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Royal Caribbean extends European cruise ship Covid protocols through July 2022

In:
25 Jun 2022
By: 
Allie Hubers

Royal Caribbean announced that the cruise line has extended its health protocols for European departures.

Health protocols have been extended for European sailings that depart on or before July 31, 2022. Travel advisors and passengers were notified of the update this week. 

The existing protocols have been extended without any notable changes to vaccine, testing and onboard health requirements.

Vaccine Requirements

Marseilles

Royal Caribbean requires all guests 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Guests must provide proof of vaccination with the final dose being administered no later than 14 days before sailing. 

Guests must have received their most recent vaccine dose no more than 9 months (270 days) ago. This includes either a booster dose or the final dose of the original vaccine series (or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson).

For clarification purposes, Royal Caribbean states that guests who have received a booster vaccine dose will qualify as up to date regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the dose was administered. 

Covid vaccines

Vaccines must be on the list of EMA-approved vaccines, which include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Nuvaxovid.

Children age 11 years old and under do not require Covid-19 vaccinations to cruise. Those aged 5 to 11 can choose to provide vaccination proof to be considered up to date for their sailing and follow health protocols of up to date guests. Children who have received only one dose of a vaccine will not qualify as fully vaccinated (unless they received Johnson & Johnson). 

The health protocols also encourage guests to be “up to date” on their Covid-19 vaccination per the European Medicines Agency (EMA). 

Stockholm

Of note, for sailings departing from Stockholm, the age requirement states that all guests 18 years and older are required to be fully vaccinated. 

Testing Requirements

Covid-19 antigen test

All guests are required to present a negative Covid-19 test prior to boarding European departures. 

  • Fully vaccinated guests must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test no more than 2 days prior to boarding
  • Unvaccinated guests must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test no more than 1 day prior to boarding. 

Royal Caribbean continues to recommend that guests traveling from the United States take advantage of eMed antigen testing kits that provide supervised virtual video visits and can be accessed 24/7. 

Notably, guests traveling back to the United States are no longer required to present a negative Covid-19 test prior to flight departures. 

Depending on the departure port, testing requirements can vary slightly, so it's best to confirm country-specific policies before sailing. 

Onboard Testing

Allure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean requires that unvaccinated guests (by EMA standards) or those not up-to-date with their vaccines will require additional testing during European sailings.

  • Onboard testing will be at the expense of guests if they are 12 years or older and considered to be unvaccinated or not up-to-date. Tests are $55 USD each
  • For unvaccinated guests age 6-11 years old who require testing, onboard testing will be complimentary
  • Guests who are 2 years and younger will not require any testing
  • Guests will receive registration information once onboard. Guests 12 years or older (6 years and older for Italian ports) will have additional requirements during the cruise. Additionally, these guests might be required to test prior to disembarking depending on country requirements

Masks

Mask guidance march 2022

Royal Caribbean states that masks for fully vaccinated guests are optional onboard. The cruise line continues to recommend masks for unvaccinated children while onboard.

Guests under 2 years old will not be required to wear a mask at any time. 

In terminals, masks are optional unless required by the country’s local policies and regulations. 

Some destination ports might have masking requirements in place, which will need to be followed by guests. 

Policies remain subject to change. 

Alaska cruise packing list: What to pack for your sailing

In:
25 Jun 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

What to pack for an Alaska cruise is not as difficult as it may seem. While packing for a cold weather cruise may require more preparation than a cruise to the Caribbean, a few key layers should suffice in nearly all weather conditions.

Alaska glacier viewing

When looking at a map, you may be surprised to see just how far south Alaska cruise ports are located.  While Alaska cruise marketing tends to show images of snow and glaciers, it’s not necessary to pack for Arctic-level temperatures. In fact, you probably already have most clothing items you’ll need for an Alaska cruise at home!

In this guide, we’ll discuss the key things you should have in your cruise packing list for an Alaska cruise and provide a checklist for your upcoming sailing.

Alaska cruise: the basics

Before starting to pack, it’s important to understand the basics of an Alaska cruise so you know what to expect both onboard and in port.

Royal Caribbean’s Alaska cruises are generally 7-night sailings, offering 3 or 4 days in port with 2 or 3 days at sea. Cruises visit towns along Southeast Alaska, the panhandle of the state, which borders British Columbia, Canada.

Southeast Alaska is quite a ways away from the Arctic Circle and polar bears, so you may be surprised to encounter nice weather while visiting the state. Alaska cruises are offered during the warmest months of the year, from April to September, so it’s not uncommon to experience warm, sunny days.

Related: What is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

The month you sail can have a huge impact on what you need to pack as well. For cruises in June, July, and August, you may want to pack more short sleeve shirts than in May or September. And while wool socks and warm hats are recommended at any time of the year, it’s especially important to pack warm layers in the very beginning or end of the Alaska cruise season.

Related: What it’s like to go on an Alaska cruise at the end of the season

The main thing to remember when packing for an Alaska cruise is to plan for any and all types of weather conditions.

What to pack for an Alaska cruise

Layers

Packing layers is necessary on an Alaska cruise. Morning and evening can be much colder than what you may experience in mid-afternoon, so having the flexibility to put on or take off clothing will be well appreciated.

Your base layer will be a short or long sleeved t-shirt and a pair of jeans, leggings, or other lightweight pants. On the warmest of days, shorts may be preferred whereas the coldest days may have you layering both leggings and jeans.

Over your base layer you’ll want to pack a warm layer. Sweaters, sweatshirts, and fleece or down jackets will help keep you warm no matter the weather, and they’re easy to take off if it gets too hot.

In addition, don’t forget to pack a waterproof layer. Due to strong winds and ease of use in crowded areas, we don’t recommend packing an umbrella. Therefore, it’s important to pack a waterproof jacket with a hood. This should keep you dry in the wettest of conditions.

Footwear

An Alaska cruise calls for a wide range of footwear, as you’ll need a sturdy pair of shoes to wear in port and shoes to wear onboard. A pair of water-resistant sneakers or lightweight hiking shoes is recommended, as they tend to keep your feet comfortable and warm while providing enough support for a range of outdoor activities. Active sandals, such as Chacos, can be nice in the summer months as well.

Packing a pair of comfortable lounge shoes for the ship is a good idea, too. Slippers, flip flops, or comfy sneakers can be nice to have when walking around the ship and your stateroom.

Whichever type of shoes you decide to bring, make sure the soles of your shoes have plenty of grip. You may encounter slippery or rocky surfaces on shore excursions or while exploring on your own, so you want to make sure your shoes have enough friction.

Accessories

Outside of your main clothes and footwear, don’t forget to pack accessories for an Alaska cruise. From hats to wool socks, scarves, gloves, sunscreen, and sunglasses, there are many accessories that you’ll want to bring with you to Alaska.

Related: What should you bring on an Alaska cruise?

A water-resistant daypack is one of our top Alaska cruise packing tips. You’ll need somewhere to put your valuables during the day, so making sure the pack is water-resistant or waterproof is crucial. A backpack will be the most comfortable option and can fit everything you’ll need for a busy day in port.

Binoculars may be of interest to you as well, especially if you plan to do any wildlife viewing excursions. Being able to see the state’s wildlife and nature up close is well worth the cost of an entry-level pair of binoculars.

Cruise clothes

Outside of what you’ll wear in port, remember to pack for your time onboard the ship! Don’t forget to pack clothes for formal night, your swimsuit to wear in the pool, and comfy clothes for lounging in your stateroom.

While it’s not necessary to pack an entirely new outfit for dinner each night, rotating 2-4 outfits can be a nice way to ensure you have dressier clothes to wear while still keeping your packing relatively light.

Related: What to wear on a cruise formal night

Alaska cruise packing list

Family on Alaska tour

Clothes

  • Waterproof jacket with a hood
  • Fleece or down jacket
  • Sweaters and sweatshirts (to wear onboard and in port)
  • T-shirts and long sleeve shirts
  • 2-3 pairs long pants (jeans and slacks for dinner)
  • 1-2 pairs leggings
  • 1-2 pairs shorts
  • Formal wear for dinner (2-4 dresses, collared shirts, etc.)
  • Swimsuit
  • Pajamas
  • Casual loungewear for onboard
  • Underwear and socks
  • Clothes for the onboard fitness center

Footwear and accessories

  • Water-resistant shoes with a sturdy, non-slippery sole (hiking boots, sneakers)
  • Dress shoes for dinner
  • Comfy shoes for walking around your stateroom/ship (sandals or sneakers)
  • Water-resistant daypack
  • Hat (baseball cap, beanie, etc.)
  • Gloves
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses
  • Scarf
  • Camera
  • Waterproof case for cellphone
  • Portable cellphone charger
  • Things to do onboard (books, card games, etc.)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray

More Alaska cruise tips:

Guide to Royal Caribbean's coffee card package

In:
24 Jun 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

If you love having an espresso, latte, or any other brewed coffee every day on your Royal Caribbean cruise, then perhaps a coffee card package is right for you.

Cafe Select Card

Royal Caribbean offers a number of drink packages that include premium coffees, but it also has a coffee card that includes a select amount of coffee drinks.

Will the coffee package save you money and is it worth it to buy?

Here's a breakdown of Royal Caribbean's Cafe Select Coffee Card and what you should know.

What does the coffee card include?

Cafe select card

The Cafe Select Coffee Card is the name of what many people call the "coffee package" and it is essentially a punch card of drinks.

Royal Caribbean says the card includes 15 specialty espresso-based coffees that you can use during your cruise. The coffee card issued to you will have 15 punches to use.

This means for every premium coffee you order, the barista will punch a hole in the card to note how many of the drinks you've ordered.

Cafe select card sign

According to Royal Caribbean, the coffee card can save up to 50% on individually purchased coffees.

The coffee card does not include coffees from Starbucks kiosks.  Instead, you can use the card at Royal Caribbean coffee locations, such as Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-tudes.

You can also use the card at any location onboard that serves espresso-based drinks.

You cannot use the card for any coffee drinks that include alcohol.

Punch per card or per shot?

Cafe Promenade menu on Wonder of the Seas

One inconsistency with Royal Caribbean has been how the coffee cards are punched.

Some passengers report getting one hole punch per drink ordered, while others have reported getting a hole punch per espresso shot in the drink.

On the Royal Caribbean website, there's no mention of getting a hole punch per espresso shot, but you should be aware on some ships they make that distinction.

Can you share the coffee card?

Cafe Promenade coffee menu

Yes, unlike Royal Caribbean's other drink packages, the coffee card is not restricted to one person.

You are allowed to purchase a coffee card and allow your friends and family to utilize the card benefits. Because the card is not unlimited, Royal Caribbean doesn't care who utilizes the benefits.

How much does the coffee package cost?

Coffee card

The coffee card price is usually at $31 per card.

A gratuity charge is added onto the cost of the card, which covers the gratuity for all the drinks you order while onboard. This means no additional tip is required.

With gratuity, the total cost comes out to $36.58.

Espresso shot

Keep in mind Royal Caribbean may change the price of the coffee package at any time, so prices are subject to change.

If you're wondering, a premium coffee purchased individually will run about $2.50 to $5 per drink.

Can you use the same card on different sailings if you don’t use it all at once?

No, the card is good for only the sailing you purchase it on.

Is the coffee card worth it?

Without a doubt, the coffee card will save you money on the equivalent amount of coffee purchased onboard, assuming you order all 15 coffees.

You should be aware that your Royal Caribbean cruise fare includes regular brewed coffee and tea. This card is for espresso-based beverages.

Coffee included

The first reason you might not want the coffee card is if you wont order enough coffees to use up all your hole punches. Since you can share the coffee card with others, it's easier to get your money's worth than with a regular drink package.

Speaking of drink packages, the question of if a coffee card is worth it may lead into the question of should you get a coffee card or another drink package.

Both the Deluxe Beverage Package and the Royal Refreshment Package include premium coffees and have no limit to how many premium coffees you can order. Moreover, they include other beverages such as alcohol, juices, sodas, and more.

Coffee card sign

Of course, one of the other drink packages will cost you significantly more than a coffee card. The deluxe beverage package can run between $50 - $90 per person, per day. You won't be able to break even on that investment on coffees alone.

If you aren't much of an alcohol drinker, then the Royal Refreshment package might be a good alternative. It includes unlimited non-alcoholic drinks, such as bottled water, coffees, teas, soda, and mocktails. 

The average cost of a Royal Refreshment package is between $29 - $38 per person, per day.

Just like the alcohol package, it still requires you to drink a fair amount of non-alcoholic drinks per day to make it worthwhile.

Ultimately, if you consider the coffee package, you should also look at the other drink packages to ensure your money is well-spent.

If you don't drink a lot of alcohol and sodas or bottled water doesn't do it for you either, then the coffee card is a good choice for those that purely want premium coffees.

Funny coffee sign

Another consideration is your Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor Society status. Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members get complimentary drink vouchers every day of their cruise, which can be used for premium coffees.

If your cruise ship has a Starbucks kiosk onboard, you might prefer those coffees. Since Starbucks beverages from a Starbucks kiosk is not included with the coffee card, you could alternatively order your drinks there and pay as you go.

As you can see, the determination of if a coffee card is worth it really comes down to the individual person. Here's a summary of the key considerations:

  • How many coffees will you drink each day of your cruise?
  • How many alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks will you likely have every day of your cruise?
  • Does your ship have a Starbucks kiosk?
  • Would sharing coffee card benefits with another person make the investment easier?

The good news is the Royal Caribbean Cafe Select Coffee Card has the potential to save money compared to buying the same amount of drinks without the card. The question is really if you should spend the money on the coffee card or get a different drink package to better take advantage of your drinking habits.

Symphony of the Seas Guide & Review

In:
24 Jun 2022
By: 
Haley Mills

Symphony of the Seas is among the largest cruise ships in the world, but she's worth sailing on for more than just her size. In the years since her launch in 2018, she quickly became one of the favorites of Royal Caribbean cruisers.

Filled to the brim with dining options and activity choices, there really is something for everyone on Symphony of the Seas. The ship is as much the destination as the ports she visits, and is a perfect ship for new cruisers or those looking for lots to do on board. 

We’ve put together a guide to help you plan your trip, from dining, to activities, to boarding accommodations. Check out the sections below to get started on your Symphony of the Seas cruise!

Symphony of the Seas overview

As the fourth Oasis Class ship in Royal’s fleet, the company had lots of practice in building their mega ships by the time Symphony of the Seas debuted in 2018.

When she debuted, Symphony of the Seas became the largest cruise ship in the world after taking the title away from sister Harmony of the Seas (she has since been eclipsed Wonder of the Seas).

Symphony is certainly massive, but Royal Caribbean’s practice of dividing Oasis Class into neighborhoods really sets these ships apart in the way of crowd control. Even with 6,680 passengers on board, and 2,200 crew, she is designed to never feel that way.

Instead, Symphony feels like a floating city, surprisingly easy to navigate. Passengers meander through the park and promenade, quickly finding their favorite spots. 

The Seven Neighborhoods on Symphony of the Seas:

1. Boardwalk - Think Coney Island of yesteryear meets the sports pubs of today. One side has Johnny Rockets, and the other has Playmakers. Best of both worlds!

2. Pool and Sports Zone - An outdoor wonderland full of water & sun, sports courts, and even adventure activities!

3. Central Park - A peaceful, romantic path through the center of the ship with specialty dining, shopping, and live music.

4. Royal Promenade - The main vein where everything happens! Bars, food, shops, music, parades and tons of people watching!

5. Entertainment Place - What do you want to do tonight? Broadway shows, ice skating, comedy acts, and more!

6. Youth Zone - The perfect place for your littles. Kids from babies to teens have their own clubs here.

7. Vitality Spa & Fitness - Peaceful spa and treatment rooms, as well as large gym facilities are available for those who prefer to maintain their bodies while on vacation.

Each neighborhood has been built with a special theme, which creates landmarks for easy navigation. It also helps with crowd control, as different people flock to different neighborhoods at different times of day. But, even in each section, there’s something for everyone all over the ship.

Symphony of the Seas Dining and Restaurants

Objectively one of the best things about being on an Oasis Class ship is the vast array of dining choices. Whether you stay with complimentary dining, or opt for specialty restaurants, you really could eat at a different place for every single meal on your trip!

Royal Caribbean has plenty of complimentary dining options aboard, which means there is no upcharge to eat from a variety of places on Symphony of the Seas. You could choose anything from hot dogs and pizza, to international cuisine, to steak and lobster!

If you’re worried about spending additional costs while on board, there’s no reason to worry about the quality or diversity of the food.

 

Symphony also houses plenty of specialty dining options - restaurants which do include an upcharge, but which provide fare that you cannot get at other places on the ship. Many cruisers opt for these unique dining experiences as an added bonus to their vacation.

We suggest trying at least one of these restaurants while on board, but it certainly is an option and not required. Think of it as “going out to eat,” or a special occasion dinner. Many cruisers choose to do this for Formal Night, or for a birthday or anniversary. 

Symphony’s Dining Options include:

Complementary:

  1. Main Dining Room
  2. Windjammer Cafe
  3. Solarium Bistro (Breakfast & Lunch)
  4. Coastal Kitchen (Suites Only)
  5. Park Cafe
  6. Cafe Promenade
  7. Sorrentos
  8. Dog House
  9. El Loco Fresh
  10. Vitality Cafe
  11. Room Service (Some Up Charges May Apply)

Specialty:

  1. Chops Grille
  2. Jamie’s Italian
  3. Wonderland
  4. Izumi
  5. Hooked Seafood
  6. 150 Central Park
  7. Vintages Wine Bar
  8. Solarium Bistro (Dinner)
  9. Playmakers
  10. Johnny Rockets
  11. Starbucks

The most popular spots on board are definitely Windjammer and Park Cafe, plus the Main Dining Room for dinner. We highly recommend Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, and Izumi, if you are looking for great Specialty Dining on board.

Things to do on Symphony of the Seas

If you are looking for a vacation where you have limitless options of things to do, sailing on an Oasis Class ship is the best way to go.

Symphony of the Seas is the ultimate vacation, with Broadway shows, water slides, onboard sports, and more! You will never be without something to do during your sailing. 

Every evening in your cabin, you’ll receive a Cruise Compass. The Cruise Compass is your onboard schedule to what is happening on the ship the next day and where to find it.

We highly recommend you peruse this guide and pick out a few things to try:  classes, water activities, shows. Some you will need to book ahead of time, some you can just show up and experience. All are a fantastic time!

Shows

Royal Caribbean spares no expense on their entertainment, and they really shine in this area compared to other cruise lines. Nowhere else at sea can you see a full Broadway experience, Aqua Theater acrobatics, an Ice Show, and a Royal Caribbean musical, all on one ship!

In case you didn’t think that was enough, there’s also usually a comedy act, as well as multiple live musical bands playing in different venues all throughout the week.

Symphony of the Seas hosts Hairspray! in it’s Royal Theatre, an ode to the music and culture of the 60s. This is no shortened version, either. You will see the full play, complete with intermission! Also in the Royal Theater, you can catch a Flight, where you can “Dare to Dream.” Flight is Royal’s original musical, with some really cool 3-D effects and automation.

Make sure to also check out the Ice Show 1977, in Studio B. You’ll join a time-traveling hero as he saves the Queen’s jewels. Watching an ice show on land is always fun, but imagine the talent it takes to do the same tricks on a moving ship, and in a smaller space! 

Entertainment | Royal Caribbean Blog

One of the really unique experiences that you will see on Oasis Class ships is their Aquatheater shows. HiRO, at the back of Symphony of the Seas, should absolutely make your itinerary. Watch teams of high divers and acrobats perform outstanding and unbelievable stunts before your very eyes! 

You might be wondering:  If these shows are so grand, how much extra do they cost? That’s the kicker! They are completely complementary, and part of your cruise fare! There is no additional fee to see these wonderful performers on their respective stages, so now is your chance to check them out. 

It is important to know that if you sail on an Oasis Class ship, you can pre-book entertainment via the Cruise Planner site. Some of the shows have the option to book reservations in advance via Royal Caribbean's site. There is no cost to do this, and we recommend booking any entertainment you can in advance to avoid lines at show time.

Pools

7 ways Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is different from other Oasis-class ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

The Pool and Sports Zone is the area of the ship with plenty of outdoor space and a good variety of pools and swimming options. Symphony of the Seas has 5 separate pool areas. All pools are located on Deck 15 and are salt water.

  • Solarium: Adults only (age 16 and over) area with two cantilevered whirlpool hot tubs, which extend 12 feet from either side of the ship.
    • There is a central pool in Symphony’s Solarium, added after much feedback from Harmony of the Seas. This circular pool is made for standing or sitting, quiet socialization–not actual swimming.
  • Main Pool: Unthemed pool across from the Beach Pool for additional swimming.
  • Sports pool: area for playing pool games such as synchronized swimming and volleyball. The sports pools area may have designated times for swimming laps.
  • Beach pool: Themed area that is supposed to look like a beach
  • Splashaway Bay: interactive kids aqua park, where kids of all ages can enjoy colorful water slides, water cannons, fountains, pools and whirlpools.

For parents with young children that are still wearing diapers, there is a designated baby and infant splash pool, designed specially for them.  Children wearing diapers are not allowed in any other pools.

Unless otherwise posted, there will always be pool and whirlpool hot tubs open 24 hours a day. Pools will be closed occasionally when they need to be cleaned as well if weather or sea conditions make the pools unsafe for swimming.

Generally speaking, there are usually a lot of events happening in or around the pools during the day.  You can expect to find live music played by the pool quite often, with the bands playing reggae, classic rock and even contemporary hits.  For fans of live music, sitting by the pool and enjoying music is perfect.

Everything about Royal Caribbean's Solarium | Royal Caribbean Blog

Poolside activities will be listed in your Cruise Compass. The exact activities vary from sailing to sailing, but here are some common offerings

  • Belly flop competition
  • World's sexiest man competition
  • Scuba classes
  • Fitness classes
  • Poolside bingo
  • Dance classes
  • Poolside movies

When going up to the pools, be sure to stop by the towel station to pick up as many towels you may need during your time there.  Complimentary pool towels are provided for guests near the main pool and can be returned when convenient.

Water Slides

Royal Caribbean water slides: Everything you need to know | Royal Caribbean Blog

Symphony of the Seas offers guests three multi-story water slides to enjoy.  Known as The Perfect Storm, these slides are comprised of two racer slides and one champagne bowl slide. The slides descend three decks through a series of twists and turns over the ship’s tree-lined Central Park neighborhood 10 decks below.

There is no additional cost to use the water slides.

The two racer water slides intertwine and offer a fast-paced plunge down.  Since these are racer slides, you can see if you can beat the person in the other slide to the bottom.

The champagne bowl slide swirls riders round prior to the end of the slide.  This slide starts off as a typical water slide, but guests enter a large bowl area, where they can loop around a few times before exiting the slide.

Signature Activities

10 free activities on Symphony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean wanted to wow its guests with the breadth of activities on Harmony of the Seas, which include some options that are exclusive to Royal Caribbean.  Guests will find plenty of traditional cruise activities on Harmony of the Seas, such as trivia, bingo, enrichment classes and more.  Most activities are complementary to enjoy, but a few do carry an extra cost to them.

Here are the best known and most popular activities on Harmony of the Seas

  • The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, is a duo of racing slides where guests spiral down a 92-foot drop in about 13 seconds
  • The zipline crosses the open-air Boardwalk neighborhood at nine decks high
  • Two FlowRider surf simulators
  • Perfect Storm: three waterslides
  • Splashaway Bay aquatic adventure park
  • Escape from Planet Z laser tag
  • Escape room

These activities are available for guests to enjoy for most of the day and posted hours are available each day in the Cruise Compass. There is usually ample opportunity to experience these signature activities once or many times.

Symphony of the Seas staterooms

Category 2J Central Park View Balcony Stateroom on Symphony of the Seas Photo Tour | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean offers many choices of staterooms on Symphony of the Seas, with a blend of traditional cabin categories, as well as a few alternatives.  Each cabin category offers a little something different, so review the below, as each guest should find something they like.  Royal aims to provide accommodations for cruisers of all budget, group size, and preference.

All Royal Caribbean ships staterooms fit into one of four categories:

  • Studio rooms
    • Studio rooms were designed for solo cruisers and come in a few different options.  There are Studio interior rooms or Studio ocean view rooms, and each room is priced without the single supplement fee that ordinarily is assessed to solo travelers.
  • Interior rooms
    •  Interior staterooms feature a virtual balcony using real-time high definition views outside your ship that are streamed directly to the 80-inch LED television. This is a fun way to enhance a room with no natural views, and there is always the option to turn off the sound and/or television itself.
  • Ocean View rooms
    • Oceanview cabins come in a few options.  Some oceanview rooms offer a view of the ocean, whereas other rooms have a porthole or large window that faces inwards and overlooks the Boardwalk, Promenade or Central Park. Larger Oceanview cabins can accommodate six people in comfort.
  • Balcony rooms
    • Symphony of the Seas features balcony rooms that overlook the ocean with a private verandah to enjoy, as well as balcony rooms that overlook either the Boardwalk or Central Park neighborhoods.
  • Suites
    • Royal Caribbean offers the Royal Suite Class on Symphony of the Seas, which is divided up into three categories: Star Class, Sky Class and Sea Class.
    • All suite guests may dine at an exclusive complimentary restaurant just for them, known as Coastal Kitchen. It is available for all meals for Star and Sky Class, and dinner only for Sea Class.
    • Suite guests may enjoy other extras that vary depending on their Royal Suite Class. Additional extras include in-suite dining, special concierge services and a welcome gift. Star Suite upgrades include the Ultimate Beverage Package, specialty dining, coffee-maker, high-end furnishings and more.
  • New Ultimate Family Suite
    • If you’re looking for the most amped accommodation at sea, the exclusive Ultimate Family Suite on Symphony of the Seas fits the bill. Along with the above benefits mentioned for the Royal Suite Class, this room is designed especially for those cruisers with children. Decorated in pop artish color, there are video games and life-size board games, as well as an interior slide between floors. Outside, a netted play area and a jacuzzi complete the fun. This room makes your vacation a true bonding experience for the family!

Prices may vary for these rooms depending on each sailing:  season, number of guests, availability, and other factors can determine the cost of each room type. Royal Caribbean also often runs sales or room deals throughout the year that can be helpful when choosing accommodations. A travel agent can also assist in booking a cabin. 

There is no "wrong" choice when it comes to picking a cabin for your Symphony of the Seas cruise.  Any room you book offers a place to sleep, rest and refresh yourself with plenty of privacy.  Choosing a stateroom for your Royal Caribbean cruise is a personal decision that will depend on a variety of factors, but you should know that each category of room has its advantages.

Cabins on Symphony of the Seas have all the modern conveniences, including mini-bars, safes, phones and large flat-screen TVs. Bathrooms are generally compact yet very functional. The cabins are energy-efficient and equipped with power and USB outlets appreciated by cruisers who want to stay mobile connected.

Speaking of being connected, Symphony of the Seas offers Royal Caribbean's Voom high speed internet, which means you can purchase an internet plan that allows full internet access throughout the ship.

Guests with mobility issues will find that Symphony of the Seas has wheelchair-accessible cabins in many categories that include wider doors, turning space, and furniture built for convenience.

More Symphony of the Seas resources

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Le Havre (Paris), France

In:
24 Jun 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Every cruise must come to an end, and today is the last day of our 7-night Spain & France cruise on Anthem of the Seas. The adventure is not yet over, though, and we docked in Le Havre, France this morning for another day full of local food, history, and culture!

Le Havre, France is known as the "Paris" cruise port, although Paris is not exactly near Le Havre at all. Reaching the city center of Paris from Le Havre's port will take around 2.5 to 3.5 hours each way. Because of this, port stops in Le Havre tend to be very long. We were docked today from 8AM to 10PM!

I chose not to go to Paris today for several reasons:

  •  5-6 hours of transport via train or coach bus did not seem worth it to spend only 4-5 hours in Paris.
  • The excursions were all quite expensive. I wasn't comfortable traveling so far independently without the security of knowing the ship would wait for me to return.
  • I would rather visit Paris at a later time when I can dedicate several days to the city.

Le Havre sells a shuttle bus for €5 roundtrip from the port to the city center. You can also choose to walk, which will take 20-30 minutes.

There was also a list of taxi tours with fixed pricing available. The prices on the board were very reasonable compared to many of Royal Caribbean's excursions, and the set price for 1-4 passengers means you can split the cost better if you're traveling with a larger group. Taxi destinations included Mont Saint Michel, D-Day landing beaches, and Paris.

First impressions of Le Havre

Le Havre is not your typical French city. Much of the city was destroyed in World War II, and it was rebuilt with a more modern style of architecture than you'll see in most of France.

With the cloudy morning weather and eclectic architecture, it felt a bit... otherworldly this morning. We took a few photos at the most bizarre (yet intriguing) library I've ever seen.

Samantha and I stopped in a small cafe for a cappuccino and pain au chocolat before continuing our day. Oh how I will miss French pastries!

We also stopped by a monument for victims of World War I and World War II from the Le Havre area as well as soldiers from North Africa. For those interested in World War II history, Le Havre and the surrounding areas make for an interesting port option.

Lunch in Le Havre

After my life-changing crêpe experience a few days ago in La Rochelle, I knew I needed to try another crêpe today, so we found a local crêperie in Le Havre for lunch. It seems to be common in France for crêperies to offer a lunch menu with a drink, savory crêpe, and sweet crêpe for a set price. Yes, two crêpes for one person!

For €14, I enjoyed rosé, a buckwheat cheese crêpe, and a dessert crêpe topped with crème de marron (chestnut cream). Just like in La Rochelle, the meal was unbelievably good. Everything I've eaten in France has been so delicious; I can't wait to come back!

An afternoon at the beach

Samantha called it a day a few hours earlier than I did, so I went on a solo adventure to Le Havre's local beach. My timing was perfect as the sun finally came out and the city came to life! While Le Havre may not be quintessentially French, I found the town quite beautiful in its own way as I walked along the waterfront.

I was also able to rent a bicycle for free to ride along the coast! The city of Le Havre offers free bicycle rentals (with a deposit to be refunded upon return of the bike). I rode a couple miles along the coast, which transformed from the city center to gorgeous cliffside views.

Back onboard

I headed back to the ship around dinnertime, where we enjoyed our last meal in the Main Dining Room. Tonight's menu was by far my favorite of the week.

I decided to try the "mango mint spring rolls" off the vegan menu just for fun, and they were amazing! Served with peanut sauce, they reminded me of a vegetable spring roll you'd find in a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant.

Samantha loved her cheese tortellini while I, still a bit full from my crêpe extravaganza earlier in the day, enjoyed a small cup of lentil soup as my main.

The entertainment has been so great on Anthem of the Seas that we decided to watch the Farewell Variety Show in the Royal Theater tonight.

The show started with a few jazz songs by the Anthem of the Seas orchestra, including vocals from a cast member of We Will Rock You.

The second half of the performance was a magic show. I think the last time I saw a magic show was in elementary school, so I had no idea what to expect. From card tricks to illusions, the show was impressive, mind-blowing, and hilarious!

We watched sailaway from the Solarium as we began the journey back to Southampton. While I'm sad to see this cruise end, I'm extremely excited to head to Greece this weekend for my next cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas!

Stray observations:

I had fairly low expectations for Le Havre after doing a bit of research about the port, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would! Everyone in town was extremely nice to me even though I cannot speak much French. From a man offering to help us read the menu at lunch to the bicycle rental employees, I felt extremely welcome in the city.

I originally planned to try to travel to Honfleur, a smaller town with typical French architecture, but I decided against it when I realized the local bus schedule to Honfleur is extremely limited depending on the day. Taxis and a few bus tours are available though.

I feel like it would be a nice option to be able to choose to end the cruise in Le Havre as opposed to Southampton. I wouldn't have minded getting off the ship today and traveling to Paris for a few days, but I know this is difficult with logistics, customs, etc., so I understand why it isn't possible.

Royal Caribbean updates: Jamie Oliver, executive departs, new show & more

In:
23 Jun 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Another long-time Royal Caribbean executive has left the company, a celebrity chef returned onboard, Wonder of the Seas has a new show and more of this week's Royal Caribbean news.

There's been a number of updates that happened this week, so here's a look at all the changes you should be aware of from the past few days.

Each of these updates encompasses a different aspect of Royal Caribbean, and it's always a good idea to be up-to-date with what's happening.

Jamie Oliver visits Anthem of the Seas

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver was spotted onboard Anthem of the Seas for a day visit.

Oliver is the namesake for the specialty restaurant onboard the ship, Jamie's Italian. 

Mr. Oliver visited the ship's bridge, and then headed to the restaurant to meet with the team.

"From checking out the ship's bridge, where is the captain and his crew steer the ship from, to getting stuck in with the Jamie's Italian team in the kitchen and meetings some guests on board. It was a very special day visiting our Jamie's Italian on board."

Effectors II begins performances on Wonder of the Seas

Effectors 2. Photo by @dek_mak

The newest show began on Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President of Entertainment, Nick Weir, tweeted that shows of The Effectors 2 are now in previews.

According to Mr. Weir, they will be, "tweaking and testing things, and adding, fiddling, massaging and creating thru October".

The show is performed in the Royal Theater on Wonder of the Seas and it features a new character of Lume, who flies over the audience during the show.

Captain Patrik Dalhgren leaves Royal Caribbean

Another maritime executive has left the company for a new opportunity.

Royal Caribbean Group announced Captain Patrik Dahlgren has left after 23 years with the company.

In his most recent role, he was a Senior Vice President of global marine operations and a member of the Healthy Sail Panel.

He rose through the ranks in his time with the company, with his last seagoing command as Master of Oasis of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas. 

He was the lead contributor to the Quantum of the Seas development.

Captain Dahlgren leaves just a few months after Captain Hernan Zini also left for a new job. Royal Caribbean has also seen former Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Mark Tamis leave recently.

Royal Caribbean CEO celebrates upcoming Day of the Seafarer

Crew members in port

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley took to Facebook to promote an important holiday in the maritime industry.

The Day of the Seafarer is on Saturday, June 25, and Mr. Bayley urged everyone to think about the hard working people on cruise ships.

"This day means a lot to us at Royal Caribbean, but also to me personally," Mr. Bayley wrote on Facebook.

"Our crew comes from over 120 countries! They are moms, dads, and siblings who contribute so much to their life at sea to keep the maritime industry up and running."

"We are endlessly proud and grateful for our amazing crew who keep our ships safe, our oceans clean, and our vacations epic!"

Mr. Bayley shared a link to a site where you can share your thanks and recognition of the crew members online.

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 6 - Sea Day

In:
23 Jun 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Today is the sixth day of my first European cruise and we are at sea after 3 busy days in port. Luckily, Anthem of the Seas provides endless activities to enjoy during a sea day, and I had a relaxing yet fun-filled time onboard while on route to France.

I started my day with breakfast (dessert?) at the Windjammer, with french toast topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips.

Next up was something new for me: a massage! I've actually never had a professional massage before, so I couldn't wait to experience what all the hype is about. I booked the 50-minute Aroma Stone Therapy massage ahead of time in the Cruise Planner. Since I've never had a massage before, I had no idea what to expect when I entered the Vitality Spa this morning.

I first filled out a short questionnaire where I could rank my fitness and stress levels as well as write any ailments or areas I wanted the masseuse to focus on. My masseuse, Ni from Indonesia, brought me to the treatment room where she reviewed my questionnaire with me prior to beginning the treatment. I was a bit nervous as I did not know what to do or expect, but she made me feel very comfortable.

The Aroma Stone Therapy massage is a hot stone massage, so it includes a massage with both hands and warm stones. While hot, the stones were not uncomfortable, and they resulted in feeling extremely relaxed.

The massage was definitely worth every penny! I was initially worried 50 minutes would feel too short, but it was perfect for a first massage. I'm also glad I chose the hot stone option instead of a standard massage as the hot stones felt absolutely delightful!

I had heard that spa treatments tend to end with an annoying sales pitch, but the sales pitch I received (for the cream used in the massage) was very short and non bothersome. Overall, it was the best start to the day I could have asked for!

I caught up on some work after my trip to the spa. My favorite place to work or relax onboard is in Two70 due to the beautiful ocean views surrounding the venue.

After a quick lunch at the Windjammer, I headed to the pool deck for my new favorite drink: a frozen mojito. Extremely refreshing and not too sweet, the frozen mojito has proven to be a dangerous discovery onboard!

The sun finally emerged (a bit) in the afternoon, although the temperature was still quite chilly. I took a walk around the pool and sports deck to take in the ocean views. I noticed there were two types of passengers onboard: those sunbathing in swimsuits and those in winter jackets!

Being a Quantum Class ship, Anthem of the Seas has plenty of indoor spaces to enjoy, which is beneficial on cruises to colder destinations like Alaska, Norway, etc. With an indoor pool, climate-controlled Solarium, and the SeaPlex, weather does not have as much of an effect on activities like it can have on Oasis or Voyager Class ships, as an example.

Until this point, I’ve always said the Voyager Class is my favorite class of Royal Caribbean ships, but I think the Quantum Class might be my favorite now! While there are certain things I don’t love (the lack of a promenade deck as the lifeboats block the view), I love the indoor spaces with ocean views like Two70 and the Solarium. They also have interesting itineraries around the world that you can’t always find with other ships.

Next it was time for one of my favorite onboard activities: the International Belly Flop Competition. While I did not participate, it was undeniably entertaining to watch as the participants tried to make the most impressive belly flop possible.

Tonight was formal night, and while I often skip formal night in exchange for a dinner elsewhere onboard, Samantha and I decided to dress up and head to the Main Dining Room. I enjoyed French onion soup, carbonara pasta, and the molten chocolate cake, which was my favorite dessert I've had on this sailing so far!

Yesterday I wrote about how much I loved We Will Rock You in the Royal Theater, so I decided to watch it again tonight! Our seats weren't too great yesterday, so we went to the theater early to get some of the best seats in the house.

Just like yesterday, the performance was spectacular and it made for the perfect way to end the night. I’m already looking forward to watching Broadway shows on ships I have not yet sailed on in the fleet (Hairspray on Symphony, Mamma Mia on Allure, and Saturday Night Fever on Liberty of the Seas).

This cruise has gone by so quickly! Tomorrow is already the last day, but I’m excited to be back in France tomorrow when we dock in Le Havre.

More Anthem of the Seas Live Blogs:

Should you use a park and cruise hotel package instead of parking at the cruise port?

In:
22 Jun 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

If you are driving to your cruise ship with your own vehicle, does it make more sense to book a "park and cruise" hotel package, where parking at the hotel is included with your hotel stay.

Hotel parking lot

One of my best pieces of cruise ship advice is to always come into your cruise departure city at least one day ahead of time to guard against travel delays. By flying or driving in a day early, you can assure yourself that any cancellations, blown tires, or re-routes don't impact your ability to make the cruise ship.

Many hotels offer an option where if you stay one night, you can book a park and cruise package that bundles your hotel room with a parking spot for up to a week. But do these packages save you money, and does it make sense to go with them?

I compared a handful of hotels in Port Canaveral, Miami, and Cape Liberty to see how lucrative these stay deals are, and what the pros and cons are for a park & cruise package.

Hotel analysis

Hotel in Cocoa Beach

I picked three random hotels from each of the three cities to compare how the parking packages stacked up against the parking rate at the cruise terminal.

For each room, I picked a king size bed that was refundable rate for two adults staying Sep 24 – Sun, Sep 25, 2022.

All prices are pre-tax and fees from the hotel and/or from the parking facility.

Port Canaveral, Florida

Radisson hotel in Cape Canaveral

3-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifference3-night cruise Port ParkingParking Savings
Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral1642215751-6
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral, FL2453106551-14
Best Western Cocoa Beach Hotel & Suites219.95243.95245127

7-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifferencePort ParkingParking Savings
Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral1642215711962
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral, FL2453106511954
Best Western Cocoa Beach Hotel & Suites219.95243.952411995

Miami

Partial view of colorful boat in Bayside Marketplace area

3-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifference3-night cruise Port ParkingParking Savings
DoubleTree Biscayne Bay252294427533
Hilton Miami Downtown191245547521
Holiday Inn Miami-International Airport143.4621975.5475-0.54

DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay Hotel Review | Royal Caribbean Blog

7-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifferencePort ParkingParking Savings
DoubleTree Biscayne Bay25229442175133
Hilton Miami Downtown19124554175121
Holiday Inn Miami-International Airport143.4621975.5417599.46

Cape Liberty/Newark

Newark airport

3-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifference3-night cruise Port ParkingParking Savings
Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport169229607515
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Newark Liberty International Airport16929913075-55
Residence Inn Newark Elizabeth259309507525

7-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifferencePort ParkingParking Savings
Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport16922960175115
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Newark Liberty International Airport16929913017545
Residence Inn Newark Elizabeth25930950175125

X-factor: Shuttles

Hotel shuttle van

Beyond the dollars and sense of parking at a hotel or cruise port, you have to account for getting to the cruise terminal.

Some of the hotels specified a parking shuttle would be provided.  At least one hotel actually charged you differently if you needed a ride to the cruise terminal or not.

You'll need to check with the hotel if a shuttle is provided to the cruise terminal, and if there's any extra cost for the shuttle.

Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort Hotel Review | Royal Caribbean Blog

The other issue with a hotel shuttle is they run on a limited schedule. Depending on the hotel, the frequency in which they offer shuttle service can vary greatly. Plus, you may have to wait for a shuttle depending on how many other guests are there to get a ride too.

In this age of covid, another consideration is having to cram into a shuttle with other guests and your risk tolerance for possibly being exposed to covid in the shuttle. Theoretically everyone going to the terminal has taken a negative covid test already, but you never know with how easy covid is transmitted and the long incubation periods these days.

Convenience of parking at the cruise terminal

The best reason to park at the cruise terminal instead of a hotel is the convenience factor.

When you park at the cruise terminal, you can walk from your vehicle to the front door of the terminal without much fuss. Then, when the cruise is over, you can take your luggage right to your car and immediately depart. No shuttles required.

The convenience of having your car and being able to forgo waiting for shuttle service back to a hotel can make a world of difference depending on how many other people are trying to do the same thing, and traffic conditions.

Are other hotels cheaper?

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East Hotel Review | Royal Caribbean Blog

When you limit yourself to hotels that offer a parking option during your cruise, could you save money by staying at a different hotel that has a lower rate and equally as good, but without a parking package?

In each of these cities, there are multitudes of hotels you can choose from, and without a doubt, there are deals to be found.

When considering the cost of a parking park & cruise hotel, you not only have to look at the cost of a parking package versus the cruise terminal, but also how much money you may (or may not) save by staying at a less expensive hotel.

Should you book a park stay and cruise package?

Hotel with shuttle

Ultimately, the decision may boil down to personal preferences on how important it is to save a little bit of money.

If you are taking a short 3 or 4 night cruise, the savings offered by a park and stay package quite negligible, and in some cases a bad value.

The real cost savings with park and stay packages come with 7-night cruises, where you can save over $100 in total. 

If your cruise is longer than 7 nights, check with the hotel. Many of the hotels in this list only allowed for parking for 7 or 8 nights, and then would charge a daily fee beyond that.

In the end, you need to weigh the cost savings versus the convenience of parking at the cruise terminal. Depending on the hotel, there are a wide range of cost savings with a park and stay.

Don't blindly assume a parking package will save you money compared to parking at the terminal, and even if it does, you need to ponder if the money saved is worth your time.

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 5 - La Coruña, Spain

In:
22 Jun 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

I cannot believe today is already the fifth day of my cruise on Anthem of the Seas! Today we docked in La Coruña, Spain, a medium-sized city in Spain’s Galicia region, located directly above Portugal. With green hills, dramatic ocean cliffs, and small beaches dotted throughout coves in the landscape, La Coruña was a gorgeous place to spend the day.

The cruise port is conveniently located in the center of town, so we were able to walk off the ship and immediately start exploring.

One trend I've noticed on this cruise is that while ships dock at 8AM, the ports are very sleepy until at least 9 or 10. When we got off the ship around 8:45, cafes were only starting to open and the town was really quiet.

Breakfast and ocean views

I decided to skip breakfast on the ship today in favor of dining at a local cafe in Spain. While I go on cruises fairly often, it's not everyday I can enjoy breakfast in Spain!

Samantha and I stumbled upon the Praza de María Pita, a large public square lined with historic buildings, restaurants, and cafes. Here we enjoyed pastries, fresh squeezed orange juice, and a cafe con leche.

Like every port we've been to so far, we arrived with no plan of how to spend the day. What's great about cruising to European ports is that the infrastructure caters to pedestrians, meaning you can explore most ports without worrying about needing buses, taxis, or boats to get around.

We came across a beautiful waterfront pathway which first led us to a small beach. After relaxing at the beach, we continued along the path. This turned into one of the most beautiful coastal walking trails I’ve ever explored.

Located at the very northwest corner of Spain, La Coruña’s landscape and rocky, treacherous coastline is breathtaking. One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is the Tower of Hercules, the oldest surviving lighthouse in the world. With a height of around 180 feet, the lighthouse towers over the coast and was quite impressive to see.

The walking trail was the perfect place to spend a sunny morning in Spain, but all the walking quickly made us hungry!

Lunchtime in the city

Because La Coruña is a quiet town, we decided to have a relaxing, long lunch in port. We stumbled upon a local restaurant with a menu del día (menu of the day). For €10.60 each, we enjoyed two glasses of tinto de verano (a sweet wine drink), a pasta and egg appetizer, bread, a Thai rice dish, chocolate pudding, and coffee. It was an amazing deal and the food was delightful!

We sat outdoors for around 2 hours, taking in the culture and views of La Coruña. One fascinating fact about Galicia is that the native language of the region is Galician, which is actually more closely related to Portuguese than Spanish. Around 2.5 million people speak Galician, and you’ll hear both languages when visiting La Coruña.

Our day in port finished with a brief stroll back to the ship along La Coruña's waterfront. I relaxed on one of the city's park benches in front of the harbor for a bit before getting back onboard.

La Coruña impressions

La Coruña is definitely the sleepiest town we have visited so far on this itinerary, but I loved the relaxed vibe of the city. I’m honestly not sure where most passengers from the ship went today because everywhere we visited was uncrowded.

If you’re happy to wander through beautiful walking trails, visit the Tower of Hercules, and indulge in Galician cuisine, La Coruña makes for a tranquil port day. While it may not offer as many tourist attractions and activities as a city like Valencia or Barcelona, I loved being able to walk around and learn more about Galicia’s culture and landscapes.

After three port days in a row, I would say that this itinerary works best for those who are more interested in visiting small towns over Europe’s biggest, most touristy cities. If it’s your first time visiting Europe, you may prefer an itinerary to cities like Rome, Nice, and Naples to see attractions such as the Colosseum, Pompeii, etc.

If you’ve already seen those places, though, venturing to smaller, lesser-known towns will offer the opportunity to see these countries from a new perspective and connect more with local culture rather than quickly hopping from attraction to attraction.

Because I’ve already visited many of western Europe’s big cities, this cruise itinerary is exactly what I was hoping for! I probably never would have thought about visiting Galicia, for example, and now I am already itching to go back.

Back onboard

I was back onboard around 3:30 and took around two hours to relax in my stateroom before heading to dinner.

We enjoyed another dinner in the Main Dining Room tonight. I think this is the most I have ever eaten in the Main Dining Room on a cruise! While I often opt for a quick dinner at the buffet after port or the occasional specialty restaurant, it’s been nice to feel “spoiled” every night in the dining room.

After ten cruises, I still can’t believe how fancy it feels when the waiter brings out the scraper to clean crumbs off the table before dessert. I ordered pesto tagliatelle and cherries jubilee for dinner tonight and they were both delicious!

A well-anticipated event was scheduled after dinner: my first Broadway production on a Royal Caribbean cruise!

So far, I’ve been on three other Royal Caribbean ships with Broadway shows (Oasis, Harmony, and Independence of the Seas). Each time, the Broadway show was canceled due to omicron or crew injury. Because of this, I was super excited to watch We Will Rock You in the Royal Theater on Anthem of the Seas.

We Will Rock You tells the story of the battle between the Bohemians and an oppressive establishment. While the Bohemians want to uncover the freedom of rock n’ roll, the futuristic establishment tries to oppress anyone from playing and discovering history’s greatest music.

Let’s just say my mind was blown by the incredible performance; it is by far the best show I’ve seen on any ship yet! I now understand why everyone raves about Royal Caribbean’s Broadway shows. The 2-hour production was extremely high-energy, with classic rock n’ roll tunes that turned the theater into a giant party.

The cast was beyond talented as well, with the best vocals I’ve ever heard on a cruise ship! I usually find it difficult to understand Royal Caribbean’s more abstract entertainment shows, so I loved having an easy-to-follow storyline mixed with wonderful live music. Samantha and I might see the show again tomorrow because we enjoyed it so much.

Tomorrow is a much-needed sea day after three busy port days in a row!

More Anthem of the Seas Live Blogs:

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Sea Day

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - La Rochelle, France

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Bilbao, Spain

Beach Reads: PRIDE Month

In:
22 Jun 2022
By: 
Haley Mills

There’s no better time to read than a cruise, when you can kick off your shoes, grab a drink of choice, and settle in with whatever book you’ve been saving for just this opportunity.

Woman reading a book by the beach

Does this sound like a good idea to you? We have some recommendations perfect for all you June cruisers (and everyone else, too)! Pack one or two of these books in your suitcase or on your tablet for your next vacation.

June is the month of PRIDE - a celebration and recognition for LGBTQIA+ people. All the books on our list for this month are written by a member of the queer community, and tell some kind of related story. I’d love to hear in the comments which book you chose, or if you have a favorite read for PRIDE Month that wasn’t mentioned!

Fiction

Star-crossed book
  • The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall:  A classic, banned for obscenity when published in 1928, but one of the most famous of lesbian novels. Stephen is a war hero and a writer, a child of aristocratic parents, but she is a woman, and so are her lovers and so she is forced into desperate actions.
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin:  Another often banned classic.  David has a passionate love affair with Giovanni in Paris, but when his girlfriend returns, he pretends nothing has happened. Giovanni’s life is devastated.
  • Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee:  Great for fans of YA! Mattie is cast as Romeo in her school’s Shakespeare play, and wonders…is it possible to crush on both guys, and her Juliet too?
  • The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai:  Two overlapping stories combine in this incredible history of the AIDS epidemic. We see the devastating carnage of the 80s as a group of friends succumb to the virus one by one. Thirty years later, the sole survivor still grapples with the grief as she tries to find her daughter in Paris.
  • It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian:  Regency Romance fans should look no further than Cat Sebastian for their next favorite series. In It Takes Two, Vicar Ben is asked to look after a naval captain’s children, and finds himself head over heels with these kids. When their father comes home, he is impatient to be back at sea again, but can the Vicar show him what family truly means?

Nonfiction

Buffering book
  • Buffering by Hannah Hart:  Youtube superstar Hannah Hart shares a very personal memoir about coming to terms with her sexuality, her mother’s mental illness, and other life experiences.
  • They/Them/Their by Eris Young:  This book is here to break down definitions and misconceptions, as well as provide the history of nonbinary identities and gender-neutral language. How does living outside the gender binary affect one’s relationship, sense of identity, use of language, etc?
  • Naturally Tan by Tan France:  Netflix addicts will recognize France from Queer Eye, but here we get a memoir of what it was like to grow up gay in a Muslim family in a culturally white town in the UK.
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson:  Check out the memoir from Queer Activist and Journalist George M Johnson, as he explores his coming of age. His story covers topics of gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, consent, and Black Joy.
  • TOMBOYLAND by Melissa Faliveno:  My personal favorite book so far that I’ve read in 2022! A collection of essays told of growing up in the American Midwest, and what it is like to not fit into the “norm” of the deeply ingrained traditional culture that can be found here.

Are you someone who likes to read when you get on board your vacation cruise? How many books do you usually pack? What are you reading for PRIDE Month? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Happy Pride!