Next Cruise Certificates: Everything you wanted to know

In:
04Jan2014

One of my favorite things Royal Caribbean offers to its guests is the NextCruise Certificate option for booking your next Royal Caribbean cruise onboard your cruise.  What exactly is a NextCruise Certificate and what does it get you? Let's answer all your questions!

What is a NextCruise Certificate

A NextCruise Certificate is an open booking for a future Royal Caribbean cruise that can only be purchased onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise.

For years, Royal Caribbean has offered its best deals to those re-booking onboard cruises because they want to increase their repeat business.  The problem with booking a specific cruise is not every passenger knows which cruise exactly they want to go on next. Royal Caribbean advised booking something arbitrarily and then remembering to change the reservation to another cruise further out until they actually found a cruise they wanted to go on.

NextCruise Certificates get you the same benefits of booking a specific cruise without all the "work" of having to book and rebook infinitely until find the cruise you actually want. Ship, sail date and stateroom category is decided at time of initial deposit.

How much is a NextCruise Certificate?

You pay a reduced deposit of $100 per person ($200 per person for suite-category staterooms) and receive an onboard booking bonus of up to $200 per stateroom to spend on their next sailing with Royal Caribbean. 

You can put down just $100 for one person, even if you intend on adding others later.  The other people in your reservation will be added for just $100 per person.  

The deposit amount per person is non-refundable.  The NextCruise Certificate does not expire.

What is the booking incentive I get with a NextCruise Certificate?

The amount of onboard credit you get from Royal Caribbean with a NextCruise Certificate depends on the length of cruise you select.  Here's the breakdown.

  • 3-5 Nights $25
  • 6-9 Nights $100
  • 10-14 Nights $150
  • 15 + Nights $200

How do I use my NextCruise Certificate?

After booking a NextCruise Certificate, you will get via email a booking reservation number.  

When you are ready to book your next Royal Caribbean cruise, give your travel agent or Royal Caribbean your NextCruise number and they will turn it into an active reservation that reflects the deposit amount you made plus booking incentives your certificate has.

The deposit you made when purchasing the NextCruise Certificate of $100 is all you need to put down and no more money is required until final payment (suite deposits do require full deposit amount).

Can I use a NextCruise Certificate with a travel agent?

NextCruise bookings allows passengers to still work with their travel agents automatically.

If you buy your NextCruise Certificate, you can opt to have a travel agent attached to it at that time or leave it open and let a travel agent use the certificate when you are ready to book.  

Can I combine my NextCruise Certificate with other discounts/deals?

Crown & Anchor Society members can combine the onboard booking bonus that they earned through a NextCruise Certificate with their Crown & Anchor Society Savings Certificate or the Platinum-tier and above Balcony and Suite discount.

Other deals Royal Caribbean offers may or may not be combinable and you will need to read the terms and conditions of those deals specifically.

So what's the downside/catch of booking a NextCruise Certificate?

The deposit you make is non-refundable so if you end up never taking another Royal Caribbean cruise, you're out that deposit amount.

Technically speaking, a NextCruise Certificate is a reservation in Royal Caribbean's eyes, so if there's a deal that comes out that is for only new reservations you may not be able to combine it with a NextCruise Certificate.

Friday Photos

In:
03Jan2014

It's pretty cold out there in many places but we've got some Royal Caribbean photos our readers have sent in to warm you up.  In fact, each week we ask our readers to send us their best Royal Caribbean photos to showcase right here on the blog so be sure to send yours in too!

Let's see what we have this week.

Here we have Explorer of the Seas in Quebec City Port by François St-Onge.  Someday I hope to take a cruise up to Quebec because it looks lovely.

Connor De La Pena sent this photo from Oasis of the Seas' Boardwalk.  Just another beautiful day at sea, eh?  

This photo is from Kayla and she writes, "This is one of my favorite photos from our Alaska cruise, August 2013 aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas! This was taken at the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau Alaska. We saw everything from bears, to bald eagles, to whales! Such an amazing cruise full of adventure!"  Can't beat that view!

Harry A. Yerikyan sent us this photo from Allure of the Seas at the Aqua Theater show with the Royal Caribbean logo too. The performance here never disappoints!

Here's Freedom of the Seas docked in what looks to me like Cozumel, but I could be wrong.  What I do know is it looks like another beautiful day and significantly warmer than where I am now so it's enough to make me jealous.  Thanks to Tom & Diane Trudnowski for sending in this photo.

Is your photo missing from here?  Well, send all your Royal Caribbean photos in right now and we can use it for upcoming Friday Photo blog posts! 

Royal Caribbean changes guest comment cards to electronic form

In:
02Jan2014

Effective January 1, 2014, Royal Caribbean is retiring the old paper based comment card (guest satisfaction survey) and replacing it with electronic distribution post-cruise.

The change to an electronic format means the consolidation of comment cards into an email distributed invitation that will be delivered within 24 hours of debarkation.

Royal Caribbean hopes the new electronic surveys will improve efficiency and cost savings but more importantly a guest-driven approach that will foster engagement with our guests, placing the insights in the hands of the crew. 

The paper surveys have been in place for 40 years and have become a major way the cruise line gets important feedback from its customers.  Royal Caribbean boasts it uses the feedback considerably in making decisions. 

Royal Caribbean already collects email addresses from all guests over the age of 18 and these people will now receive an email invitation to participate in an online Guest Satisfaction survey on the day of departure. Guests will have 7 days to complete the survey, after leaving the ship. The survey works on smartphones, tablets, laptops and other computers. It takes approximately 7 minutes to answer all questions in the survey. All responses will remain strictly confidential. 

This new survey will launch on all ships for all sailings debarking on or after January 1, 2014.

Royal Caribbean launches 2014 cruise deal with up to $300 onboard credit

In:
02Jan2014

Royal Caribbean has kicked off a brand new deal for 2014 Caribbean cruises with up to $300 in onboard credit if you book by February 28.

If you book any 2014 Caribbean cruise that departs between March 1 and December 31, 2014 by February 28, Royal Caribbean will give you onboard credit depending on your stateroom category.

  • Oceanview staterooms will get $75 per stateroom
  • Balcony staterooms will get $150 per stateroom
  • Suite staterooms will get $300 per stateroom

This onboard credit offer is valid on cruises booked between January 1 and February 28, 2014.  Cruise must be 6-nights or longer on sailings departing March 1 - December 31, 2014, excluding Quantum of the Seas. Promo Code: YOURWOW is required and must be presented at time of booking.

Everything about Royal Caribbean's Junior Suites

In:
02Jan2014

If there's a type of Royal Caribbean stateroom that gets more questions than any other, it's probably the junior suite.  This stateroom category is available on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships and we thought it would be useful to look at what this stateroom does (and does not) include and why you might want to consider booking it for your next cruise.

Junior suite on Freedom of the Seas. Photo by Royal Caribbean

What is a junior suite?

The junior suite stateroom is the first category of suites Royal Caribbean offers.  The layout and decorations of junior suites vary by ship, but at its core it's a large cabin with private balcony.

In most cases, you will find in a junior suite two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, a sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony and a private bathroom with a bathtub.

The exact size of a junior suite varies from ship to ship, anywhere from 221 square feet on Majesty of the Seas to 299 square feet on Brilliance of the Seas.  Most junior suites are about 290 square feet.

The size of the balcony ranges as well, from 61 square feet on Majesty of the Seas to 94 square feet on Freedom-class ships.  When Quantum of the Seas launches later this year, junior suite balconies will be 161 square feet in size!

Oasis of the Seas Junior Suite - Photo by boynup

What are the benefits of booking a junior suite?

There are two main benefits to booking a junior suite. First and foremost, is the space this category of stateroom gives you.  Compared to regular balcony staterooms, junior suites give much more living space as well as balcony space on average. 

The other main benefit to booking a junior suite is you get double the Crown and Anchor Society points.  All suites are eligible for double Crown & Anchor Society points.

Of course, junior suites are the least expensive of the suite category and often priced competitively with standard balconies.  For many, booking a junior suite does not require much more money to upgrade yourself to.  

Junior suites also include tea and coffee service ensuite and terry bathrobes (for use onboard).  In addition, junior suite guests receive silver SeaPass cards to distinguish themselves as suite guests to Royal Caribbean staff.

Independence of the Seas Junior Suite bathroom - Photo by David & Cheryl M

What are the disadvantages of booking a junior suite?

Despite the word "suite" being in its name, junior suites do not receive the benefits associated with being a suite guest on Royal Caribbean.  Specifically, this means no access to the concierge lounge or the concierge service.

Summary

Junior suites are spacious staterooms that for many people are an affordable way to splurge without breaking the bank.  

The increased living space makes a big difference when compared to smaller staterooms. It allows for much more comfortable living and avoids the whole "get by your roommate shuffle".  The full tub is also a big deal for many guests, especially many women we hear from.

Granted, you do not get the suite perks that many aspire to get access to, but the double Crown and Anchor Society points are still a good way to move yourself up in the system.

Royal Caribbean eliminates unreturned towel fee

In:
01Jan2014

Starting today, January 1, 2014, Royal Caribbean has eliminated the $25 (per towel) fee for unreturned towels.

Previously, you could rent towels from the pool deck but would be charged $25 per towel if you did not return it before the end of your cruise.

The change is being cited as a result of guests feedback and Royal Caribbean wanting to offer guests "greater convenience and help them enjoy their Royal Caribbean vacation even more."  

Here is the full statement by Royal Caribbean as to why they decided to get rid of the penalty fee.

"We think this policy adjustment will offer guests greater convenience and help them enjoy their Royal Caribbean vacation even more.  We’re constantly evaluating our policies and implementing feedback. This is just one of many ongoing changes and improvements we’ve made to ensure Royal Caribbean International is giving guests the Royal Advantage - the most innovative cruise ships, exciting itineraries to popular destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service. "

Cruising with kids on Royal Caribbean

In:
01Jan2014

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

Episode 22 is available for downloading where we look at going on a Royal Caribbean cruise with kids

Family cruising is as popular as ever so this week Matt looks at what Royal Caribbean offers for families that want to cruise with kids, young and old.  There's a lot of options in terms of programs and activities, staterooms and dining options.  

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 22. 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!

Man reported missing from Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas cruise

In:
31Dec2013

Authorities in the Cayman Islands are looking for a Royal Caribbean passenger who was reported missing from Independence of the Seas early Tuesday morning.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Force said a 65-year-old  passenger from Canada was reported missing by his wife before Independence of the Seas docked in Grand Cayman. 

A search of the 15-deck Independence of the Seas and closed-circuit camera footage has turned up nothing so far.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Tracy Quan said the missing 65-year-old Canadian was last seen entering his room on the Independence of the Seas just before midnight.

According to police, the man’s wife said they went to bed at about 1 a.m. Tuesday but when she awoke some seven hours later he was gone.

If the man is missing, it's the second passenger to be reported missing this week after a different passenger jumped off Adventure of the Seas and was pronounced presumed dead.

Survey says Quantum of the Seas is most anticipated ship of 2014

In:
31Dec2013

A survey by Cruise Holidays says Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas is the most anticipated cruise ship of 2014.

Travel Weekly reported that of the 133 franchisees in the survey, the "overwhelming" response to which cruise ship they were ancitipating the most for the new year is Quantum of the Seas.

The other cruise ships that were included in the survey were the Costa Diadema, Regal Princess and Norwegian Getaway.

Search ends for Royal Caribbean passenger that jumped overboard

In:
31Dec2013

The United States Coast Guard has ended its search for the 26 year old Canadian that jumped off Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas on Saturday.

The Coast Guard released a statement that its 3-day search for Tien Phuoc Nguyen has concluded despite efforts by Royal Caribbean and the Coast Guard to rescue him.

After being reported he was overboard, Adventure of the Seas' Captain immediately stopped the ship and began searching.  This was followed by the Coast Guard's effort as well.

Meanwhile, the FBI is trying to determine what caused Nyugen to go overboard.

"We are looking into whether he jumped, or whether it was an accident, or whether he committed suicide, or whether someone pushed him," Moises Quinones, public information officer for the FBI's San Juan Office, told ABC News.

Adventure of the Seas security cameras have video of Nguyen going overboard.

Pages