Category 2C Ocean View Stateroom with Large Balcony on Oasis of the Seas Photo Tour

By: Matt Hochberg

We have a look inside one of the most popular stateroom categories available on Oasis of the Seas, the Category 2C - Ocean View Stateroom with Large Balcony. Following the 2019 Amplification, this room received some minor updates as well.

The photos of this room are from cabin 10202 on deck 10. 

Access to all staterooms on Oasis of the Seas are controlled via RFID. This means doors can be opened via a SeaPass card, WOWband or Royal Caribbean app.

Category 2C staterooms have two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, a sitting area with sofa, a full bathroom and private balcony.

This cabin offers 182 square feet of living space, along with a sofa to sit on during the day.

As the category name implies, this room has a larger than normal private balcony, which measures 80 square feet.

The Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show review

By: Matt Hochberg

One of the best tips for anyone going on a cruise is to fly to their embarkation port at least one day early. If you have an evening to spend in Fort Lauderdale, a great family dinner experience is the Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show.

Mai-Kai is a bit of a local landmark, known for serving up Asian fare, tropical drinks & a Polynesian show. The building alone catches the attention of anyone passing by.  So much so that I took my family to check it out for dinner on an evening prior to our Royal Caribbean cruise.

Depending on the day of the week, there are one, two or three shows offered. The most shows are on the weekend, and they are closed on Mondays. You definitely want to call ahead and make a reservation as Mai-Kai is a very popular choice for tourists, celebrations, date nights and more.

As you drive up to Mai-Kai, the building's Polynesian architecture is hard to miss and in a part of South Florida that definitely has no other buildings that look anything like this one, it is hard to miss.  It is mandatory valet parking, so bring cash or take a Lyft ride over.  They offer standard valet parking ($3), as well as "express valet" ($10) that promises to get you out faster. I paid for the express valet to avoid a rush when the show was over, but there was hardly a line so next time I would go for the standard valet option.

Mai-Kai is a very large building, with the Molokai Bar immediately on your left as you walk in.  You could forgo the dinner show and just enjoy drinks here while also walking the grounds for a less-expensive evening. 

Dinner at the Mai-Kai means you are paying for the meal, and the show.  At the time this review was written, the show charge is $15 for adults, and for kids 2-12 years old, no show charge when ordering from the kids menu, or $10 per child without the kids menu.

You should also be aware Mai-Kai has a business casual dress code for the bar and dining rooms. Their site says, "No shoes meant for swimming or beach (flip flops or such sandals ok for the women). No swimwear or gym attire. No hats for men. No sleeveless shirts for men. Slacks are required for men." 

Upon check-in, the wait staff directs you to your assigned table.  There are a variety of tables with views of the stage, and I am not certain how tables are assigned.  We ended up with a great table that was slightly elevated, which provided the perfect view for my kids of the stage.


Dinner is served prior to the show, and you can (and should) walk the garden grounds before the show begins. Outside the restaurant is a large outdoor South Pacific inspired green space, which is perfect for family photos.

The menu is massive, and features a large variety of tiki drinks to enjoy. In addition, the food menu covers a wide variety of choices. Most of the food is Americanized Chinese food, with some sushi available as well.  

Speaking of the menu, this is not the cheapest meal you will find in South Florida.  It is fairly pricey, but the experience is part of what you are paying for overall. 

The food is far from the best I have ever had, but certainly tasty and everyone enjoyed what they ordered. Mai-Kai is not serving up avant garde cuisine, or looking to break the mold with their offerings. This is comfort Chinese food that anyone can enjoy.

Of course, the reason for going to Mai-Kai is for the show.  A troupe of performers who have been doing the show for decades regales the audience with a variety of musical and dancing styles from across the South Pacific.

The Polynesian Islander Revue provides the music and dancing styles of Samoa, New Zealand, Hawaii and more. During the summer months (starting in mid June to mid November), the Mai-Kai features a Kids Show every Sunday evening.

Mai-Kai claims the restaurant owner and choreographer began as one of the original dancers in 1961, and the show is now the longest running Polynesian dance show in the continental United States. In fact, the owner crafts a new show each year that aims to showcase village life in the South Pacific at the turn of the last century.

Overall, the Mai-Kai restaurant was a big hit with our family. Anytime I can find food that the adults can find appealing and my young daughters do not complain about is always a win.  The show and performance is what truly drew us in, and it was a big winner. 

The show's pacing and styles keep the audience engaged, and it is exactly the kind of pre-cruise family outing that we were looking for to get our vacation off on the right foot.

If the price is not going to break your vacation budget and you are staying in the greater Fort Lauderdale area, Mai-Kai is a great choice for an night out.

Friday Photos - December 6, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

If it's Friday, that means we are sharing our reader's best Royal Caribbean photos in this week's Friday Photos showcase.  As always, we want to include as many of our readers photos as we can, so be sure to send us your best Royal Caribbean photos too!

Our first photo this week is by Gerald Chernicoff of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, taken while on a Quantum of the Seas Asian Spice Tour.

The next photo is by John Curtin, and it is of Serenade of the Seas in Cozumel, Mexico.

Here is a shot of the pool deck of Harmony of the Seas in the evening, taken by Peter Slinger.

George sent in this photo of Rhapsody of the Seas docked in Dubrovnik.

Next up is a photo by Stuart Cole of Ovation of the Seas departing Sydney.

Next up is a photo of Allure of the Seas behind the rocks at Labadee. Photo by Allen Scroggins.

Our final photo this week is by Jason Peterson and it is a view of the Boardwalk neighborhood, as seen from the Wonderland restaurant.

Do you have Royal Caribbean photos that you want to share?  We'd love to feature them so send them in by using our nifty submission form and maybe your photos will show up in next week's edition!

Royal Caribbean's Green Monday sale offers 30% off every guest, kids sail free and more!

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Green Monday Sale offers 30% off every guest, kids sail free and up to $200 instant savings.

The Green Monday Sale applies to new bookings made between December 6 - 9, 2019 and is valid on select sailings departing on or after January 6, 2020.

It includes: 

  • 30% off cruise fare for all guests in the stateroom.
  • Up to $200 USD instant savings per stateroom and determined by category booked and sailing length:
    • Sailings 5 nights or less
      • $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $75 for Suites
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer
      • $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $100 for Balconies and $200 for Suites
    • Instant savings do not apply to China departures.
  • Kids Sail Free provides free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger as of cruise departure date, booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests in a triple of quad-occupancy stateroom.
    • Kids Sail Free applies to select 4-night or longer Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, CaribNE, Coastal, Europe, Hawaii, Repositioning and all Serenade of the Seas Alaska 2020 sailings departing between January 4, 2020 - December 17, 2020.
    • Offer excludes Odyssey of the Seas Europe sailings, President’s Day sailings (Sailings between February 14 – 17, 2020), Spring Break sailings (Sailings between March 14 – 23, 2020), Holy Week/Easter sailings (Sailings between April 3 – 17, 2020), Peak Summer sailings (Sailings between May 15 – August 31, 2020) and Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 21 - 28, 2020).
    • Taxes, fees, and port expenses are additional and apply to all guests.         

30% Off Every Guest and Kids Sail Free are combinable with each other as well as with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, instant savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Green Monday Sale is combinable with 30% Off Every Guest and Kids Sail Free, as well as with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades and Shareholder Benefits, but not combinable with Crown and Anchor discounts. Offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, and Net Rates. Promo Code driven offers are based on select ships and sail dates and must be applied at time of booking; limit one promo code per booking.

Offer available to residents of United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and select countries in the Caribbean. 

Royal Caribbean cruise ship holds Guinness World Record for largest pasta tasting event

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas made history when it became host to the largest pasta tasting event ever.

The Guinness World Records recognized the achievement when 468 guests sailing on Brilliance of the Seas attended the largest pasta tasting event.

The feat was reached during the ship's recent transatlantic repositioning cruise between Spain and the United States on November 15, 2019.

Royal Caribbean invited guests onboard to take part in the event, which was lead by Executive Chef Alastair Gillott.

How many formal nights on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

By: Matt Hochberg

You might be wondering how many formal nights there are going to be on your Royal Caribbean cruise. Part of planning a Royal Caribbean cruise is being prepared for the different activities and events onboard, including formal nights. 

On select evenings of a Royal Caribbean cruise, the dress code in the main dining room is a little bit fancier, with the cruise line encouraging guests to dress their best. 

There are anywhere from 1-4 formal nights during a Royal Caribbean cruise, and the exact number depends on the length of your itinerary.

  • 3-5 night cruises: one formal night, usually on day 2.
  • 6-10 night cruises: two formal nights.
  • 11-14 night cruises: three formal nights, Days vary by ship and sailing.
  • 15+ night cruises: Three or four formal nights, Days and number vary by ship and sailing.

2020 Royal Caribbean Drink Package Info, Tips, Pros & Cons

By: Matt Hochberg

A Royal Caribbean beverage package offers the choice to enjoy an unlimited amount of drinks for a fixed daily price. This post offers tips for saving money with these drink packages and our reviews of the various plans.  

We will get to what each version of Royal Caribbean's Beverage Packages include and whether the Royal Caribbean Drink Package is worth the money below.  Our tips and opinions are based on our first-hand experiences with the drink packages, and the current versions for this year.  

Before we get to the dollars and cents, let us cover some basics.  For those who are unfamiliar with it, Royal Caribbean's drink packages are a fixed daily cost plan offered on all Royal Caribbean ships so guests can budget their beverage costs in advance and (potentially) save money.  The various plans provide guests with unlimited drinks that can be used at any bar or restaurant on Royal Caribbean ships (and private destinations).  The drink package benefits are available on the guest's SeaPass card or WOWband, which any waiter or bartender can verify they have the package.

Royal Caribbean guests wishing to purchase a drink package can do so either prior to their cruise via the Cruise Planner web site or once onboard their ship. Once purchased, you must pay for the package for the duration of your cruise.  If purchased during your cruise, guests will pay for the remaining nights of their cruise.

Let’s get more into the nitty-gritty of the 2020 Royal Caribbean drink package…

The drink packages can be redeemed at pretty much any restaurant or bar on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship or private destination.  There are only two places a drink package cannot be used: room service and stateroom mini-bars.

A lot of information exists about Royal Caribbean drink packages, with most of the focus on whether or not the package makes financial sense.  In fact, our most popular articles concerning Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol packages include Are the unlimited drink packages worth it, Answers to common Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol package questions,  Should you buy the unlimited alcohol packages. Frequent users of Royal Caribbean's drink packages become pretty adept at getting more bang for their buck on the packages, but with some advance planning, first-time Royal Caribbean cruisers can also make the most of the packages.

From time to time, Royal Caribbean may offer a drink package discount.These discounts are offered selectively and can vary in terms of how much the discount is and for which sailings they are eligible.  Nearly all discounts we have seen are offered prior to the cruise on the Cruise Planner web site. These discounts have the potential to add to the potential value a guest can get from a drink package, but remember any discount does not necessarily make the value proposition a drink package offers a "slam dunk" deal.

Before even booking a drink package, you should determine roughly how many drinks per day you think you can and will drink over the course of your cruise.  For some folks, 5-6 drinks per day is easy, while others may think that is a lot every day of a cruise.

That is probably enough background on Royal Caribbean's drink packages.  You likely still have some more questions, and we will dig into them below and get them answered.  For a simple system, it can be surprisingly complex, do not feel bad if it takes some reading before you fully understand how the drink package works and whether it is a good for for your party.

Continue Reading

Video: Top 10 cruise packing mistakes

By: Matt Hochberg

Packing for your cruise vacation means making sure you have everything you need for an a memorable and enjoyable time away from it all.  Packing also has its own set of challenges, and I have ten packing mistakes to avoid making.

Whether it is your first cruise or your twentieth, packing is one of those things we all have to do and it can cause problems later on in your cruise.  Here are the top pitfalls of packing for a cruise and what to do to avoid them!

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: Is there a packing mistake you have made? What is your advice for someone packing for a cruise?

Oasis of the Seas cruise review on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

By: Matt Hochberg

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

Episode 331 is available for downloading, where we share a review of our recent cruise on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.

Matt just got back from a 9 nights on the newly Amplified Oasis of the Seas, and talks about what he did onboard and shared some of his favorite things about this ship.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 331. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Royal Caribbean releases 2021-2022 Northeast, Canada & Bermuda sailings to book

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's 2021-2022 Northeast, Canada & Bermuda sailings are now available to book, with sailings visiting New England, Canada, Perfect Day at CocoCay, the Southern Caribbean and Bermuda.

The newly Amplified Oasis of the Seas returns to Cape Liberty in Summer 2021, sailing week long Caribbean itineraries with stops in Port Canaveral, Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Anthem of the Seas returns to Cape Liberty in Winter 2021 to sail a mix of week long wanders with stops in The Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay, plus 11-night adventures to the exotic isles of the Southern Caribbean.

Enchantment of the Seas will from Baltimore and offer 8-night itineraries with stops in Charleston, Port Canaveral and The Bahamas, plus 12-night Southern Caribbean sailings with stops in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbados, St. Lucia and more. Enchantment will also offer an escape on 5 and 9-night getaways to both Bermuda and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The Amplified Freedom of the Seas will sail 4-night summer adventures in Canada and 9-night New England fall itineraries, all from Cape Liberty. Freedom will also sail 5-night sailings to Bermuda that include an overnight stay in King's Wharf.

Brilliance of the Seas will do week long sailings out of Boston, while Empress of the Seas, returning to Cape Liberty, will offer 7-nighters  New England and Canada in Summer 2021, before sailing to Montreal for roundtrip 10 and 11-night fall adventures in Canada. Empress will also depart Cape Liberty to do overnight stays in both Hamilton and St. George.

View all the new sailings here:

Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society members can begin booking sailings on December 4, 2019, with the general public available to begin booking on December 5, 2019.