We love to share your Royal Caribbean photos every Friday and give everyone a quick "mental escape" to look at some stunning photos. We want your photos too, so send us your best Royal Caribbean photos to share with the world.
First up this week is a photo by Sean McLellan taken from the deck of Allure of the Seas while at dock in St. Maarten. Oh and there's a sunset too!
Next up is a photo by Lucille Mackie of Quantum of the Seas in Barbados. Looks like a beautiful day in paradise with a beautiful ship!
Here's a great shot of Rhapsody of the Seas visiting Champagne Bay in the South Pacific by Shawn Crossley.
Bethany McCormick-Parrell sent us this photo of Quantum of the Seas in St. Maarten. Wish I was there right now!
Here's a cute photo taken through the Fitness Center aboard Liberty of the Seas by Mike Sobbell of Autism on the Seas. Oh and there's a sunrise too!
Last but not least, here's a photo by Ross and Pam of Voyager of the Seas somewhere in the South Pacific!
Thank you to everyone that sent in their photos this week and if you have Royal Caribbean photos, well, we want to see them! You can use this form to send us your photos and we will feature them on an upcoming Friday Photos blog post!
Today at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, Royal Caribbean held its keel-laying and lucky coin ceremonies for the third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas.
Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean President and COO, put down the lucky penny in the dock before the block of the new ship was lowered by the 800-ts crane.
The first of a total of 74 blocks of the new cruise liner weighs 740 tons.
The keel-laying marks the official start of construction of the Ovation of the Seas in the building dock.
Ovation of the Seas' delivery is scheduled for spring 2016.
Ovation of the Seas will be able to accommodate 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms.
Royal Caribbean announced today that Harmony of the Seas, the third cruise ship in the Oasis-class, will be home ported in Port Everglades, Florida in winter 2016-2017.
The new Oasis-class ship news was announced today as part of the 2016-2017 Caribbean deployment schedule.
Harmony of the Seas will offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings along side sister ship Allure of the Seas. Royal Caribbean did not announce specific sailings or itineraries yet, just where the ship will be sailing from.
Once launched, Harmony of the Seas will take the title of the largest cruise ship in the world and offer onboard amenities from Oasis- and Quantum-class ships, as well as brand new water slides.
The 227,000 gross ton ship is being constructed at STX France shipyard in St Nazaire, France.
Royal Caribbean announced its 2016-2017 deployment schedule for the Caribbean and with it where its cruise ships will be located.
Bookings for these Caribbean sailings will be available beginning on March 11, 2015.
Here's a breakdown of the deployments by ship
Anthem of the Seas
Year-round sailings from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., and make its maiden season at Bermuda.
During September and October, Anthem of the Seas will sail nine-night Canada and New England cruises from Cape Liberty.
Serenade of the Seas
During September and October, Serenade of the Seas will offer seven-night Canada and New England cruises from Boston, Mass.
In the winter 2016-2017, Serenade of the Seas alternates a 10- and 11-night Southern Caribbean itinerary from Miami, Florida.
Grandeur of the Seas
Five-night Bermuda, nine-night Bermuda and Bahamas, and nine-night Canada and New England cruises throughout the summer. In the winter, the ship will sail nine-night Southeast Coast & Bahamas and 12-night Southern Caribbean cruises.
Enchantment of the Seas
Three- and four-night short Bahamas getaways from Miami, Florida
Navigator of the Seas
Alternate five-night Bahamas and Mexico with nine-night Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Labadee cruises in the winter from Miami, Florida.
Oasis of the Seas
Western Caribbean and two new Eastern Caribbean itineraries in summer 2016, all seven nights in length and departing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
In winter 2016-2017, Oasis of the Seas will reposition to Port Canaveral, alternating a seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itinerary.
Allure of the Seas
Western Caribbean and two new Eastern Caribbean itineraries in summer 2016 and winter 2016-2017, all seven nights in length and departing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
Harmony of the Seas
Seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itinerary for winter 2016-17 from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
Independence of the Seas
In the winter, Independence of the Seas will follow a sequence of four- and five-night short Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Everglades.
Freedom of the Seas
During summer 2016, Freedom of the Seas will continue alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
In winter 2016-2017, Freedom of the Seas will reposition to Port Everglades and lternate between a six-night Western Caribbean with an eight-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary.
Rhapsody of the Seas
Rhapsody of the Seas will take over three- and four-night Bahamas cruises from Enchantment of the Seas in Port Canaveral.
Brilliance of the Seas
Four- and five-night Western Caribbean cruises throughout winter aboard Brilliance of the Seas from Tampa, Fla.
Liberty of the Seas
Will continue its year-round deployment sailing from Galveston, Texas to Mexico and the Western Caribbean.
Adventure of the Seas
Will homeport at San Juan and sail to the Southern Caribbean.
Jewel of the Seas
Will homeport at San Juan and sail to the Southern Caribbean.
Check out this wonderful review by our good friends Don & Heidi from EatSleepCruise! They had the chance to check out Jamie's Italian on Quantum of the Seas and I can't wait to try it myself. Enjoy!
Quantum of the Seas has a variety of specialty restaurant options that cannot be found on other ships. On the last night of our 8 night sailing, we had pre-booked reservations to try one of these new establishments, Jamie’s Italian.
Created by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, this restaurant offers modern, Italian cuisine in a funky, casual atmosphere. The restaurant is a slight departure from other specialty Italian restaurants found on Royal Caribbean ships, including the family-style Giovanni’s Table and the slightly more upscale Portofino’s.
Still, Jamie’s Italian, which is open for lunch and dinner, served some amazingly fresh food that was worth the modest upcharge.
Located on Deck 5, Jamie’s Italian restaurant is a very welcoming space, nestled in the Via next to the beautiful Waves of Light Sculpture. Jamie’s Italian offers an up close view of this artwork with some “al fresco” style seats that are open to the area. While we did not dine in this area, many cruisers who choose to eat at Jamie’s Italian do opt for these tables that offer amazing views of the Via and plenty of people watching.
Inside Jamie’s, you feel as though you have entered a very modern kitchen. Similar to something you would expect from a restaurant in a major metropolitan area, the décor in Jamie’s Italian is a mix-match of colors and textures. Doses of bright, vibrant colors and different shaped furniture give the restaurant a casual, yet contemporary feel.
Plenty of Jamie Oliver’s cook books are on display and televisions throughout the venue regularly show segments form the chef’s television appearances. Neither of these decorative elements are distractions as they blend well into the overall restaurant layout and theming.
Ambiance aside, the main star of this restaurant is the food.
With a menu that features a mix of warm and cold starters including the signature planks, pasta dishes, and meat based entrees, there is certainly something for everyone here. Given that we were here on the last night of our 8 night cruise, we had already sampled a vast array of great dishes at the four complimentary restaurants as well as a few of the other specialty restaurants. Still, we made it a point to sample as much of the cuisine as we could reasonably fit into our already expanding waistlines.
Our waiter was from Northern Italy and was very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. Many of his recommendations were right on point, and we were glad we listened to him. Overall, the service was excellent, and the staff was very attentive.
We started dinner off with a few of the signature cocktails on the menu. I tried the Gennaro’s Sidecar, as I am a fan of sidecars to begin with, and the wife opted for the Rossini, a bubbly and fruity cocktail that was sweet enough for her tastes.
Before we even had a chance to examine the dinner menu, the waiter brought over a basket of bread which offered a nice selection, including crusty Italian bread, focaccia, and bread-sticks, served with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping sauce.
We were debating whether we should order one of the planks, as many of the tables around us had them and they looked unbelievable, but instead we decided to try out some of the warm appetizers.
Growing up in Rhode Island, one of my favorite starters is fried calamari. Although, it is one dish I have never had on a cruise ship. I was pleasantly surprised when the waiter brought out a generous portion of light, crispy squid cooked to perfection, definitely fresh and made to order. Honestly, it was some of the best calamari I have ever had on land or sea.
The wife opted for a different starter as she is not much of a seafood fan. She tried the Arancini Margherita, which are deep fried risotto balls with mozzarella. They came covered in tomato sauce.
Even though the order only came with three, I was forced to eat one of them, with which I gladly complied. Similar to the calamari, this was a classic Italian-American starter that was made just right.
The appetizers were plenty filling, but there were still so many dishes left to try. On the recommendation from our waiter, we decided to order a pasta dish to split along with our entrees.
Our selection was the Penne Pomodoro, which came with a light sauce and was just the right amount for us to each have a taste of this homemade pasta as a side dish to our main course.
The wife, who is a picky eater, went with the only chicken dish on the menu, the Chicken Al Mattone, grilled chicken seasoned with garlic and rosemary.
It was not exactly what she was expecting as the cut of chicken was not all white meat, included a bone, and was topped with a glaze that was a bit greasy.
On the other hand, I ordered the Lamb Chops Scottadito, which was definitely the best lamb I had all cruise. It was a good serving size and had a nice grilled flavor. The dish was not necessarily what I think of when I think Italian food, but I am very glad I ordered it.
To add to the gluttony, our waiter also brought out some polenta chips. These were more like home fries, nicely textured and topped with rich Parmesan cheese. Not the healthiest side dish, but definitely a great addition to any dinner.
When I think about Italian food, besides pasta, dessert is the next thing that comes to mind. But, Jamie’s Italian actually does not have many traditional Italian desserts.
So, we decided to order the tiramisu and the Epic Homemade Brownie. Of course, slightly melted vanilla ice cream paired perfectly with a warm brownie is always a good option.
On the other hand, we were warned by our waiter about the tiramisu, and he was right. It had a different texture than expected and an orange flavor. It was definitely a departure from the classic Italian treat.
Jamie’s Italian offers some great Italian classics with modern twists in a lively environment. The starters were authentic, and the homemade pasta was rich and delicious. The entrees were solid, and the side dish of polenta chips was an amazing accompaniment. While the dessert was a little disappointing, we should have listened to our waiter’s suggestion and tried something other than the tiramisu. The service at Jamie’s was among the best service we received all week on the ship. On our next sailing on Anthem of the Seas, we have reservations at Jamie’s Italian and will definitely make sure to sample more of the menu.
Jamie’s Italian can be found on the Quantum of the Seas and the Anthem of the Seas and offers Rustic, Italian food with a casual dress code. There is an upcharge of $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner. Reservations can be made prior to cruising on the Cruise Planner or while onboard.
Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!
Episode 83 is available for downloading where we review a Royal Caribbean specialty restaurant staple, Giovanni's Table.
Giovanni's Table has become Royal Caribbean's defacto Italian restaurant onboard its ships so this week, Matt's dedicated this episode to taking an in-depth look at what this restaurant offers. From decor to service to the food itself, it's a complete tour of what Giovanni's Table encompasses.
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!
Royal Caribbean debuted a brand new site redesign on its flagship site, royalcaribbean.com.
The new site look is a full-width layout that is a responsive design that adjusts its look conform to the screen resolution of your device.
This is not the only site design Royal Caribbean has trotted out recently. Royal Caribbean relaunched its blog with a new design and focus in January 2015. Royal Caribbean also revamped its Cruise Planner software for guests to book shore excursions, dining reservations and more last year in coordination with Quantum of the Seas' launch.
Based on the Internet Archive Wayback machine, the previous site design has been in use for a number of years going back to late 2011.
Simulated sky diving at sea is one of the many adventures that awaits guests onboard Royal Caribbean'sQuantum of the Seas. A first at sea in the cruising industry, this unparalleled activity brings the cruise experience to new heights
It's time to start saying goodbye to Splendour of the Seas. Royal Caribbean announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell Splendour of the Seas to TUI Cruises in the second quarter of 2016. The ship will then be leased to Thomson Cruises, which will operate the vessel.
Splendour of the Seas will complete all scheduled open deployment, and no sailings will be altered or disrupted due to the sale.
"Splendour of the Seas has been a treasured member of the Royal Caribbean International family since she entered service," said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International. "She has offered countless guests memorable vacation experiences and we look forward to continuing to provide the same Gold Anchor Service our brand is known for right up to the last sailing." Her final sailing will commence on April 4, 2016, and all officers and crew will remain with the company and will be transferred to other vessels worldwide after the ship leaves the Royal Caribbean International fleet.
Splendour of the Seas is not the only Royal Caribbean ship that will be leaving the fleet. In November 2014, Royal Caribbean announced Majesty of the Seas will be transfered out of the fleet in 2016.
Splendour and Majesty's exit from the fleet coincides with Royal Caribbean's cruise ship building spree that is underway, with four new ships set to come online in the next few years.
Royal Caribbean says people from Scotland are the biggest spenders on cruise ships among Great Britain, given that they book more expensive staterooms and spend more onboard.
Royal Caribbean UK managing director Stuart Leven indicated Royal Caribbean will now try to lure more Scots to book a Royal Caribbean cruise by launching a new development fund to encourage more travel agents to sell cruises.
Leven said the new direction came ahead of the cruise line adding billions of dollars in new cruise ships over the next four years.
Royal Caribbean will bring Anthem of the Seas to Southampton when she debuts in April 2015, which will mark a new effort by Royal Caribbean to appeal to the UK cruising market.