Royal Caribbean reported its second quarter 2016 earnings today, with US GAAP Net Income of $229.9 million or $1.06 per share, compared to $185.0 million or $0.84per share in 2015.
Adjusted Net Income for the second quarter of 2016 was $235.2 million, or $1.09 per share, up over 25% versus the same quarter last year. The outperformance for the quarter was primarily driven by better than anticipated fuel expense.
"Our business remains strong and we continue to improve our return profile," said Richard Fain, chief executive officer. "This keeps us solidly on our path towards the Double-Double."
The company's booked position for the remainder of 2016 remains strong, similar to last year's record levels.
"While there are always puts and takes in our key markets, our portfolio is performing as expected, our booked position remains strong, and our newbuilds are entering their markets to great fanfare," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer. "These factors are driving another year of record earnings."
You can see the full second quarter financial results here.
Royal Caribbean's next promotion will offer 30% off every ship and every guest. Plus, kids will sail free on select sailings.
The 30% off discount is valid on bookings made between August 4 and 31, 2016, on all sailings departing on or after September 4, 2016.
The 30% off the standard cruise fare for all guests in a stateroom; all stateroom categories. All other charges, including, but not limited to, taxes, fees and port expenses, are additional and apply to all guests.
Kids Sail Free is valid for bookings made between August 4 and 18, 2016, for free cruise fare of third and higher guests who are 12 years or younger as of cruise departure date, booked in the same stateroom as the first two Offer qualifying guests in a triple or quad occupancy stateroom.
Kids Sail Free is eligible in 5 nights or longer Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Dubai, and Europe sailing that departs Sept. 6, 2016-May 15, 2017. Kids Sail Free Offer excludes sailings departing between 11/17/16- 11/24/16, 12/15/16-1/05/17, 2/16/17-2/23/17, 3/10/17-3/20/17, 4/06/17-4/16/17 and Harmony of the Seas. Offer excludes China departures.
30% Savings Offer and Kids Sail Free are combinable with adjoining Holiday OBC, Crown & Anchor discounts, NextCruise offers, and Shareholders benefits.
30% Offer and Kids Sail Free are not combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military). Holiday OBC is combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military) and NextCruise offers. Holiday OBC is not combinable with Crown & Anchor discounts.
All Offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion.
Offer open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.
Royal Caribbean was forced to change the scheduled itineraries for two of its cruise ships today, due to the predicted path of a tropical disturbance.
Royal Caribbean spokesman Owen Torres told Royal Caribbean Blog the change was made, "to ensure our guests enjoy a safe and comfortable cruise. Given the storm’s current location and projected path, we had no other option but to revise itineraries for Empress of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas."
Empress of the Seas revised itinerary will be
Monday, August 1: Miami, Florida
Tuesday, August 2: Key West, Florida
Wednesday, August 3: At Sea
Thursday, August 4: Nassau, Bahamas
Friday, August 5: CocoCay, Bahamas
Saturday, August 6: Miami, Florida
Liberty of the Seas revised itinerary will be
Sunday, July 31: Galveston, Texas
Monday, August 1: At Sea
Tuesday, August 2: Cozumel, Mexico
Wednesday, August 3: At Sea
Thursday, August 4: Nassau, Bahamas
Friday, August 5: At Sea
Saturday, August 6: At Sea
Sunday, August 7: Galveston, Texas
Royal Caribbean will continue to monitor the path and progress of the tropical disturbance in the Western Caribbean.
On Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas, guests were able to purchase a specialty coffee drink card, where if 6 coffee drinks are pre-purchased, they get one for free.
Photo by Dr. Kris L-C
These pre-paid punch cards area available at three different price points, so you can choose one that is right for you.
- $24 for 7 coffee drinks priced at $4 or less
- $30 for 7 coffee drinks priced at $5 or less
- $36 for 7 coffee drinks priced at $6 or less
There is no indication that this kind of a drink card will be available on any particular sailing or ship. Royal Caribbean has experimented greatly with the concept of pre-paid drink cards that did include specialty coffees over the last 12 months or so, but this is the first we have seen of a pre-paid card specifically for coffee.
Would you buy one of these coffee cards? If so, which one appeals to you? Tell us in the comments below.
The final day of the cruise as already come, these shorter sailings go by so fast.
Today we were docked in Key West, Florida from 7am-4:30pm. Whenever you leave the United States and come back you always have to enter customs, and this includes the port stop in Key West.
This morning they had suite guests go through the process at 7am. The customs agents come on board the ship, this morning it was in the theater. You simply show them passports or birth certificate and on you go. This process doesn’t take very long, but my suggestion is just go early, regardless of what cabin you are in.
Morning in Key West
This morning, we decided to get off at 10am; we were in no rush to get off. Most of the ship was actually already off and about. We did a little shopping at the pier, typical t-shirts and key lime pie shops.
I did notice that most of the restaurants didn’t service food until noon, but they were all serving drinks. I didn’t have breakfast on board so I was ready to eat. We found a little pub that we had a pint at while we waited for Sloppy Joes to open.
They opened up at noon and you really need to be there right when they open to grab a seat. I went with their famous sloppy joe’s sandwich and I’m glad I did, hands down the best one I’ve ever had. We enjoyed some live music and drinks before our excursion at 1:30pm.
Bike Tour Excursion
Today we had booked the bike tour through Royal Caribbean excursions desk. The tour started at 1:30pm and lasted until 4:30pm.
We walked over to the bike shop, which is very close by, then geared us up. We visited a few places around Key West and our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the island.
I learned a lot about Key West that I would have never known. About halfway through the tour we asked our tour guide if we could speed things up, as the heat was starting to get to all of us. We still went to all the locations, just didn’t stop at them to hear the history behind what we were seeing.
As the tour was coming to an end, a member in our group had a minor accident on the bike. This took around a half hour to help them get a ride back to the ship, but it was 4:15pm and all on board was 4:30pm.
By the time we made it back to the ship it was right at 4:30pm, and the ship was blowing the horn. We never really got worried about missing the ship because we had a Royal Caribbean excursion desk. So things do happen and sometimes knowing the ship will wait on you goes along way.
Dinner – Chops Grill
Tonight our group had Chops Grill at 6:30pm for our last group dinner. Again, we had the select menu since we had over 20 people eating.
I went with the NY strip for my main course and really enjoyed the steak.
The service tonight was outstanding and they were always filling our water and wine glasses. If you happen to sail on Empress of the Seas, I highly recommend Chops Grill.
After dinner we just explored the ship taking in the last few moment we have on board. I noticed that Guest Services had a rather large line, so try to take care of any issues you may have prior to the last few hours.
There was a farewell show at 9pm, but we decided to pass on that and get some rest for our drive to Tampa in the morning.
- Voom on board comes and goes, you also have to sign in every time you use it.
- A/C in cabin works great, yes it’s hot during sailaway but it will cool down rather fast.
- Everything is new on board, from the sheets to the towels, pool towel, you can just tell it’s all very fresh.
- The food on board is outstanding, from windjammer to chops grill, it’s all outstanding.
- Cuban coffee shop never had cream for coffee, so I drank it without and enjoyed it.
- Crew on board is like family just after 4 days, really great job all around.
- Cruise Director Carlos does a great job and very personable if you get a chance to talk to him.
I hope you all enjoyed the Empress of the Seas live blog. I know I really enjoyed sharing this unique trip with all of you. Until next time, see you sea…
Live Blog Index
Today was our first sea day on board Empress of the Seas and once again I woke up at 6:30am to check out the sunrise. I headed up to the pool deck just in time to catch the sun coming up, once again wow.
Breakfast – Chops Grill
For top tier Crown and Anchor members (Diamond Plus/Pinnacle) and those staying in suite you can enjoy breakfast in Chops Grill.
They offer made to order eggs, omelets, and fresh fruit bar. The breakfast is very similar what you would find in the main dining room on any Royal Caribbean ship.
The real advantage is fast service and we were the only ones in there at 8am when they opened. I went with the basic Ham and Cheese omelet and I really enjoyed it. By now the staff in Chops Grill are starting to feel like family, it seems I’m starting to have most meals in here.
After breakfast, I headed out the pool deck to soak up some sun rays while my girlfriend enjoy her spa morning. My gift to her for letting me live blog, Periscope, take endless pictures was to treat her to a spa treatment. She gave very positive feedback on the spa and it sounds like she is hooked for future cruises, oh no what have I done?!
Okay, back to the pool deck… This morning from 9:00am-10:30am they had a helicopter flying over us, beside us, and around us filming.
Many guest were asking staff what was going on, but I knew they were filming the brand new Empress of the Seas.
Brunch – Main Dining Room
Okay now I feel like all I am blogging about is food, but that’s all you really want to hear about Anyways, right? Well today they had their famous “Sunday Brunch” in the main dining room. Every sea day on Empress of the Seas, they have a big brunch from 11am-1pm in the dining room.
They had a large variety of breakfast and lunch options, so no matter what you were in the mood for they had it. During the Empress brunch, they also serve bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.
Afternoon on board
After our brunch, we decided to head back to pool deck and it was very full. Since Empress of the Seas has just one pool it can get very packed, but I never had a problem finding a deck chair.
We lounged in the water for quite sometime with the Caribbean band playing music. Pretty typical sea day with games around the pool deck and everyone enjoying themselves. I did notice they were selling the beer coolers at the bar, so if you don’t have a drink package this is a great value.
At 3:45pm we had a bridge tour for the Crown and Anchor group. We met on deck 9 forward and were greeted by security and did metal detector scans on us before we went into the bridge.
Once we were on the bridge they did a quick talk about what their roles are on the bridge.
We were aloud to take pictures of everything, just no video.
Dinner – Chops Grill
Tonight we were headed back to Chops Grill, again. We are feeling like family in here, but it was a great experience. We requested our waiter from night one and he took great care of us. I went with shrimp cocktail, which might be the largest shrimp I’ve ever seen.
Followed by the mushroom soup and 9oz filet. We were dining at 6pm tonight so the restaurant only had a few tables eating and the service was extremely fast.
Evening on board
Tonight was the white pool deck party, if you are coming on board Empress you should plan on packing white attire, though it’s not required. Many guests, including myself were not in white.
The staff started the party off and it quickly became very full and went on for hours. The guest were really enjoying the music and dancing the night away. I might have danced once or twice too…
That’s a wrap on day 3, stay tuned because tomorrow we are headed to Key West, Florida!
Live Blog Index
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.
Royal Caribbean released new Empress of the Seas sailings through the end of October 2016.
Three itinerary options were released, comprising of 4 and 5 night sailings to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean.
The new itineraries are available for booking immediately.
Royal Caribbean News
- A Sabor at Sea option was spotted on Explorer of the Seas
- What you need to know about Junior Suites on a Royal Caribbean cruise
- Michael Poole is live blogging from Empress of the Seas this weekend
- How to choose a stateroom on a Royal Caribbean cruise
- A Zumba cruise is planned on a Royal Caribbean cruise
- Royal Caribbean Asia released a new marketing campaign
- What drinks are included in a Royal Caribbean cruise
- How to stay connected while on a cruise
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
In this episode, Matt looks at the different factors when it comes to choosing the best time to take a Royal Caribbean cruise. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year, but figuring out the right time for your family is an important decision.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Royal Caribbean shared how it provides cleaner water to a village in Haiti.
YouTube has a new 360 video on Harmony of the Seas.
Eat Sleep Cruise has a review of Chic on Anthem of the Seas.
A Royal Caribbean cruise vacation provides a tremendous value for guests in terms of what they get for the price they pay, and a very common question among first time cruisers is like this one from Fay Jones.
"Are there any beverages that are included with the meals that is not an additional charge? Also is the tap water safe to drink?"
It is a good question which drinks are included in your cruise, and here is an overview of what to expect in terms of which drinks are included.
You can expect these drinks to be included and available during your cruise for no additional cost
- regular coffee
- decaffeinated coffee
- iced tea
- tap water
- chocolate milk
- flavored waters
- juices (at breakfast, not fresh squeezed)
- hot chocolate (via instant packets)
These drinks are available throughout your cruise at a number of locations, so there will always be somewhere to get something to drink for free.
Anything not on this list will cost you extra, including soft drinks, beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages.
Drinking the water
Yes, there is tap water provided on your cruise to drink and it is indeed very safe to drink.
Every Royal Caribbean ship has a meticulously maintained water treatment/storage system that supplies all of the ships potable water.
Some guests report the tap water is not as cold as they would like, in which case your room attendant can bring you ice at any point in your cruise.
If you prefer not to drink tap water, there is bottled water available for purchase or included in a Royal Caribbean drink package.
Today we spent the day in Coco Cay, and if you have ever read any of my past live blog’s this is my favorite place to visit in the Caribbean. I like Coco Cay because it’s very peaceful and such a relaxing day.
This morning, I woke up at 6:00am and decided to go explore the ship and take some photos.
I know I’m on vacation and waking up before the sunrises. I really enjoyed the sunrise and if you haven’t woke up early on a cruise before I really recommend it.
At 7:00am we had scheduled to have room service delivered to our cabin.
The fruit was very fresh and by far the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had on board any cruise. They have breakfast cards behind the cabin door you fill out and place on the outside door handle the night before with your order.
We had a large group scheduled to take the first tender boat over to Coco Cay at 8:15am. We met at the Schooner bar and were quickly walked to the tender.
The ride over to Coco Cay is 5 minutes and it’s really a great time to take some ship photos.
Once we arrived in Coco Cay we headed over to the Cabana area. These Cabanas are available to rent for the day at $250 and you can bring up to six guests. When we arrived they had large Evian water chilled for us and beach towels.
This was my first time in the Cabana area and I was very surprised how nice the experience was.
At 11:30am, they had a special lunch for us in the cabana area and it was an upgrade from the standard lunch they serve.
They had salmon, shrimp, salads, and trays of endless fruit.
Snorkeling in Coco Cay
This afternoon we had planned to snorkel, in all my trips to Coco Cay I’ve never snorkeled here.
We were treated to some very nice snorkel gear and the staff assisted us putting it all on. Our group was 8 people and we headed out to a see the ship and plane wreck. The tour lasted an hour and was very entertaining if you enjoy snorkeling.
After an hour of snorkeling I helped the production team film a spot with my snorkeling equipment. They have a full team traveling with us doing all kind of shoots of Empress and Coco Cay. After filming we decided to head back to the Cabana.
By this point in the afternoon most everyone had headed back to the ship so we enjoyed some relaxing time on the island before heading back.
Coco Cay Upgrades
So right away I noticed things seem different in Coco Cay today.
I noticed the map they gave us had sites that said closed for remodel, which I thought was strange. However, once I got on to the island I could quickly tell what they are adding, in the water cabanas like Labadee. It looks like they just recently started construction on them; it is the second cove when you enter Coco Cay.
Also, they have a new bar in Coco Cay and its out in the ocean.
This bar actually floats out in the water, meaning you have to literally swim out to the bar. This was added around two weeks ago the staff said and it is located right where the South Beach / barefoot beach sign used to be.
Royal Caribbean continues to push the limit, and here is another perfect example.
This afternoon was very relaxing on board; honestly I think most people were taking naps.
I decided to go have some of their famous Cuban coffee. They open at 7am and stay open throughout the day.
With our drink package, the coffee is included so didn’t have to worry about paying here. I usually just go for the standard black coffee, but they do not carry cream here so it was all black and strong which is what I needed anyway.
We moved on to the shops and they were having their $10 table sales, buy 4 get the 5th on free. I ended up getting my blue coffee mug and a T shirt, however they do not sell ship models yet, which is a bummer.
Tonight we decided to enjoy dinner in Chops Grill, again.
This time was going to be different since it is just the two of us. The steakhouse was packed tonight, almost every table was occupied, so the service was not like the night before.
I went with the steak, onion soup, and bacon. The meal was outstanding; again a perfect steak and I ate every bite. However, our service was less than what you could expect, our waiter as serving the Captain’s table. The headwaiter noticed we had empty water and wine glasses and actually invited us back tomorrow on him! Outstanding service by Royal Caribbean once again, they know we left there with a less that perfect experience and want us to come back on them.
I did use my Diamond Plus coupon valid night 1 or 2 and its buy one get one cover charge free, so I paid $35 for both of us.
After dinner we decided to call it a night, that is right... we were in bed before 10pm. We had a really long day and the sun drained us so a good night sleep was calling our name.
Tomorrow we have a sea day. A lot of actives planned, stay tuned
Live Blog Index
One of the first considerations when booking a Royal Caribbean cruise is the stateroom you will select that will be your home for the duration of the cruise. On any given Royal Caribbean cruise, there are plenty of cabins to consider across a number of stateroom categories. There are many considerations to take into account, but choosing the right cabin for you should not be a daunting task.
Staterooms come in different sizes, layouts, views and even benefits. What is important to one person might not be as important to someone else. There really is no wrong cabin to pick, but there are definitely rooms you can choose that will enhance your cruise experience.
When considering the right stateroom for you, it is important to consider the differences between the various categories.
The most basic and smallest of the staterooms are inside staterooms. Inside staterooms are distinguished from other rooms primarily because they offer no natural view of outside the ship.
Inside staterooms typically have no windows and no balconies.
The compelling reason to book an inside stateroom is for the value, since they are often the least-expensive rooms you can book and that means it is the lowest entry point to getting on the cruise. The exact size of the room will vary depending on the class of ship you are sailing on, but inside rooms will offer the least amount of space at the least price.
Over the years, Royal Caribbean has introduced new kinds of inside staterooms that retain the basic qualities of an inside stateroom, but with a new twist.
Promenade view: Promenade view staterooms are inside staterooms that feature a bay window that overlooks the Royal Promenade. While the room has no view outside the ship, it does provide something to look at, with great opportunities for people watching as well as a great vantage point for events on the Royal Promenade.
Another added benefit of this room category is the bowed windows offer more square footage compared to standard inside staterooms.
The exact size of Promenade stateroom varies depending on the class of ships. Voyager and Freedom class ships Promenade staterooms are 160 square feet, whereas on Oasis class ships they are 193 square feet.
Virtual Balcony: One of the newest innovations to the inside stateroom is the virtual balcony stateroom, which takes a conventional inside stateroom and adds an 80-inch LED high-definition television that provides live views around the ship.
The screens are 4K ultra high definition capable screens that stretch from floor to ceiling and receive a video feed from the ship's cameras that are mounted at the stem and stern of the ship.
With virtual balcony staterooms, guests can enjoy a balcony experience without the balcony price.
Virtual balcony staterooms are offered on Navigator of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas.
The next category up from inside staterooms are oceanview staterooms, which are slightly larger rooms that have a porthole or window to the ocean.
Much like the inside staterooms, oceanview cabins are on the inexpensive side and provide guests with an affordable means of being on the ship and still have a view. Natural light is important to many guests, and the ocean view provides that. Essentially, oceanview rooms are slightly larger inside rooms with a window.
The reason to consider an oceanview room is if a view is important to you, but the price of a higher-category stateroom is not possible. Alternatively, sometimes the price difference between an inside room and an oceanview is not too large, and someone may want to upgrade their room option at not a lot of extra cost.
There is one variation on the oceanview stateroom, which offers even more of a windowed view without the balcony.
Panoramic oceanview: Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom gives much more of a view than a traditional oceanview room, with a floor to ceiling wrap around panoramic window that is 76 inches high by 103-321 inches wide. That is a big window.
As you might imagine, the reason to book a stateroom like this is for the amazing views without the balcony view price.
Panoramic ocean view staterooms are found on Navigator of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.
One of the most sought-after stateroom categories are the balcony cabins. Balcony rooms offer the same kind of living space the previous categories did, but with a private balcony space.
Having your own balcony means you have a special spot on the ship just for you to enjoy, that provides views all around the ship, as well as that terrific ocean breeze. Many cruise fans swear by a balcony for the added space, private area and ambiance that only a balcony room can provide.
As you move up the categories of Royal Caribbean staterooms, balcony staterooms come with more space compared to interior staterooms. As anyone that has cruised before will tell you, every square foot matters!
When you book a balcony stateroom, you get more inside as well as the space from your balcony. It all adds up to more room for everyone to maneuver in and makes the entire experience less crowded. Having a balcony means you have a great spot for sail away, enjoying the ocean passing by, or seeing the port you are docked in from the comfort of your stateroom.
There are a few variations on the traditional oceanview balcony cabin available on Royal Caribbean ships. These are all the same balcony experience, but with a different vantage point.
Central Park balconies: On Oasis-class ships, Central Park balcony staterooms are available that instead of offering a balcony that overlooks the ocean, this stateroom category offers a view of the Central Park neighborhood.
The Central Park balconies offer the same fresh air and light that ocean view balconies do but with the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of Central Park along with the people watching aspect. In addition, Central Park view balcony staterooms are often slightly cheaper than ocean balconies.
The exact size of a Central Park view stateroom with balcony is 182 square feet with a 50 square foot balcony.
Central Park balcony staterooms are available on Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
Boardwalk balconies: Just like the Central Park balcony staterooms, the Boardwalk balcony staterooms trade the oceanview of a traditional balcony for a view of the Boardwalk neighborhood.
In addition to the view of the Boardwalk fun, some Boardwalk balconies can offer views of the ocean and/or the AquaTheater, depending on where your room is located. Boardwalk balcony rooms are also usually priced less than ocean balconies.
A Boardwalk balcony room offers 182 square feet of living space, with a private balcony between 47 and 52 square feet.
Boardwalk balcony staterooms are available on Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
At the high-end of Royal Caribbean's stateroom options are the suite cabins, which offer the most luxurious and largest of all the staterooms. As you might imagine, suites are also the most expensive.
The reason to book a suite is simple: you want to indulge on your cruise and splurge for something a bit more than the norm. Suites offer a tremendous amount of personal space, higher-end amenities, special bonuses and exclusive access.
From Junior Suites to Presidential Suites, there are a number of options to choose from. Suites offer access to a concierge lounge and even a butler. Cabin suites usually consist of more than one room in your cabin and have the most space of any cabin. It is difficult to convey just how much larger some of the suites really are, with balconies that exceed the size of some staterooms.
In addition to the impressive rooms, suite guests typically enjoy double Crown and Anchor Society points for each night of their cruise, concierge planning assistance, complimentary drinks and a private lounge, reserved seating by the pool and shows, and a whole lot more.
On Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Quantum class cruise ships, the benefits program has been refreshed and is dubbed, the Royal Suite Class. Suites on these ships offer the most benefits and highest level of service, split across three tiers of benefits.
All Royal Caribbean staterooms come with private bathrooms that are equipped with showers. Suites have bath tubs in addition to showers, so if you need a tub, be sure to look for that as an option.
Not all staterooms have the same level of amenities, depending on ship class, but there are some basics that all have:
- Private bathroom
- Sitting area
Be sure to refer to each ship's layout for specific accommodations and amenities.
Where your cabin is located can be just as important a consideration as the type of room you select. Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are massive, and picking your room location means you have to take into account access and convenience to a number of public areas on the ship.
It is important to note that there is no bad location on a cruise ship, it is just a matter of personal preference in terms of which location means more to you. It is difficult to make generalizations about cabin locations because it can be a very subjective decision but here are some basic guidelines.
In general, the most sought after location for a stateroom is midship, simply because it is centrally located relative to all the amenities and spaces on the ship. This is true of all cruise ships, and depending on your preferences and itinerary, this may or may not be important to you. In addition, being centrally located is what most guests who are sensitive to motion on the ocean choose, because the center of the ship tends to have the least sensations of movement. Those that can become easily sea sick, may want to take special consideration.
When it comes to picking a stateroom location, arguably the most important criteria can be how close (or far) your cabin is from certain onboard facilities. Some guests prefer to be close to the pool deck, others like easy access to the Royal Promenade and others want to be in close proximity to elevators. As they say, it is all relative, but consider your cabin's proximity to public spaces near, above and below your room when selecting it. On the larger ships, the time it takes to walk from one point to another is far more pronounced than on smaller ships, but no ship's walking distance is too great to truly be a concern (provided you suffer from no mobility issues).
Speaking of location, you may also want to consult deck plans before choosing a room to look at how close your room is to public areas that tend to generate a lot of noise. If you are a light sleeper, some rooms that are above or below a night club, restaurant, pool or some other public area can suffer from noise bleed. How much noise and how bad of an issue can vary from cruise to cruise and person to person. If you're at all concerned about this, choose a cabin that has at least two decks above and below it and the nearest public area to assure quietness.
There is also the choice of having your room on the port (left) or starboard (right) side of the ship. In my years of cruising, I have found this to be among the least important considerations, since you never know what you will be facing when, and both sides of the ship offer something to see and getting to the opposite side of the ship is quite easy.
Your cruising group
Much of the decision surrounding which stateroom to pick may have to do with whom you are cruising with. A couple cruising will have different needs than someone cruising with kids.
If you are cruising alone, keep in mind most staterooms come with a single supplement fee, which means you will pay extra to subsidize the lack of another passenger. There are some staterooms that are specifically designed for solo cruisers, but they are rare and only on a handful of ships.
Families are at the heart of what Royal Caribbean offers, and those sailing with children may want to consider two additional alternatives to a typical room. Family sized staterooms are extra large versions of regular staterooms that are designed with larger groups in mind. They offer much more space without the typically higher prices that come with a room of that size. Family sized staterooms may not be available to see on Royal Caribbean's web site at all time and tend to have a minimum amount of guests in the room to become available. Check with a travel agent for exact rates on these rooms.
Families should also consider two adjacent or connecting rooms. Having multiple rooms may sound expensive, but often it is not that much more and the added space and extra bathroom (!) make this a very attractive alternative. Families with younger children will want to get connecting rooms to ensure easy access between the rooms, while older kids can probably be fine in a nearby room. Regardless, a second room is an option to consider for larger groups that need more space.
Couples will find the most options to choose from, since staterooms are mostly designed for two guests per room. Nearly all rooms have twin beds that can be separated or combined to form a queen-size bed. You can request either configuration from your stateroom attendant.
Cruising with friends is another common choice, and like couples, bed configurations can be altered as needed. In addition, some cabins have 3rd and 4th berths, which means options like sofa beds and Pullman beds (beds that pull-down from the ceiling) can fit everyone comfortably.
What category do you usually book on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of each category? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!