Royal Caribbean Asia opens contest to Singaporean youths to reimagine the future of cruising

In:
31Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Asia is calling out to budding designers to submit their vision of a cruise ship of the future in its first ever nationwide design competition, and stand a chance to win cruise holidays and cash prizes up to SGD $5,000

Open to tertiary students nationwide till September 28, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Brainwaves: Reimagining the Future of Cruising’ invites contestants to conceptualise and develop never before seen, innovative ideas for a cruise ship that would appeal to the next generation. Submissions need to showcase futuristic features covering the three key aspects of a cruise holiday – entertainment, activities and accommodation..

Royal Caribbean’s Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Angie Stephen said, “Cruising has transformed well beyond the basic pools, buffet restaurants and theatres. Skydiving at sea, robotic bartenders, virtual balconies and smart features are just a few of the latest innovations you can expect today from a Royal Caribbean cruise, and we believe nothing is impossible when it comes to the holiday of the future.”

“Which is why with Brainwaves, we are excited to see what the youths of today can come up with in terms of innovative and creative features, and showcase where their imagination can take them when it comes to the cruise holiday of tomorrow.  Our ship is their canvas.”

The inaugural competition has also appointed local architect and TV host, Khairudin Saharom, as Brainwaves’ ambassador and face of the competition. Mr Khairudin will also be part of the final judging panel to determine the winning design.

From all the submissions, five finalists will be selected to go forward in pitching their ideas before a judging panel consisting of Royal Caribbean’s senior management and Mr Khairudin on 15 October. The Grand Prize will feature an Asian cruise for two on Royal Caribbean’s upcoming new ship Spectrum of the Seas and a SGD$ 5,000 cash prize.

To find out more, visit www.brainwavessg.com for competition details.

Royal Caribbean To Hold Conference Call On Second Quarter 2018 Earnings

In:
30Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will hold a conference call on August 2, 2018 at 10am to discuss its second quarter 2018 financial results.

The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations web site, www.rclinvestor.com. To listen to the call by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number. A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.

Royal Caribbean now including milkshakes at Johnny Rockets with its beverage packages

In:
30Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

It appears Royal Caribbean's drink packages now include milkshakes at Johnny Rockets as part of the package benefits.

Recently we heard reports that guests were being informed that their drink package benefits included milkshakes at Johnny Rockets, and now we see Royal Caribbean's website has been updated to indicate that milkshakes are indeed included.

Recent email shared on Liberty of the Seas Facebook Group

Dining at Johnny Rockets still comes with an additional surcharge, milkshakes have historically cost extra on top of the cover charge.  With this drink package policy change, guests with the Deluxe Beverage Package have the opportunity to enjoy milkshakes that are included with the cost of their beverage package.

Australian comedian Celeste Barber took Royal Caribbean's social media thrill-seeking challenge

In:
30Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Australian comedian Celeste Barber accepted a thrill-seeking challenge by Royal Caribbean to complete as many as possible onboard Royal experiences in one day. The clincher is, Celeste is on dry land.

Royal Caribbean Australia has partnered with the Instagram star to show how fun the activities are onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise.

“How could I resist this challenge? On a Royal Caribbean cruise you have so many great activities all in close proximity. I was totally up for the challenge of attempting to do all the awesome things you can do on a Royal Caribbean cruise but doing them all in one day on dry land. Bring it on!” said Celeste Barber.

Celeste attempts to replicate a variety of Royal Caribbean’s unique onboard activities including RipCord by iFLY, FlowRider, and a show-stopping stage show performance. The Bionic Bar, and Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver also feature in the series. Celeste puts her own comical twist on the activities, and takes her family along for the crazy challenge.

“I worked out pretty quickly that trying to do all these activities on land with my family was completely exhausting and was going to leave me broke so the idea of doing them all on a fancy cruise with a glass of wine nearby was far more appealing. Also, you had me at free kids club!” said Barber.

Thrilling activities, game-changing technology, unparalleled entertainment, and vibrant dining options come together to create the ultimate, contemporary cruising experience – only found on Royal Caribbean.

“My husband, kids and I all get excited by different things and activities on family holidays and on a Royal Caribbean cruise #hothusband can surf and skydive, my kids can run riot in the pools and games arcade while I can grab a cocktail from a robot mixologist (I know, what?!), and watch a live show. Then we can all meet up and eat all the carbs at our favourite Jamie’s Italian.  I can’t imagine any of us ever getting bored on a Royal Caribbean cruise!” said Barber.

“As demonstrated by Celeste, endless experiences await guests onboard our ships, allowing travellers to holiday like never before. We’ve got you covered in terms of diversity, abundance and value. And the best part – as I’m sure Celeste would attest to – everything is conveniently located right at your fingertips,” said Susan Bonner, VP and Managing Director, Royal Caribbean Australia & NZ.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: July 29, 2018

In:
29Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

It seems like it is heating up everywhere with summer upon on us, and we have the best reading material to enjoy while sitting by the air conditioning.

Royal Caribbean issued a new update on the status of San Juan, Puerto Rico following the hurricane damage of last year.

The cruise line reports that, "tremendous progress has been made with recovery efforts across the island," and that rebuilding tourism and consumer confidence is a top priority.

In addition, the cruise line answered some frequently asked questions about the island's recovery and how it pertains to cruise ship passengers.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 260th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where Matt talks about rebooking another cruise while onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise.

In this episode, Matt talks about how Royal Caribbean's NextCruise program works, and how to best take advantage of the program.

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

Eat Sleep Cruise shared why they are excited to cruise on Mariner of the Seas.

Forbes wrote about how Royal Caribbean is spending a lot of money to attract first time cruisers.

Porthole Magazine shared what a week onboard Harmony of the Seas was all about.

CNBC reported on how cruise lines are trying to win over millennials.

USA Today shared new cruise routes in its latest Cruise Route Roundup.

Cruise Fever shed some light on 9 former Royal Caribbean cruise ships and where they are now.

Travel Weekly hosted a Q&A with Royal Caribbean's Chief Meteorologist.

Friday Photos

In:
27Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Every Friday, we show off the Royal Caribbean photos that our readers have sent us in a special blog post.  Each week, we invite our readers to send us their favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we post them right here.

Without further adieu, let's jump right into this week's batch of photos!

We kick off this week's photos with this photo by Pascal Everard of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Nino Aquino shared this photo from the top of Dragon's Breath Zipline in Labadee, with Explorer of the Seas in the background.

David Epstein took this photo of Grandeur of the Seas anchored off the coast of CocoCay.

Elaine Scotti collects spoons from each ship she has been on, and here is a photo of one from the Nordic Empress (now known as Empress of the Seas).

Next is a photo of an officer standing on the bridge wing at the end of the day. Photo taken by G.Spindler.

Martha Kowalik took this photo from on Independence of the Seas, where the housekeeping staff were competing against each other for the best Valentine's Day decorations.

Here is a shot of Navigator of the Seas docked in Costa Maya, Mexico, taken by LaShawn Harris.

Would you like to submit your Royal Caribbean photos for a future Friday Photos post? Use this form to send them to us and we will feature them very soon!

Royal Caribbean offering up to 30% off Cruise Planner purchases with weekend sale

In:
27Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 30% off shore excursions, drink packages and internet packages this weekend, with its Set Sail & Save sale.

The weekend Cruise Planner sale is valid on select sailings departing August 5, 2018 - January 31, 2019  Guests can check which discounts, if any, are available for their upcoming sailing by visiting the Cruise Planner site.

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.

Top tips for taking a Royal Caribbean family cruise vacation

In:
26Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Taking the family on a Royal Caribbean cruise is something more and more families are doing every year.  A family cruise offers lots of different activities, shows, and places to visit that is sure to cater to everyone's needs.  In fact, a lot of extended families will choose a cruise because it allows them to make wonderful memories together without having to be physically together all the time.

If you are going on a Royal Caribbean cruise for your upcoming family vacation, here are our top tips for ensuring it is the best family vacation ever.

Consider getting two staterooms instead of one

When families look to book a cruise, they will likely start off by trying to find a room that everyone can fit in.  It makes logical sense, but on a cruise, sometimes going for multiple smaller rooms is not only a better value, it can provide much more personal space for everyone involved.

Often, the cost of two staterooms can be cheaper than some of the family staterooms and can offer more separation between family members (a plus for families with teenagers).

Booking two staterooms also allows for connecting staterooms, in which there is a door between the staterooms that allows for easy flow between them.  This can be convenient during the day to keep the doors open, essentially creating a two room stateroom.

Families with younger children will want to get connecting rooms to ensure easy access between the rooms, while older kids can probably be fine in a nearby room. Regardless, a second room is an option to consider for larger groups that need more space.

Pick a ship that offers activities and amenities your family wants

There are a lot of fantastic cruise ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet and each offers something a little different.  When you are trying to decide which ship to sail on, be sure to take into account what sort of options your family will want to enjoy.

What you ought to do is determine if having a water slide, ice skating rink, Broadway show, basketball court, or any other highlight is important and something you would like to enjoy while onboard and then see which ships offer those possibilities.

If you are a cruising with kids, picking a ship with many pools and water play areas might be a good idea.  All Royal Caribbean ships have pools and hot tubs, but only some offer water slides and aqua parks.  Teens would likely find enjoyment with a ship that has a FlowRider surf simulator, or Ripcord by iFly.

Be sure to look at what each ship offers and balance the options offered versus other aspects of what you are looking to get out of the vacation.  

Plan on swimming on embarkation day

The first day of your cruise is filled with excitement, anticipation and energy.  With all the excitement of getting onboard, a really good idea for families is to let everyone start off the cruise with some pool time.  This is an especially good time to hit the pool because a majority of guests do not have their swim suits with them when they board, so you get to enjoy the pools, slides and aqua parks with far less lines.

Either wear your swim suit to the ship, or pack it in your carry-on luggage and then change in a public restroom onboard.  Towels will be provided in the pool area for your use. This is particularly good for kids who want to jump in as soon as possible.

Register children for Adventure Ocean early

On the first day of your Royal Caribbean cruise, guests can register their children in Adventure Ocean prior to Adventure Ocean opening.  While you can register kids at any point in the cruise, take advantage of the open house on embarkation day for an optimal experience.

The Cruise Compass will list times when Adventure Ocean is open for registration.  This time is not when Adventure Ocean is open for kids to stay, but for kids to see the area and for parents to ask questions and get acclimated to the program.

The open house time on embarkation day is the perfect time for the kids to meet the counselors and see the facility.  As a parent, you can talk to the staff about any concerns you might have.  By doing this during the open house time (instead of when Adventure Ocean is operating) is you have much more time and a relaxed atmosphere to go over everything.

It is a good idea to register kids on the first day simply because there is a set time for registration to occur, and it ensures a smooth first night later on.

If you have a baby, make sure you cruise on a ship with a nursery

Children between the ages of six months and 36 months old can participate in the Royal Babies and Royal Tots (6-36 months) program.  Most Royal Caribbean ships offer a nursery, where parents can drop children off throughout the day and evening. Use of the nursery comes at an hourly charge. Young children can enjoy soft play areas and age-appropriate toys, as well as cribs and cots for napping or sleeping.

If you have children under the age of three, be sure to book a Royal Caribbean cruise that offers a nursery.  For child and parent alike, the nursery is a wonderful resource. Yes, the nursery does have an additional charge, but having a nursery onboard means you have the option to take advantage of it and provide some adult time when you might need it.

Review the Cruise Compass each evening together

Your stateroom attendant will deliver a copy of the next day's Cruise Compass to your stateroom each evening, and this is a perfect opportunity to comb over what is lined up for the next day.  By reviewing the Cruise Compass together, you will be able to identify which activities or events are of interest and make sure you can plan around the schedule.

A mistake first time cruisers make is to not check the Cruise Compass until after they wake up that morning, and the result can be missing out on an event they would have liked to attend.

A good tip is to ask your stateroom attendant for a copy of the Cruise Compass just before going to dinner and reviewing it in the main dining room (or wherever you happen to dining that evening).  Since everyone will be around for dinner, it is the perfect opportunity to review what is in store for the next day.

Consider taking advantage of My Family Time Dining

My Family Time Dining is offered for the first seating time in the main dining room, for children ages three to 11.

Here is how it works

  1. You arrive at the dining room with the kids and let your server know that the kids will be headed to Adventure Ocean as part of the My Family Time Dining program.
  2. The kids order and are served right away so that they can finish their meal within the first 40 minutes.
  3. After about 45 minutes, the Adventure Ocean staff arrive in the dining room lobby to sign in and hand off the kids.Parents will need to escort their children to the designated Main Dining room entrance doors at 6:45 pm to check their child in with the Adventure Ocean counselors. Once checked­in, the Adventure Ocean counselors will then escort their children to Adventure Ocean for ongoing evening activities.
  4. Adults return to their table to enjoy the rest of their meal at a more leisurely place.

Pre­cruise, guests can call into Reservations, reserve online, contact their travel agent or certified vacation planner. Or guests can sign up onboard in the Adventure Ocean area. Pre­cruise reservations are encouraged.

Your thoughts

What advice would you offer to a family going on their first Royal Caribbean cruise together? Are there lessons you would share with others for an even better cruise experience together? Share your tips and ideas in the comments.

Excursion Focus: Paradise Beach Cozumel

In:
25Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Spending the day in Cozumel, Mexico means time playing and relaxing by the ocean, and one of the most popular spots for cruise ship guests for many years has been Paradise Beach.

Unlike some other beaches in Cozumel, Paradise Beach offers an a la carte experience, where you only pay for the activities you want to enjoy.  This means a lower admission cost than some other popular beach options.

It had been eight years since our last visit, so on a recent Royal Caribbean cruise to Cozumel, we decided to see how Paradise Beach stacks up to the competition.

Description

Paradise Beach is about a 15 minute taxi ride ($15 one way) away from where Royal Caribbean docks their cruise ships in Cozumel, and easily accessible by taxi. It is located on the western side of Cozumel, one of many beaches that are popular with tourists.

Paradise Beach offers beach access, a large swimming pool, dining and drink service, and water toys in the ocean.  What makes Paradise Beach stand apart is that is not all-inclusive, which means you are charged for what you want to enjoy.

Admission to Paradise Beach is just $3 per person.  For that price, you can sit on the beach or go to the pool and enjoy the entire day.  Granted, that does not include anything other than facility access, but for some people that is all they really want. It is worth noting that a $10 minimum food order is kindly requested for pool access.

More realistically, you have the option of purchasing food, drink or activity access.  Paradise Beach prides itself on offering a low cost of entry and reasonable prices for the things to do there.  

Speaking of prices, Paradise Beach offers a Fun Pass that costs $18 and you can use the kayaks, snorkel gear, stand up paddle boards and access to the inflatable water toys, which include:

  • water trampolines
  • 14 ft. climbing iceberg
  • water slides
  • a floating multitier Jungle Joe climbing structure
  • Jungle Joe 2
  • Wibit Flipper
  • Aqua Glide blast bag
  • the Rock-it circular water rocker
  • Jungle Joe x1 aqua glide revolution
  • water mats
  • coconut tree climb
  • bungee-trampoline

As you arrive, the staff at Paradise Beach will escort you to any available chairs you prefer, either on the beach or near the pool. The staff roam the grounds of Paradise Beach regularly to take food or drink orders, and deliver it right to you.

Speaking of the pool, Paradise Beach has a massive pool area that offers shallow and deep(er) areas.  You can find chairs out in the sun, under a tree or somewhere inbetween.  

As its name implies, there is also a lovely beach that you can have access to while at Paradise Beach. It is indeed a large sandy beach and can accommodate quite a number of guests.

Food and drinks are available by ordering from the wait staff (copy of the menu.  There is certainly a large variety of alcoholic beverages you can enjoy, which is expected at any tourist beach spot in Cozumel.  In addition, the food is a mix of traditional Mexican fare and some American dishes

Comments

The appeal of Paradise Beach is quite simple, have a fun day by the beach or pool (or both) and pay just for what you want.  Unlike some other all-inclusive options, Paradise Beach does not include everything because they do not believe you need to have everything included.

Without a doubt, if you are looking to only spend part of your day at the beach or pool, Paradise Beach is the go to spot.  The opportunity to drop in and spend just a few dollars on admission is quite appealing.  Moreover, their prices for beer or cocktails are reasonable (definitely cheaper than the cruise ship prices).  Even if you drink quite a bit, you may still find yourself spending less overall than at an all-inclusive.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of our visit to Paradise Beach was the service.  I was curious how attentive the wait staff would be, especially since our cruise ship had a late arrival (noon) and we did not arrive to Paradise Beach until well into the afternoon.  Despite the late arrival time, we never waited more than a few minutes to get an order in.  Some of the waiters had handheld tablets that they could put orders immediately into the system, and then be delivered later on by other waiters.  

Coming back to Paradise Beach after so many years, it definitely holds up as a premier spot for any cruise ship guest to enjoy.  Paradise Beach has been synonymous with recommendations for a good beach day in Cozumel for quite a long time.  If you happen to search the internet for recommendations, inevitably Paradise Beach will always be among the suggestions.  

Overall, Paradise Beach impressed us with its combination of large beach and pool area, along with very good service.  When you combine the low cost of admission, Paradise Beach is a great spot to enjoy being outdoors.  Unless you are planning on doing some serious drinking and/or eating, the value proposition of Paradise Beach is quite high.  Families especially are sure to find the low cost for kids (we were never charged for our two daughters on our visit) a welcome change.

How to book: No reservations required or available. Just show up. Website

Booking another cruise onboard on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
25Jul2018
By: Matt Hochberg

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

Episode 260 is available for downloading, which focuses on what you need to know about booking another Royal Caribbean cruise while on a cruise.

Royal Caribbean's NextCruise program offers bonus onboard credit for those that elect to book another cruise while still on a cruise.  Matt talks about how the program works, and what you ought to consider when taking advantage of this offering.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 260. 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!

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