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45 ways to save money on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
28Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Everyone wants to save money on a cruise, so here are all of the easy ways to save money on your Royal Caribbean vacation.

While you might not be able to utilize all 45 tips for one cruise, a great many of these can be combined to help bring down the overall cost.

These are tried and true money saving secrets that will hopefully work for you as well!

Book with a travel agent

The easiest way to make certain you have the best price on your cruise fare is to use a travel agent.

I recommend everyone use one, because you only stand to benefit from using a travel agent.

Travel agents provide great service to folks looking to take a Royal Caribbean cruise because they are keyed in on the latest promotions and they can be your best advocate for finding promotions that help you, not just the day you book but every day until final payment.

A good travel agent will be able to assist with the booking process, and give you every single permutation of pricing to figure out which itinerary, stateroom or promotion makes the most sense for you.  I cannot count the time I have saved by having the travel agent jump through the proverbial hoops for me to figure out what is the best deal for my family.

The reality is you only stand to benefit from using a good travel agent, both in convenience and time saved.

Book as early as you can for lower rates

The earlier you book your Royal Caribbean cruise, the better the price in the long run.

Generally speaking, prices tend to be lowest when sailings go on sale. As more people book a given sailing, prices tend to rise because there is less inventory available and prices go up.

Your best bet is to book early and place a deposit on a sailing that can lock in that price until your final payment date.  This not only gives you the lowest possible price, it also gives you the most time to make payments on the cruise.  Plus, that deposit is fully refundable if you happen to change your mind later.

If you cannot book two years in advance, that is okay too.  They key is not to wait, but instead book a cruise as early as you can.

Look for pre-cruise deals

In the months leading up to your cruise, Royal Caribbean will offer pre-cruise discounts on things like shore excursions, drink packages, wifi and more.

Every so often, there is a new sale that you can find by logging into Royal Caribbean's cruise planner site and checking if the price has changed.

These sales occur fairly regularly, and I always post about them here on the site as a reminder as well.

You can re-price pre-cruise purchases

If you buy a drink package or excursion before your cruise and next week, month or year it drops in price, you can re-price it easily.

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.

Bring your own wine onboard

Did you know that Royal Caribbean allows its guests to bring a limited quantity of wine on a cruise?

Guests may bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom on embarkation day. Each bottle of wine may be up to 750ml in size. 

Do not put the wine in the luggage you hand over to the porters on embarkation day.

You can bring soda and water onboard

In addition to wine, you can also bring non-alcoholic beverages onboard on the first day as well.

Small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages can be brought in a carry-on or hand luggage onboard only on boarding day. 

Specifically, non-alcoholic beverages brought onboard may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom. Distilled water or specialized beverages such as, milk for medical purposes, dietary or infant use, are permitted.

Don't buy WiFi on the first day

A great way to shave off the cost of a WiFi package is to skip buying it on the first day.

Your first day on a cruise is busy, and you are in port for most of the day, where your cell phone works normally.

If you can go without WiFi until midnight (or later) on day 2 of the cruise, you will not have to pay for the first day and only pay pro-rated amount for the rest of the sailing.

Dining packages will save you money

If you want to enjoy some specialty restaurants without paying full price, invest in a dining package.

Royal Caribbean's dining packages provide a set amount of specialty restaurants at a fraction of the list price to dine there.  Quite often, a dining package can knock as much as half off the regular per person price.

Purchase this before your cruise and make reservations on embarkation day.

Look for residency discounts

Before you book a cruise, ask your travel agent if there are any special rates for residents of your state.

You would be surprised how many residency deals there are, and not just for states that have cruise ships sailing from them.

Royal Caribbean regularly targets different areas of the United States and the world with special rates.

Crown and Anchor discounts available for balcony rooms

Once you hit Platinum in Crown and Anchor Society, you automatically qualify for a balcony stateroom discount on every cruise.

The exact balcony discount rate depends on your status level in Crown and Anchor Society, and it goes up with each tier you reach.

Before you assume that balcony or suite is too expensive, make sure you include your balcony discount.

Extra onboard credit for rebooking onboard

Royal Caribbean's Next Cruise program rewards guests that book another Royal Caribbean cruise while onboard their current cruise.

Essentially, booking another Royal Caribbean cruise onboard with Next Cruise gets you free onboard credit for doing so. 

Unlimited drink packages have the potential to save money

You will save much more money by not buying any alcoholic drinks on your cruise, but since so many do enjoy cocktails, beers and other beverages during the cruise, the best way to savor these within a budget is to buy a drink package.

If you buy a drink package in the months leading up to your cruise, you can lock in a lower price compared to what it costs onboard, and you will spread out the total cost of the cruise.  A drink package purchase requires full payment up front, so that means it could be on a different credit card billing cycle from your cruise fare.

There is no question a drink package has the potential to save money, it just relies on you to take full advantage of what the drink package offers.

Discounts sometimes available for certain occupations

Royal Caribbean regularly offers discounts to guests who have certain jobs, including active or retired military, teachers, police officers and more.

Among the many available discounts, there can be special rates reserved for certain vocations, so be sure to let your travel agent know what you do for a living, and if you are active or retired military.

Casino offers special rates

If you have gambled enough on Royal Caribbean cruise ships in the past, you might qualify for incredibly cheap fares or even free cruises.

Just like land casinos, Casino Royale offers special offers to entice gamblers back onboard and low cruise fares and complimentary sailings are one of those perks.

Royal Caribbean credit card can rack up discounted fares

Just like an airline branded credit card, Royal Caribbean's credit card is aimed at cruise line loyalists who want to earn rewards for a cruise vacation.

By using the Royal Caribbean credit card you can earn discounts or even a free cruise from everyday purchases.

Pre-pay gratuities

Pre-paying gratuities allows you to lock in the current gratuity rate, as well as assist in budgeting the total vacation cost by having part of the cost be paid at different times.

Every so often, Royal Caribbean adjusts the gratuity rate, but if you have opted to prepay, you will be grandfathered into the old rate.

Look for drink specials onboard

When looking at Royal Caribbean drink prices, many guests base their math of whether a drink package makes sense off the regular price for drinks, but in reality, there are drink specials all around the ship that bring that price down.

One of the best ways to get a deal on a cocktail is to order the drink of the day.  The drink of the day is a select cocktail that changes every day, which has about a 20% discount on it and is available from most bars onboard.  You can just ask the bartender or waiter what the drink of the day is and take advantage of those savings.

In addition, individual ships will run their own bar specials, like 2 for 1 deals, drink combo deals and other happy hour discounts.  The exact details of a drink special will vary from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing, but it is important to understand that they exist.  

To find drink specials, consult the Cruise Compass for some advertised deals, as well as walk around bars and look for posted signs.

Book spa treatments on port days

Fans of spa services will find port days to have the best deals.

The spa usually offers the best deals on port days to attract guests to book services because everyone is off the ship.  Check the daily spa specials on your port day to see what's available.

Put your phone into airplane mode

If you leave your cellphone active while on a cruise ship, it can connect to the ship's cell phone antenna while at sea, or to a local network at one of the ports you are visiting. Nearly every cell phone plan calls this "roaming", and that means you pay a hefty price for placing calls, sending texts and using data.

To avoid this mistake, simply put your phone into airplane mode once you get onboard on the first day. Airplane mode will disable your phone's antenna and prevent it from connecting to any network.

You can still use apps and other functions of your phone while in airplane mode, including connecting to WiFi

Ask for no souvenir cup

One way to cut down the cost on those tasty cocktails is to skip the souvenir cup.

Often a waiter will walk around the pool deck with a great looking drink in a souvenir cup, but if you ask for the same drink in a plastic cup, the price of the drink will go down.

Book a cruise during less-busy months

Royal Caribbean offers cruises throughout the year, but there are certainly times of the year when cruising is more in-demand than other times. 

If you can, consider taking a Royal Caribbean cruise when most schools are in session because these are the times of year when you will be able to net some super savings.

The best months for the lowest fares include

  • January (except New Years)
  • February (except Presidents Week)
  • First two weeks of March
  • October
  • November (except Thanksgiving)
  • First two weeks of December

Book a cruise on older ships

When you watch any of Royal Caribbean's television commercials, you will see scenes from their Quantum and Oasis class ships and they are absolutely amazing experiences, but they also come with premium pricing.

To save money, book a cruise on an older ship instead.

I know it sounds like with an older ship they will not have all the whizz-bang features of the new ships, but Royal Caribbean has spent millions of dollars in upgrading these ships and I would not hesitate to cruise on them.

Take advantage of Kids Sail Free offer

A great money-saving promotion for families it the Kids Sail Free deals.

During select times of the year, Royal Caribbean offers third and fourth passenger fare for kids 12 years old and under staying in the same room as their parents.  

The "catch" is there are lot of blackout dates, primarily around school holidays and breaks.  If you can manage to book a cruise while Kids Sail Free is offered, it can represent tremendous savings.

Book a guarantee stateroom

If you do not care which specific room assignment you get, a guarantee stateroom can shave off hundreds of dollars from your cruise.

A guarantee stateroom is when Royal Caribbean gives you a discount on a particular category of rooms in exchange for giving up the ability to choose your exact room.

The exact discount you can expect for opting for a guarantee room depends on the sailing.

Repeat cruisers get onboard discounts

After just one Royal Caribbean cruise, you can expect a list of onboard discounts available to use on every sailing.

These discounts are provided by the Crown and Anchor Society, and it includes discounts on drinks, internet, laundry and more.

The exact discounts vary from tier to tier of the customer loyalty program. As you move up each tier, the discounts get more lucrative.

Look for a sheet in your stateroom with the exact discounts available.

Don't book too many shore excursions

While there are tours available in every port you will visit, you do not necessarily need to book a tour in order to see the sights.

In Europe in particular, it is easy to visit the biggest attractions on your own by walking or relying on public transportation.

This can be much less expensive than touring with a group on an organized tour, and maybe more enjoyable, too.

Bring every toiletry that you might need

While Royal Caribbean sells most toiletry item you might need onboard its ships, it will cost much more than buying it at your local store.

To avoid overpaying for toothpaste, sun screen or medicine, be sure to bring more than enough of it all to ensure you do not run out.

Avoid double tipping

If you order a beer or alcoholic beverage, Royal Caribbean will automatically add a gratuity to your bill, so unless you really loved the bartender or waiter, don't tip them twice.

Often guests don't really read the receipt and are so accustomed to adding a tip that they don't realize gratuity has been automatically applied to the bill. 

Ask for specialty restaurant specials onboard

If you see a waiter walking around the ship asking if you want to dine at their specialty restaurant, ask if there is any special price they can offer.

When the restaurant sends someone around to drum up business, it is usually a sign they want to fill spots, and (nicely) asking for a discount is not unusual.

You may need to commit to a reservation that day to get the deal, but it is a great way to sweeten the deal.

Senior Citizen discount

Are you over 55 years old? You may qualify for a special discount!

Guests who are 55 years or older can qualify for reduced rates, so you will need to contact Royal Caribbean or your travel agent to inquire about exact rates.

Look for the drink card

Have you heard about something where you can pre-purchase 10 drinks for a set price? Usually the price is somewhere between $75-85 and you can share the drink card with anyone you want. That means a $12 cocktail would cost you really about $7.50-$8.50 each with the drink card.

The "catch" with the drink cards is you cannot pre-purchase them for your cruise, and there are no guarantees they will be available on any particular sailing.  Generally, it will be offered on the third to fifth day of a 7 night cruise.

If the drink card is available, it usually becomes available around half way through your sailing, so on a 7-night cruise, it might show up on day 3 or 4.  

Again, there is no means of which to know if a drink card will be available on your cruise with any kind of certainty.

Take advantage of free drinks

Believe it or not, there are ways to get free drinks on your Royal Caribbean cruise.  Granted, there is no way to effectively drink all day like this, but any free drinks you can get are less drinks you have to buy!

One of the best ways to get free drinks is by being a Crown and Anchor Society member.  Diamond level and above members are eligible for three free beverages per evening from 4:30 to 8:00pm, in addition to the unlimited complimentary beverages in the Diamond Lounge during those hours.

All Crown and Anchor Society members will have special coupons pre-loaded on their SeaPass account that provide deals like Buy One, Get one beer, wine or soda by the glass.  In addition, Royal Caribbean holds Crown and Anchor Society events onboard for members, with complimentary cocktails served.

Free champagne can also be found at select events, including art auctions, Captain's Welcome and during holiday celebrations.

Free onboard credit if you own Royal Caribbean stock

If you own at least 100 shares of Royal Caribbean Group stock (RCL), you can get extra onboard credit.

You could get up to $250 in onboard credit by being a shareholder, so be sure to take advantage of this offer if you qualify.

Last minute deals

While I always advocate booking a cruise as far in advance as possible, last minute deals are possible.

Around 60 days before the cruise departs, you can look to see what availability and pricing is present.  Around this time, cruisers whose plans have changed have already canceled, cruise lines have a good read on passenger load, and last-minute deals begin to emerge. The reductions may or may not continue as the sailing date draws closer.

Ask your travel agent for "Going, Going, Gone" rates as another way to quickly identify discounted sailings that are coming up.

Wave Season deals

The cruise industry has the most offers in the early part of the year, known as Wave Season.

Between January and March, cruise lines tend to roll out their best deals of the year in an effort to set up bookings for the rest of the year.

It is always a good idea to track the new offers during Wave Season to see if there are any particularly good deals to jump on and book.

Avoid laundry costs by packing enough clothes

Since Royal Caribbean does not offer self-service laundry, the only laundry options you have will cost you extra.

Your best bet is to pack enough clothing to avoid having to send any laundry out during your cruise. Planning ahead with extra outfits can ensure you do not have to spend more on getting clothes cleaned.

You might also consider buying single-use detergent packs so you can wash small garments in your stateroom bathroom sink.

Cabin upgrades for less

One way you might be able to get a stateroom upgrade for less is to bid for it.

The Royal Up program allows guests to place bids for a stateroom upgrade in the weeks leading up to their cruise.

This is a blind stateroom upgrade bidding program, where close to your sail date you can let Royal Caribbean know how much you would be willing to pay if an upgrade situation presented itself.

Bring your own snorkel equipment

One of the most popular Caribbean shore excursions is to go snorkeling, and bringing your own equipment would not only save you money on an excursion, but allow you to use it in more than one port.

There are no restrictions on using your own snorkel equipment, even Royal Caribbean's private destinations of Perfect Day at CocoCay or Labadee.

Note that if you don't have your own snorkel vest, you will be required to rent one while snorkeling at its private destinations. 

Keep checking prices after you book

After you book your cruise, you can take advantage of price drops all the way up until your final payment date.

If you spot a better price for the same room category and sailing you are on, have your travel agent reprice the cruise to get the lower rate.

Being able to reprice is not available in all countries (such as the United Kingdom or Australia), but for guests in the United States or Canada, it is a great way to get the best price.

Repositioning cruises tend to be the best values

If you want to pay the least per night on your cruise, you should consider an "open-jaw sailing".

Transatlantic, transpacific and cruises that begin in one port and end in another port tend to be priced very reasonably, and are usually longer sailings too. With less stops in port towns and cities, these ocean cruises are often a cheaper options.

Set up a group for your friends and family

If your group of friends or family will need 8 cabins or more, you should talk to a travel agent about setting up a group with Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean rewards groups of people that book together with the same agency.  By setting up a group, the tour operator (whoever is in charge of the group) can get money back from the cruise line that could mean a big discount, or even a free cabin.

There are lots of perks for having a group, but speak to a travel agent before anyone books a room.

Group discounts

Even if you are not traveling with a group of people, group discounts can be available to just about anyone.

When a travel agency sets up a group, they get to lock in the pricing and often travel agents have access to group rates across their network consortium.

Being booked in a group does not require you to spend anytime with others in the group, it is just a discount that could save you a lot of money.

Shop around for travel insurance

Royal Caribbean offers its own travel insurance, but you should look at prices from other travel insurance providers to find the best blend of benefits and price.

Third party travel insurance providers are plentiful, and prices can vary considerably.

Ask for free seasickness medicine

While you should be prepared and have some seasickness medicine just in case, if you happen to forget it, you can get it for free from the cruise line.

If you are not feeling well, Guest Services and/or the medical center is usually happy to provide complimentary over the counter seasickness medicine to anyone that asks.

Ask others to share taxis

When in port, if you see other cruise guests waiting for a taxi, ask if you can share a ride with them.

If both of your groups can fit into a single taxi, you can split the cost of the cab and save money compared to getting a private ride.  Plus, you might make new friends!

Royal Caribbean trademarks names for possible venues on new cruise ships

In:
28Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group's legal team was busy this week with a variety of new trademarks that sound like it could be names for new venues on its cruise ships.

Trademark registrations may not end up being used by the cruise line, but it does provide insight into what may be currently planned.

Four new trademarks have been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week:

Vue Bar

On October 23, a trademark was made for "Vue Bar" under the category of "cruise ship services".

Cask & Clipper

Another registration made on October 23 is for the "Cask & Clipper", which is filed under two categories:

  • Cruise ship services
  • Restaurant and bar services

Royal Caribbean's English-style pubs on its cruise ships tend to have names that combine two words in a similar style to Cask & Clipper.

Wonder Playscape

The trademark filing for "Wonder Playscape" sounds a lot like the name of a new play area on Wonder of the Seas cruise ship.

Wonder of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean's fifth Oasis Class cruise ship, which is set to debut in 2022 and sail from China.

The description for Wonder Playscape says, "Entertainment services in the nature of children's dry playscape attractions".

The trademark might correlate to a series of renderings for a newly imagined concept for families that popped up online. Or it could be something completely unrelated.

Cantina Fresca

The last trademark filing was made for something called "Cantina Fresca" and is described as "restaurant and bar services".

The name infers a Mexican inspired venue, of which Royal Caribbean has targeted this particular cuisine in the past with Sabor Modern Mexican and El Loco Fresh.

What do these trademarks mean?

Trademark applications are usually quite vague and do not indicate exactly how the cruise line will utilize them, if at all.

In fact, a lot of trademarks never get used for many reasons.

It is also worth noting these registrations are filed on behalf of the Royal Caribbean Group, which means they could be intended for a subsidiary cruise line that is not Royal Caribbean International.

Read moreWho owns Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean has two cruise ships under construction set to debut in the next few years, Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas. With new ships comes new opportunities to potentially introduce new venues that will help market a ship and differentiate it from other vessels.

In addition, the Icon Class cruise ships are also on the horizon in the next few years.

Royal Caribbean releases Spring 2022-2023 opening schedule

In:
28Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has released the deployment schedule for initial 2022-2023 sailings.

The opening deployment for summer 2022 will include Alaska, Europe and 7-night Caribbean sailings.

The deployment schedule corresponds to when certain itineraries will go on sale to the public.

  • Week of November 9, 2020 Alaska Summer 2022
  • Week of November 9, 2020 Europe Summer 2022
  • Week of November 16, 2020 7-Night Caribbean Summer 2022

Royal Caribbean says the remainder of the deployment will be "coming soon"

All itineraries are subject to change without notice.

What does a deployment schedule mean?

The deployment schedule is when Royal Caribbean intends to put certain sailings on sale to the public.

It is important to note the key words, "week of", which means it could actually go on sale on any day that particular week.

A common mistake is for guests to read the date, and assume that will be the first day the sailings on on sale.

Moreover, Royal Caribbean's booking system tends to lag, where the new sailings get entered into the booking system first, and the website second. This means in some cases cruises are bookable earlier if booked over the phone or with a travel agent, even if they do not appear on the website.

What should you do now to prepare?

If you are in the market for a cruise during one of these new deployments, you will want to keep an eye out for once cruises go on sale.

Royal Caribbean typically allows Crown and Anchor Society members a 24 hour head start on the general public, but since anyone can sign up for Crown and Anchor Society, there is no excuse for waiting.

Talk with your travel agent in the days leading up to the new deployments coming online so you can jump on specific bookings and book them.  

One of the best strategies for the lowest prices is to book a cruise as soon as it goes on sale.  Hard-to-find staterooms are also available during this period, so now is the time to lock in a studio room or a suite.

Planning on booking a cruise in 2022-2023? These stories will help:

Here are your options if you want to cancel or defer your booked cruise

In:
27Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

There is a lot of uncertainty in the cruise industry, as well as regular life, and some people may want to push off that cruise vacation a bit longer until things settle down.

Luckily, Royal Caribbean is offering the most flexible cancellation terms during these tumultuous times, which means you have a few options to consider.

Many of us probably thought earlier this summer that cruises might have been back already by now, so here is what you need to know about changing your mind about your cruise.

If you want to cancel your cruise

Some people might prefer to cancel their plans and see how things pan out later, and there are a few cruise cancellation options you should know about.

If you have not reached your final payment date yet (75 days for 1-4 night cruises; 90 days 5-night or longer cruises), you can cancel and get a refund subject to the kind of deposit you selected when you booked.  A refundable cruise fare will get you all your deposit money back, whereas a non-refundable cruise fare will hit you with a $100 per person fee.

If you are past final payment, you can elect to take a 100% future cruise credit for the value of your cruise, and be able to use that cruise credit for another sailing later.  You will essentially receive a voucher code to be redeemed later for another cruise that you book.

Be mindful of the fact if you cancel the reservation before Royal Caribbean cancels the cruise, you will not be eligible for whatever offer(s) come from the cruise line.

As an example, when Royal Caribbean cancels a sailing, a full refund is usually offered to everyone (regardless of the deposit type you picked), along with a 125% future cruise credit option.

Regardless of which situation you are in, how you booked your cruise will determine who you need to contact.

  • If you booked your cruise directly with Royal Caribbean, you must call them to do so. 
  • If you booked with a travel agent, your travel agent will need to cancel the cruise on your behalf.

If you want to defer your cruise

A lot of guests simply want to push back their plans another year, and the Lift & Shift program does that very easily.

If you are ready to delay your existing reservation to a cruise the following year, Royal Caribbean will protect the cruise fare and promotions you paid for the original reservation, provided the sailing next year meets these criteria:

  • New sailing needs to be dated within 4 weeks (before or after) of the original sail date
  • Same itinerary
  • Same length
  • Same stateroom category

Lift and Shift is currently available to be used on or before November 30, 2020.

If you want to wait it out longer

The good news is if you are unsure what you want to do, and want to see where things go, you have the flexibility to do so.

As long as you cancel at least 48 hours before the sail date, you can receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit that is valid through December 31, 2021 or 12 months from your original canceled sail date (whichever is longer).

This is part of the flexible terms known as the Cruise with Confidence program, and it means you do not have to decide right now what you want to do about your upcoming cruise.

This kind of flexibility means you do not have to make a decision now, and take advantage of the best information available closer to your sail date.

If you have a December 2020 cruise booked

While the options outlined in this post are available to everyone, if you happen to have a December 2020 cruise booked, you should wait until the end of October to see what happens.

The No Sail order by the U.S. Center for Disease Control is about to expire on October 31, but if it is extended, that will mean Royal Caribbean will have to cancel more cruises.

Essentially, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by waiting to see what happens with the No Sail order before deciding on that December 2020 cruise.

Should you cancel your cruise?

It seems a lot of people are struggling with what is the best option for them right now, and that is not something I, or anyone else, can really answer.

The state of cruising, as well as the global health crisis is changing every day, and there are a variety of factors, risks and considerations that will vary from family to family.

There are still lots of people booked on cruises, but certainly there have been a lot of people who have opted to cancel their planned cruises and wait things out.

Given the nature of the Cruising with Confidence policy, my only advice is you have nothing to lose by waiting and seeing how things progress and make a decision closer to your sail date.

More helpful information

If you have more questions about canceling your cruise (or if Royal Caribbean cancels it for you), here are some helpful resources:

8 things Royal Caribbean trademarked but never did anything with

In:
27Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean often trademarks words or phrases that it thinks may have a business use down the line, but these trademarks do not always get used.

Royal Caribbean recently filed a trademark for something called a "tracelet", and while it remains to be seen what that registration might be for, it is a good opportunity to look back at some notable trademarks that were never used (yet).

These trademarks are filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and Royal Caribbean typically registers a couple dozen over the course of a year.

Here is a list of 8 trademarks Royal Caribbean filed recently, but I have not found anything that they have done with them.

Seaface

The current health crisis lead Royal Caribbean to trademark a name for its own brand of sanitary masks named "seaface".

The trademark was filed on April 8, 2020 and is intended for cruise ship services. The trademark lists it as a "medical apparatus".

In June, Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said they would not go ahead with any plans for a seaface mask, "that was one idea that was thrown out of which we're not pursuing."

Anchors Up

On February 15, 2020, Royal Caribbean trademarked "Anchors Up" and it sounds like it might have been their own brand of wine.

The registration says it is intended to cover the categories of wine; Red wine; White wine.

Thus far, I have yet to hear or see any reference to a cruise line branded wine.

Floating Vistas

Trademark registrations are always vague, and "Floating Vistas" registration matches that, with simply a description of being for "cruise ship services".

It is possible this is/was intended for the floating cabanas at Perfect Day at CocoCay.  The Coco Beach Club features floating cabanas, and perhaps Floating Vistas sounded like a better marketable name.

Cox & Kings

In January 2020, Royal Caribbean filed a trademark for "Cox & Kings", which sounds like perhaps its own type of British pub.

However, the trademark almost sounds like a hotel brand name.

"Trademark registration is intended to cover the categories of hotel and motel services; restaurant and catering services, arranging and booking of facilities for meetings, conferences, and for exhibitions; reservation services for hotel accommodation, arranging and booking of temporary accommodations, booking agency services for hotel accommodation, arranging and booking of campground and caravan facilities, arranging and letting holiday accommodation, letting of and reservation of tourist accommodation, tourist agency and tourist office services, namely, booking accommodations for others."

The filing was rejected because of a likelihood of confusion between it and three existing trademarks.

Rec Room

Also registered in January was a trademark for "Rec Room", which is described as "intended to cover the category of cruise ship services".

The registration also listed as for use with "night club services", indicating perhaps it would be the name of a new club.

Like Cox & Kings, it was rejected as well for likely confusion with three other trademarks.

Bohio Beach Bar

Royal Caribbean made two different trademark registrations for "Bohio" and "Bohio Beach Bar", and once again fell under the catch-all category of "intended to cover the category of cruise ship services".

The word "bohio" is Spanish, and refers to a small timber dwelling with thatched roof in the Caribbean.

The registration lists it as under an additional category of "bar services", and the words "beach bar" later appear in the registration as well.

Both registrations were approved.

Thrillamanjaro

A play on words for the famous mountain in Africa, "Thrillamanjaro" was registered by Royal Caribbean as the name of a water slide.

"Recreational services in the nature of a water slide."

While no water slide has been announced with that name, the trademark was approved in April 2020 and could still be used later.

Cruise ship names

The most well-known examples of Royal Caribbean filing a trademark but not doing anything with it are cruise ship names.

Royal Caribbean regularly trademarks names of cruise ships that it might use later. Part of the process for coming up with cruise ship names is brain storming new names, and finalists get trademarked.

Here are some recent cruise ship names that never got used (yet):

  • Metropolis of the Seas
  • Eon of the Seas
  • Gallant of the Seas
  • Phenom of the Seas
  • Emblem of the Seas
  • Passion of the Seas
  • Pulse of the Seas
  • Joy of the Seas
  • Apex of the Seas
  • Valhalla of the Seas
  • Sunrise of the Seas

Save up to 45% off pre-cruise purchases with Royal Caribbean's new sale

In:
27Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 45% off cruise extras you can add-onto your vacation, such as drink packages, shore excursions and more.

The Sale Before You Sail begins today, and runs between October 27 - November 2, 2020 and is valid on sailings from December 1, 2020 - October 31, 2021.

Here is what is included during the sale:

BEVERAGE: Up to 50% off

  • Classic Soda Beverage Package: 40% off onboard prices.
  • Classic Soda Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship.
  • Dasani Water Cans: 40% off onboard prices.
  • Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship.
  • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship.
  • Refreshment Package: 40% off onboard prices.

SHORE EXCURSIONS: Up to 40% off

  • Shore Excursions: Discount varies by ship. 

INTERNET: Up to 65% off

  • The Key: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes MJ)
  • 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: Up to 55% off

  • Unlimited Dining Package on 3N – 9N sailings: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes Majesty of the Seas)

ACTIVITIES: 20% off

  • All Access Ship Tour: (Sailings from 12/1/20 – 12/31/20, Excludes BR, JW, NE, OV, OY, QN, RD, SR, VY)

GIFTS & GEAR: Up to 20% off

Excludes Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas , Voyager of the Seas

  • Anniversary Decorations with Champagne
  • Happy Birthday Decorations with Chocolate Cake & Strawberries
  • Happy Birthday Decorations with Vanilla Cake & Strawberries
  • Inky Beach Set
  • Inky Beach Towel (TicTacToe)
  • Inky Travel Set
  • Red Wine and Cheese
  • Royal Caribbean Beach Towel
  • Strawberries with Champagne
  • White Wine and Cheese

PHOTO PACKAGES: Up to 70% off

  •  Photo Packages: From 5 - 100 print and/or digital options: discount varies by ship. (See full terms for exclusions)
  •  Photo Package: Private Photo Session: discount varies by ship. (See full terms for exclusions)

SPA & FITNESS: Up to 30% off (Only on AL, HM, ID, MA, NV, OA, SY) 

  • Spa & Fitness: 30% off onboard prices

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.

The big questions for Royal Caribbean's earnings call this week

In:
26Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group will release its third quarter financial results later this week, which could shed light on a number of ongoing questions.

Between the financial results and the subsequent call with Wall Street investors, the public gets a certain level of insight into what the cruise line company is thinking, as well as what story the numbers tell.

The shutdown of the cruise industry has left so many concerns and questions about the short-term and long-term state of cruises. Earnings calls earlier this year have helped answer some of these issues.

While we will not know exactly all topics to be covered, here are the top issues cruise fans are curious about (and Wall Street too).

Any restart hints

There is no doubt the third quarter was another bad loss for Royal Caribbean Group, but anyone that is buying the cruise stock is fixated on the long-term gains the company has the potential to deliver.

To that point, the sooner Royal Caribbean can start cruising again, the sooner revenue can start flowing back in again.

Both investors and cruise fans are equally eager to know when cruise ships will be able to start sailing again.

While Royal Caribbean may not have a definitive answer, their conjecture and attitude may provide a glimpse of how they see cruises restarting.

New protocols

Assuming Royal Caribbean Group does not have all the answers on a firm restart plan, the next best thing to assuage investors is a plan for cruises to be able to restart in a safe manner.

While the Healthy Sail Panel has provided key recommendations on what it says cruise lines should do, Royal Caribbean has not specified exactly which of its Royal Promise rules are intended for Singapore sailings versus the entire fleet.

The new rules have an additional effect on the psyche of the public prior to cruises starting, by adding confidence that the operations are indeed safe. Similar to how airlines and local businesses added new protocols to keep guests safe, the cruise lines are looking to demonstrate the lengths at which they will go to in order to keep everyone healthy.

Ship status

If the cruise industry shutdown continues, will Royal Caribbean put any cruise ships into cold lay-up or even sell any of them?

While Royal Caribbean International has not seen any of its ships sold, Pullmantur Cruises (a Royal Caribbean Group partial subsidiary) did sell its fleet due to financial insolvency.  Moreover, rival Carnival Corporation has sold a number of vessels in order to cut costs.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said in July there are no plans to sell ships, but it is a consideration.

New cost-cutting measures

Big losses are to be expected, but they are not sustainable.  To that point, it is possible more cuts could be announced in order to reduce the company's monthly cash burn.

The longer the shutdown continues, the more likely Royal Caribbean is to try to save cash and reduce its expenditures.

Royal Caribbean Group recently said they have a monthly cash burn of $200-290 million, but any way they can bring that number down is going to help in the long term.

Financial analysts seem to think Royal Caribbean Group has enough liquidity (cash) to deal with a prolonged cruise suspension, however, the road back to recovery is going to be a long one.

On the plus side, Royal Caribbean Group announced a couple financing transactions in the past week aimed at improving its balance sheet.

Royal Caribbean is using an abundance of caution in how it conducts its business. At the end of its 2019 fiscal year, it had cash and cash equivalents of $243.74 million. By the time the second quarter this year ended, this figure surged to $4.15 billion. Gross debt over this timeframe jumped from $11.04 billion to $18.83 billion, though net debt rose more modestly, climbing from $10.79 billion to $14.68 billion. With so much cash on hand already at quarter-end, it’s clear management is planning for an extended period of pain.

2021 bookings update

The silver lining to the entire cruise shutdown has been bookings for 2021 cruises (and beyond) have been pretty solid.

Essentially, a lot of people opted to defer their cruise vacations to next year instead of outright canceling plans, and the question is if this trend is holding up.

Wall Street has been skeptical of any cruise line's ability to lure customers back once cruises resume, so positive feedback on how 2021 (and beyond) is looking would put a lot of concerns at ease.

CDC warns against worldwide travel on cruise ships

In:
26Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its warning last week to travelers to defer all cruise travel worldwide.

The Level 3 warning was updated on October 21st due to, "widespread ongoing spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been reported in some countries. Other countries have reported sustained community spread."

The warning comes just days before the CDC will announce if the No Sail order that bans cruise ships from operating in North America will be lifted or extended.

The warning itself is not new, but rather an update to an existing warning the agency issued in the spring.

Thanks to CruiseHive for discovering this announcement.

Details on the warning

The CDC noted it typically does not post advisories for forms of transportation (trains, ships or airplanes), but because of the unprecedented nature of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 on cruise ships, the U.S. government is advising U.S. travelers to defer all cruise travel.

In addition to the CDC's warning, the agency recommends anyone with a cruise booked reschedule for a future date.

The rationale for the elevated warning is rooted in an increased risk of infection to passengers and crew members.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there remains a risk of infected passengers and crew on board cruise ships."

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the United States reported more than 83,000 new infections on both Friday and Saturday after outbreaks in Sun Belt states, surpassing a previous record of roughly 77,300 cases set in July.

No update yet on No Sail order

The fate of the cruise industry remains hinged on what will happen to the cruise ship ban that has been in place since March.

Last month, the CDC took until just hours before the No Sail order was set to expire before extending it another 30 days.

A report that came out just days earlier indicated the CDC and the White House are fighting over how much longer the No Sail order should be extended.

Just like last month, there is no advanced warning when the CDC might announce anything and the cruise lines have not commented on possibilities either.

Healthy cruise plan

Over the last few months, Royal Caribbean and the entire cruise industry has been focused on coming up with a plan to keep passengers and crew safe, while operating crew ships.

The industry as a whole adopted a broad new set of health protocols that exceed the rules and regulations imposed by other sectors of travel, such as calling for 100% testing.

The Healthy Sail Panel that created these new rules is chaired by Governor Mike Leavitt, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Recommendations include testing, the use of face coverings, and enhanced sanitation procedures on ships and in terminals. 

The Healthy Sail Panel identified five areas of focus every cruise operator should address to improve health and safety for guests and crew, and reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships:

  • Testing, Screening and Exposure Reduction
  • Sanitation and Ventilation
  • Response, Contingency Planning and Execution
  • Destination and Excursion Planning
  • Mitigating Risks for Crew Members

In each category, the Healthy Sail Panel created practical and actionable recommendations to address specific safety concerns. Among the recommendations are key strategies such as:

  • Taking aggressive measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering a ship through robust education, screening and testing of both crew and guests prior to embarkation
  • Reducing transmission via air management strategies and enhanced sanitation practices
  • Implementing detailed plans to address positive infection on board, including contingencies for onboard treatment, isolation and rapid evacuation and repatriation
  • Closely controlling shore excursions
  • Enhanced protection for crew members

Furthermore, the CDC has been made aware of the panel and even invited to observe the planning and creation of procedures.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: October 25, 2020

In:
25Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! We are so happy that you stopped by and hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Grab a mug of your favorite hot beverage, sit back, and check out the latest in Royal Caribbean news.

Royal Caribbean announced it will redeploy six cruise ships in winter 2021-2022 for the Caribbean and Australia regions.

The changes encompass six ships, which offer new ships, as well as new itineraries, from a few different ports.

Royal Caribbean issued a statement that elaborated on the changes, "Our new deployment line-up provides guests with greater variety, including new itineraries in the Caribbean and Australia that will help strengthen the cruise line’s footprint globally."

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

Groups large and small will book cruises, and in one such instance, Jeff discovered he was going on a Freedom of the Seas cruise with a large group of bikers.

This week's podcast episode looks back on Jeff's cruise, and discusses how Jeff and his family enjoyed his cruise alongside a large group onboard.

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.

New RCB Video: Why nobody knows when cruises will restart

Have you subscribed to the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel? We share some great videos there regularly, all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise! This week, we are sharing our latest video — Why nobody knows when cruises will restart — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean offering double loyalty points for all cruises in 2021

Guests who have a 2021 cruise booked will be able to take advantage of perhaps the most lucrative bonus offer ever offered, double Crown and Anchor points.

The Loyalty 2X Points enhancement applies to an existing or new booking that is made prior to December 31, 2020, for sailings departing January 1 – December 31, 2021.

If you have an existing reservation made before December 31, 2020, there is no need to re-book in order to get this benefit. You just need to make certain that a valid Crown & Anchor Society membership number is included in the reservation.

Why you shouldn't avoid older and smaller cruise ships

In:
24Oct2020
By: Matt Hochberg

The newest cruise ships will offer the latest and greatest developments that a cruise line has, but older and smaller ships in the fleet should not be overlooked as a great choice.

If you see a Royal Caribbean  television commercial, it probably shows off the newest amazing things you can do on one of its newest ships. While they do look amazing, other ships in the fleet that are a bit older are still a great choice for a cruise vacation.

Royal Caribbean sails 26 ships, and while new cruise ships will always get the most attention, here are some important reasons to not skip out on older and smaller cruise ships.

Upgrades

Just because you do not book the newest cruise ship does not mean you have to compromise on what there is to do onboard.

Royal Caribbean recognizes that a lot of cruisers look for the fun new activities and things to do on a cruise ship.  And if a certain feature or activity does really well on a new ship, it makes a lot of sense to add that to other ships.

Over the years, Royal Caribbean has systematically upgraded and enhanced their older ships with new features, including water slides, new restaurants, escape rooms and more.

Even ships that are 15-20 years old offer many more things to do than when those vessels first entered service.

A smaller ship does not mean there is nothing to do or it will feel dated.  Royal Caribbean does a fantastic job at maintaining their cruise ships and keeping them relevant.

Read moreWhat was added to each Royal Caribbean ship during its Royal Amplified refurbishment

Exotic itineraries

If you want to cruise to some of the more distant ports of call, you will probably be doing so on a smaller cruise ship.

Certain itineraries are always going to be relegated to smaller cruise ships, and being able to visit far-off ports of call that are not just another cruise port is something you cannot do on the big ships.

Cruises to places like Venice, Key West, Iceland, Bora Bora and others are usually only serviced by smaller cruise ships.

Read moreBest Royal Caribbean ships and cruise guide

More relaxing pace

While new ships are packed with so many things to do, it can often lead to "FOMO" (fear of missing out) and that can lead to a faster pace of cruising in order to work it all in.

Older ships still have plenty of luster to them, but you will not feel like you are missing out on as many signature activities if you decide to sleep in, spend the day at the pool, or read a good book.

Smaller cruise ships offer a more "classic cruise experience", which means it is less about going from one whizz-bang feature to another. Rather, you feel more at liberty to do more relaxing and enjoying time at the pool deck and enjoying the cruise ship atmosphere.

As stated earlier, do not confuse a relaxing pace with nothing to do. Those upgrades over the years that were mentioned earlier still offer plenty to do after you finish napping.

Read moreEverything you wanted to know about Royal Caribbean's pools

Easier to get a last-minute cruise

New cruise ships attract so much attention that their sailings tend to sell out much faster than older ships.

If you are looking to book a cruise at the last minute (less than 120-90 days before sailing), you will find better prices and options with older cruise ships.

Essentially, anyone in the market for a last-minute cruise is likely to find a great stateroom on older ships simply because they do not sell out as quickly as new ones.

Read moreLast minute Royal Caribbean cruise trip planning

Lower price

The best reason to cruise on a smaller and older ship is the lower price.

Newer ships come with a premium price tag, but you can find fantastic values in the older ships.

Sometimes, the rates are between 30 and 40 percent cheaper than for new-builds, depending on the itinerary and season. 

Similar to how a used car is sold at a significant savings compared to a new car, new cruise ships command the higher prices and every new ship that joins the fleet tends to drive down the price of existing ships.

If you compare the price per-night on a new ship versus an older ship, it is usually significant. Moreover, these savings can mean moving up to a higher stateroom category.  Instead of a balcony on an Oasis Class ship, maybe you can afford a suite on a Voyager Class ship.

Read moreHow to cruise on the cheap

Old ships or new ships?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sailing on an Oasis or Quantum class ship, but consider every class in the fleet for your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

You should not disregard a certain cruise ship simply because of its size or age. New ships are often larger and offer so many things to do, but they can also be expensive and not nearly as intimate an experience.

Older ships are not forgotten by the cruise line, and outfitted with modern amenities and popular attractions that keep them relevant.

If you have only cruised on the newest and biggest ships, trying a Radiance or Voyager Class ship means you can experience something new.

The value these older ships provide make them a compelling choice for just about anyone.

Read moreWhich is the best Royal Caribbean cruise ship?

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