Royal Caribbean announced today it was reneweing its multi-year partnership with Bank of America, which will include the launch of new credit cards that will offer benefits for Royal Caribbean cruises. The agreement will also bring new credit cards for sister brands Azamara Club Cruises and Celebrity Cruises.
Dubbed, "MyCruise Rewards", the program will allow cardmembers to redeem points not only for the cruise brand they pick, but also across the other two sister companies that are owned by the Royal Caribbean parent company.
Through MyCruise Rewards, cardholders can earn discounts on cruise-related packages and redeem points for cruises, stateroom upgrades, specialty gifts, and onboard credit across all three cruise lines. The new cards provide double points for purchases on Azamara, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean, and one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
Carol Schuster, Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President, Marketing commented on the deal, "We know how important choice is to our guests, so the new cardmember benefits introduce a variety of rewards, such as more than 100 redemption options, making it easy and fun for our guests to enjoy flexibility as they treat themselves while vacationing with our brands."
Card offers, including fees and rates, can be found at www.royalcaribbean.com/mycruiserewards.
More and more, people want to take better photos while on their Royal Caribbean cruise vacation because the Internet and social media are showing us some amazing shots others are taking. Since camera technology is rapidly becoming easier and cheaper to use, the question of, "how can I take better photos?" is being raised by more passengers.
Timothy Corbin is an extremely talented photographer, who posts his photos online and recently took a Royal Caribbean cruise on Oasis of the Seas. Corbin brought back some really impressive shots and so we sat down with him to give the rest of us insight into how to take really beautiful photos like him.
Photo by Timothy Corbin
Royal Caribbean Blog: If someone comes up to you and tells you they are going on a Royal Caribbean cruise and want to take beautiful photos, what are you recommendations?
Timothy Corbin: I would say , always take into consideration the time of day and the light available, sunrise , sunset and what photographers call blue hour are great times to take photos anywhere . On a cruise with so much subject matter available to shoot it all comes down to what you see as beautiful , first and foremost have fun on the cruise and the great photos will come easily.
RCLBlog: Is there a mistake you commonly see vacationers doing that could be easily avoided when taking photos?
TC: Well I find many people do not take the time to frame their photo and look at every corner of the frame to see what will show up in the background and in the photo minus the subject , its a very common mistake.
For me at least i try not to have too many people in my photos as I tried to capture the beauty of the architecture and work that went into the cruise ship . This is not always easy obviously , but my trick is very simple , I shoot just around dinner time or early morning when most people are inside the ship and its alot easier to have less people distracting the image, but that isnt always the rule, sometimes you need people in your photo to add to the story behind the shot , so it all comes down to the scene you are shooting and the invisible words you are portraying through the photo.
Photo by Timothy Corbin
RCLBlog: Can someone take great photos with point and shoot cameras or even camera based phones? Or are DSLR cameras the only solution?
TC: You can take great photos with any camera , its a matter of whether you wants prints of that photo or not. Obviously if you want prints the better quality camera you have will result in better prints.
RCLBlog: You took a cruise on Oasis of the Seas last year and took some amazing photos. What part of the ship did you find the most photogenic?
TC: The boardwalk for me was most appealing especially at night with all the colour and lights, Royal Caribbean did a great job here as well as throughout the ship, by manipulating your mind from the fact that you are actually on a cruise ship and transporting you to a very fun and enjoyable environment.
Photo by Timothy Corbin
RCLBlog: What was your favourite part of your Oasis of the Seas cruise?
TC: Without a doubt the Solarium!
RCLBlog: When going on an island, what equipment do you bring with you to take the sort of scenic photos you've really done well with?
TC: Well I am a landscape photographer and I bring all of gear with me including tripod. I pre planned for every island that we visited and where exactly I wanted to photograph.
Most people maybe will not be this hardcore about taking photos on the islands but that was my intention so I made the best of it in the time we had as I was not interested in shopping . If youre intention is capturing great photos i suggest you plan in advance the places you want to shoot as time is limited on the islands. We did of course enjoy the beautiful beaches in between taking photos.
Photo by Timothy Corbin
We want to thank Timothy for taking the time to share his insight with us. Be sure to check out Timothy's photography site at inplain-sight.com for more examples of his beautiful work.
We had fun this week sharing lots of Royal Caribbean news from many aspects of the company's operation. From Barbados to St. Lucia to New Jersey, there's lots to catch up on this week if you missed any of it.
Let's dive in!
Royal Caribbean News
- Royal Caribbean celebrated a huge milestone this week when it welcomed its 50 million guest.
- The city of Bayonne approved the loan to Royal Caribbean to expand Cape Liberty to make room for Quantum of the Seas.
- Speaking of ports, Royal Caribbean is considering partnering with St. Lucia to build a new cruise terminal.
- Need more Caribbean news? Royal Caribbean will once again offer year-round cruises to Barbados.
- We shared some great photos by our readers in this week's Friday Photos.
- Here's a video of how Royal Caribbean is designing Two70 aboard Quantum of the Seas.
- Do you love escargot when you're on a Royal Caribbean cruise? We think it's a classic Royal Caribbean food.
- We launched a complete listing of Oasis of the Seas deck plans for you to easily see where everything is onboard the ship.
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
We looked at how specialty restaurants have become very popular recently, what restaurants are currently available and what the future holds for these eateries.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Cruise Radio has a new podcast episode with a review of cruising on Jewel of the Seas
USA Today has a new photo tour of Grandeur of the Seas.
Travel Biz Monitor has more information on a deal for cruisers from India to save 20% on their next Royal Caribbean cruise.
The Bayonne City Council unanimously approved a loan to Royal Caribbean to provide "non-recourse financing" for Royal Caribbean's plan to expand at Bayonne's Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor.
Joe Ryan, Bayonne spokesman, indicated the city would act as "conduit" for the project funds, allowing Royal Caribbean to take advantage of the city's favorable financing rates for the $50 million project that includes a new terminal and parking facility. The city council approved the request Wednesday night.
"(This deal) means we're not responsible for the debt," Ryan said. "So in this case the city is assisting with the application on behalf of Royal Caribbean, but we would not be responsible for handling the debt. Royal Caribbean is."
In addition, Royal Caribbean will pay Bayonne a $250,000 application fee and $50,000 annually to monitor the financing.
City officials estimate the new port facility will be finished just in time for the launch of Quantum of the Seas in November 2014.
Welcome back to Friday Photos, our weekly showcase of Royal Caribbean photos that were taken by readers of this blog.
Every week, we ask our readers to send us their best Royal Caribbean vacation photos to be considered for this post and you're welcome to send yours in as well. We'd love to feature photos of the ships, excursions, activities onboard and anything else that reminds you of a great time while sailing with Royal Caribbean.
So without further adieu, here is this week's batch of photos.
The award for "photo from the furthest place" goes to John Paul, who sent this photo in from his Legend of the Sea's Borneo Explorer cruise. It's taken on Palawan Island in the Philippines and proves simple camera tricks are always amusing.
Adam Gilmor took this photo while on Allure of the Seas in St. Thomas. I don't think I'll ever get sick of scenic vista photos from the Caribbean.
I really love this photo that John McCormack sent in of Brilliance of the Seas docked in Valetta, Malta in December, 2010 for repairs after extensive damage suffered by hurricane force winds outside Alexandria, Egypt. Great colors!
This photo is from Patricia Hall, who took this photo from Italy. She was sailing on Brilliance of the Seas and while at a port stop in Naples, took the Amalfi Coast tour. As the Italians say, bella!
Next is a photo from Dawn Lytten, who took this photo on a recent Cruise on Freedom of the Seas back in June. The car on the Promenade is always a great photo spot.
Daniel Stober sent in this photo looking at the ship's wake. I know I've definitely caught myself staring at the wake. There's something mesmerizing about it.
This photo of the Wayfinder interactive LCD screens from Oasis of the Seas are always fun...and make me wish I was onboard right now to see what's going on.
Thanks to everyone who sent in their photos this week. Be sure to send your photos in as well by using this form.
Royal Caribbean has announced it will hold a Super Saturday Sale with deals on fall cruises for all of its ships, including Oasis of the Seas for as little as $749 per person.
In addition to the lower fares, Royal Caribbean is offering on-board credit for anyone who makes a booking during the Super Saturday Sale.
- Inside and oceanview cabins will receive $25 in onboard credit
- Balcony cabins and suites will get $50 in onboard credit.
- Bookings on Oasis of the Seas or Allure of the Seas will receive double the onboard credit.
The sale applies to cruises between August 23, 2013 and October 31, 2013. Sale is for residents of North and South America and cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.
The Caribbean island of St. Lucia is "fully committed" to redeveloping Port Castries and is looking to Royal Caribbean to help.
Deputy Prime Minister Phillip Pierre announced the island is looking to transform Port Castries into a “modern shopping plaza for cruise passengers, visitors and locals.”
According to a government statement, officials from St Lucia recently held talks with Royal Caribbean, which could be considering a partner on the project. St. Lucia revealed it had a meeting with Royal Caribbean back in March to explore the possibilities further.
More recent discussions between the government and Royal Caribbean have been held to provide a timeline to Royal Caribbean to finalize discussions with the reported partner and to “proceed with discussions with other potential partners if that deadline is not forthcoming.”
Royal Caribbean has been a big player in China's nascent cruise industry but some are concerned that obstacles in the near-future will hamper its growth overall.
Royal Caribbean chairman in Shanghai, Liu Zinan, feels tighter integration between the cruise companies and government is essential, "The government, the local authorities, need to support the cruise lines in exercising international practice here."
Since cruise tourism was introduced in China less than 10 years ago, five cruise terminals have been built at an estimated cost of more than 4.5 billion yuan (US$736 million). Three more are under construction and another six are in the pipeline.
Royal Caribbean estimates in Shanghai and Tianjin, the combined investment in cruise infrastructure has topped 12.3 billion yuan.
The danger lies in these facilities not returning on the investment, with losses common thus far.
Hello Royal Caribbean fans, here's some great news for all of you podcast fans.
We're proud to release episode 2 of the Royal Caribbean Blog podcast is now available and ready for downloading.
In this episode, we will look at an aspect of the Royal Caribbean cruise vacation that has arguably changed the most over the last decade or so, specialty restaurants. We will discuss the evolution of dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise, the various restaurants to choose from and where dining aboard Royal Caribbean is going in the future. We will also include some of your great listener feedback .
Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think!
Royal Caribbean will resume cruises to Barbados after removing all of its ships from the Southern Caribbean route last year.
Barbados Tourism Minister Richard Sealy made the announcement after negotiations with Royal Caribbean that he characterized as "intensive".
Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas has been offering cruises back in May, will offer year-round service to the Southern Caribbean island. In addition, Royal Caribbean's brand new Quantum of the Seas cruise ship that is under construction, will have incremental service starting in November 2014.
Sealy was excited about the news of Royal Caribbean's return, "I would like to think that the leadership of Barbados had something to do with that. Certainly, the relationship with the port project would be part of it. But we have done our part."
Royal Caribbean had announced in March 2011 that it was leaving the island but then joined into a joint venture with Barbados to build a brand new state-of-the-art cruise terminal in Barbados that will cost over $300 million.