We have spotted a new feature in Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner that allows guests to use their onboard credit prior to their sailing for various packages, upgrades and services.
This functionality will go live on five ships beginning March 13, 2017 for all voyages on or after April 1, 2017. The first applicable sailing for each ship is:
- Harmony of the Seas: 4/1/17
- Allure of the Seas: 4/2/17
- Anthem of the Seas: 4/2/17
- Liberty of the Seas: 4/2/17
- Oasis of the Seas: 4/2/17
Guests that have been awarded Promotional onboard credit will be able to log in to Cruise Planner prior to the sail date of their booked cruise and see their available Promotional onboard credit in US$ where the booking was priced in US$. For all other currency bookings, Promotional OBC will be converted from US$ into the same currency as the cruise booking that gave rise to the award of Promotional OBC (“Available Spend”).
Available Spend may be used to purchase shore excursions, dining, beverage packages, internet packages, spa & fitness services, entertainment activities and any future ancillary products / services available for purchase in advance of your cruise via Cruise Planner.
If you choose to cancel any purchase made via Cruise Planner, any relevant amount of Promotional OBC released by such cancelation will be credited back to your Cruise Planner account to be used as Available Spend. In the event the purchase was in part funded by cash (via a credit card, debit card, or other form of cash equivalent payments then the applicable amount will be credited back to the original form of payment within 30 days.
Any residual Available Spend at the cut-off date for making purchases via Cruise Planner will be automatically converted back to US$ for spend onboard your booked cruise.
Happy Daylight Savings Time! No one enjoys losing an hour of sleep, so we will make you feel better with a round-up of all of this week's Royal Caribbean news.
The big, big, big news of this week was Royal Caribbean's announcement of its newest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean revealed the name of its fourth Oasis Class ship, along with the nearly big news that Symphony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will homeport at the brand new Terminal A in PortMiami.
Royal Caribbean also put its 2018-2019 Symphony of the Seas sailings on sale to the public, adding to another very busy week of Symphony of the Seas news.
Royal Caribbean News
- Royal Caribbean announced a large expansion at CocoCay.
- Royal Caribbean broke ground on its new PortMiami cruise terminal.
- Five things to be excited about that will be different on Symphony of the Seas.
- Royal Caribbean celebrated a sustainable shore excursion milestone.
- Bolidt will provide glow-in-the-dark lighting for Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.
- A look at the Barefoot Beach cabanas in Labadee.
- Royal Caribbean signed a new deal with Singapore Tourism Board to grow the fly-cruise market.
- Our photo tour of a Family Panoramic Stateroom on Freedom of the Seas.
- Chops Grille is now open on Adventure of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
In this episode, Matt asked packing expert, Sheri, to share some of her strategies for leaner packing before a cruise. Overpacking is a common pitfall for cruisers, new and old, so this episode aims to help everyone bring less in their suitcases.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Eat Sleep Cruise has 10 tips for using your smartphone on a cruise ship.
Royal Caribbean featured a foodie blogger's favorite way to travel.
Cruise Hive has top 3 Royal Caribbean ships for shore excursions.
There are many staterooms to choose from on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, and today we have a look at category PF Family Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom. This photo tour will take you through the cabin to provide an idea of what to expect if you were to book this stateroom.
On Freedom of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Blog readers Jeanne and Alan Fulton shared these photos from their recent cruise. This is from room 1804, which is all the way forward on deck 12.
The Family Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom Description: Family Panoramic Oceanview staterooms feature floor-to-ceiling wrap-around windows. These rooms measure 406 square feet in size.
They have two twin beds that convert to a Royal King-sized bed, extra closet space.
Each Family Panoramic Ocean View stateroom has a vanity and sitting area.
There is a curtained area with two bunk beds, and a guest half bathroom.
The Category PF staterooms have a private bathroom with shower.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and 70 operators are celebrating the completion of a multi-year program aimed at increasing the number of sustainable tours available to the company’s five million annual guests.
Royal Caribbean's Save the Waves program has been an important part of the company's drive to raise awareness among its guests by designating tours whose operators have been verified to have adopted policies that align with international standards for sustainability developed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) for tour operators.
RCL worked with Sustainable Travel International to develop the Sustainable Tourism Education Program’s (STEP) Sustainable Shore Excursion Standard, a subset of criteria and indicators from the GSTC standard selected by STI as being applicable to cruise tourism shore excursions. The SSE standard is designed to help identify providers who offer high-quality shore excursions that also support local communities and conserve the environment.
Sustainable shore excursions are more than just nature tours – they encompass a broader category that includes tours that responsibly manage environmental impacts, preserve local history and cultures, protect the rights and resources of the local community and have properly trained employees committed to quality service.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.
Happy Friday and welcome to the start of another great weekend! Each week, we celebrate the beginning of the weekend with our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean photos that they submitted. These are fun shots of ships, ports, cabins and sunsets, and it helps put us in the "cruise mood", even if we have no cruise in our future.
Our first photo this week is from Ken, and it is of Freedom of the Seas anchored in a bay. It is a great wide-shot of this fabulous ship.
Next, is a photo by Becky Bowen of enjoying breakfast from the comfort of her balcony. She took this photo on Allure of the Seas and I have to agree that this is a really fun way to enjoy a meal while on a cruise.
Check out this sunset photo that David Berenbaum took from his cabin on Rhapsody of the Seas going under the Tampa Bay Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Just beautiful!
Joseph Daisley shared this photo of Anthem of the Seas in St. Maarten. I often forget that the Quantum class ships have that light blue hull color, and it looks great in this photo.
Nick Martini captured this photo of a rainbow, as seen from an AquaTheater suite on Oasis of the Seas. That is one heck of a view to enjoy on a cruise!
We move to Liberty of the Seas for this photo by Matt Meyers. Not only does he have a great first name, but got a very creative shot looking down a few decks.
Our final photo this week is by Thomas Lemmer, and it is of Quantum of the Seas in Hamburg, Germany from back in 2014. Wunderbar!
Thanks to everyone who sent in photos this week! If you would like to share your Royal Caribbean photos with us, be sure to use this form to send them and we will consider them for a future Friday Photos post!
Royal Caribbean is offering guests up to $100 per stateroom in onboard spending money on cruises booked this weekend, on top of the current 30% off all guests offer.
Qualifying sailings booked between March 10-13, 2017 will recieve up to $100 in onboard credit during the Seek and Save Weekend Sale. Offer applies to sailings on or after April 9, 2017 and includes
- 30% off the standard cruise fare for all guests in a stateroom
- Onboard credit
- Sailings 5-nights or less
- Interior or oceanview room: $25 onboard credit
- Balcony and Suite: $50 onboard credit
- Sailings 6-nights or less
- Interior or oceanview room: $50 onboard credit
- Balcony and Suite: $100 onboard credit
- Sailings 5-nights or less
- Bonus savings for Anthem of the Seas sailings departing on or after April 2, 2017
- Sailings 5 nights or less
- Interior and oceanview rooms: $25 off per stateroom
- Balcony: $50 off per stateroom
- Suites: $75 off per suite
- Sailings 6 nights or longer
- Interior and oceanview rooms: $50 off per stateroom
- Balcony: $75 off per stateroom
- Suites: $100 off per stateroom
- Sailings 5 nights or less
30% Savings is combinable with adjoining OBC, Additional Anthem Dollars Off, Crown & Anchor discounts, NextCruise offers and Shareholder Benefits. OBC and Additional Anthem Dollars Off are not combinable with Crown & Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefi ts. 30% Savings, OBC and Additional Anthem Dollars Off are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including but not limited to, restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, and Military), Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, and Net Rates.
Offer available to residents of United States and Canada.
It has been barely 24 hours since Royal Caribbean pulled the curtain back and revealed Symphony of the Seas, and we are already giddy with anticipation. New cruise ships are always exciting because the prospect of a new experience suddenly creates intrigue with the new possibilities, and it seems like the cruise line's 26th ship in the fleet is going to epic.
Without a doubt, there is plenty more for Royal Caribbean to reveal, but with just the news from day one, we found five aspects of Symphony of the Seas that already have us excited to cruise on her.
Symphony of the Seas is the fourth Oasis class ship, but first of her kind to stray from the sort of itineraries Oasis of the Seas first pioneered.
Symphony of the Seas is headed to some new (or much less frequently visited) ports for Oasis class ships. These new stops include St. Kitts & Nevis, Costa Maya and Roatan.
If you are a fan of the more "traditional" Caribbean ports, there are still some Eastern Caribbean sailings that visit Labadee, San Juan and St. Maarten.
New cruise terminal
Just like when Oasis of the Seas was being built, Royal Caribbean is building an all-new cruise terminal for Symphony of the Seas (and sister ship Allure of the Seas is joining in too).
PortMiami Terminal A promises to be state-of-the-art cruise hub and future home of Symphony of the Seas. The ‘Crown of Miami,’ a 170,000-square-foot terminal, scheduled for completion for the arrival of Symphony and Allure, will be the most innovative cruise facility in the United States. Royal Caribbean anticipates at least 1.8 million passenger moves at PortMiami, thanks to having the world's largest cruise ship calling Miami home.
New twist coming to Ultimate Abyss
Royal Caribbean is bringing back its 10-story thrill slide, known as the Ultimate Abyss, to Symphony of the Seas. While the slide is not new to Royal Caribbean (it originally debuted on Harmony of the Seas), there is something different we can look forward to experiencing.
On Royal Caribbean's website, they included an indication that the version on Symphony of the Seas might have something additional, not found on the version on Harmony.
After riding the Ultimate Abyss on Harmony, any enhancements on Symphony of the Seas are sure to make an already exhilarating ride into an even better one.
Hints at new experiences
If you follow the progress of a Royal Caribbean ship during construction, you will notice that the cruise line really enjoys teasing guests with possibilities of what is to come, and they are already at it with Symphony of the Seas.
Besides the Ultimate Abyss hint earlier in our countdown, there are two other clues of what is to come.
The first tease is with the promise of something "daring" and "a whole new challenge".
It also appears there will be new culinary experiences on Symphony of the Seas to enjoy.
Solarium will be different
During a conference call with members of the media, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley mentioned something about Symphony of the Seas' Solarium that has caught the attention of a few folks.
With any new ship, one of the most common questions is usually about what makes this ship different from other ships in her class. Bayley was not keen to share many details, but did indicate the adults-only area towards of the front of the ship will be "quite a lot" different from ones on other Oasis Class ships.
What that means is anyone's guess, but perhaps this could signify the return of a pool in the Solarium, following the omission of a Solarium pool on Harmony of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean has completed more of the improvements to Adventure of the Seas recently. including opening up Chops Grille and adding a few new staterooms.
Hurricane Mathew delayed Royal Caribbean's renovation plans last fall, and so some of the changes had to pushed back. Chops Grille is now open on Deck 4, across from the Schooner Bar.
In addition, we noticed five new Studio Interior staterooms (Category J) added on deck two. These staterooms are designed for solo cruisers, and do not have the single supplement fee that is typicaly found when a guest wants to cruise alone.
Royal Caribbean and Miami-Dade County broke ground on the cruise line's brand new world-class cruise terminal, Terminal A at PortMiami.
The new terminal will be the new home of the just announced Symphony of the Seas, as well as sister ship Allure of the Seas.
Terminal A will be completed in October 2018 and be LEED certified and accommodate a 1,300-foot long ship. Terminal A will not be the only addition for Royal Caribbean this year, RCL has added a 20,000-square-foot Innovation Lab to its corporate headquarters. The Innovation Lab will continue to generate the design of Royal Caribbean’s industry-leading ships.
"This is an exciting collaboration with Miami-Dade County and PortMiami to create not just another cruise terminal but an iconic state-of-the-art facility," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Terminal A reinforces our unwavering commitment to our hometown, the city where our company first started nearly 50 years ago."
Once the new cruise terminal is completed, it is anticipated that Royal Caribbean will generate at least 1.8 million travelers at PortMiami – representing no less than 30 percent of the port’s projected passenger traffic.
Royal Caribbean first announced its intentions to build this new cruise terminal in June 2016.
Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!
Episode 188 is available for downloading, which focuses on one aspect of the cruise experience many of us can use some improvement with... packing!
Matt and Sheri share tips and tricks for packing smarter and lessening the amount of stuff we bring on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
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!