Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: July 30, 2017

By: Matt Hochberg

It seems like it is heating up everywhere with summer upon on us, and we have the best reading material to enjoy while sitting by the air conditioning.

While in Europe, Royal Caribbean has temporarily switched Sabor on Navigator of the Seas to an Indian restaurant.

The change occured to cater to the tastes of its British cruisers, and took place on this past week's sailing.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 208th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we discuss taking a shore excursion to St. John.

St. John is located nearby St. Thomas, and an easy and fun way to spend the day.  Matt discuses how to get to St. John, as well as what makes this island paradise so lovely.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Cruise Fever shared that Grandeur of the Seas received a perfect health score from the CDC.

John Bamber shared how he enjoyed his Royal Caribbean cruise following weight loss surgery.

Royal Caribbean shared top five can't miss adventures onboard.

Holly Smith Photography shares a trip report from her Empress of the Seas cruise to Cuba.

Travel Weekly wrote about Royal Caribbean appointing new key account and regional sales managers.

Miami Herald interviewed a few CEOs about balancing work with family, including Richard Fain.

Photo tour of Spa Junior Suite on Anthem of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

Junior Suites are a popular choice for many Royal Caribbean guests, and on Anthem of the Seas, there is an additional option known as the Spa Junior Suite.  Today we have a look at one of these Spa Junior Suites to give you an idea of what to expect if you book a similar stateroom.

Karah Ryan Smith shared photos of her Spa Junior Suite, which was stateroom 13642 on Anthem of the Seas during her recent sailing.

In recent years, Royal Caribbean has begun offering on its Quantum-class ships a new type of Junior Suite, known as the Spa Junior Suite.


The Spa Junior Suite comes in at 267 square feet and offers a large, spa-inspired split bath with soaking tub.  There's also a shower with frosted glass wall that allows natural light from living area.

The bath tub also features a rain shower head and a hand held shower head.

A private balcony allows for 81 square feet of additional space to enjoy.

Friday Photos

By: Matt Hochberg

Every Friday, we show off the Royal Caribbean photos that our readers have sent us in a special blog post.  Each week, we invite our readers to send us their favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we post them right here.

Without further adieu, let's jump right into this week's batch of photos!

We kick off this week's photos with this photo by Elaine Scotti of the "Captain" on the bridge on board Anthem of the Seas.

Daneil took this photo on Allure of the Seas as the ship was sailing at sea.

Adam Hall took a family photo while in Cozumel, with a backdrop of Liberty of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Here is a photo of Labadee, taken by Bob Carpenter while on an Oasis of the Seas cruise.

Bryan Grantham's wife took this photo of a classic car while touring Havana, Cuba.

Jill Snyder took this beautiful photo from her Aquatheater suite on Harmony of the Seas.

We wrap up this week's edition with a photo of Stephanie Anderson's son having some fun on Harmony of the Seas.

Would you like to submit your Royal Caribbean photos for a future Friday Photos post? Use this form to send them to us and we will feature them very soon!

9 important things to know about Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages have been a home run with guests, who find the option convenient and present a great value.

Regardless if you are purchasing an unlimited alcohol package for the first time or it has become a regular part of your cruising tradition, here are some important tips to remember for when you get onboard and start enjoying all those drinks.

9. You cannot (and should not) share drink package benefits

Royal Caribbean strictly prohibits the sharing of drink package benefits with another guest.  It is against the rules that you agree to when purchasing a drink package.

If you purchase a drink package, the benefits are solely for you and only you. 

Royal Caribbean warns that guests who share a drink with someone who does not have a drink package can risk having their drink package benefits revoked with no refund.  

The package is intended for only the guest who buys the package.  If you want to buy a drink for someone else, you can do so and pay for it individually along side your drink package transaction.

8. Gratuity is included

Your unlimited alcohol package purchase includes gratuity for all the beverages you order while on your cruise.  Royal Caribbean refers to it as a "service fee", which you should see listed in the breakdown of your drink package order.

This means when you order any drink onboard, keep in mind that 18% gratuity has already been paid and you are under no obligation to provide any additional tip. Your receipt will come out to $0.00, assuming your drink is covered by the drink package.

You can, however, opt to provide additional gratuity at your discretion.

7. All adults in the same stateroom DO need to buy a package

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has changed this rule, and if one adult purchases an unlimited alcohol package, then all other adults in the same stateroom must purchase it too.

At this time, Royal Caribbean does not require all guests in the same stateroom to purchase a drink package.

6. You can use the packages at the private destinations

All of Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages can be used at the private destinations of CocoCay and Labadee.

Your drink package at these two spots can be used just like onboard the ship.  Present your SeaPass card to any crew member working on the island and they will fulfill your order.

The only caveat to keep in mind is many of the roving bar servers offering a Labadoozie or Coco Loco have souvenir cups with them, so you may have to walk to the bar to get your drinks with the package.

5. Drink packages do not include souvenir cups

You may see onboard your Royal Caribbean ship pineapple drinks, light up cups and other neat looking beverages.  There are a lot of drinks to choose from with the unlimited alcohol packages, but souvenir cups are not included with your packages.

You can always ask for the drink without the souvenir cup, or purchase the souvenir cup at a reduced rate. 

4. Deluxe alcohol package can be used for premium coffees

If you purchase the deluxe alcohol package, on Royal Caribbean ships without a freestanding Starbucks kiosk, you can use the package to get espresso-based beverages too. This includes, cappuccinos, lattes, espresso and more.

Royal Caribbean ships with a freestanding Starbucks kiosk are the Oasis class cruise ships (Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas).  On those ships, you can still get your lattes or espresso drinks at Cafe Promenade or a specialty restaurant.

For all other Royal Caribbean ships, head to Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-tudes and show your card when ordering a Starbucks drink just like if you were ordering a beer or cocktail at the bar.

3. You can purchase the unlimited alcohol packages after the first day

Royal Caribbean heavily advertises purchasing its unlimited alcohol packages prior to your cruise and on embarkation day, but guests may still purchase any of the unlimited alcohol packages onboard their cruise after the first day.

The rule is, guests may purchase unlimited alcohol packages at any point in their cruise as long as there are at least 4 days left in the cruise.

In addition, if you purchase an unlimited alcohol package after your first day, the total amount of the package will be prorated for the remaining days of your cruise.

2. The unlimited alcohol packages include soda too

Of course everyone thinks about all the beers, wine and cocktails one can purchase with the unlimited alcohol packages but soda is included too!

Each package includes fountain soda and a souvenir Coca-Cola cup too. 

The souvenir cup can be used at a Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine onboard for when you want a special kind of soft drink (lime Coca-Cola Zero anyone?).

1. The one place onboard you cannot use the unlimited alcohol package

There is one place onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise where the unlimited alcohol packages do not work and that is your stateroom.

You cannot use the unlimited alcohol packages to pay for room service or for mini-bar drinks.

You can, however, always bring drinks back to your room that you get at a bar and enjoy it there.

Your thoughts

Now that you have heard what we think is important to know, let's hear from other people that have used the unlimited alcohol packages too.  What do you think is the most important aspects of the drink packages to be aware of before investing in one? Are you considering a drink package but have questions? Feel free to post in the comments!

Visiting St. John on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

By: Matt Hochberg

This week's podcast episode is ready to go, as we present episode 208 of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast for your downloading pleasure.

This week, Matt reviews his recent visit to St. John while on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Matt offers tips and advice for anyone considering visiting this serene oasis.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 208. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS 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 To Hold Conference Call On Second Quarter 2017 Earnings

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will hold a conference call on August 1, 2017 at 10am to discuss its second quarter 2017 financial results.

The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations web site, To listen to the call by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number. A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.

5 things to love about Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas is a popular ship that offers cruises in Europe and North America. There is a lot to love about this ship, and we have five important facts you should be aware of before your next cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas.

Covered Solarium

The adults-only enclave of the Solarium is always a popular spot with many Royal Caribbean fans, and the fact it has an enclosed Solarium means the fun is available rain or shine.

The Solarium offers a terrific pool, along with comfortable lounge chairs and lots of sun (or shade, if that is your preference).  Whether on a sea day, or just a break between activities, the Solarium is the perfect refuge for guests looking to sit back, and relax.

Great itineraries

These days, Rhapsody of the Seas splits her time between North America and Europe.  This means that Royal Caribbean fans have the opportunity to take advantage of some great destinations.

In the fall and winter, Rhapsody calls the Port of Tampa home. Tampa is a convenient and lovely cruise terminal to sail from, including an amazing sailing underneath the Sunshine Skyway bridge. At sea, Rhapsody visits some beautiful ports in Central America, including Costa Maya and Roatan.

In the spring and summer, Rhapsody heads to Europe, where she offers a variety of itineraries from Venice.  Guests sailing on Rhapsody of the Seas will have the opportunity to visit the historic and beautiful ports of the Eastern Mediterranean, including Dubrovnik, Santorini and the Amalfi Coast.

Park Cafe

Royal Caribbean added Park Cafe to the cruise ship's Solarium, and that means not only a convenient spot to enjoy a quick meal, but one of the best sandwiches ever: the Kummelweck roast beef sandwich!

The Kummelweck sandwich was first offered on Oasis class ships, but Park Cafe has spread to other ships in the fleet since then. Guests are served a rare, thin cut of beef dipped in au jus accompanied by a secret sauce. If it sounds mighty tasty, that is because it really is and something that is a must-try (at least a half dozen times) for any guest.

Bars to visit late at night

If your idea of a fun cruise is staying up late and enjoying drinks while perhaps dancing, talking or relaxing into the late hours of the evening, then there are a few bars you will find open later than others.

On Rhapsody of the Seas, the Casino Bar, Viking Crown Lounge, R-Bar and Schooner Bar remain open later than other bars. Guests who want to avoid an (earlier) last call notice, should head to one (or a few) of these locations to enjoy uninterrupted late-night beverages.

Specialty restaurant

Just because Rhapsody of the Seas is smaller in size than the Oasis or Freedom class ships, does not mean she lacks the variety of specialty dining those ships offer.

During their cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas, guests can choose from Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table, Izumi and Chef's Table.

With Royal Caribbean's dining packages, enjoying some (or all) of these restaurants is very convenient and affordable.

Your favorite

What is your favorite thing about Rhapsody of the Seas? Is it on our list or do you have something you think is worth the cruise fare alone? Tell us about in this blog post's comments!

Sabor Modern Mexican becomes Sabor Indian Cuisine on Navigator of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

While Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas is offering cruises from the United Kingdom this summer, the cruise line has temporarily changed Sabor Modern Mexican to Sabor Indian Cuisine to cater to the tastes of its British cruisers.

Amanda Scriven-Purcell shared photos on Facebook of the changeover, with a look at the Indian food offered.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Craig Duncan is also on Navigator of the Seas, and indicated the change was made on the current sailing to cater to the U.K. market.

This is not the first time Royal Caribbean has made a temporary change to its specialty restaurants.  On Radiance of the Seas, Rita's Cantina became Rita's Crabshack while the ship was in Alaska.

Fun Finds: Royal Caribbean swan drink floatie

By: Matt Hochberg

Last year, we ran across Royal Caribbean selling drink floaties onboard its ships and the cruise line seems to have augmented its offerings with a new kind of drink floatie.  Yes, the one we have all been asking for... the swan drink floatie.

On Harmony of the Seas we spotted the swan floatie alongside the usual drink floatie assortment in the Boardwalk gift shop.

Just like the other drink floaties, the swan floatie is an inflatable life preserver for your drink that fit around most beverages or cups.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: July 23, 2017

By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! We hope you are having a great weekend! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and catch up on all the Royal Caribbean news from the week!

Royal Caribbean announced its holiday sailings in December 2017, with confirmation of events happening onboard and great rates still available.

All December long, Royal Caribbean is getting in the holiday spirit with special holiday sailings. From a tree-lighting ceremony right on deck to an arrival parade with Santa himself. And it all culminates in the biggest New Year’s celebration at sea.

There are twenty Christmas sailings and sixteen New Years Eve sailings to consider as the perfect vacation to celebrate.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 207th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we discuss what you need to know about taking a last minute Royal Caribbean cruise.

In this episode, Matt shares strategies for booking a last minute cruise, as well as areas of the planning process that are different when booking close to the sail date.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Cruise Enthused shared a list of her favorite cruise podcasts.

Cruise Habit shared what the muster drill exactly is and why it is important.

Cruise Hive shared how to make your first day on a cruise count.