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Alaska cruise packing list: What to pack for your sailing

In:
25 Jun 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

What to pack for an Alaska cruise is not as difficult as it may seem. While packing for a cold weather cruise may require more preparation than a cruise to the Caribbean, a few key layers should suffice in nearly all weather conditions.

Alaska glacier viewing

When looking at a map, you may be surprised to see just how far south Alaska cruise ports are located.  While Alaska cruise marketing tends to show images of snow and glaciers, it’s not necessary to pack for Arctic-level temperatures. In fact, you probably already have most clothing items you’ll need for an Alaska cruise at home!

In this guide, we’ll discuss the key things you should have in your cruise packing list for an Alaska cruise and provide a checklist for your upcoming sailing.

Alaska cruise: the basics

Before starting to pack, it’s important to understand the basics of an Alaska cruise so you know what to expect both onboard and in port.

Royal Caribbean’s Alaska cruises are generally 7-night sailings, offering 3 or 4 days in port with 2 or 3 days at sea. Cruises visit towns along Southeast Alaska, the panhandle of the state, which borders British Columbia, Canada.

Southeast Alaska is quite a ways away from the Arctic Circle and polar bears, so you may be surprised to encounter nice weather while visiting the state. Alaska cruises are offered during the warmest months of the year, from April to September, so it’s not uncommon to experience warm, sunny days.

Related: What is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

The month you sail can have a huge impact on what you need to pack as well. For cruises in June, July, and August, you may want to pack more short sleeve shirts than in May or September. And while wool socks and warm hats are recommended at any time of the year, it’s especially important to pack warm layers in the very beginning or end of the Alaska cruise season.

Related: What it’s like to go on an Alaska cruise at the end of the season

The main thing to remember when packing for an Alaska cruise is to plan for any and all types of weather conditions.

What to pack for an Alaska cruise

Layers

Packing layers is necessary on an Alaska cruise. Morning and evening can be much colder than what you may experience in mid-afternoon, so having the flexibility to put on or take off clothing will be well appreciated.

Your base layer will be a short or long sleeved t-shirt and a pair of jeans, leggings, or other lightweight pants. On the warmest of days, shorts may be preferred whereas the coldest days may have you layering both leggings and jeans.

Over your base layer you’ll want to pack a warm layer. Sweaters, sweatshirts, and fleece or down jackets will help keep you warm no matter the weather, and they’re easy to take off if it gets too hot.

In addition, don’t forget to pack a waterproof layer. Due to strong winds and ease of use in crowded areas, we don’t recommend packing an umbrella. Therefore, it’s important to pack a waterproof jacket with a hood. This should keep you dry in the wettest of conditions.

Footwear

An Alaska cruise calls for a wide range of footwear, as you’ll need a sturdy pair of shoes to wear in port and shoes to wear onboard. A pair of water-resistant sneakers or lightweight hiking shoes is recommended, as they tend to keep your feet comfortable and warm while providing enough support for a range of outdoor activities. Active sandals, such as Chacos, can be nice in the summer months as well.

Packing a pair of comfortable lounge shoes for the ship is a good idea, too. Slippers, flip flops, or comfy sneakers can be nice to have when walking around the ship and your stateroom.

Whichever type of shoes you decide to bring, make sure the soles of your shoes have plenty of grip. You may encounter slippery or rocky surfaces on shore excursions or while exploring on your own, so you want to make sure your shoes have enough friction.

Accessories

Outside of your main clothes and footwear, don’t forget to pack accessories for an Alaska cruise. From hats to wool socks, scarves, gloves, sunscreen, and sunglasses, there are many accessories that you’ll want to bring with you to Alaska.

Related: What should you bring on an Alaska cruise?

A water-resistant daypack is one of our top Alaska cruise packing tips. You’ll need somewhere to put your valuables during the day, so making sure the pack is water-resistant or waterproof is crucial. A backpack will be the most comfortable option and can fit everything you’ll need for a busy day in port.

Binoculars may be of interest to you as well, especially if you plan to do any wildlife viewing excursions. Being able to see the state’s wildlife and nature up close is well worth the cost of an entry-level pair of binoculars.

Cruise clothes

Outside of what you’ll wear in port, remember to pack for your time onboard the ship! Don’t forget to pack clothes for formal night, your swimsuit to wear in the pool, and comfy clothes for lounging in your stateroom.

While it’s not necessary to pack an entirely new outfit for dinner each night, rotating 2-4 outfits can be a nice way to ensure you have dressier clothes to wear while still keeping your packing relatively light.

Related: What to wear on a cruise formal night

Alaska cruise packing list

Family on Alaska tour

Clothes

  • Waterproof jacket with a hood
  • Fleece or down jacket
  • Sweaters and sweatshirts (to wear onboard and in port)
  • T-shirts and long sleeve shirts
  • 2-3 pairs long pants (jeans and slacks for dinner)
  • 1-2 pairs leggings
  • 1-2 pairs shorts
  • Formal wear for dinner (2-4 dresses, collared shirts, etc.)
  • Swimsuit
  • Pajamas
  • Casual loungewear for onboard
  • Underwear and socks
  • Clothes for the onboard fitness center

Footwear and accessories

  • Water-resistant shoes with a sturdy, non-slippery sole (hiking boots, sneakers)
  • Dress shoes for dinner
  • Comfy shoes for walking around your stateroom/ship (sandals or sneakers)
  • Water-resistant daypack
  • Hat (baseball cap, beanie, etc.)
  • Gloves
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses
  • Scarf
  • Camera
  • Waterproof case for cellphone
  • Portable cellphone charger
  • Things to do onboard (books, card games, etc.)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray

More Alaska cruise tips:

Guide to Royal Caribbean's coffee card package

In:
24 Jun 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

If you love having an espresso, latte, or any other brewed coffee every day on your Royal Caribbean cruise, then perhaps a coffee card package is right for you.

Cafe Select Card

Royal Caribbean offers a number of drink packages that include premium coffees, but it also has a coffee card that includes a select amount of coffee drinks.

Will the coffee package save you money and is it worth it to buy?

Here's a breakdown of Royal Caribbean's Cafe Select Coffee Card and what you should know.

What does the coffee card include?

Cafe select card

The Cafe Select Coffee Card is the name of what many people call the "coffee package" and it is essentially a punch card of drinks.

Royal Caribbean says the card includes 15 specialty espresso-based coffees that you can use during your cruise. The coffee card issued to you will have 15 punches to use.

This means for every premium coffee you order, the barista will punch a hole in the card to note how many of the drinks you've ordered.

Cafe select card sign

According to Royal Caribbean, the coffee card can save up to 50% on individually purchased coffees.

The coffee card does not include coffees from Starbucks kiosks.  Instead, you can use the card at Royal Caribbean coffee locations, such as Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-tudes.

You can also use the card at any location onboard that serves espresso-based drinks.

You cannot use the card for any coffee drinks that include alcohol.

Punch per card or per shot?

Cafe Promenade menu on Wonder of the Seas

One inconsistency with Royal Caribbean has been how the coffee cards are punched.

Some passengers report getting one hole punch per drink ordered, while others have reported getting a hole punch per espresso shot in the drink.

On the Royal Caribbean website, there's no mention of getting a hole punch per espresso shot, but you should be aware on some ships they make that distinction.

Can you share the coffee card?

Cafe Promenade coffee menu

Yes, unlike Royal Caribbean's other drink packages, the coffee card is not restricted to one person.

You are allowed to purchase a coffee card and allow your friends and family to utilize the card benefits. Because the card is not unlimited, Royal Caribbean doesn't care who utilizes the benefits.

How much does the coffee package cost?

Coffee card

The coffee card price is usually at $31 per card.

A gratuity charge is added onto the cost of the card, which covers the gratuity for all the drinks you order while onboard. This means no additional tip is required.

With gratuity, the total cost comes out to $36.58.

Espresso shot

Keep in mind Royal Caribbean may change the price of the coffee package at any time, so prices are subject to change.

If you're wondering, a premium coffee purchased individually will run about $2.50 to $5 per drink.

Can you use the same card on different sailings if you don’t use it all at once?

No, the card is good for only the sailing you purchase it on.

Is the coffee card worth it?

Without a doubt, the coffee card will save you money on the equivalent amount of coffee purchased onboard, assuming you order all 15 coffees.

You should be aware that your Royal Caribbean cruise fare includes regular brewed coffee and tea. This card is for espresso-based beverages.

Coffee included

The first reason you might not want the coffee card is if you wont order enough coffees to use up all your hole punches. Since you can share the coffee card with others, it's easier to get your money's worth than with a regular drink package.

Speaking of drink packages, the question of if a coffee card is worth it may lead into the question of should you get a coffee card or another drink package.

Both the Deluxe Beverage Package and the Royal Refreshment Package include premium coffees and have no limit to how many premium coffees you can order. Moreover, they include other beverages such as alcohol, juices, sodas, and more.

Coffee card sign

Of course, one of the other drink packages will cost you significantly more than a coffee card. The deluxe beverage package can run between $50 - $90 per person, per day. You won't be able to break even on that investment on coffees alone.

If you aren't much of an alcohol drinker, then the Royal Refreshment package might be a good alternative. It includes unlimited non-alcoholic drinks, such as bottled water, coffees, teas, soda, and mocktails. 

The average cost of a Royal Refreshment package is between $29 - $38 per person, per day.

Just like the alcohol package, it still requires you to drink a fair amount of non-alcoholic drinks per day to make it worthwhile.

Ultimately, if you consider the coffee package, you should also look at the other drink packages to ensure your money is well-spent.

If you don't drink a lot of alcohol and sodas or bottled water doesn't do it for you either, then the coffee card is a good choice for those that purely want premium coffees.

Funny coffee sign

Another consideration is your Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor Society status. Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members get complimentary drink vouchers every day of their cruise, which can be used for premium coffees.

If your cruise ship has a Starbucks kiosk onboard, you might prefer those coffees. Since Starbucks beverages from a Starbucks kiosk is not included with the coffee card, you could alternatively order your drinks there and pay as you go.

As you can see, the determination of if a coffee card is worth it really comes down to the individual person. Here's a summary of the key considerations:

  • How many coffees will you drink each day of your cruise?
  • How many alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks will you likely have every day of your cruise?
  • Does your ship have a Starbucks kiosk?
  • Would sharing coffee card benefits with another person make the investment easier?

The good news is the Royal Caribbean Cafe Select Coffee Card has the potential to save money compared to buying the same amount of drinks without the card. The question is really if you should spend the money on the coffee card or get a different drink package to better take advantage of your drinking habits.

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Le Havre (Paris), France

In:
24 Jun 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Every cruise must come to an end, and today is the last day of our 7-night Spain & France cruise on Anthem of the Seas. The adventure is not yet over, though, and we docked in Le Havre, France this morning for another day full of local food, history, and culture!

Le Havre, France is known as the "Paris" cruise port, although Paris is not exactly near Le Havre at all. Reaching the city center of Paris from Le Havre's port will take around 2.5 to 3.5 hours each way. Because of this, port stops in Le Havre tend to be very long. We were docked today from 8AM to 10PM!

I chose not to go to Paris today for several reasons:

  •  5-6 hours of transport via train or coach bus did not seem worth it to spend only 4-5 hours in Paris.
  • The excursions were all quite expensive. I wasn't comfortable traveling so far independently without the security of knowing the ship would wait for me to return.
  • I would rather visit Paris at a later time when I can dedicate several days to the city.

Le Havre sells a shuttle bus for €5 roundtrip from the port to the city center. You can also choose to walk, which will take 20-30 minutes.

There was also a list of taxi tours with fixed pricing available. The prices on the board were very reasonable compared to many of Royal Caribbean's excursions, and the set price for 1-4 passengers means you can split the cost better if you're traveling with a larger group. Taxi destinations included Mont Saint Michel, D-Day landing beaches, and Paris.

First impressions of Le Havre

Le Havre is not your typical French city. Much of the city was destroyed in World War II, and it was rebuilt with a more modern style of architecture than you'll see in most of France.

With the cloudy morning weather and eclectic architecture, it felt a bit... otherworldly this morning. We took a few photos at the most bizarre (yet intriguing) library I've ever seen.

Samantha and I stopped in a small cafe for a cappuccino and pain au chocolat before continuing our day. Oh how I will miss French pastries!

We also stopped by a monument for victims of World War I and World War II from the Le Havre area as well as soldiers from North Africa. For those interested in World War II history, Le Havre and the surrounding areas make for an interesting port option.

Lunch in Le Havre

After my life-changing crêpe experience a few days ago in La Rochelle, I knew I needed to try another crêpe today, so we found a local crêperie in Le Havre for lunch. It seems to be common in France for crêperies to offer a lunch menu with a drink, savory crêpe, and sweet crêpe for a set price. Yes, two crêpes for one person!

For €14, I enjoyed rosé, a buckwheat cheese crêpe, and a dessert crêpe topped with crème de marron (chestnut cream). Just like in La Rochelle, the meal was unbelievably good. Everything I've eaten in France has been so delicious; I can't wait to come back!

An afternoon at the beach

Samantha called it a day a few hours earlier than I did, so I went on a solo adventure to Le Havre's local beach. My timing was perfect as the sun finally came out and the city came to life! While Le Havre may not be quintessentially French, I found the town quite beautiful in its own way as I walked along the waterfront.

I was also able to rent a bicycle for free to ride along the coast! The city of Le Havre offers free bicycle rentals (with a deposit to be refunded upon return of the bike). I rode a couple miles along the coast, which transformed from the city center to gorgeous cliffside views.

Back onboard

I headed back to the ship around dinnertime, where we enjoyed our last meal in the Main Dining Room. Tonight's menu was by far my favorite of the week.

I decided to try the "mango mint spring rolls" off the vegan menu just for fun, and they were amazing! Served with peanut sauce, they reminded me of a vegetable spring roll you'd find in a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant.

Samantha loved her cheese tortellini while I, still a bit full from my crêpe extravaganza earlier in the day, enjoyed a small cup of lentil soup as my main.

The entertainment has been so great on Anthem of the Seas that we decided to watch the Farewell Variety Show in the Royal Theater tonight.

The show started with a few jazz songs by the Anthem of the Seas orchestra, including vocals from a cast member of We Will Rock You.

The second half of the performance was a magic show. I think the last time I saw a magic show was in elementary school, so I had no idea what to expect. From card tricks to illusions, the show was impressive, mind-blowing, and hilarious!

We watched sailaway from the Solarium as we began the journey back to Southampton. While I'm sad to see this cruise end, I'm extremely excited to head to Greece this weekend for my next cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas!

Stray observations:

I had fairly low expectations for Le Havre after doing a bit of research about the port, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would! Everyone in town was extremely nice to me even though I cannot speak much French. From a man offering to help us read the menu at lunch to the bicycle rental employees, I felt extremely welcome in the city.

I originally planned to try to travel to Honfleur, a smaller town with typical French architecture, but I decided against it when I realized the local bus schedule to Honfleur is extremely limited depending on the day. Taxis and a few bus tours are available though.

I feel like it would be a nice option to be able to choose to end the cruise in Le Havre as opposed to Southampton. I wouldn't have minded getting off the ship today and traveling to Paris for a few days, but I know this is difficult with logistics, customs, etc., so I understand why it isn't possible.

Royal Caribbean updates: Jamie Oliver, executive departs, new show & more

In:
23 Jun 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Another long-time Royal Caribbean executive has left the company, a celebrity chef returned onboard, Wonder of the Seas has a new show and more of this week's Royal Caribbean news.

There's been a number of updates that happened this week, so here's a look at all the changes you should be aware of from the past few days.

Each of these updates encompasses a different aspect of Royal Caribbean, and it's always a good idea to be up-to-date with what's happening.

Jamie Oliver visits Anthem of the Seas

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver was spotted onboard Anthem of the Seas for a day visit.

Oliver is the namesake for the specialty restaurant onboard the ship, Jamie's Italian. 

Mr. Oliver visited the ship's bridge, and then headed to the restaurant to meet with the team.

"From checking out the ship's bridge, where is the captain and his crew steer the ship from, to getting stuck in with the Jamie's Italian team in the kitchen and meetings some guests on board. It was a very special day visiting our Jamie's Italian on board."

Effectors II begins performances on Wonder of the Seas

Effectors 2. Photo by @dek_mak

The newest show began on Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President of Entertainment, Nick Weir, tweeted that shows of The Effectors 2 are now in previews.

According to Mr. Weir, they will be, "tweaking and testing things, and adding, fiddling, massaging and creating thru October".

The show is performed in the Royal Theater on Wonder of the Seas and it features a new character of Lume, who flies over the audience during the show.

Captain Patrik Dalhgren leaves Royal Caribbean

Another maritime executive has left the company for a new opportunity.

Royal Caribbean Group announced Captain Patrik Dahlgren has left after 23 years with the company.

In his most recent role, he was a Senior Vice President of global marine operations and a member of the Healthy Sail Panel.

He rose through the ranks in his time with the company, with his last seagoing command as Master of Oasis of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas. 

He was the lead contributor to the Quantum of the Seas development.

Captain Dahlgren leaves just a few months after Captain Hernan Zini also left for a new job. Royal Caribbean has also seen former Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Mark Tamis leave recently.

Royal Caribbean CEO celebrates upcoming Day of the Seafarer

Crew members in port

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley took to Facebook to promote an important holiday in the maritime industry.

The Day of the Seafarer is on Saturday, June 25, and Mr. Bayley urged everyone to think about the hard working people on cruise ships.

"This day means a lot to us at Royal Caribbean, but also to me personally," Mr. Bayley wrote on Facebook.

"Our crew comes from over 120 countries! They are moms, dads, and siblings who contribute so much to their life at sea to keep the maritime industry up and running."

"We are endlessly proud and grateful for our amazing crew who keep our ships safe, our oceans clean, and our vacations epic!"

Mr. Bayley shared a link to a site where you can share your thanks and recognition of the crew members online.

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 6 - Sea Day

In:
23 Jun 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Today is the sixth day of my first European cruise and we are at sea after 3 busy days in port. Luckily, Anthem of the Seas provides endless activities to enjoy during a sea day, and I had a relaxing yet fun-filled time onboard while on route to France.

I started my day with breakfast (dessert?) at the Windjammer, with french toast topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips.

Next up was something new for me: a massage! I've actually never had a professional massage before, so I couldn't wait to experience what all the hype is about. I booked the 50-minute Aroma Stone Therapy massage ahead of time in the Cruise Planner. Since I've never had a massage before, I had no idea what to expect when I entered the Vitality Spa this morning.

I first filled out a short questionnaire where I could rank my fitness and stress levels as well as write any ailments or areas I wanted the masseuse to focus on. My masseuse, Ni from Indonesia, brought me to the treatment room where she reviewed my questionnaire with me prior to beginning the treatment. I was a bit nervous as I did not know what to do or expect, but she made me feel very comfortable.

The Aroma Stone Therapy massage is a hot stone massage, so it includes a massage with both hands and warm stones. While hot, the stones were not uncomfortable, and they resulted in feeling extremely relaxed.

The massage was definitely worth every penny! I was initially worried 50 minutes would feel too short, but it was perfect for a first massage. I'm also glad I chose the hot stone option instead of a standard massage as the hot stones felt absolutely delightful!

I had heard that spa treatments tend to end with an annoying sales pitch, but the sales pitch I received (for the cream used in the massage) was very short and non bothersome. Overall, it was the best start to the day I could have asked for!

I caught up on some work after my trip to the spa. My favorite place to work or relax onboard is in Two70 due to the beautiful ocean views surrounding the venue.

After a quick lunch at the Windjammer, I headed to the pool deck for my new favorite drink: a frozen mojito. Extremely refreshing and not too sweet, the frozen mojito has proven to be a dangerous discovery onboard!

The sun finally emerged (a bit) in the afternoon, although the temperature was still quite chilly. I took a walk around the pool and sports deck to take in the ocean views. I noticed there were two types of passengers onboard: those sunbathing in swimsuits and those in winter jackets!

Being a Quantum Class ship, Anthem of the Seas has plenty of indoor spaces to enjoy, which is beneficial on cruises to colder destinations like Alaska, Norway, etc. With an indoor pool, climate-controlled Solarium, and the SeaPlex, weather does not have as much of an effect on activities like it can have on Oasis or Voyager Class ships, as an example.

Until this point, I’ve always said the Voyager Class is my favorite class of Royal Caribbean ships, but I think the Quantum Class might be my favorite now! While there are certain things I don’t love (the lack of a promenade deck as the lifeboats block the view), I love the indoor spaces with ocean views like Two70 and the Solarium. They also have interesting itineraries around the world that you can’t always find with other ships.

Next it was time for one of my favorite onboard activities: the International Belly Flop Competition. While I did not participate, it was undeniably entertaining to watch as the participants tried to make the most impressive belly flop possible.

Tonight was formal night, and while I often skip formal night in exchange for a dinner elsewhere onboard, Samantha and I decided to dress up and head to the Main Dining Room. I enjoyed French onion soup, carbonara pasta, and the molten chocolate cake, which was my favorite dessert I've had on this sailing so far!

Yesterday I wrote about how much I loved We Will Rock You in the Royal Theater, so I decided to watch it again tonight! Our seats weren't too great yesterday, so we went to the theater early to get some of the best seats in the house.

Just like yesterday, the performance was spectacular and it made for the perfect way to end the night. I’m already looking forward to watching Broadway shows on ships I have not yet sailed on in the fleet (Hairspray on Symphony, Mamma Mia on Allure, and Saturday Night Fever on Liberty of the Seas).

This cruise has gone by so quickly! Tomorrow is already the last day, but I’m excited to be back in France tomorrow when we dock in Le Havre.

More Anthem of the Seas Live Blogs:

Should you use a park and cruise hotel package instead of parking at the cruise port?

In:
22 Jun 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

If you are driving to your cruise ship with your own vehicle, does it make more sense to book a "park and cruise" hotel package, where parking at the hotel is included with your hotel stay.

Hotel parking lot

One of my best pieces of cruise ship advice is to always come into your cruise departure city at least one day ahead of time to guard against travel delays. By flying or driving in a day early, you can assure yourself that any cancellations, blown tires, or re-routes don't impact your ability to make the cruise ship.

Many hotels offer an option where if you stay one night, you can book a park and cruise package that bundles your hotel room with a parking spot for up to a week. But do these packages save you money, and does it make sense to go with them?

I compared a handful of hotels in Port Canaveral, Miami, and Cape Liberty to see how lucrative these stay deals are, and what the pros and cons are for a park & cruise package.

Hotel analysis

Hotel in Cocoa Beach

I picked three random hotels from each of the three cities to compare how the parking packages stacked up against the parking rate at the cruise terminal.

For each room, I picked a king size bed that was refundable rate for two adults staying Sep 24 – Sun, Sep 25, 2022.

All prices are pre-tax and fees from the hotel and/or from the parking facility.

Port Canaveral, Florida

Radisson hotel in Cape Canaveral

3-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifference3-night cruise Port ParkingParking Savings
Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral1642215751-6
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral, FL2453106551-14
Best Western Cocoa Beach Hotel & Suites219.95243.95245127

7-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifferencePort ParkingParking Savings
Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral1642215711962
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral, FL2453106511954
Best Western Cocoa Beach Hotel & Suites219.95243.952411995

Miami

Partial view of colorful boat in Bayside Marketplace area

3-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifference3-night cruise Port ParkingParking Savings
DoubleTree Biscayne Bay252294427533
Hilton Miami Downtown191245547521
Holiday Inn Miami-International Airport143.4621975.5475-0.54

DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay Hotel Review | Royal Caribbean Blog

7-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifferencePort ParkingParking Savings
DoubleTree Biscayne Bay25229442175133
Hilton Miami Downtown19124554175121
Holiday Inn Miami-International Airport143.4621975.5417599.46

Cape Liberty/Newark

Newark airport

3-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifference3-night cruise Port ParkingParking Savings
Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport169229607515
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Newark Liberty International Airport16929913075-55
Residence Inn Newark Elizabeth259309507525

7-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifferencePort ParkingParking Savings
Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport16922960175115
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Newark Liberty International Airport16929913017545
Residence Inn Newark Elizabeth25930950175125

X-factor: Shuttles

Hotel shuttle van

Beyond the dollars and sense of parking at a hotel or cruise port, you have to account for getting to the cruise terminal.

Some of the hotels specified a parking shuttle would be provided.  At least one hotel actually charged you differently if you needed a ride to the cruise terminal or not.

You'll need to check with the hotel if a shuttle is provided to the cruise terminal, and if there's any extra cost for the shuttle.

Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort Hotel Review | Royal Caribbean Blog

The other issue with a hotel shuttle is they run on a limited schedule. Depending on the hotel, the frequency in which they offer shuttle service can vary greatly. Plus, you may have to wait for a shuttle depending on how many other guests are there to get a ride too.

In this age of covid, another consideration is having to cram into a shuttle with other guests and your risk tolerance for possibly being exposed to covid in the shuttle. Theoretically everyone going to the terminal has taken a negative covid test already, but you never know with how easy covid is transmitted and the long incubation periods these days.

Convenience of parking at the cruise terminal

The best reason to park at the cruise terminal instead of a hotel is the convenience factor.

When you park at the cruise terminal, you can walk from your vehicle to the front door of the terminal without much fuss. Then, when the cruise is over, you can take your luggage right to your car and immediately depart. No shuttles required.

The convenience of having your car and being able to forgo waiting for shuttle service back to a hotel can make a world of difference depending on how many other people are trying to do the same thing, and traffic conditions.

Are other hotels cheaper?

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East Hotel Review | Royal Caribbean Blog

When you limit yourself to hotels that offer a parking option during your cruise, could you save money by staying at a different hotel that has a lower rate and equally as good, but without a parking package?

In each of these cities, there are multitudes of hotels you can choose from, and without a doubt, there are deals to be found.

When considering the cost of a parking park & cruise hotel, you not only have to look at the cost of a parking package versus the cruise terminal, but also how much money you may (or may not) save by staying at a less expensive hotel.

Should you book a park stay and cruise package?

Hotel with shuttle

Ultimately, the decision may boil down to personal preferences on how important it is to save a little bit of money.

If you are taking a short 3 or 4 night cruise, the savings offered by a park and stay package quite negligible, and in some cases a bad value.

The real cost savings with park and stay packages come with 7-night cruises, where you can save over $100 in total. 

If your cruise is longer than 7 nights, check with the hotel. Many of the hotels in this list only allowed for parking for 7 or 8 nights, and then would charge a daily fee beyond that.

In the end, you need to weigh the cost savings versus the convenience of parking at the cruise terminal. Depending on the hotel, there are a wide range of cost savings with a park and stay.

Don't blindly assume a parking package will save you money compared to parking at the terminal, and even if it does, you need to ponder if the money saved is worth your time.

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 5 - La Coruña, Spain

In:
22 Jun 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

I cannot believe today is already the fifth day of my cruise on Anthem of the Seas! Today we docked in La Coruña, Spain, a medium-sized city in Spain’s Galicia region, located directly above Portugal. With green hills, dramatic ocean cliffs, and small beaches dotted throughout coves in the landscape, La Coruña was a gorgeous place to spend the day.

The cruise port is conveniently located in the center of town, so we were able to walk off the ship and immediately start exploring.

One trend I've noticed on this cruise is that while ships dock at 8AM, the ports are very sleepy until at least 9 or 10. When we got off the ship around 8:45, cafes were only starting to open and the town was really quiet.

Breakfast and ocean views

I decided to skip breakfast on the ship today in favor of dining at a local cafe in Spain. While I go on cruises fairly often, it's not everyday I can enjoy breakfast in Spain!

Samantha and I stumbled upon the Praza de María Pita, a large public square lined with historic buildings, restaurants, and cafes. Here we enjoyed pastries, fresh squeezed orange juice, and a cafe con leche.

Like every port we've been to so far, we arrived with no plan of how to spend the day. What's great about cruising to European ports is that the infrastructure caters to pedestrians, meaning you can explore most ports without worrying about needing buses, taxis, or boats to get around.

We came across a beautiful waterfront pathway which first led us to a small beach. After relaxing at the beach, we continued along the path. This turned into one of the most beautiful coastal walking trails I’ve ever explored.

Located at the very northwest corner of Spain, La Coruña’s landscape and rocky, treacherous coastline is breathtaking. One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is the Tower of Hercules, the oldest surviving lighthouse in the world. With a height of around 180 feet, the lighthouse towers over the coast and was quite impressive to see.

The walking trail was the perfect place to spend a sunny morning in Spain, but all the walking quickly made us hungry!

Lunchtime in the city

Because La Coruña is a quiet town, we decided to have a relaxing, long lunch in port. We stumbled upon a local restaurant with a menu del día (menu of the day). For €10.60 each, we enjoyed two glasses of tinto de verano (a sweet wine drink), a pasta and egg appetizer, bread, a Thai rice dish, chocolate pudding, and coffee. It was an amazing deal and the food was delightful!

We sat outdoors for around 2 hours, taking in the culture and views of La Coruña. One fascinating fact about Galicia is that the native language of the region is Galician, which is actually more closely related to Portuguese than Spanish. Around 2.5 million people speak Galician, and you’ll hear both languages when visiting La Coruña.

Our day in port finished with a brief stroll back to the ship along La Coruña's waterfront. I relaxed on one of the city's park benches in front of the harbor for a bit before getting back onboard.

La Coruña impressions

La Coruña is definitely the sleepiest town we have visited so far on this itinerary, but I loved the relaxed vibe of the city. I’m honestly not sure where most passengers from the ship went today because everywhere we visited was uncrowded.

If you’re happy to wander through beautiful walking trails, visit the Tower of Hercules, and indulge in Galician cuisine, La Coruña makes for a tranquil port day. While it may not offer as many tourist attractions and activities as a city like Valencia or Barcelona, I loved being able to walk around and learn more about Galicia’s culture and landscapes.

After three port days in a row, I would say that this itinerary works best for those who are more interested in visiting small towns over Europe’s biggest, most touristy cities. If it’s your first time visiting Europe, you may prefer an itinerary to cities like Rome, Nice, and Naples to see attractions such as the Colosseum, Pompeii, etc.

If you’ve already seen those places, though, venturing to smaller, lesser-known towns will offer the opportunity to see these countries from a new perspective and connect more with local culture rather than quickly hopping from attraction to attraction.

Because I’ve already visited many of western Europe’s big cities, this cruise itinerary is exactly what I was hoping for! I probably never would have thought about visiting Galicia, for example, and now I am already itching to go back.

Back onboard

I was back onboard around 3:30 and took around two hours to relax in my stateroom before heading to dinner.

We enjoyed another dinner in the Main Dining Room tonight. I think this is the most I have ever eaten in the Main Dining Room on a cruise! While I often opt for a quick dinner at the buffet after port or the occasional specialty restaurant, it’s been nice to feel “spoiled” every night in the dining room.

After ten cruises, I still can’t believe how fancy it feels when the waiter brings out the scraper to clean crumbs off the table before dessert. I ordered pesto tagliatelle and cherries jubilee for dinner tonight and they were both delicious!

A well-anticipated event was scheduled after dinner: my first Broadway production on a Royal Caribbean cruise!

So far, I’ve been on three other Royal Caribbean ships with Broadway shows (Oasis, Harmony, and Independence of the Seas). Each time, the Broadway show was canceled due to omicron or crew injury. Because of this, I was super excited to watch We Will Rock You in the Royal Theater on Anthem of the Seas.

We Will Rock You tells the story of the battle between the Bohemians and an oppressive establishment. While the Bohemians want to uncover the freedom of rock n’ roll, the futuristic establishment tries to oppress anyone from playing and discovering history’s greatest music.

Let’s just say my mind was blown by the incredible performance; it is by far the best show I’ve seen on any ship yet! I now understand why everyone raves about Royal Caribbean’s Broadway shows. The 2-hour production was extremely high-energy, with classic rock n’ roll tunes that turned the theater into a giant party.

The cast was beyond talented as well, with the best vocals I’ve ever heard on a cruise ship! I usually find it difficult to understand Royal Caribbean’s more abstract entertainment shows, so I loved having an easy-to-follow storyline mixed with wonderful live music. Samantha and I might see the show again tomorrow because we enjoyed it so much.

Tomorrow is a much-needed sea day after three busy port days in a row!

More Anthem of the Seas Live Blogs:

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Sea Day

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - La Rochelle, France

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Bilbao, Spain

Beach Reads: PRIDE Month

In:
22 Jun 2022
By: 
Haley Mills

There’s no better time to read than a cruise, when you can kick off your shoes, grab a drink of choice, and settle in with whatever book you’ve been saving for just this opportunity.

Woman reading a book by the beach

Does this sound like a good idea to you? We have some recommendations perfect for all you June cruisers (and everyone else, too)! Pack one or two of these books in your suitcase or on your tablet for your next vacation.

June is the month of PRIDE - a celebration and recognition for LGBTQIA+ people. All the books on our list for this month are written by a member of the queer community, and tell some kind of related story. I’d love to hear in the comments which book you chose, or if you have a favorite read for PRIDE Month that wasn’t mentioned!

Fiction

Star-crossed book
  • The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall:  A classic, banned for obscenity when published in 1928, but one of the most famous of lesbian novels. Stephen is a war hero and a writer, a child of aristocratic parents, but she is a woman, and so are her lovers and so she is forced into desperate actions.
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin:  Another often banned classic.  David has a passionate love affair with Giovanni in Paris, but when his girlfriend returns, he pretends nothing has happened. Giovanni’s life is devastated.
  • Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee:  Great for fans of YA! Mattie is cast as Romeo in her school’s Shakespeare play, and wonders…is it possible to crush on both guys, and her Juliet too?
  • The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai:  Two overlapping stories combine in this incredible history of the AIDS epidemic. We see the devastating carnage of the 80s as a group of friends succumb to the virus one by one. Thirty years later, the sole survivor still grapples with the grief as she tries to find her daughter in Paris.
  • It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian:  Regency Romance fans should look no further than Cat Sebastian for their next favorite series. In It Takes Two, Vicar Ben is asked to look after a naval captain’s children, and finds himself head over heels with these kids. When their father comes home, he is impatient to be back at sea again, but can the Vicar show him what family truly means?

Nonfiction

Buffering book
  • Buffering by Hannah Hart:  Youtube superstar Hannah Hart shares a very personal memoir about coming to terms with her sexuality, her mother’s mental illness, and other life experiences.
  • They/Them/Their by Eris Young:  This book is here to break down definitions and misconceptions, as well as provide the history of nonbinary identities and gender-neutral language. How does living outside the gender binary affect one’s relationship, sense of identity, use of language, etc?
  • Naturally Tan by Tan France:  Netflix addicts will recognize France from Queer Eye, but here we get a memoir of what it was like to grow up gay in a Muslim family in a culturally white town in the UK.
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson:  Check out the memoir from Queer Activist and Journalist George M Johnson, as he explores his coming of age. His story covers topics of gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, consent, and Black Joy.
  • TOMBOYLAND by Melissa Faliveno:  My personal favorite book so far that I’ve read in 2022! A collection of essays told of growing up in the American Midwest, and what it is like to not fit into the “norm” of the deeply ingrained traditional culture that can be found here.

Are you someone who likes to read when you get on board your vacation cruise? How many books do you usually pack? What are you reading for PRIDE Month? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Happy Pride!

Wonder of the Seas Guide, itinerary, features, and more

In:
21 Jun 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Wonder of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world, and the fifth ship in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class. A marvel of technology, engineering, and design, Wonder of the Seas offers something for every type of traveler to enjoy.

Wonder of the Seas aerial

We’ve put together a guide to help you plan a cruise on Wonder of the Seas and learn more about the amenities, features, staterooms, activities, dining, and entertainment available onboard.

Wonder of the Seas overview

Wonder of the Seas night lit up

Wonder of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship, whose inaugural sailing was on March 4, 2022.

She is currently the largest cruise ship in the world, taking the title from her sister ship Symphony of the Seas. At 1,188 feet long, 210 feet wide, and with a gross tonnage of 236,857, Wonder of the Seas is a massive vessel.

She has a capacity of 5,734 guests at double capacity and 6,988 guests total. With 2,300 crew onboard, the total capacity for Wonder of the Seas is 9,288 passengers!

Despite having such a high capacity, it’s unlikely that Wonder of the Seas will feel extremely crowded. Due to Royal Caribbean’s innovative Oasis Class ship design, Wonder of the Seas is split into several neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods are designed to space out guests and provide a diverse experience throughout the ship, with each neighborhood offering different amenities, activities, and dining.

Like other Oasis Class ships, Wonder of the Seas has the following neighborhoods:

  1. The Boardwalk, meant to evoke nostalgia for oceanfront boardwalks of the past. The Boardwalk is complete with an arcade, candy store, hot dogs, sports bar, and Johnny Rockets.
  2. Pool & Sports Zone, where guests can enjoy the ship’s pools, hot tubs, and signature activities on the Sports Court
  3. Central Park, a tranquil area where guests can walk and relax along thousands of plants and flowers. Central Park is home to several restaurants, retail stores, bars, and artwork.
  4. The Royal Promenade, the main thoroughfare on Wonder of the Seas where guests can enjoy bars and lounges, shop, and grab a coffee
  5. Entertainment Place, the hub of signature entertainment on Wonder of the Seas, complete with a comedy club, ice skating rink, theater, and casino
  6. Youth Zone, home to Adventure Ocean programming, an arcade, and teen club
  7. Vitality Spa & Fitness, a peaceful spa and salon with a diverse range of treatments available. The fitness center is available at no extra cost to guests.

Wonder of the Seas differs from her Oasis Class sisters, however, in that she has an eighth neighborhood onboard, the Suite Neighborhood.

The Suite Neighborhood is an exclusive enclave available just for suite guests on Wonder of the Seas. Located at the top of the ship, suite guests can enjoy a private neighborhood that features the Coastal Kitchen restaurant, Suite Lounge, and private Suite Sun Deck.

While other Royal Caribbean ships have a private sun deck for suite guests, Wonder of the Seas takes this concept one step further. The Suite Sun Deck on Wonder of the Seas is a large outdoor space featuring comfy loungers, its own bar, and a plunge pool. The sun deck overlooks both the ocean and sports deck area.

The Suite Neighborhood offers an exclusive experience for guests looking to enhance their cruise experience, and can be a selling point for those deciding between booking a suite or not.

Wonder of the Seas dining

As an Oasis Class ship, there is no shortage of dining options found on Wonder of the Seas. Both complimentary and specialty dining options are available and come in a wide range of cuisines and styles, meaning there is something for everyone to eat onboard.

With so many restaurants included in your cruise fare, it’s entirely possible to eat only at the complimentary venues on Wonder of the Seas. From Mediterranean-inspired dinners at Solarium Bistro to American breakfast at Johnny Rockets, it’s unlikely you’ll get bored with the complimentary restaurants available.

Wonder of the Seas also has a wide selection of specialty dining venues. Specialty restaurants come at an extra cost, but offer cuisines and dining experiences not found elsewhere onboard.

Specialty restaurant meals can be purchased individually or as part of a dining package. Purchasing a dining package allows you to try several different restaurants at a lower cost than purchasing each meal individually.

Dining package availability is limited, so it’s a good idea to book a dining package early via the Cruise Planner website. Both a 3-night Dining Package and Unlimited Dining Package may be available depending on the cruise.

Wonder of the Seas complimentary dining options:

  • Main Dining Room
  • Windjammer Cafe
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Park Cafe
  • Cafe Promenade
  • Sorrento’s Pizza
  • Boardwalk Dog House
  • El Loco Fresh
  • Vitality Cafe
  • Coastal Kitchen (suites only)
  • Room service (continental breakfast only)
  • Johnny Rockets (breakfast only)

Wonder of the Seas specialty dining options:

  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar
  • Wonderland
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi
  • Hooked Seafood
  • 150 Central Park
  • Sugar Beach (ice cream and candy only)
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
  • Starbucks
  • Johnny Rockets (lunch and dinner)
  • The Mason Jar
  • Chef’s Table

A restaurant brand new to Wonder of the Seas is The Mason Jar, a southern-inspired venue featuring dishes from diverse regions of the American south.

Open for brunch and dinner, menu highlights at The Mason Jar include Meemaw’s Fried Chicken N’ Waffles, Stuffed French Toast, Crab Beignets, Classic Po’boy, Lobster N’ Crawfish Gumbo, Shrimp N’ Grits, and the Southern Burger.

Adjacent to the restaurant is The Mason Jar Bar, serving specialty cocktails including the PB&J Old Fashioned, Mississippi Moonlight, and All Shook-Up shake.

Read more: The Mason Jar Southern food restaurant on Wonder of the Seas

Wonder of the Seas is the only Oasis Class ship to feature Royal Caribbean’s newest Italian restaurant, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen.

Guests can dine on Italian-American cuisine, with menu highlights including chicken parmesan and spaghetti carbonara. Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen also has an extensive pizza menu with pizzas made to order in the restaurant’s own pizza oven.

Next to Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen is Giovavnni’s Wine Bar, which offers a selection of Italian wines. Guests at the wine bar are also able to order food from Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen next door, although the menu is limited and not included in the dining package. However, this can be a nice option for those wanting to try just an appetizer or pizza from the restaurant, and the prices per item are quite reasonable.

If you’re unsure of whether you should book a dining package or not, check out this video from the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube channel which explains the pros and cons of a Royal Caribbean dining package:

Wonder of the Seas Bars & Lounges

Just like dining venues, Wonder of the Seas has no shortage of bars and lounges to explore. Two brand new bars were brought to Wonder of the Seas: Cantina Fresca and The Vue.

Cantina Fresca is a Latin-themed bar focusing on Mexican-inspired cocktails. This is the place to go onboard for margaritas, with flavors including pineapple jalapeño, strawberry, mango, and passion fruit. Mexican agua frescas are also available here, the first ever offered on a Royal Caribbean ship.

Cantina Fresca is conveniently located next to El Loco Fresh near the Sports Court, offering the perfect beverages to go along with burritos, nachos, and quesadillas.

Vue Bar at night

The Vue is the second new bar on Wonder of the Seas. Taking the place of what would have been a second cantilevered hot tub, The Vue offers picturesque views of the ocean during both day and night. The bar is partially covered by a mosaic canopy, which lights up at night in a kaleidoscope of color.

Other bars and lounges on Wonder of the Seas include:

  • Schooner Bar
  • Trellis Bar
  • Boleros
  • Rising Tide Bar
  • Solarium Bar
  • Bionic Bar
  • Cask & Clipper Pub
  • Wipe Out Bar
  • The Attic
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
  • The Lime and Coconut

Shows & Entertainment

Wonder of the Seas is packed with entertainment venues and shows to satisfy thousands of guests per week. All shows and entertainment are included in your cruise fare, although reservations are usually required for signature performances. It’s a good idea to open the Royal Caribbean app as soon as you get onboard and reserve your preferred time slots for shows.

There are three main entertainment venues on Wonder of the Seas: the AquaTheater, the Royal Theater, and Studio B.

In the AquaTheater guests can enjoy inTENse, the first AquaTheater show to feature an all-female cast. As the name implies, inTENse is an intense performance with aerial acrobatics, slacklining, high diving, tumbling, and synchronized swimming. Adding to the performance are immersive lighting and sound effects that are sure to leave guests inspired.

The Royal Theater is home to two headliner performances: Voices and The Effectors II. Voices: An Intimate Performance on a Grand Scale, is a hybrid virtual and live show featuring vocal, musical, and dance performances.

The Effectors II: Crash ‘n’ Burn is a sequel to the original show found on Spectrum and Odyssey of the Seas. Royal Caribbean’s cast of superheroes returns to the stage in this performance to battle their archnemesis known as Crash (and his sidekick Burn).

The Effectors II uses dramatic and state-of-the-art technology to create scenery, imaging, and storytelling throughout the show. 

While not a show that was offered when the ship launched, it began performances in June 2022.

In Studio B, the ice rink onboard, guests can travel through the year’s seasons with 365: The Seasons on Ice. The Wonder of the Seas ice show tells the story of Earth’s changing seasons through projection mapping, lighting and sound, costumes, and set design. The ice show features a talented cast of professional figure skaters and includes an impressive performance from an aerialist.

Outside of the main headliner shows on Wonder of the Seas are a variety of other entertainment options. Guests can enjoy live music throughout the ship, from piano tunes at Schooner Bar to acoustic guitar at the pub.

Something new to Wonder of the Seas is live country music at The Mason Jar. On most evenings (and some afternoons), a country band performs at the bar. Guests here can listen to live tunes while sipping a drink from one of the comfy rocking chairs found throughout the bar.

Comedy shows are performed throughout the cruise as well, either in the Royal Theater or in The Attic comedy club.

Pool deck

The pool deck on Wonder of the Seas is a hub of activity throughout the cruise, for both guests looking to relax in the sun and those wanting to participate in onboard activities.

The pool deck’s design shares many similarities with other Oasis Class ships. There are three main pools, several jacuzzis, and one Splashaway Bay location for kids.

Parents with young children will especially enjoy Splashaway Bay, as it provides a splash pad and aqua park area with water sprayers, slides, and dump buckets.

The Perfect Storm waterslides are also found on the pool deck. These are a set of three waterslides: two racing and one that ends with guests sliding around a “champagne” or “toilet” bowl to the bottom. Waterslides are complimentary and open for most of the day.

Wonder of the Seas features a Caribbean-style pool deck, complete with colorful decor and The Lime and Coconut bar. There are three Lime and Coconut locations on the pool deck. Two are found next to the pools on either side of the ship, and the other is located on the upper pool deck.

The location above the pool deck offers comfy seating with panoramic views of the ship and ocean, and is sure to be a popular hangout spot on sea days. Signature drinks to try at The Lime and Coconut are the Rum Runner, Mai Tai, Watermelon Rita, and Lime and Coconut.

In addition to the ample seating around the pool deck, Wonder of the Seas has several casitas available for reservation. These come at an extra cost and provide a covered daybed option for guests looking for a bit more comfort. The casitas on Wonder of the Seas are all located on the upper pool deck on deck 16.

Wonder of the Seas has more diverse pool seating compared to other Oasis Class ships. Across from the massive television overlooking the pool are padded theater chairs. These chairs are accessible throughout the day for guests looking to relax or watch a movie.

Solarium

Like all Royal Caribbean ships, Wonder of the Seas has an adults-only Solarium. Available to guests 16 and older, the Solarium offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle found elsewhere onboard. 

The Solarium on Wonder of the Seas differs from other Oasis Class ships in that It is fully enclosed and climate controlled. This ensures guests are able to enjoy the Solarium in any type of weather.

Inside the Solarium are hot tubs, a small pool, and plenty of pool chairs to lounge in. Padded chairs, mushroom loungers, and sofas are available to sit in as well, leading to maximum comfort for guests.

Here guests can also find the Solarium Bridge wings, one of the hidden secrets on Wonder of the Seas.

Also located in the Solarium is the Solarium Bistro, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Solarium Bistro is a complimentary dining venue that usually has fewer crowds than other venues onboard. Above the Solarium Bistro is Hooked Seafood, where guests can dine on New England style seafood dishes.

Signature activities on Wonder of the Seas

Wonder of the Seas is packed with immersive, thrilling, and unique activities for guests of all ages. Most signature activities on Wonder of the Seas are included in your cruise fare. Most are open every day of the cruise, although exact days and times can be found on the Cruise Planner or in the Royal Caribbean app.

Something new to Wonder of the Seas is the Wonder Playscape, an underwater-themed playground with climbing walls, nets, games, puzzles, slides, and plenty of nooks and crannies to discover.

The Wonder Playscape is intended for kids up to 12, but seems to be geared more toward younger children.

Other activities on Wonder of the Seas include:

  • The Ultimate Abyss, a dry slide taking guests nine decks down from the Sports Court to the Boardwalk neighborhood
  • The zipline, during which guests fly over the Boardwalk neighborhood
  • FlowRider, a surf simulator for boogie boarding and standup surfing
  • Escape from Planet Z laser tag
  • Wonder Dunes mini golf
  • Rock climbing walls
  • Sports Court area for activities like basketball, pickleball, soccer, ping pong, etc.
  • Ice skating rink in Studio B
  • Carousel

Wonder of the Seas is set to have an Escape Room located next to Adventure Ocean, but it is not currently built. Once constructed, the Escape Room will likely come at an extra cost.

There are also two arcades onboard: a large arcade near Adventure Ocean and a small set of games next to Playmakers on the Boardwalk. The arcade has an additional cost.

Other activities found on Wonder of the Seas include trivia, game shows, scavenger hunts, karaoke, pool games, and more.

Adventure Ocean

Wonder of the Seas follows Royal Caribbean’s updated Adventure Ocean programming, with childcare and activities for children aged 6 months to 17 years.

Adventure Ocean is free for guests, with the exception of the nursery (6-36 months) and childcare after 10pm.

The following areas are offered in Adventure Ocean on Wonder of the Seas:

  • AO Kids, for children aged 6-12, which features a large open area for games like dodgeball, as well as video games, interactive digital tables, and hangout spaces
  • AO Juniors, a space for kids 3-5 years old with age-appropriate activities and open play areas
  • AO Babies, a nursery area for children between 6 and 36 months
  • AO Theater, where movies, talent shows, games, and performances are held
  • The Workshop, home to craft and science lab activities
  • Play Place, a play area for kids featuring climbing and playground equipment. This area is open throughout the day for parents to visit with their children.

Teens aged 13-17 onboard Wonder of the Seas also have their own designated spaces. The teen areas of Adventure Ocean are less structured than those for other age groups, with teens free to come and go as they please.

The first teens-only space onboard is Social100. This space has plenty of comfy seating and hangout space, video games, books, a vending machine, foosball tables, and interactive digital tables.

Teens also have access to the Social100 Patio, located outside on deck 17. The Social100 patio features its own hot tub, non-alcoholic bar, beanbag chairs and other lounge seating, selfie photo spot, and giant chess set.

Wonder of the Seas staterooms

With a capacity of 6,988 guests, there is an array of stateroom categories to choose from when booking a cruise on Wonder of the Seas. In fact, there are a total of 2,867 staterooms found onboard.

Choosing which stateroom to book ultimately depends on your budget and vacation style. Some guests may prefer booking an interior or ocean view room and putting the money saved towards add ons like a drink package or shore excursion. Others may value the extra space and privacy a balcony or suite provides, even if it comes at a higher cost.

No matter which stateroom you choose, all cabins come with a private bathroom, television, vanity/desk area, dresser, couch or lounge chair, outlets, a mini fridge, and storage.

Here are the non-suite staterooms available on Wonder of the Seas:

  • Interior
  • Interior with Virtual Balcony
  • Promenade View Interior
  • Central Park View Interior
  • Ocean View
  • Central Park View Balcony
  • Boardwalk View Balcony
  • Ocean View Balcony
  • Ocean View with Large Balcony

Accessible staterooms are also available in most room categories, which come with extra space including wider doors, ramps, lowered sink and vanity, lowered storage and safe, etc.

The following suites are available to book on Wonder of the Seas:

  • Junior Suite with Balcony
  • Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
  • Owner’s Suite - 1 Bedroom
  • Crown Loft Suite with Balcony
  • Royal Loft Suite
  • Spacious AquaTheater Suite - 1 or 2 bedrooms
  • Ultimate Family Suite

Read moreA look at the big suites on Wonder of the Seas

Wonder of the Seas is the third ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet to have the Ultimate Family Suite. Complete with an in-suite slide, colorful step climbers, interactive piano staircase, three bedrooms, a jacuzzi, and a movie/game room, the Ultimate Family Suite is sure to impress all kids onboard.

Wonder of the Seas itineraries

The original plan was for Wonder of the Seas to be homeported in China, but Royal Caribbean decided to redeploy the ship to the United States instead.

In March 2022, Wonder of the Seas began offering 7-night Eastern/Western Caribbean & Perfect Day itineraries from Port Everglades, Florida.

Wonder of the Seas carousel

In May 2022, Wonder of the Seas will head to Europe, where she will offer 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona and Rome. Wonder of the Seas will visit Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Capri, Italy and replace Allure of the Seas in the region.

After her summer season, Wonder returns to Florida to offer year-round sailings in November 2022, when she sails from Port Canaveral. Destinations range from Perfect Day at CocoCay and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Cozumel, Mexico.

Wonder of the Seas frequently asked questions

How much did Wonder of the Seas cost to build?

Wonder of the Seas under construction

Royal Caribbean paid $1.35 billion to the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Naizaire, France to build the ship.

It took them three years to build the ship, which included a construction delay due to the global health crisis in 2021.

How many restaurants are on Wonder of the Seas?

Windjammer entrance on Wonder of the Seas

There are more than 20 different places to eat on Wonder of the Seas. 

Not all the restaurants are free to dine, as some have an extra cost to dine there.

  • Main dining room
  • Sorrento's
  • Windjammer Marketplace
  • Cafe Promenade
  • Boardwalk Doghouse
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (extra cost)
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade (extra cost)
  • Hooked Seafood (extra cost)
  • El Loco Fresh and Cantina Fresca
  • The Lime & Coconut (extra cost)
  • Izumi (extra cost)
  • Wonderland (extra cost)
  • 150 Central Park (extra cost)
  • Johnny Rockets (extra cost)
  • Starbucks (extra cost)
  • Sugar Beach (extra cost)
  • Chops Grille (extra cost)

Is Wonder of the Seas sailing at full capacity?

Vue Bar on Wonder of the Seas

Yes, all of Royal Caribbean's ships are sailing at or near full capacity since Memorial Day 2022.

While the ship sailed at reduced capacity when it first debuted, the amount of passengers have steadily gone up since then and has reached full capacity in summer 2022 sailings.

Is there an escape room on Wonder of the Seas?

Not yet.

It looks like there's a space for it near Adventure Ocean, but the venue is not open. Royal Caribbean has not commented on what the escape room will entail, nor when it might open.

More Wonder of the Seas resources:

Wonder of the Seas FAQ

Interesting facts you may not know about Wonder of the Seas

Wonder of the Seas Live Blog

10 things to do before you board Wonder of the Seas

Adventure of the Seas Review & Guide

In:
21 Jun 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas is a mainstay of the fleet, offering a blend of fun activities on a cruise ship that has been refreshed fairly recently.

Adventure of the Seas in St Maarten

Adventure of the Seas is a Voyager Class cruise ship, which means she is a medium-sized vessel in Royal Caribbean's fleet. While not as big as other ships, she still packs lots for families to enjoy.

In addition, the value you can get with an Adventure of the Seas booking is superb, as Royal Caribbean International often prices sailings much lower than the largest ships sailing the same itinerary.

Adventure of the Seas in CocoCay

Adventure of the Seas sails from a variety of places in North America and Northern Europe. Her home ports include Cape Liberty in New Jersey & Galveston, Texas.

Here's a look at what Adventure of the Seas has to offer onboard, and what makes it a great choice for a cruise.

Adventure of the Seas Overview

Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas is the third cruise ship in the Voyager-Class cruise ships, and was launched in 2001.

She has 14 passenger decks and has a maximum capacity of 3,807 guests (although her regular occupancy at double occupancy is 3,114).

Exterior view of Adventure of the Seas

In 2016 and 2018, she underwent a $61 million upgrade that added new dual racer waterslides, Cyclone and Typhoon, the popular FlowRider surf simulator, and a children’s aquapark, Splashaway Bay. They also added a new sushi restaurant and more than 100 new staterooms, a refresh of all existing staterooms and a brand new Suites Lounge.

Adventure of the Seas

Measuring 138,193 in gross tonnage and 1,020 feet long, Adventure of the Seas is not a small ship. She has a capacity of nearly 4000 guests at double capacity, 14 guest-accessible decks, and 1,963 staterooms.

Like all Voyager-Class ships, she has a Royal Promenade that runs through the middle of the ship and is the main thoroughfare, with shopping and dining to enjoy.

Fun things to do on Adventure of the Seas

Water slides on Adventure of the Seas

You'll find a lot of onboard activities on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas, beginning with the pool deck.

Adventure has two side-by-side main pools and several jacuzzis, as well as an adults-only (16+ years old only) Solarium. The Solarium has both a pool and hot tub.

Kids will enjoy Splashaway Bay water park, which has mini slides, a drench bucket, geysers, and lots of area to run around.

On the back half of the pool deck, there are the Perfect Storm waterslides, which has twin racer slides.

Rock climbing wall on Adventure of the Seas

You can also hit the sports courts, try the rock-climbing wall, or even the FlowRider surf simulator. All of these experiences are complimentary.

The FlowRider offers both stand-up surfing and boogie boarding options throughout the cruise.

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There's a two story mini golf course, known as Adventure Dunes, which is complimentary to enjoy.

In terms of activities, you'll find a daily assortment things to do onboard the ship. Each day, the Cruise Compass is distributed to guests with a guide to what times each activity is planned for, and at which venue.

Examples of activities you can expect include:

  • General trivia
  • Name that tune
  • Karaoke
  • Game shows
  • Art auction
  • Dance fitness classes
  • Movies on the outdoor movie screen
  • Belly flop competition

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There is also a wide assortment of live music on Adventure of the Seas. From bands to solo performers, you'll find different venues offering live music throughout the day.

Three venues each evening offer a signature Royal Caribbean live music experience, with a piano player in the Schooner Bar, guitarist in the pub, and Latin band in Boleros.

Each evening in the Royal Theater, there will be a show. It could be a comedian, musical medley, magician, or a dance performance.

Game shows are also hosted each day of your cruise, where guests are invited to try their skill at games such as "Battle of the Sexes", "Love and Marriage game show", and more.

One more must-do event is the free skate in Studio B. On select days, Royal Caribbean opens up its ice rink to guests to skate. Skates and equipment are provided and there is no extra cost. You just need long pants and socks to participate.

Adventure of the Seas Dining

Your Royal Caribbean cruise fare includes meals and snacks, along with some drinks.  There's also the option to spend more and dine at specialty restaurants.

The good news is you definitely will not go hungry on this cruise with all the dining options.

Complimentary dining venues on Adventure of the Seas:

  • Main Dining Room, the main restaurant on any Royal Caribbean ship, offering a classic sit-down dining experience in a 3-story venue
  • Windjammer Marketplace, a buffet open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a variety of both American and international cuisines
  • Cafe Promenade, a small cafe offering specialty coffees and teas along with small grab-and-go items like muffins and sandwiches. There's also complimentary pizza here by the slice
  • Arctic Zone, soft-serve frozen yogurt by the pool

Specialty dining venues on Adventure of the Seas:

  • Chops Grille, Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse
  • Izumi Sushi, Japanese cuisine and sushi
  • Giovanni’s Table Italian Restaurant, classic Italian food featuring freshly-made pastas
  • Johnny Rockets, a 1950s style American restaurant with milkshakes, burgers, and fries
  • Chef’s Table, an intimate group dining experience where each course is paired with wine
  • Ben & Jerry’s, serving scoops of ice cream, sundaes, and milkshakes
  • Room service, Nearly 24 hour room service delivered to your cabin.

Should you spend extra for specialty dining? It depends on your tastes and budget.

There is nothing wrong with the food included with your cruise fare. The main dining room and Windjammer offer so much food for each meal, that you're likely to dine there and be quite content.

What specialty dining offers is a greater variety of food, which a lot of cruisers really enjoy. Steaks, lasgana, sushi, and more are what you get with specialty dining and in many cases, these foods are not otherwise available in the complimentary venues. Moreover, the quality of the food tends to be higher than similar offerings in the dining rooms.

Most people tend to book a blend, and sprinkle in specialty dining to augment the main dining room or buffet.

Adventure of the Seas bars & lounges

You'll find many bars and lounges to enjoy a cocktail while on your cruise.

Here's a list of bars and lounges on Adventure of the Seas:

  • Schooner Bar
  • Boleros
  • Solarium Bar
  • Casino bar
  • Imperial Lounge
  • Duck & Dog English Pub
  • Champagne Bar
  • The Plaza Bar (Windjammer)
  • Viking Crown Lounge (Blue Moon)
  • Diamond Club
  • Suite Lounge

Most bars have the same drink menu, so what makes each special is the decor. Some are more laid back venues, while others offer more of a focus on music or entertainment.

The Schooner Bar is a staple of the Royal Caribbean fleet, with live piano music each night of the cruise. It's a great place to sing along and have a drink.

If you prefer something more laid back, check out the Blue Moon in the Viking Crown Lounge on Deck 14. There's wonderful views of the pool deck and area around you.

Kids Club

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Adventure Ocean is the name of the kids club on Adventure of the Seas, which is available for kids between the age of 3 and 17 years old.

Adventure Ocean is divided into four age groups, with each group having their own programming and rooms suitable to the age range:

  • Aquanauts (3-5 years old)
  • Explorers (6-8 years old)
  • Voyagers (9-11 years old)
  • Teens (12-17 years old)

Adventure Ocean is mostly complimentary, with the exception of childcare after 10PM.

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Aside from embarkation day, there are two types of Adventure Ocean operating hours: port days and sea days.

On sea days, Adventure Ocean is typically open

  • 9am - noon
  • 2pm - 5pm
  • 7pm - 10pm

On port days, Adventure Ocean is open for the entire duration your Royal Caribbean ship is in port.  Once the ship leaves port, it resumes the normal schedule described in sea days.

An arcade is also located in Adventure Ocean and open to guests of all ages, although it comes at an extra cost.

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.

Adventure of the Seas Entertainment

You'll find shows performed in two venues on Adventure of the Seas: the Lyric Theater and Studio B ice skating rink.

In the Royal Theater, there are different shows performed each night. This includes a welcome aboard show on the first night and a farewell show on the last night. In-between, the singers and dancers perform shows such as Invitation to Dance and Can't Stop The Rock.

In Studio B, guests can enjoy Cool Art...Hot Ice!, an ice skating show, which is described as, "a journey through time and space. The story unfolds when Arthur falls in love with a statue that comes to life. He's led by his muse on a whimsical journey where nothing is truly as it seems." It's a fun show that is worth seeing for the talented ice skaters.

Outside of signature production shows, a variety of other entertainment can be found on Adventure of the Seas, including live music, karaoke, and game shows.

Spa & fitness

If you're looking to forget your cares, or stay in shape, while onboard Adventure of the Seas, the Vitality Spa and Fitness Center is where you want to go.

The fitness center is complimentary (although classes cost extra) and has cardio and strength equipment you can use on a first-come, first served basis.

Over in the spa, you can reserve an appointment for a massages, facials or a salon treatment. These all cost extra. Port days often have better discounts available than sea days, so be sure to ask about any onboard specials in the spa.

Adventure of the Seas Review

Royal Promenade on Adventure of the Seas

While not the newest or glitziest ship in the fleet, Adventure of the Seas has plenty to do onboard at a very reasonable price.

A Voyager-Class cruise ship is an excellent value, because they are still big ships with lots of activities that don't cost a lot to sail on. It has the signature venues most people expect with a Royal Caribbean ship, so there is not much compromise aside from lacking the absolute newest innovations. 

Often people considering Adventure of the Seas are worried they are making a mistake by booking a ship that is 20 years old instead of newer ships. The reality is the age of a ship isn't what it once was, and recent upgrades in 2016 and 2018 really raised the bar for what you can do onboard. Yes, they are one of the older ships, but that isn't the end-all, be-all, of what makes a great ship.

If there's something lacking on Adventure of the Seas, it's the staterooms still have the older feel to them compared to cabins on new Oasis or Quantum-Class ships. Besides the decor, there's less storage space.

In addition, the suite experience on Adventure pales compared to the services and amenities you get for staying in a suite on Oasis or Quantum-Class ships. Of course, the price of a suite is a lot more affordable on Adventure, the the Suite Lounge and concierge services are still lovely.

What draws us to Adventure of the Seas is the price. You can sail on Adventure of the Seas for likely half the cost of a newer ship, and unlike smaller  Royal Caribbean ships, there's still plenty to do. For most families, they should find enough activities to keep them busy without feeling like the ship lacks too much.

The crew members on Adventure of the Seas have always been quite good, and work hard to deliver a great cruise experience.

If you're a new cruiser, Adventure of the Seas is one of the cruise vessels you won't feel out of place on because of all the extra space and fun things to do. Voyager-Class vessels are destination experiences, which make it a good choice for a first time cruiser.

Between the value and fun offerings, you'll have no trouble enjoying a relaxing cruise aboard Adventure of the Seas.