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Sushi to-go on Icon of the Seas makes it easier than ever to snack beyond the usual

20 Feb 2024
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean introduced plenty of new features on Icon of the Seas, including a walk-up sushi window.

Sushi window on Icon of the Seas

Sushi has been an incredibly popular dining choice on Royal Caribbean ships ever since the first Izumi location opened on Oasis of the Seas in 2009. Demand for Japanese cuisine has never only increased since then, and Royal Caribbean wanted to make it easier than ever to enjoy it with its newest cruise ship.

Icon of the Seas began offering cruises in January 2024 and one of the revamped venues anyone that has cruised a lot with Royal Caribbean will notice is the new look to Izumi.

Royal Caribbean moved Izumi to the Central Park neighborhood, offering a high-traffic location in one of the most sought-after areas of the cruise ship for guests looking to dine out. Central Park has traditionally been a combination of dining and entertainment, and Izumi is now located across the path from Royal Caribbean's most well-known specialty restaurant, Chops Grille.

Chef Travis at Izumi

Izumi's rise in popularity isn't based on just luck.  Izumi Master Chef Travis Kamiyama has over 30 years experience working in Japanese cuisine, and he provided the inside story of how adding a new and convenient way to get sushi came to be on Icon.

Being given prime real estate is validation to the fact Izumi is a popular and profitable idea, "After 14 years of blood, sweat and tears, we made it. We landed in Central Park. Yeah, so that's a big deal."

"I think the consistency and becoming iconic," he said in talking about Izumi's popularity.

"And it was all by, you know, guests raving about it and all the numbers showing it. And that's what it was all about. It was all purely proven."

Read more: An inside look at how Royal Caribbean's Izumi restaurant went from concept to success

Sushi and bubble cones to go

Sushi to go

At the walk-up window, there's two types of food you can order.

The sushi options include a choice of two rolls, plus edamame or seaweed salad. You'll find both sashimi and nigiri rolls to consider.

Rolls are served in a container so you can take it anywhere on the ship. There are tables nearby in Central Park, or you could take it back to your cabin to enjoy.

Bubble cones

There's also bubble cones, which has ice cream served in sweet, eggy bubble waffles that are crisp on the outside and cakey on the inside.

They're photogenic because of the toppings you'll get with it, and they're kind of like a milk shake meets ice cream cone.

There are five flavors: 

  1. Cookies & Cream
  2. Rainbow mochi & mocha
  3. Beach Umbrella
  4. Chocolate Thrill
  5. Strawberry Bliss
Travis with bubble cone

Chef Kamiyama says Cookies and Cream is the top seller so far, with chocolate thrill and the strawberry bliss right behind it.

Strawberry bubble cone

In describing the bubble cone, it's more than just another ice cream choice, "It is basically a hot waffle that's bubbly. And then we put a soft serve of ice cream, vanilla or chocolate, which is much creamier than the ones you get for free. And then we have different toppings on top."

Seven years in the making


Royal Caribbean worked on Icon of the Seas for over 7 years. It's what the cruise line calls a "white paper ship", meaning they started with a blank slate and came up with ideas for what they wanted onboard.

One of the overarching initiatives on Icon of the Seas is easy access to food with grab-and-go choices. You'll find this at restaurants like Pearl Cafe or Park Cafe. Likewise, adding an easy sushi option was identified, but it was not going to be easy, "they figured that the most demanding grab and go was sushi."

Izumi Express

Royal Caribbean had experimented with offering pre-packaged sushi a few years ago with the Izumi Express concept. On select ships, there was sushi available on the Royal Promenade, but the Izumi in the Park sushi window goes well beyond that.

Chef Kamiyama indicated they wanted a blend of food that would appeal to the cruising market and based their decisions on what was already selling well at Izumi.

One of the biggest Izumi locations yet


Not only is Izumi located in a new area, it's also one of the biggest locations Royal Caribbean has built yet.

"To have finally almost 70 seats on an Icon class or the future Oasis six, that's a huge win for me and for the guests as well," Chef Kamiyama said of the size of Izumi on Icon of the Seas.

For Japanese cuisine lovers, you'll find sushi, hibachi, ramen, mochi and more. 

Sushi tables

The restaurant is divided up between a sushi section and the teppanyaki dining, along with the adjacent sushi window.

What to try if you're new to Japanese food


If all this Izumi talk sounds like you want to try it, I asked Chef Kamiyama what he would recommend to a newbie.

"You can't go wrong with the gyoza dumpling... and then also the chicken karaage," were the first two recommendations he had.


As for sushi, he also recommended the salmon lovers roll or the spicy tuna roll as good choices.

The worst months to cruise the Caribbean

20 Feb 2024
Calista Kiper

Can you visit the Caribbean all year round?

The Caribbean is the most popular cruise destination and a dreamy tropical escape for many travelers.

And while it’s true that a year-round warmth is what attracts many travelers, not all seasons are created equal when it comes to planning your Caribbean cruise. 

With any destination, there are better times to enjoy it than others.

Cabo San Lucas beach

It’s important to plan ahead, because there are certain months that might not be an ideal time for a cruise adventure.

For example, the rainy season falls between May and October. 

If you cruise between these months, you could be subject to gushing, torrential rains daily—not to mention the risk of hurricanes!


We’re here to help you plan with a guide to the worst months to sail to the Caribbean.

And don’t worry—those picture-perfect beaches and reefs, yummy food, and enjoyable excursions will still be waiting for you.

The worst weather falls between July, August, and September


The Caribbean’s rainy season begins in May and runs through October. 

Rainy season involves short, strong bursts of heavy rain, usually in the afternoon. These tropical torrents can make it hard to be out and about during the rain.

Not only that, but the Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane season also falls during this time, from June to November.

The vast majority of hurricanes form during August, September, and October, making those months the riskiest ones to cruise.

Although you won’t be in any danger from these hurricanes, a bad storm could cause your cruise to be delayed or canceled. It may also cause a change in itinerary.

In September of 2023, for example, Royal Caribbean canceled a Vision of the Seas cruise due to Tropical Storm Ophelia. 

Sometimes, sailing through bad weather just isn’t worth the risk!

Storm near beach

And if you’d like to keep your intended cruise dates, it’s better to select a different season to travel.

Even if your cruise still sets sail during these months, bad weather could create rough seas and cloudy skies. If you’re prone to seasickness, the motion of the ship on these rough seas will not be a pleasant feeling.

Besides the disadvantages of heavy rain and tropical storms, July, August, and September are also the summer months with the hottest weather.

Cruise ship in a storm

Temperatures range from the high 80s to the high 90s during these months, with a chance of high humidity. 

Cruising is still a good way to enjoy this hot season—you can stay inside the ship’s A.C., enjoying all the activities and entertainment onboard.

However, this means you’ll either miss out on the lovely sights and tropical landscapes or be miserably hot the entire time you’re outdoors.

And yet another disadvantage, cruise lines more often cruise to the Caribbean during the dry season, not the rainy season. If you try to sail during the wet season, you will have fewer options when it comes to ships and itineraries. 

The cheapest months to cruise the Caribbean also fall during the months with the worst weather

Ship docked in St. Thomas

There are still benefits to cruising during the “worst” months.  

Despite the risky weather, Caribbean cruise fares begin to decrease around August.

Since American schools reopen and families start to stay home, the demand for cruises isn’t as high as compared to the summer.

rilliance of the Seas in Antigua

Read more: What to bring on a Caribbean cruise? 23 essentials to pack

For example, a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise sailing on Wonder of the Seas on July 14, 2024, starts at $1,499 per person. 

At the end of August, the same itinerary starts at $956 per person.

This price difference allows you to save so much money on a cruise, even if the weather is a little worse. With hundreds of dollars saved, you could put that money toward shore excursions or WiFi, or even saving up to buy your next cruise!

Even though the weather might be worse, there are benefits to sailing to the Caribbean during these months.

The busiest month to cruise the Caribbean is December

While the weather will be better during these months, December is the busy cruising season in the Caribbean.

The winter holds a draw for cruisers looking to escape colder climates and enjoy a vacation around the holiday season.

However, this popularity comes at a cost, bringing in large crowds and raising cruise prices.

Hideaway Beach

An influx of tourists rush to the Caribbean during these months, seeking sunshine and packing cruise ships full. 

Even if you sail on a less popular cruise, the ports of call will be bustling with activity.

While there’s good reason to sail during these months, those looking for a calmer, quieter cruising experience might want to consider an alternative time.

Additionally, high demand during these peak months can create elevated prices for cruises and shore excursions.

The best months to cruise the Caribbean are January and May

After the busy holiday season, Caribbean cruise prices begin to decrease in January.

This is also a great time to find warm but not unbearably hot temperatures, and the weather is still solidly in the dry season.

Read more: Is January a good time for a cruise?

The Bahamas can run a little cooler, averaging around 77 degrees, but the further south you go the warmer it will get.

Food at a Bahamas resort

In Mexico, for example, the average temperature is around 80 degrees.

While May is the beginning of the rainy season, it sees the least rainfall compared to the following months. This is also a great time to enjoy warmer weather, and kick off your summer vacation!

However, this timing may not align with other needs in your schedule. In January, you may not want to use up all your PTO at the beginning of the year.

Also, not all schools begin summer break as early as May; some people may even have to stay home to attend final exams or graduations.

Regardless of when you travel, buying travel insurance will help you stay flexible

Travel insurance

It’s important to stay prepared while planning your cruise.

While selecting the right time to travel and keeping the weather in mind helps, we can’t always predict the future.

Anything could happen, from technical difficulties to physical injuries.

To help you stay protected, travel insurance can cover many risks or financial losses that occur while traveling. 

It also gives you access to a 24/7 travel hotline to help you with any issues while traveling.

travel insurance

Whether it’s a canceled trip, a medical emergency, or lost luggage, insurance can help you with the cost of any unexpected mishaps.

Royal Caribbean recommends purchasing their travel insurance, but you can also purchase insurance through an independent broker, or by consulting your travel advisor.

Usually travel insurance costs around 6-10% of your cruise fare.

Photos show the cabin a dog lives in on the world's largest cruise ship

19 Feb 2024
Allie Hubers

Did you know a dog lives on Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship?

Icon of the Seas has many innovative firsts in the cruising industry including a furry, four-legged friend named Rover!

Rover Cabin

Rover, a golden retriever puppy, has been chosen to permanently live onboard Icon of the Seas as the Chief Dog Officer. Her only job on the ship is to bring joy, love and happiness to guests sailing on the world’s newest and biggest cruise ship.

As Icon of the Seas sails around the Caribbean, Rover is able to explore the ports of call while also trotting all around the ship itself. Icon’s Chief Dog Officer is cared for by her handler, Alison Hubble, who has been working for Royal Caribbean for six years.

Under Alison’s attentive care, Rover lives quite the adventurous - and luxurious - life! Alison’s official job title is “Rover’s Chief of Staff.” Talk about a dream job!

Rover Promenade

On Rover’s official Instagram, @chiefdogrover, Alison shared an exclusive look into her and Rover’s special cabin onboard Icon of the Seas. With her own built-in-crate and extra living space, the stateroom has everything Rover needs for a comfortable stay.

The stateroom for Rover is unlike any cabin we’ve seen on a Royal Caribbean ship. Take a rare look inside Rover and Alison’s oceanview cabin, which appears to be specifically designed to comfortably accommodate Icon’s Chief Dog Officer. As if Rover wasn’t cute enough, the video is narrated from the pup’s point of view.

In a heartwarming video "narrated" by Rover, the Chief Dog Officer welcomes viewers into her cruise cabin.

Rover Cabin

The beginning of the cabin tour shows Rover politely sitting on one of her many dog beds. She says, “Welcome to my room tour! This is where I chill out when I am not roaming around the ship.”

According to the Instagram video, Rover’s cabin appears to be a one-bedroom cabin with a living room and couch, large vanity with cabinets, office, separate bedroom and bathroom. In the background, there is also a large crate for Rover to use in the living room.

Having plenty of space for Rover was likely a priority of designing her cabin, as a standard cruise stateroom only has around 150 to 200 square feet. In addition, most crew members live in double occupancy cabins for only 120 square feet. Either of these options would likely be too cramped for a large breed dog.

Rover Cabin

The cabin tour shows a large countertop with cabinets for storage. It looks like there are three large cabinets above the counter and three drawers below. A sliding door unveils an open space with a dog bowl of food for Rover with a plushy green bed for her to use too.

Rover Cabin

Rover also shows off her many different dog beds during the cabin tour. The video pans to Rover playfully chomping on one of her toys, in which she shares with followers, “I have a different bed for every vibe - whether I want to play, lounge or binge Netflix!”

Rover Cabin

Rover's tour on Instagram also shows the cabin's living room area, which is opposite of the desk space in the stateroom. You can see the living room features a couch, mounted TV on the wall and more cabinets for storage.

Rover’s stateroom tour continues by showing the large desk for her handler to use.

Rover Cabin

During the Instagram video, Rover shares how she likes to "scroll on Instagram" while her Chief of Staff works on the computer at the desk. The design of the desk area in Rover’s cabin looks similar to the vanities that can be found in standard cabins on Icon of the Seas.

However, Rover’s cabin has a large leather desk chair for her handler, Alison, to use while in the stateroom. Comparatively, Icon’s standard cabins have a smaller and more decorative desk chair for guests to use at their vanity.

Icon of the Seas infinite balcony cabin

(Infinite balcony cabin on Icon of the Seas shows a similar desk with different chair compared to Rover's cabin)

There is a large mirror, illuminated by a ring light, above the desk. Rover’s cabin has no shortage of storage either, as there are three more drawers under the desk as well. There is natural light coming through a porthole window next to the desk.

Rover Cabin

During the Instagram cabin tour, Rover also shares with viewers how she loves to nap while watching the sunset from her cabin. Based on the proximity of the sea, Rover’s cabin looks to be located on a lower deck onboard Icon of the Seas. 

Read more: Guide to Icon of the Seas cabins and suites

One of the coolest aspects of Rover’s cabin is her crate, which was specifically designed for Icon’s Chief Dog Officer.

Panning back to the cabinets near the stateroom’s entrance, Rover shares with followers how her crate was specifically designed for her! She says, “Then I also have this crate made specially for me, where I usually sleep for the night. I also order room service from here and play with my toys!”

At this point, we can see Rover hanging out in her built-in crate. Her aforementioned "room service" looks to be a bowl of dog food. Rover’s crate is located under the stateroom’s cabinets with a clear door that encloses the space. In her crate, Rover can eat dinner, play with toys and relax.

Based on this, it appears that Rover’s handler has been crate training the golden retriever pup. This is unsurprising, as crate training has many benefits for both canines and owners. In particular, crate training provides Rover with a safe, comfortable and familiar place to rest when she is apart from Alison.

The video tour also shows Rover surrounded by a plethora of toys! She proclaims, “The toys always appear from some magic drawer, but I am not tall enough to see it. So, I don’t really know!”

Rover shares the cabin with Alison, who has a separate bedroom to use.

Continuing her cabin tour, Rover brings followers into Alison’s bedroom next to the living room. This space looks very similar to Icon’s standard cabins with similar aesthetics, decoration and coloring.

In the video, Rover playfully burrows under the bed with a pink ball in her mouth. Rover says to followers, “My favorite spot is under my Chief of Staff’s bed. It’s so cozy down here!” Followers can also see two more dog beds for Rover to use in Alison’s room. Rover is not lying when she says she has a dog bed for every vibe!

The bedroom does not appear to have a window, although the living space appears to have two portholes. The bedroom also has closet space for Alison’s personal use, as Rover’s necessities seem to be mostly kept in the living room area.

Connected to the bedroom is a bathroom, which looks similar to most of Icon of the Seas’ cabins onboard the new cruise ship.

Rover Cabin

Rover proceeds to show viewers a look at her cabin’s bathroom. This area looks the most similar to any other cabin on Icon of the Seas. We can see the design is essentially the same as a standard cabin on Icon of the Seas with a large walk-in shower, toilet and sink with shelving above and below.

“Across the way is the bathroom, where I like to do spa days after the beach,” says Rover as she snuggles into the shower.

One of the biggest improvements in cabin design for newer cruise ships is having a larger bathroom with more space in the shower. Royal Caribbean took this a step further by adding a seat in the shower for added convenience and comfort.


I am sure Alison appreciates having the extra space in her cabin’s shower to clean Rover. This is especially helpful after Rover enjoys the sandy beaches each week at Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Rover also shows off her many different accessories, including multiple pink collars and a lifejacket.

Rover Cabin

After showing off her bathroom, Rover shows Instagram viewers all of her pink collars and harnesses hanging from the wall. “I also have a spot for all of my accessories, and another one for my lifejacket.”

The video tour shows three pink collars hanging on the built-in hooks on the wall of her cabin. Looks like Rover might need to get some magnetic hooks for her cabin walls if she expands her collar collection!

Rover Cabin

Continuing with her stateroom tour, we can see where Rover keeps her lifejacket. One of the cabinets looks to be the space where Alison keeps Rover’s lifejacket. Rover proceeds to model her lifejacket for viewers, saying that, "everyone laughs when she puts on her lifejacket."

Rover Cabin

Sporting her yellow lifejacket, Rover clarifies, “It is for safety guys! It’s not even funny! But, I do look pretty cute, right?”

There’s no denying that Rover’s home is one of the most unique cabins in Royal Caribbean’s fleet!

Rover Cabin

Although Rover might live an atypical life for a pup, she is cruising in style onboard Icon of the Seas. It’s endearing to see Royal Caribbean has designed a special cabin particularly for Rover and Alison. Safety was also clearly taken into account with plenty of room for Rover to have enough space and constructing a built-in crate.

Compared to a standard cabin on Icon of the Seas, Rover and Alison’s cabin appears to have more space than most inside, oceanview or balcony staterooms. In addition, Rover’s cabin is likely bigger than most crew cabins onboard the cruise ship.

Rover’s cabin is filled with toys and dog beds for her to use each day! During the tour, we can see at least four different dog beds throughout the cabin for Rover to lay in.

Rover is one of the cutest crew members on Icon of the Seas - and her only job is to bring joy to fellow passengers.


Having a dog onboard a cruise ship is distinct to Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas. Never before has the cruise line had a dog as a permanent resident onboard one of its cruise ships. The furry friend has already made herself at home onboard the 248,663 gross ton cruise ship.

Dogs are typically only welcomed onboard cruise ships if they are service dogs. The only cruise line that allows non-service dogs is Cunard’s Queen Mary II, which has a dog-boarding facility onboard its oceanic voyages. The kennels book years in advance, mostly from travelers who are moving abroad between England and the United States.

In contrast, Royal Caribbean has also clarified that Rover is not a service dog. Instead, she is considered a crew member whose job is to bring happiness and joy to guests and fellow crew members onboard.


Rover is always under the care of Alison. Royal Caribbean shared on Instagram, “Alison is always by Rover’s side to make every day fun and make sure she has plenty of naps and never misses out on any treats!”

Guests are encouraged to give Rover all the belly rubs if they see her onboard Icon of the Seas. You can find Rover enjoying the breeze of the pool deck, playing fetch in the Promenade or out exploring the ports of call. Sometimes Rover can even be found on the bridge with Captain Henrik Loy!

Alison was chosen as Rover’s Chief of Staff after a lengthy interview process.


Apparently, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley thought it would be a good idea to have a dog onboard Icon of the Seas for crew members and guests. Royal Caribbean sent an email to employees that the company was looking for a caretaker for a dog living onboard a cruise ship.

After applying for the position, Alison was chosen to be Rover’s handler. Alison shared that she considers this her dream job. Before boarding Icon of the Seas, Alison and Rover first boarded Freedom of the Seas to earn her sea legs!


According to Alison, Rover loves to chase her tail, which she finds to be hilarious! Rover also loves people and toys. Alison said she loves to see crew members and guests light up when they meet Rover. In fact, Alison always leaves her cabin a few minutes early to allocate enough time for people along the way to interact with Rover.

In addition, Rover determines her own schedule with plenty of naps throughout the day! There are no scheduled meet and greets with Rover. Alison also shared that she tries to spend ample time in the crew quarters, as many fellow crew members have been missing their dogs back home for months.

For now, Icon of the Seas is the only ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet where you can find a dog onboard. However, many would love to see all of Royal Caribbean’s ships should have one! Until then, Rover is the one and only - and she is clearly pampered as such!

Royal Caribbean Crown's Edge Review: Worth it or waste of money?

19 Feb 2024
Jenna DeLaurentis

I tried Royal Caribbean’s latest thrilling attraction at sea, and while it had my adrenaline pumping, I’m not convinced it is worth the cost.

side by side image of Crown's Edge on Icon of the Seas

With the launch of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Icon of the Seas, came the launch of a brand new attraction for the cruise line: Crown’s Edge.

Marketed as a mix between an obstacle course and ropes course, participants of Crown’s Edge navigate a series of suspended platforms that hang off the ship of the cruise ship. At the end of the course, the platform below their feet drops, sending guests flying on a zip line over the ocean and back to the ship.

From the moment I heard about Crown’s Edge, it piqued my interest, although I felt hesitant to book the experience. At the time, the cost of Crown’s Edge was $90 per person, but aside from the cost, I have to admit I was scared.

Crowns Edge Icon of the Seas

Just thinking of hanging over the side of the ship with nothing but the ocean below was enough to make my palms sweat… would I really be able to complete the course if I tried it?

But what’s life without a challenge? Feeling courageous once I got onboard, I booked Crown’s Edge on a whim, despite my hesitations.

Here’s what Royal Caribbean’s newest—and most frightening—activity is like, and whether or not it is worth the price.

I was nervous when I showed up to my booking, although the activity appeared much shorter than I imagined

Crowns Edge check-in desk on Icon of the Seas

“Why am I doing this?!”

As fellow staff member Angie and I left the safety and comfort of our Icon of the Seas cabin to head to Crown’s Edge, I couldn’t help but ask myself what I had gotten myself into.

Not only did I book a time slot for Crown’s Edge, but the only time available was at 7:30 PM, which meant I would be walking over the side of the ship in the dark. Could there be anything scarier? I wasn’t really sure.

Upon arrival at the check-in desk for Crown’s Edge, I was brought into a small room with other participants. Here we changed into the “uniform” for Crown’s Edge—a long-sleeve bodysuit and hard hat. Closed toed shoes are required for the activity, so make sure to wear these as well.

Jenna and Angie smiling at Crown's Edge on Icon of the Seas

Related: Icon of the Seas Cruise Ship: Review, Photos

We were also required to watch a brief safety video, and then it was time to put my skills to the test.

If anything helped calm my nerves, it was the length of the Crown’s Edge experience. Despite researching Crown’s Edge prior to my cruise, it didn’t hit me how short the ride was until I got onboard and saw it for myself.

I have to admit I expected a ropes course to be longer than just a few steps off the side of the ship, but I was grateful for the shorter length when it came time to put on my harness and start the course.

The beginning of Crown’s Edge was an easy warmup for the more terrifying sections later on

Walking across a bridge on Crown's Edge

I first walked across a short overhung bridge, which was not all that scary, despite the large gaps between pieces of the bridge. In fact, the left side of the bridge does not have any gaps on the bridge, making this section of Crown’s Edge an easy start to the attraction.

Once across the bridge, I stepped onto the first of five oval platforms, which are suspended approximately fifteen feet above the ship’s deck.

Platforms on Crown's Edge

Again, I did not find this section of Crown’s Edge particularly frightening, even if a large step was necessary to make it from one platform to another. I was comforted by the fact that I was not yet hanging off the side of the ship.

Next up was the more nerve-racking part of Crown’s Edge, and my fear quickly took over

X shaped platforms on Crowns Edge

After successfully walking across all five oval platforms, I reached what I found to be the scariest part of Crown’s Edge: the x-shaped platforms, which are suspended over the ocean.

There are four of these x-shaped platforms on the course, which take you from walking above the ship to walking off the edge of Icon of the Seas. I found this section challenging, both physically and mentally, as it not only required more careful footwork, but walking off the edge of a cruise ship is pretty terrifying, to say the least.

I couldn’t decide whether trying Crown’s Edge at night was a better choice than during the day. Perhaps it was easier to block out the fact that I was standing over the open ocean at night, but it was hard to not be afraid of the dark abyss below.

Nonetheless, I took a deep breath and made it across.

I had one more hurdle on Crown’s Edge: the drop

Crown's Edge drop to zipline part

The final part of Crown’s Edge involves walking onto a platform and waiting for the platform to drop beneath your feet, leaving you dangling over the ocean by your harness After the drop, you will ride a zip line back to the starting point.

Allowing yourself to step onto a platform that will drop and leave you hanging over the ocean requires a great deal of trust in both the ride’s engineering and safety harnesses, but I felt fairly confident I would not fall into the ocean below.

As I stood on the platform waiting to drop, I was surprisingly not as panicked as I thought I would be. I had, after all, gotten myself into this situation, and the sooner the platform dropped, the sooner I could get back to the safety of the ship.

girl zip lining on Crown's Edge

What I didn’t expect was that the crew members would surprise participants with when the platform would drop. During one ride, I witnessed a crew member trick the participant by saying he had to come over to her and fix her harness. As he began walking over, though, he pressed the button to drop the platform, sending her into a terrifying flight back to the ship!

Fortunately, there were no tricks played on my turn, and I courageously dropped off the platform and rode back to the ship.

Crown’s Edge was certainly thrilling, but for such a short ride, it comes with a hefty price

Angie and Jenna smiling on Crown's Edge

When Royal Caribbean first announced that Crown’s Edge was available to book on the Cruise Planner site, they were charging $90 for the activity. Since then, it appears Royal Caribbean has lowered the price of Crown’s Edge on certain sailings, with some guests reporting pricing closer to $50 instead.

After trying Crown’s Edge myself, I would not pay $90 for the experience, but I could see paying $50. Personally, I would say the experience is worth about $30, but I don’t think the cruise line will have any trouble selling it at a higher price.

Don’t get me wrong, it was one of the most thrilling experiences I’ve had at sea, but it is simply way too short to justify the original price tag of $90. Honestly, I found the thrill of Crown’s Edge quite similar to the zip line on Oasis Class ships, which is included in guests’ cruise fares.

Crown's Edge on Icon of the Seas

This isn’t the first activity to come with an extra charge on Royal Caribbean, however, but most other extra-cost activities provide a more lengthy experience.

Related: Top 30 extra cruise costs that are not included

The cruise line’s escape rooms, for example, cost $40 per person, but the activity lasts an hour. Likewise, booking The North Star observation pod on a sea day will run guests around $30 for a 15-minute ride, although it’s free on port days.

And even though RipCord by iFLY, Royal Caribbean’s indoor skydiving simulator, costs $50 for a 2-minute flying experience, a complimentary 1-minute ride is also offered onboard for those who do not want to pay extra.

There is no complimentary offering of Crown’s Edge, and, if excluding the prep time for the activity, you’re looking at spending around $1 per second of the ride.

If you simply can’t sail on Icon of the Seas without trying an activity as unique as Crown’s Edge, I would recommend giving it a try. That being said, you shouldn’t feel like you are missing out on anything by skipping it.

Am I glad I tried Crown’s Edge? Sure, and I think the demand is there for the attraction to be successful. Nonetheless, it was definitely a “one and done” experience for me, as there are more than enough other thrilling activities onboard Icon of the Seas to try that do not cost anything extra.

Royal Caribbean News Round-up February 18, 2024

18 Feb 2024
Calista Kiper

Hope you are having a great weekend.  Here is all of this week's Royal Caribbean cruise news.

It's official: Royal Caribbean isn’t done building Oasis Class ships.

The cruise line has placed an order for a seventh Oasis Class ship, set to be delivered in 2028.

Utopia of the Seas, the line’s sixth Oasis Class ship, was just ordered in 2019 and will launch this year.

Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty stated: "While we eagerly anticipate the debut of Royal Caribbean’s Utopia of the Seas this summer, we’re already dreaming up her sister ship and the next installation in the brand’s extremely popular Oasis Class."

These large Oasis Class ships have captured the public imagination and served to deliver great family vacations since their debut in 2009.

Royal Caribbean News:

New RCB video: This restaurant costs $200 to eat here!

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—This restaurant costs $200 to eat here!— and don’t forget to subscribe here.

What other seniors should know about taking a cruise

Everyone deserves to cruise, no matter their age or mobility needs.

Ken Klingenberg, a 72-year-old who cruises solo with a scooter, collaborated with us to share his top tips for other seniors.

Ken has been cruising for the past 23 years for a total of 41 cruises.

While traveling with a scooter has its disadvantages, he has developed valuable insights from dealing with these limitations.

Top 10 Icon of the Seas hidden secrets

Manhole cover

We’ll bet that you read this blog to get Royal Caribbean news—and the best insider tips.

When it comes to Icon of the Seas, we’ve gotten some experience onboard and want to share our secrets so you can have the best cruise possible.

After spending more than 10 days on Icon of the Seas, Matt has compiled the top 10 hidden secrets you should know before sailing on this brand-new ship. 

Passenger died on the world cruise

Serenade of the Seas in Los Angeles

An elderly passenger sailing on the Ultimate World Cruise passed away this week.

A guest on Serenade of the Seas passed away, although the person was not part of the full Ultimate World Cruise, and had just booked the individual sailing.

I ate at every new restaurant on Icon of the Seas and here's how I would rank them

Icon of the Seas Empire Supper Club empty

Where to eat on the Icon of the Seas?

Icon of the Seas has more than 20 dining venues onboard, and some of them are completely new restaurants.

Matt went ahead and tried them all, ranking each one in order of preference. Although food is subjective, here’s a review of all the dining venues on Icon

I'm a new cruiser and tried a weekend cruise on one of the biggest cruise ships. It was filled with lots in a short amount of time

17 Feb 2024
Calista Kiper

Would you sail on an Oasis Class ship for just 3 nights?

As a new cruiser, I’ve only taken a weekend cruise once before on the smaller Freedom of the Seas.

However, I wanted to find out if a weekend cruise was worth it on a larger ship.

In late October of 2023, Allure of the Seas started offering short cruises with 3 and 4-night sailing from Port Canaveral. She is the first Oasis Class ship to sail short cruises regularly.

Allure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean designed the Oasis Class ships with an endless array of entertainment and activities, as evidenced by their large size.

Read more: All about Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class cruise ships

Allure is 1,187 feet long and 18 decks tall.

Allure of the Seas aft

She has 2,742 staterooms, 24 guest elevators, four swimming pools, six hot tubs, a carousel, a casino, an ice rink, two rock climbing walls, a zip line, and a total of 34 bars and restaurants.

With all of these options, is 3 nights enough time to experience everything Allure has to offer? 

Here’s what it was like to take a weekend cruise on one of the largest cruise ships in the world.

Allure of the Seas became my new favorite cruise ship

Built in 2010, Allure of the Seas was set to undergo a Royal amplification project in 2020. 

The project was canceled due to the cruise industry shutdown in 2020 and Allure still has yet to undergo a refurbishment. 

There are talks that the cruise line plans to schedule amplification for early 2025, but as of now, Allure of the Seas is the only Oasis Class ship with its original design.

Because of this, she has been called the "worst" of the large Oasis Class ships. However, she still has a lot to offer.

Allure of the Seas offers a destination onboard the ship, with boundless entertainment, world-class cuisine, and adrenaline-filled activities like surfing, ziplining, and ice skating.

As a cruise enthusiast—and a big fan of the Oasis Class—I looked forward to experiencing a 3-night cruise on Allure of the Seas.

I loved my cruise, and after disembarking, I would definitely call Allure one of my favorite cruise ships.

Read more: Is a short cruise on one of the biggest cruise ships in the world a crazy idea?

Seven innovative neighborhoods make the ship feel like a small city

Royal Promenade on Allure of the Seas

Are cruise ships just walkable cities?

A cruise ship feels like a navigable home for the night: your own little New York City or Chicago.

After sailing on a gargantuan ship like Allure of the Seas, I have to agree that is part of the appeal.

Allure of the Seas is home to 7 innovative neighborhoods: the Boardwalk, the Pool and Sports Zone, the Royal Promenade, Entertainment Place, the Youth Zone, Vitality Spa and Fitness, and Central Park.

I love that each neighborhood has a distinct theme, with its own ambiance. 

This also makes it less likely for you to get lost on such a large ship: you can easily remember which activity might take place where.

The neighborhoods provide an immersive, exciting environment, with an overwhelming amount of activities to choose from.

Although the short cruise didn't give us enough time to try everything, I liked that we had more options available.

With our limited amount of days onboard, it was helpful to be able to pick and choose our favorite activities.

For example, my favorite neighborhood to spend time in was Central Park.

Modeled after the well-known location in New York City, with lush greenery and a serene atmosphere, this is my favorite place to get away for a quiet moment or to peacefully enjoy live music.

At night, jazz bands and singers come and play here, while stars light the sky above you.

During the day, it really feels like you are inside a natural park—they even pipe bird sounds through speakers around you!

A great chance to try a more expensive room, like our Grand Suite

The overall price was also an appeal when it came to a shorter cruise on Allure of the Seas.

A 3 or 4-night cruise typically costs less than a 7-night cruise, ensuring that the out-the-door price is usually cheaper overall.

This was a draw, as well as a chance to splurge more than I might have on a longer cruise.

I went ahead and booked a Grand Suite, excited to try a more expensive stateroom for the first time.

Not only is the suite program better on Oasis Class ships, but it also allowed me to maximize the Crown and Anchor points I earned on the cruise.

Typically, you earn one point for every night you sail. But staying in a suite, you earn double points per night. Ultimately, I earned almost the same amount of points I would have on a longer cruise.

Read more: The Crown and Anchor perks you should use on every Royal Caribbean cruise

I loved staying in a suite—it felt like I was taking a completely different type of cruise.

It came with additional perks that made me feel in the lap of luxury. 

Having free WiFi for the length of the voyage, the in-suite coffee machine, and the Plush bathrobes were some of my favorite included perks.

I also loved exploring Allure’s suite lounge, which was located up on Deck 17. Sitting beside the Coastal Kitchen restaurant, it was an expansive, quiet lounge decorated in deep purples and blues.

Not only that, but the suite benefits also include free wine and beers from the bar, so I took advantage of a glass of white wine almost every night. It all felt very opulent. 

I did regret that we were taking a shorter cruise on a larger ship because I tried to spend my time exploring the activities onboard.

I wished that I was also able to spend time in our beautiful stateroom. 

But, again, it was a trade-off for the lower overall price.

It was enough time to try all the food and drinks onboard

Royal Caribbean makes it easy to prioritize food onboard.

I discovered that a weekend cruise is the perfect opportunity to try various food venues.

Whereas I had to scramble to try all the activities I wanted, a weekend cruise felt like just enough time to try all the meals on my bucket list.


When eating 3-4 meals a day, 3 days is just enough time to try all the venues I wanted to. We had lots of variety, while still having time to go back for seconds at the best spots.

For example, on Night 1 we ate dinner at the Main Dining Room and were served a lovely steak meal.

On Night 2, we decided to splurge at the classic specialty venue Chops Grille. 

And on Night 3, we took advantage of the suite benefits to order Main Dining Room dinner delivered straight to our room.

It was enough time to try all the food venues I wanted to—a different option for every meal. 

Allure of the Seas also had some of my favorite bars and drinks I’ve experienced on a Royal Caribbean ship.

Despite the large crowds of people, the service was speedy, and the drinks tasted amazing!

I’m used to the drinks on cruise ships being poured very lightly, tasting just a smidge watered-down. But this wasn’t the case on Allure—the drinks tasted just right.

In addition, so many of the bartenders were happy to make conversation with me or recommend drinks I might enjoy. They helped me have an awesome experience.

Royal Caribbean is letting passengers vote on 9-month world cruise itinerary change

16 Feb 2024
Elizabeth Wright

Due to the conflict in the Red Sea, Royal Caribbean is opting to change the third segment of the Ultimate World Cruise, and they're letting guests have a say in the new itinerary. 

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Pat Bell shared images showing the options that guests have. The first is an "Immersive Africa" itinerary that will visit numerous ports in Africa and completely nix Egypt from the schedule, whereas the second option, "Africa & Greece," is comprised of more sea days to catch up to the originally scheduled ports in Egypt and Greece. 

According to TikTok user drjennytravels, Royal Caribbean is calling the "Immersive Africa" itinerary the "scenic route," while "Africa & Greece" has been dubbed the "highway." 


(Photo by Pat Bell)

Even though the latter half of the section option is considered port-intensive, the first half would mainly be spent at sea, with five days spent in port between May 9 and June 7. 

Voting is open to those sailing on the full 9-month world cruise, as well as those booked for the segment of the world cruise sailing.

Those onboard the Ultimate World Cruise have until February 20th to submit questions. A webinar with the corporate office will be held on February 21st. After the webinar, passengers have six days to make their decisions and vote on their preferred itinerary before the winner is announced on February 27th. 


(Photo by Pat Bell)

If Immersive Africa is chosen, guests will receive 25% off the pro-rated segment 3 cruise fare in the form of a refundable onboard credit. The amount increases to 50% if Africa & Greece is the winner. 

Royal Caribbean confirmed the itinerary change and the voting option.  In a statement provided by the cruise line, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said, "As we’ve continued to monitor what is taking place in and around the Red Sea for the safety of our guests and crew, we have made the decision to adjust plans for Serenade of the Seas’ transit through the Suez Canal this May."

"In keeping with the adventurous spirit of our guests, we are engaging them for their thoughts and preference between two alternative itineraries that will take them on an epic adventure to Africa. They will receive compensation for the adjustment, and guests who prefer to not sail on the updated itinerary will receive a full refund and support for their travel arrangements."

Immersive Africa

  • May 9: Dubai, United Arab Emirates 
  • May 10-13: Cruising
  • May 14: Mahé (Victoria), Seychelles 
  • May 15: La Digue Island, Seychelles 
  • May 16: Cruising
  • May 17: Antsiranana (Diego Suarez), Madagascar
  • May 18: Cruising
  • May 19: Port Louis, Mauritius
  • May 20: Pointe Des Galets, Reunion Island
  • May 21-23: Cruising
  • May 24: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • May 25: Mossel Bay, South Africa
  • May 26-27: Cape Town, South Africa
  • May 28: Cruising 
  • May 29: Luderitz, Namibia
  • May 30: Walvis Bay, Namibia
  • May 31-June 1: Cruising 
  • June 2: Luanda, Angola
  • June 3-4: Cruising
  • June 5: Takoradi, Ghana
  • June 6: Abidjan, Ivory Coast
  • June 7-8: Cruising
  • June 9: Dakar, Senegal
  • June 10-11: Cruising 
  • June 12: Tenerife, Canary Islands
  • June 13: Cruising
  • June 14: Gibraltar, United Kingdom
  • June 14-16: Cruising
  • June 17: Corfu, Greece
  • June 18: Bari, Italy
  • June 19-20: Ravenna, Italy 

Africa & Greece

  • May 9: Dubai, United Arab Emirates 
  • May 10-13: Cruising
  • May 14: Mahé (Victoria), Seychelles 
  • May 15-20: Cruising
  • May 21-22: Cape Town, South Africa
  • May 23-31: Cruising
  • June 1: Tenerife, Canary Islands
  • June 2-6: Cruising
  • June 7: Istanbul, Turkey
  • June 8: Cruising
  • June 9-10: Alexandria, Egypt
  • June 11: Cruising
  • June 12: Athens, Greece
  • June 13: Mykonos, Greece
  • June 14: Santorini, Greece
  • June 15: Chania (Souda), Crete, Greece
  • June 16: Olympia (Katakolon), Greece
  • June 17: Corfu, Greece
  • June 18: Bari, Italy 
  • June 19-20: Ravenna, Italy

The original itinerary was set to visit Petra, Jordan


Those onboard the Ultimate World Cruise will visit one less World Wonder than they anticipated. Since it's no longer feasible to sail through the Red Sea, ports like Safaga, Egypt and Petra, Jordan will be removed from the itinerary. 

Instead, Serenade of the Seas will sail from Dubai down past the tip of South Africa and through the Western Mediterranean. 

It appears as though the ports of call after Ravenna (Venice), Italy are unchanged, with passengers still being able to visit the Colosseum in Rome in early July. 

What's going on in the Red Sea?


Recent attacks on container vessels in the Red Sea, one of the world's most important trade routes, have been ongoing for weeks. On Friday, February 16, news reports claimed that missile fire targeted yet another ship, with the vessel's captain reporting hearing an explosion off the coast of Mocha, Yemen. 

Starting in late November, Houthi militants began increasing their attacks on ships in response to the ongoing war in Israel that began when Hamas launched an assault on Israel from the Gaza Strip in October. Houthi forces claim that they're acting in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. 

Consequently, both the United States and the United Kingdom have launched strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. 

The Ultimate World Cruise hasn't been without its issues

Serenade of the Seas

At first, it was rough seas that resulted in flooding onboard. Then, some minor itinerary changes, including the cancellation of a couple ports. Most recently, a passenger, unfortunately, passed away. There have also been reports of guests fighting onboard and visa issues for later destinations. 

Someone online went as far as to craft a bingo card for things that could happen during the voyage. Some scenarios seem rather common/likely, such as a painful sunburn and someone returning home early (a friendly reminder that travel insurance is important, even on shorter sailings!). 

Others, however, are a little more outlandish, including a pirate takeover and mass STDs. 

Morning on pool deck

Suffice to say, the Ultimate World Cruise has had its share of drama, and it's only getting started! The world cruise isn't scheduled to end until Tuesday, September 10 in Miami, Florida. 

Read more: Cruise ship passenger on the 9-month world cruise made 860 Valentine's Day cards for all the crew members

Itinerary changes, while disappointing, aren't as uncommon as you might think


In early November Royal Caribbean announced that they'd be canceling the entire 2024 Israel cruise season due to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. 

While war and civil unrest are possible reasons for itineraries to be modified, unfavorable weather conditions and mechanical issues can contribute to changes in travel plans, too. 

For example, passengers visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay on February 6 were told to return to their ships around 1:00pm, as a rapidly moving storm was approaching the island. While Freedom of the Seas was able to depart, Oasis of the Seas remained docked late into the evening. 

Bad weather forced passengers to leave CocoCay

(Photo by Tim Morrison)

Even if you're cruising outside of hurricane season, flexibility is of utmost importance, as you never know when your ship might miss a port or two. 

I tried the most common seasickness hacks on my cruise. Here’s what works best 

16 Feb 2024
Calista Kiper

I’ve taken enough cruises to discover that my body is susceptible to seasickness.

Calista tried the best seasickness remedies

When motion sickness takes over, I start struggling with nausea, dizziness, and sometimes a headache.

I’ll never forget the moment I discovered I struggled from seasickness on a cruise ship.

It was night one of my first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, and I was introducing myself to other cruisers at a Hyperlink event.

Suddenly, I started stumbling and feeling dizzy and nauseous. All my excitement about the event turned into a sickening feeling. 

Thankfully, I brought Dramamine on that cruise and felt better when I was able to head to my cabin and take a pill.

But since that moment, I’ve always had to plan ahead to make sure I won’t feel seasick.

Main Dining

It’s always embarrassing to have to excuse myself from a nice Main Dining Room dinner, or miss out on activities because I’m feeling too sick to get up.

Cruising is such a fun, affordable, and worthwhile form of travel that I would hate to miss out on it just because of motion sickness. 

If seasickness has you hesitating to get on a cruise ship, look no further! I went ahead and tried out the most commonly recommended seasickness hacks to find the best one.

Read more: 13 things I wish I'd done differently on my first cruise, from avoiding seasickness to eating at different venues

What is seasickness?

The Hideaway

Those who experience motion sickness in cars, planes, or roller coasters are already familiar with the feeling of being seasick.

Seasickness is a form of motion sickness that occurs when there is a discrepancy between the motion of the ship, visual input, and the vestibular system in your inner ear. Essentially, the body’s balance mechanism becomes disoriented.

The rocking motion of the ship confuses your body’s senses into becoming imbalanced. 

This imbalance leads to a range of symptoms, from dizziness to fatigue, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, rapid breathing, nausea, cold sweats, and even vomiting.

Ocean waves from balcony

Not everyone is subject to motion sickness: women and children are more susceptible, and genetic markers can indicate those more likely to experience it. People who get migraines are also more likely to suffer from motion sickness.

If you’re more susceptible, you know the misery of it all too well: seasickness can turn an exciting cruise adventure into an uncomfortable ordeal.

Thankfully, cruise lines do their best to develop solutions for motion sickness.

Royal Caribbean

Modern ships are designed with stabilizers on the side of the ship to help counteract the sea’s motion. This results in less turbulence felt onboard.

The newer the cruise ship, the more advanced and effective the technology tends to be.

Skilled captains also make every effort to avoid rough seas and minimize any uncomfortable sailing conditions.

These reductions, however, don’t eliminate the misery of seasickness entirely. 

Choosing the right stateroom

For my 3-Night Allure of the Seas cruise, I decided to try all the recommended hacks for seasickness.

I started out by booking a better stateroom. For this cruise, I booked a Grand Suite stateroom located towards the middle of the ship.

Grand Suites come with a large balcony space, which I knew I could use to get fresh air and watch the horizon. These hacks help reorient your body and improve nausea.

Windowless inside cabins, which I usually stay in, are cheaper but end up being confined spaces that exacerbate nausea. 

Staterooms located in the middle of the ship are also better locations if you’re prone to seasickness. Areas in the forward or back of the cruise ship are likely to feel more motion.

Experts also recommend that you stay on lower decks to avoid feeling the movement of the ship. 

My room was located on the 10th floor, just between the middle and the back of the ship. It was close enough to the middle that I didn’t feel seasick while inside the room.

Being on a larger ship also helps; the size of a big ship like Allure minimizes the feeling of motion.

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Acupuncture pressure band

For Day 1 of the cruise, I decided to try acupuncture pressure bands.

I purchased a set of SeaBand bracelets and put them on once we got onboard.

These bands are designed to target pressure points on the wrist: two plastic pieces apply direct pressure to the P6 or Nei-Kuan point on either wrist. 

Supposedly, this band stimulates your median nerve and interrupts the “I’m sick” messages your brain is sending your stomach. 

Scientific evidence on whether these bands actually work is inconclusive.

Some studies imply it works through a placebo effect, while others suggest there may be a real benefit.

Either way, many cruise fans report good results when they wear their bands for the length of the cruise.

This was my first time trying these bands, and I felt that it was hard to make them stay in exactly the right spot. 

Since they work through pressure points, it seems important that they stay on the right pressure point. But I’m not an expert at finding them, and the bands are liable to slip off the right spot.

The instructions say that the SeaBand takes 2-5 minutes to become effective. I put them on once I got onboard, and the ship set sail in the early evening, around 5 P.M.


But around 6 P.M, I started to feel very seasick during dinner. I tried applying extra pressure to the plastic studs myself, and after about an hour the feeling improved.

I’m not sure if I started out putting the bands in the wrong spot, or if I just needed that extra pressure to feel better.

To provide context, when I would get seasick without trying any remedies, I felt like I would rate my sickness feeling at 7 out of 10.

With the bands on (and with me applying some additional pressure), I felt more like a 5 out of 10.

I also made the mistake of keeping the bands on when I got in the water and was annoyed at the damp feeling they left on my wrists.

Personally, I didn’t like that the bands were something I had to keep on at all times, and they only served to lessen my dizziness, rather than eliminate it entirely.

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

Over-the-counter medicine


Personally, I’m biased towards using over-the-counter medications.

Medications have been developed over time to prevent feelings of nausea and sickness from the motion on the sea.

They’re easy to get a hold of, and you only have to take one or two pills to start feeling the positive effects.

The two most common brands, Bonine and Dramamine, work by using antihistamines to alleviate symptoms.

I prefer Dramamine, a brand with more options available. It is the older brand of the two, first introduced to the market in 1949. 


It uses dimenhydrinate, an antihistamine which has a side effect of drowsiness. 

Drowsiness could be a benefit or a disadvantage, depending on what time you prefer to take the pills. 

If you take it at night, it could help you sleep through any intense rocking of the boat. But if you have to take it at a different time of day, the pill could put you to sleep and make you miss key events on the cruise.

Personally, I’ve never experienced drowsiness from Dramamine—either due to the excitement of a cruise, or the fact that I’m a heavy coffee drinker.


They also sell non-drowsy pills, which include more ginger and make for a more natural option. However, these versions can be less effective.

Just to be safe, I took two Dramamine pills before bedtime, ensuring that they would kick in by the time I woke up on Day 2. 

The ship docked at Nassau for most of the day, but I stayed on board and wanted to be sure I wouldn’t feel seasick when we started moving again.

Sure enough, once we started moving, I didn’t feel seasick at all! I would rate my sickness at a 0/10.

My rating: ★★★★★

Natural ginger remedies

On day 3, I decided to turn to natural remedies for seasickness.

Ginger root is one of the oldest and most famous remedies for seasickness.

Whether in the form of candy, tea, or supplements, many have used it to alleviate nausea for centuries.

I decided to buy a packet of ginger gum for my cruise, and try it on Night 3. By the time I started chewing the gum, our ship had left Perfect Day at CocoCay and was sailing, full-steam ahead, back to Port Canaveral.

I honestly didn’t expect the ginger gum to help much, especially when the boat was moving so quickly.

However, it was more effective than I expected! When I was actively chewing my gum, the ginger brought the nausea down to a 2/10.

If I took a break from chewing, I still felt my seasickness stay low, maybe at a 4/10.


The only thing I didn’t like about this method was the fact that I had to consistently chew the gum to get the best effects. Whenever I wanted to eat or drink, I had to take it out of my mouth and feel just a little more seasick.

In the future, I might try some ginger candies or a tea that I could carry around with me.

My rating: ★★★★☆

The best method overall

Overall, I would rate over-the-counter medication as the best method for seasickness.

On a cruise, my main struggle has been finding a consistent method. When you struggle with seasickness, you want a remedy that you’ll be able to have on you at all times. 

Chewing gum or eating ginger, keeping SeaBands on your wrist, and looking at the horizon are great tools, but you can’t do that for the entire cruise.

Medications are the only thing that you can take once and they remain in your system the entire time. 

If you struggle with the side effects of any one medication, I would recommend trying different brands or speaking with your doctor about another suggestion.

5 things that surprised me on Icon of the Seas

16 Feb 2024
Jenna DeLaurentis

No matter how much research you do beforehand, there will always be a few surprises once you board a cruise ship, and this was certainly the case on my recent Icon of the Seas cruise.

Icon of the Seas side by side image

Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest cruise ship was at the forefront of the cruise line’s marketing ever since its official announcement in fall 2022. After over a year of writing about the new vessel, I assumed I would not have any surprises once onboard. After all, what could surprise me when I, presumably, already knew everything about the ship?

Needless to say, despite my thorough research, I still found myself encountering surprises once onboard Icon of the Seas. Most of these surprises were positive, like the variety of global cuisine available to try throughout the ship, but others were negative, such as the curious choice of color scheme in my cabin.

Here are the 5 things that surprised me on Icon of the Seas.

I thought the ship would feel huge, so I was surprised that it felt somewhat similar to the size of an Oasis Class ship


As the new biggest cruise ship in the world, I expected Icon of the Seas to feel drastically bigger than older Royal Caribbean ships.

Most of Icon of the Seas’ marketing revolved around the ship being the world’s biggest, and offering the ultimate vacation experience for families. This marketing led myself, and many other cruise fans, to picture the ship to be significantly larger than other ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.

Related: See how Royal Caribbean ships stack up by size (2024)

Yet when I saw a picture of Icon of the Seas docked next to Wonder of the Seas, an Oasis Class ship, at Perfect Day at CocoCay, I realized the two ships weren’t drastically different in size. And when I got onboard myself a few days later, I felt much less overwhelmed with the ship’s size than I initially thought I would be.

Central Park on Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas does not feel small by any means, and it does feel larger than Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships, but not by much. The ship never felt unmanageable, and there appeared to be more than enough distinct areas around the vessel that no particular venue ever felt too crowded.

The impressive passenger flow of the vessel from neighborhood to neighborhood and new destination elevators made getting around the ship a breeze. While I can understand some cruisers being put off by the size of Icon of the Seas, it really doesn’t feel that much different from ships like Wonder of the Seas when you’re onboard.

I was surprised by the light-colored furniture in my cabin, and I’m not sure this will hold up well over time

Although I enjoyed my comfortable balcony cabin on Icon of the Seas, I found the choice of furnishings to be… risky, to say the least.

If you’ve sailed on older cruise ships before, you’ve likely seen wear and tear on the furniture in your cruise cabin. While Royal Caribbean keeps their cabins in relatively good condition—even on the oldest ships—you may occasionally notice stains on couches, chairs, and other soft surfaces in the room.

Related: The 5 best cabin locations on a cruise ship

Stains are best concealed on dark-colored furniture, so I was surprised by the light tan couch in my Icon of the Seas cabin. All it takes is one spill or mishap to stain these furnishings, instantly lowering the cabin’s condition.

Spacious Infinite Central Park Balcony Cabin king bed on Icon of the Seas

At the risk of embarrassing myself, I’ll admit I accidentally spilled a small amount of chocolate mousse I brought back from Pearl Cafe on the carpet in my cabin. I panicked when I saw the splatters of brown stain all over the floor, and it took a lot of stressful scrubbing to remove the stain.

While I (fortunately) got the stain out, I can’t imagine what this carpet and furniture will look like in a few years. I generally prefer the look of lighter-colored wood and decor, but it’s probably not the smartest option for a cruise ship cabin.

I was surprised and pleased by the new global cuisine options onboard, a huge improvement from older ships

Buddha bowl

Royal Caribbean has upped its game with international cuisine options on Icon of the Seas, and I was happy to see it.

Whenever I read my coworkers’ articles about Virgin Voyages’ Korean BBQ restaurant or Norwegian Cruise Line's food hall on our sister site, I felt a sting of jealousy about these diverse dining options.

Because I usually sail on Royal Caribbean, I find myself dining at the same types of restaurants over and over again, whether Italian, Japanese, or a standard American steakhouse.

Therefore, I was surprised to see the variety of dining venues that launched on Icon of the Seas. Most notably, the new AquaDome Market is home to five varied food stalls, which offer everything from Mediterranean wraps to Chinese noodle bowls and Nutella crepes.


Related: I ate at every new restaurant on Icon of the Seas and here's how I would rank them

Outside of the AquaDome market were Baja fish tacos at Pier 7, curry chicken sandwiches at Pearl Cafe, and expanded to-go items at Izumi in the Park. Old favorites are found onboard, too, from the all-you-can-eat Mexican food at El Loco Fresh to hand-tossed pizzas at Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen.

Whether a complimentary falafel and hummus pita for lunch or extra-cost Korean bibimbap bowl for dinner, I appreciated just how many options were available on Icon of the Seas. I’m still holding out for a Thai restaurant on Royal Caribbean (I can dream, right?), but the new options available easily satisfied my culinary cravings.

I was surprised Royal Caribbean didn't put The Mason Jar on Icon of the Seas

Brunch at Mason Jar

Icon of the Seas has a whopping 20+ dining venues onboard, but one restaurant I’m surprised didn’t make the cut is The Mason Jar.

The Mason Jar is one of Royal Caribbean’s newer specialty dining venues that first launched in 2022 on Wonder of the Seas. The restaurant serves dishes from around the American South, with brunch and dinner options including crab beignets, chicken and waffles, and the classic po’boy.

Related: The Mason Jar Southern food restaurant review on Wonder of the Seas

Adjacent to the restaurant is The Mason Jar Bar, which offers southern-inspired cocktails and a live band.

The Mason Jar Bar

Currently, Wonder of the Seas is the only ship in the fleet to feature the venue. Given its popularity on that ship, I initially assumed Royal Caribbean would add it to Icon of the Seas as well.

I could easily see The Mason Jar replacing a venue like Hooked Seafood, which is found in the ship’s AquaDome neighborhood. At the same time, though, perhaps adding more live music to the ship was not necessary, given the amount of new venues like Lou’s Jazz n’ Blues and Dueling Pianos.

Nonetheless, I’m still thinking about the restaurant’s decadent red velvet pancakes I ate two years ago, and I wish this venue could have been onboard Icon of the Seas.

I was surprised by the amount of new bars and cocktails available, and the live music was spectacular

1400 Lobby Bar

Because Icon of the Seas is the first ship in the Icon Class, I expected there to be a few new bars and lounges onboard, but I was surprised by the amount of new venues that launched on the vessel.

1400 Lobby Bar was one of my favorites on the ship, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, elegant decor, and outdoor seating. The bar’s central location in the Royal Promenade makes it a convenient hangout space, and the lack of live music at the bar means you can better hold a conversation with your travel party.

One of the bar’s signature cocktails, The Fourteen Hundred, combines Casamigos Blanco tequila, Italicus liqueur, pearl shimmer syrup, and lemon sour, and it’s topped with a citrus bubble that pops when you take your first sip.

Related: I tried the new cocktails on Icon of the Seas

cocktail 1400 lobby bar

Additionally, two intriguing music venues launched on the vessel: Dueling Pianos in the Royal Promenade and Lou’s Jazz n’ Blues in Central Park. Not only do these venues provide stellar musical performances, but they also come with a host of new cocktails.

Guests can listen to live jazz music while sipping on a B-Flat Negroni, which combines Hendrick’s gin, Suze liqueur, and dry vermouth. Or, for those cheering on the pianists at Dueling Pianos, they can try the signature cocktail, Snap, Crackle, Pop! This sweet beverage combines gin with lime juice, simple syrup, grenadine, and pineapple juice with a bag of Pop Rocks, making the drink literally “pop” in your mouth!

Dueling Pianos

I found the new bar concepts to be a nice change of pace for Royal Caribbean, and I especially appreciated having more innovative bar concepts on the Royal Promenade. On Oasis Class ships, for instance, the robotic Bionic Bar takes up a large space in the Promenade.

While watching robotic bartenders craft a drink is interesting the first time you try it, I have never found this venue appealing for a regular hangout space. Somewhere like Dueling Pianos or the 1400 Lobby Bar, on the other hand, makes for a much more aesthetic and entertaining space.

Have you sailed on Icon of the Seas? If so, what surprised you about your time onboard? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

I'm 72 years old and have cruised 41 times in a scooter. Here's what other seniors should know about taking a cruise

15 Feb 2024
Calista Kiper

Cruising isn’t just for the young and spry.

Cruise ships feature an experience that can be tailored to your preferences and needs.

This applies to everyone, including seniors and people who use mobility devices such as wheelchairs or scooters.

No matter your age and needs, you deserve a vacation filled with relaxation, excitement, and unforgettable memories. 

Women eating in main dining room

Ken Klingenberg has been cruising for the past 23 years and has no intention of stopping.

A 72-year-old retired paramedic, he originally hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Ken won his first cruise in 1987 as part of a sales contest. That planted a seed that finally blossomed in 2001 when he and his wife sailed on their next cruise.

From then on, he has been hooked on cruising.

Grandeur of the Seas logo

Since then, he has been on 41 sailings on Carnival, NCL, MVS, Celebrity, and Princess, with the majority—a total of 33—on Royal Caribbean.

Ken uses a scooter and says cruising is a great form of accessible travel.

“You get to this beautiful hotel on the water, and let the crew take you to different places while they feed and entertain you the entire time.”

He calls cruising a “godsend” for people with mobility or other issues. 

Despite the overall accessibility of cruising, there are still limitations as part of traveling with a scooter

Ken has encountered fellow passengers rudely charging elevators or walking in front of him. 

Ships also have narrow doorways or can lack ramp access to features he’s interested in.

Overly helpful people—cruisers as well as crew members—even reach out and grab the scooter or Ken himself.

With the insight from these stressful experiences, Ken has some valuable tips to make for a smoother journey.

Here’s his advice for fellow seniors who want to go on a cruise, whether or not they bring along a scooter or wheelchair. 

When it comes to choosing the right cruise line, Royal Caribbean is one of the best


Selecting the right cruise line makes all the difference in your experience.

Not all lines are created equal, and if you’re looking for a line to cruise on with a scooter or wheelchair, you’ll want to be sure the ship will be accessible. 

“One of the reasons I love cruising with Royal Caribbean is their commitment to those of us with mobility devices,” Ken says. “The other lines I have sailed have let me down to some extent.”

His issues center around the use (or lack) of ramps on ships. In his opinion, Royal Caribbean does the best at designing ships that include a lot of ramps.

Royal Caribbean also provides other great accommodations, like a chair lift in the Aqua Theater on Oasis Class ships, and a private elevator on the decks between the Seaplex and Two70 on Quantum Class ships.

Pools are harder to get to but usually have at least one with a chair lift available. However, “the issue is finding someone to operate them.”

As long as crew members are present to operate the lifts and elevators, Royal Caribbean does a great job ensuring that senior cruisers have full access onboard.

Although some areas have no access for someone in a wheelchair or scooter, Ken is usually able to access 99% of Royal Caribbean’s ships through ramps, elevators, or lifts.

Use a travel agent, especially one familiar with accessible travel

Ken advises that other seniors use travel insurance and a travel advisor for their cruises.

Buying travel insurance can help reimburse you for the cost of expensive equipment damaged while traveling, or help you provide for other necessities in the case of a delay.

Many travel insurance policies also add emergency medical reimbursement, a great reassurance for seniors worried about their health.

travel agent

Using a travel agent can help take some of the stress out of cruising. Good travel agents come at no extra cost to you and can provide their expertise and knowledge to help you get the best experience possible with no extra costs.

Especially important would be finding a travel agent familiar with accessible travel, or who can put the client in touch with someone more familiar.

Ken consults with advisors from, longtime friends of his who weren’t well-versed in accessible travel at first but are becoming more in tune with it the longer they work together.

Using a small or folding scooter helps with getting through cabin doorways

What kind of cabin do you need to book if you’re bringing along a scooter or wheelchair?

The answer depends on the size of your mobility aid. 

Smaller scooters may fit through standard cabin doorways, while larger models require the extra space provided in accessible cabins.

Standard stateroom doorways span at least 23 inches wide, while accessible staterooms have wide doors at least 32 inches wide.


Since Ken doesn’t need his scooter when inside the cabin, he purchased a folding scooter so that he can stay in a non-accessible stateroom.

“To make accessible cabins available to those who really need them, I made a conscious decision to find a scooter that would help me to that end,” he says. 

Accessible cabins are few and far between on cruise ships.

For example, the new Icon of the Seas has 2,805 staterooms overall, 50 of which are accessible cabins in 10 separate categories. 


That means that just over 1.7% of the staterooms on this brand-new cruise ship are designated as accessible.

“I would love to see the cruise lines build more accessible cabins,” Ken shares.

So if you're worried about being able to get assigned to an accessible cabin, bringing a smaller or a folding scooter is a smart choice.

Select a longer cruise to try everything onboard

activities on Mariner of the Seas

Ken believes that “the ship is the destination.”

He recommends that fellow seniors pick and choose what activities they’d like to do and take advantage of the many food venues.

“You do not need to do everything the ship has to offer [but] there is no reason to go hungry.”

NCL star

Cruise ships are loaded with onboard activities that cater to all interests and types. You can join trivia games, watch stunning shows, gamble at the casino, sunbathe by the pool, or join live dance lessons. 

There’s something for everyone, no matter your level of activity. 

Ken says that he tells everyone to try a 5 up to 7-Night cruise for their first cruise: “The 3 and 4-Night cruises tend to be ‘party boats.’”

Since you only unpack once—and cruises often have food, activities, and entertainment included in the cost—it makes sense to try everything possible and choose a longer cruise to take full advantage of the opportunities. 

A cruise sailing has the perfect, relaxing accessible vacation for all ages, you just have to select the right cruise and activities. 

Read more: Cruising over 60? Here are the top 10 reasons you should give it a try

Driving to your cruise port is easier than flying

When Ken first started cruising, he lived in Pittsburgh and preferred to drive to Bayonne or Baltimore for cruising.

This allowed him to not have to worry about any weight limits on baggage, ensuring he could bring his scooter and all necessary items in the car. 

Luggage in the terminal waiting to be picked up

When getting onboard a cruise ship, there are very few weight restrictions, contrasting the strict rules for what you can carry onto a plane.

He also doesn’t have to worry about any damage to the scooter when driving. 

Unfortunately, airlines are infamous for poorly treating people’s wheelchairs or scooters, and you’d never want such an expensive item damaged!

Look closely to find enjoyable excursions on port days

Food at a Bahamas resort

Exploring new destinations is a major highlight of cruising, so how can you find accommodating tours? 

It’s not impossible, but you will have to plan ahead carefully.

The ship’s ramps allow for people with scooters or wheelchairs to exit and immediately access a local tourist area, usually full of restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops.

If you’re looking for actual excursions as well, many cruise lines do offer guided tours for seniors, such as short walking tours. 

For example, Ken enjoyed touring the White Pass Railroad in Alaska.

He also likes to rent cabanas to sit in and relax, such as on Labadee and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Read more: Comparing Royal Caribbean's Private Islands: CocoCay & Labadee

“But,” he adds, “I am most happy to watch others be happy.”