Royal Caribbean now offering custom shore excursions

In:
09Mar2016

Royal Caribbean announced today a new program, where guests can create their own personalized shore excursions to immerse themselves in local culture, cuisine and adventure across 288 ports of call in 77 countries.

Private Journeys will allow guests to connect with one of nine concierge-style represenatives, known as Destination Insiders, to plan their shore excursions.

Destination Insiders will design personalized activities, programs and adventures for individual guests, couples, families and small groups.

To make a custom experience as part of an upcoming cruise, guests must complete and submit a Private Journeys request form online, at least 30 days before their sailing date.

Private Journeys bookings will require a $100 deposit applicable to the final cost of the destination experience.

In celebration of the new launch, Royal Caribbean is waiving the required deposit for all Private Journeys booked before March 31, 2016. Guests with confirmed cruise reservations can begin planning their Private Journey with a dedicated Designation Insider by calling (844) 571-7851 or (801) 666-3031.

 “Private Journeys is a natural evolution of Royal Caribbean’s renowned shore excursion program that allows us to offer guests the bespoke travel destination experience of their dreams, even if they don’t know exactly what that is yet,” said Roberta Jacoby, Managing Dirictor, Global Tour Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “As travelers continue to seek out more personalized and immersive destination experiences that can be intimately shared with only their family and friends, Private Journeys empowers guests to make that a reality and a seamless element of their Royal Caribbean vacation.”

Examples of Private Journeys

Misty Fjords & Crab Feast 
Ketchikan, Alaska

Explore Misty Fjords National Monument from a de Havilland Beaver float plane, followed by a sumptuous Alaskan fireside meal. After a narrated journey soaring above the Alaskan wilderness, guests will land either on an alpine lake or remote fjord. Then, sit by the fireplace, sip Alaskan Amber beer, wine, or champagne paired with smoked salmon, followed by steaming Dungeness crab.

Lunch at Belgium’s Michelin-Starred Restaurant Jardin 
Bruges, Belgium 

Go behind the scenes at one of the world’s acclaimed restaurants. The owner will show guests the kitchen, where Belgian recipes and the bounty of the North Sea come together. After the tour, savor a gourmet lunch served in Jardin’s exquisite dining room.

Yachting in the Dubrovnik Riviera 
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Journey by private yacht into the untamed and unspoiled reaches of Croatia’s Dubrovnik Riviera. Cruise down the rugged coastline and go ashore to explore the Old Town of Dubrovnik itself. Then, climb back aboard and set off exploring this archipelago of 14 pristine islands and islets. Go ashore to explore the 15th century ruins on the island of Kolocep. Swim in secluded lagoons and soak up the sunshine in five-star style.

Rostock by Vintage Auto
Berlin, Germany

Guests can settle into the seat of a vintage beauty and have a personal driver show them the German countryside. Rumble to the resort town of Heiligendamm for a snack of Canapés and champagne overlooking the Baltic Sea. Guests can even take the wheel on the scenic stretch to Rostock, and enjoy a guided walk through narrow streets lined with 15th-century gabled homes. Finally, board a sightseeing vessel and unwind on a lovely cruise back to port.

Top 10 Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas hidden secrets

In:
08Mar2016

Royal Caribbean's Allure fo the Seas is an amazing cruise ship that offers guests so much to see and do onboard. It is one of the largest cruise ships in the world and with so much going on, we present our list of the best secrets that are easily to overlook on Allure of the Seas.

10. Best drink you don't know about: Cucumber martini

There are so many drinks to try on any Royal Caribbean cruise, but if you are on Allure of the Seas, you should go out of your way to try a drink unique to this class of ships: the Cucumber Martini.

The cucumber martini has reached cult status with many Royal Caribbean fans and is available at two bars onboard: 150 Central Park and the Champagne Bar.

This drink is light and very refreshing and a very different kind of drink.  It also is quite tasty!

If you want to make a cucumber martini at home, here is the recipe!

9. Water fountain shows

If you want to see a really unique show on Allure of the Seas that is easily overlooked, then you need to head to the Boardwalk in the evenings for the water fountain shows.

On many evenings, the AquaTheater will utilize the amazing AquaTheater fountains to "dance" along to select instrumental music, and it is pretty darn fun!

Check your Cruise Compass for exact times, but this is a fun show that showcases the water synchronization ability, beautiful lighting and is mesmerizing to watch.

8. Best Izumi value: DX sushi combo

If you are looking for the absolute best value at Izumi, in terms of getting the most value for the dollar, you cannot beat the DX Sushi Combo.

In general, the sushi combination dishes at Izumi offer an excellent value, but we have found the DX Sushi Combo to offer the most sushi for the money and it is also a great selection of rolls as well.

As a bonus, the DX Sushi combo is also available at other Izumi restaurants we have dined at across Royal Caribbean's fleet.

7. Best breakfast spot: Johnny Rockets

If you want one of the best breakfast spots on Allure of the Seas that is likely not to be nearly as crowded as the Windjammer, then head to the Boardwalk to Johnny Rockets.

On Allure of the Seas, Johnny Rockets is open for breakfast and offers some great traditional breakfast items, such as pancakes, omelettes, french toast, and more.

The best part? It's free!  Johnny Rockets is complimentary for breakfast on Allure of the Seas (lunch and dinner at Johnny Rockets still cost extra).

6. Embarkation day lunch spots

Just like breakfast, the Windjammer can get pretty busy since so many guests head there for their embarkatin day lunch but there are some good alternatives to consider that will be far less crowded.

Sabor, Park Cafe, Giovanni's Table and Johnny Rockets are all open on embarkation day on Allure of the Seas and you will find great food without the crowds.

If you find a line to get into the Windjammer, often these other spots will be far less crowded.  And the food is great there too!

5. Bridge wings

The absolute best place for sail away or for when sailing into a port are the bridge wings on deck 14.

These bridge wings extend away from the side of the ship, giving guests a very unique view of your surroundings, and Allure of the Seas itself.

To get to the wing viewing areas, go all the way forward in the deck 14 on the port side. Once you arrive at the end of the corridor, there will be a glass door on the left.

4. Exit the Amber Theater on deck 5

Imagine this: you just finished seeing another great show in the Amber Theater on Allure of the Seas and it is time to leave.  Problem is, the huge crowd exiting the theater is going nowhere!

Your best bet is to head up to deck five (the Amber Theater has two levels) and exit on that deck.

The reason is deck 4 empties into a narrow elevator lobby and the casino, whereas deck 5 opens up into the Royal Promenade.  There is physically far more space for guests to exit on deck 5.

3. Small wonders

Photo by nenner1

Hidden all over Allure of the Seas are an easily overlooked bit of art that is truly fun to look at, the small wonders.

You will find either something that looks like a periscope or telescope, coming from the ground.  If you happen to stop and look isnide, you will find some cool art to enjoy. 

Finding these is a lot of fun for kids and adults, and there are over twenty of them all over the ship.

Hint: if you give up and cannot find them all, Guest Services can provide you with a list of them all to help!

2. Express Sabor guacamole option

Confession time: I love the guacamole from Sabor on Allure of the Seas. Did you know you can indulge in some guacamole anytime you want it without sitting down?

For guests who need to grab-and-go guacamole (maybe bringing it back to your stateroom), head to the Sabor bar on the Boardwalk.

It is the round bar area outside the entrance to Sabor and they serve up the same great guacamole the sit down restaurant has!

1. Take the Central Park guided tour

Royal Caribbean's Central Park is an impressive and beautiful area on the ship and guests can take a complimentary tour of the neighborhood with the ship's horticulturalists.

Check your Cruise Compass for the exact day and time, but this is a guided tour of Central Park to get a better understanding of how Royal Caribbean maintains a living park on a cruise ship.

It is very interesting to see what it takes to maintain Central Park and keep it so beautiful!

Did we miss any Allure of the Seas secrets? Share them in our comments!

99 days of Harmony: 2017-2018 Harmony of the Seas itineraries

In:
08Mar2016

We're counting down the days until Harmony of the Seas debuts later this year with our 99 days of Harmony blog series. Each day we will post something about Harmony of the Seas to share with all of you!

2017-2018 Harmony of the Seas itineraries

Royal Caribbean has released its 2017-2018 Caribbean itineraries and we now have a better look at the itineraries available for Harmony of the Seas beyond her inaugural cruises.

Harmony of the Seas will remain homeported in Port Everglades, Florida and offer cruises to the Caribbean year-round.

Harmony of the Seas will offer several different seven night cruise options throughout the year

7-night eastern Caribbean: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Labadee

7-night western Caribbean: Labadee; Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico

7-night eastern Caribbean: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Labadee

7-night eastern Caribbean: Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Basseterre, St. Kitts

At the time of this posting, rates were as low as $808 per person (based on double occupancy, plus taxes, fees and port expenses).

Which itinerary do you want to sail on? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Photo tour of Labadee's natural beauty

In:
08Mar2016

When we generally write about Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee, we often talk about things to do on the beach, but today it is all about showcasing the natural beauty of Labadee.

In addition to the fun and relaxing things to do in Labadee, the peninsula in northern Haiti features remarkable natural beauty.

Debby Smith was recently at Labadee and took some great photos of the natural beauty surrounding this paradise.

This area is available for all guests to enjoy on their own.  Head towards the spa and take a left. If you go past the zip line area, you will find the path leading to where these photos were taken.

99 days of Harmony: Perfect Storm water slides

In:
07Mar2016

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is getting closer and closer to launching and we are counting down the days until she is here with a new blog post every day about this new ship.

Perfect Storm water slides

If you had to list the most exciting new features coming to Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, the new water slides have to be near the top of that list.

There will be three water slides onboard, with the names Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell.

These are the first real water slides on a Royal Caribbean ship and it promises to be a beacon for families looking for some high-paced fun.

The water slides will begin on a platform elevated above the ship’s bridge level, and end in runouts.

The slides descend three decks through a series of twists and turns over the ship’s tree-lined Central Park neighborhood 10 decks below.

One of the slides also will feature a champagne bowl that swirls guests around as they make their approach to the end of the ride.

What these new water slides represent is a brand new form of onboard activities that kids (and their parents) will absolutely love to do over and over again.  

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post as we celebrate 99 days of Harmony!

Spotted: Sushi to go on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

In:
07Mar2016

Ever since Royal Caribbean launched the Izumi specialty restaurant on Oasis of the Seas, the concept of having high quality sushi on a cruise ship has really taken off with guests.

While on Allure of the Seas last week, we spotted a new sushi option in the Royal Promenade that is perfect for guests on the go.

This new sushi option was on the Royal Promenade on embarkation day, and featured three types of maki rolls that guests could purchase on the spot and take with them anywhere onboard.

  • Salmon Lovers roll: $13
  • Crispy Spicy Shrimp roll: $13
  • Snow crab California roll $13

While onboard Allure of the Seas, we did not see any other times sushi to go being offered, but it was something different to see.

Would you buy one of these sushi to go options? Tell us in the comments!

Could Royal Caribbean have an Oasis class cruise ship based in Asia in 2018?

In:
07Mar2016

A new report seems to indicate Royal Caribbean is making plans to have one of its Oasis class cruise ships make stops in Japan in 2018.

The Nikkei Asian Review is reporting that Royal Caribbean will have an Oasis class ship call in Japan.  Currently, there is no indication which ports will see this ship, since no ports can currently handle a ship of that size.

Royal Caribbean is feeling out various ports, such as Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture, in western Japan, on their willingness to make upgrades.

Royal Caribbean Cruises currently owns two Oasis-class cruise ships and is scheduled to take delivery of two more -- one this year and the other in 2018.

Royal Caribbean named one of World's Most Ethical Companies

In:
07Mar2016

The Ethisphere Institute has named Royal Caribbean a member of the 2016 World's Most Ethical Company list, which recognizes companies that define and advance the standards of ethical business practices.

This is the first time Royal Caribbean has been recognized and is one of only two companies in the Lodging, Leisure and Recreation category to make the list.

"Tomorrow or 10 years from now, there is no substitute for doing the right thing," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Customers expect it, shareholders demand it, and we try to live it every day."

"Companies rely on Ethisphere to continually raise and measure the standards of corporate behavior. Those that demonstrate leadership in areas like citizenship, integrity and transparency create more value for their investors, communities, customers and employees, thus solidifying a sustainable business advantage," explained Ethisphere's Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Erblich. "Congratulations to everyone at Royal Caribbean Cruises for being recognized as a World's Most Ethical Company."

The World's Most Ethical Company assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute's Ethics Quotient™ (EQ) framework developed over years of research and vetted and refined by the expert advice from Ethisphere's World's Most Ethical Company Methodology Advisory Panel. The EQ offers a quantitative way to assess a company's performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. The information collected provides a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies, rather than all aspects of corporate governance, risk, sustainability, compliance and ethics. Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (35%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), culture of ethics (20%), governance (15%) and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%) and provided to all companies who participate in the process.

Royal Caribbean announces new shore excursions for Australia, the South Pacific and New Zealand

In:
06Mar2016

Royal Caribbean has launched a range of new shore excursions for Australia, the South Pacific and New Zealand, many of which are only available only on Royal Caribbean.

“Our new and improved offering means there’s something for everyone; whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a first timer, we’ll take you off the beaten track and show you a new side to a range of Australian, New Zealand and South Pacific destinations,” said Adam Armstrong, regional commercial director, Royal Caribbean.

There are 18 new shore excursions and here is a look at some of them.

Airlie Beach: ‘Gone Fishing’

Join an expert skipper for small-group reef and bottom fishing adventure around the Whitsunday Islands. Catering to all levels of experience, guests can test their fishing skills in the sparkling blue waters sheltered by the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, rich with reef fish like coral trout and red emperor.

Cairns: ‘Tropical Jet Boating’

A jet boat captained by a Cairns local takes guests for a wet-and-wild ride on the Cairns waterfront and into the Trinity Inlet. The captain will take the time to let passengers know all about the beautiful location – with lush green mountains, rich wildlife and beautiful waterways only accessible by boat – plus demonstrate some of the tricks and maneuvers the jet boat can do. In the tropics, this ride is a great way to escape the humidity, get ready for lots of spray and water!

Hobart: ‘Mt Wellington Descent by Bike’

Experience an exhilarating guided mountain bike ride down the 4,000-foot Mt. Wellington. The tour will take guests to the top of the mountain for panoramic views to the city of Hobart, followed by a gentle, scenic bicycle tour through the magnificent alpine forest and terrain.

Port Hedland ‘FIFO Mining Experience’

For anyone who’s ever wondered what FIFO (fly-in fly-out) working life is really like. Port Hedland is the center of the iron-ore industry in Western Australia. Here, thousands of workers fly to mines to work for a number days at a stretch. The tour visits Gateway Village, where guests will don their high-vis gear and hardhat and take part in a prestart meeting (a pre-shift, crew-wide safety meeting) as well as tour the facility. Head to the crib room for refreshments, plus see where miners spend their time after their shifts at the worker accommodations. The tour also includes a stop at Redbank Bridge, which passes over some of the world’s longest trains, carrying iron ore and solar salt from Port Hedland to the rest of the country.

Port Hedland ‘Historical Town Tour’

Peel back the layers of history of Port Hedland with this tour that takes in the historic West End, where large-scale street art meets a colorful market teeming with arts, craft and foot, as well as Koombana Lookout, where the huge bulk carriers move in and out of the harbour as they have for more than a century. Then take a look at the mining equipment and rolling stock used in years past, and see how much the industry has changed at the Don Rhodes Open-Air Mining Museum. Plus, trace the pioneering heritage of Port Hedland on an exclusive tour of the Dalgety House Museum with members of the local historical society. Built in 1903, the house is one of the few examples left of early 20th-century architecture.

Port Hedland ‘Pretty Pool Discovery with Tea’

Explore Port Hedland’s famous Pretty Pool, a coastal area with an incredibly important ecosystem. Guests will learn about how mangroves help support the flatback turtles, who make this beach their home each year. These turtles rely on the protection the mangroves give to the nests they’ve dug in the sand. Afterward, head to local restaurant, Pretty Pool Provedore for tea, coffee and an array of scrumptious treats.

Suva ‘Kila Eco Trek’ (FIJI)

Immerse yourself in Fiji's pristine rainforest at Kila Eco Adventure Park. The tour departs the Port of Suva, the capital’s large maritime gateway. Suva, which is situated on a hilly peninsula, is the most cosmopolitan city in the South Pacific.  Your tour leaves the bustling urban center and proceeds along a scenic route to Kila Eco Adventure Park. You’ll explore the Park’s beautiful scenery on your eco-walk, which includes views of the expansive valley and mountainous terrain.  Walk through jungle paths, past flowing waterfalls, and the colorful flora and Fiji’s only linear botanic garden as you roam the virgin lowland tropical rainforest. The walk takes guests past several varieties of flowering trees and plants like coconut, giant baka, mango and palm.

Auckland ‘Tamaki Hikoi Maori Volcanic Walking Tour

Join members of the Ngati Whatua tribe on a guided walk of their lands, exploring the heart of Auckland at Mt. Eden, a dormant volcano. For hundreds of years, Maori of this local tribe have passed down through generations their tribal history and traditions. On this tour, take advantage of their knowledge and wisdom as you make your way to Mt. Eden, once the site of the largest fortified Maori pa (fortress) in New Zealand.

Take in the natural and cultural history of the volcano while overlooking spectacular views across of the city below. Learn about Maori culture and heritage, finding out why Auckland was so fiercely contested, how the tribe co-existed with the land, and the impact of colonization on its indigenous people. After your walk, enjoy coffee, tea and delicious scones.

Bay of Islands: Glow Worm Caves and Kauri Forest

Enjoy the serenity of the Puketi Kauri Forest and explore caverns lit by twinkling glowworms. Get up close to the ancient and majestic Kauri trees during an educational guided walking tour of Puketi Kauri’s sub-tropical rainforest, rich in native flora and fauna. Next, be surrounded by luminous glow worms in the natural underground wonderland of the Kawiti Caves, and take in its unique stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Tauranga: ‘Coastal Cuisine Tour’

Get ready for the ultimate dining experience in the stunning colonial coastal town of Tauranga and its scenic surrounding region. This 'foodies tour' introduces you to the unique and delicious bounty of the Bay of Plenty. The rich soils and gentle climate have produced ideal growing conditions for both the Maori and European gardeners. Citrus fruit, avocados, wines and more have been cultivated in this region, which makes for a delicious coastal cuisine tour. You’ll travel to lush farmlands, beaches, and into Tauranga to try a wonderful assortment of foods. Sample specialty breads made from wheat, wholemeal and rye at the Artisan Bakery. Try different types of salami made by natural curing and wood smoking. Experience a wide range of fresh seafood and fish dipped in a crisp batter at the Fish Market. Enjoy the delicious, top quality Manuka honey products. Then, tour a kiwi orchard when you climb aboard the KiwiKart. While here, you’ll learn why the kiwifruit is among the most healthiest fruits in the world, and how this unique fertile land, climate, and geography make it an ideal location for growing the kiwifruit compared to other places in the world.

Wellington: ‘Craft Brewery Tour’

Beer lovers can go on a tasting tour of Wellington’s finest craft brews. An array of breweries in the heart of the city are an integral part of the capital's vibrant cultural scene. This tour visits four different locations so you can sample an amazing assortment of quality of beers.  Your guide explains the workings of the breweries and describes different  beers produced. Find out how malts, hops and some other New Zealand grown ingredients formulate these traditional, high-quality beverages.  You’ll get to learn what innovations are used to derive some of the country’s most delicious beers. Watch as the frothy beverage is poured, savor the aroma, and quench your thirst with a delightful sip or a great big gulp. Discover new flavors as enthusiastic brewers share some of their new recipes. Introduce your taste buds to a spectrum of award-winning, bold, seasonal, and crisp beers. Enjoy the chance to sample limited runs. Fill your flagon or take a bottle home.  

99 days of Harmony: Royal Suite Class

In:
06Mar2016

There are less than 99 days until Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas launches, and we are counting down each day with a brand new blog post all about this amazing new ship.

Royal Suite Class

To borrow a phrase from the movie industry, Royal Caribbean is rebooting the perks and services offered to guests staying in their most luxurious accomodations, and that includes guests aboard Harmony of the Seas.

The Royal Suite Class introduces three levels of service that offer guests the kind of luxury travel they have come to expect.

Star Class

As a Star Class Suite guest, you’ll enjoy the round-the-clock services of an exclusive Royal Genie personal assistant. During your voyage, your Royal Genie will attend to, and anticipate, your every need and desire. Your wish is your Royal Genie’s command.

Sky Class

As a Sky Class Suite guest, you’ll have special access to an exclusive concierge who will remain at your service throughout your time with us to assist you with priority reservations and theater seats, securing access to the private suite Sun Deck and any other requests that may arise.

Sea Class

Pamper yourself with luxury bathroom amenities by Hermès, Ferragamo and L’Occitane. Let the ocean gently lull you into the slumber of a lifetime on your luxury pillowtop mattress. And enjoy exclusive dinner access and breathtaking views through floor-to-ceiling windows in the Coastal Kitchen resturant.

Speaking of the Royal Genie, this is something brand new to Royal Caribbean, where Star Class guests can enjoy the round-the-clock services of an exclusive Royal Genie personal assistant.

The Royal Genie offers services such as

  • Trained and certified by the British Butler Institute
  • Escort aboard and have bags delivered directly to stateroom
  • Assistance with packing and unpacking
  • Arrange priority pressing, laundry and dry cleaning services,
  • VIP seating at shows and dinner reservations.
  • and a lot more!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post as we celebrate 99 days of Harmony!

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