Royal Caribbean offering 50 percent off second passenger for 2015-2016 cruises


Royal Caribbean unveiled a new promotion today, “Buy One, Get One 50 Percent Off" on 2015-2016 cruises.

From May 1st through May 31st, 2014, residents of the United States and Canada can get 50% off the cruise fare of the second guests when booked in the same stateroom as a full-fare guest.  

The offer applies to new individual and named group bookings in all stateroom categories and sailings departing between January 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016, and excludes Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, as well as third and additional guests. 

This new offer is combinable with Crown & Anchor discounts and benefits. 

After the the offer expires on May 31st, the offer will be removed from the booking if the guest cancels and reinstates the booking, applies a fare change, or changes the ship or sail date of the booking; certain other changes to the booking may also result in removal of the Offer. Offer applies to new individual and named group bookings only. 

Almost-live blog on Allure of the Seas - Day 5 Sea Day


Today we started our day after strolling around the top deck as well as getting some Starbucks coffee.

Then we made our way to the character breakfast. Let me just say: chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!!!! There was everything from chocolate milkshakes to chocolate pancakes, to an assortment of chocolate muffins. Everything else from the morning breakfast menu was available as well.

There is no fee for this breakfast. I am not sure if the theme changes, but this morning was Madagascar movie theme with appearances from Alex the lion, King Jillian, and Gloria. The characters would come around to each table for a photo op as well as pass out stickers. Again our head waiter found us and said hello and even offering to go get more chocolate items for the girls!

Then after the breakfast, we dropped the kids of at camp. Kids’ camp theme today was Kung Fo fighting camp with a show for mid morning at the adventure ocean stage.

We opted for some Solarium time this morning while they were at camp. Then we took the girls to Johnny rockets for lunch again. Again, the food was hot and fresh with the burgers and the onion rings.

After lunch, we went to the belly flop contest and enjoyed with front row seats!

Then we dropped the girls back off for circus theme camp for our older daughter and a nap at the nursery for our younger daughter so we could hit the spa.

The spa had a great fresh fruit smoothie bar as well as other items. It was relaxing, but my only comment was my spa service was in just an alcove off the main atrium of the spa.

We picked up the girls to get them ready for formal night! It was Lobster night! I decided to get the peach soup, mushroom tart, and the fisherman plate. The food was really good as usual. After dropping the girls off for bed, we were off to try the Rising Tide Bar. It was fun to try and the sound of the water fountain from underneath while the bar was up on deck 8 was very nice!

Next up was Viking Crown Lounge. I really like the decor in the new lounge. It had a great view of the pools below all lit up at night. The duet band was a lot of fun for 90s night, but we weren't able to stay long.

We had tickets for the headliner act: Jeff Tracta with "a journey through pop culture”. He was an impressionist about fifty years of comedy, music, and pop culture. The show was very entertaining.

Royal Caribbean chooses Agilysys InfoGenesis for point-of-sale system for Quantum-class ships


Royal Caribbean announced today that it has selected the Agilysys InfoGenesis point-of-sale system for its two newest Quantum-class cruise ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.

Agilysys is a leading provider of innovating hospitality software solutions and services.

Royal Caribbean CIO Bill Martin commented on the deal, "The InfoGenesis POS system continues to be well-suited to our needs.  It is among the most versatile point-of-sale systems on the market, combining an accessible user interface with a variety of reporting tools. With this technology in place, we are well positioned for the future, with a comprehensive POS system that will enhance guest service and give us a competitive edge."

InfoGenesis markets itself as an easy to set up and maintain system that integrates with many other applications and is designed to process transactions in the highest volume environments without any loss of performance at the point of sale.

"We have had a long relationship with Royal Caribbean and are delighted the company has once again selected the InfoGenesis POS system," said Tony Ross, vice president of sales for Agilysys. "In the highly competitive cruise market, companies must implement technology that enables them to streamline operations while creating lasting connections with guests. The InfoGenesis solution, with its scalable architecture, flexible configuration and superior integration capabilities, will enable Royal Caribbean's two newest ships to operate at peak efficiency and deliver the five-star guest experience for which the company is known."

Cruising for women on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast


Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!

Episode 39 is available for downloading where we look at the "art" of booking back to back Royal Caribbean cruises.

Matt has invited his friend Annette to talk all about cruising on Royal Caribbean for women and what the ladies can look forward to while onboard. Spa, salon, cupcakes and more are here to discuss!

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 39. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher 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!

Pro tips on how to ride Royal Caribbean's FlowRider (better)


Royal Caribbean's FlowRider is a very popular (and free) activity aboard select cruise ships but if you're anything like me, you aren't a natural born surfer. 

So we reached out to a couple of professional FlowRider veterans for tips on how to master the art of riding the artificial wave.

Our panel of FlowRider experts include

  • Nick, from All Things Flow13oarding, has been riding the FlowRider for 14 years and is a 7 time bodyboard world champion.
  • Brandon, from Heinen Motorsports, is a pro FlowRider and wakesurfer and uses the FlowRider to tran in the off season.

If you were to give someone brand new to the FlowRider one tip to, what would it be?

Nick: On the bodyboard: Hold the board on the side middle rails, keep your elbows on the board and use your legs in the water for speed and to keep the board straight. And most importantly have fun! 

On the Standup Flowboard: Keep at least a steady 80% pressure/balance on the back foot and lean on your back hip while trying to keep your shoulders balanced and pointing towards the front, Try not to twist and turn your shoulders and try to keep the board straight with your feet and hip. When you go on stay low on your back leg and try to go in a straight line with steady pressure and balance on your feet. About 80% on the back and 20% on the front. If the board starts to turn try to put more pressure on the back so that it straightens out. If you start falling get down lower and try to sit so that you fall safely. 

Brandon: I would say to new flow riders. Jst because you skateboard or snowboard or even wakeboard forget what you know and start from scratch. The flowrider is a beast of its own and there is no other sport that water is rushing at you up to 40 Mph.

What do you think the biggest mistake people new to the FlowRider make in terms of being able to stand up on the board?

Nick: Leaning forwards and jerking the board sideways and twisting your shoulders and hip. You want to try to go in a straight line and keep the pressure down on the board a steady pressure on the back.

Brandon: The trick to flowrider is keeping most of your weight on your back foot. I would say 85% of your weight. Stand up straight and don't hunch over. This keeps your weight more centered. When the board wants to turn just roll with it don't fight it. After a few falls you will be floweriding.

Honestly, how much does it hurt to wipe out on the FlowRider?

Nick: It doesn't really hurt at all! It's much like falling on a trampoline with water as padding. Bodyboarding is a much softer fall so that helps you learn how to fall a little safer.

Brandon: The first few falls might hurt a bit and the next day your neck will be sore. But its all in good fun!

Once you get the whole "standing up on the board" thing, what should people try if they want to learn a trick?

Nick: Stay low so you don't fall as hard and try to go slow; Some of the first tricks you can try are: Carving, 360, Ollie, Shuvit (Board Spin)

Staying low helps you keep your balance and more center of gravity. Recording yourself on video helps a lot and can help show you what you might be doing wrong. Watching videos on youtube helsp a lot as well!

Checkout Pro Flowboarders on our website and youtube! and Everything is practice and if you try over and over you'll get it!

Any recommendations on best type of clothing to wear or not wear on the FlowRider?

Nick: The best things to wear are tight board shorts, one pieces, shirts/rash guards. 

You're not allowed to wear accessories so be sure to take off your rings, ear rings etc! You might loose them as well as your bathing suit so be sure to have them on tight! 

Video: Engineering the FlowRider Onboard


The video features a closer look at the FlowRider surfing simulator, which happens to be one of Royal Caribbean's most popular activities among all ages.

Almost-live blog on Allure of the Seas - Day 4 Falmouth


We were up early again this morning.

After a quick walk up on the top deck, we made our way down to the diamond lounge for a bagel or muffin. It’s nice that most mornings it opens up before some of the other options.

Then we made our way down to check out the board walk as we wait to arrive in Falmouth. We noticed the donut shop display cases. There was some interesting flavored like key lime as well as old favorites. The girls played around on the little climb and slide play structure next to Rita's for a bit.

We docked around 10:30. Independence of the seas was in port the same day as us. We had booked a day at Rose Hall Hilton for today. We decided to go through a local company because it was less expensive and stayed longer than the excursion offered through Royal Caribbean.

We ended up leaving 45 minutes late because two people never showed, but we still had plenty of time for the day at the hotel.

We had picked this excursion because of the water park and lazy river for the girls! The hotel was about 20-30 minutes from the ship.

An attendant greeted us after making our way towards the pool and pointed out where to get towels and setup chairs for us. The food and drinks were good and the service was very friendly. We probably will be going back in July because the girls had so much fun.

After we made our way back to port, we wanted to walk around for a bit in the port area, but we had to get ready to take the girls to Izumi for their dinner. We were eating at Chops later. The hostess at Izumi sat us at a window table for sunset. We ordered the hot lava rock for cooking beef tenderloin as well as wonton soup. We happened to order shrimp goyoza as well, but the girls discovered they loved those and ate two orders themselves on top of the soup and beef tenderloin.

We also tried the tempura vegetables and spicy tuna roll that's not listed on the menu. The service was great. We did our best to keep the girls from being disruptive in the restaurant. All the food was wonderful!

After dinner, we made our way down to the boardwalk for the girls to make a Pet-at-sea and get some ice cream before turning them in for the night with the sitters.

We had reservations at Chops Grille with our server Emrah from the first night. We had a great night. He remembers everything from options we liked to the wines we ordered.

The mushroom soup, tuna tartare, and French onion soup are amongst my favorites! He had told us to come with an empty stomach so we could try as many different favorites! One thing I noticed is that the desserts seemed to be made much more simplistic in presentation from what we remembered on Enchantment, but the flaming cream brûlée was fun to watch with the dimly lit restaurant.

Chops Grille is always a great option on board and tonight was the same way.

We finished out the night in the casino for 70s night. We wish we could have seen the 70s party but Chops was calling our names and I didn't bring my yellow leisure suit and wig on this cruise. Next time!

Friday Photos


When Friday rolls around, then we are sharing our readers' best Royal Caribbean photos that they sent in and it's your opportunity to take a "virtual trip" right now to a Royal Caribbean cruise. Let the day dreaming begin!

Our first photo is from Giulio Saggin of Rhapsody of the Seas departing Fisherman Islands in Brisbane, Australia just as a plane is coming in for a landing.  Talk about an action shot!

Here we have a photo of Ronald Estall who could not resist the ice cream on Allure of the Seas, even if it wasn't real.  He did report that it did not taste as good as he thought it would (can't imagine why).

Steven Brinkman sent us this photo of Navigator of the Seas while anchored off Grand Cayman just a few weeks ago! Wish I was there right now.

Here's a photo of AJ Dreyer as Brilliance of the Seas passes under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg, Florida.  AJ says this was his first time seeing a cruise ship go under a bridge and he thought it was pretty cool.  AJ, you are 100% correct!

I love this panoramic shot of the Aqua Theater right before a showing of Aqua Aria on Allure of the Seas by John McCormack.

Last we have Oasis of the Seas departing Port Everglades on March 7, 2014 by Ken Slusser.  What a view!

This was another great week of Royal Caribbean photos and if you have a Royal Caribbean photo or two that you want to share, please use this form to send us them all! Have a great weekend!

Almost-live blog on Allure of the Seas - Day 3 Labadee


After getting up early, we eventually decide to go to Johnny rockets for breakfast. They have made to order omelets, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches.

After breakfast, we checked about the waiting list for cabanas on Labadee, but unfortunately they were all booked.

We made our way off the ship and saw that they had a water taxi over to Columbus cove beach near the aqua trek park. The water taxi saved a lot of time and walking.

We picked out our spot and had a beach attendant set up our chairs and even got a shade tent for over a couple of chairs. We also got a couple of floats for the water to rent for the day.

After playing in the slightly cold water for a bit, it was time for our hour in the aqua trek water park. The aqua park was a lot of fun and very tiring. There were various degrees of difficulty to get on the inflatables or trampolines. My daughter lasted about 25 minutes before she was tired and the life vest was irritating her arms.

Then we made our way over to the Dragons Tail coaster. It had said we needed to be there within the hour before or after, but we used one ticket then and one ticket later with no problem. The coaster was a lot of fun. We were much faster the second time down the coaster. It was a lot of fun and the lines were never that long. While waiting in line, it was fun to watch the people go down the zip line overhead. 

Also, I saw the beach beds that they have added on adrenaline beach. They look nice, but they don't seem to be worth the same price as the private cabanas that are offered for suite guests. 

After the finishing up the first run down the coaster, we had lunch over in Columbus cove. It consisted of the usual burger, hot dog, cole slaw, potato salad, but also had jerk chicken and beef ribs.

After lunch, we were feeling hot on the sand so it was time for Labadoozies! Once our daughters tried them, they ditched the strawberry smoothies for the rest of the trip! We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with beach toys that a local had available to rent and enjoyed one of the beach bands that had always been around Labadee and that music that is so quintessential to Labadee now. I even bought their cd since my youngest daughter enjoyed dancing around the beach to the music.

After our second run down the coaster and another round(s) of Labadoozies, we packed up to head back mid afternoon so our youngest could get a nap in at the nursery on board. One nice touch on the way back was the wet towel drop off right outside the security station on Labadee. After getting back on board, I had a small snack at the wipe out cafe up on the sports deck. They were serving pizza, fries, burgers, hot dogs. I had hoped they would be serving nachos or tacos, but this particular afternoon.

After a short nap, we made our way down to the cupcake board for a decorating class for our daughter. They were making a monkey cupcake. She really enjoyed it and so did I since I got to eat it. She wanted a different flavored that she had seen in the display case.

After Nora's nap and getting dressed, we planned on taking the girls to Izumi for their dinner and some sushi for us. We were going to 150 Park later in the evening. Unfortunately we didn't make reservations and they were booked until later. We made a reservation for the next night and decided on Rita's Cantina.

It was better than I had expected. There was fresh guacamole with chunks of avocado. The steak fajitas were really good!

After dinner, we had tickets to see the aqua show OceanAria.  It was one of the best shows I have seen even compared to a cirque du Soleil show. It held our daughters attention the entire time.

After getting the kids settled in for the night, we were off to 150 Park. The concept of the restaurant is farm to ship. The dinner is a five course tasting menu that was presented to us on a personalized menu for us to keep.

The most interesting part was the different salts to try that could be sprinkled on the unsalted butter for the bread.

The food was very good as well as the service. Here is a list of the courses for the evening.

After dinner, we were off to the casino for the rest of our sitter time.

Royal Caribbean reports first quarter 2014 profit dip


Royal Caribbean reported its first quarter 2014 results today and its quarterly profit fell by two-thirds due to higher costs and less passenger onboard spending.

Royal Caribbean's net income fell 65 percent to $26.5 million, or 12 cents per share, in the first quarter.

Voyage disruptions, notably six shortened or canceled cruises between January and March hurt Royal Caribbean's bottom line.  Navigator of the Seas was impacted due to an oil spill shutting down Galveston while Adventure of the Seas encountered technical problems that impacted its propulsion.

Demand for European sailings and for China sailings remained particularly strong throughout the period and double digit yield improvements are expected for both products. 

"Despite pressures in the Caribbean, the diversity provided by our global footprint is proving its value. This model has allowed us to take advantage of the strong demand for our European and Asian products, while successfully navigating pressures in the Caribbean," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer.

Royal Caribbean does expect things to get better as 2014 goes forward.  It is expecting double-digit percentage rise in yields in European and Asia Pacific cruises this year. 

Royal Caribbean said booking volumes rose about 18 percent in the past three months. Bookings jumped 20 percent in the past eight weeks.