Royal Caribbean announces $61 million revitalization for Adventure of the Seas

In:
10Jun2016

Royal Caribbean confirmed plans for Adventure of the Seas to undergo a $61 million refurbishment in November 2016.

Adventure of the Seas will receive all-new thrills and enhancements, including new dual racer waterslides, Cyclone and Typhoon, the popular FlowRider surf simulator, and a children’s aquapark, Splashaway Bay. In addition, guests will enjoy a new lineup of culinary and entertainment venues with Izumi Japanese Cuisine, the brand’s signature steakhouse, Chops Grille and Boleros Latin Lounge. The ship also will receive more than 100 new staterooms, a refresh of all existing staterooms and a brand new Suites Lounge for the luxury traveler.

We first reported this news back in May 2016, but this announcement confirms the news.

The reinvented Adventure is Royal Caribbean’s fifth ship to undergo revitalization, and at $61 million this will be the brand’s largest investment yet. The massive project will introduce some of the trademark innovations the cruise line is known for, bringing the best of Royal Caribbean onboard.

"We're thrilled to debut an array of new enhancements to one of our guest’s most beloved ships,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The name Adventure says it all; this ship is packed with action, featuring a mix of signature features and innovations, including thrilling new waterslides and VOOM, the fastest internet at sea."

Friday Photos

In:
10Jun2016

Every Friday, we invite our readers to share with us their favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos, so that we can share them right here on the blog.

We have a great batch of photos to showcase this week. Enjoy!

Our first photo is of Enchantment of the Seas from someone who submitted it with a poem.  Here it is:

The beauty of the Miami Harbor reaches its zenith 
Whenever majestic vessels 
Transport joyous travelers
To thrilling locations
throughout the world...

Lyn sent us this photo of Explorer of the Seas in Sydney Harbor.  No poem this time, but quite beautiful nonetheless.

Next, we have a photo of Grandeur of the Seas by Timothy Griffin.  Looks like another day in paradise!

Earl McGrath sent this photo of his kids checking out Liberty of the Seas, while it and Allure of the Seas were docked in Falmouth.

Our next photo is by G.Spindler of Quantum of the Seas in the Azores.  Great looking ship!

Denny Allen sent in this panoramic photo from Labadee, and it is a fantastic view!

Our last photo this week is from John McCormack of Serenade of the Seas docked at Saguenay, Canada during her snowbird cruise in October, 2015.

Would you like your Royal Caribbean photo shown here? Send us your best photos and we will include it in an upcoming Friday Photos!

Allure of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - St. Maarten

In:
09Jun2016

Our blogger, Michael Poole, is on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas this week and is LIVE blogging every day. Follow along for daily updates.

Morning on board 

Today was our first port stop in the beautiful St. Maarten.

Honestly, I was a little ready for our first stop; I’ve never started a cruise on two sea days before.

I woke up early this morning and went for my first run on the cruise. After that meal last night the run was much needed. I decided to run on the track since we were docking in St. Maarten. On Oasis class ships they have a track on deck 5, and 2.3 laps is 1 mile.

After my run I decided to grab breakfast at the Solarium Bistro, this is also a free breakfast option. If you are looking for a lite breakfast, or fast I’d recommend this venue. 

St. Marrten 

We docked at 8am, but since we did not have an excursion booked, we waiting until 9:15am to get off the ship. Unless you have something booked, try to wait just an hour to get off; it can be a little busy in the gangway.

Once you walk off, they have a water taxi what will take you over boardwalk for $7 round-trip. The cruise compass had a $1 off the water taxi ride coupon, but for some reason they didn’t take it.

The ride over is around 5 minutes but it’s very pretty.

Once we arrived to the boardwalk, we just explored and did some shopping.

Around 11am we decided to have lunch at The Blue Bitch restaurant.

I’ve been eating at this restaurant for many years now, and it’s become my little tradition. 

Afternoon in St. Maarten 

This afternoon, all we wanted to do is enjoy some beach time. They have people selling beach chairs, umbrellas, and a bucket of beers for $20. This also comes with free Wi-Fi, but you just have to walk up to the restaurant to use it since the signal is too weak on the beach.

At 4:30pm was all on board, and I stayed at the beach until 4:15pm, really took full advantage of my day here.

Once I was back on board, we all decided to keep the fun going and head up to the beach pool for an hour.

I usually like to get in the pool once I’m back on board anyway because it’s so hot. 

Dinner – Costal Kitchen 

Tonight for dinner, I was invited to the new suite restaurant – Coastal Kitchen.

The restaurant is located where the Viking Crown Lounge used to be before her dry dock a year ago.

Once I arrived they have a locked door and you must enter your SeaPass card.  The process of getting in is very similar to the Diamond Lounge.

If you are staying in a suite, they don’t mind you taking a few friends with you to dinner, and it’s also complimentary.

For starters we had some flat breads and mushroom soup. The soup was by far the best soup I think I’ve ever had, nothing like the soups you get in the main dining room.

For the main course we all went with the steak, which was also good, but I think it was just the filet of beef they serve in the main dining room.

Overall it was a great dining experience, but for me, I’ll stick with Sabor

Evening on board 

Tonight was the 70’s party on the Royal Promenade at 10pm.

I noticed they were selling seats on the Rising Tide bar for the duration of the 70's Party. The cost for the VIP sections was $40 per person, and included all drinks during the party.

The show was really fun, I watched from the Schooner Bar, but I didn’t see a lot of dancing happening.

Since we were all in the dancing mood we headed to dazzles where they also had a 70’s themed music, with a live band. 

Today as a fun filled day, very action packed. Around midnight is where I called it an evening.

Tomorrow is San Juan!

Spotted: Izumi sushi in Windjammer on Liberty of the Seas

In:
09Jun2016

Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas might not have the amazing Japanese specialty restaurant Izumi, but it is offering guests the next best thing: sushi from Izumi!

The Windjammer buffet on Liberty of the Seas has always had its Asian-cuisine section, known as Jade, where guests can sample various Asian food.  

While on Liberty of the Seas last week, reader Rob Chang sent us a photo of the new sushi options in Jade, which carry the Izumi branding.

Sushi from Jade on Liberty of the Seas

Rob reports the sushi tasting of a higher quality and being a better experience than what was there previously.  Plus, the sushi in Jade is still complimentary.

Sushi has been traditionally available at Jade on most evenings, but the quality of the sushi was never spectacular.

Sushi from Jade on Freedom of the Seas

It is not clear yet if this Izumi sushi on Liberty of the Seas is permanent or if it will become available on other Royal Caribbean ships that do not have an Izumi.

Excursion Focus: Le Galion Beach in St. Martin

In:
09Jun2016

Picking the right shore excursion for families is always a challenge because depending on the age of your kids, what is appealing to one family might be completely uninteresting to another family.  When you have young kids, the choices become even more complicated.

Just over the French side of St. Martin is a small beach that offers the perfect kind of beach day for young children or anyone that enjoys going to the beach without waves.

Description

The appeal of Le Galion beach is a horseshoe shaped beach that has little to no waves, which makes it perfect for kids that cannot swim or are not strong swimmers. 

The beach is a short drive from where Royal Caribbean docks its cruise ships and just over the French side of the border.  Upon arrival, there is a large cove surrounded by a beach that provides easy access to the water.

There is no cost to access the beach, but there are charges to use the chairs and/or umbrellas (5 Euros for either).  The beach is frequented by tourists and locals alike, with locals usually setting up further down the beach where they can just put out a beach blanket.

The chairs and umbrellas are provided by the nearby bar and restaurant, which offers waiter service and has a full bar menu, as well as a good-sized lunch menu.  

Over the years, the amenities and offerings at Le Galion beach have been improved and there are diving platforms (complimentary), kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skis and more available for hourly charges.

Comments

Le Galion is a quiet family beach that is great for non-swimmers and kids to have a relaxing day.  The beach is a shallow lagoon, and adults can walk out many dozens of yards from shore and not have the water go past their waist.  

Le Galion also tends not to get as crowded as some other beaches frequented by cruise guests.  It is a laid back beach experience that offers just enough for kids to do, without relying on a ton of water toys that can turn the ocean into a virtual playground.

We have brought our children to Le Galion for years because the beach experience is perfect for kids that just want to splash around without fear of getting knocked over by waves or suddenly finding them in deeper water than before.

The cost to use the beach chairs and umbrellas is fair and waiter service that brings drinks and food is pretty good.  There is nothing else around, so you are dependent on the beach bar for food and drink, but their prices are fair for the French side of the island and the staff speak English and French fluently.

If you want a quiet, relaxing beach that has little-to-no waves, then Le Galion beach is perfect for you.

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas begins maiden season from Barcelona

In:
09Jun2016

Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, began her inaugural cruise season from her summer homeport of Barcelona, Spain this week.

The cruise line says the ship is coming off of receiving stellar guest satisfaction scores and feedback on its first repositioning cruise, from Southampton, U.K. to Barcelona.

The world’s largest cruise ship is sailing an exclusive five-night Western Mediterranean itinerary with visits to Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples, Italy at full capacity, with guests representing more than 34 countries.

Harmony of the Seas’ inaugural summer season will offer seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries, showcasing Europe’s most popular destinations – Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence (Marseilles), France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy. The adventure-packed ship will reposition to the U.S. in November, where she will make Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, FL her permanent homeport.

Allure of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Sea Day

In:
08Jun2016

Our blogger, Michael Poole, is aboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas and LIVE blogging every day his adventure!

Morning Time 

Well, it’s another sea day on board the Allure of the Seas, and I’d say I took full advantage of the day.

I started my day off with off at the Next Cruise Office booking the Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise on Harmony of the Seas, September 16, 2017.

They have a notebook outside the office where you can fill in an appointment time.

The big perk of booking on board is bonus on board credit, which you can take now or push to that cruise. This was a fairly easy process and they pull all your information off the sea pass card. 

Now that I’m excited about my new cruise booking, it was time to head to our pre-arranged bar crawl.

We planned to stop at four bars and then end up at Sabor for lunch. Well after the second bar, I think we all decided to go have some lunch, oh well the bar hop was a good idea right? That’s the beauty about cruising; you can change plans and do what you want. 

Lunch at Sabor 

I know what you must be thinking by now, how many times are you going to eat at Sabor?

Our lunch group was for 10 and the service was a little slower, but that’s expected for a large group.

I had the perfect margarita and the world’s famous guacamole.

They bring a cart over tableside and ask how you would like it prepared: mild, medium, or hot.

For my lunch I went with the chicken quesadilla, not the most exciting thing on the menu but will never let you down.

My total was $10 for the two, so a great option for someone who might be on a budget.

And for those of you who are dying to know, we ordered 6 guacamoles for the table. 

Afternoon on board 

After lunch I had around an hour to kill, so I thought between a nap or swimming for the first time… Well I figure I’ll sleep when I get home, the pool won.

Really surprised myself, but this was my first time in the pool the whole cruise.

The pools have been very busy but I’ve always seen chairs open. I like going to the beach pools because it has tables in between the chairs and umbrella’s to help block some of the sun. 

Mama Mia 

Today we had reservations at Mama Mia and I was so excited about seeing it again.

I saw it a few years back on Broadway when they brought Mama Mia to Quantum of the Seas when she launched.

Our show reservations were for 5pm, but for this show I’d suggest arriving at least 45 minutes early but try for an hour.

If you notice in the picture this was the line at 4pm waiting to get into the show for the prime seat.

The show is two and a half hours long, with a 15-minute intermission.

I’m sad to report I left for coffee at intermission and didn’t return. I was really enjoying the show and they do such a great job, but I was just too sleepy, maybe I should have napped. 

Dinner at Giovanni’s Table 

Tonight we had made reservations for Giovanni’s Table for 13 guests at 8pm. I was really excited about dining here because it’s the best group setting venue with their family style dining.

For our starters, they just brought them all out, so it was fun trying new things you perhaps wouldn’t order before.

I’m a big fan of their lasagna so we contacted our Diamond concierge to have that pre-arranged for us. This is a dish they just serve at lunch, but will often save some for dinner if ask a day before hand.

Our main courses worked the same way; they just brought everything out in the center of the table. At this point in the meal I was getting into what I call a food coma.

The service tonight for a large table like this was absolutely outstanding; we never had empty drink cups, wine glass, ect. After the meal was done, our waiter and chef came out to the table to thank us for dining with them and hoped we had enjoyed their food.

It was funny, because our waiter sat down at the head of the table after to have conversation with us for 10-15 minutes. The cover charge was $25 per person, that also includes gratuities, however we all left extra for their service. 

Well friends today was very action packed from start to finish. At 10:30pm I decided I couldn’t handle anything else except my bed. I wanted to feel very rested for my fun day in St. Maarten. Thanks for following along!

Royal Caribbean offering up to $100 bonus onboard credit during weekend sale

In:
08Jun2016

This weekend only, Royal Caribbean is going to offer up to an additional $100 onboard spending money on top of Royal Caribbean's current offer.

New Royal Caribbean bookings made between June 10 and 14, 2016 on Caribbean and Bahamas sailings departing July 11, 2016 through March 31, 2017 are eligible for the offer.

Offer details

  • Interior stateroom: $25 onboard credit per stateroom
  • Oceanview stateroom: $50 onboard credit per stateroom
  • Balcony stateroom: $75 onboard credit per stateroom
  • Suite: $100 onboard credit per stateroom

This offer is on top of the 1, 2, Free and/or Kids Sail Free deals that debuted this week.

Offer is combinable with current standard/full fare rates, 1,2 Free, Free Children, restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military) and Next Cruise offers. Offer is not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to Group Standard, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates, Crown & Anchor Discounts, and Shareholder benefits. 

Offer open to residents of the United States and Canada. 

First time cruisers: Royal Caribbean's Oasis class or Quantum class?

In:
08Jun2016

These days, the latest and greatest Royal Caribbean ships are the Oasis and Quantum class cruise ships and if you are trying to choose between them, it can be difficult to know which is the best choice.

Royal Caribbean has put so much into these amazing new ships, so here is what you need to know about both classes of ships and how they differ.

Quantum class benefits

Royal Caribbean's Quantum class ships are the newest class of ships and have been largely associated with being the most technologically advance cruise ships.

There are three Quantum class ships in service, with two more on order.

  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Unnamed Quantum class ship (to debut in 2019)
  • Unnamed Quantum class ship (to debut in 2020)

The Quantum class ships are best known for excelling in two specific areas: entertainment and dining.

The Quantum class ships offer a great variety of entertainment on its ships. Impressive shows, amazing venues and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Royal Caribbean designed the Quantum class ships to offer some impressive new experiences that stand out.

North Star

North Star is an observation pod that is attached to a giant arm on top of each Quantum class ship. North Star takes passengers 300 feet above the sea to see area around them.

Guests enter the observation pod and then are raised up in the air provide views all around the ship.  Whether in port or at sea, North Star offers the best views on any cruise ship.

Ripcord by iFly

You know what is a lot of fun? Sky diving. You know what is incredibly scary? Jumping out of an airplane.

Ripcord by iFly is the perfect solution, offering a sky diver simulator for guests to enjoy without the risk of jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft.

After a short orientation, guests take turns entering a wind tunnel, where they will experience the sensation of sky diving.

Two70

Royal Caribbean built a brand new venue not available on any other ship with Two70.

Located on the aft of the ship, Two70 offers a sweeping two hundred and seventy degree view of the ocean.  That alone might be a great area to enjoy the view, but there is much more to see here.

Throughout the day, different shows and events will take place.  Chief among them are the Roboshows that feature amazing robot screens that move, dance and synchronize together to provide the kind of show you have never seen.  

Then there's the premier evening show in Two70, which offers a multi-sensory show that combines music, visual effects, acrobats and more to deliver a one-of-a-kind show.

Oasis class benefits

Royal Caribbean's Oasis class redefined what a cruise ship could be and are the world's largest cruise ships in the world.

Everything about the Oasis class is big, and there is a ton of, well, everything to do onboard. 

Like the Quantum class, there are also three Oasis class ships in service with two more on order.

  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Unnamed Oasis class ship (to debut in 2018)
  • Unnamed Oasis class ship (to debut in 2021)

In short, the Oasis class ships offer a lot to see and do.  These ships are the biggest in the world and are packed with entertainment, dining, activities and more.

These ships are divided up into neighborhoods to help guests navigate easily around the ship and feature distinct visual areas of the ship. There is a boardwalk, an entire park in the middle, pools, and a whole lot more.

If your definition of a fun cruise is having plenty to do, then you will love the two FlowRiders, zip line across the Boardwalk, Royal Promenade shopping area, AquaTheater and now water slides.

Slides

While only on Harmony of the Seas, the water slides and Ultimate Abyss slide are truly impressive (and fun) ways to spend your cruise.

Dubbed "The Perfect Storm," three water slides are a beacon for families looking for some high-paced fun.

If that was not enough, there is the tallest slide at sea.  It is 10 stories tall and is an epic adventure. Spontaneous audio effects within each tunnel create a multi-sensory thrill for daring guests willing to test their mettle while traversing 216 feet through the one-of-a-kind slide duo.

AquaTheater

The AquaTheater is a venue on the aft of Oasis class ships that shows original Royal Caribbean productions that will take your breath away.

The AquaTheater shows feature distinct high diving, acrobatic performances with two 10-meter high platforms and hydraulic-floored pool and the largest and deepest freshwater pool at sea.  It all combines to serve as podiums for high-diving, hair-raising aerobatics that AquaTheater audiences have come to love.

It is hard to put into words what AquaTheater shows are all about, but rest assured they are fun and tantalizing entertainment.

More than 20 dining venues

If you love to eat and try lots of different kinds of food, the Oasis class ships offer more dining venues than you can probably dine at in one cruise.

Royal Caribbean stuffed these ships with a great assortment of complimentary and specialty dining that offer something for everyone.

Italian, Hibachi, dry-aged steaks, fresh salads, Mexican are just a whole a few of the great options available.

Royal Caribbean may have added so many restaurants to Oasis class ships as a means of offering enough places for guests to eat, but the class has become a foodie's dream.

Picking the one for you

We think those new to cruising, or at least new to Royal Caribbean, will really love the Oasis and Quantum class ships because of everything they offer.

The reality is you cannot go wrong picking either class, but there are certain advantages each class offers that might have appeal for certain guests.

You should lean towards Quantum class if...

Cruising with teens

Bumper cars, Ripcord, dance clubs and more make the Quantum class a great choice for teens and older kids.  

There are a lot of great activities onboard and it seems to favor older children who want to do it all.

Where you live

If you live in the Northeast United States, Anthem of the Seas is in your backyard and not having to fly is a big deal. Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas serve China and Australia.

Not only does cruising from the a port near your home save money on airfare, but it allows for year-round escapes to the warm and exotic destinations.

Love tech

Quantum class ships offer RFID bracelets, robot bartenders, smart phone planning app, virtual balconies and other "gee-wiz" innovations.

In short, Quantum class ships are about packing in the latest technology that enhances the guest experience instead of defining it.

On the other hand, you should lean towards the Oasis class if...

Want more to do than you can do

The sheer amount of activities and events on Oasis class ships are staggering.  They even have a day time and night time edition of the Cruise Compass, because they cannot fit all the events in one Compass, like on other ships.

If you love variety of activities and want lots of choices, then the Oasis class ships are good for you.

Love getting physical

For those that like to "get out there" and do a lot, then the Oasis class is a great fit.  Two FlowRiders, two rock climbing walls, ice skating, zip lining, mini-golf, running tracks and more are available for those that need a good physical challenge.

The sports facilities on Oasis class ships are truly impressive because of many options there are and the unique opportunities available only on an Oasis class ship.

Need (or want) lots of dining choices

While the Quantum class ships are no slouch in offering great dining, the Oasis class ships just offer a ton of dining choices that cannot be overlooked.

Bars, restaurants and lounges are found all over the ship and that means plenty of variety.  Foodies or just those that are hungry will enjoy the great selection of restaurants that are in all likelihood too many to sample in just one cruise.

Your thoughts

Have you ever set sail on the a Quantum or Oasis class ship? What do you think of it? If you’ve sailed other ships, how do you think it stacks up to those? Any other tips to add or recommendations? If you have questions or thoughts, please share them below and we’ll try to respond!

Aerial photos of Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

In:
08Jun2016

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is a truly impressive looking cruise ship, but aerial photos really give you the perfect perspective for appreciating her grandeur.

Royal Caribbean shared these new aerial photos of Harmony of the Seas, taken during her recent inaugural sailings.

Aerial of Ultimate Abyss

Aerial of water slides and pool decks

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