Three Royal Caribbean wishes 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 177 is available for downloading, in which Matt and Billy share three wishes they would make if they were in charge of Royal Caribbean.

With the new year right around the corner, Matt and Billy dreamed up some changes to Royal Caribbean they would like to make if they were in charge of the company. 

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 177. 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!

Royal Caribbean 2017 Cruise Planning Guide


Planning a 2017 Royal Caribbean cruise can be intimidating for first-time cruisers. This guide provides free tips & tricks to save money and time, avoid common mistakes, and fully plan your Royal Caribbean cruise vacation.  Think of this post as "Royal Caribbean 101," with everything organized into the most important considerations of planning a cruise.  

As complicated as planning might seem right now, the ultimate payoff is worth it.  After dozens of cruises over the years, a lesson we have learned is you only stand to benefit from being prepared.  Many first-time cruisers do not realize the various "layers" of the cruise experience until they arrive. While we believe anyone can enjoy a fun cruise vacation, knowing the important information ahead of time really makes a difference in ensuring you get all the important aspects of the cruise you want done.

This page is a jumping off point to give you some background information on each aspect of the cruise, with a ton of links to other blog posts that offer much more detailed information.

What's new for 2017

While we do not know everything that will happen in 2017, there is already a lot to be excited about for taking a Royal Caribbean cruise this year.

For the first time ever, Royal Caribbean will offer cruises to Cuba onboard Empress of the Seas. The United States and Cuban governments are now allowing for American guests to visit, and that means a whole new experience for many guests. The cruises will begin in April 2017, and are expected to continue through the summer. It is worth noting that Empress of the Seas is the smallest, and oldest ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet.  This means it lacks many of features found on cruise ships that the cruise line has introduced over the last twenty years.  Regardless, a cruise on Empress of the Seas is about simple relaxation by the pool, and fun on shore visiting a place like Havana.

While there are no new Royal Caribbean ships joining the fleet this year, there are a number of ships scheduled to receive a refurbishment.  Five ships are on the schedule, although we do not yet know the scope of their changes.  Some refurbishment work is limited to general maintenance and small upgrades, while others take longer and encompass a much more wide-ranging scope of improvements.  As the year progresses, we may get more information about what each ship will receive, but at the very least updates are coming to

  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Legend of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas

Of course, Harmony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas are the newest Royal Caribbean ships and will turn one year old during the course of 2017.  These ships represent the latest and greatest entertainment, innovations and onboard fun of any ship.  If you are looking to "make a splash" with trying a Royal Caribbean ship, either of these ships would be excellent choices.

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Video: The Fine Line on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas Soars to New Heights


From high-flying aerial stunts to sensational swimming and diving, “The Fine Line” offers all the elements of astonishing entertainment. Performers leap from high diver platforms, glide across slacklines and fly suspended above the crowd, using every inch of Harmony of the Seas’ unique AquaTheater. From beginning to end, extreme stunts and skill, keep audiences engaged in this immersive entertainment venue.

Royal Caribbean named Best Cruise Line Overall by Travel Weekly for 14th consecutive year


At the 2016 Travel Weekly Readers Choice awards, Royal Caribbean came away as being named the Best Cruise Line Overall for the 14th consecutive year.

Royal Caribbean also claimed the top spot in a few other categories including

  • Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean
  • Best Cruise Line Sales & Service
  • Best Overall Individual Cruise Ship (Allure of the Seas)
  • Best New Cruise Ship (Harmony of the Seas)

"It is such a great honor to sweep the top categories in the cruise sector of these notable awards selected by Travel Weekly readers and so many valued travel agents," said Vicki Freed, senior vice president, Sales and Trade Support and Service, Royal Caribbean International. "Being recognized as ‘Best Cruise Line Overall’ since the inception of the Readers Choice Awards, as well as ‘Best Cruise Line Sales & Service’ for nine years in a row, is testament to our incredibly strong relationships with travel partners built on years of working together, learning together and innovating together. We thank Travel Weekly and valued agents for their ongoing support, and will continue to deliver on our commitment and promise to our travel partners’ success."

Travel Weekly honored the winners of its Readers Choice Awards at a gala dinner and ceremony on December 15 at the Conrad Hotel in New York. Winners were selected in 78 categories, ranging from hotels to tours to airlines to GDSs to cruise lines, represent the best of the best in travel.

Royal Caribbean releases new sustainability report


Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. released today its Sustainability Report, which documents the Company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and showcases improved efficiencies across its fleet.

In the report, the company noted the expansion of its Advanced Emissions Purification program, as well as a new set of goals for the year 2020 that were established with input from the company's global conservation partner, World Wildlife Fund.

2015 marked the 10th-year of the Save the Waves program, which focused on emissions and waste reduction, as well as increasing the number of shore excursions that met an internationally recognized sustainability standard.

In line with these goals, over the past decade RCL built its most efficient cruise ships and reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 25 percent. In 2015, 17 ships reported 100 percent re-purposed waste on certain itineraries.  

"At Royal Caribbean, we are working to put sustainability into the heart of our business," said  Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We bring 5,000,000 guests to nearly 500 ports around the world every year, and we understand our responsibility to do so in a way that protects the oceans that we sail every day. Our mantra is continuous improvement, and that especially applies to our environmental performance."

Royal Caribbean also achieved a few other notable highlights during this year, including

The full Sustainability Report may be viewed at

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: December 18, 2016


Good news, we are all one week closer to our next Royal Caribbean cruise!  In case you missed any of the Royal Caribbean fun from this week, here is our weekly round up!

A small nugget of information regarding Royal Caribbean's next cruise ship to be delivered was revealed this week, shedding light on where the ship will call home.

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley mentioned in an interview that the fourth Oasis class cruise ship will be coming to the United States, following a brief European summer season.

This plan mirrors the plan for sister ship, Harmony of the Seas, which also did a summer season in Europe prior to her arrival in the United States.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 176th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available and this week, Matt countsdown his top five favorite experiences on Harmony of the Seas.

In this episode, Matt considers everything there is to see and do on Harmony of the Seas, and lists his favorite spots, entertainment and of course, food.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Wall Street Journal has a look at how Royal Caribbean's CIO deploys containers to modernize an old system.

Cruise News UK has an interview with the Captain of Allure of the Seas.

Eat Sleep Cruise has a list of 10 ways to save money on cruise drinks.

Hello His recaps their cruise on Harmony of the Seas.

Cruise Critic has a list of 7 things not to do on an Oasis class ship.

Travel Weekly sees more sailings to Cuba, but at what price?

Royal Caribbean CEO confirms Fourth Oasis class ship coming to United States


Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley confirmed in an interview that Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship will be coming to the United States, following a brief European summer season.

In an interview with the Miami Herald, Bayley was questioned about cruise growth, and mentioned plans for the yet unnamed fourth Oasis class ship.

"In 2018, the sister ship of Harmony of the Seas will be launched in Europe and will come to the U.S."

This plan mirrors the plan for sister ship, Harmony of the Seas, which also did a summer season in Europe prior to her arrival in the United States.

Bayley also referenced the fourth Quantum class by a name that we have not heard before, "In 2019 we have Quantum Plus".

15 amazing things you can eat on Royal Caribbean


If you think cruise line food is just mass-produced buffet food, prepare to loosen your belt next time you go on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are filled with amazing culinary options, including a must-visit Mexican specialty restaurant, Italian restaurants with freshly made food, and entire neighborhoods of the ship dedicated to fine dining, these cruise ships take their food seriously.

Our advice? Leave the snacks at home, arrive early, and come hungry, because these twenty-five indulgences will feel even better than nabbing a sunny day at the pool deck.

Tuna Crudo Tacos

At Sabor, there a few different variety of tacos, but the raw tuna option is incredible.  Light and full of flavor, the three in each serving may not be enough.

Kummelwick Sandwich

Thin-sliced roast beef with just the right amount of spicy mustard and au jus leads to the perfect sandwich for a meal or just a passing snack.

Johnny Rockets milkshake

The thick and frothy milkshakes at Johnny Rockets are made with hand-dipped premium ice cream and are as good as they sound.

DX Sushi Combo

Not only is the DX Sushi Combo at Izumi the best value on the menu, it has the perfect variety of nigiri rolls and sushi pieces for any meal.

Dry-Aged Steaks

Dry aged steaks are very popular at the premier land steakhouses, and Royal Caribbean offers these steaks at Chops Grille, which are stored in a climate-controlled room for nearly four weeks to achieve the pinnacle of flavor, tenderness and aroma.  It really enhances the flavor of the meat in a way conventional steaks cannot match.

Aloo Gobi Curry

Love Indian curry? Do not miss the aloo gobi (cauliflower and potato) curry.  Not only is it a vegan-friendly dish, but it tastes amazing.

Red Velvet Cake

Of all the desserts at Chops Grille, the red velvet cake has been a fan-favorite for many years and deservedly so. Save room earlier in the meal for this beauty.

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

It does not matter which flavor of ice cream hits the spot for you, the thing is, Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop has been a favorite spot to stop in for a treat. Whether you stop at Ben & Jerry's as a post-meal dessert or you just need a little ice cream break in your day, no Royal Caribbean cruise is complete without at least one ice cream cone!

Meat Plank at Jamie's Italian

Jamie’s Italian Famous Plank piled high with cured meats, pickles and tempting cheeses.

Soft serve ice cream by the pool

Unlimited self-serve is offered near the pools, which means there is never a far walk to cool down with this tasty treat as you see fit.

Sabor guacamole

It's fresh, prepared tableside, and if you order it with one of Tortilla Jo's famed margaritas, you'll almost forget you're not inside the park.


The lasagna at Giovanni's Table is topped in a fabulous meat sauce and has just the right amount of cheese that accentuates the taste of the layers of pasta, sauce and meat.

Chocolate banana empanadas

What you have essentially is melted banana and chocolate inside a fried shell. They are rich, moist and small enough that you start to think, "Yes, I should ask the waiter for a few more".


The Labadoozie is an alcoholic drink that is famous among Royal Caribbean because it is only available on Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee. Labadoozie's have reached cult-like status for being a large, fruity alcohol drink that is just perfect to have while on a beach.

Cupcakes from the Cupcake Cupboard

First, the cupcakes are the size of a baseball, which means there is plenty to enjoy. 

Second, the rich frosting and clever designs make these cupcakes just as much fun to look at as eat (although eating is quite good too).

Friday Photos


If it's Friday, that means we are sharing our reader's best Royal Caribbean photos in this week's Friday Photos showcase.  As always, we want to include as many of our readers photos as we can, so be sure to send us your best Royal Caribbean photos too!

We begin with a photo by Michael Bonham of Allure of the Seas docked next to Liberty of the Seas in Cozumel. It is always fun when two giant ships meet like this.

Here is a photo of the Amalfi Coast of Italy, by D J Ep.  I do not believe European ports get enough credit for being as photogenic as they are.

Next is Independence of the Seas leaving Southampton by David Donnelly.  Also included in this photo is a gratuitous amount of lens flare, which will make JJ Abrams smile somewhere.

Here is a night photo of Navigator of the Seas as she is about to depart Lisbon, Portugal by 2boomerstravel.  I will never tire of how Royal Caribbean ships look at night when all the lights are turned on.

We have another night photo, this one of Freedom of the Seas in San Juan, Puerto Rico, by Alice Hoey. Freedom of the Seas stopped here because of Hurricane Matthew, and I relish any opportunity to visit Old San Juan.

Jose San Martin shared this photo of enjoying a moment of peace aboard Navigator of the Seas. Jose noted, "Voyage after voyage, it never gets old."  Well said!

Our last photo this week is by Mark Greenwald and it is of him and his favorite bartender on Grandeur of the Seas, Alex. Mark met Alex on Navigator of the Seas in 2009 and ran into each other again on Grandeur and instantly remembered each other.  

Do you have Royal Caribbean photos that you want to share?  We'd love to feature them so send them in by using our nifty submission form and maybe your photos will show up in next week's edition!

Spotted: Bottled alcohol packages


In addition to Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol packages, there are two additional packages available that offer guests convenient drink options in their stateroom.

The Royal Gifts shop has two packages that combine Coca-Cola products with a bottle of liquor.

Bacardi Gold and Coca-Cola Package

Cost: $40

This package includes: (1) 375 ml. bottle of Bacardi Gold and 4 Coca-Cola cans.

This product is not available on the following ships:

  • Explorer Of The Seas
  • Legend Of The Seas
  • Mariner Of The Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum Of The Seas
  • Radiance Of The Seas
  • Splendour Of The Seas
  • Vision Of The Seas
  • Voyager Of The Seas

Bombay Sapphire and Tonic Package

Cost: $43

This package includes: (1) 375 ml. bottle of Bombay Sapphire and 4 Tonic water cans.

This product is not available on the following ships:

  • Explorer Of The Seas
  • Legend Of The Seas
  • Mariner Of The Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum Of The Seas
  • Radiance Of The Seas
  • Splendour Of The Seas
  • Vision Of The Seas
  • Voyager Of The Seas

Either of these drink packages can be purchased prior to a cruise, and be delivered to a guest's stateroom.