Unlike anything on land or at sea, Quantum of the Seas' North Star offers guests the ability to view the world from over 300 feet above sea level providing unparalleled 360-degree views.
Hope you had a great week (maybe one week closer to your next Royal Caribbean cruise?) and you had a chance to keep up with what's new with Royal Caribbean this week. But if not, here's a roundup of this week's news.
Royal Caribbean News
Here's what happened in the world of Royal Caribbean this week
- Royal Caribbean changed how it prices its unlimited alcohol packages.
- Quantum of the Seas suffered a few tech issues on its first day.
- A giant wave hit Explorer of the Seas.
- Quantum of the Seas began her trans-Atlantic voyage home.
- Royal Caribbean will roll out RFID WOWbands over the several years to the rest of the fleet.
- We offered first time cruisers a look at the differences between Royal Caribbean ships.
- Our look back at Royal Caribbean's (soon to be) extinct restaurants.
Quantum of the Seas coverage
We're knee-deep in Quantum of the Seas coverage, so if you missed any of it, here's a quick run down of what happened this week
- Five beautiful Quantum of the Seas photos in Southampton
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
Matt previews his cruise this week on Quantum of the Seas and discusses what his plans are for his short trip and what he hopes to see and do.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Travel Shop Girl reviewed her Oasis of the Seas balcony stateroom.
Yahoo! Lifestyle shared how much fun they had on Quantum of the Seas.
Gizmodo shared a look at how the virtual balconies work.
Royal Caribbean has found a gold mine in offering its passengers unlimited alcohol packages but has recently changed the package pricing. To be exact, the packages are now priced without gratuity.
At first glance, it look like Royal Caribbean lowered the prices across all of its unlimited alcohol and non-alcoholic drink packages by about $10 per day.
New unlimited package pricing
Old unlimited package pricing
The truth is, the packages are still about the same price. The difference is Royal Caribbean has separated out the package price from the automatic gratuity included when you buy the package.
We priced out the Premium Drink package in Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner to confirm the changes and you can see the package price along with an additional service charge.
With the new pricing, the real package prices have changed by a few dollars. We calculated the prices via the Cruise Planner for an upcoming cruise we had booked and here's what we found.
- Royal Replenish package: $21.85 per person, per day ($1.85 increase)
- Select drink package: $40.25 per person, per day ($0.25 increase)
- Premium drink package: $56.35 per person, per day ($1.35 increase)
- Ultimate drink package: $63.25 per person, per day ($1.75 decrease)
I love time lapse videos and today we've got a brand new one from our friend Marian Krueger that encompasses walking the entire length of Oasis of the Seas in just 22 minutes.
Enjoy this (accelerated) look at Oasis!
Check out this new video by Royal Caribbean that takes a look at all the fun activities found in the SeaPlex on Quantum of the Seas.
From bumper cars to circus school, SeaPlex brings out the playful side of guests.
When you're trying to pick the right Royal Caribbean cruise for you, there's a lot to choose from. Royal Caribbean currently has 22 ships in its fleet and that's a lot to choose from. Let's discuss what the differences (and similarities) are and which one is great for you.
Royal Caribbean ships do vary considerably in size, from ships that can handle around 2000 passengers to ships that top out over 5000 passengers.
The first thing to understand are the classes of ships. Royal Caribbean has 7 classes of ships in active service to choose from.
Ship classes are categories of ships that have a very similar size, amenities and layout. Think of ship classes like car models. Every Ford Mustang for any given year is based on the same build, but individual cars can have slightly different options.
By looking first at ship classes, you get to more easily see key differences between the ships. Each class is fairly unique but you will notice similarities too.
Understanding the what each ship offers is important. Even among sibling ships, there are some differences. For example, Liberty of the Seas offers a Broadway show whereas none of its sibling ships have one.
The differences between ships used to be much larger but Royal Caribbean embarked upon a fleet-wide refurbishment in the last few years to bring innovations first developed for the Oasis-class onto older ships in the fleet. To be honest, the changes have breathed new life into these older ships and now the differences between all ships has been greatly reduced.
That brings up ship age. The tendency in the cruising industry is to build bigger ships each time, so typically the smaller ships are also the older ships. That's not always the case but generally speaking, the last few classes of Royal Caribbean ships (Quantum, Oasis, Freedom, Voyager) are signifigantly bigger than the older classes of ships.
The newest class of ships are Quantum, Oasis and Freedom class. The oldest are Vision and Sovereign class.
Of course, age doesn't tell the whole story. In fact, many Royal Caribbean fans will tell you the older ships are their favorite ships. Smaller ships offer a much more intimate cruise experience and they often have things the larger ships do not, like more vantage points to the ocean.
Newer cruise ships have more of the fancier and newer technologies, which can factor into your decision but the recent fleet-wide refurbishment mentioned earlier did help quite a bit in "leveling the playing field".
You shouldn't make your decision based purely on ship age but it's a key difference between the ships.
What you should pay attention to
When picking the right ship for you, look at these key factors
Ammenities for your group
Each Royal Caribbean ship offers a lot to do but if the hyped up features don't interest you, then it may not be perfect for you. Oasis of the Seas offers zip lining, Broadway shows, a surf simulator and over a dozen restaurants but if all you want to do is enjoy pool time and read, then perhaps it's more than you need.
Likewise, if you've got children, the newer ships in the fleet have larger and newer kids club facilities that will be a better fit. Look at the features each ship has and see which are relevant most to you.
I love the newest ships Royal Caribbean rolls out, but if I can get a similar cruise on a smaller ship for a fraction of the cost, then I'll gladly take it.
Pricing fluxuates a lot but newer ships command a higher price, so if there's a deal to be found, then consider that option too. You shouldn't let price solely dictate which ship you pick, but it's a powerful factor.
Where it's going
One advantage smaller Royal Caribbean ships have over larger ones is they can go to many ports the big ones cannot.
Many ports in Europe, Asia and the Pacific can't handle the new mega-cruise ships Royal Caribbean has built so if you have your heart set on certain ports of call, make sure the ship you pick can get you there.
If it's Friday, that means it is time to share some more awesome photos our readers have sent in of their Royal Caribbean cruise vacations! As always, we want your photos too, so send us your best Royal Caribbean photos so we can share it with the world.
We begin this week with a photo by Ken Slusser of an aft view from the port side bridge wing during his All Access Tour on ALlure of the Seas. Must be nice to have this be your "office".
Here's another tour photo, this one by Phil Catarella of appetizers being prepared on Allure of the Seas during his galley tour. Is it wrong for me to "test" the food being prepared? You know...for safety.
Here's a timely shot of the fall foliage along the coast of Quebec, Canada during John Siegmund's Legend of the Seas cruise this year. Beautiful!
Mary sent us this photo of Radiance of the Seas docked in Vancouver and ready to go. Looks like the perfect way to see Alaska!
Lastly, here's a photo by Paul Jordan of Navigator of the Seas in Cozumel. Yo quiero un Navigator of the Seas crucero!
Thanks to everyone who sent in their photos this week. Be sure to send your photos in as well by using this form.
Speaking at the CruiseWorld conference, Royal Caribbean President Adam Goldstein indicated the rollout of its new RFID wristbands, known as WOWbands, will take several years before they are available across all of Royal Caribbean's ships.
While the RFID technology behind the WOWbands are fairly simple, the new shipboard property management system that the WOWbands rely on takes much more time to install.
WOWbands will be added ship by ship, although we do not have any indication as of yet which ship will get WOWbands next.
Royal Caribbean has awarded Lexis a four-way pitch for the UK and Ireland account.
Lexis will manage the Royal Caribbean UK's corporate, consumer and crisis PR as well as raising its the awareness amongst a ‘new to cruise’ consumer audience, by tackling misconceptions of cruise vacations.
Royal Caribbean UK's PR was previoulsy managed by Siren Communications.
Royal Caribbean UK & Ireland Director of Marketing, Jo Briody, commented on the deal with Lexis, "Lexis impressed us with its understanding of our core challenges and with its creativity. We are leading change in the cruise industry and want to take a fresh approach to our communications. Lexis shares our passion for the brand and demonstrated the ability to challenge misconceptions and positively influence people outside of the cruise sector."
Royal Caribbean has released a new video with Quantum of the Seas' captain, discussing how the bridge crew navigates a ship across the Atlantic Ocean for her maiden voyage.