Video: What's coming to Royal Caribbean in 2019

In:
21Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Happy 2019! We are celebrating the new year with a new Royal Caribbean Blog video, previewing what will be new in 2019 on Royal Caribbean.

There are a lot of big changes coming to Royal Caribbean this year and there is bound to be a lot of excitement about a new ship, big upgrades to the fleet, CocoCay's opening and more.  Take a look ahead with us in our latest YouTube video!

And if you love this video, there’s plenty more for you to enjoy over on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

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

Royal Caribbean expands new smartphone app to Vision of the Seas

In:
21Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has released a "soft update" to its new smart phone app that allows guests sailing on Vision of the Seas to start using the app.

The new version does not list Vision as a supported ship in the app store, but opening the app shows both ships on the list.  

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.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: January 20, 2019

In:
20Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Happy weekend! We hope you are enjoying a wonderful and relaxing weekend and managing to stay warm. Now it is time to sit back with a cuppa tea or java, and check out the latest in Royal Caribbean cruise news.

It now appears Royal Caribbean's second Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship will visit the UK after it launches next year.

Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley hinted at the fact Royal Caribbean will offer sailings to the United Kingdom in October 2020.

Royal Caribbean's first Quantum Ultra Class, Spectrum of the Seas, will launch in April and head to Shanghai to begin sailing from June. However, the second Quantum Ultra ship will "definitely not" be going to China.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 285th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we have a review of a multi-port Cuba itinerary.

Royal Caribbean recently expanded its sailings to Cuba to include even more stops on the island. This week, Bryan shares his review of an Empress of the Seas cruise that visited three different ports in Cuba.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Simply Emma shared her wheelchair accessible experience on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Eyewitness News posted news that Royal Caribbean gave scholarships to two maritime students in the Bahamas.

Travel Weekly interviewed Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean International’s associate vice-president and UK managing director.

Friday Photos - January 18, 2019

In:
18Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

The weekend is here and to celebrate the start of the best time of the week, we are sharing some of our readers' best Royal Caribbean cruise photos!

We begin with this photo by Lisa and Marc Sandhaus from the Atlantis Hotel in Nassau.

Michael shared this photo of Radiance of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas while returning from a glacier excursion via helicopter.

Speaking of Explorer of the Seas, here is a photo of Explorer of the Seas off the coast of Mystery Island, Vanuatu.  Photo by Barry Rupp.

Next up is a great sunset shot from Anthem of the Seas by Jenn Ullram.

Firegal2539 sent in this photo of Tracy Arm Fjord Glacier.

Laura Paton shared this photo of her daughter dancing at sunrise while on Allure of the Seas. I wish I had that kind of energy....ever.

We wrap up this week's photos with a shot of Navigator and Freedom of the Seas in Cozumel. Photo by Jeff L.

If you want us to include your Royal Caribbean photo in an upcoming post, be sure to use this form to share it with us!

Royal Caribbean offering bonus instant savings with Super Splash Sale

In:
18Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Guests booking a cruise this weekend can enjoy 60% off the second guest, kids sail for less and bonus instant savings up to $300 off.

The Super Splash Sale is valid on cruises booked between January 18 – 21, 2019 on sailings departing on or after February 18, 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 guests. 
  • BOGO also offers up to $150 instant savings per stateroom determined by category booked and sailing length:
    • Sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $50 for Balconies and $75 for Suites
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $150 for Suites. 
  • Super Slash Sale offers up to $150 instant savings per stateroom (up to $300 instant savings when combined with BOGO instant savings) determined by category booked and sailing length:
    • Sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $50 for Balconies and $75 for Suites
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $150 for Suites.

BOGO is combinable with Super Slash sale, promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Super Slash Sale is combinable with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers and Free Upgrades but not combinable with Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates.  Promo Code driven offers are based on select ships and sail dates and must be applied at time of booking, limit one promo code per booking. 

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

Spotted: Flight simulator shore excursion option in Nassau

In:
17Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering guests a new shore excursion that allows them the chance to (virtually) fly a Boeing 737 airliner!

The Fly A Jet Experience Jetline Simulation Bahamas shore excursion is available for guests with a stop in Nassau, Bahamas.  It allows guests to feel what it is like to pilot a B737-800NG aircraft.

"Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by a professional pilot whom will then brief you on the flights controls. After which, you will be escorted on to the flight deck where you will then settle into the captain's seat. Fasten your seat belt as you prepare for takeoff. Once in cruise, enjoy a moment to admire the view as simulated vibrations and sounds deliver an authentic experience as to what it's really like to fly a modern jet airliner. Depart from your hometown airport or if looking for a challenge trying

 

Royal Caribbean adding facial recognition to new Galveston cruise terminal

In:
17Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal that it is building at the Port of Galveston will include facial recognition technology that is aimed at speeding up the process of getting guests in and out of the terminal.

At a meeting of the Port Directors for the Port of Galveston in December 2018, it was mentioned that Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal will feature facial recognition technology.

"If you see what many made remarks made about Galveston, it is the traffic coming in, and then it is waiting in line to go through terminals... With the new cruise terminal that Royal Caribbean is building, it will be facial recognition software there so when you come into that terminal, you are going to have software recognition. The computers will see your face and recognize who you are, and they are going to know you are a paid customer on the cruise line, and then they are going to shuttle you right on through. And I think Michael Bayley said it was an hour less."

Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development and operation of a new cruise terminal. The new state-of-the-art facility is anticipated to open in Fall 2021.

Top 10 tips for planning your Alaska cruise

In:
17Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

If there is a cruise destination worthy of anyone's bucket list, it has to be Alaska. Royal Caribbean is one of the biggest cruise operators that offers regular service to Alaska and it is one of the top destinations in cruising today.

Here are the fundamentals of planning a cruise to Alaska to kickstart your approach and ensure a great trip to the last—and vast—great frontier.

Invest in clothing essentials

Even though your Royal Caribbean cruise will take you to Alaska during the warmer months of the year, it can get downright cold (and wet) during your Alaska cruise.

Given its northerly position and varied geography—from mountains and oceans to glaciers and tundra—you can experience several microclimates in a short amount of time, which can mean extreme temperatures in one place, and mild conditions in the next.

There are plenty of great packing choices to consider, but here are the top things to have before heading to Alaska:

Pro tip: If buying an all-new wardrobe sounds expensive, consider buying clothes on eBay.  A quality jacket is an especially costly item, but buying a gently used one from eBay can save lots, especially for kids.

Pick the right cabin (without overpaying)

One of the lessons we learned from our first Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska was that while a balcony cabin is nice to have, it is not nearly as essential as others lead us to believe.

If a balcony stateroom is in your budget, then definitely book one and enjoy the opportunity to have a private area to enjoy the natural beauty of Alaska anytime you see fit.  There is no denying having that easy access and private space, especially when near a glacier is a lovely perk.

However, you can still have an amazing Alaska cruise by depending on public areas to enjoy the view.  Royal Caribbean's ships feature ample deck space to enjoy the view, any time of the day.  Even when near a glacier, you ought to find great viewing opportunities.  Moreover, the price of a balcony room may be so much more expensive from a interior room, that we think it is a better investment to book the cheaper room and use the money saved to invest in an amazing shore excursion.

The bottom line is consider all room categories, but do not assume you have to get a balcony room.

Pro tip: If possible, book your stateroom as early as you can.  Prices for Alaska cruises tend to only go up over time, so book early.

Book your excursions in advance

An Alaska cruise places extra emphasis on the importance of your shore excursions.  Traveling to Alaska means getting out there and experiencing the natural wonders on foot!

Unlike Caribbean cruises where you can largely "wing it" when it comes to making on shore plans, you definitely want to research and plan your shore excursions ahead of time.  There are a ton of excursion choices, both from Royal Caribbean and third-party providers, so you will need time to consider each one and read about what others have done.

Be aware that some excursions can, and do, fill up. So if there are any that you know you definitely want to do, be sure to sign up in advance online.

Pro tip: You can get first-hand shore excursion reviews and recommendations from other blog readers in our Shore Excursions message board.

Research local food

One big mistake we made on our Alaska cruise was not taking the time to research where to eat in the various ports you visit. Alaska has some amazing local cuisine, but there are a lot of pretenders alongside the great stuff.

Each port you visit will take you to some terrific spots to eat, so don't rely purely on your Yelp app once in town.  Figure out the restaurants and bars you want to go to before you leave home, especially if you are interested in enjoying the best crab, salmon and beers of Alaska.

Try not to worry about the weather

News flash: it will rain while you are in Alaska, but it is also not the end of the world.

Weather forecasts do not always match you will experience. Be prepared for changing weather daily. Be prepared with varying clothing options (i.e. wear layers).  And when it does rain, just give it a few minutes, it generally does not last long. Take it all in. And remember, many excursions go rain or shine!

Pro tip: Despite the rain, do not pack an umbrella. Instead, make sure there’s a hood on your all-weather jacket. And it is worth noting that a hood takes up far less space than an umbrella, leaving more room for your gear and adventure essentials.

Bring binoculars

Alaska is all about what you see around you, and often the very best of Alaska's natural beauty and wildlife is best seen through a pair of binoculars.

You do not need to go crazy with the fanciest binocular on the market, but being able to zoom in on a bald eagle resting, or sea lions swimming is worth every penny of a binocular.

Fly into your departure port a day early

This tip can be applied to any cruise vacation, but flying into your departure port (Seattle or Vancouver) at least one day early is a really, really good idea.

If you are flying in from somewhere east, you will have to contend with a long flight and a different time zone.  Getting in a day early allows you to rest up before a busy first day on your cruise, along with more time to adjust the time zone change.

Pro tip: Speaking of your embarkation port, pick a hotel nearby the many local attractions so you can explore these exciting and beautiful cities.

Take advantage of port lectures

Royal Caribbean offers complimentary lectures presented by higher education staff on the history and culture of the ports your cruise will visit.

It is easy to overlook these type of offerings with so many other activities and things to do onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise but do yourself a favor and check these out. The lectures provided onboard offer important context for the adventures you will take on shore later in your visit.

These lectures may not offer money saving tips or pitfalls to avoid, but they do offer the kind of insider look at these ports that I think helps improve your appreciation of each city when you go to visit them later.

Alaska cruises are not like Caribbean cruises

 

If you are used to cruising in the Caribbean, going to Alaska is going to surprise you in some ways with the different approach and experience it offers.

Cruising to Alaska is a port intensive itinerary with shore excursions that cost significantly more money and far fewer party events.  Unlike the Caribbean where the places you visit can sometimes be secondary, an Alaska cruise is all about where you visit and the onboard experience can almost become an afterthought. 

Pro tip: Always walk off the ship when in any port you visit. Even if you have nothing booked, be sure to get off the ship at every port. Sometimes the piers are a little longer in Alaska but the port towns are pretty small and easily walkable making them nice for self-guided tours. 

Consider a cruisetour

In addition to the cruises, Royal Caribbean offers expanded journeys into Alaska with its cruisetour program.

A Royal Caribbean cruise tour will take you to even more incredible destinations that no cruise ship can visit. From the coastline to the heart of the frontier, a Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruisetour land and sea package delivers all the must-see sights by ship, train, and multi-night land tour. 

Either before or after your Royal Caribbean cruise, you can book a cruise tour that combines a cruise and a land tour, which usually runs three to seven nights. Popular destinations include Denali National Park (for wildlife viewing), Talkeetna (best place for Denali views) and Fairbanks (Alaska pipeline). 

Every Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruisetour includes knowledgeable Adventure Specialists who act as guides, historians and concierges. They are by your side for the entirety of the land tour, providing insider tips and local perspective.

Your thoughts

What are your top Alaska cruise tips? Share them or any questions you have about these tips in the comments!

Here's the one must-eat place on every Royal Caribbean ship

In:
16Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Every Royal Caribbean ship seems to have at least one place that veteran cruisers will tell you is a must-eat spot.  Perhaps it is because of a special dish, or the value the restaurant offers, or maybe it just is the only ship with that kind of restaurant.  

Regardless of why, here is our list of the number one must-eat spot on every Royal Caribbean ship. As you might imagine there is some carryover between the ships, but if you can refer to this post before going on your next sailing.

Adventure of the Seas

Izumi: Adventure of the Seas features the only Royal Caribbean ship to have an Izumi location on the Royal Promenade

Allure of the Seas

Park Cafe: Kummelweck sandwiches are a must-eat snack. 

You might also like Sabor in the Boardwalk neighborhood.  Try the guacamole.

Anthem of the Seas

Wonderland: A signature Royal Caribbean specialty restaurant that combines a fun experience with creative foods.

You might also like Cafe @ Two70 where you can find the exquisite roast beef sandwiches.

Brilliance of the Seas

Park Cafe: Kummelweck sandwiches are a must-eat snack. 

Empress of the Seas

Windjammer: Free brunch mimosas and Bloody Marys are available at the Windjammer on sea days.

Enchantment of the Seas

Chops Grille: Royal Caribbean's signature steak house is never a mistake. 

Explorer of the Seas

Izumi: Hot rock (Ishiyaki) plates are rocks that are heated to 575 degrees °F, where guests take raw meat and vegetables and cook them on the rock, right at your table. 

Freedom of the Seas

Sabor Modern Mexican: The guacamole alone is worth the price of admission.

Grandeur of the Seas

Park Cafe: Kummelweck sandwiches are a must-eat snack. 

Harmony of the Seas

Wonderland: Harmony introduced the first two-story Wonderland location and in addition to the creative decor, Wonderland is an experience and a fantastic meal.

You might also like Izumi Hibachi for a fun and creative experience, where your chef cooks your food in front of you with a splash of entertainment thrown in.

Independence of the Seas

 Izumi Hibachi and Sushi: Exotic Asian-inspired dining experience gives guests the chance to enjoy fresh sushi and experience skilled chefs cooking tableside on teppanyaki grills.

Jewel of the Seas

Izumi: Hot rock is essentially a rock slab heated up to 575°F and served with raw meat and vegetables that you can cook at your table.  

Liberty of the Seas

Sabor: The guacamole and handcrafted margaritas (made with reposado tequila) are definitely tasty.

Majesty of the Seas

Compass Deli: A complimentary venue that serves up hand-pressed paninis and wraps made to order, along with a small side-salad bar and an array of hot soups and cookies. 

Mariner of the Seas

Jamie's Italian: Family-style appetizers and freshly made pasta combine for a terrific meal. Try the Antipasti Plank.

Navigator of the Seas

El Loco Fresh: Complimentary and tasty Mexican street fare that is great for a midday snack or casual meal.

Oasis of the Seas

Park Cafe: Kummelweck sandwiches are a must-eat snack. 

You might also like Sabor in the Boardwalk neighborhood.  Try the guacamole.

Ovation of the Seas

Jamie's Italian: British Chef Jamie Oliver offers a pleasingly rustic Italian decor and the menu include his trademark "planks" -- boards filled with meats, cheeses or vegetarian bites that are designed to be shared as starter. 

You might also like Wonderland. Whimsical specialty restaurant inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Eating at Wonderland is as much about the food as it is the experience.

Quantum of the Seas

Wonderland: A signature Royal Caribbean specialty restaurant that combines a fun experience with creative foods.

You might also like Cafe @ Two70 where you can find the exquisite roast beef sandwiches.

Radiance of the Seas

Park Cafe: Quick grab and go that serves up breakfast, salads, panini sandwiches, soups. Also offers late-night snacks.

Rhapsody of the Seas

Park Cafe: Kummelweck roast beef sandwiches are a must-eat snack. 

Serenade of the Seas

Park Cafe: Kummelweck roast beef sandwiches are a must-eat snack. 

Spectrum of the Seas

Wonderland’s Dadong: a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck dish.

Symphony of the Seas

El Loco Fresh: Complimentary outdoor Mexican eatery that features a terrific salsa station, where you can take your pick from homemade guacamole, fire-roasted tomatoes, pico de gallo and many more toppings. 

You might also like Park Cafe for the roast beef kummelweck sandwiches.

Vision of the Seas

Park Cafe: Kummelweck roast beef sandwiches are a must-eat snack. 

Voyager of the Seas

Izumi: Hot rock (Ishiyaki) plates are rocks that are heated to 575 degrees °F, where guests take raw meat and vegetables and cook them on the rock, right at your table. 

Cuba immersion cruise review on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
16Jan2019
By: Matt Hochberg

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

Episode 285 is available for downloading, which has a first-hand review from a Royal Caribbean sailing that visited three ports in Cuba.

Empress of the Seas offers sailings to multiple ports in Cuba, and this week, Bryan shares his experience visiting each one.  Bryan talks about what he did in each port and his recommendations for anyone visiting these ports in the future.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 285. 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!

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