kinds of moments that bring Royal Caribbean fans back again and again to book more cruises.
Here, you will find our list of the top 11 moments when you can take it all in and feel like you are "home".
11. Email telling you your cruise documents are ready
When I go to check my email and there is an email from Royal Caribbean that it is time to check into my cruise is the first real sign that my upcoming cruise is going to be here soon.
Let's face it, we book our Royal Caribbean cruises well in advance and it always seems like those countdowns to the next cruise cannot come soon enough.
But this one email is your first indication that your next Royal Caribbean cruise is nearly here. It was never so much fun typing in your family information!
10. Attaching your luggage tags
Like the email above, if you are taking the time to affix to your suitcases and baggage, that means you are very close to a cruise.
While packing may not be the most fun activity someone can do, there is no denying that attaching your luggage tags can give a great sense of excitement since it only ever happens when you are days away from a cruise.
It just seems so perfect to have a set of suitcases with Royal Caribbean luggage tags on them, waiting to be put in a car and head off to a cruise.
9. Hearing the sound SeaPass cards make when passing through security
This is one of those sounds you have to have been on a Royal Caribbean cruise previously to properly appreciate.
Hearing this sound is just one of those quintessential Royal Caribbean moments that remind you subtly you are onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise.
8. Windjammer lunch on embarkation day
If there is one meal I always look forward to every cruise, it is the first lunch onboard the ship in the Windjammer.
Having lunch on embarkation day in the Windjammer is a Royal Caribbean cruise tradition for me and when I sit down with my overflowing plate of food, that is the moment for me when it feels like the cruise has really begun.
7. Opening your stateroom door for the first time
Another one of those "my cruise is finally here" moments has to be when you put your SeaPass card or WOWBand up to the door of your stateroom and swing the door open to reveal your home for the next week or so.
Walking into your "home away from home" that represents your personal space for duration of your cruise really feels, well, good.
Our family enjoys exploring the stateroom to find all the spots we can put away clothes and the various souvenirs we will collect. And when you have a balcony stateroom, is there anything better than sliding open those balcony doors for the first time and feeling the ocean breeze?
6. Enjoying time on the pool deck
This moment is one that seems to repeat itself time and time again on your Royal Caribbean cruise but no one is complaining!
Time spent on the pool deck is time well spent, and it seems so many guests will find their way up to the main pool and enjoy some sun and a dip in the pool.
Regardless of if you enjoy time at the Solarium, H2O Zone or main pools, there never seems to be a bad time to be in the pool because this area of the ship is always a hub of activity and the perfect place to let a few hours slip by.
Extra points for enjoying the pool deck with an adult beverage, complete with umbrella and maybe some live music playing nearby!
5. Dinner in the main dining room
The main dining room is a quintessential part of the cruise experience and having dinner here is a feeling that I have yet to replicate anywhere else on land.
From the moment you are shown to your table and seated with a selection of fresh breads to choose from, the main dining room continues to be a central part of the cruise experience and sitting here and looking around to enjoy the scope and beauty of the area always resonates with me.
Perhaps it is because there are few, if any, comparable experiences to the main dining room outside of a cruise and Royal Caribbean seems to do their main dining room experience with such class and expertise that we relish the experience.
4. Taking in a show in the Royal Theater
Royal Caribbean takes real pride in the entertainment it provides for its guests, chief among them the entertainment in the Royal Theater.
Whether you are seeing a Broadway show or the Love & Marriage game show or any of the fabulous acts that can be found in the Royal Theater, it seems like this is another one of those times when you can literally sit back and take it all in.
Royal Caribbean designs its shows to be a focal point of the onboard entertainment and for years, the company has been producing bigger and more elaborate shows that give guests something exciting and fun to watch each evening.
Favorite shows have to be any of the Broadway shows, Love and Marriage game show, Welcome Aboard show and Sonic Odyssey.
3. Walking down the Royal Promenade or into the Centrum
It does not matter if you have cruised with Royal Caribbean dozens of times or if it is your first, being on the Royal Promenade or Centrum always impresses guests and it is not hard to see why.
It is difficult not to step foot in this area and have a huge sense of satisfaction wash over yourself as you have one of those moments when you think to yourself, "I really am here!".
The smell of food coming from Cafe Promenade or Sorrento's Pizza, the many shops selling pretty much everything you can think of, the art surrounding you, it all combines to set the tone for somewhere quite different from anywhere else.
The funny thing is it does not matter how many times you have been on a Royal Caribbean ship before, these areas seem to always strike you as being unique and exciting.
2. Reading the Cruise Compass in your stateroom bed
If you ask me, one of those Royal Caribbean moments has to be getting into bed after a long day of having fun onboard and grabbing the copy of the Cruise Compass the stateroom attendant dropped off to read with my wife and pick out what we want to tomorrow.
Royal Caribbean designs its experience to offer a lot of opportunities for fun throughout the day and night, and the Cruise Compass is your guide to it all.
It seems like I never get to half of the events I aspire to see, but I love looking for events I have done and loved as well as new ones to try. The wide array of events offered seem to always be impressive and I make sure to highlight the activities that I think I want to try.
Besides events, the Cruise Compass is your guide to sales, weather forecasts, information about the port we are about to visit and more. It really provides the perfect glimpse into what is to come tomorrow.
1. The moment your ship starts to sail away
Without a doubt, the perfect Royal Caribbean moment is when your ship starts to sail away and your vacation really begins.
Some folks watch sail away from their stateroom balconies, some go up to the pool deck to be a part of the celebration and others pick other areas of the ship to enjoy it, such as the Viking Crown, helipad or the promenade deck.
It really does not matter where you go, but that moment when you look around and see your ship is starting to move always strikes me as a "WOW" moment because it marks the beginning of the cruise part of your cruise vacation!
In a way, sail away is the moment of your vacation when all the excitement and planning you have been dealing with for months and years up to this moment pays off and you forget all about countdowns, bills, book reports and everything else and get into that cruise state of mind.
Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas offers guests fresh made Italian food that has been getting a lot of attention lately, so we decided to try it out on our recent cruise.
Part of Royal Caribbean's update to Freedom of the Seas in early 2015 saw Giovanni's Table replace Portofino as the Italian specialty restaurant onboard. The replacement of Portofino by Giovanni's Table has been a fleetwide initiative for a few years now and while we will miss Portofino, Giovanni's Table offers a different kind of experience that we have enjoyed on other ships.
It is always interesting to see how this Giovanni's Table compares to other Giovanni's Table restaurants in the fleet, as well as dearly departed Portofino. Let us head in and try out this new restaurant!
You will find Giovanni's Table up on deck 11 in the Windjammer area. It is located to the left as you walk into the Windjammer, in the former location of Portofino.
As you step inside Giovanni's Table, you will find a lot of browns and greens, with a hint of orange. This is a different color pallete from Giovanni's Table on Navigator of the Seas, which had more of a blue tone to the location.
Just like Navigator of the Seas, the Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas has a great view of the ocean. If you happen to dine here for lunch or early dinner, you should have a very nice view of the sea as you dine.
The restaurant is divided up between two rooms and it is a rather large space, relative to most specialty restaurants. The first room as you enter is more rectangular shape, while the second area opens up a bit more into a box shaped room. Both rooms have large floor to ceiling windows with views of the ocean.
Compared to Portofino, the look and feel of Giovanni's Table is a bit less formal. Where Portofino had an upscale look to it, I think Giovanni's Table does not have quite that formal look to match, but it certainly feels like a specialty restaurant.
We ate at Giovanni's Table for lunch and the menu certainly offers a lot of choices. I think Giovanni's Table appeal is that there is a lot of good Italian food to choose from and most of it are foods you have probably heard of.
Giovanni's Table also tends to be among the least expensive Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants, and I think that is welcome by most guests.
For our meal, I tried to go between favorites and new dishes. I will admit two friends of mine onboard raved about their Giovanni's Table experience, although they went heavier into the seafood choices than I did.
Most dishes, especially the appetizers are on the small side, so be sure to order extra to share.
We started off with two classics: insalata caprese per due and malanzane alla parmigiana.
The eggplant parmigiana came out in a small white bowl and I really enjoyed it. It might have been cooked a bit too long, but I love eggplant parmigiana and when I got below the top layer of cheese, I really enjoyed it!
The caprese salad is an Italian classic as well, and to me it is the perfect appetizer because of its light nature. Grab a piece of bread and put some of the mozzarella and tomato on top and it is perfetto!
On to entrees and we wanted to try something different, so I picked the 8 ounce grilled strip loin steak. My wife opted for the chicken breast filled with ricotta and mushroom, wrapped in prosciutto.
I wanted to try the steak to get a sense of something a little different than I might otherwise order. Our waiter also mentioned the steak as being a good choice, so I went with it.
Out came a very tender piece of beef that I enjoyed. It was simple, but I liked the Barolo reduction and thought it was a good choice. It was also on the small side, which I did not mind since I wanted to sample lots of food.
I also ordered the traditional meat lasagna because I have had it at other Giovanni's Tables and enjoyed it.
Sure enough, this lasagna was equally as good and as someone that enjoys a lot of sauce with his lasagna, this did not disappoint.
The chicken was incredibly moist and tasty and my wife really enjoyed the contrast between the chicken and the prosciutto. She said this was something she would definitely order again.
Alas, no meal at Giovanni's Table is complete without a visit to the dessert cart. Luckily, after all this food, the dessert cart comes to you.
We tried the canoli and chocolate cake, both of which were incredibly rich and even better than they look in these photos.
Giovanni's Table offers some tasty and satisfying Italian food that I think most guests will really enjoy. If you like Italian food, it is hard to go wrong with eating at Giovanni's Table.
What Giovanni's Table lacks in "WOW factor", it makes up for in an enjoyable meal experience. The view of the ocean combined with a wide selection of Italian dishes makes for a great spot for a meal away from the usual.
I really think Giovanni's Table is a great choice for lunch, perhaps even more so than dinner. The reason is for lunch, the cost is only $15 and I think guests will find the menu offerings a nice change of pace compared to what is available for lunch elsewhere on the ship.
It is also not difficult to get a table at Giovanni's Table, especially given the large size of its restaurant. Royal Caribbean encourages reservations, but if on a whim you decide to try Giovanni's Table, I think you will find there to be a table open for you.
Giovanni's Table is open for lunch 12:00pm to 1:30pm and open for dinner 5:30pm to 9:30pm and we reviewed Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas.
Stay up-to-date with all the Royal Caribbean news from this week with our roundup of all this week's news.
The big Royal Caribbean news from this week is Harmony of the Seas will feature a brand new aquatic adventure park called Splashaway Bay.
Splashaway Bay will replace the H2O Zone concept found on previous Oasis class ships and offer, "a vibrant waterscape for kids and toddlers with sea creature water cannons, winding slides, a gigantic drench bucket and a multi-platform jungle-gym to keep everyone entertained for hours."
Royal Caribbean News
- Hurricane Danny changed itineraries for Oasis of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.
- Royal Caribbean signed a marketing deal with Singapore.
- Royal Caribbean released a new infographic all about Harmony of the Seas.
- Speaking of Harmony of the Seas, here are 5 ways she will be different from any other Royal Caribbean ship.
- Here are 5 reasons your baby is not too young for Royal Caribbean.
- Read our full review of Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas.
- 9 Royal Caribbean cocktails you need to know about.
- The Ultimate Royal Caribbean dessert checklist.
- 5 things you will love about Chops Grille.
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
In this episode, listener Kris joins Matt to talk about Kris' recent 12-night cruise to Iceland and Norway aboard Brilliance of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Sunday Express wrote about how excursions with good local guides are key to Royal Caribbean.
Zagat published a video showing what a day is like with Royal Caribbean's executive chef Gary Thomas on Explorer of the Seas.
Beyond Ships has a photo feature of Explorer of the Seas in Europe.
Royal Caribbean has its list of 11 must-try dishes on Anthem of the Seas.
Skift lists why Royal Caribbean's expansion in Singapore matters.
Royal Caribbean announced today it will change the itinerary for Freedom of the Seas due to the projected path of Hurricane Danny.
Freedom of the Seas will not be able to call on St. Thomas and St. Maarten as originally scheduled. Instead, the ship will sail to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico, in an effort to try to find the calmest seas possible.
Yesterday, Royal Caribbean announced itinerary changes for Oasis of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas due to Hurricane Danny.
Royal Caribbean also noted there could be possible changes for Navigator of the Seas and Independence of the Seas depending on the storm's path.
Royal Caribbean announced this evening that due to the anticipated path of Hurricane Danny in the Atlantic, two Royal Caribbean cruise ships will have their itinerary changed.
Adventure of the Seas, which departs from San Juan, Puerto Rico, will not call on St. Johns, Antigua, Castries, St. Lucia and Bridgetown, Barbados this weekend.
Oasis of the Seas will also skip her scheduled Eastern Caribbean itinerary and instead, sail a Western Caribbean route with stops in Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.
Royal Caribbean also indicated passengers sailing on Freedom of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Independence of the Seas to stay tuned for further updates if the storm's track will impact their itinerary.
Royal Caribbean is monitoring the progress of Hurricane Danny and will make further updates as needed.