Majesty of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day

In:
14Jan2017

Pre - Cruise 

My cruise day is finally here, and as much as I wanted to sleep in that just did not happen. I always wake up very early on cruise morning with so much excitement, usually watch the ships pull in on webcam.

Since I live in Tampa, Florida now, I decided to drive the 120 miles over to the port the morning of the cruise. My travel over to the port was uneventful, I arrived at 10:00am and many people were still getting off the ships.

I was in no rush really, so I drove through the drop-off section and dropped my one backpack off. Then I parked at the terminal for $64 (you pre-pay when you park here). After parking I walked over for some pre-cruise drinks at Grills, which is right beside the terminal. Once I sat down, I thought to myself that was the easiest arrival I’ve ever had, from dropping bag off, to parking and my walk over all took less than 10 minutes. 

Embarkation 

At noon I decided to walk back over to the terminal, which was almost the same distance as walking to your car from leaving a restaurant.

The line to check-in for security was extremely long, however the Diamond and up Crown and Anchor line was completely empty, so off I went. Since I am on board for 3 sailings, I could have brought on board up to six bottles of wine. After thinking about it, I decided to only bring four bottles. When I went through security they question me a little, called a supervisor over, but he said no problem taking them all now! 

Lunch 

I explored around the ship for an hour then off for some lunch at Johnny Rockets. On Majesty of the Seas they have Johnny Rockets in the back of the Windjammer. Here is a tip, when you arrive they have a table set off handing out 20% off the cover charge, it will save you a few dollars. The standard cover charge here is $6.95 per person and that covers everything you would want to eat.

The service was outstanding, but to be honest we were the only ones in there. They showed us some card tricks that just blew us away, just really enjoyable lunch.

The food was also great, they put so much bacon on my burger, need I say more! 

 Cabin 

For the first leg, on deck 9 superior ocean view cabin - #9500. This cabin is all the way forward and very quiet. I have never stayed in a larger ocean view cabin and it’s quite nice. Often I will see them for a little more than the standard ocean view cabins, and always wondered if it was worth the few extra dollars, after now I would say so.

I had pre-purchased the bottle of rum and cokes for $40 online in the cruise planner and it was in my cabin waiting for us. 

Sailaway 

For sailaway we went to the spa for the raffle they hold to give out prices. My cruise count is at 33 now, and this was the first time I’ve ever been in the spa for sailaway. It was actually pretty fun to see people win prizes, though we only won a NextCruise bag.

If you are ever looking for a different activity or if you have a rainy sailaway, I’d recommend this as an option, hey someone has to win! 

Evening 

This evening we went up to the Diamond lounge, which on Majesty is the Viking Crown Lounge. They had new large menus at the table explaining what was included for free diamond drinks and what is not included.

Since I did not have a drink package on this cruise, I made sure to take full advantage of this benefit. Tonight was a full moon and we just looked at the moon for quite some time, really a beautiful site to see at sea. 

 Dinner 

We have my time dining for dinner, and reserved a table for 6:45pm each evening. Dinner was fun because my friend is on this ship almost every weekend, so people kept coming up to him to say hello. The quality of the food seems to have greatly improved since my recent sailings. The prime rib was so tender, just an amazing cut of meat.

For desert for had the carrot cake and it reminded me of the cake in Chops Grill. 

That wraps up day one on board Majesty of the Seas. Tomorrow we are in Nassau from noon-midnight.

Royal Caribbean honors travel partners of the year for 2016

In:
13Jan2017

Royal Caribbean celebrated its valued travel agent community with its annual Travel Partners of the Year Awards for North America.

The awards recognize travel agencies that do show a commitment to selling Royal Caribbean cruises, and this year's accolades recognized more than 10 top performers.

"2016 was a standout year, and that has everything to do with our travel partners and their incredible dedication to planning unforgettable Royal Caribbean adventures for our guests," said Vicki Freed, senior vice president, Sales and Trade Support and Service, Royal Caribbean International. "Passion, commitment and innovation are three of our guiding principles, values that travel agents appreciate and embody, making for some of the most meaningful partnerships in our industry. Recognizing these experts, who continue to work with us and go above and beyond to achieve success for their businesses, is an honor every year. Huge congratulations go to our well-deserved returning and first-time Travel Partners of the Year recipients."

Royal Caribbean’s 2016 Travel Partners of the Year winners are as follows:

Chairman's Award for Overall Achievement          
Vacations To Go
 
President's Award for Overall Achievement          
Cruise Planners – American Express Travel Representative

 
National Account Partner of the Year                      
Expedia CruiseShipCenters

 
Home-based Partner of the Year                              
Travel Planners International 
*First-time winner
 
Online Partner of the Year                                        
World Travel Holdings

 
Consortia Partner of the Year                                   
Travel Leaders Network

 
Corporate Incentive Partner of the Year                  
Morris Meetings & Incentives

 
Marketing Partner of the Year                                  
WMPH 
*First-time winner
 
Southeast Partner of the Year                                    
Palm Coast Travel/SmartCruiser.com 
*First-time winner
 
Northeast Partner of the Year                                    
Cruise Brothers 
*First-time winner
 
Central Partner of the Year                                        
Magical Moments Vacations 
*First-time winner
 
West Partner of the Year                                             
Montrose Travel
 
Canada Partner of the Year                                        
Expedia CruiseShipCenters Montreal 
*First-time winner

Friday Photos

In:
13Jan2017

Happy Friday, and welcome to another edition of Friday Photos, where we share with you some wonderful Royal Caribbean photos that our readers sent in.  As always, you can share your photos with us to be posted on an upcoming Friday Photos post.

Our first photo this week is from Jorge Toache of a peaceful day on Independence of the Seas.  Yup, just another day in paradise.

Ashlie shared this photo of her family heading back to Liberty of the Seas after a fun day in Cozumel.

Next is a photo by Nick from onboard Anthem of the Seas, where he was able to meet the ship's Captain.  Meeting the Captain of any Royal Caribbean ship is always such a treat!

Speaking of Anthem of the Seas, here she is again, as seen from Coco Cay.  Ken "CookingYo" Licwinko shared this beautiful photo of Anthem between two palm trees.  

If you wanted to see even more photos of Anthem of the Seas, your wish has been granted. Eric Hoefman took this photo of Anthem in Nassau, Bahamas along with many other cruise ships.

Staying with Nassau, here is Navigator of the Seas and Allure of the Seas docked in Nassau.  I love when you get to walk down a "ship canyon" like this!

Our final photo this week is from Frank Battiston of a stunning sky in Fort Lauderdale. Frank took this photo from onboard Freedom of the Seas in Port Everglades, and it looks like a great start to an even better cruise!

That wraps up this week's edition of Friday Photos. Thank you to everyone who contributed photos this week, and if you want to share your photos, use this form to send them in!

Royal Caribbean offering bonus onboard credit with 30% off all guests offer

In:
13Jan2017

Royal Caribbean is offering bonus onboard credit on top of its current WAVE season deal, which means more savings for guests across the board.

The Winter Wanderer Bonus will provide up to an extra $50 per stateroom for guests to spend at sea. Cruise must be booked Jan. 13-16, 2017 to sailings on or after Feb. 12, 2017 (excluding China).

  • 30% off standard cruise fare for all guests in a stateroom
  • 50% reduced deposit
  • Up to $150 instant savings per stateroom
    • Sailings 5-nights or less
      • Interior/oceanview: $25 per stateroom
      • Balcony/suite: $50 per stateroom
    • Sailings 6-nights or longer
    • Interior/oceanview: $50 per stateroom
    • Balcony: $100 per stateroom
    • Suite: $150 per stateroom
  • Bonus onboard recit per stateroom
    • Interior/oceanview: $25 per stateroom
    • Balcony/suite: $50 per stateroom.
  • Anthem Free Upgrade - From Ocean View to Balcony on Anthem sailings on or after March 1, 2017. Please note that the "upgrade" will be reflected as "purchase a balcony at the price of an ocean view"

30% Savings is combinable with adjoining Instant Savings, OBC, Anthem Upgrade, Crown & Anchor discounts and NextCruise offers. 30% Savings, Instant Savings, OBC and Anthem Upgrade are not combinable with restricted rates. Instant Savings and OBC are not combinable Crown & Anchor discounts.

Offer open to residents of U.S. or Canada.

6 cool things for kids to do on your Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
12Jan2017

Kids can get just as excited as their parents for a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation, because there are lots of fun things for them to do onboard. Cruising with kids is an exercise in energetic adventures, big smiles and hopefully a nap inbetween. In our many Royal Caribbean cruises, we have discovered certain aspects of the cruise that are real winners with our children and wanted to share them with you.

Consider some, or all, of the following fun things for your kids to do on your upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise!

Meet DreamWorks characters

Ever since Royal Caribbean partnered with DreamWorks to bring their characters onboard Royal Caribbean's cruise ships, it has been a big hit. Guests on select Royal Caribbean ships can meet characters from some of the most popular DreamWorks Animation films.

DreamWorks Animation characters including Po of Kung Fu Panda; Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots of Shrek; and from Madagascar, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien and the Penguins will be available for guests to meet. There are meet locations set up throughout the cruise, with times and spots listed in the Cruise Compass.

Royal Caribbean cruises are great for meeting characters because the lines are quite short and the characters regularly engage in fun antics with the kids.  The interactions are whimsical and make for really great photo opportunities!

Decorate your stateroom door

Your Royal Caribbean stateroom door is made of metal, which means it is magnetic and a great family project prior to the cruise to create the decorations.  It can be a fun family activity to come up with different ways to personalize your door to share with everyone how excited you are for the cruise.

Often you will find other doors decorated with pictures, magnets of various sizes and shapes, leis, and more.  Your kids could draw something to put on the door, or you could help them create name tags to decorate and then put on the door with magnets.

Keep in mind that you will need to supply your own magnets to affix anything to the stateroom door.  Tape is not allowed.

For those less artistically inclined, Royal Caribbean does offer stateroom decorations for purchase that can be delivered and set up for you.  This can be a great way to celebrate a special occasion, or just plain surprise the children.

Eat ice cream by the pool

Near the pools, you will find free soft serve ice cream that is available most times of the day and there is as much of as you want. I do not think there needs to be any more elaborating.

Ride the carousel

If you are going on an Oasis class cruise ship (Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas or Harmony of the Seas), then your family must go on a carousel ride in the Boardwalk neighborhood.

Royal Caribbean commissioned for each ship a hand-crafted carousel that is inspired by turn-of-the-century carousels. These carousels are as pretty look at, as they are fun to ride.  Plus, rides on the carousel are included in your cruise fare.

Be sure to also get some nighttime carousel rides in too, because the carousel and the entire Boardwalk neighborhood are lit up beautifully once the sun goes down.

Decorate a cupcake

What is better than eating cupcakes? Decorating and then eating a cupcake! Many Royal Caribbean ships offer guests the opportunity to learn to decorate cupcakes in a quick and fun class.  There are classes for kids and adults, but the experience is quite similar.

Kids can let their decorating imagination run wild with icing, sprinkles and a host of other toppings during a cupcake decorating class. There is a nominal charge for this experience, but this will be something your children will clamor to do and probably want to do again and again (making a mess and eating cake, what could be better?).

See a movie at night, in the pool

If there are two things kids love, it is swimming and watching movies.  On Royal Caribbean ships, you will regularly find popular feature films shown on the big screen near the pool each evening.  After dinner, you and the kids can hop in the pool and splash away while enjoying a great flick!

Royal Caribbean shows all sorts of films, from recent releases to classics, and adding in the ambiance of a night swim is always a fun treat as well.  Plus, the pools and hot tubs are much less busy at night, so that means more opportunity for your kids to act like kids and enjoy time in the pool while everyone in the family gets to enjoy a great flick.

How to eat healthy while on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
11Jan2017

Many of our readers may have taken the first step in trying to better themselves with a New Year's resolution to lose weight and eat healthy (or healthier).  It is an admirable decision that takes a lot of hard work to reach the goal that they may have in mind, but a Royal Caribbean vacation does not mean those goals have to fall to the wayside.

Eating healthy on a Royal Caribbean cruise is far from an oxymoron.  Rather, it is a state of mind that is definitely achievable with the right kind of planning, and a little motivation.  While Royal Caribbean cruises are well-known for their amazing indulgences, there is no reason you cannot have a great time and still lose weight on your trip!

It is also worth noting that I am not a nutritionist, doctor or health official.  I do not even play one on television.  This post is about sharing tips and strategies I have learned over years of cruising that one can use to help reduce weight gain onboard.

Determine your goals before you leave

Before you take a bite of any food onboard, or even step onto the ship, it is important to define what measures of success you want to achieve.  For some people, it might mean losing weight while onboard, while others may simply endeavor to "minimize the damage done" onboard. Regardless of what your opinion, you should have a goal in mind.

Depending on what your objective is, how you dine onboard will reflect those ambitions. There is quite a wide gamut of ways to eat healthy onboard, so it is important to know what you are aiming for before starting.  Trying to ensure no weight gain is going to be much different than trying to drop ten pounds.

Regardless of what your goal is, everyone's body is different and weight loss regiments are also equally specific.  One strategy might work for one person, while that same methodology might not work for another.  Your best bet is to figure out before your cruise what works best for you.  Is it a low-carb diet? Avoiding fats? Avoiding meat? Speaking with your doctor or nutritionist might be a logical first step.

With that in mind, let us jump into some general strategies for keeping those pounds off while onboard!

Spend lots of time on the sports deck

Before we even talk about one morsel of food, one solid strategy to keeping the weight off is engaging in physical activities.  Royal Caribbean ships offer quite a bit of onboard activities, including lots of sports activities on the sports deck.  Every Royal Caribbean ship offers a multi-purpose sports deck that has plenty of physical fun, including basketball, dodge ball, soccer and rock climbing. 

Likewise, there is a complimentary fitness center on every Royal Caribbean ship that offers free weights, weight machines, treadmills, exercise bikes and more.  There are also optional fitness classes that can really get your cardio going, albeit for an additional cost. Heck, taking the stars instead of the elevator helps a little bit too.

The more time you can spend on the sports deck and expending plenty of energy, the more calories you will burn and that is a great way to offset a lot of what you may end up eating onboard, healthy or not.

Ask for food not on the menu

Do not assume what is on the menu is the only food available to you.  When dining in the main dining room or even the Windjammer, you can always ask the wait staff for something else that is more suitable for your diet.  Assuming they have the ingredients onboard, I have found the culinary team extremely helpful in accommodating these sorts of requests.

You might order a dish on the menu, but with a different preparation (no salt or grilled instead of fried). I always order a serving of Indian curry with my main dining room dinners because I prefer Indian cuisine, and they tend to be a healthier choice too. On some cruises, I requested a plate of chopped vegetables for a Mediterranean salad be prepared each morning in the Windjammer. 

Your best bet is to speak to the head waiter and discuss options.

Skip the alcoholic beverages

Generally speaking, alcoholic beverages are one big area of the cruise experience worth skipping to keep those calories off.  Cocktails and beer have alcohol in them, which the body will convert to sugar and nearly every diet and nutritional regiment I have ever encountered has recommended limiting your sugar intake. It may not be nearly as fun to follow this suggestion, but it is a great way to cut down on a very common area of empty calories.

There is also an added bonus for skipping the booze: you will save a considerable amount of money too.  Royal Caribbean drink prices are not exactly inexpensive, so by skipping the drinks not only are you limiting your sugar intake, but you are also saving a lot of money.

It is worth noting that some diets do allow for a glass of red wine or two per day as part of a nutritional day. Depending on your goals and weight strategy, this might be one way to leave a little indulgence in your day.

The best variety will be in the Windjammer...

Ordinarily, buffets are not the place someone on a diet is recommended to visit, but the Windjammer buffet is also the best spot to find the greatest variety of choices. I feel one of the stumbling points of any diet is the feeling of, "there is nothing for me to eat here."  At the Windjammer, you will find plenty of unhealthy foods, but also more healthy options than anywhere else onboard.

For breakfast, the egg station is your best bet for a cooked-to-order omelet. You can get most kinds of omelets here (unless you are on an Oasis class ship, then head to the main dining room).  For lunch and dinner, there will be grilled fish, curries, steamed vegetables and lots of salad choices.

I freely admit the Windajmmer is a double-edged sword and there are lots of other foods that will be very tempting.  Stay strong, soldier!

...or skip the buffet

If the buffet is too much of a temptation island for you, then you might find refuge in the main dining room for breakfast and dinner (lunch on sea days).  

The main dining room has a menu that you can choose from, and it also allows for more customizations.  As mentioned earlier, speak to the head waiter about any dietary restrictions you may have and they are quite accommodating.  Keep in mind that requests should be made as early as possible. Often, the dietary request will be ready for the next meal because the chef needs to prepare the items ahead of time.  Nonetheless, the staff in the dining room work very hard to accommodate guests' needs.

Another advantage of the main dining room is portioning is easier and self-control is easier than in the Windajmmer.

Check out the Tutti Salad bar

On sea days, make a point to eat lunch in the main dining room.  You will find a custom salad station, known as the Tutti salad bar.

This is the kind of all salad bars, with fresh ingredients that are prepared just the way you like it.  You tell the staff what you want in the salad, and they will chop it all up for you. Because of the wide array of ingredients available, it is a bit hit with those looking to find healthier choices.

Your ideas

Have you tried to eat healthy while onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise? Share your experiences in the comments!

Guide to cruising with young children on Royal Caribbean Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
11Jan2017

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

Episode 180 is available for downloading, which features an in-depth look at taking young children on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

In this episode, Matt and Christie discuss their experiences taking toddlers and infants on Royal Caribbean cruises and share strategies and tips for a succesful and fun cruise experience parents and child.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 180. 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!

Live blogging from Majesty of the Seas - Preamble

In:
10Jan2017

Hi Royal Caribbean Blog fans, it is Michael Poole here again for another live blog coming from Majesty of the Seas. If you recall, I did a live blog on Majesty of the Seas in October of 2015 - let that hold you over until I set sail this weekend.

This is such a unique cruise for me, because Majesty of the Seas sails 3 and 4 days cruises. As you know, these are quick Bahamas getaways and I really enjoy them. However, on this cruise I’m actually staying on board for three consecutive sailings. The first leg is 3 days, then 4 days, and ending with another 3-day weekend cruise.

Why I booked this sailing

I booked the first sailing (1/13) with a friend of mine sharing a cabin for a great rate. Who does not enjoy a nice weekend getaway to the Bahamas. As time got closer, I started looking at my vacation time and thought to myself, "Why don’t I book the 4-day sailing after to have a back-to-back cruise?"

So I booked the next sailing solo and could not be more excited to have a longer cruise. About a month ago, I talked to my friend who is sailing with me on the first cruise about the 1/20 weekend cruise. He is a casino VIP and was actually able to get that cruise free under his recent casino play.

So, very long story short, I will be on 3 sailings for a total of 10 days!

Cabin

Well, I suppose the only negative part of having 3 cruises in a row, is that I’m in a different cabin every sailing. I tried to upgrade my leg 2 – 4 day solo cruise to the same cabin but the cost was too much for me going solo. I’ve changed cabins on back-to-back sailings before and the crew actually moves everything for you. In fact, they tell you to leave everything on hangers and they move it into the next closet for you. I would recommend just talking with both cabin attendants prior to the change. 

  1. Cruise 1 Deck 9 in a Superior Ocean View Stateroom - #9500
  2. Cruise 2 Deck 4 Inside Stateroom (solo cruise) - #4565
  3. Cruise 3 Deck 9 in a Superior Ocean View Stateroom - #9582 

Itinerary

All 3 sailings are going to the same places, so I will have 3 trips to Nassau, Bahamas and 3 “planned” trips to Royal Caribbean’s private island Coco Cay. I say "planned trips", because usually in the winter months, they tend to miss stopping at Coco Cay more due to high wind.

I will also have 1 sea day on my 4 day sailing which is leg 2 Monday – Friday. My plans in Nassau are to visit my favorite local pub and enjoy some beach time at Junkanoo beach. For Coco Cay, just enjoy the private island and relax in the sun and explore the backside of the island where you can find the new floating bar. 

Drink Package

If you have followed my live blogs before you know I usually purchase the drink package, as I find it a great value. However, after thinking about the cost of 10 days and actually drinking that much for 10 straight days – I’m not getting the package. I have pre-purchased a bottle of rum with the new in-cabin bottle service for leg 1, which was $40. I will also be carrying on six bottles of wine, likely 3 reds and 3 bottles of champagne. Royal Caribbean allows each guest to carry on 2 bottles per cabin and since I’m on 3 sailings, I can carry up to 6 bottles. 

I look forward to taking you along with me over the next ten days. This will be such a different experience for me, so it should be a great live blog. Have you ever sailed on Majesty of the Seas? 

Video: Royal Caribbean Master Mixologists Serve Up Whimsical Cocktails at Wonderland

In:
10Jan2017

For the Royal Caribbean mixologists at Harmony of the Seas’ Wonderland, cocktails are more than just drinks – they are masterpieces. These artists use innovative flavors and artisanal ingredients to create cocktails that are almost too stunning to drink!

10 ways to save money on your 2017 Royal Caribbean vacation

In:
10Jan2017

Odds are that you are planning your 2017 Royal Caribbean cruise vacation and this post is designed to help you budget for the trip to make it cost less! To help you get the most out of your vacation dollars, here are 10 money saving tips for your next Royal Caribbean vacation.

Regardless of your budget, it is never a bad idea to consider ways to save more money. Some may find cutting spending onboard is the only way to make a Royal Caribbean cruise financially viable, while others may find cost savings a means of affording more to do onboard (or a second cruise).

Here are some of our recommendations for saving money on your 2017 Royal Caribbean cruise vacation.  Not all of these strategies may be for everyone, but the hope is at least one (if not more) will result in more money in your pocket and that generally makes everyone happier.  

10. Bring your own wine

Did you know that Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom on their Royal Caribbean cruise?

Each bottle of wine may be up to 750ml in size and should be brought on in your carry-on luggage. Do not put the wine in your checked luggage.

Wine lovers will be able to bring a couple of bottles of their favorite wine on their cruise at a savings compared to purchasing the wine onboard.  Moreover, bringing your own wine means you will save money on your total bar tab during your cruise.

My favorite aspect of bringing your own wine is if you do not finish the bottle of wine, Royal Caribbean can store the wine for you and deliver it another restaurant at that time.

9. Buy a specialty dining package

Specialty restaurants are an optional way to gastronomically indulge while on your Royal Caribbean cruise, and these days, it seems like specialty dining has never been more popular.  If you have your heart set on trying out places like Sabor, Izumi or Chops Grille, you should consider buying a dining package to save money overall.

Royal Caribbean offers on most, if not all, of its cruise ships specialty dining packages, where guests can dine at 2, 3, 4, or 5 specialty restaurants during their cruise for one low cost. The advantage is these packages cost less than trying to book the same restaurants individually.  Of course, you could forgo specialty dining completely and really save some money, but there is no reason to not save some cash when checking out these favorites.

Your best bet is to purchase the dining packages on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner and to read the terms and conditions of how they function.  There is no question these packages will save you money on specialty dining, provided you were planning on eating out while onboard in the first place.

8. Do most of your drinking on shore

In our experience, Royal Caribbean's drink prices are about what we pay for drinks at many restaurants on land, but there is no question you will save money by drinking at the ports of call you visit compared to onboard.

Bars and restaurants at the ports your Royal Caribbean ship will visit regularly offer cheaper drink prices for beers and cocktails and that can mean big savings if you can wait to enjoy some drinks when on land, compared to on your ship.

Depending on your itinerary, this strategy may be more lucrative than others, but it is a good way to indulge in your favorite mixed drink or cerveza for a lower cost.

7. Look for drink specials onboard

If you are going to enjoy a few cocktails onboard your Royal Caribbean ship, you can avoid paying top dollar for them. When looking at Royal Caribbean drink prices, many guests base their math of whether a drink package makes sense off the regular price for drinks, but in reality, there are drink specials all around the ship that bring that price down.

One of the best ways to get a deal on a cocktail is to order the drink of the day.  The drink of the day is a select cocktail that changes every day, which has about a 20% discount on it and is available from most bars onboard.  You can just ask the bartender or waiter what the drink of the day is and take advantage of those savings.

In addition, individual ships will run their own bar specials, like 2 for 1 deals, drink combo deals and other happy hour discounts.  The exact details of a drink special will vary from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing, but it is important to understand that they exist.  

To find drink specials, consult the Cruise Compass for some advertised deals, as well as walk around bars and look for posted signs.

6. Use credit cards before your cruise

Personal fiscal responsibility aside, proper use of a credit card can definitely save you some money on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean has its own branded Visa credit card, which allows guests to earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit on future cruises (as well as other rewards too).

For each purchase made with the credit card, you can earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit or even free cruises.

Of course, there are lots of other credit cards out there with various reward programs that can help offset the cost of your cruise.  Credit card reward programs with cash back bonus are popular options. Regardless of which card you use, if you can manage to pay off each month's balance on time, you ought to be rake in the credit card rewards quickly, which can go towards paying for the cruise, or the various costs associated with the cruise (new clothes, airfare, hotels, etc).

5. Book a cruise onboard

This tip may not help you with your upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise, but looking ahead to the cruises you will want to take later on, booking onboard at the Royal Caribbean NextCruise office is a great way to essentially get free money.

Royal Caribbean incentives guests to book another cruise while already on a cruise through their NextCruise program.  Essentially, Royal Caribbean will give guests bonus onboard credit on top of existing promotions and discounts that are out there. All you have to do is stop by the NextCruise office onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise and book another vacation.

How much onboard credit you receive will depend on the length of the cruise and stateroom category you book. What is so wonderful about the NextCruise bookings is you can stack the NextCruise bonus on top of most Royal Caribbean promotions, which means a lot of spending money to enjoy onboard.

4. Book spa treatments on port days

Royal Caribbean's Vitality Spa is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a treatment that is customized for you and feel rejuvenated.  While the spa is a magical place for those looking to relax, it can also be expensive.  The key to saving money on the spa is to wait for port days to book a treatment.

The spa is open everyday of your cruise, but on days your cruise ship is docked in a port, they will often run much better deals to convince guests to stay onboard and indulge in a treatment.  The Vitality Spa is a business, and when the ship is in port, most guests are off the ship exploring, which means the spa is not nearly as busy.  As a result, they will run different specials that are more lucrative than normal to get folks to book something and stay onboard.

You can inquire about port day specials at any point in your cruise at the Vitality Spa desk and see if it looks like a good deal to you.  Often, the port day spa specials are the best overall values found in the spa.

3. Put your phone into airplane mode

This tip has more to do with not incurring a large bill when you get home.  These days, a smartphone is as essential to bring on a cruise as sunglasses or your passport, but if you do not prepare your device properly, it could cost you a lot of money.

Before your ship is ready to sail away, be sure to put it into airplane mode, which disables your phone's ability to use a cellular signal.  The reason you want to do this is once your cruise ship leaves your home country, your phone will look for a signal outside the regular cellular network and connect to the ship's cell tower, which is known as roaming.  Roaming means you are out of network, and will result in high fees for pretty much anything you do that uses the cellular signal.

You should place the phone into airplane mode, and then be confident in using your phone for taking photos, playing games or even connecting to the ship's WiFi without fear of a monster bill later that month.

2. Skip the souvenir glass

Imagine this: you are on the pool deck, enjoying another beautiful at sea and suddenly you see a drink station set up with the cutest glowing/flashing/colorful glasses.  They are cool looking and the drink inside looks even better, but you are better off asking for that tasty cocktail sans souvenir cup.

The souvenir cups are nice, but it tacks on a few extra dollars to the cost.  You can ask for the same drink without the souvenir glass/mug/pineapple and save on the cost of the drink.  This saves you money, but you still get to enjoy drinks by the pool.

1. Use a travel agent

The best way to ensure you are getting the lowest price on your Royal Caribbean vacation is to use a travel agent. Regardless of if this is your first or fiftieth cruise, a travel agent is a worthwhile "investment," and the best part is they are free to use!

Travel agents provide great service to folks looking to take a Royal Caribbean cruise because they are keyed in on the latest promotions and they can be your best advocate for finding promotions that help you, not just the day you book but every day until final payment.

A good travel agent will be able to assist with the booking process, and give you every single permutation of pricing to figure out which itinerary, stateroom or promotion makes the most sense for you.  I cannot count the time I have saved by having the travel agent jump through the proverbial hoops for me to figure out what is the best deal for my family.

The reality is you only stand to benefit from using a good travel agent, both in convenience and time saved.

Your thoughts

Do you have any of your own money-saving strategies when on a Royal Caribbean cruise, or perhaps saving for a Royal Caribbean vacation? Disagree with any of our tips? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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