Top 10 Royal Caribbean stories of 2019

20 Dec 2019
Matt Hochberg

With 2019 nearly over, this seemed liked the perfect opportunity to look back at the Royal Caribbean news stories that generated the most interest.  After all, 2019 was a super busy year for Royal Caribbean, with plenty of new offerings, ships, ports and more.

This year's top ten list is based on the Royal Caribbean stories we feel generated the most buzz and interest.  There are some stories that made the top ten list that surprised me and others I'm more surprises did not make the list.  Let's dive in!

Perfect Day at CocoCay opens

If there is one accolade for Royal Caribbean in 2019 that stands out above the rest, it has the be the mega-succesful opening of Perfect Day at CocoCay.

In May 2019, Royal Caribbean officially opened Perfect Day at CocoCay following a $250 million transformation of the cruise line's private island.

Guests visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay enjoyed a new water park, freshwater pool, refreshed beach areas, new dining choices and more.

Navigator of the Seas may have been the first ship to officially call on Perfect Day at CocoCay, but so many guests have visited the new destination in the months since then and the reviews have been excellent across the board.

Accidental $18 drink package

Many guests were shocked to see Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol drink package offered for just $18 per day. This was a price mistake that lasted for just a few hours, but during that time quite a few people were able to lock in the price.

Usually, the Deluxe Beverage Package runs somewhere between $40 - $52 per person, per day when purchased in advance.

At first, Royal Caribbean said the price mistake was an error and the purchases would be cancelled.  However, following a lot of guest feedback, the cruise line decided to honor the "computer glitch" for anyone that booked it.

Oasis of the Seas crane accident

While undergoing some routine work at a shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas struck by a construction crane.

Oasis of the Seas was in the Bahamas for a short period of work. No passengers were onboard the ship at the time of the accident.

The accident did cause a few sailings to be cancelled in the weeks that followed in order for the ship to be fully repaired.

Oasis of the Seas $165 amplification

Speaking of Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean completed a massive $165 million refurbishment that added new amenities, activities and more.

Oasis of the Seas had a lot of changed to it, including the cruise line’s first barbecue restaurant, Portside BBQ; and guest favorites, from the tallest slide at sea–the Ultimate Abyss–to popular live music venue Music Hall, and a reimagined, Caribbean pool deck. 

Now that Oasis of the Seas is amplified, the ship is offering sailings from Miami, and will transition to the New York City area for summer 2020.

Royal Caribbean's Hurricane Dorian relief efforts

Following the devastation Hurricane Dorian inflicted upon The Bahamas, Royal Caribbean stepped up in the hours following the storm's departure to pledge $1 million in disaster relief.

The cruise line delivered much-needed supplies to the people of Freeport, Bahamas by ferrying in supplies as each of its cruise ships passed through the area.

Teams of volunteers onboard Royal Caribbean ships worked for hours to package up meals and bottled water to be delivered once the ship arrived in Freeport.

In the first few days, the cruise line delivered 20,000 daily meals to the Grand Bahama Island community.

Grandeur of the Seas will leave the fleet

Royal Caribbean announced it plans to transfer Grandeur of the Seas out of its fleet and will join sister brand, Pullmantur Cruises in spring 2021.

Grandeur of the Seas’ final sailing with Royal Caribbean will take place on March 26th, 2021. Thereafter, she will transition to Pullmantur.

Enchantment of the Seas, will return to Baltimore to replace Grandeur in spring of 2021.

Grandeur's final sailing for Royal Caribbean International will be March 26th, 2021.

Toddler death on Freedom of the Seas

One of the saddest news of the year was the death of a toddler from Freedom of the Seas in July 2019.

An 18-month-old girl died after falling on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas while docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday. The toddler fell after she fell out of her grandfather's grasp at a window on deck 11 of the ship.

Tragic and disturbing, the story has transformed in recent months with the gradfather being charged in the accident, and tabloid-level coverage of the aftermath.

Royal Caribbean purchases resort in Grand Bahama

In March 2019, Royal Caribbean signed a letter of intent with the government of The Bahamas for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort and redevelopment of the Freeport Harbor.

The cruise line has been fairly quiet with details on what it intends to do with the property. Royal Caribbean's CEO hinted the resort could become a multi-million dollar, multi-phased project on par with CocoCay in Freeport.

The development will take place over a 24-month period, with $65 million of the purchase price for the Grand Lucayan Resort.

Social apprentice search

Royal Caribbean went viral with their search in February 2019 for a social media apprentice, who would be paid to go on cruises and share the experience online.

The role was open to British and Irish citizens which garnered 37,000 applicants.  After a lengthy search, Harry McNulty was chosen to become the Shore Explorer.

The Shore Explorer's job is to discover fun and incredible experiences around the world that will ultimately influence the brand’s shore excursion offerings.

No more cruises to Cuba

Following the United States travel ban to Cuba in June 2019, Royal Caribbean had no choice but to cancel all scheduled visits to Cuba.

The two ships that were offering cruises to Cuba, Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas, had their sailings cancelled and visits to Cuban ports replaced with other ports of call.

While Cuba cruises were never a major destination for the cruise line, many guests were disappointed with the news and inability to visit.

Your thoughts

What did you think was the biggest Royal Caribbean news of 2019? Did we miss one? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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