Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: March 4, 2018

By: Matt Hochberg

Welcome to March! We hope you are having a great weekend and are ready to sit back, relax and catch up with all the latest Royal Caribbean news!

Royal Caribbean announced this week that Jewel of the Seas will be repositioned to Miami in January 2019.

The move meant a number of sailings had to be cancelled, with guests who had booked one of those sailings receiving letters to inform them of the change and to provide rebooking options.

It appears Jewel of the Seas will sail out of PortMiami between January and April 2019.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 239th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, all about Matt's favorite spots to enjoy sail away from while on Royal Caribbean.

In this episode, Matt counts down the places on a Royal Caribbean cruise he thinks are the best for when it is time for your cruise ship to depart a port.

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

GTP Headlines reports Royal Caribbean has registered its cruise ships with HELMEPA.

Orlando Sentinel wrote about Symphony of the Seas debuting this month.

Loop shared 9 things to know about Symphony of the Seas.

Brilliance of the Seas Live Blog – Day 1 - Embarkation Day

By: Michael Poole

My cruise day has finally arrived; of course I woke up at 6AM to watch the Brilliance of the Seas pull into the port of Tamp Bay. I never set an alarm to do this; I just naturally wake up, due to all the excitement.

I was planning to walk over to the ship this morning, but my girlfriend was heading out at 10:30AM and offered to drop me off. arrived at 10:30AM down at the new terminal 6 in Tampa.

Royal Caribbean is almost always at this terminal now; my expectations were very low, based on recent reviews. However, it might have been the smoothest boarding process ’ve ever seen. think it helped that it was so early in the morning, but I didn’t wait in a line during the whole process, I just walked right on board.


My first hour on board was exploring the ship, taking it all in. It’s been two years since I’ve sailed on Brilliance, so I was trying to take it all in.


I went into the Solarium around 11:30am and noticed the pool was closed due to some repair work and fresh paint. I relaxed and waited until noon when Park Café opened in the Solarium.


For those of you that might be looking for a more relaxing day 1 meal, I highly recommend Park Café. It’s included in the cruise fare and surprisingly I was the only one here. I had a salad and the favorite roast beef sandwich.



After lunch I went to explore the ship more, that’s when I noticed people were lined up buying the drink package on board. The price was $63 per day, plus 18% service charge. I’m always so surprised people don’t buy the package in the cruise planner online when they run discounts. If you didn’t want to purchase the drink package they had the drink of the day for $8.


At 1pm the cabins opened up and mine is just a few feet from the centrum. I booked a solo cabin on this cruise, room 4587. They have three solo cabins on Brilliance of the Seas and they are a great value for solo passengers.

The room reminds me of a college dorm room almost, just a twin bed, closet, small desk, and the bathroom. I love the location of the cabin since it’s maybe 5 seconds away from the centrum. The cabin itself has plenty of storage and the bathroom is standard like all the other cabins.


Muster drill was at 3:15pm, nothing exciting to report just the usual standing on the outside decks. I was in my cabin when the alarm went off and my cabin attendant kindly reminded me it was time to go.

After the drill I went looking for my luggage since it still hadn’t arrived. Since my solo cabin is off on a small hallway by itself of only 9 total cabins it takes a little longer for them to bring the bags. They actually come up on the other side of the ship and they must pass through the centrum to bring them over to us. I wanted to get unpacked and ready for the night. I was able to find them and get ready for the evening.

Tonight I wanted to take advantage of some free cocktails, since I don’t have a drink package. I went into both the Concierge lounge and Diamond Lounge tonight.


The Concierge lounge is large; they have outside seating, a lot of tables, and even a sit-down bar in the lounge. I stayed in the lounge for two hours just making friends with everyone; it’s one of my favorite parts of cruising all the new people you get to meet from all over the world.


At 6:30PM we passed under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, everyone in the lounge rushed out to the outside deck to see it.  It's always exciting to see this and right at sunset made it even better.  


The Diamond lounge was much smaller with maybe 10 tables, however they have a view over looking the pool deck. So I guess it’s a give and take on which lounge I like better.

Dinner tonight was in Giovanni’s Table at 8PM. I purchased the BOGO offer online for $30 that lets you dine night 1 & night 2. I made my reservations right when I got on board at Chops for both restaurants. When I arrived I first noticed it was empty, other than two other tables and myself that was it.



The service was outstanding; it was like I had the whole staff waiting on me. I had a few starters and my favorite the filet. They suggested I come back tomorrow night, but I told them I’ll be in Chops.


But, they did talk me into coming back night 3 and 4! The manager gave me a discount offer to come back later during the cruise.

I wish I had some entertainment updates but I didn’t see any shows or enjoy any music around the ship. After dinner at 9:30PM I actually went to bed! I was pretty tired from my full day and decided to get some sleep before my sea day tomorrow.


My bar tab for the day was $14 without the drink package, I purchased a beer and another using my BOGO coupon pre-loaded on the sea pass card.

Royal Caribbean cancels shore excursions requiring ferries in Mexico

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has cancelled all shore excursions requiring a ferry ride in Mexico today, following a safety warning issued by the U.S. State Department.

Guests aboard Liberty of the Seas and Allure of the Seas recieved notices that their shore excursions scheduled to take place on Friday, March 2 in Cozumel were cancelled. 

Royal Caribbean informed guests of the new State Department warning, which discouraged travel on tourist ferries in Cozumel.

The letter adds, "The U.S. State Department remains confident of the Mexican government's efforts to ensure the safety of all tourists in the country.  However, in an abundance of caution we are cancelling sponsored shore excursions that involve tourist ferries.  We also discourage guests from taking part in independent excursions that involve ferry travel."

Letter to guests on Allure of the Seas. Photo by Gears

Letter to guests on Liberty of the Seas. Photo by Twangster

We reached out to Royal Caribbean to get a sense if this cancellation of shore excursions involving tourist ferries will extend to other scheduled stops in Cozumel, but have not received a response.

Friday Photos

By: Matt Hochberg

The start to another weekend has arrived and we like to kick off our Fridays with our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos!

Our first photo this week is by Kinny Lee of two Oasis Class ships in St. Maarten, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas.

Travis N. sent in this photo of Allure of the Seas arriving in Nassau.

Here is a shot of Vision of the Seas docked in beautiful Akureyri, Iceland, during its once-a-year transatlantic cruise from Copenhagen to New York. Photo by John McCormack.

Jarrod Quantrelle took this photo of Harmony of the Seas while the ship was docked in Costa Maya.

Take a look at this towel animal display on Explorer of the Seas, taken by Gary Brown.

Debi Speed shared this photo taken in Lisbon, Portugal while visiting aboard Navigator of the Seas.

We finish up with this photo by David Donnelly of Independence of the Seas arriving in Southampton.

Thank you to everyone for sharing photos with us this week.  If you want to share your best Royal Caribbean photos, use this form to send them in!

Royal Caribbean offering up to 25% off select shore excursions during 72 hour Cruise Planner sale

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has kicked off its 72 hour Tour & Explore Sale, with up to 25% off select shore excursions booked through the Cruise Planner.

Guests on qualifying sailings may find 15%, 20%, or 25% off onboard prices of select excursions via the Cruise Planner site

Offer applies to select sailings departing March 13 - October 29, 2018. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

Based on the countdown timer, the sale will expire at midnight on Sunday night.

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site and navigate to the Dining & Beverage section to see any available offers.

If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.

Get 30% off every guest and Kids Sail Free with Royal Caribbean's March offer

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering 30% off all guests and Kids Sail Free offer with the March promotion.

The 30% off every guest applies to sailings departing on or after April 1, 2018 on new bookings made between March 1 and 28, 2018.

Here are the offer details:

  • 30% off all guests.
  • Caribbean Bonus
    • Up to $100 instant savings for those guests who book a 6-night or longer Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada or Northeast sailing
    • Interior & Oceanview rooms: $50 instant savings
    • Balcony rooms: $75 instant savings
    • Suites: $100 instant savings
  • Kids Sail Free Bonus
    • Guests 12 & Under sail free on a 4-night or longer Europe, Bahamas, Bermuda, Hawaii, Canada, Coastal and Caribbean sailing.
    • Sailing Window: April 7 – June 1, 2018 & September 1 – December 17, 2018
    • Offer excludes Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 17 – November 23, 2018)
  • Suites Bonus
    • Up to $1000 instant savings per stateroom for those guests who book a 7-night or longer Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, or Canada sailing. Valid for suites only
    • Sailing Window: All sailings departing on or after May 1, 2018
    • Oasis Class or Anthem of the Seas
      • Sea Class $200
      • Sky Class $500
      • Star Class $1000
    • Jewel, Freedom, Liberty, Adventure, Grandeur
      • Junior Suite or Above $200
      • Royal Suite $1000

Offer excludes China departures. All other charges, including, but not limited to, taxes, fees and port expenses, are additional and apply to all guests. 30% off, Caribbean Bonus, Kids Sail Free and Suites Bonus are combinable with each other as well as NRDB OBC, OBC, instant savings, NextCruise offers, restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military), Shareholder benefits and Crown and Anchor discounts. 30% off bookings made for China departures are combinable with NextCruise offers and Crown and Anchor balcony/suite discounts only. All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to: Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates.

Offer available to residents of United States and Canada.

Royal Caribbean redeploying Jewel of the Seas to Miami in January 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

It looks like Royal Caribbean will be re-deploying Jewel of the Seas to PortMiami, beginning in January 2019.

Royal Caribbean has begun informing guests that were booked on Jewel of the Seas via email that sailings between January and April 2019 are cancelled.

Guests who were already booked on Jewel of the Seas on one of the affected itineraries are being offered rebooking options, which include onboard credit.  Guests can also opt for a full refund.

On Royal Caribbean's website, Jewel of the Seas shows sailings leaving from Miami in early 2019 to a variety of destinations in the Western and Southern Caribbean.

There is no word yet which, if any, ship will replace Jewel of the Seas in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Brilliance of the Seas B2B Live Blog – Michael’s Cruise Preview

By: Michael Poole

Thankfully my "cruise gap" was not a long time, as my next adventure will start March 3rd on Brilliance of the Seas.

I live in Tampa, Florida, close to the Port of Tampa, so I have been seeing the Brilliance sail in and out of Tampa for a few months now. I have been counting down the days until it is finally my turn to board her!

The Cruise

In March 2016, I booked two back-to-back sailings on Brilliance of the Seas. It was one of my favorite sailings, so relaxing. I noticed that the five night and the four night only required one week of vacation, since it’s Saturday through the following Monday.

One day last summer I suggested to my girlfriend we should do that cruise again, and she said yes! So here we are doing the very same cruise again and the best part is we can now walk to the cruise ship from home. For the five-night I’ll be cruising solo and she will join me on the second leg, for the four-night sailing.

The Cabins

For the first cruise, since I’m sailing solo I booked a solo passenger cabin. The Brilliance of the Seas only has three solo cabins, and they go fast. I usually have to book them around a year in advance to get one. The average price is $100 per night, which is great for a solo passenger.

For the second sailing, I’ll be moving up to deck 9 for my first aft facing ocean balcony. I’m really excited to experience this type of cabin and I plan on taking full advantage of those loungers on the balcony.


On the first cruise I have two port stops, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. I’ve only visited Grand Cayman once and it was a little over five years ago, so I’m really looking forward to going back. In Cozumel, I’m planning to visit my favorite beach resort Nachi Cocom.

On the second cruise we only have one port stop, and I’m headed back to Cozumel, Mexico. But on this trip I’m doing something different, I’m getting on a catamaran for three hours booked through Royal Caribbean. On the catamaran they will stop for some snorkeling and lunch. I booked the early time slot so we could explore in town after.


Dining and Drink Packages

The most popular topic on any Royal Caribbean cruise is food and alcohol. A few months ago I saw some of the dining packages start to change in price by a few dollars.

I decided to go ahead and purchase the BOGO offer for $30 per person. Sure enough one week later, I looked online and it had gone up to $40 per person. With this offer, we can pick two restaurants on board for night 1 & 2. I booked this offer for my solo sailing and again on the second sailing with my girlfriend.

For this cruise I’m going to pass on the drink package. I’m on board for 9 nights and to be honest it was more about cost savings more than anything. I’ll carry on 4 bottles of wine, since I’m on board for two cruises. I’ll also take advantage of the diamond drinks in the evening. Each day on my live blog I’m going to report on how much I spent on drinks vs if I had the drink package. Fingers crossed those drink cards come out on my sailing.

Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions about Brilliance of the Seas. I’ll be on board for 9 nights, so I’ll do my best to cover everything Brilliance has to offer.

I’ll also be streaming on board with the Persicope app, as well as posting on my Instagram.

Royal Caribbean announces remaining 2019-2020 deployment schedule

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has announced the deployment openings for the remaining 2019-2020 sailings.

Royal Caribbean has released the schedule for which sailings will be released on which weeks, for the remaining sailings that have not been announced yet.

  • Week of March 5, 2018 Europe Phase II: Summer 2019
  • Week of April 2, 2018 Seasonal Caribbean & Northeast: Winter 2020
  • Week of April 9, 2018 Australia & Asia: Summer 2019- Winter 2020
  • Week of April 16, 2018 Short Caribbean: Summer 2019- Winter 2020
  • Week of April 30, 2018 China Phase I: 2019
  • Week of May 15, 2018 China Phase II: 2019

Royal Caribbean released some 2019-2020 itineraries late last year:

Deployment schedules gives consumers an idea of when to expect particular cruise schedules to become available to start looking at future cruises.

First look at pub changes on Royal Caribbean's Quantum Class ships

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced two weeks ago Michael's Genuine Pub locations on Quantum Class ships will be replaced with a new pub concept, and we have our first look at the changes.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Richard Wrather shared these photos of the new Brass & Bock pub on Anthem of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Rich Freudenberg shared this look the Amber & Oak pub, along with the menu on Ovation of the Seas.

The photos in this post reflect the changes made to each of the Quantum Class ships to replace Michael's Genuine Pub with the kind of pub typically found on other Royal Caribbean ships.