Royal Caribbean Fourth Quarter Earnings Call Scheduled

In:
22Jan2015

Royal Caribbean will hold a conference call on January 29, 2015 at 10am to discuss its fourth quarter 2015 financial results.

The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations web site, www.rclinvestor.com. To listen to the call by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number. A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.

Royal Caribbean launches new menus on Quantum of the Seas complimentary restaurants

In:
22Jan2015

Last night Royal Caribbean rolled out new menus to four of its complimentary restaurants onboard.

Reports from cruisers aboard Quantum of the Seas this week say that new menus debuted at Chic, The Grande, Silk and American Icon Grill.

There's speculation that these menu changes are part of a new effort to improve the Dynamic Dining experience overall.  Just last week Royal Caribbean dropped the cover charge at Devinly Decadence to add more complimentary restaurant capacity.

Credit to Debra Hirsh and Daniel VanDam for the photos of the new menus.

Deck by deck drydock changes to Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
22Jan2015

Royal Caribbean is almost done with Freedom of the Seas refurbishment and that means a lot of changes are coming to the ship.  After receving lots of questions related to how where the changes are onboard the ship, we've compiled a list of the changes coming visually.

Deck 2

No changes

Deck 3

  • New interior staterooms added (Category Q), replacing The Crypt
  • New Ocean View Staterooms added (3640, 3642, 3644, 3646, 3648;  3340, 3342, 3344, 3346, 3348)

Deck 4

  • Sabor restaurant replaces The Crypt
  • Photo Gallery & Shop renamed to Focus

Deck 5

  • Pharaoh's Palace renamed Star Lounge
  • R-Bar replaces Champagne Bar 

Deck 6

  • Added Interior stateroom (6137)
  • Next Cruise replaces Business Services 

Deck 7

  • Added new Interior stateroom (7139)

Deck 8

  • Added new Interior stateroom (8237)

Deck 9

  • Added new Interior stateroom (9237)

Deck 10

No changes

Deck 11

  • Giovanni's Table replaces Portofino

Deck 12

  • Added new balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms at front of the ship

Deck 13

No changes

Deck 14

No changes

Deck 15

No changes

Elvis fan cruises planned aboard Royal Caribbean

In:
21Jan2015

For fans of Elvis Presley, there's a couple of Royal Caribbean cruises for you!

Mahwey Productions is offering themed cruises entitled, "Cruising with the King", where guests can have a "full King experience" on select Royal Caribbean ships.

Events include a Welcome Aboard Tribute concert, tribute performances, "Sing Like the King" karaoke, Elvis trivia and Elvis sightings onboard the ship.

There are three cruises planned

  • Brilliance of the Seas 5-night cruise on February 9, 2015
  • Navigator of the Seas 7-night cruise on October 18, 2015
  • Navigator of the Seas 8-night cruise on January 9, 2016

More details about the group cruise can be found at the group website.

Top 5: Enchantment of the Seas on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
21Jan2015

This week's podcast episode is ready to go, as we present episode 77 of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast for your downloading pleasure.

This week, Matt looks at the top 5 things to do aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas.  The ship offers a lot to see and do and Matt has sifted through everything onboard to find the top 5 experiences he enjoys the most.

There's also lots of reader emails to share this week about everything Royal Caribbean.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 77. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS 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!

Video: Genevieve Gorder Episode 4: Style comes to life

In:
20Jan2015

Quantum Experience Advisor, Genevieve Gorder, is back today with a new webisode as she steps onboard the newly launched Quantum of the Seas for the first time and marvel’s at the spaces she helped design.

8 things I MUST do on every Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
20Jan2015

We all have those traditions on a Royal Caribbean cruise that we just feel compelled to do each and every cruise.  There's something about certain aspects of a Royal Caribbean cruise that keep us coming back again and again.  Here are a few must-do things that you just have to try on your next cruise too!

8. Eat at the Windjammer on embarkation day

It's not a cruise unless we get to the port a little before noon and get onboard so I can have my first meal in the legendary Windjammer Cafe.

There's something about having my first meal here that cements that feeling inside of "I'm really on a Royal Caribbean cruise again".  For me, it's that moment when I sit down with my plate full of food and a big smile comes across my face.

And oh yea, there's lots of good food to be enjoyed here as well!

7. Watch the Love and Marriage game show

A staple of Royal Caribbean's nighttime entertainment is the Love and Marriage game show.  Even though I think I know all the questions they will ask by heart, the answers the contestants give always make for an entertaining experience.

I freely admit I am far too shy to volunteer for the show, but seeing this show is always a lot of fun and one of the things we will be talking about during the rest of our cruise.

6. Go for a night swim

Anyone can swim during the day but on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but I love to put on my bathing suit late after the sun goes down and hop in the pool.  

Night swims are a great experience and with the new giant movie screens near the pools on most Royal Caribbean ships, it's fun to take in a classic film while being in the water.  It's a great family activity and the perfect way to end a fun day.

5. Visit the Loyalty Ambassador to pick out another cruise to book

No Royal Caribbean cruise is complete without booking another Royal Caribbean cruise to start looking forward to.  As the days left on our cruise start to wane, I want to have something else to have in mind to make disembarkation day just a little bit easier.

My wife and I will sign up for an appointment with the Loyalty Ambassador and go over some options either back onboard the ship we are on or maybe something completely new.  You know what they say, nothing gets you over the last one like the next one!

4. Eat at Chops Grille

Royal Caribbean offers so many great specialty restaurants to choose from but the one that I always have to go back to is Chops Grille. It's become a staple of Royal Caribbean and it's a restaurant I can always book without even having to consult my wife.

What I love about Chops Grille is the consistently good experience across all ships in the fleet.  Each one we visit is always a memorable experience with some of the best steaks and side dishes we've had in a long while.

3. Watch the shore excursion channel loop through a few times

This may be just something silly I do but I really love to watch the shore excursion channel in my stateroom when we're laying around.  There's something about the super market jazz music playing in the background or the monotone voice over descriptions that I just like watching it. 

This guilty pleasure is centered around the idea of watching this channel to get an idea of what to expect in the ports of call we are going to visit but I find the channel strangely memorizing and I'm not afraid to admit it!

2. Sit by the pool while the live band plays

Picture this: a sunny day with maybe just a few clouds passing by, sitting in a lounge chair at the pool deck with an optional drink of the day in your hand and the band playing "Red Red Wine" as you take a sip and close your eyes.  That is the perfect moment on a Royal Caribbean cruise for me.

The live music on a Royal Caribbean cruise is among the best hidden secrets.  Royal Caribbean's dedication to live music has become something I always look forward to and enjoying the live band at the pool is just the icing on an incredible cake.

1. Read the Cruise Compass from cover to cover

When we get back to the stateroom after a great dinner, the first thing I look for is the next day's Cruise Compass newsletter waiting for me on the bed.

Each evening your stateroom attendant will leave the Cruise Compass on your bed (with perhaps a towel animal surprise too) for you to read and I love reading everything inside.  To me, this is the New York Times of cruising and it's just one of those cruising traditions that I love to do.  Sure, I get a sense of what activities are coming up the next day (Michael Jackson line dancing classes anyone?) but it's also fun to just immerse myself in everything going on around the ship.

Your favorites

Did any of my favorite must-do's make your list?  Share with us your favorite Royal Caribbean traditions in the comments below!

Royal Caribbean Secrets: Unique Royal Caribbean staterooms

In:
19Jan2015

Royal Caribbean ships are amazing floating hotels that offer so much but each class of ships offers something a little different. Usually this means something different in terms of entertainment, activities or dining.  But there are some rather unique stateroom options in the fleet that you may not be aware of that would make for a great pick.

Kudos to blog reader and podcast listener Keith Davis for coming up with the idea for this blog post!

Vision Class

If you're looking for a little extra balcony for the money, try the deck 7 aft staterooms in the D2 category.  These staterooms cost the same as other D2 balconies but you get a significantly larger balcony.

Radiance Class

Just like the Vision class, the Radiance class ships have balcony cabins on the ship's "hump" that give more than double the normal balcony size.  The "hump" is the section of the ship that if you are looking at the deck plans, appear to pop out and create a hump, relative to the rest of the ship.  

Ranging in category from D1 through E2, these are among the largest balconies you can get and gives you an incredible amount of space for the money.

Our large "hump" balcony on #jeweloftheseas

A photo posted by Royal Caribbean Blog.com (@royalcaribbeanblog) on

Voyager/Freedom class

The deck 7 corner aft on the Freedom-class and the deck 10 corner aft on the Voyager-class.  The aft staterooms have a lot of subtleties in both of these classes. 

There are different shaped balconies because of the ship’s superstructure, the large flat deck behind the balconies on deck 6, the crew deck below on 5.  This is one spot where doing your research and understanding what you are getting will save you some possible disappointment.

On the non-balcony front, there is the Ben & Jerry’s sweet on the Freedom-class ships, which have an unique bovine themed room that costs the same as a Promenade View stateroom but comes with suite amenities. You can read more about this stateroom here

On the Voyager class, the balconies have differences depending on which ship you are on.  If you're interested in opening up balcony dividers on Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas, the balconies are attached to the ships' hull and cannot be removed.  But on sister ships Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas, their balcony dividers aren't attached and can be removed.

Oasis Class

There aren't a lot of hidden gems in the Oasis-class.  There are of course the D1 cabins, which have a bigger balcony, plus a couple of stray cabins located at the front or back of the two “humps” (not really humps, just to areas of extended balconies).  

There are, however, a number of staterooms on Oasis-class ships that do not give you much extra in space but do offer an interesting view.  Let's start with the Boardwalk balcony staterooms that allow a great vantage point of anyone coming down the zip-line that fellow guests can ride across the neighborhood.

In addition, you will find the only interior-facing balcony staterooms in the Boardwalk and Central Park staterooms.

If you've got money to burn, try the AquaTheater Suites that feature 600 to 800-square foot balconies with unbeatable views of the AquaTheater below.

Photos from Freedom of the Seas drydock

In:
18Jan2015

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas is in the middle of a 24-day drydock session in Freeport, Bahamas and we've found some photos of the ship getting some work done.

Bow

A photo posted by Anton (@kiggiss) on

A photo posted by Anton (@kiggiss) on

A photo posted by Anton (@kiggiss) on

Scale.

A photo posted by Anton (@kiggiss) on

Freedom of the Seas #GrandBahamaShipyard

A photo posted by Anton (@kiggiss) on

#another #day #inparadise #drydock #bahamas #freedomoftheseas #rccl

A photo posted by HNieminen (@kinghemu) on

#beast

A photo posted by HNieminen (@kinghemu) on

End of evacuation drill... So confused! #FreedomOfTheSeas #DryDock

A photo posted by Dai Mori (@daiamori) on

Empty pool. . #drydock

A photo posted by eka_bokir (@eka_bokir) on

Im coming home...#drydock #freedomoftheseas

A photo posted by eka_bokir (@eka_bokir) on

See our list of the changes coming to Freedom of the Seas as a part of this refurbishment.

How to take better photos on your next Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
17Jan2015

Photos are the best souvenir you can bring back from any Royal Caribbean cruise, because they are the best ways to remember all the fun.  From moments of laughter, to sunsets to capturing snapshots of your vacation forever, photos can do it all.  So when you get home and look at all those photos, you definitely want to make sure everything came out well.  Here are some great photography tips to make sure your next Royal Caribbean cruise will help you get the best photos ever.

1. Learn to use your camera

Before you step foot on your ship or even wave goodbye to everyone at work when you go on vacation, you should practice with your camera.

Regardless of if you have a DSLR camera or a point-and-shoot, the key to taking better photos is knowing how your hardware works and trying things out.  Try bringing the camera to events around your home town or even taking photos in your house.  Take photos in the day time, night time and indoors so you get a good sense of what to expect and try things out.  It's better to take bad photos at home so you know how to avoid those bad photos later on your cruise.

2. Take public area photos in the early morning or late at night

Royal Caribbean has built some amazing areas on their ships, from the Boardwalk on Oasis-class ships to the Centrum on Radiance-class ships.  So if you want to get the best views of these areas, try to take photos of them when there's no one around.

The best time for these kinds of photos is in the early morning and late at night when most guests aren't around.  Whether it's a photo of the beautiful spaces or a shot of your family posing, it's great to get these shots in without other people you don't know in the background.

3. Charge your battery each night

You know what's worse than bad photos? No photos! Make sure you charge your batteries each evening to ensure each day your camera will have enough power to last you throughout the day.

Along those lines, investing in multiple batteries can help avoid not having enough juice.  If your camera uses disposable batteries, make sure you have a stockpile of them.  In addition to keeping your battery working, it's better to have too many rather than having to purchase new batteries on your cruise and be subject to the prices Royal Caribbean charges.

4. Take into account where you are

Good photographers will tell you it's important to take into consideration your surroundings and avoid taking photos where things like shadows or sunlight can ruin a great photo.

Unlike our eyes, cameras are more sensitive to these elements and while it may look okay to you now, the camera may not develop as good a picture.  Keep the sun to your back as the photographer and always make sure when you take photos, there's as much light as you can get.  

5. Get the same photos without the professional photographer cost

Royal Caribbean will take photos of you and your group in select spots on the ship that you can purchase later.  They come out great but they are expensive, so try this trick to getting similar shots without the extra cost.

Aside from the photos with backdrops, many photos are taken on staircases or in front of beautiful areas of the ship.  Scope out on the first couple of nights where the photographers are setting up and then come back at another time when they aren't there and take your own photos.

Staircases in the Centrum and Royal Promenade are often great spots for photos because of the lighting.  

6. Look at every corner before you take the photo

A great way to avoid something small that can ruin your photo or just be a distraction is to check the corners of your shot before you take it.

Often when taking photos, we are focused on the subject and ignore what's on the sides.  Look for objects, people, and obstructions that if you just shift a little to one side or another can improve the photo greatly.

7. Take plenty of photos each time you want just one

In the old days of photography, you had to pay for every shot you took when it came to developing the photos.  But with today's world of digital photography and media cards, there's no excuse not to take a lot of photos.

Even if you think you nailed the photo on the first try, take a few more just in case.  People blink, your wrist can move and a whole slew of other problems can pop up that are hard to see until you get the photos back on your computer to process.  

Try taking at least 3-5 shots anytime you're taking photos to give you the best choice in the right shot.

8. Don't be afraid to ask someone to take the photo for you

It's great to have photos of everyone in your family or group, so don't settle for someone always being left out of your photos.

Your fellow guests on a Royal Caribbean cruise are often quite willing to take photos for you and allow you to get in the photo too and remember these great memories with everyone in the photo.  Offer a smile and be courteous in asking someone passing by to take your photo and it will greatly improve who's in your shots.

9. The best photos will be taken with a camera, not your phone

Of course it's simpler to take photos with your phone but the fact is the best shots come out of cameras that independent of your phone.

Even if you just go with a point-and-shoot camera, you will get better quality shots with more features.  Cameras in general can give you a greater range of functionality when taking photos, especially night photos. 

10. Night photos? Avoid the flash!

The most common thought process in taking a photo at night is to use the flash on your camera but don't do it!

Flashes flood the foreground with bright light at the moment of the photo is taken but often colors get washed out and the background disappears.  Instead, many good quality cameras (most notably DSLR cameras) can take great photos by keeping the shutter open longer to allow more light in without the assistance of a flash.  Make sure you take a stable shot (try placing it on a trash can or bring a tripod) and you will get much more accurate photos in terms of color and they will just look better.

11. Bring a computer to download photos

Memory cards for cameras are pretty cheap but it may be a good idea to bring a laptop to download your photos to for a few reasons.

First, memory cards are notorious for corrupting and you do not want to lose your photos.  Downloading photos to your laptop periodically will ensure you can back up what you've shot in the case your memory card takes a turn for the worst.

Second, backing up your memory cards to a computer will let you get away with using less cards and that means less money you have to spend on memory cards in general.  Just like batteries, you don't want to purchase a memory card on vacation and be subject to the prices Royal Caribbean or a store in port sells them for.

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