Brilliance of the Seas 2019 Cruise Review on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
20Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

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

Episode 290 is available for downloading, where we share a review of our recent cruise on Royal caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas.

Matt just got back from a 4-night Western Caribbean cruise aboard Brilliance 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 290. 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 offering up to 30% off pre-cruise purchases with Cruise Planner sale

In:
20Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering guests up to 30% off on select pre-cruise purchases with Royal Caribbean's new Cruise Planner sale.

The Sail Into Savings sale runs between February 20 - February 27, 2019 and is valid on sailings between March 1, 2019 to September 15, 2019.

Royal Caribbean states guests can expect to find discounts on:

  • Beverage Packages: Up to 30% off on select sailings
    • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship.
    • Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship.
    • Refreshment Package: 30% off onboard prices. Discount varies by ship.
  • Save up to 25% on select shore excursions. Discount varies by ship.
  • Internet
    • VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship.
    • VOOM Surf Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship.
  • Dining Packages
    • 3 Night Dining Package. Discount varies by ship.
    • 3 Night, 4 Night and 5 Night Ultimate Dining Package. Discount varies by ship.
  • Activities: Up to 10% off on select sailings
    • All Access Ship Tour: 10% off.

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site look for any available offers. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.

Royal Caribbean launches stateroom bidding program in Australia and New Zealand

In:
19Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Guests from Australia or New Zealand can now bid to upgrade their stateroom via the RoyalUp program.

RoyalUp is Royal Caribbean's stateroom bidding program, where the cruise line may offer guests the opportunity to bid for a higher stateroom category by inviting them to submit an offer of their choice. If the offer is accepted, the guests will be automatically charged and upgraded.

Royal Caribbean launched the program in North America in November 2018.

Terms and conditions apply. For more information, head to www.royalcaribbean.com.au.

Royal Caribbean orders sixth Oasis-class cruise ship

In:
18Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced today it has entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l'Atlantique to order a sixth Oasis-class ship for delivery in the fall of 2023.

This order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of this year. 

"It is such a pleasure to announce the order of another Oasis-class ship," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "This order is a reflection of the exceptional performance of this vessel class and the extraordinary partnership between Chantiers de l'Atlantique and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd."

"This is the twenty-third cruise ship that RCL will be building at our shipyard, and we are especially proud of it," said Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l'Atlantique. "The order reflects the confidence our customer puts on us, based on the exceptional quality of our long-term co-operation between the two companies and on our capacity to bring innovative solutions to meet our customer's expectations."

The cruise line's fifth Oasis-Class ship is due for delivery in the spring of 2021.

Paradise Beach Cozumel 2019 shore excursion review

In:
18Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

If your cruise ship is visiting Cozumel, Mexico, then you will very likely be in the market for somewhere to cool off and enjoy the beautiful waters that Cozumel is famous for. Picking the right beach for your family is more a decision of what you want to do, rather than a scientific examination of which beach is superior.

For many years, Paradise Beach has been a popular choice for cruise ship visitors who want an inexpensive, yet uncompromising beach day in Cozumel.  We decided to head back to Paradise Beach for that exact reason and see if the value proposition remains a compelling choice.

Description

Paradise Beach offers a simple approach, where each guest pays $3 admission and then everything else available is priced a la carte. Unlike many of the other popular beaches in Cozumel, Paradise Beach relies on offering a low-cost of entry to entice guests in.

The drive to Paradise Beach is fairly quick, about 10 minutes from where Royal Caribbean docks in Cozumel via taxi. The cost of our taxi ride was $30 for the six of us.

Upon entry, you have the choice to sit near the pool or beach.  You can move freely between the two areas, but it is up to you where you want your family's "home base" to be located.

A vast majority of the seating is located near the beach, as most guests seem to gravitate towards a beach day.  There is seating with or without shade, and the staff is quite accommodating as to where exactly you would like to sit.

The beach is quite nice and clean, although the left side of the beach has far more rocks than the right side.  If you are interested in snorkeling, the left side is your choice.

Paradise Beach also offers an aqua park add-on option. Like many other beaches, you can buy full day access to the aqua park and enjoy the various inflatables.  Unlike neighboring Mr. Sanchos, I did like that the inflatables seemed to be significantly closer to shore.

If the pool is more your fancy, Paradise Beach offers a rather enormous pool to enjoy.  They advertise it as the largest heated pool in Cozumel.  

Unlike the beach, there is not nearly as much seating with shade by the pool.  If you are okay with a bit of sun, there are some seats underneath trees that should provide partial protection.

The pool is not very deep, and there are shallower areas that were probably designed for lounging, but younger kids will find it a good spot for them.

Spending the day at Paradise Beach, you are likely to want to enjoy some food and drink while visiting.  As mentioned earlier, the food and drink is priced a la carte.  There is a new all-inclusive option available, but compared to other all-inclusive options in Cozumel, I did not think it was a terrific value.

Chips & Guacamole, along with Bloody Mary

Chips and Salsa

Mexican Breakfast

Veggie and fish tacos

Chicken and beef tacos

You will be assigned a waiter for your stay at Paradise Beach, and your waiter can bring you any food or drink you need.  Placing the order is done via the waiter's tablet device and then a few minutes later another waiter will bring your order. 

There is a good mix of Mexican food, along with American favorites. Picky eaters should find plenty to enjoy, while there are still some good Mexican choices available too.  

Comments

Paradise Beach remains a great beach option for those that fall into one of two categories: you only want to spend part of the day at the beach/pool and/or you are not interested in an all-inclusive experience.

The beach is well-maintained, offers ample seating with plenty of shade (or no shade) and the aqua park option should keep most families busy with things to do. 

Their pool is massive and quite lovely.  The fact it is heated stands out as a very nice option, as some of the pools we have been to around Cozumel are downright frigid.  

We found the food to be pretty good, and on par for what you can find at most beach resorts on the island. The taco truck stand and mojito cart are particularly good choices if you want something a little better.

The biggest issue with Paradise Beach is if you happen to be there on a day when there are a lot of ships in port.  Paradise Beach is one of the best-known spots in Cozumel, so it is no secret of what it offers. As a result, it has the potential to get crowded.  On the day we visited, there were only three ships in port and Paradise Beach was doing pretty well with folks enjoying the experience.

If you want a beach/pool day and you are looking to really indulge with food or drink, you would be better off at El Cozumeleno or Nachi Cocom.  But if drinking your weight in tequila, or eating a ton is not in the plans, than Paradise Beach is a very compelling choice.  It is the perfect add-on if you perhaps want to go downtown first to shop and then cool off with some beach time.

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

Royal Caribbean adds Navigator of the Seas to new app

In:
15Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Navigator of the Seas.

Navigator now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Friday Photos - February 15, 2019

In:
15Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Friday! We are celebrating the start of the weekend with our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean photos.

First up is a photo by Bob (aka Sailor_to_Cruiser) of Empress of the Seas next to Oasis of the Seas in Cozumel.

If you enjoyed the previous photo, here's the exact same set up but from a different vantage point! Matt Banville shared this photo of Empress and Oasis in Cozumel.

Next up is a photo of Labadee, as seen from deck 11 on Freedom of the Seas by Melissa.

Kinny Lee took this photo of a full moon while sailing on Allure of the Seas.

Next up is a shot of the Loft Suite on Allure of the Seas. Photo by twangster.

Gina took this photo of Vision of the Seas in Cozumel.

We wrap up with this beautiful photo of Grandeur of the Seas off the coast of CocoCay by Michael Kho.

Thank you to everyone for sharing photos.  You can submit your own questions by using this handy dandy form.

President's Day Weekend Sale offers bonus instant savings

In:
14Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's President's Day Weekend Sale is offering guests up to $200 instant savings on cruises booked, in addition to 60% off second guest and kids sail free offers.

The President's Day Weekend Sale is valid on sailings booked between February 14 - 18, 2019 on sailings departing on or after March 14, 2019.

It includes:

  • 60% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first full-fare paying guest, and 30% off cruise fare for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualified guest.
  • Up to $100 onboard credit per stateroom determined by category booked and sailing length:
    • Sailings 5 nights or less, $25 OBC for Interior and Ocean View, $25 for Balconies and $50 for Suites
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 OBC for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $100 for Suites
  • Presidents’ Day Weekend Sale offers up to $200 instant savings per stateroom 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
  • Kids Sail Free
    • Provides free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4-night or longer Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, CaribNE, Coastal, Cuba, Europe and Hawaii sailings departing between March 1 – December 15, 2019.
    • Offer excludes Spring Break sailings (Sailings between March 16 – 30, 2019), Holy Week/Easter sailings (Sailings between April 13 – 22, 2019) Summer sailings (Sailings between May 15 – August 31, 2019) and 2019 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 23 – 30, 2019).

Offer open to residents of US, Canada, Puerto Rico and select countries in the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean working on plans for port in Freeport, Grand Bahama

In:
14Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

It looks like Royal Caribbean is exploring the possibility of developing a cruise port in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Photo by DandA

Tribune Business quoted Bahamas Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar, who indicated Royal Caribbean in partnership with Mexican port developer, ITM Group, is looking to acquire the Grand Lucayan and develop a proposed water-based, adventure-type theme park at both the resort and Freeport Harbour.

It looks like ITM Group and Royal Caribbean are looking to develop a new port in Freeport that can handle four new cruise ship berths in Freeport Harbour, which would double the port's current capacity.  The proposal has generated some concerns that the new port would come at the expense of cruise ship visits to Nassau.

D’Aguilar dismissed these concerns by stating, “Nassau will always stand on its own.”

Tribune Business quoted D’Aguilar, “I disagree with the view that, because Royal Caribbean and Carnival are building ports in Freeport, that will have a negative impact on Nassau. There are 90 ships in construction, and demand is growing significantly for cruise vacations."

Navigator of the Seas first sailing canceled due to upgrade delays

In:
13Feb2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced today it has canceled the first sailing of Navigator of the Seas following a multi-million dollar upgrade, due to construction delays.

In a statement to RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com, Royal Caribbean confirmed it has canceled the Sunday, February 24 sailing of Navigator of the Seas, which would have been the first sailing back for the ship. Royal Caribbean said the reason for the cancellation was due to, "poor weather conditions have affected the progress of the ship’s outer decks."

"Although it is important to complete the ship on time, it is most important to ensure that we deliver 100 percent on our promise to provide the memorable experiences our guests enjoy with Royal Caribbean."

"Any decision that disrupts our guests’ vacations is a difficult one to make, and we realize this is disappointing news. We are providing our guests with compensation for their cruise fare, prepaid onboard amenities and airline cancellation fees. "

Guests with reservations on the February 24 sailing will receive future cruise credit as well.

The new plan is for Navigator of the Seas to return to service on the previously scheduled 9-night Southern Caribbean cruise departing from Miami, FL on Friday, March 1.

Navigator of the Seas is currently receiving its major modernization in Freeport, The Bahamas, which will add new water slides, dining options and revamp its pool deck.

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