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Royal Caribbean cancels cruise on Vision of the Seas due to Tropical Storm Ophelia

22 Sep 2023
Elizabeth Wright

Sometimes, Royal Caribbean has to make the tough decision to cancel a sailing because of weather. 

Vision of the Seas sailing away

This happened recently for two cruises onboard Radiance of the Seas due to a problem with the ship's propulsion.

Unlike the mechanical issue that forced Royal Caribbean to cancel the sailings to Alaska, another cancellation has been made due to the weather. 

Those who were scheduled to depart on Vision of the Seas on September 23 were notified that their sailing has been canceled due to Tropical Storm Ophelia. 

Read moreAll about Vision Class cruise ships

Hurricane as seen from space

Royal Caribbean made the decision around 7:30pm EST on September 21. The update reads, "Along with our Chief Meteorologist, we’ve been closely monitoring a developing tropical storm bringing forecasted high winds and inclement weather in and around Baltimore, Maryland."

"Unfortunately, the weather will prevent us from safely conducting our upcoming cruise on Vision of the Seas, and we’ll have to cancel our September 23rd, 2023 sailing."

Nobody wants to hear that their highly-anticipated cruise has been canceled, and while compensation is never enough to heal the disappointment, it is a nice gesture made by the cruise line. 


Those who were supposed to set sail on Vision of the Seas tomorrow will receive a 100% refund, including taxes and fees, pre-paid packages and gratuities, amenities, shore excursions and any flights purchased through Royal Caribbean, and pre-purchased Royal Caribbean Travel Protection.

It will be refunded to the payment on file within 14 business days; however, they do say that some banking institutions may take longer.

If a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) was used to pay for the cruise, they will refund any new funds paid above the certificate amount. Plus, they will reinstate the original FCC certificate.

Moreover, everyone will get a 50% FCC to be used towards a future Royal Caribbean sailing that should arrive by September 29, 2023. The new cruise must be booked by December 31, 2023.

The 5-night cruise onboard the 78,340 gross registered ton vessel was scheduled to depart from Baltimore, Maryland and sail to Bermuda for an overnight stay. 

Read moreSee how Royal Caribbean ships stack up by size (2023)

Where is Tropical Storm Ophelia 16 headed?


The National Hurricane Center released the newest forces for Tropical Storm Ophelia at 11:00am EST on September 22. Throughout this evening, tropical storm conditions are expected to impact parts of the southeastern and mid-Atlantic coast of the United States.

Swells generated by this storm system will affect the east coast throughout the weekend. Moreover, Tropical Storm Warnings have been put into place for portions of eastern North Carolina, as well as southeastern Virginia.  

Other impacts to Vision of the Seas


The forecasted weather conditions resulted in a cancellation of an entire cruise, rather than an adjusted itinerary as was the case for many cruises during Hurricane Lee.

In fact, Vision of the Seas was one of the ships impacted. Rather than depart Baltimore on September 14th, guests boarded the ship and set sail the following afternoon on September 15th. 

The September 9th sailing was modified, too. The ship returned to Baltimore one day earlier than scheduled. Moreover, rather than sail to Bermuda, guests cruised to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau

Photos show what it was like to cruise on Royal Caribbean in the 1980s

22 Sep 2023
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean started as a company in 1968, and by the 1980s, had made a name for itself with a small fleet of impressive cruise ships and had become an increasingly popular cruise line.

What it was like to cruise in the 1980s

Song of Norway, Nordic Prince, and Sun Viking had lead the way for the company, and Song of America & Viking Serenade joined the fleet in 1982. By the end of the 80s, the new Sovereign Class would redefine what a cruise ship consisted of as it ushered in the first megaships.

Though the 1970s had concluded optimistically, the 1980s were ushered in by a recession in the United States. The cruising public became more cautious about their disposable vacation income, and the cruise lines began advertising strenuously, anticipating and countering rival company offers. Discounting, free airfare and the necessity to increase onboard revenues emerged as urgent cruising realities of the harsher 1980s.

Despite these challenges, the cruise industry managed to grow in the 1980s and Royal Caribbean found itself right in the middle of a struggle with competitor lines for building ever-increasingly larger ships. Song of America had proven the economies of scale was the future of cruise ships, and it would send Royal Caribbean down the path of building a ship as massive as Sovereign of the Seas.

Read moreWhat happened to Royal Caribbean's first cruise ships?

1980s cruise ship

As the decade came to a close, Royal Caribbean had positioned itself perfectly for the immense growth the 1990s would bring.

Here's what it was like to cruise on Royal Caribbean in the 1980s.

Nordic Prince

Before even looking at the onboard experience, cruise ships in the 1980s were smaller than today.

Nordic Prince was 18,346 GT and 552 feet long, whereas Wonder of the Seas is 236,857 GT and 1,188 feet long.

Nordic Prince aft aerial

A lot of the marketing material for a cruise in the 1980s was centered around the good times you could have onboard a cruise ship. They were selling what we would call today "a vibe" of being away from it all and enjoying time on a floating oasis.

Pool deck from the 1980s on Royal Caribbean

Similar to today, the pool deck was the epicenter of activity on a cruise ship. A holiday spent tanning and enjoying the warm Caribbean sun was a major selling point.

People on a cruise in 1980s

Of course, dining was an important aspect of a cruise in the 1980s as well. In the marketing material, Royal Caribbean said La Chaine de Rotisseurs (a French international gastronomic society), "thinks our food is consistently superb."

"Our cuisine, in fact, could be one good reason the readers of Travel/Holiday magazine voted our ships among the world's best."

Food on a 1980s cruise

Just like today, ships had their own bakeries onboard. And a cruise in the 1980s still had a midnight buffet in the dining room, which was slowly phased out by the 2000s.

Food buffet in 1980s

The main dining room was a focal point of dining, as specialty restaurants wouldn't become an option for another decade.

Main dining room in 1980s


Couple at dinner in 1980s

Royal Caribbean wanted to offer the kind of vacation where everything was made available and not as much thinking as a land trip.

People on a cruise in 1980s

They also marketed a cruise as a great way to celebrate, "As tensions disappear at sea, relationships flourish. Which means those starry-eyed couples aren't all newlyweds. Some may be celebrating silver and golden wedding anniversaries. Or even second honeymoons. You'll also find that about a third of our passengers are single."

1980s stateroom

What was a cruise ship cabin like in the 1980s? Decor style aside, they had a lot in common with a cabin today.

Cabin in 1980s

Royal Caribbean staterooms vary in size, in price, and in location. Some are even available with connecting staterooms to accommodate four or five people. Others offer third and fourth Pullman beds.

All cabins had:

  • Individual room temperature control
  • Private shower and bathroom facilities
  • 110-volt/60 cycle U.S. current for hair dryers and shavers
  • Three-channel radio
  • Reading lights
  • A dressing table and full-length mirror
  • Plenty of drawer space
  • A full-length wardrobe closet
  • Wall-to-wall carpeting
Cabin in 1980s

 An interesting selling point was the entertaining aspect of having your own room, "Since most accommodations have beds that convert to sofas, you can use your stateroom for more than sleeping. You can use it for entertaining. Passengers very often invite friends to their staterooms to enjoy champagne or drinks before dinner. Or for a bon voyage party before sailing."

In terms of service in a cabin, a lot has changed since the 1980s. Room stewards do the same basic services you can expect today, but the marketing material advertised  more offerings, "Every stateroom has a steward, who performs a little shipboard magic every evening. When you go out for dinner or dancing, you'll leave a pleasant sitting room."

"But when you come back, you'll find a cozy bedroom. With fluffed-up pillows. Turned-down covers. And fresh fruit in the basket on your dressing table. This is the kind of attentive service you'll get every single night.

"And every single day, we'll make your stateroom neater than you left it. We'll also leave clean towels and a bucket of ice. Pick up and return your laundry. Deliver a schedule of activities and coming events, along with ship news and weather forecasts. And provide beverage and snack service, 24 hours a day. "

Viking Crown

While the Viking Crown concept is retained in many of Royal Caribbean's ships today, the feature was designed initially for Song of Norway. Royal Caribbean made a name for itself with its signature space, the Viking Crown Lounge.

Entertainment on a 1980s cruise

Entertainment on a cruise in the 1980s included a variety show that had a ventriloquist, comedian, cabaret singer, or big-band era music.

Entertainment on a 1980s cruise

There was also passenger talent night and masquerade night on cruises of this era. On passenger talent night, guests would sing, dance, make magic, or just about anything else they were brave enough to demonstrate for their fellow guests and crew.

Masquerade night is just what it sounds like: it is an old-fashioned costume gala.  Prizes are given for Most Humorous, Most Original and Most Artistic costume.  Guests were encouraged to bring a costume, but the staff could provide necessary materials to build their own onboard.

Beach excursion in the 1980s

Once your ship made it to port, it was time for a shore excursion. There were 7-night cruises from Miami that went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and Cozumel, Mexico.

Beach in 1980s

An Eastern Caribbean itinerary sailed from Miami to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas.

Bermuda 1985

Bermuda runs in 1985 included four days in Bermuda before returning to New York.

Sun Viking

If you preferred a longer cruise, Nordic Prince and Sun Viking sailed 10-night cruises from Miami down to the Southern Caribbean, going as far as Barbados.

1980s ten night cruise

Longer cruises offered a more traditional cruise experience to get to more exotic ports, and they were still a staple of the industry. Today, 7-night cruises are the norm, and longer sailings tend to be outliers, especially in the Caribbean.

Workout class on 1980s cruise

Being the 1980s, ships had certain features that no longer are a thing.  Royal Caribbean advertised access to cable, Telex, and regular news bulletins. There was also a "Chinese laundry".

Activities on a 1980s cruise

Skeet shooting off the back of the ship was still offered, where guests were given shotguns to shoot clay pigeons into the ocean.

Workout class on 1980s cruise

The core cruise experience is largely the same then as it is today. The primary difference is what's offered onboard ships now, as well as the immense size difference.

Cruising as evolved since its early days, and some fads come and go, while other aspects of cruising remain the same today.

Read more10 Ways Cruising Has Changed in the Last 30 Years

How much does a cruise cost? (2024)

21 Sep 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Curious just how much it will cost you to take a cruise? With the right information and some estimates, you can easily calculate the price to take a cruise.

Wonder of the Seas aerial photo

Luckily, cruise vacations are quite affordable and cruise lines offer a variety of options at different prices that make a cruise economical for many families.

To help anyone budget for their cruise, let’s break down what to expect in terms of overall costs. Keep in mind that cruises are global, and we cannot possibly account for every scenario, budget, and cost.

To help give a ballpark idea of what to expect, we have an in-depth look at the cost of a cruise, from the base cruise fare to optional add-ons and typical costs you’ll encounter when planning a cruise vacation.

What your cruise fare will cost

A cruise can cost anywhere between $550 for 2 adults on a 3-night weekend sailing to upwards of $80,000 total for a family to sail in the most luxurious multi-story suites. The cost of a cruise changes based on itinerary, ship, cruise length, number of passengers, and time of year you sail.

Cruise prices are also dynamic, meaning you can find a fantastic deal one day only to have the price increase the next. Knowing this, let’s take a look at a few sample prices of various Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries.

Freedom of the Seas in CocoCay

What is the average cost of a cruise?

These cruises are pricing examples on the total (not per person) cruise fare of an interior cabin versus a balcony cabin for two adults:

  • A 3-night Bahamas weekend cruise in April: $700 (interior), $1000 (balcony)
  • A 7-night Caribbean cruise in September: $1500 (interior), $1900 (balcony)
  • A 7-night Alaska cruise in June: $2400 (interior), $3200 (balcony)
  • A 12-night Holy Land cruise in October: $3857 (interior), $4300 (balcony)
  • A 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise in February: $1100 (interior), $1800 (balcony)

The prices above should be used as a guide, but actual cruise fares may be higher or lower depending on day to day pricing.

One trend we're seeing are the costs of a cruise going up each year.  In 2023, prices jumped considerably, and the industry as a whole is seeing some of the highest prices in recent memory.

The primary driver for higher cruise prices is demand.  Ever since the cruise industry restarted in 2022, demand has skyrocketed.  Lines are seeing unparalleled demand, and that kind of a hot market is a big reason why prices continue to climb.

Other factors, such as inflation, better marketing, and interest generated by new cruise ships drive up prices.

There are other costs to consider when calculating the overall price of a cruise.

Taxes and port fees

About $100-200 per person.

Cape Liberty in Bayonne

You have no choice but to pay port fees and taxes, which are lumped onto your cruise fare.

These are fees that the governments of various countries your ship sails to and from mandate, so it's a necessary evil.

Depending on which ports you visit, the costs can vary.  The more port stops, the higher this will cost.


Standard cabin: $16.00 per person, per day; Suite: $18.50 per person, per day

Guest service crew members

Gratuities are charged automatically and it covers the service you receive onboard the ship.

You can have gratuities pre-paid, where Royal Caribbean charges you the full amount up front with your cruise fare and then there's nothing more to pay once onboard. 

Alternatively, you can wait and get charged every night of the cruise to your onboard account.

Read moreTipping on a cruise ship: what you should and shouldn't do

Transportation pre- and post-cruise

Less than $100 if you live nearby; Up to thousands of dollars if flying

Miami downtown night

You should also factor in the cost to get to the cruise port and then back home again.

This could result in needing to pay for flights, hotels, and/or parking. There's also going to be incidental costs associated with this as well, such as meals along the way.

If you live close enough to drive to the cruise port, these costs may be quite low.  But many people fly to their cruise, and that will add more to the price.

Before you try to save money by flying in the same day of your cruise, don't.  This is a major mistake and could put your entire vacation in jeopardy.

How much you pay for a hotel can vary just as much as cruise fares, depending on the date of your trip, hotel brand, and other factors.  Expect it to be around $200-$300 for a night.

If you are parking a car at the port, the price is probably going to be around $20-30 per day to park.

Cruise add-ons

$100-400 per day

Cocktails on the bar

There are a host of extras you can add onto the cost of your cruise, and they're all discretionary based on your needs and preferences.

Shore excursions, drinks, specialty dining, spa treatments, and wifi are just a few optional add-ons you can choose to buy for your cruise.

Royal Caribbean purposefully leaves these extras out of the cruise fare for two reasons: it helps advertise a lower entry price for the cruise, and not everyone wants to buy these items.  Rather than include them in the fare, the line leaves it up to you to decide.

In 2022, Royal Caribbean Group reported the average guest spent $90-100 per person, per day on extras.

What determines the cost of a cruise?

Owner suite balcony

Cruise pricing is influenced by a number of factors, and knowing the trends of what makes one cruise more expensive than another can help you in the booking process.

Ship size and age: a 20-year old cruise ship will usually be significantly cheaper than a brand new ship. You should never book a ship based solely on price, though, as you want to make sure the ship you book has the amenities, activities, and entertainment choices you’re looking for in a cruise vacation.

Related: 8 questions to ask yourself before picking a cruise ship

Length: You’ll pay far less for a 4-night cruise compared to a 10-night cruise. You’ll often find exceptions to this rule, however. 3-night cruises over the weekend tend to be more expensive than 4-night cruises during the week, and long transatlantic/transpacific cruises can have a much lower cost per day compared to other sailings.

Time of year: Cruising during peak season can see cruise fares up to double what the same ship and itinerary would cost in low season. For Caribbean cruises, you’ll find some of the lowest fares from late August to early November, the first two weeks of December, mid-January to mid-February, and in May.

Related: The best time to go on a Caribbean cruise

Supply and demand: While there are general trends when it comes to cruise pricing, there are no set price rules. Supply and demand will affect the price of any cruise, and you may find hidden deals based on low demand for a sailing you’re interested in, even on a newer ship.

Cost of a cruise by cabin type

Quantum of the Seas cabin drawers

The first decision you’ll make after selecting a cruise ship and itinerary is which cruise ship cabin to book. There is a cruise ship cabin for every type of traveler, from the most basic inside cabins to luxurious suites.

Here’s a general idea of what each type of cabin may cost you:

Interior cabins are the cheapest cruise cabin available. While they don’t feature a window and are usually smaller than other cabin categories, you’ll find some great deals on inside staterooms. You can expect to pay around $70-$160 per person, per night for an interior cabin.

Ocean view cabins are the next step up from an interior cabin and feature a porthole window. Prices for ocean view cabins are generally priced at around $110 to $197 per person, per night.

Balcony cabin on Mariner of the Seas

Balcony cabins are the most popular cruise ship cabin available, with each cabin having a private outdoor balcony space. You can expect to pay between $150 and $250 per person, per night for an ocean view balcony cabin.

Suites offer the most lavish accommodations available on a cruise ship. Prices can vary widely based on the type of suite you book, with prices ranging from $250 to $420 per person, per night for Junior Suites to between $650 and $1000 per person, per night for Owner’s Suites.

Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise ship suites can be priced in the tens of thousands for a weeklong sailing.

How much does a cruise cost for a solo traveler?

Studio cabin on Harmony

Cruising solo? You’re not alone. Solo cruising has become more and more popular in recent years, and cruise lines are following the trend by offering studio cabins on their cruise ships, built for just one passenger.

Not every Royal Caribbean cruise ship has studio cabins, and those that do only have a few studio cabins which tend to get booked quickly. Why? Studio cabins do not incur a single supplement fee, which is a means of recouping the cost of a second traveler that would otherwise be in the stateroom.

Related: Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Single and Studio staterooms

Having this fee waived in a studio room is a huge incentive for solo cruisers, and it’s common to find these cabins fully booked on most itineraries.

Studio cabins can be found on Anthem of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, and Spectrum of the Seas.

What’s included in your base cruise fare?

It’s possible to embark on a Royal Caribbean cruise and spend nothing extra onboard. While cruise fares are not entirely all-inclusive, as extras like internet and alcoholic beverages will cost extra–you’ll find more than enough included in your cruise fare to keep you satisfied throughout the sailing.

Your base cruise fare includes the following:

  • Accommodations (your cruise ship cabin)
  • Meals & snacks at complimentary venues
  • Drinks (water, tea, coffee, lemonade, iced tea, milk, juice, and hot chocolate)
  • Continental room service at breakfast
  • Adventure Ocean child programming
  • Activities and shows
  • Fitness center
  • Pool and sun decks

Related: What’s included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare

Mariner of the Seas back of the ship

Taxes and fees will be automatically added to your cruise fare upon checkout, and the exact cost of taxes and fees will vary based on your cruise length and itinerary.

Gratuities are not included in your base cruise fare. You can choose to pre-pay gratuities when booking your cruise or incur a daily fee once onboard the ship. Royal Caribbean’s current gratuity costs are $16 per person, per day in standard cabins (Junior Suites and below) and $18.50 per person, per day in Grand Suites and above.

What costs extra on a cruise?

Chops top view

While there is no shortage of dining options, activities, entertainment, and amenities included in your base cruise fare, there are many add-ons you can purchase on a cruise vacation. While spending extra on a cruise is not required, it’s helpful to know what costs extra on a Royal Caribbean cruise.


Outside of the complimentary drinks included in your cruise fare, you’ll pay extra for the following drinks on a cruise:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Mocktails
  • Specialty coffee and tea drinks
  • Soda
  • Fresh-squeezed juices

Related: Royal Caribbean Drink Package Info, Tips, Pros & Cons

You can choose to buy drinks individually or purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package, which allows you to enjoy unlimited drinks during your cruise for one set cost. Drink package prices range from $62-78 per person, per day for the Deluxe Beverage Package, $30-38 per person, per day for the non-alcoholic Refreshment Package, and $13-15 per person, per day for the soda package.

Specialty dining

Burger at Playmakers

Outside of complimentary dining venues on any Royal Caribbean ship are specialty restaurants. Specialty restaurants provide cuisines and cooking styles not found elsewhere onboard, such as the cruise line’s signature steakhouse, Chops Grille, or Japanese cuisine at Izumi.

Specialty restaurants come in two categories: à la carte or a cover charge restaurant. À la carte restaurants include Playmakers Sports Bar and Portside BBQ, where you can expect to spend around $20 per meal. Cover charge restaurants offer more formal sit-down dining at a set price, and you can expect to pay around $25 for lunch and $50 for dinner at a cover charge restaurant.

Related: Food on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Like drink packages, Royal Caribbean also offers dining packages for use at specialty restaurants. 2-night, 3-night, 5-night, and an Unlimited Dining Package are available to purchase before your cruise.

Dining package costs are typically around $84.99 for a 2-night (Chops + 1) package, $115 for a 3-night package, and $225 for an Unlimited Dining Package.

Room service is not included in your cruise fare aside from a complimentary continental breakfast option.

Related: Royal Caribbean room service guide & tips


Wifi is not included in the cost of a Royal Caribbean cruise, and the cruise line charges a daily fee per device. If you plan on purchasing wifi for your cruise, expect to spend around $20 per device, per day for the service. Note that two devices can use the same wifi plan as long as they are not logged in to the wifi account at the same time.

Related: Top 30 extra cruise costs that are not included

Shore excursions

Purchasing shore excursions on port days is not required, but if you elect to book an organized tour, this will come at an extra cost. Shore excursion prices can range drastically, from $25 walking tours to $400 helicopter rides. Most tours will cost between $50 and $150 per person

You can book tours directly through the cruise line or through outside providers, with the latter often offering a lower price. Before booking a shore excursion through an outside company, though, be sure to review the pros and cons of not booking through the cruise line.

Related: 5 quick and easy tips for finding a great shore excursion on your own

Radiance pulling into Seward

Booking a shore excursion through Royal Caribbean provides more security, as the ship will wait for you if the tour runs late. Booking through an independent company–while often cheaper–does not offer this sense of security.

Alternatively, you can choose to explore a port on your own without an organized excursion. This is almost always a more cost-effective way to explore a destination, as you’ll often find transportation and sightseeing costs are quite affordable in ports of call.

Related: 7 ways to have a great time in port without a cruise ship shore excursion


Houston Hobby airport

Getting to and from your cruise port is another added expense on your Royal Caribbean cruise. You’ll need to budget for flights, baggage fees, gas, parking, tolls, taxis, and any other transportation expenses needed to reach your embarkation port.

We always recommended that you arrive at your cruise embarkation port the day before your cruise departs. This allows for extra wiggle room in case of any unexpected travel delays. Arriving a day early will require booking a hotel room the night before your cruise, which could set you back between $150 and $400.

Miscellaneous expenses

Senses Spa

Aside from the major add-ons you may purchase for a Royal Caribbean cruise, you’ll also need to consider budgeting for the following optional cruise costs:

  • Spa treatments
  • Fitness classes
  • Extra-cost activities (arcade, escape room, etc.)
  • Laundry service
  • Wine and cocktail tastings
  • Backstage ship tours
  • Onboard childcare for guests 6-36 months (hourly charge)
  • Costs at home (pet care, childcare, etc.)
  • Photos
  • Souvenirs
  • Casino

How to save money on a cruise

Book early: More often than not, the earlier you book a cruise, the cheaper prices you’ll find. Plus, residents of most countries can reprice their cruise fare up until the final payment date, so if the price drops you can take advantage of a lower fare.

Use credit card points: If you have credit card points or frequent flyer miles, put the miles toward expenses like airfare and a pre-cruise hotel. Plus, you may be able to earn more points or cashback if you pay for the cruise fare with your credit card.

Use a travel agent: The best way to ensure you are getting the lowest price on a cruise is to use a travel agent. Travel agents cost nothing extra to use, but they can find the best promotions for a Royal Caribbean cruise. They are an extremely helpful resource during the entire cruise process, from the moment you book a cruise to when you return home.

Related: Top 5 things to look for in a good travel agent for your cruise vacation

St KItts volcano

Plan shore excursions on your own: Shore excursions can be expensive, so planning port days on your own is a sure-fire way to save money on a cruise.

Research the top attractions in your ports of call to determine if you can easily visit without an organized tour. This can save hundreds of dollars on any cruise and provide more flexibility in port.

Bring soda, water, juice, or wine: You can bring up to two 750ml bottles of wine per stateroom. In addition, you can bring small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages on boarding day. Non-alcoholic beverages may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz) cans, bottles, or cartons per stateroom.

Bottom line

If this article has taught you anything about the price of a cruise, it’s that a cruise fare can vary considerably. The good news? You’ll almost certainly be able to find a cruise to fit your vacation budget, whether you book a cheap interior room or lavish suite.

A rough estimate is to expect to spend around $2000 on cruise fare for a 7-night cruise for 2 adults. This can be more or less depending on cabin category, time of year you sail, etc., but it’s a great starting point for planning a cruise budget.

Of course, you’ll have to add on the cost of transportation, gratuities, and any discretional spending you do once onboard to the total cruise cost. However, a cruise vacation still offers a fantastic vacation value considering all that is included in your cruise fare.

More cruise budget tips:

Which cruise line is best? Fans say why they prefer Royal Caribbean over Carnival

21 Sep 2023
Allie Hubers

Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are two of the biggest and most popular cruise lines in the world. Each cruise line has a lot to offer when it comes to dining, entertainment, amenities, attractions and the overall onboard experience. 

Carnival is known for having the 'most fun ships at sea', while Royal Caribbean aims to provide unparalleled entertainment and onboard thrills for the whole family.

Comparatively, Royal Caribbean is also known for being more innovative with its ship design and infrastructure, with Carnival only now just building more advanced cruise ships with its Excel-class. 

Both cruise lines, however, aim to be an affordable vacation option for the whole family. Itineraries are offered around the world, although Royal Caribbean has a more international presence. On the other hand, Carnival focuses on attracting domestic cruisers within driving distance to its U.S. ports across the country.

But which cruise line is the best

Of course, this is a subjective question, as everyone has their own preferred cruise line that best fits their budget and travel style. And let’s be honest - there are things to love and hate about every cruise line. 

A recent post on Reddit asked users the following question: Why do you prefer Royal Caribbean over Carnival? 

Many provided insight into why they prefer cruising with Royal Caribbean instead of Carnival Cruise Line - and the responses were quite interesting. As someone who has cruised with Carnival a few times in the last year, I found these responses to mostly align with my own perspective of comparing the two cruise lines. But, I continue to be loyal to Royal Caribbean, as I have been sailing with the cruise line since I was 10 years old.

Here’s why fans say they prefer Royal Caribbean over Carnival Cruise Line.

First, many seem to prefer the more relaxing environment on Royal Caribbean compared to Carnival’s non-stop party atmosphere. 

When Carnival says it has the most fun ships at sea, they are not joking; Carnival takes fun very seriously. The parties really do not stop from the minute you step onboard a Carnival ship! Until last year, I hadn’t sailed with Carnival since my college spring break days. After a few days onboard, we concluded that Carnival has crazier parties, louder music and more drinks flowing more than Royal Caribbean. 

When asked why cruisers prefer Royal Caribbean, one user responded, “We went on one Carnival cruise, and never again, it's the party boat."

“In my humble opinion, Carnival is the cruise line for people who like to party. And I don't like to party, at all," shared one cruiser.

“Carnival’s reputation is a 'party cruise' and tends to have rowdier crowds," another person agreed.

Many people echoed this sentiment, agreeing the party-like atmosphere onboard Carnival simply does not align with their cruising style. In fact, this was one of the biggest things that surprised me about my recent Carnival cruises - the parties are truly on another level.

Because Carnival’s branding centers heavily around fun, it’s also integrated into every aspect of the cruising experience. This was another difference that really stood out on my recent Carnival cruise. The word ‘fun’ is literally plastered everywhere: the entertainment team is called the ‘Fun Squad’, the shops are called the Fun Shops, and every announcement seemed to have the word 'fun' it as well.

One user responded, “Also the never ending announcements on Carnival that tries to send subliminal messages that you’re having fun are really annoying. ‘Don’t forget the sale in the fun shop’, ‘hope you have an amazing day on this fun ship’, ‘check out the fun times’, fun fun fun….”


This isn’t necessarily a bad thing - if you’re someone who loves to let loose for your vacation, Carnival is a great fit for having fun. Those who prefer a bit slower pace on vacation will probably enjoy Royal Caribbean’s experience more.

Another common response included Carnival’s ship design compared to Royal Caribbean’s innovative, well-designed cruise ships. 

As mentioned earlier, Royal Caribbean is known for its innovative, forward-thinking ship designs. Especially in the last two decades, Royal Caribbean has been building cruise ships that have revolutionized the cruise industry. The cruise line has held the title for biggest cruise ship in the world for nearly twenty years since the construction of Freedom of the Seas. 

Until recently, it was apparent that Carnival was not focused on advancing its ship design or innovation. Each ship class that Carnival debuted had very similar deck plans and infrastructure, rarely showcasing something new or revolutionary. The new Excel-class ship has upped Carnival’s game with new technology and ship design, which was long overdue for Carnival to stay competitive in an industry thriving on mega cruise ships. 

The top response on the Reddit forum came from one user sharing that they prefer Royal Caribbean’s ship design over Carnival. The user shared, “The ship layouts and finishes. Anywhere on Royal ships feel like you're on vacation. On Carnival ships, many public areas and hallways feel unfinished and very mechanical.”

One user responded and agreed with this take on Carnival’s ship design, writing, “Hard agree on #1. Went on a carnival cruise in June 2019 and it’s odd how they don’t really have a central promenade, and how most of the walkways are on the sides of the boat. Makes everything feel secluded."

“While I was on an older ship (the Carnival Sunshine) I feel that Royal's ship designers are just a step above. The layout of the Sunshine was not the most intuitive, and some areas turned into a serious traffic jam," shared another user. 

In the forum, one Reddit expanded on their preference of Royal Caribbean’s ship design, saying, “Royal's ship design, in my honest opinion, was a lot better for a long time (flow of people around the ship, etc.), although I think Carnival's newest ships have caught up a fair bit.”

Based on my own Carnival experiences, I agree strongly with this comparison. Royal Caribbean’s ships have always felt thoughtfully designed - and it’s only improved over time. When I sailed on Carnival Ecstasy last summer (the oldest ship in Carnival’s fleet at the time), my sister and I were shocked at how difficult it was to navigate.

This relatively small cruise ship seemed to have too many bottlenecks and dead-ends. We continually found ourselves lost in crowded spaces. But, Carnival’s newest ships in the Excel-class feature modern design with better passenger flow. 

The dining experience between Royal Caribbean and Carnival appeared to be more of a hot topic, with some preferring Carnival’s quick service options. 

When it comes to comparing Royal Caribbean and Carnival, dining was a very common response. While many shared that they prefer Royal Caribbean’s food quality and service, quite a few shared they actually enjoy Carnival’s quick service venues more than Royal Caribbean’s options. 

One user responded, “Food was of lower quality on Carnival - and I’m not a picky foodie so if I noticed, then that doesn’t bode well” while another shared, “I prefer RC for a more relaxing atmosphere, and I honestly prefer their food as well”.

“Dining experience in MDR is worlds better on Royal. Customer service is also better on Royal," shared another person.

However, many of the responses heavily favored Carnival’s casual dining options onboard, such as Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina and Shaq’s Big Chicken. “I do like the carnival food (guys burger joint is crazy good), but Carnival seems a lot cornier and appeals to quick laughs” said one respondent. This prompted multiple responses from others in agreement.

Another user agreed, saying, “True. Guy’s is great and I’ve heard good things about Shaq’s chicken place. So carnival has some bright spots casual food-wise that Royal doesn’t really match with the hotdog place and Johnny Rockets. I’m hopeful Royal will adopt some of that kind of feel with what they’re doing with the food court section on Icon.”

“I really enjoy the Carnival ships, shows, and food…the food is better in every category except the buffet. That being said, my whole family prefers RCL over Carnival (and even Disney) because of the better activities on the ship and entertainment" said another cruiser. 

On my Carnival cruises last year, this was the biggest takeaway from my experience as well. Even on Carnival’s oldest ship, we had multiple places to grab a quick bite, such as Guy’s Burger Joint. We appreciated having so many options for dining other than the traditional buffet. 


I do wish Royal Caribbean would incorporate more casual eatery options, especially during refurbishment of older ships, to expand complimentary dining options. I also agree that Royal Caribbean could improve the quality of their casual dining to compete with Carnival’s quick service options. 

Many cruisers found Royal Caribbean’s renowned entertainment to be better in comparison to Carnival. 

Entertainment is another crucial pillar to the overall cruising experience. Royal Caribbean has some of the most unique entertainment options in the industry, with ice skating performances, diving and swimming productions and even Broadway musicals.

In comparison, Carnival’s entertainment centers around nightly comedy shows, interactive game shows and easy-to-watch productions with singers and dancers. The cruise line’s newest ships do feature more advanced entertainment with impressive acrobatics and aerialists. 

“I definitely prefer the entertainment and common areas” while another agreed, “The shows are way better on Royal Caribbean," said one cruiser who responded on Reddit. 

One user expanded, “I was recently on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, and the refinement and amenities remain undefeated - the promenade, entertainment, and bars are so much more well done, even on the Voyager/Freedom class ships. Carnival’s ships (aside from Vista/Destiny/Excel class) don’t hold a candle to Royal.”

AquaTheater show on Wonder of the Seas

While sailing on Carnival Ecstasy, my sister and I attended the nightly production shows. While we enjoyed the Punchliner Comedy club, we were less than impressed with Carnival’s other shows in the theatre. It did feel almost like a high school production, which was likely due to the theatre's small size. 

“Royal Caribbean definitely has an advantage when it comes to onboard activities and entertainment. For one, Royal Caribbean has a real theater while Carnival’s felt like a glorified high school cafeteria, with the seats that you typically find at a banquet hall, like a step up from a folding chair," said one respondent. 

Finally, multiple fans mentioned preferring Royal Caribbean’s itineraries in comparison to Carnival’s destinations. 

Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line have a global presence, although both cruise lines have different approaches to their itineraries offered. When it comes to international itineraries, Royal Caribbean offers way more destinations in Europe, Asia and Australia compared to Carnival. 

Because Carnival is focused on offering the most affordable cruise fares, the cruise line aims to be within driving distance for most Americans. This helps keep vacation costs down without needing to fly to your cruise port. With this approach, Carnival does not have many international sailings; instead, you will find many Caribbean and Mexico sailings. Occasionally, you can find a European sailing if one of Carnival’s ships needs to dry dock across the pond, but not much else. 

Amber Cove

“I’m very itinerary/departure port driven. I picked Royal for my first cruise because of the itinerary - I was looking for a Baltic cruise on specific dates and needed an accessible cabin for my mother. Royal met those criteria. I was happy with the product and took several more," said one Royal Caribbean fan. 

“When we were first researching cruises, we found that both RC and Carnival operated out of Baltimore, less than an hour from where we live. At the time Royal offered 4 different itineraries out of Baltimore and Carnival offered 2. And since then we’ve stuck with Royal even though we have cruising out of other ports (in Florida and Europe) due to the loyalty program," said another fan. 

This is one of the reasons that I’ve remained loyal to Royal Caribbean over many years as well. I started sailing with the cruise line at a young age, but continued to cruise with Royal Caribbean because I love their unique itineraries. I’m also a destination-focused cruiser and I’ve loved my sailing across Europe and Asia with Royal Caribbean. 

On the other hand, Carnival has limited itineraries outside of North America. Unless you sail on a limited series of exotic sailings called Carnival Journeys, you’ll mostly find Caribbean itineraries and plenty of weekend getaway itineraries. These are the exact sailings that are perfect for bachelorette parties and spring breakers, adding to the party atmosphere.

At the end of the day, everyone has a preference for the cruise line that best fits their budget, travel style and cruising vibe. Some might enjoy the upbeat, party-style of Carnival while others appreciate a more upscale vibe on Royal Caribbean. 

Image gallery

7 reasons to avoid booking a cruise with a lot of ports

20 Sep 2023
Elizabeth Wright

Some cruisers prefer itineraries that visit a lot of ports, claiming the ship is more of a mode of transportation rather than a destination.

Serenade and Mariner of the Seas docked in Cozumel

Others, however, much prefer itineraries that include more days at sea. Who needs to spend every single day ashore when you have some of the most exciting vacation activities onboard your ship? 

Before you book a cruise, you need to consider whether you are someone who would like to visit more ports or spend more time on the ship.

While there is no inherently wrong answer, you do not want to book an itinerary that you will be unhappy with. It is your vacation, and you deserve to spend it exactly how you want to.

If you are unsure, here are 7 reasons to avoid booking a cruise with a lot of ports. 

Fewer days docked in port means that you have more time to explore everything exciting the ship has to offer

Zip line ride

One of the most compelling reasons to spend more days at sea is because you will have more time to explore the ship.

If you are sailing on an Oasis or Icon Class vessel, for instance, there's no way that you will be able to see, do, and eat everything onboard during a port-intensive cruise. 

On these larger ships, it is quite possible that you will exhaust yourself if you spend long days ashore and come back onboard itching to try all the activities, like zip lines, FlowRider surf simulators, water slides, rock climbing walls, and more. 

Flowrider on the back of Odyssey of the Seas

Who knows, maybe you will feel like taking advantage of a class that is offered, such as cupcake decorating or sushi making. There will be tons of other onboard programming on sea days, too. Port days tend to have less going on since most people are not onboard.

More time onboard means that you have a reason to justify spending money on a nicer stateroom

Balcony room on Serenade of the Seas

Sometimes, it is enticing to want to save a pretty penny on your cruise fare and book an interior room. This gives you more money to spend on cruise add-ons, like drink packages, wi-fi, and more. 

If, however, you are spending more time onboard, it is likely that you will also be spending more time in your stateroom.

Perhaps this means you will sleep in just a little bit later on sea days or wake up earlier than you otherwise would to enjoy the sunrise from your personal verandah before enjoying a leisurely breakfast in the Main Dining Room.

4 bedroom suite

Whatever the reason, an itinerary with more sea days is a perfect time to splurge on that dream stateroom that you have always wanted!

Read moreThe 5 best cabin locations on a cruise ship

You can get some much needed R&R

Pool deck on Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Let's face it, life gets busy. There is no better time to catch up on your rest than on a sea day; just because you have more time on the ship does not mean that you have to be busy every second of it.

With sea days, you do not have to worry about waking up early to get a tender ticket or be the first off the ship to make your shore excursion time. There is a lot more flexibility in that you can decide exactly how you want to spend your day. 

You do not have to waste the day sleeping in your stateroom (unless you want to!).

Spa facial

Maybe this means reading by the pool, watching the ship's wake while you work on the perfect tan, or treating yourself to a pampering day at the spa. Whatever R&R means to you, utilize your sea days to return home feeling refreshed!

Make the most out of your drink package

Martini Bar on Celebrity Crruises

Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Drink Package is not for everyone. Some like the convenience of not having to worry about racking up a large bar tab, while others cannot fathom drinking that much during a vacation. 

Whatever side of the debate you fall on, you cannot deny that cruises with more sea days are the ideal time to purchase a drink package because you will have more time onboard to utilize the benefits. 

Imagine that you are on a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise with only one day at sea. Five out of the six full days will be spent ashore exploring culturally and historically rich destinations. You will need that one day to recharge!


Plus, you will really only have the evenings to indulge, and you do not want to wake up with a headache because you had one too many drinks the night before knowing that you have a full-day excursion. 

Read moreI spent $600 on Royal Caribbean’s drink package. I had a total of 36 cocktails in one week, and I think it was worth the cost

Opportunity to try more onboard dining, perhaps even splurging on the Ultimate Dining Package 

Wine being poured

On European cruises, one of the most exciting aspects is trying the local food. You cannot visit Italy without trying some fresh pizza and pasta! 

With more days at sea, you can take advantage of all the delicious dining options onboard. There's more than just the Main Dining Room and Windjammer! 

With more than one package to choose from, Royal Caribbean's dining packages are a great option for those who want to try as much as possible and save some money along the way.

Playmakers on Oasis of the Seas

Maybe you just want to eat in specialty restaurants for three or four nights of your cruise, or maybe you are someone who would rather eat at Playmaker's for lunch everyday before indulging in a delicious steak, Hibachi, or seafood dinner. 

The largest ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet boast so many dining options that it is nearly impossible to try each one during a weeklong vacation, especially if you are eating while ashore. If, however, you are spending less time in port, you will be able to cross more venues off of your list.

Read moreThe Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean's Unlimited Dining Package

Kids will have more time to enjoy Adventure Ocean programming and make lifelong friends

Revamped Adventure Ocean

Royal Caribbean is a family-friendly cruise line, meaning that there's something for everyone to enjoy onboard their ships. Parents (and kids) will love the Adventure Ocean youth programming.

There is nothing better than knowing your kids are having supervised fun while you get to sip on a cocktail and enjoy some much needed adults-only time. 

It is important that you take time on embarkation day to get your kid(s) registered, so you do not have to worry about it later.

Mariner of the Seas adventure ocean

This is a great time to meet the staff and take a tour of the facilities that your child will be hanging out in. Plus, if you have any questions, you can get them promptly answered. 

While Adventure Ocean is open while the ship is docked in port, it is unlikely that you'll want to leave your child behind-- it is a family vacation, after all! That being said, you will have less adults-only time, and they will have less time to make friends in Adventure Ocean. 

The casino is open longer on days when the ship is at sea

Casino entrance

Do not be surprised when you board the ship on the first day to find the casino closed. In order for it to be open, the ship has to be in International waters. If you are someone who likes to gamble, you will appreciate the longer hours of the casino on sea days.

You can, of course, gamble at night once you have gotten back onboard; however, you do not want to stay up too late and not feel rested for your next day in port. 

Read moreI gambled enough in Royal Caribbean's casino to get free drinks and a cruise

Why should you avoid booking a cruise with a lot of ports?

Icon of the Seas concept art

In short, a cruise with more sea days offers you more flexibility in how you want to vacation while onboard the ship.

To some, the ports of call are more important. You will have stories about the fun excursions that you did and all the neat places that you were able to visit. Plus, if you are worried about getting seasick, the less time you spend onboard in open waters, the fewer opportunities you will have to feel under the weather. 

The primary reason to consider a sailing with more sea days is if you care more about what is going on onboard. This does not mean that you have to sail on the newest ships, either! Maybe you do not care about mega thrills and will be content hanging out by the pool with a book or playing a few rounds of trivia. 

Avoiding a cruise with a lot of ports means that you think of the ship as a destination, and with everything that you can do, see, and eat onboard Royal Caribbean ships, there's no wonder why they are one of the most popular cruise lines today. 

Read more6 compelling reasons to avoid booking cruises with lots of sea days

I packed for a 7-day cruise and the bringing this electronic was a total waste of space

20 Sep 2023
Calista Kiper

Packing for a cruise is no simple task, but if I could do it all over again, I know one thing I'd leave at home.

I took my first cruise last month on Wonder of the Seas, a 7-day sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. In preparation for my first cruise, I did extensive research, planning everything down to the itinerary and my outfits.

What to pack for a cruise was, of course, a big part of my research. 

When preparing for your cruise, you want to be sure to avoid overpacking but also to remember everything you may need.

It’s recommended you limit yourself to just two pieces of luggage while cruising, so it’s important to reserve space. 

But on the other hand, if you forget an item, prices are a lot higher once you’re onboard.

To prevent any overpacking or overpaying, I planned carefully and made a packing list.

I brought just enough clothes and the right toiletries. I even packed snacks and a water bottle—both turned out to be lifesavers.

However, there was one item I regretted bringing in the end.

I regretted bringing my laptop

Working remote on a laptop from a cruise ship

Since I purchased the Voom Internet plan for one device, I decided to bring multiple devices to use on my cruise. 

When I’m at home, I often use my iPhone and laptop in tandem. I thought it would make sense to bring my laptop along on the cruise. However, I ended up only using my phone and the space I used by taking my laptop. 

Here’s why it was a total waste of space.

I only bought Wi-Fi for one device

ebook reader

Prior to my cruise, I purchased Voom Wi-Fi for all seven days on one device.

I packed my laptop, thinking that I might want to use the Wi-Fi on my laptop alone, accessing everything I might need in one place.

However, once I arrived on the ship, I realized that using the Internet on my phone would be more helpful, since it is portable and gives me access to FaceTime, social media, and the ability to take and send photos.

I later discovered I could switch the internet package between devices: you can log out of one device and into another on the same WiFi package. 

But in the end, it was more simple to stay logged in and keep everything on my iPhone.

We could use the TV in our room

When I feel in the mood to decompress, I enjoy watching TV shows. And when you’re traveling, a personal laptop is the quickest way to access your favorite streaming services.

While packing, I assumed that I would want to watch TV on my laptop.

But when we got to our cabin, I discovered that there was a TV in our room. 

Not only that, but I could log into most streaming services using my phone and use Chromecast to stream shows on the TV. There was no reason to watch anything on my laptop. 

However, it is important to note that not every ship has a smart TV with streaming abilities. If I had not sailed on Wonder of the Seas, I might have put my laptop’s streaming sites to use.

The Royal Caribbean app was more useful than the website

Celebrity app

If I had been planning out my own itinerary and calendar, I might have preferred to use my laptop to access Google Calendar or another planning site.

However, I was surprised to find that the Royal Caribbean app was the most efficient way to save all my cruising information in one place.

The app lists all events available, and even has a feature where you can simply select an event and add it to your schedule.

Not only that, but the app also includes information on when and where each event is, any price included, what you may need to bring, and if there is any age limit.

Additionally, the app allows you to chat with other cruisers using their full name. 

This works without WiFi, so I could still coordinate with my sister, who did not purchase the WiFi package. 

The app also connects your schedules with other cruisers other the same booking, so my sister and I could create and access the same calendar.

In short, it was most convenient to use the app on my phone. 

I risked it getting stolen or damaged

When it comes your valuables, being on a ship can be unpredictable. By bringing my laptop, I ran the risk of it falling in water, getting wet at the pool, or being dropped on a deck.

Traveling with a laptop is already a risk: I had to keep it safe in a bag and make sure it was secured at our hotel room. Considering I barely used my laptop, keeping it safe was more effort than it was worth. 

It also turned out that the provided safe in our cabin was too small to fit my laptop, so I had to leave it in the cabin and hope for the best.

In the future, I would definitely leave any large devices and valuables behind, since they can’t be secured and I wouldn’t be able to guarantee their safety. 

I ended up wanting to disconnect and relax

Calista selfie on the beach

Although I was able to use WiFi on my phone, I ended up regretting the amount of access I had to the Internet.

A cruise should be an ocean vacation, with time spent at various onboard activities, the beach, or exploring ports. 

But I found that the constant WiFi connection made the cruise feel less relaxing. Social media can be consuming—a beach vacation just isn’t the same if you can instantly pull up your email. 

My sister, who traveled with me, only purchased WiFi for one sea day. This allowed her to check any important notifications for that day and then continue to disconnect and unwind for the rest of the cruise.

In the future, I would want to follow a similar plan and bring fewer devices. Being connected to every aspect of the Internet made it hard to relax. 

It took up space in my carry-on

To ensure that my laptop was secure, I had to keep it in my carry-on bag at all times.

This meant that I kept it with me at the hotel, on the shuttle to the cruise terminal, while boarding the cruise, and even while we explored the ship and waited for our luggage to arrive.

Holding my laptop took up valuable space in my bag. I also had opted not to bring a laptop but rather a large purse that hung off one shoulder. With all the items I had to pack in it, the purse got pretty heavy!

Before my cruise, I also noticed that Royal Caribbean advises you to pack any medicine or essential toiletries in your carry-on bag. I also saw many cruises recommend doing so, just in case your baggage is missing or delayed.

But since I filled up my carry-on space with my valuables, ID, and my laptop, I wasn’t able to pack important medication and toiletries in my purse. 

I later regretted this, as our luggage wasn’t delivered to the room until about 4:00 p.m. I wished I had been able to take my medication and apply sunscreen while we waited for our bags to arrive.

If I hadn’t used up valuable space with my laptop, I probably could have packed everything necessary in my carry-on purse.

I paid $130 extra to upgrade my interior cabin to a spacious ocean view on Voyager of the Seas. Here's a tour of my cabin.

19 Sep 2023
Angie Vognild

For my recent cruise onboard Voyager of the Seas, my dad and I decided to RoyalUp from an interior guarantee stateroom to a spacious ocean view.

Voyager of the Seas spacious ocean view

About two months prior to the cruise, I found a cheap sailing from Galveston, Texas, so I decided to book an inside guarantee cabin. The main reason why I selected this cabin was because of the cost. The interior guarantee cabin was $1,154 for a five-night Western Caribbean sailing. This price included gratuities and fees for the two of us. 

Because this was an inside guarantee cabin, I was not able to select its location on the ship. Of course, I always prefer to get a cabin midship for the smoothest sailing possible. I tend to get motion sick, so being in the middle of the ship is ideal for less movement. 

However, from my experience with inside guaranteed cabins, the staterooms assigned usually end up being in the very front or back of the ship. For this sailing, we were assigned a cabin in the front of the ship. 

Read moreRoyal Caribbean cabins to avoid

Before leaving for Galveston, I kept receiving emails from Royal Caribbean about their RoyalUp program. For those not familiar with RoyalUp, it is essentially an opportunity to place a bid to upgrade to a nicer, usually larger, cabin.

I only used RoyalUp once before, and it was a positive experience. In October 2022, my family went on a fabulous 12-night Holy Land cruise onboard Odyssey of the Seas. My sister and I bid $300 per person to upgrade from our interior cabin to a junior suite. It was so worth it! Because of this positive experience, I was intrigued to place a bid for my trip on Voyager of the Seas.

Odyssey of the Seas

Four days before embarkation, we decided to pull the trigger and place a bid through RoyalUp. Pretty much anything would be an upgrade from our interior guarantee! We ended up placing bids on four stateroom categories. What’s great about RoyalUp is that you can bid on multiple cabin categories, therefore increasing your chances of being upgraded.

The next day, we received the email that our bid was accepted! For an additional $130 per person, we upgraded to a spacious ocean view cabin. 

We were hoping our new cabin would be located somewhere in the middle or back of the ship. When I looked up our cabin on the ship deck plans, I laughed when I saw that our cabin was now in the very front of the ship, overlooking the helipad!

As mentioned earlier, I get motion sick fairly easily. Being in the front of the ship, I was worried that there was going to be even more movement. This is the risk you take when you RoyalUp - you won’t know where your new cabin is going to be located. If you have a location with your current stateroom selection that you’re satisfied with, RoyalUp might not be the best option for you, as you do not have a say on the location for accepted bids.

Nonetheless, we were excited our bid was accepted and we got to stay in a more spacious cabin.

Our cabin, 9502, was situated on the port side in the forward part of the ship. The cabin was quite roomy at 211 square feet. We felt as though the beds, couch, and carpet were in good condition, even though the ship was built in 1999. 

The first thing I noticed in our cabin was the window and view of the helipad. This view was especially beautiful at sunset. There were two curtains - one heavy one to block out the light and a decorative one in the front. I figured these would help keep the room extra dark, which is something I actually prefer about sleeping in interior cabins, as they have no natural light. 

The beds were separated upon arrival. This was per our request prior to embarkation. Next to both of our beds was a side table with a drawer and an open compartment. One side table had a phone on top that took up the majority of the space.

Each bed had a wall light above our heads. Next to my dad’s bed was a light switch that turned on and off all the lights in the cabin (except the vanity).

As soon as you walk into the cabin, you are met with a large closet. The closet had multiple hangers, along with wide, wire shelves for all the clothes we packed.

Our cabin also included a huge couch. It was nice to have another place to sit other than our beds. It was so big that I thought it might be a sofa bed, but this was not the case. We decided to line up our shoes under the couch for easy viewing and access.

The vanity is a great feature of the cabin because of all the storage. It had nine drawers: six deeper ones and three shallow ones. I found the shallow drawers hard to use, especially since one had a hair dryer in it, rendering it unusable for other things. On both sides of the vanity were glass shelves for additional items. 

On the left side of the vanity was a TV that could swivel slightly. I tried to swivel it toward our beds, but it didn't move as much as I thought it would. There was a variety of channels to browse through, but I didn't spend much time watching TV.

Above the TV was a safe and two deep shelves for more storage.

Below the TV was a mini cooler. This cooler was useful primarily for keeping water and sodas cool. It didn’t get super cold like a refrigerator would. 

On the vanity, there were two outlets for charging our electronic devices. This is pretty standard for older cruise ships, so I was not surprised. While I wish there were more outlets throughout the cabin, two was enough for me and my dad.

When I opened the door to the bathroom, I wasn’t expecting blue and green colors! This certainly dated the cabin and reminded me that the ship is, in fact, over 20 years old.

Behind the left mirror were three shelves for various toiletries. I didn't need this extra storage, so my dad utilized it. Our stateroom attendant was very attentive and made sure we had plenty of towels to use throughout our sailing.

The shower (or as I like to call it, a space pod) had plenty of hot water and good pressure. It also had the all-in-one soap if you forgot to pack your shampoo or body wash. I prefer to bring my own shampoo and conditioner when I cruise because this soap dries out my hair. The shower felt just a little bigger than the one in an interior cabin, although still small.

More thoughts about the cabin

Since we changed our cabin only three days before embarkation, a few things were missing from our stateroom, including our Crown and Anchor robes and special toiletries. Our cards also didn't work for our cabin, so we had to go to Guest Services right away to make sure we could access our cabin.

Our stateroom attendant was wonderful! He brought extra blankets for us and gave us a paper Cruise Compass every night on our beds (per our request).

Towards the end of our voyage, we found out our cabin was directly below the bridge. This was not a problem - we rarely heard noises from the deck above us. I would have expected more noise, but it was very quiet. The only time we heard noises that woke us up was when we were docking in Cozumel around 7 a.m.

Right by the window was a sign that read, “Kindly keep curtains closed to avoid light from reflecting onto the bridge.” This was one of the first things that I noticed when seeing our stateroom for the first time. 

One night around 10:30 p.m., we got a call to our stateroom. My dad confusingly answered it and then told me it was from the bridge. They told him to close our curtains because some light was reflecting on the bridge. We told them our curtains were closed, but after hanging up, we pinned the curtains together with clothes pins to be extra sure no more light was escaping our cabin. 

Because we were in the very front of the ship, there was little foot traffic throughout the day and night, making the cabin location pretty quiet. Every night, I slept soundly (except when I woke up to my dad’s loud snoring).

Our sailing was so smooth - I never got motion sick! I was so relieved. Two sailings before, I saw on social media that Voyager of the Seas sailed through a rough storm. I was hopeful we would have smooth seas, and we thankfully did.

We liked being on the ninth deck for this cruise. Many upper-deck public venues, like the Windjammer and pool deck, were located only two floors above us, although they were in the back of the ship. Just a few decks down were the Royal Promenade, Star Lounge, and Diamond Club.

We were mostly surrounded by staterooms in the front of the ship, so we found ourselves walking towards the aft of the ship often. We always had to cut through the pool deck or one of the lower decks to get to the gym, food, spa, etc. We didn’t mind, as a little exercise is welcomed on a cruise. 

So, was I glad we did RoyalUp? Would I do it again? Yes! My dad and I were very pleased with our spacious ocean view cabin. Considering the ship's age and how she went through a $97 million Royal Amplification in 2019, Voyager of the Seas, including the cabins, are in good condition. I'd definitely recommend our cabin to future cruisers.

What do people Google about Royal Caribbean?

19 Sep 2023
Matt Hochberg

Are you looking for information about the latest news, cruise ship information, or offering by Royal Caribbean? You're not alone.

Ship tendering

New ships, incidents, and things you can buy for a cruise were among the list of most-Googled things about Royal Caribbean, according to data from Google.

Searches for the popular cruise line rose in January at the start of Wave season and then peaked again in July.

The internet has always been a useful place to get Royal Caribbean news and updates, and interest surrounding a Royal Caribbean cruise nets quite a lot of search traffic.

Royal Caribbean's website

At Royal Caribbean Group's most recent earnings call, the company reported a doubling in website visits compared to 2019.

In looking at Google's search trends, we get a look at what people are predominately interested in, especially topics that are noteworthy at the time.

Top 10 Royal Caribbean related searches

rilliance of the Seas in Antigua

Google categorizes its search data in two segments: top searches and rising searches.

Top searches are the overall most searched phrases, while rising searches are the things people Google a lot at once, almost always related to something newsworthy.

Think of it like searching for "New York" vs "New Years eve in New York".  The first can be searched throughout the year, but the latter is only relevant in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

Let's look at the rising data, which gives insight into the hottest search trends of the year.  I've omitted queries that are essentially the same phrase, but worded differently:

1. Royal Caribbean cruise man overboard

Side view of Spectrum of the Seas

Just like a car accident on the side of the road, the public can't seem to not be interested when someone jumps or goes overboard from a cruise ship.

Unfortunately there have been a few cruise ship passengers that have gone overboard because of either jumping or doing something they shouldn't do that gets them in a precarious situation.

The media jumps on news related to people going overboard cruise ships because it seems to get attention, probably because people who aren't familiar with cruises may not understand how it could happen.

A 2022 article from The Points Guy points out that cruise ship railings are sufficiently high enough on all decks and balconies to ensure someone does not slip and fall overboard.

"The only way you risk a fall is if you're standing on furniture to peer over the side or climbing somewhere you're not supposed to," the article's author states.

"It's not possible for you to trip over a door frame or slip on a wet deck and fall off of a vessel."

Not being somewhere you're not supposed to, or doing something you're not supposed to, is key to safety at sea, "Play by the rules and remain in control of your actions, and you don't have to worry about inadvertently falling overboard from a cruise ship."

2. Royal Caribbean premier pass

Premier Pass logo

Royal Caribbean made an "oopsie" in March when guests were able to book a VIP pass that didn't actually exist.

Royal Caribbean added a new Premier Pass to its website that appeared to be a new extra cost pass. It included WiFi, exclusive tours and more at a bargain price.

Unfortunately, it was too good to be true. 

Premier Pass in Cruise Planner

An email went out a few days later to inform anyone that bought the Premier Pass was a "system glitch" and was never intended to be put on sale in the first place. Any purchases made were cancelled.

An uproar ensued because people wanted the cruise line to stand by the option, especially in cases where the guests cancelled another purchase in lieu of the Premier Pass.

3. Utopia cruise ship Royal Caribbean

Utopia of the Seas concept art

Royal Caribbean's next (and final?) Oasis Class ship will be Utopia of the Seas, and it generated a lot of interest when Royal Caribbean revealed details about the ship.

Utopia of the Seas will debut in summer 2024 and offer 3- and 4-night cruises only, which is a big change for Royal Caribbean.

Typically, new cruise ships start off with 7-night cruises because demand is so high and more lucrative for these cruises.  Older ships usually offer short cruises.

utopia inaugural sailings

Utopia will instead do short cruises with a stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean seems to want to embrace the new to cruise market and target people who have never taken a cruise with a ship that stands out from the competition. The hope is new cruisers that aren't sure they will like a cruise or not tend to go with short cruises, and by giving them one of Royal Caribbean's newest and best ships, it will hook them to this kind of vacation.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean has a plan to dominate short cruises with a new ship and private destinations

4. New Royal Caribbean ship 2024

Utopia aft aerial

There's actually two new Royal Caribbean cruise ships entering service in 2024, which is a bit unusual.

Icon of the Seas will join the fleet first and sail weeklong itineraries to the Caribbean from Miami. Each cruise also stops at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

In July, Utopia of the Seas will start offering cruises from Port Canaveral. 

5. Royal Caribbean Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas concept art

The next new Royal Caribbean cruise ship has garnered a lot of attention, Icon of the Seas.

Icon of the Seas will be the first ship in the Icon Class. She will be 250,600 tons and hold up to 7,600 passengers, both of which are stats that eclipse the current largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas.

Thrill park concept

Not only is she big, but Royal Caribbean is loading her up with all sorts of new offerings.

Icon will have new types of cabins, a water park, new neighborhoods, and plenty of activities inbetween.  It will also offer a bigger array of dining venues, bars and deck-top attractions than any cruise vessel ever built.

6. Royal Caribbean cruise ship storm

Hurricane Lee forecast

There have been a few tropical storms that have had an impact on Royal Caribbean ships this year.

Hurricane Hillary, Idalia, and Lee all forced the cruise line to change plans to avoid the path of the storm.

Cruising in hurricane season has its challenges, but an itinerary change is usually the worst to come out of it. When there is a tropical disturbance, a lot of people take to Google to figure out if there have been any changes or cancellations to their cruise.

Royal Caribbean's chief meteorologist works with ship captains to chart an optimal course and avoid the worst of any storm.  

7. Royal Caribbean cruise 2024

Freedom of the Seas bow

Most likely if you're searching for a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2024, you're looking to plan a cruise for next year.

One of the best strategies is to book a cruise many months in advance (instead of at the last-minute), so people searching for 2024 cruises is about trying to find the best Royal Caribbean cruise to sail on next year.

As previously mentioned, there are two new Royal Caribbean ships debuting in 2024, and that could also contribute to additional interest in a 2024 cruise.

8. Royal Caribbean drink package 2023


Perhaps no extra-cost add-on is as popular as Royal Caribbean's drink package.

There's three primary drink packages you can buy for a Royal Caribbean cruise, in addition to a water package and coffee card.

Drink packages are very popular because they provide an easy and convenient way to let guests enjoy unlimited drinks without having to worry about paying for each drink.

9. Royal Caribbean cruise 2023

Oasis of the Seas next to Liberty of the Seas in Cozumel

It's not surprising there's interest in a cruise this year as well.

The cruise planning process extends to the months and weeks leading up the actual sailing.

From shore excursions to spa treatments to things to do onboard the ship, you can always learn more about your cruise ship and plan around what to do.

10. Carnival Celebration

Carnival Celebration

Not sure if Google goofed on this to include a Carnival ship with Royal Caribbean results, or a lot of Royal Caribbean fans are simply curious about Carnival's newest ship.

The second in the Excel Class, Celebration can accommodate 6,600 guests.

Royal Caribbean successfully tests new biofuel to help power its cruise ship

19 Sep 2023
Matt Hochberg

Cruise ship sustainability has moved a step forward with a successful test of a new kind of fuel.

Royal Caribbean reported it tested a new biofuel alternative on a cruise ship this week that is part of the company's overall environmental strategy.

Symphony of the Seas became the first in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to reduce the ship's carbon emissions.

Becoming a sustainable company has been an established goal, and a new type of fuel is part of the plan to get to that point. By introducing methods that reduce emissions today, Royal Caribbean Group is ultimately advancing the decarbonization of its operations.

Symphony of the Seas docked

Today, in Barcelona, Symphony of the Seas became the first ship in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to meet part of her fuel needs.

Royal Caribbean confirmed onboard technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable "drop in" supply of lower emission energy that ships can use to set sail across Europe and beyond. The tests across Europe also provided valuable data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region.

Navigator of the Seas water slides aerial

Last fall, Navigator of the Seas tested out biofuel when she sailed from Los Angeles, California and became the first a cruise ship to sail from a U.S. port while using renewable diesel fuel.

The test on Navigator was conducted on a three-night cruise to Ensenada, Mexico in October 2022 with one engine powered by 30 tons of biodiesel.  

The test lasted three months.

What is biofuel?

Biofuel factory

The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials like waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable. 

The biofuel blends tested are accredited by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), a globally recognized organization that ensures sustainability of biofuels and verifies reductions of related emissions.

Symphony of the Seas sailing away

Biofuel greatly reduces carbon emissions compared to the burning of the fossil fuels used in marine gas oil. It's processed through an oil refinery and is molecularly identical to diesel. 

Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty credits the advancement as an important milestone, "Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life. As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly."

What's the next step?

Celebrity Apex in Greece

With Symphony of the Seas departing from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam, both ships accomplished multiple sailings using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel's capabilities. 

More tests are planned for this fall when they use different types of biofuels on upcoming European sailings.

Biofuel factory

In a statement, Royal Caribbean Group said it plans to continue to use alternative lower carbon fuel as part of its overall plan.

In addition to biofuels, Royal Caribbean Group is building ships that can leverage liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to reduce emissions.

LNG tanks

Commonly referred to as a transition fuel, LNG results in 95% fewer particulate matter emissions, nearly eliminates sulfur emissions and reduces nitrogen emissions by 85%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20%.

LNG isn't the ultimate solution, but a step in the journey.

Sustainable by 2050

Destination Net Zero

Royal Caribbean Group calls its overarching sustainability goals "Destination Net Zero", and biofuels are one way it intends to get there. 

Announced in 2021, there are two simple goals:

  • Delivery of a net zero emissions cruise ship
  • A path to net zero emissions by 2050

Destination Net Zero's four-pronged approach includes:

  1. Modernization of the cruise company's global brands fleet through the introduction of 13 new energy-efficient and alternatively fueled vessels.
  2. Continued investment in energy efficiency programs for its fleet, including energy saving technologies, enhanced data systems and digitalization.
  3. Development of alternative fuel and alternative power solutions.
  4. Optimized deployment and integration of strategic shore-based supply chains.

New Royal Caribbean ship, Utopia of the Seas, touches water for the first time

18 Sep 2023
Matt Hochberg

Utopia of the Seas was successfully floated out at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France.

Utopia of the Seas floated out

Royal Caribbean's Utopia of the Seas is the latest in the line's Oasis Class of ships.

This important first step in the journey of cruise ship construction occurred over the weekend, where the ship transfers to a "wet dock" to finish construction work.

Utopia of the Seas floated out

New ships are first assembled in a dry dock, where blocks of the ship are put together on land. Once the exterior of a vessel is complete, it's ready to move to the ocean.

The process itself took nearly 15 hours, beginning with filling the new ship’s dry dock with more than 46 million gallons of water overnight. Utopia was then moved into an outfitting dock, where it will be completed in summer 2024. Since construction on the next Oasis Class ship started in April 2022, the new vacation has taken shape with more than 74 blocks of steel that have been lifted and assembled into place. 

Utopia of the Seas floated out

The float out of any cruise ship is an important milestone in the process of construction.

With Utopia in wet dock, work will continue leading up to her handover to Royal Caribbean. She will remain in her basis until such time she is ready for delivery.

This is the fourth Oasis Class ship built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Naizaire, France (Wonder, Harmony and Symphony of the Seas).

Utopia of the Seas floated out

Utopia of the Seas may be the sixth ship in the Oasis Class, but she's far from a carbon copy of her sister vessels.  While she will have a number of features you can find on other Oasis Class ships, Royal Caribbean has added a few tweaks and additions that make her stand out.

The new ship will have a new tiki bar experience, new dining experiences, immersive dining, and an open deck filled with plenty of activities. The 295-foot-long Ultimate Abyss slide will reclaim the title of "longest dry slide at sea".

Utopia will be the first Oasis class that uses a more environmentally friendly fuel type, Liquified Natural Gas, or LNG.

There's plenty of dining changes to expect on Utopia as well. 

Utopia aft aerial

Something brand new to Utopia of the Seas is an immersive dining experience that combines visuals and dining to create something not seen before on Royal Caribbean.

The Royal Railroad will feature a classic train motif that delivers a mixed reality experience. After prototyping the train car experience at Royal Caribbean's Miami headquarters, the team feels confident it will deliver an incredible new option for passengers.

Izumi has been moved up to Central Park, which is a first for the Oasis Class. Izumi will also have a new pickup window which allows quick grab and go offerings for guests.

Park Cafe will have a new evening terrace experience, which the cruise line hopes will invigorate evenings in this neighborhood.

Utopia of the Seas pool deck

Giovanni's Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar has been relocated into the deck 11 and 12 former Wonderland location.

Utopia of the Seas will debut in July 2024 and enter service offering short cruises to The Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Florida.

The 236,860-ton ship will be the second largest ship in the world at the time she launches, right behind equally new Icon of the Seas

Utopia of the Seas at CocoCay

Royal Caribbean will change its traditional playbook by starting off a new cruise ship with just short cruises, which the line hopes will capitalize on the short cruise market.

This is a big change for the line, because traditionally new ships start off with the more lucrative week-long cruise market. Royal Caribbean is flipping the script and putting Utopia in the short market first.

Why the dramatic change? It's all about drawing in new cruisers.

Utopia aerial

Someone that has never cruised before may be leery of trying a cruise, and hesitant to commit to 7-nights.  Instead, they opt for short cruises.

Traditionally, Royal Caribbean deploys its older and smaller ships to the short cruise market.  While these ships are still great choices for a vacation, there's simply nothing like a new ship.

Royal Caribbean is betting by offering short cruises on a brand new and impressive ship, new cruisers will flock to try it and subsequently book more cruises.