Royal Caribbean announces CEO of Holistica

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean and ITM Group have announced the CEO of its newly formed joint venture will be Carlos Torres de Navarra.

Torres de Navarra has 20 years of experience in port and destination development and has held numerous financial, commercial, strategic and business development roles at the world’s two largest cruise companies.

Holistica is a new company formed earlier this year between Royal Caribbean and ITM Group that seeks to develop cruise ports around the world.

Prior to joining Holistica Torres de Navarra most recently served as Vice President of Global Port and Destination Development for Carnival Corporation and previously as Vice President of Strategic and Commercial Port Development for Carnival Cruise Line.   Prior to joining Carnival, he spent seven years with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. as Assistant Treasurer involved in business development, liquidity and capital planning, financial risk management, acquisitions, as well as port development.

“Carlos’ excellent reputation of building relationships and delivering on strategic and commercial initiatives makes him an ideal candidate to deliver on Holistica’s mission.” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “We are thrilled to have him on board to meet the needs of coastal communities, local governments, and land, sea, and air travelers helping design the future of destinations globally.” 

“Holistica is an organization led by a purpose – to make a positive and sustainable impact in destination development while exceeding the expectations of all stakeholders,” said Torres de Navarra. “I am honored and eager to help lead Holistica’s efforts around the globe and meet the growing demands of the cruise industry and its partner destinations.”

Royal Caribbean releases 2021-2022 opening schedule

By: Matt Hochberg

Guests eager to book their 2020-2021 Royal Caribbean cruises are one step closer with the release of the cruise line's opening schedule for the May 2021 - April 2022 deployment.

  • Week of October 28, 2019: Alaska & Hawaii
  • Week of November 4, 2019: 7+ Night Caribbean
  • Week of November 11, 2019: Europe & Dubai
  • Week of November 18, 2019: Short Caribbean
  • Week of December 2, 2019: Northeast, Canada & Bermuda
  • Week of December 9, 2019: TBA

All itineraries and openings are subject to change without notice. 

Deployment schedules gives consumers an idea of when to expect particular cruise schedules to become available to start looking at future cruises.

Royal Caribbean offering 30% off every guest and kids sail free during October

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's October offer features 30% off every guest, and Kids Sail Free in its latest booking promotion.

The Wave October offer is valid on cruises booked between October 1 – 31, 2019 on select sailings departing on or after November 1, 2019.

It includes:

  • 30% off cruise fare for all guests in the stateroom.
  • Kids Sail Free applies to new bookings made between October 1 – 31, 2019. Kids Sail Free provides free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4-night or longer Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, CaribNE, Coastal, Europe, Hawaii, and Repositioning sailings departing between September 1, 2019 — May 15, 2020 and August 31, 2020 – December 17, 2020.
    • Kids Sail Free excludes 2019 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 23 – 30, 2019), Holiday sailings (Sailings between December 15, 2019 — January 3, 2020), President’s Day sailings (Sailings between February 14 — 17, 2020), Spring Break sailings (Sailings between March 14 — 23, 2020), Holy Week/Easter sailings (Sailings between April 3 — 17, 2020) and 2020 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 21 – 27, 2020).
  • Deck the Holiday Deals applies to new bookings made between October 1 – 31, 2019. Deck the Holiday Deals offers instant savings of up to $100 per stateroom on select sailings departing between December 2 — 31, 2019 and November 30 — December 31, 2020.
    • Savings amount determined by category booked and sailing length: On sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $50 for Balconies and $50 for Suites; on sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $100 for Suites.

30% Off Every Guest and Deck the Holiday Deals are combinable with each other as well as promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. 30% Off Every Guest and Kids Sail Free are combinable with each other as well as with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, instant savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Kids Sail Free and Deck the Holiday Deals are combinable with each other for sailings departing December 2 – 14, 2019 and November 28 — December 17, 2020 only. Offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, and Net Rates.

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

Video: The BEST thing to do on every Royal Caribbean ship!

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are designed to be destinations that offer a ton for family and friends to enjoy while onboard. Each ship offers different activities, dining and entertainment, so today we have one must-do on every ship in the fleet.

It is not easy picking just one thing to do, but if you were going to go on any ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet, you will want to make sure you check off one particular onboard offering that we have listed in this video.

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

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

So check out the video and then let us know: What are your top picks for must-do activities on any Royal Caribbean ship?

The most important advice I give my family after they book a cruise

By: Matt Hochberg

There is a lot of advice doled out across this blog, and each anecdote, recommendation or tip is aimed at improving the cruise experience.  So when an uncle, cousin or parent asks me for advice on what they should do for an awesome Royal Caribbean cruise, here is what I tell them.

Fly into your cruise embarkation port at least one day early

When it comes to travel, there are always going to be certain factors involved in the trip that you have no control over: weather, canceled flights, flat tires, et al. With that in mind, do not let a travel delay put your cruise vacation in jeopardy. The last thing you want to do is plan to fly into the departure city of your cruise the same day your cruise leaves.

By planning to arrive to your departure port at least one day early, you assure yourself that a travel delay will not impact your ability to get on your cruise. Having an extra day or two provides a buffer to account for travel delays.  You really do not want to be that person in the airport losing their mind because the latest delay means the entire vacation is in jeopardy.

As an added bonus, by arriving to your embarkation port at least a day early, that means you get to start your vacation sooner!  And in many cases, the port you are departing from has its own cultural and historical attractions that you can explore.

Do online check-in before the cruise

Another tip aimed at saving you time is to complete your online check-in before the cruise.  

Royal Caribbean's Online Check-In is a pretty simple tool to save you time at the pier and greatly simplify the entire check in process. 

You simply need to go to the Royal Caribbean web site to check in and complete the steps.  If your ship utilizes the new Royal Caribbean app, do the check-in via the app to make check-in even easier. 

At the end, you will have access to print out your SetSail Pass (your cruise boarding pass), as well as luggage tags. 

Arrive to the cruise terminal early

If you subscribe to the theory that time is money, then you definitely want to arrive to your embarkation port early.  By arriving early, you will beat the big crowds that descend upon the cruise terminal later in the day, and you also get the added benefit of having some extra time onboard the ship.

Royal Caribbean may send you an email about boarding times, but those are suggestions and not enforced at all. If you followed our earlier advice about arriving to your port city early, then likely your hotel will have a check-out time in the early part of the morning, which is the perfect excuse to head to the cruise port.

If you are wondering what time constitutes, "early", we are talking about sometime between 10am and 11:30am. The earlier you arrive on embarkation day, the earlier you will board the ship. And the price you paid for the cruise is the same whether you get onboard at 11am or 2pm, so may as well get the most time possible.

Pre-book your entertainment

If you are sailing on an Oasis or Quantum Class ship, you can pre-book select shows before the cruise via the Cruise Planner website.

The best reason to book certain activities or entertainment in advance is to guarantee a spot for you and your family. It costs nothing extra to reserve entertainment ahead of time. By having a reservation, you will be assured of a seat for that performance, provided you arrive on-time.

By booking these activities early, you can ensure you have the time and day that you want all lined up.

There is no set timeframe when entertainment becomes available for booking on Oasis or Quantum Class ships. It is usually closer your sail date, so check the Cruise Planner periodically for if the option appears.

If you are sailing on another class of ships, there is no option to pre-book entertainment. Instead, show up to the theater 10-20 minutes before show time to get a seat.

Make dining reservations once onboard the ship

These days, Royal Caribbean's dining packages are an incredibly popular option because it allows guests to enjoy a number of specialty restaurants for a reduced rate.  If you purchase a dining package, then you probably know you cannot make reservations for restaurants prior to the cruise.

If you purchase a dining package, be sure to make reservations once you get onboard and do so on the first day of the cruise.  In general, you will find plenty of availability, but do not languish in making a reservation to avoid missing out on the most popular times.

Here is what to know about Perfect Day at CocoCay

I suppose Royal Caribbean's marketing strategy is working well, when one of the questions my uncle asked me recently about his cruise was what to do at Perfect Day at CocoCay

Royal Caribbean's revamped and impressive private island in the Bahamas is catching a lot of attention and how to tackle your day there is a good first-timer question.

There are three primary areas of Perfect Day at CocoCay:

  • Beach (Chill Island/South Beach)
  • Pool (Oasis Lagoon/Splashaway Bay)
  • Water Park (Thrill Waterpark)

It is quite easy to move between any of these areas, but I feel most families will gravitate towards one or the other.  The key is to plan ahead which you want to do first and then go from there.

The decision to purchase water park admission is also something to consider prior to the cruise. Not only will you save money if you purchase admission prior to the cruise, deciding on going to the water park or not before you arrive on the island will ensure you waste less time.

Beyond that, there is plenty more Perfect Day at CocoCay tips and secrets, but at its heart, your visit there is about enjoying time in and out of the water.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: September 29, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

Happy weekend! We have a look back at all the Royal Caribbean news from this week to share with all of you.

Royal Caribbean revealed what changes are coming to Explorer of the Seas next year as part of its $110 million amplificaiton.

The bow to stern refurbishment will prepare Explorer of the Seas for a summer 2020 season in the Mediterranean and include a number of big changes, including The Perfect Storm racer waterslides, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, a fresh twist on a guest-favorite; a redesigned, resort-style poolscape with signature poolside bar The Lime & Coconut; and transformed kids and teens spaces. 

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 321st episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where Matt and Brandon talk about their recent cruise on Mariner of the Seas.

The guys went on Mariner of the Seas to attend a wedding at sea, including a ceremony at Perfect Day at CocoCay. Brandon and Matt discuss what a wedding on Royal Caribbean is like, and how it all went.

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: Mistakes to avoid on the first day of your cruise

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 — Mistakes to avoid on the first day of your cruise — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

AdWeek wrote about Royal Caribbean's new audio-only television commercials.

Halee with a Flair listed the reasons why you need a Perfect Day at CocoCay.

WJXT produced an original documentary on the Hurricane Dorian destruction in The Bahamas, including how Royal Caribbean helped.

Friday Photos - September 27, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

We love sharing Royal Caribbean photos that our readers send in because they are so much fun to look at.  We want your photos too, so send us your best Royal Caribbean photos to share with the world.

Our first photo is by Cheryl and Ken Oberkrom and it is a fantastic shot of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, as seen from the Windjammer on Anthem of the Seas.

Christian Goulet shared this photo of Allure of the Seas docked in St. Maarten.

Here is a look at Explorer of the Seas in Stavanger, Norway. Photo by Sue Shepherd.

Hiram Perrand shared a black and white shot of Harmony of the Seas.

Next, we have a look at Mariner of the Seas, as seen from the Windjammer on Symphony of the Seas in Costa Maya.  Photo by Gabrielle Owens.

Stephen Lima shared our next photo, and it is of Harmony of the Seas docked next to Rhapsody of the Seas in Cozumel.

Our final photo this week is by Emma and Jason Nolan in Tallinn, with Explorer of the Seas in the background.

If we didn't include your photo this week, then that means you need to send it in to us for use on a future Friday Photos post.  We want to see your favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos and you can use this form to send them to us.

Photos: Oasis of the Seas begins $165 million amplification

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas arrived earlier this week in Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain to begin her $165 million amplification.  

The cruise line shared photos of Oasis undergoing the beginning of the work that will add a variety of new features, including the  Ultimate Abyss; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, a reimagined, Caribbean pool deck; new kids and teens spaces transformed from top to bottom, and more. You can view the deck-by-deck changes to Oasis of the Seas.


The modernization will take 63 days. The amplified Oasis will set sail on Nov. 24, 2019, beginning 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Royal Caribbean’s new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in Miami. Oasis then moves to the New York City area in May 2020 as the largest ship to sail from the New York area. Oasis will reposition to her new summer home at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, offering 7-night sailings to The Bahamas with visits to Royal Caribbean’s newly transformed private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Video: Navigator of the Seas Sails Amped Up with Firsts and Favorites

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International’s newly amplified Navigator of the Seas is sailing from her year-round home in Miami with a $115 million new look. Guests can choose from an adventure-packed lineup of bold, new experiences and Royal Caribbean favorites, from adrenaline-inducing features to an array of elevated dining and nightlife. With 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday cruises to the cruise line’s new private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, and highlights on board like The Blaster, the longest aquacoaster at sea; a redesigned Caribbean poolscape; the new three-level bar, The Lime & Coconut; and the first blow-dry bar at sea – To Dry For, Navigator has been reimagined into the ultimate short getaway.

Spectrum of the Seas becomes largest cruise ship to visit Russia

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas is now the biggest cruise ship to ever visit a Russian port. 

On September 9, 2019, Spectrum visited the port of Vladivostok, Russia after passing under the famous ‘Russky’ bridge.

During the ship’s visit to Vladivostok more than 200 Russian guests joined the ship as the first Russian’s to sail onboard Spectrum from a Russian port. The guests will visit cities in Japan and China during a 7-night cruise aboard the innovative ship.

“This is a very big achievement for us in the Russian market. Together with our partners, Inflot, we are excited to see our guests enjoying Spectrum of the Seas. These types of opportunities help us continue to grow our business in the Far East as we have more Russian guests explore our Asian itienraries,” said Natalia Bentas, Sales Manager Europe/ Middle East /Africa IRs, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Julia Dmitrieva, product director at Inflot, the official representative of the cruise company in Russia, shared: “We have been preparing for this event for over year. The first visit to a Russian was a complete success due to the coordinated efforts of the team, our company’s specialists, port agents and customs services of the port of Vladivostok.”