Alaska

Video: Why Take a Cruise to Alaska

In:
Category: 
14Dec2017

Hands down the best way to see Alaska is on a cruise. Travelers can experience the awe of the Inside Passage, with its jaw-dropping scenery and diverse wildlife as well as land based thrills on a variety of curated cruisetours. Royal Caribbean is taking Alaska cruises to the next level by offering some of their best ships, including Radiance of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas.

First look at 2019 Alaska and Europe Phase I sailings

In:
12Dec2017

Royal Caribbean released new information about 2019 Alaska and select European cruises, as well as when guests can expect to begin booking these adventures.

Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society members can begin booking sailings on December 12, 2017 at 9:30am - 1:30pm EST, with the general public available to begin booking at 1:30pm EST.

2019 Alaska Sailings

2019 Europe Sailings

The remaining deployments will be released sometime in Spring 2018.

Royal Caribbean adding new stateroom categories for 2019 Alaska sailings on Radiance of the Seas

In:
06Dec2017

Royal Caribbean announced beginning with the 2019 deployment season, Radiance of the Seas sailings will feature two new stateroom categories within Ocean View and Balcony accommodations — Northbound Preferred and Southbound Preferred.

This change will appear with the opening of 2019 Alaska sailings on Radiance of the Seas, which is scheduled for the week of December 11, 2017. These stateroom categories offer guaranteed premium views of the scenic Alaskan coast. Royal Caribbean hopes this change will eliminate confusion about which side of the ship is more desirable.

The new stateroom categories offer, "guaranteed premium views of the scenic Alaskan coast" and is applicable to Radiance of the Seas sailings between May 5, 2019 and August 30, 2019.

 

 

Royal Caribbean announces 2018-2019 Caribbean, Alaska and Northeast Itineraries

In:
15Mar2017

Royal Caribbean has released its 2018-2019 North American cruise itineraries, that allow guests to choose cruises that sail to destinations in the Caribbean, Alaska and Northeast.

Royal Caribbean’s Alaska itineraries are available to book starting March 16, 2017, while year-round Caribbean & Bahamas sailings will begin opening on March 17 and continue to open on a rolling basis, shortly followed by seasonal Caribbean and Northeast itineraries beginning on March 30. All itineraries are available to book one day in advance for Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members.

Nineteen Royal Caribbean ships will sail from South Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast.

Symphony of the Seas

Now available to book

  • After spending her inaugural summer season sailing to the historic cities of the Mediterranean, Symphony of the Seas will unite with her three Oasis-Class sisters stateside, arriving to Royal Caribbean’s brand new Terminal A at PortMiami. Beginning November 17, she will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, adding Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis to other marquee Oasis-Class ports of call.   

Alaska

Available to book March 16, 2017

  • Explorer of the Seas will continue to sail to the new frontier with seven-night itineraries departing from Seattle, Washington with ports of call in Victoria, British Columbia, Juneau, Alaska and the Inside Passage, showcasing its jaw-dropping scenery and diverse wildlife.
  • Radiance of the Seas will sail seven- and nine-night open-jaw itineraries between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia, uncovering the myriad of Alaskan adventures.

South Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico Offer Year-Round Caribbean

Select Ships available to book starting March 17, 2017

  • Allure of the Seas will reposition from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale to PortMiami for the winter season, where she will continue to offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
  • Harmony of the Seas will continue to sail year-round seven-night Caribbean itineraries from Port Everglades Cruise Port in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, switching from Saturday to Sunday departures for the winter.
  • Oasis of the Seas will continue year-round seven-night itineraries from Port Canaveral, east of Orlando, Florida to the Caribbean, while Majesty of the Seas will offer three- and four-night getaways to The Bahamas.
  • Liberty of the Seas will continue her year-round deployment from the Port of Galveston in Texas, offering seven-night Mexico and Western Caribbean itineraries.
  • Enchantment of the Seas will sail three- and four-night getaways to The Bahamas, year-round from PortMiami.  

Northeast U.S. and Seasonal Caribbean

Available to book March 30, 2017

  • Quantum-Class Anthem of the Seas will continue year-round itineraries from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey sailing a diverse series of five- to 12-night itineraries to Bermuda and the Caribbean and seven-night itineraries to The Bahamas. For the fall season, Anthem of the Seas will offer nine-night itineraries to Canada and New England.
  • The newly revitalized Adventure of the Seas will call the Northeast “home” for the first time since her debut, sailing a variety of seven-night itineraries from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey to The Bahamas and New England & Canada throughout the summer season. In the fall 2018, the ship will feature three open-jaw 10- and 11-night Fall Foliage sailings to Quebec, Canada. Adventure of the Seas will reposition to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale for the winter season, offering six- and eight-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
  • Grandeur of the Seas will continue to offer a variety of destinations and experiences for guests sailing from Baltimore, including nine-night itineraries to The Bahamas and 12-night itineraries to the Southern Caribbean in the winter; and nine-night journeys to Canada and New England and five-night getaways to Bermuda’s pink sand beaches in the summer.
  • Vision of the Seas will join Liberty of the Seas in Galveston, Texas for the winter season offering shorter four- and five-night Western Caribbean getaways.
  • Rhapsody of the Seas will sail round-trip seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries out of Tampa, Florida during the winter season.
  • Jewel of the Seas will make San Juan, Puerto Rico her homeport for the winter season, sailing seven-night Southern Caribbean itineraries.
  • Brilliance of the Seas will sail from Tampa in the winter, alternating four- and five-night itineraries to the Western Caribbean.
  • Serenade of the Seas will homeport in Boston for September and October, offering seven-night itineraries to Canada and New England and seven-night itineraries to Bermuda. She will then reposition to Ft. Lauderdale for longer winter vacations sailing the majestic waters of the Southern and Eastern Caribbean on 10- and 11-night itineraries.
  • Navigator of the Seas will sail five- and nine-night Southern and Western Caribbean itineraries from PortMiami throughout the winter season.
  • Independence of the Seas will make her way to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida offering four- and five-night itineraries to the Western Caribbean throughout the winter.

16 Great Alaska Royal Caribbean Cruise Tips

In:
23Jun2016

When going on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, there are lot of things that can save you time and money, or improve the quality of your vacation.  Here are 16 random tips based upon our readers' experiences in taking cruises to Alaska. Some of them are simple and easy to understand tips. Other tips require a bit more effort, but will similiarly make your cruise more enjoyable.  

Not all of these tips may be applicable to everyone, but there should be a few "nuggets of information" that everyone can use.  Whether you are a first time planner or a weatherd veteran, there are tips for you here.

With these tips in hand, you can get the most out of your Royal Caribbean vacation.  

Make sure to also read the additional reader tips in the comments, as some of you readers have some great tips of your own that are really helpful. If you have some good tips, be sure to add them there, too. The more, the merrier!

  1. Plan early! Even if you are “just considering options”, book a reservation as early as possible to get the best price. Alaska is definitely a destination where rates tend to increase the closer you get to sail date. 
  2. For best value, consider shoulder season sailing (May or September). There are fewer children on board in May and September due to school. Shoulder seasons can also be less-expensive.  It has also been reported that in September at the end of season, port shops have fantastic “everything must go” sales.
  3. We have always sailed on Radiance in Alaska. But now there are options for ship classes when sailing Alaska. Radiance-class was built for Alaskan type cruising with onboard viewing opportunities from everywhere, which in Alaska is important when you hear someone yell “whale” because you will want to see it too! If you select Radiance, generally this will mean choosing either a north bound or south bound 7-night journey. 
  4. If you choose a north bound or south bound sailing, you will be arriving at one port and departing from another, so when booking airfare, be sure to compare pricing for “open leg” versus two “1- ways”; we sometimes find it cheaper to actually book two independent 1-way tickets.
  5. Go Balcony! In Alaska, you can actually sit on the balcony and see everything! – or at least look out while waking up in the morning or changing.
  6. Spekaing of balconies, if you book early enough, grab one of the huge aft balcony rooms at regular balcony prices! The balconies on the aft of Radiance class are 4 to 5 times the size of side facing balconies; more than enough room for two lounge chairs, and two regular chairs and a small table. 
  7. Always be looking at the water when on board. You may see whales, dolphins, seals, otters, and other sea life right from your cruise ship! And near shorelines, you will often see bald eagles and maybe even a bear at water’s edge. A kind of “free” excursion.
  8. Weather forecasts don’t always match reality. Be prepared for changing weather daily. Be prepared with varying clothing options (i.e. wear layers).  And when it does rain, just give it a few minutes, it generally doesn’t last long. Take it all in. And remember, many excursions go rain or shine!
  9. Speaking of excursions … excursions will likely account for a large portion of your budget – plan accordingly.  Some excursions costs hundreds of dollars per person … but this will likely be a once-in-a-life journey for many … so don’t pass up anything you really want to do. 
  10. To save on excursions, consider third party providers.  There are many options.  And many are rated by other travelers on TripAdvisor, Cruise Critic, and elsewhere.  Use the internet for your research … it’s actually part of the fun of the trip and it helps you learn more about Alaska prior to arrival!  Do check pricing with both Royal Caribbean and vendors. Over the past 4 years, Royal Caribbean pricing has become much more competitive and comparable with direct vendor booking and in one example this year, we found that Royal Caribbean’s price was actually cheaper than direct booking with the vendor; albeit for the most expensive tours like helicopters you can still save significantly by direct booking with vendors. Be sure to read and understand cancellation policies when booking direct with vendors. Nearly all will refund if the ship misses the port or there is an unplanned ship schedule change – but be sure to check.
  11. “Free excursions” … indeed, check out the many hiking trails in each port town. If you have an extra day at the Seward end of travel, check out the hand tram on Winner Creek trail in Alyeska in Girdwood, or hike to Exit Glacier near Seward. Use the internet to search for trails in each port. Many of the trails are well traveled, nicely groomed, and clearly marked. Walking is free, and often the best sights are seen from wooded trails. This year we saw moose, bears, dear, and bald eagles.
  12. Make transportation an excursion! If you are planning on a Radiance of the Seas sailing, you will have to get from Seward to Anchorage for your flight.  Take the Alaskan Railroad Coastal Classic Train! It costs only a little more than the bus ride or rental car. The Train travels a path where no other vehicles can get too. And upgrade your seat on the train to Gold Star – that will include a meal, a few drinks, more personal space, private outside viewing area, and will ensure excellent viewing from your seat with glass ceilings and glass wall all-round. You might even want to request the first row in the first car for the very best viewing opportunities! Specific requests can be made by contacting Alaska Railroad direct. 
  13. Get off the ship! No matter the weather, get off the ship at every port – even if you don’t have an excursion planned. Sometimes the piers are a little longer in Alaska but the port towns are pretty small and easily walkable making them nice for self-guided tours. The trinket shops are pretty similar in each port, but each port will feature specialty items; Ketchikan will have more focus on totem poles, for example.
  14. Day light is plentiful! The sun will rise early and set late. But unlike Caribbean cruises, nightlife is less significant on board an Alaskan cruise – the ship still offers many night activities, but in our experience, late night activities are not well attended. People hit the sack earlier in Alaska, and rise much earlier than customary in the Caribbean. It’s all part of the early bird and worm syndrome … port calls are typically early morning and people are up and ready for excursions at the crack of dawn, literally. Oh, not to worry, Radiance is outfitted with blackout curtains.
  15. Americans will find cell phone service included in their coverage while in Alaska.  In fact, it tends to work quite well.
  16. In Icy Straight Point, numerous eagles, whales and sea lions can be spotted either sitting at the Duck Point Restaurant or walking along the path to the Icy Strait Point Cannery or into Hoonah.

Have fun and go with the flow! Enjoy the beauty and bounty that is Alaska! 

If you want even more great advice and tips about Alaska, listen to our two recent podcast episodes all about Royal Caribbean cruises to Alaska!

Your thoughts

If you have solid tips that are not mentioned here, please post them below! If you have any other comments or questions, please feel free to post those, too.

Royal Caribbean announces 2017-2018 Alaska sailings

In:
Category: 
25Feb2016

Royal Caribbean released today its 2017-2018 Alaska season cruise sailings.

Crown and Anchor Society members are getting a 24 hour head start at the available sailings before the general public. 

Sailings are open for cruises on Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas, departing out of Seattle and Vancouver.

In addition to the new sailings, Royal Caribbean is offering a Seek & Save deal, where guests can get 30% off their 2017 cruise along with free upgrades.

The Seek & Save deal must be booked between February 16 and Apri 3, 2016 and is valid on sailings departing on or after Mar. 16, 2016.

Offer includes 30% off the standard cruise fare for all guests in a stateroom; all stateroom categories.

In addition, for new sailings deployed during the Offer Period that depart on or after May 1, 2017, the Offer includes a Free Upgrade within the stateroom meta-category (for example from a D8 to a D1, interior to interior, or ocean view to ocean view).

Free Upgrade refers to booking a stateroom for the price of the lowest available category within the same stateroom meta-category type.

Upgrade offer excludes Panoramic, Family, and Suite staterooms.

Offer is combinable with Crown & Anchor discounts, NextCruise offers, and Shareholders benefits. Any dollar off discounts or promotions, such as Crown & Anchor discounts, are applied first, followed by Offer, which is applied to final balance. Offer is not combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military) or 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 excludes all China departures.

Offer available to residents of the United States and Canada.

Royal Caribbean offering third and fourth passengers free on Explorer of the Seas in Alaska

In:
21Jul2015

Royal Caribbean is offering free cruise fare for third and fourth passengers for guests in a triple or quad occupancy stateroom on Explorer of the Seas sailings to Alaska in 2016.

The deal is valid on 7-night round trip Explorer of the Seas Alaska sailings between May 20 – September 9, 2016.

The deal offers free cruise fare for third and fourth passengers in a triple or quad occupancy interior stateroom.  If you book a balcony stateroom, third and fourth passengers will be eligble for a "cruise savings" instead.

In addition, all staterooms booked qualify for Buy One Guest, Get Second Guest 50% Off promotion.

If you book a qualifying cruise to get third or fourth passengers, all other charges, including, but not limited to, government taxes and fees, are not included and apply to all guests.

To qualify for this promotion, eligible sailings must be booked between July 3 and July 31, 2015.

Offer open to residents of the United States or Canada.

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