5 rules for getting a deal on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
05Apr2017

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

Episode 192 is available for downloading, in which we share with you our five rules for getting the best price on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

A Royal Caribbean cruise represents an excellent value, and this week we share our strategy for getting a great deal on any Royal Caribbean sailing.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 192. 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!

Spotlight: Tapas plate at Vintages on Navigator of the Seas

In:
04Apr2017

Vintages is well-known across Royal Caribbean ships as being the spot onboard to grab a glass (or bottle) of wine, but they also serve up tapas for guests to enjoy.

Vintages has offered tapas for a while now, but in the name of "research," we wanted to try it out for ourselves to see what is offered.

Tapas are small plates of food that originated in Spain.  Traditional tapas are mix of appetizers or snacks, but they are served closer to a small plate in style.

On Navigator of the Seas, we tried the tapas option, which costs guest $5 for a plank full of meets, cheeses and fruit.

Tapas are available each evening in Vintages, beginning at 5pm.  It takes just a few minutes to prepare, at which point the server brings out your serving.

You will find grapes, prosciutto, salami, brie and more.

Do you want to try the tapas at Vintages? Let us know in the comments!

Video: Harmony of the Seas' Ultimate Abyss Vinfographic

In:
04Apr2017

Towering over 150 feet above sea level, the Ultimate Abyss on Harmony of the Seas launches thrill seekers into a serpentine of twists and turns on the world's biggest ship. Guests climb to the slide's glass platform, taking in the view from the top of the tallest slide at sea. From there, sliders launch into 216 feet of tunnels, whizzing past multi-sensory effects and blast onto the Boardwalk 10 decks below.

Photos: AquaTheater suites ready to be installed on Symphony of the Seas

In:
04Apr2017

The AquaTheater suites for Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas are awaiting installation at the STX France shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France, and we have some photos of the ship's progress to share.

Our friends at Saint Nazaire, une ville à la mer posted these photos.

© Hervé GLAIS

Excursion Focus: British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Bahamas

In:
03Apr2017

Odds are if you take a Royal Caribbean cruise to somewhere in the Caribbean, there is a good chance you will stop in Nassau, Bahamas.  Nassau is one of the busiest cruise ports in the region, and offers quite a variety of shore excursions to consider.

On a recent stop in Nassau while on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas, we decided to check out a well-respected resort just steps away from the port that offers a day pass for guests to enjoy their facilities without breaking our budget.  

Description

Located a short walk from the cruise terminal in Nassau, the British Colonial Hilton resort faces the entrance to Nassau harbor, and offers guests full access to the resort's pristine beach and pool. Guests that want to enjoy pool and beach time will find a convenient option on lovely grounds. The resort underwent an extensive refurbishment in 2009.

We reserved our spot at the British Colonial Hilton through a third-party website, ResortForADay.com.  The site will reserve each person a place at the resort, which only sells a limited amount of day passes. The day pass includes

  • $40 food and beverage credit per paid adult
  • $20 food and beverage credit per paid child
  • Beach access
  • Beachfront swimming pool
  • Towels, pool chairs and lounges
  • Beach chairs and lounges, umbrellas
  • Non-motorized water sports: kayaks, snorkeling gear

Transportation to and from the resort is not provided, but considering the location of the British Colonial Hilton to the cruise port, it is largely unnecessary if a leisurely 10 minute walk is not out of the question. If you need to take a cab, the price is $9.00 based on two and $3.00 for each additional person. The cab ride is also 10 minutes away from the hotel.

Arriving at the resort, you will enter the cavernous lobby to check-in.  The day pass is good from 9am until sunset. The bar takes the last food orders at 4.30pm with the bar closing at 5pm. Guest are welcome to stay in outdoor pool / beach area until sunset, however the lifeguard leaves at 5:00.

Following check-in, guests receive a special wristband and can then head to the pool and/or beach.

The pool area is located just outside the lobby, past the lush garden. It is a good sized pool, with a shallow and deep end, suitable for anyone that is comfortable to swim.

There are also lots of lounge chairs surrounding the pool, but shaded spots are quite limited.  In fact, at the pool the only shad provided comes from trees, so if shade is important to you, be sure to arrive early in the morning to grab a spot.  If all else fails, there is shade under the bar.

The beach area is quite large, and offers a great view of Nassau harbor.  In fact, it is a fantastic spot to watch cruise ships arriving or leaving, provided you happen to be there when such an event occurs.

Your day pass admission also includes a food and beverage credit, which is enough money to cover a lunch entree and cocktail.  The patio bar food and drink pricing is on the expensive side. Most entrees are around $20 and a cocktail will set you back about $15.  Keep in mind that your food and beverage credit does not cover gratuity or taxes.

Comments

When we considered the British Colonial Hilton, we wanted to spend our day in Nassau with the option of spending our time in the ocean of pool without spending a ton.  We travel with two young children (ages six and two), so trying to predict if the pool or beach will be to their liking is always tough, and the British Colonial Hilton seemed to fit our group needs.

For the price, I felt like we got exactly what we wanted from our day at the Hilton.  While other resort day pass excursions may have offered more to do than the British Colonial Hilton, we felt like the resort offered a great experience at a reasonable price. The resort grounds are immaculately well-kept, and our kids had a blast swimming for nearly the entire day in the pool.

The most obvious alternative we considered was a day pass to the nearby Atlantis resort, but the price difference was massive.  Certainly Atlantis offers quite a bit more to do in an even more luxurious backdrop, however, the price for us was too much to consider.

The two negatives that I noticed from my time at the British Colonial Hilton were the lack of shade at the pool, and the very high price for food and drink.  We were lucky to have arrived before most of the other day pass guests, because we snagged shade under one of the few trees by the pool.  The food and drink prices are something to be aware of, and I would advise only indulging enough to use up your credits.  The cocktail prices make Royal Caribbean's drink prices look like a bargain, so your best bet is to skip the binge drinking for somewhere else.

Overall, we really enjoyed our time at the British Colonial Hilton because it was exactly what we were looking for: a relaxing spot for pool and beach time that would suit our family's needs. 

Cost: $65 per adult, $30 per child (ages 6-12. Children 5 and under are free).

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: April 2, 2017

In:
02Apr2017

Happy weekend! We hope Spring is starting to arrive where you live.  Regardless of the weather, it is time to sit back, relax, and check out the latest in Royal Caribbean news!

Gather three of your closest, thrill seeking friends and you could win a free Royal Caribbean cruise as part of the cruise line's new contest.

Royal Caribbean is holding a contest to find Instagram adventure seekers who want to travel the world and compete for the title of "World's Most Adventurous Squad".

Royal Caribbean will hold five adventure-themed Instagram challenges. Each challenge will run for 72 hours on Royal Caribbean’s Instagram account starting on March 29 and through April 12. To take part in the challenge, adventurers simply post their photo to Instagram, tag three friends that will comprise their squad and use the hashtag #AdventureSquad and #Contest.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 191st episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, featuring a full review of Matt's recent Anthem of the Seas cruise.

In this episode, Matt shares a review of his recent sailing on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas. It was a fun-filled cruise to the Bahamas, and Matt shares his experiences onboard and onshore.  

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.

Recently added Royal Caribbean Menus

We regularly update our listing of Royal Caribbean menus to help our readers prepare for their cruise experience. Here is a listing of which menus have been updated this week.

    Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

    Cruise Tips TV has a new video with Royal Caribbean tips and money saving tricks.

    Flights of Fancy Mom has a review of their recent Freedom of the Seas cruise.

    CruiseHabit shares helpful information about credit cards and changing currency in Cuba.

    Cruise Radio listed their top 9 Royal Caribbean restaurants.

    Photo tour of Harmony of the Seas Two Bedroom AquaTheater Suite stateroom

    In:
    01Apr2017

    We love to explore the various staterooms on Royal Caribbean cruise ships and today we have a look at the Two Bedroom AquaTheater Suite stateroom on Harmony of the Seas.

    This category A1 room was photographed by Frank Battiston during his stay in stateroom 8330.

    Category A1 staterooms on Harmony of the Seas measure 823 square feet with an additional 772 square feet of space on the balcony.

    Guests staying in this room are eligible for the Star Class benefits of the Royal Suite Class.  This includes

    • Exclusive Access to Royal Genie Service
    • All Day Access to Coastal Kitchen
    • Complimentary Specialty Restaurants
    • Complimentary Ultimate Beverage Package (for guests 21 years or older)
    • Complimentary Royal Replenish Package (for guests under 21 years old)
    • Complimentary Gratuities
    • Complimentary VOOM - The Fastest Internet at Sea
    • And more

    There are two bathrooms in this suite, with the master bathroom featuring a tub.

    There is also a large dining area and living room.

    Of course, the compelling reason to book a room like this is the balcony.  Not only is the balcony quite large, it offers views of the ocean, Boardwalk neighborhood and the AquaTheater.

     

    New Royal Caribbean sale is offering every third night free

    In:
    01Apr2017

    Royal Caribbean is offering every third night free for guests that book cruises, with some bonus instant savings.

    Essentially, the cruise fare is reduced to reflect every third night of the cruise vacation being free. The longer you sail, the more you will save. The offer applies to cruises that depart on or after May 1, 2017 on bookings made between April 1 - 30, 2017. Offer excludes China departures.

    • 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

    If you book between April 1-4, there are bonus instant savings available. 

    • 5-nights or less
      • Inside/Outside Staterooms: $25
      • Balcony/Deluxe Staterooms: $50
    • 6-nights or more
      • Inside/Outside Staterooms: $75
      • Balcony/Deluxe Staterooms: $150

    Anthem Bonus

    Up to $200 instant savings per stateroom on Anthem of the Seas sailings departing May 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017

    • Inside/Outside Staterooms: $100
    • Balcony/Deluxe Staterooms: $200

    Oasis Class Upgrades

    Cruises booked on Oasis Class ships between April 5 - 17, 2017 will enjoy a free upgrade from an oceanview to balcony stateroom.

    1-2- FREE is combinable with adjoining Dollars Off, Bonus Anthem Dollars Off, Crown & Anchor discounts, NextCruise offers and Shareholder Benefits. Dollars Off and Bonus Anthem Dollars Off is not combinable with Crown & Anchor discounts or Shareholder Benefits. 1-2-Free, Dollars Off, and Bonus Anthem 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 available to residents of the United States and Canada.

    Royal Caribbean UK celebrates April Fools Day with world's first ski resort at sea!

    In:
    01Apr2017

    Royal Caribbean UK has gotten into the April Fools mood with their "announcement" of the world's first ski resort at sea, Piste of the Seas.

    The Oasis Class ship will debut in 2012 that bridges the gap between anyone torn between a ski or cruise break.  The ship features five real snow runs, a lift and après-ski restaurants, bars and spa.

    • The family sized chalet-style rooms on Piste of the Seas feature wood panelling.
    • The ski lift will take guests up to the top of Mount Mast, allowing for wonderful views of the ocean before skiing down.
    • The Alpine Spa will offer Nordic deep-tissue massages.
    • Enjoy a few drinks after your skiing day at the Après Sail Bar.

    If you are wondering, "Piste" is a French word that means, "a ski run of compacted snow."

    Last year, Royal Caribbean UK lampooned the internet with its April Fools joke of announcing space cruises.

    Spotlight: CocoCay Beach Bungalows

    In:
    31Mar2017

    Guests visiting Royal Caribbean's private destination of CocoCay are certain to find plenty to do in their time onshore, including a private area just for them in the Beach Bungalows.

    Royal Caribbean added Beach Bungalows to CocoCay in 2016, which offer guests a private area of the beach just for guests in bungalows.  While on a recent cruise to CocoCay, we tried out the bungalows for ourselves to evaluate the option.

    The Beach Bungalows cost us $195, and can accommodate up to six guests.  Each bungalow rental is good for the entire day spent in CocoCay.

    They are located in the South Beach area of the island, which is a good distance from where guests disembark from their tenders.  Royal Caribbean offers complimentary transportation to and from the Beach Bungalows via its private Cocolimo shuttle transportation.

    The Beach Bungalows are located at #29 on the map

    Upon arrival at the Beach Bungalow area, guests check-in with the concierge desk to have a bungalow assigned to them.  Each bungalow includes two floating mats, a cooler of bottled water and beach towels.

    As mentioned, the Beach Bungalows are located in a rather secluded area of the beach, which means less crowds.  It is about a five minute walk down the beach to the floating bar.  Other destinations on the island can be reached easily by requesting a cart ride from the concierge, which is complimentary.

    The bungalow itself comes with a large couch and coffee table.  There is enough room to comfortably seat four adults inside.  There are also two beach lounger chairs that are just outside the bungalow, which provide even more seating options.

    Each bungalow only has one full wall (in the back), but there are curtains that can be extended to provide more privacy and/or shade.

    Unlike the cabanas in CocoCay, the Beach Bungalows have direct beach access, which means guests can exit their bungalow and walk right to the ocean, as opposed to the cabana guests who must exit the cabana area and then go into the ocean nearby.

    During our stay, in lieu of the usual lunch buffet offered, all Beach Bungalow guests were given a new menu to pre-order their lunch.  The selected options would be delivered to the bungalow when it was ready. 

    Depending on your culinary preferences, the menu ordering system can be a good or bad thing.  Personally, I enjoyed having more options than just typical BBQ food, as well as not having to take my kids to the buffet.  Delivery to the bungalow provided an extra level of service than I was expecting. 

    Just like delivery food at home, certain foods can deteriorate quickly in the interim period between preparation and delivery.  Moreover, the cooked food items tended to be not as hot because of the delivery lag time.  Still, not having to leave the comfortable confines of my bungalow was not to be overlooked.

    There is a dedicated bar at the rear of the Beach Bungalow area, along with servers coming occasionally by to offer Coco Loco drinks. Additionally, restrooms are located just behind the Beach Bungalow area and are a very short walk.

    Overall, the Beach Bungalows save a little bit of money over their cabana counterparts while providing significantly more living space and privacy than the less expensive Beach Beds.  

    The CocoCay Beach Bungalows are a great choice for families or groups that want to have a private area to sit, with easy access to the beach and lots included with the price.

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