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Royal Caribbean cancels more visits to Labadee, Haiti into the fall

23 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

More cruise ships will skip a visit to Royal Caribbean's private beach in Haiti.

Labadee cancelled through September

Guests booked on cruises in the summer and early fall are getting notifications from Royal Caribbean, that their visits to Labadee have been cancelled.

Following on cancellations that began in March due to civil unrest in Haiti, the cruise line has been forced to cancel more cruises into September 2024.

Royal Caribbean had previously cancelled visits to Labadee through the end of May 2024.

Read more: Is Royal Caribbean still going to Labadee, Haiti?

More Labadee cancellations

Liberty of the Seas in Labadee

On Tuesday, cruisers began to share updates they received from Royal Caribbean that their itineraries have been updated to drop Labadee and replace it with another port or a sea day.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog has spotted different cruises cancelled in June, August, and even September.

In most cases, ships are being re-routed to Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Cancellation email

As an example, the Adventure of the Seas September 21st sailing has had her visit to Labadee replaced with a visit to Grand Turk.

"Due to the continuing situation in Haiti, we'll now visit Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos, instead of Labadee, Haiti," the statement said in an email to booked passengers.

"We're sorry for the change - your safety is our top priority."


Similar emails have been sent to guests booked on cruises with scheduled stops in Labadee throughout summer 2024.

Guests who had any shore excursions booked for their visit to Labadee will automatically receive a refund to their onboard accounts.

The cancellations affect ships such as Adventure of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas all due to visit Labadee in the summer.

No other cruise lines sail to Haiti.

Understandable disappointment

Oasis labadee

Guests have already started sharing the news and their opinions on the change.

"For the folks looking forward to Labadee, for the folks in Labadee, and for Royal, I am sorry this has been so tough," wrote WAYNO on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards.

"Understandable but sad as I was pumped to visit both private destinations in a single sailing," wrote tntornadox on another message board.

A necessary change

Labadee beach

The civil unrest in Haiti has forced Royal Caribbean's hand in this situation, even if Labadee is not near the areas of conflict.

Located on the north coast of Haiti, Labadee is a walled-off private enclave for Royal Caribbean cruise guests. It's at least a 6-and-a-half hour drive from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Royal Caribbean started cancelling visits to Labadee following the fallout of a siege of the government by gangs that began in mid-March. Since then, the country has experienced a major upheaval with a new government, prison break, and many deaths.

Barefoot beach

More than 53,000 people have fled Port-au-Prince and food shortages are taking place across the island, according to reports.

A state of emergency was declared on March 3, followed by the prime minister’s resignation on March 12. 

In July 2023, the US State Department raised the security threat to a Level 4 due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure.

Where is Labadee?

Google map

Labadee is located on the northern coast of Haiti, whereas the majority of the violence is occurring further south in more populated areas.

In short, it's walled off from the rest of the country and is in a remote area. It's guarded by a private security force. Guests aren't permitted to leave the area. 

Unlike other ports, such as Cozumel or Nassau, you won't be able to book a third-party excursion. Instead, all tours in Labadee have to be reserved directly through Royal Caribbean. Moreover, all food and supplies are brought ashore from the ship, rather than from elsewhere in Haiti. 

Royal Caribbean breaks ground on new beach club in Bahamas reserved for its passengers

22 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Work is officially underway on Royal Caribbean's new beach club in Nassau, Bahamas.

Construction begins at Royal Beach Club

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday for the new Royal Beach Club, Paradise Island.

The 17-acre Royal Beach club project was first announced in 2020, but the cruise industry shutdown of 2020 forced a delay in it becoming a reality.  Nonetheless, today's milestone signifies the official start of work for the new offering.

The official opening is slated for sometime in 2025.

Ground breaking ceremony

Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley were joined by The Bahamas' Prime Minister Philip Davis and Deputy Prime Minister I. Chester Cooper to commemorate the major milestone.

Construction will begin in the next few months, and Royal Caribbean hopes it will offer an authentic Bahamian experience. Plus, it is the first-of-its-kind project that gives back to the people of The Bahamas with a unique public-private partnership allows Bahamian nationals to hold up to 49% equity in the venture. 

Paradise Island pool

The first of the Royal Beach Club destinations, the Nassau club aims to offer Royal Caribbean passengers exclusive access to a prime spot to enjoy an unparalleled beach experience.

Unlike the private island experience, the Royal Beach Club is an extra-cost venue with a limited capacity.  Guests visiting Nassau on a port stop will have the opportunity to purchase admission to the beach club.

The club is located on a narrow strip of land near where the cruise ships dock on Paradise Island.

Pool and beach views in artist rendering

The club will have three pools with swim-up bars, live music, two beaches, four restaurants serving local food.

The capacity of the club should be about 2,000 guests.

More details are expected closer to the opening.

Opening 2025

To reach the beach club, passengers will have to taxi a complimentary water shuttle from Bay Street located near the Straw Market. Once onboard, guests will have two drop-off options: near Sapphire Beach and the west end of the pool.

The look of the club will take inspiration from its home country. The local architecture will be crafted by a local Bahamian architectural firm. Bahamian entrepreneurs and businesses are integral to the construction and management of the new venture, creating hundreds of job opportunities both immediately and in the future. Bahamian residents have already engaged in workshops. 

Another world-class experience

Family area rendering

The start of construction means this dream is coming to fruition, and Royal Caribbean couldn't be more excited for it.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Jason Liberty said at the event, "Marking more than the beginning of the construction process, today’s groundbreaking event symbolizes partnership, momentum and continued economic development for so many Bahamian entrepreneurs and the entire community."

"We are grateful to our partners for their support, especially the Bahamian government, who stand with us here today in celebration of what is to come"

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley also spoke, "As we break ground on Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, together with the government and the people of The Bahamas, we are celebrating what partnership and innovation can achieve. This will be yet one more reason, in Nassau’s bright future, to experience a destination we have visited since the very beginning of Royal Caribbean more than 50 years ago."

"The beauty and charm of the island are why we chose to debut the Royal Beach Club Collection in Nassau, and with the collaboration and support of local entrepreneurs and the wider community, we know that what we create will far exceed everything we imagined.”

Honorable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas spoke about the importance of this new beach club, "With the signing of this Heads of Agreement for the development of Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, we embark on this project to further enhance the vitality of our tourism product. Signing today’s agreement, we add another world-class experience to our tourism offerings. And even more importantly, we take a bold step toward greater Bahamian empowerment in the tourism industry."

I went to Royal Caribbean's private island on a Celebrity cruise ship. Here's what surprised me about this visit

22 Apr 2024
Elizabeth Wright

Celebrity Cruises has officially begun regular visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island in The Bahamas. 

Celebrity Reflection at CocoCay

After departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 21, Celebrity Reflection sailed to CocoCay, arriving shortly before Wonder of the Seas. This marks the first time that Celebrity has called at the island since the $250 million renovation that was completed in 2019. 

The enhancement included a pier, as well as numerous attractions targeting thrill-seekings, including Thrill Waterpark, a zip line, and a helium balloon.

Celebrity Reflection, along with Celebrity Beyond, are scheduled to regularly visit the island on itineraries ranging from 3 to 7 nights. 


From the moment I stepped onboard, it was evident that Celebrity was heavily leaning into CocoCay promotional materials. 

CocoCay advertisements frequently appeared on television screens throughout the ship, and the Cruise Director even held an information seminar about the island at 2:30pm before sailing away. I heard the "Perfect Day" song playing in the buffet during lunch, too! 

They really seemed to want to give passengers every bit of information possible to help them plan a "perfect" day ashore. 


When we returned to our inside stateroom after dinner, we discovered that our cabin steward had left us some complimentary CocoCay swag, including a baseball cap, towel clips, and a small misting spray bottle. 

From receiving identifiable wristbands to having my basic drink package treated like the premium one, here's everything that surprised me on my visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay with Celebrity Cruises. 

The hero photo is credited to Chris Yansick, who is currently sailing onboard Wonder of the Seas. 

Read more: I went to CocoCay for the first time, and here's what I'd do differently

Guests onboard Celebrity Reflection were asked to wear wristbands to help staff differentiate who was cruising on Royal Caribbean versus Celebrity


In addition to the destination-specific goodies that we received in our cabin, we were also provided two orange wristbands. 

"...we kindly ask you to wear [them] while visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay. Doing so will help us shape your future experiences at this exclusive, private destination, as we will learn about our guests' needs, preferences, and expectations," read the informational sheet. 

Many guests seemed to respect Celebrity's wishes, as the majority of passengers who disembarked at the same time as I did had them on. Plus, there were a lot of people wearing them at the adults-only Hideaway Beach. I was asked by the couple sitting next to me what the bands were for, so they had noticed a lot, too!  


Though I'm not surprised by what seemed to be more Royal Caribbean guests at Hideaway due to Wonder of the Seas' capacity, it was hard not to notice all the bright orange bands throughout the day. 

While the younger crowd that typically frequents Royal Caribbean may be more likely to pay for admission to Thrill Waterpark or the zip line, the bands will help the company learn what Celebrity guests are seeking on the island. 

Around 11:30am, I left Hideaway Beach to get an idea of where Celebrity guests were congregating the most. 


While there was certainly no shortage of guests at Hideaway Beach, I found that because of Wonder's capacity, it made Celebrity's presence seem more scattered. 

Rather than observing a lot of Celebrity passengers at Chill Island, Oasis Lagoon, or South Beach, the excess of Royal guests was exceedingly noticeable. In fact, I was surprised by the abundance of empty lounge chairs, especially since it was a little bit before peak lunch times. 

Hideaway Beach definitely seemed to be popular for cruises on both lines. 

I was worried Wi-Fi and drink packages wouldn't work on the island


Though Celebrity is part of Royal Caribbean Group, I wasn't sure if my packages would work ashore. When I initially stepped foot on the island, my Wi-Fi seemed to be cutting out a lot. 

Since I upgraded to Celebrity's Premium Wi-Fi, I had higher hopes for the connectivity. In the end, I'm glad I paid the difference because my partner's Basic Package was even more restrictive. She was able to open apps on the ship that she wasn't able to on the island, such as Instagram and TikTok. 

Moreover, Celebrity offers passengers two alcoholic packages, whereas Royal Caribbean only has one: the Deluxe Beverage Package. Those who purchase Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage Package receive a relatively all-inclusive experience, with cocktails made with top-shelf spirits included. 


Celebrity's Classic Package is more restrictive, as it only includes drinks up to $10. While I could have paid to upgrade to the Premium Package, I figured that there would be a decent selection of drinks to choose from. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case onboard, as the majority of cocktails cost anywhere from $12 to $17. 

I wasn't sure how the package would be honored ashore, though. To my surprise, the Classic Package was treated like the Premium. 

There was no cap on beverages; my finacée was able to order a Patrón soda for no extra charge. However, all the bartenders I spoke with said that they're still trying to figure out Celebrity's packages since this is Celebrity's first sailing to CocoCay. There's a chance that this will change in the future. 

Having visited Perfect Day at CocoCay numerous times, the experience ashore felt extremely similar to my Royal Caribbean sailings


It's truly a winning formula. Those who want to enjoy Celebrity's upscale amenities will be able to do so, while also being able to visit the award-winning island. Celebrity ships are about giving the Celebrity customer a product with high guest satisfaction to enjoy, too. 

While I enjoyed my time at the upbeat Hideaway Beach, it was nice returning to a low-key ship. Plus, there were definitely fewer children onboard. 

As someone in their mid-twenties with no kids, it was nice to be surrounded by adults onboard while also being able to enjoy everything that CocoCay is known for. Now, those interested in visiting CocoCay have options, whether they're seeking a family-friendly vacation or a more adult-oriented and refined experience. 


According to Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley, the demand for Perfect Day at CocoCay is “exceptionally high.” Out of 100 global destinations, it's the number one rated port that Royal Caribbean sails to. 

Celebrity Cruises' President, Laura Hodges Bethge, acknowledges that Celebrity's clientele doesn't want to be left out of this private island experience. “

By introducing this new program," she said, "we can meet this demand and offer something new and historic to all our guests.”

Royal Caribbean eliminated norovirus outbreaks on its cruise ships last year after making big changes

22 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

No one wants to get sick, especially on vacation, and Royal Caribbean implemented a program in 2023 that got rid of one of the worst illnesses people sometimes catch on cruise ships.

Norovirus on cruise ship

Within Royal Caribbean Groups' environmental stewardship report for 2023 is a section that details what the company is doing to improve public health on its ships.

The Norovirus Eradication Campaign was launched in 2023 on Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises vessels with the ultimate goal of eliminating transmission of norovirus on its ships.

Norovirus is referred to as "the stomach flu", and is easily spread from person to person.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 19 to 21 million cases of vomiting and diarrhea illnesses caused by norovirus each year. 

Norovirus is transmitted when someone ingests particles of vomit or feces from an infected person, such as through consuming food touched by an infected individual, touching contaminated surfaces and then their mouth, or placing contaminated objects on clean surfaces.

The CDC says the most common symptoms of norovirus are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. 

Woman with stomach pain

While only about 1% of all annual norovirus cases reported in the U.S. happen on cruise ships, the perception is it occurs more frequently due to media reports of gastrointestinal viral outbreaks on cruise ships. This is partly because health officials track illness on cruise ships, so outbreaks are found and reported more quickly on a cruise ship than on land.

You're far more likely to catch norovirus at a long-term care facility, hospital, childcare center, or school.

Regardless, because of the media attention reports of the virus on cruise ships attract, Royal Caribbean Group took action to mitigate cases.

A new approach

Couple in Solarium

In June 2023, Royal Caribbean launched a norovirus eradication campaign that included a range of new protocols and policies.

The six tenants of the program were outlined in the Seastainability report:

1. Enhanced acute GI training for onboard medical teams and traveling PHOs 

2. Increased PHO oversight of our Outbreak Prevention Plan, which covers requirements like hand washing, buffet oversight and disinfectant mandates for all public areas aboard our ships

PDI Wipes

3. Switching to PDI SaniCloth Prime hospital-grade disinfectant wipes (Link contains affiliate link, which costs you nothing extra to use!)

Unlike earlier wipes, PDI wipes carry an EPA claim against norovirus, helping them play a key role in reducing acute GI cases onboard cruise ships.

4. New contactless tap technology, eliminating the need for crew to handle guest cards

5. Enhanced crew training on what to do when experiencing acute GI symptoms and how to avoid cross-contamination in food and beverage service areas

6. An update to our Safety & Quality Management system to stop self-service in buffets if the onboard norovirus rate exceeds 1.5%


According to the report, after the eradication campaign was implemented in June 2023, there was not a single norovirus outbreak onboard any Royal Caribbean International or Celebrity Cruise ship for the remainder of 2023.

It is worth noting the CDC outbreaks page does list Celebrity Constellation as having an outbreak in January 2024.

Something else trialed was the implementation of Synexis BioDefense purifiers. On eight cruise ships, these units reduced the presence of microbes associated with diseases like COVID-19, influenza and norovirus.

97.3% public health inspection scores

Symphony of the Seas in PortMiami aerial

Another big step Royal Caribbean Group made in improving the health of guests and crew members on its ships was to invest more in its public health inspection program.

All cruise ships participate in the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program, which has been in place since the 1970s to conduct random, unannounced inspections of ships if they wish to visit a port in the United States.

The program enforces strict health and safety guidelines, covering the cleaning of high-touch areas and the management of food storage in freezers, refrigerators, and galleys.

Icon of the Seas galley

Royal Caribbean Group hired  new internal public health inspectors to help the ships improve their public health practices.

The team reviewed public health trends and past areas of concern to come up with recommendations to do better.

As a result of these and other improvements, the average United States Public Health Services (USPHS) inspection score was 97.3 across the fleet. In fact, 10 ships scored a perfect 100

A ship must score 85 or above to pass inspection.

Should you be concerned about getting norovirus on a cruise?

Ocean view balcony

Royal Caribbean Group's eradication program is certainly a positive step, but if you're still worried about catching norovirus, the risks are low.

Even before this new initiative was put into place, the CDC acknowledges that risks are quite low on cruise ships compared to your chances of catching it elsewhere on land. In short, the math points to it being an unlikely scenario for you to encounter.

Brilliance of the Seas

Moreover, the cruise industry as a whole was already headed to a better place prior to 2020. The rate of acute gastroenteritis illnesses on cruise ships decreased during 2006-2019 for passengers and crew, according to CDC data.

Read more: How To Avoid Getting Sick on a Cruise

The CDC advises frequent hand washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of norovirus. Key times for handwashing include after using the restroom or changing diapers, and before eating, preparing food, or handling medicine.

Clorox wipes

If you want to bring something on your ship to help lower the chance of catching norovirus, Lysol and Clorox products are among the bleaches the Environmental Protection Agency lists as being effective against norovirus.  Before you buy anything, keep in mind bleach isn't allowed on cruise ships.

Read more: What can you not bring on a cruise

Instead, you could pack hydrogen peroxide wipes (just don’t flush them down the toilet). We recommend these Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes for taking with you on your ship (Link contains affiliate link, which costs you nothing extra to use!).

Royal Caribbean touts "significant progress" in decarbonization reduction target

22 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group's work is far from done, but it's getting closer than ever to its big eco-friendly goals.

Ovation of the Seas on a sunny day

On Monday morning, Royal Caribbean Group released its annual "Seastainability Report", which outlines its environmental goals and progress made to reach them.

In 2023, Royal Caribbean Group advanced its goal of achieving net zero emissions by surpassing half of its carbon intensity reduction target, conducting successful biofuel trials in Europe, and launching the first waste-to-energy system on a ship in the maritime industry.

Plus, there are the overarching goals of reducing carbon intensity by double-digits by 2025 and introducing a net-zero cruise ship by 2035. 

Highlights from the report

Seastainability report

Here are the major achievements reported in this year's report:


  • Achieved a 6.8% reduction in carbon intensity, surpassing half of its ambitious carbon intensity reduction goal.
  • Expanded energy options following successful biofuel trials, demonstrating that alternative fuels can be integrated without modifying engines or affecting onboard systems.
  • Enhanced global local sourcing, cutting transportation distances by 37%, which supports local communities and reduces Scope 3 emissions in certain areas.
  • Advanced marine species protection through the Shellbank program, using genetic technology to match DNA of critically endangered sea turtles to specific sites for conservation and to combat illegal harvesting.
Artist Discovery Program for Icon of the Seas

Community Support

  • Introduced Royal Caribbean International's Artist Discovery Program, featuring emerging Caribbean artists aboard the new ship, Icon of the Seas.
  • Developed specialized training programs for Bahamian entrepreneurs through the Small Business Development Centre's (SBDC) Royal Caribbean Kickstarter Programme, aimed at boosting local tourism-related businesses.
  • Debuted the first accessible Star Class suite on Icon of the Seas, enhancing inclusivity.
  • 100% scored on public health inspections on 10 ships, with a 97.3% average fleet wide between Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.


  • Launched the first at-sea waste-to-energy systems on Silver Nova and Icon of the Seas.
  • Initiated construction of the first tri-fuel methanol-capable ship, Celebrity Xcel.
  • Extended the partnership with the University of Miami's OceanScope, providing additional funding to support over two decades of ocean conservation and research on Royal Caribbean Group ships.


Royal Caribbean Group has three primary groups they work with to assist on their journey.

For the past 20 years, they've worked with University of Miami’s OceanScope program to share ocean data.

Since 2016, the World Wildlife Fund has been a partner in supporting conservation efforts, such as the Hawksbill Turtles, Polar Bears, and Whale Sharks.

The company also supports Shellbank, which is a genetic technology program that matches DNA of critically endangered sea turtles to specific locations to create priority conservation sites and prevent illegal harvesting.

Net Zero progress

Celebrity Cruise logo
Goal2023 Progress
Reduce our carbon intensity by double digits from a 2019 baseline by 2025• 6.8% reduction in carbon intensity
• Completed 50 energy-efficiency retrofit projects, including steam
turbine and LED lighting system upgrades
• Grew portfolio of fuel options with first LNG-powered ship and
successful biofuel trials
• Debuted Total Energy Management (TEM) system to optimize energy
• 30 ships with shore power capabilities as of year end
Achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050
Deliver net-zero cruise ship by 2035• Completed successful biofuel trials on three ships
• Launched Silversea’s Silver Nova, which is 33% more energy efficient
than required for ships today
• Started construction on Celebrity Xcel, our first tri-fuel methanolcapable ship (2025 delivery)

Water sustainability

Goal2023 Progress
Increase or maintain 90% potable water production
and reduce potable water bunkering in vulnerable
areas by 2025
• 93% potable water production
Equip 100% of fleet with Advanced Wastewater
Purification systems by 2025
• 98% equipped
Equip 100% of fleet with IMO and USCG certified
systems for ballast water by 2025
• IMO 100%
• USCG 74%

Waste management

Recycling center
Goal2023 Progress
Reduce solid waste offloaded to landfill by 90% from the 2007 baseline by 2025• 87% reduction
• Expanded Green Hub program to Galápagos
• Launched the first waste-to-energy system at sea
Reduce single-use plastics 100% by 2025•  60% reduction
• Relaunched phase three of our plastics reduction program, focused on food containers and water bottles, after adjusting for impact on the environment and guest feedback
Reduce food waste across our fleet by 50% by 2025• 25% reduction

Supply chain

Supplies coming onboard
Goal2023 Progress
Implement program to foster an inclusive and diverse
supply chain through our procurement process by 2024
Operationalized our supplier onboarding portal,
providing additional insights that inform our decision

Sourcing Goals

Chef inspecting new supplies
Source 100% cage-free eggs globally by 202552%54%The global egg shortage due to highly
pathogenic avian influenza disrupted our
egg supply chain in 2023. We are partnering
with new suppliers to reach our 2025 target
and are testing new preservation options,
such as frozen cage-free eggs.
Source 100% of chickens for U.S. operations
from Global Animal Partnership (GAP)
certified suppliers by 2025 
20%96%We made significant progress in 2023, well
above our internal goals for the year.
Source 100% gestation-crate-free
pork globally by 2025
15%45%Sourcing gestation-free pork is challenging
in a competitive marketplace, yet we
partnered with three new suppliers to stay
on track for 2025. 
Source 90% of wild-caught seafood by
volume from Marine Stewardship Council
(MSC) certified fisheries18 by 2025
83%31%We faced a setback when Maine lobster
fisheries lost their MSC certification.
This resulted in a reduced percentage
of our volume meeting commitment.
We are in the process of identifying
new opportunities and engaging in
conversations with MSC.
Source 75% of farm-raised seafood by
volume from Aquaculture Stewardship
Council (ASC) certified fisheries by 2025
75%69%We remain on track to meet our 2025
Obtain MSC and ASC Chain of Custody
certification for specified species for our
ships by 2024
 UpdatedWe updated our goal from 2023 due to a
change in the MSC & ASC Chain of Custody
Standard specific to the certification
type we plan to use. We aim to complete
certification in 2024. 


Guest service crew members
Goal2023 Progress
Form an Executive Diversity Council, chaired by CEO
by 2023
• Achieved
Review gender pay equity annually for all global
employees, including shipboard crew, by 2024
• Expanded assessment beyond U.S. to include United Kingdom, Philippines, Mexico and Monaco shoreside locations; on track for all global employees and shipboard crew by 2024
Publish updated human rights policy and conduct human rights impact assessments by 2025• On track to be published in early 2024; on track to complete assessments by 2025

Royal Caribbean News Round-Up April 21, 2024

21 Apr 2024
Calista Kiper

Did you miss any of this week's Royal Caribbean news? No worries, because we have you covered with our wrap-up of cruise news!

Royal Caribbean crew members are often praised for going above and beyond, and this Windjammer employee is a cut above the rest.

Washy washy crew member

Reminding guests to wash their hands is a simple task, and Stacian makes it entertaining like no one else can.

She is one of the many members with the "Washy Washy" assignment, and has worked on Royal Caribbean cruise ships for 20 years.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

Slot machine

The 531st episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available! 

How do you get a free Royal Caribbean cruise from gambling? And is it worth it?

Matt answers all your questions about the Casino Royale deal—the best one out there—in this episode.

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: The WORST Royal Caribbean Deals

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—The WORST Royal Caribbean Deals—don’t forget to subscribe to our channel!

16 things to ask your cruise ship cabin attendant

What kind of special requests can you make to your stateroom attendant?

Whether you need a sharps container, extra towels, or even furniture moved out of your way, your stateroom attendant can tend to all your concerns.

To ensure you have the most comfortable stay, here's everything you can ask your cabin attendant for.

Follow our NEW Facebook page!

Follow us on Facebook

We have a new Facebook page, so please follow us there too!

Unfortunately our old Facebook page was removed, so you'll need to follow us on our new Facebook page so you don't miss any updates!

Celebrity will visit Royal Caribbean's private island

Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean will be bringing their close sisterhood even closer.

Celebrity will visit CocoCay

On Monday, April 22nd, Celebrity ships begin visiting Royal Caribbean's private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The move is symbolic of the sister lines' closer relationship.

Because of the high demand for Bahamas and Caribbean cruises, Celebrity will begin visiting the region, with occasional stops at CocoCay.

What happens on Turnaround Day on a Cruise?

Dirty laundry
Photo by Johnk6404

How do cruise ships go straight from one sailing to the next?

Turnaround day is when the previous guests disembark from a cruise and the incoming guests board.

Behind the scenes, crew members and cruise terminal staff work tirelessly to get it all down in just a few hours.

This is the entire process of turnaround day, and how the crew gets it all done.

Toilet paper: The unspoken downside of going on a cruise ship

20 Apr 2024
Calista Kiper

When you think about a cruise vacation, you have images in your mind of sun soaked days in beautiful places that's a dream getaway, except for one oddly overlooked aspect: the toilet paper. 

There’s one thing most people hate about cruise ships: the toilet paper.

Anyone who’s been on a cruise before has also been victimized by the thin, sandpaper-like material in the bathroom that passes for toilet paper.

Rather than a soft double-ply, or a cheap single-ply tissue, the toilet paper resembles something like half-ply tissue paper.

Read more: 22 unpleasant cruise ship problems you aren't prepared for

Without going into too much detail, you can imagine that this type of paper would leave guests feeling uncomfortable. 

However, this choice of toilet paper is completely intentional, and it’s not just to save money.

There are good reasons as to why Royal Caribbean (and most other cruise lines) uses such scratchy, thin tissue.

Why is the cruise ship toilet paper so thin?

Cruise ships feel like a self-contained city, with cabins, bathrooms, dining, activities, and pools all onboard. But they’re still essentially an ecosystem that floats on water.

Because of this, they have to be mindful of the environment around them and the storage space onboard. 

Odyssey of the Seas interior cabin bathroom

Cruise ships have to use a thin toilet paper that is suitable for RV, portable toilet, or marine use. It’s specifically designed to flush easily and quickly break down in the holding tanks, preventing any nasty clogs.

Marine sewer systems are intricate, and so unable to process the thicker, plushier toilet paper you’re used to at home.

Cruise ship toilets can easily get clogged

Voyager of the Seas cabin bathroom

Because cruise ships are so contained, the sewage pipes are smaller and more susceptible to blockages. 

Any small clog could lead to a blockage of an entire pipe.

Not only that, but the toilets are also all connected. This means that if one guest’s toilet is blocked up, all the other guests will suffer.

Usually, the ship’s plumber will have to manually remove the blockage from the pipes.

Clogged plumbing is a common problem on cruises, and it's why crew members and signage repeatedly remind guests about what they can't flush, such as feminine hygiene items, tissues, or wipes. 

The only thing that should be going down the toilet is your business and that thin, scratchy toilet paper!

Can you pack your own toilet paper?


You might be tempted to bring your own toilet paper or flushable wipes onboard as a workaround to the problem.

However, this is not a good idea.

Remember, the plumbing on cruise ships is very sensitive. Anything other than marine-grade toilet paper could clog up the pipes.


Some guests have even reported that they had their personal rolls of toilet paper confiscated as they were boarding on embarkation day.

If you really don’t want to rely on the cruise ship’s toilet paper, but also don’t want to throw away wipes and tissues in the trash, you could also try a bidet.

Some suites have a bidet, but there's only a handful of cabins with this feature.

Where does the poop go when you flush?


You might be wondering where the contents go when you finish using that see-through toilet paper and flush the toilet.

All wastewater—including your poop and shower water—goes into a water-treatment system onboard.

None of it will go overboard until it is run through this treatment plant. This advanced treatment system has been rated above the US federal standard for purified water.

The wastewater purification plant onboard splits the water into three categories: grey water, black water, and bilge water.


Grey water is shower and tap water from sinks, laundries, and drains.

Black water is what comes from food waste and toilets.

And bilge water is the oils that are released from the engine compartments at the bottom of the ship.

Blackwater (that’s the human waste division) will go through three processes: aeration, filtration, and disinfection.

Icon of the Seas in the ocean

First, a bioreactor aeration chamber breaks down the organic contaminants with bacteria that can dissolve the black water.

Next, the sewage goes into a membrane filtration system that filters all impurities. Dense substances will float to the bottom in the settlement chamber, while water floats to the top.

The leftover sludge at the bottom is repeatedly cycled until the system is left with water and any remaining sludge is incinerated.

Lastly, the clean sewage (that leftover water) enters a disinfection chamber where any remaining pathogens are sterilized. UV radiation purifies any remaining bacteria, leaving clean and safe water that is left in a storage tank until it can be discharged.

Ocean water

This water really is fresh! It’s considered almost tap-water quality.

Once the cruise ship is far enough away from land to meet local and international regulations, they can discharge the water.

However, this does depend on the location of the ship, as regulations vary, and some areas even prohibit discharging.

The purified sewage water and the grey water are discharged far out to sea, and don’t contain any harmful bacteria.

Read more: Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ships will convert waste to energy

Royal Caribbean's Newest Ship to Feature an Epic '80s Music Spectacular

19 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Fans of the decade of excess are going to want to check out Royal Caribbean's new show.

Aqua show coming to Utopia of the Seas

Utopia of the Seas is the sixth Oasis Class cruise ship and launches this summer with an all-new show that follows up on arguably Royal Caribbean's best musical tribute show to date.

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Entertainment Nick Weir posted a teaser on his X account that revealed the name of its next show.

"Aqua 80 Too" is all the video teaser displayed, but it is clearly a follow up to Aqua 80 that first debuted on Oasis of the Seas.

Aqua 80 Too

Held in the open-air Aquatheater, Royal Caribbean first debuted Aqua 80 on Oasis of the Seas in 2019 to coincide with her massive amplification.

Read more: Oasis of the Seas ship guide

Like all Aquatheater shows, it features a live performance of world-class acrobats, extreme sports athletes and divers set to music.  In the case of Aqua 80s, it's only music of the 1980s.

Aqua 80 on Oasis of the Seas

It's a musical tribute to the decade, and many cruisers have come back loving the show.

Reddit user kanojo22 posted, "I must recommend the Aqua80 show. It was amazing! I watched it 3 times and loved it every time. Even my kids who aren’t 80s music fans like me thought it was great."

Aqua 80 logo

Their post sparked a great deal of responses echoing the initial post.

LitigatedLaureate added, "Aqua 80 is the best cruise ship show I've ever seen. Honestly I'd rather sit and watch Aqua80 over a fair amount of actual Broadway shows I've seen."

KTrentLR agreed, "I couldn't agree more! Aqua '80 is the best aqua show in the fleet."

Royal Caribbean has not officially announced the entertainment for Utopia of the Seas yet, but Mr. Weir is fond of leaking bits of information about new shows on social media.


His passion for his shows is evident in how much work goes into crafting these original productions.  As such, he enjoys sharing behind-the-scenes previews of what guests can expect.

Utopia of the Seas is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. Since the Aquatheater isn't ready yet, Royal Caribbean can still prepare for the show from land.

Royal Caribbean Productions

Royal Caribbean has its own Entertainment facility in South Florida, where the cast for the new show will begin rehearsals.

Inside the custom facility are stages where cast members can practice nearly all aspects of the show so that when they can get onboard the ship, they're not starting at the first step.

Coming July 2024

Utopia of the Seas night render

Utopia of the Seas will be the first new Royal Caribbean's ship that offers shorter cruises first. Usually new ships  conduct longer voyages when they enter service.

Utopia will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida on 3- and 4-night cruises to The Bahamas, each scheduled to stop at Royal Caribbean's private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Why short cruises? It's an effort to attract first-time cruisers, who are leery of going on any cruise ship for a week.

Sun setting at CocoCay

The idea is to offer short cruises on its newest hardware so that anyone who is considering a short cruise as their first sailing will see a clear delineation between what options are out there.

The inaugural sailing is 3-night weekend cruise on July 19, 2024. 

While Utopia is about 7% smaller than Icon, she is still packed with plenty for passengers to do to keep them busy.

On the top deck, you'll find three pool areas, an aqua park for kids, surf simulator, zip line, basketball court, and 295-foot dry slide down the back of the ship.


The Royal Railroad will feature a classic train motif that delivers a mixed reality experience. After prototyping the train car experience at Royal Caribbean's Miami headquarters, the team feels confident it will deliver an incredible new option for passengers.

Izumi has been moved up to Central Park, which is a first for the Oasis Class. Izumi will also have a new pickup window which allows quick grab and go offerings for guests.

Park Cafe will have a new evening terrace experience, which the cruise line hopes will invigorate evenings in this neighborhood.

Giovanni's Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar has been relocated into the deck 11 and 12 former Wonderland location.

Food truck on Utopia of the Seas

Speaking of food, there will be a food truck on the pool deck, and a tiki bar on the Royal Promenade.

16 things to ask your cruise ship cabin attendant

19 Apr 2024
Elizabeth Wright

While on your cruise, you won’t have to worry about daily tasks such as making your bed or taking out the trash. Instead, you’ll have a cabin attendant responsible for ensuring that your stateroom is clean and tidy.

Meet cabin attendant

In addition to making the bed and removing the trash, they'll perform tasks like cleaning the bathroom, refreshing used towels, leaving important disembarkation documents, and more. 

Unlike standard hotel housekeepers, however, they’re able to accommodate special requests made related to the cabin, saving you from waiting in line at Guest Services.

Here’s a list of 16 things you should ask your cabin steward for on embarkation day to make sure that you have a comfortable stay.

Their name


Typically, your cabin steward will stop by your stateroom on the first day to introduce themselves. If they don’t, or you miss their visit because you’re elsewhere on the ship, don’t hesitate to facilitate an introduction later on.

Since your attendant will be entering your stateroom at least once per day, it’s important to take the time to know their name.

They'll leave you with a small card that has their extension on it, which is how you can reach them if any cabin-related issues arise during your sailing. 

Extra towels


Even though your steward will refresh your towels daily, you may require more, especially if you’re cruising with more than one person in your room. 

By letting your attendant know that you’ll need extra towels, they'll refresh any used towels and make sure that you have an ample supply whenever they service your cabin. 

As of February 2023, guests staying in standard cabins (i.e., interior, ocean view, and balconies) will only have their room attended to once per day. On embarkation day, your steward will ask whether you want them to visit in the morning or evening. 

Before making a decision, consider things like when you expect to wake up, what activities you want to attend, and when you plan on heading to breakfast. 

Read more: Why you should get your cruise cabin serviced in the evening instead of the morning

Mattress topper

Mattress topper

If you like a plush mattress and find that your bed is a little too firm for your liking, ask your cabin steward for a mattress topper. 

They'll provide an extra layer of comfort during your sailing to ensure that you're getting a good night's rest. 

The toppers are also useful when keeping the two beds together, rather than separating them, as they'll help minimize how much of the crack in between the beds you're able to feel. 

Printed copy of the daily schedule

Cruise Compass in hand

Though Royal Caribbean no longer leaves physical Cruise Compass’ in cabins each evening, you can request copies from your stateroom attendant.

While it’s convenient to be able to access all of the information via your mobile phone, you may prefer the tangible experience of flipping through the pages and highlighting which activities appeal to you the most.

Having a physical copy also eliminates the need to carry your mobile device around with you all day. Cruises are a perfect time to disconnect, and having to keep up with your phone may seem like an unnecessary task.

Daily replenishment of your ice bucket


Those who aren’t purchasing a drink package may choose to take advantage of Royal Caribbean’s policy that allows passengers to bring 12 standard cans, bottles, or cartons of non-alcoholic beverages onboard on embarkation day.

Though your mini-fridge will help keep these drinks cool, you may want an ice-cold soda in a clean glass after a long day in the heat. 

When you meet your cabin steward, simply ask them if you’re able to get fresh ice each day. Whenever you return to your cabin, you’ll be greeted with a full bucket of ice. 



Unlike sister brand Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean staterooms don’t come equipped with bathrobes.

Once you accumulate 30 cruise points, you’ll reach the Platinum tier of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society. While this level doesn’t get you as many perks as Diamond cruisers, you’ll be able to request complimentary bathrobes during your cruise.

Imagine waking up and sitting on your private balcony while being swaddled in a plush robe and sipping a fresh cup of coffee. That sounds like a great way to begin any day on a cruise, whether you’re at sea or pulling into port. 

Additional hangers

Depending on how much you packed, you may need some extra hangers for your blouses, dresses, jackets, dress shirts, etc., especially if you're sailing on a longer cruise. 

Rather than try and cram some into your suitcase or purchase foldable hangers from the internet, your cabin steward will bring you more if there aren’t enough in your closet.

Speaking of clothing, this is your reminder to leave steamers and irons at home, as they’re not allowed onboard any Royal Caribbean ship. If you’re anticipating wrinkles in your clothing from being folded in your suitcase, purchase wrinkle-release spray before your cruise.

Read more: 115 item Ultimate Cruise Packing List (Printable PDF)

Certain bed configuration

If you’re traveling with a friend, you may prefer to have the beds separated. Likewise, those cruising with their spouse will most likely want the beds placed together. 

Rather than try and move the furniture yourself, tell your steward that you’d like it to be changed. 

Telling them on embarkation day is the best way to guarantee that the beds are arranged to your liking before bedtime rolls around. 

Sharps container


Those with medical conditions that require medications to be administered via needle will want to ask for a sharps container.

This will ensure that the needles, syringes, lancets, and other objects are properly disposed of during your trip.

Similarly, if you’re traveling with a CPAP machine, you may request an extension cord from your attendant. However, it’s best to fill out this form in advance, so you do not run into any issues while onboard.



Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring a limited amount of wine onboard on embarkation day. For those who don’t have a drink package, it’s a great way to save a little money on your trip.

Though having the bottle opened in public areas, such as the Main Dining Room, typically incurs a small corkage fee, you can have your cabin steward bring a corkscrew to your room to open the bottle for free.

While the corkscrew won't be anything fancy, it'll get the job done, and you will be sipping on your wine in no time. 

Read more: How much is a Royal Caribbean drink package?

Wine glasses


Rather than drink the wine out of the cups provided in the bathroom, you may request fresh wine glasses daily. 

I did this while sailing onboard Liberty of the Seas and received clean glasses each day during my short 3-night cruise. 

I appreciated never having to leave my cabin for a fresh glass. Instead, I was able to pour some wine while getting ready for dinner, as the cabin was always serviced by the time I returned from my afternoon activities. 

Extra pillows


Most beds onboard Royal Caribbean ships will come with two pillows. Guests who sleep with more than that can ask their attendant to provide them with extras.

Additionally, if you think the provided ones aren’t comfortable, you can ask your steward if they have any different ones that they can bring you. 

While not guaranteed, it doesn’t hurt to see what else is available.



Your cabin onboard will come with a thermostat that will allow you to adjust the stateroom’s temperature to your liking. 

Let’s say, however, you’re traveling with someone who prefers to sleep in what seems like the freezing cold, whereas you prefer a comfortable setting of around 72°.

If you find that you’re shivering during the night, see if your attendant can bring you an extra blanket to ensure that you’re getting as much rest as you need. 

Removal of furniture


Cruise ship cabins aren’t the most spacious rooms you’ll ever stay in. With floor space being so limited, you may want to get rid of any pieces of furniture you don’t plan on utilizing, such as the coffee table.

Rather than leaving it out in the hall, ask your attendant if it can be removed. If it’s possible, they’ll take care of getting it out of your way.

Read more: I tried the best inside cruise ship cabin hacks to see how well they worked

Storing pullman and/or sofa beds during the day

Pullman bed

Another way to maximize the limited amount of space that you have is to request that the pullman and sofa beds are stored when not in use. 

Unlike standard hotels, cruise cabins cannot accommodate two double beds. Instead, guests traveling with three or four passengers in their room will either have two pullman beds or one pullman and a sofa bed. 

Pullman beds are those that pull down from the ceiling or wall of a stateroom, allowing more guests to sleep in a single cabin without taking up more floor space. When down, however, they can make the room feel more confined, so you should inquire about seeing if you're attendant will ensure that they're properly stored during periods of non-use. 

Opening the balcony dividers

Connecting balconies

On Royal Caribbean ships, each balcony comes with dividers to help grant passengers some privacy. If you’re sailing with a group and have cabins that are located next to each other, it may be possible to remove the dividers to create a larger outdoor space. 

It's a good hack for families who were unable to book connecting cabins and don't want to have to walk outside of one stateroom to enter the other.

To figure out if this request can be accommodated or not, ask your stateroom attendant. Sometimes, it cannot be done right away, and you’ll be told that you have to wait until after the ship has set sail. 

Note that it’s not possible on every ship, as some dividers are attached to the hull and cannot be moved.

Read more: Guide to balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean

4 common mistakes people make when booking another cruise onboard their ship

18 Apr 2024
Calista Kiper

There are compelling reasons to book a cruise onboard a Royal Caribbean ship, but you'll want to double-check everything before you hand over your credit card.

Picture yourself onboard a cruise you’ve looked forward to for months (or even years). You’re having such a blast that you’re starting to dread disembarking.

With NextCruise, you can book your next cruise right onboard, having another fun experience guaranteed before you even get off the ship. Booking a cruise onboard at NextCruise offers promising deals and benefits.

You can conveniently plan out and book your next Royal Caribbean cruise with guidance from a qualified crew member.

Not only that, but using NextCruise offers some exciting deals, such as onboard credit, low deposits, and discounts on shore excursions.

Does it sound too good to be true?

When you find yourself at the NextCruise booth, avoid these common mistakes to get the best deal out of your experience.

In the excitement of experiencing your current cruise and planning your next one, it’s easy to overlook some important potential pitfalls.

As convenient as the NextCruise booth is, you never want to miss something that ends up costing you money or even delaying your upcoming cruise.

To avoid any problems when booking at NextCruise, watch out for these common mistakes.

Read more: Should you book your next cruise while onboard?

1. Forgetting to confirm offers in writing

Royal Caribbean’s website promises exciting deals for booking with NextCruise. These include:

  • The best offer on any sailing, guaranteed
  • Up to $600 in onboard credit for your next cruise
  • Deposits as low as $100 per person
  • The ability to handpick your suite or stateroom
  • Booking up to three staterooms with the same benefits for friends and family
  • Up to 10% off shore excursions

Not only that but you’re also guaranteed onboard credit when you book with NextCruise.

The onboard credit varies depending on the length of the sailing and the type of stateroom you choose.

  • 4-5 night cruises
    • Inside/Oceanview: $25
    • Balcony/Junior Suites: $50
    • Grand Suite & Above: $150
  • 6-9 night cruises
    • Inside/Oceanview: $50
    • Balcony/Junior Suites: $100
    • Grand Suite & Above: $300
  • 10 nights or longer cruises
    • Inside/Oceanview: $100
    • Balcony/Junior Suites: $200
    • Grand Suite & Above: $600

But how can you guarantee that’s the offer you’ll be getting?

Desk with papers

When the NextCruise agent books your cruise, excursions, or add-ons, they will give you a printout of all the details and guarantees. It's easy to lose track of what you discussed, and which promotions or offers you're actually getting.

Double-check that printout you receive from NextCruise to make sure everything you were promised is there in writing.

From onboard credit to the final price, that physical paper will ensure that you get the discounts you’re looking for.

Read more: You can now book new cruises from the Royal Caribbean app while onboard a cruise

2. Not paying attention to deposit type

NextCruise sign

In the excitement of booking your next cruise, it’s easy to miss some details and not realize the important parts until later.

Before you hand over your credit card to book the cruise, there are a few things you should double-check

One key detail is checking your deposit type.

When booking your Royal Caribbean cruise, the two deposit types are refundable or non-refundable.

The NextCruise agent will likely automatically quote you a non-refundable deposit.

There’s nothing wrong with a non-refundable cruise deposit. In fact, the price is usually a bit lower than a refundable deposit. However, it’s important to double-check the deposit type and details of your cruise.

NextCruise office

If you don’t confirm that this is what you want, you could end up going home and needing to change or cancel the cruise. Or, you may have wanted a refundable fare in the first place.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of the sailing, from the date to ship to unexpected fees, be careful that you aren’t booking with a non-refundable fee.

If you do want a refundable deposit, verify that it is selected when you book your cruise.

Even if you choose a refundable deposit and get home and confirm that the cruise details still work for you, you can change the booking to a non-refundable deposit type.

3. Leaving your current travel agent on the reservation

travel agent

NextCruise automatically assigns any new bookings to the travel agent you booked the current cruise through.

For example, if you booked your cruise on some random website, and then decide to book a new cruise once onboard, the reservation will automatically go back to that original agency.

If you don’t want this to be the case—maybe you’d like to keep the reservation for yourself, or use a different travel agent—you’ll need to change this manually.

Next Cruise swag

If you’d like to change the travel agent on file, you’ll need to get a transfer form and complete it within 30 days of booking at the NextCruise booth.

Extra work like this negates the ease of booking at NextCruise, so try to avoid changing the travel agent after booking.

To prevent any extra changes, check which travel agent is on file before you pay for your next cruise.

Read more: Royal Caribbean Next Cruise program details, info and tips

Not taking airfare into account

Airplane landing

So you’re on an amazing cruise, and see a great deal for another one with an exciting destination.

You might see discounts on cruises to Europe, Australia, or Alaska.

A cruise to unique destinations such as these might appeal to you, and with the deals from NextCruise, you could jump right into booking.

But before you pay for a cruise to a far and exciting destination, make sure you also check the cost of other travel, such as airfare.

International flights can easily run into thousands of dollars per person, adding to the cost of your cruise even after you book it.

You don’t want to book at NextCruise, then go home and check the cost of flights and realize you can’t actually afford this trip.

Before you confirm your next cruise, check the prices of any additional travel you’ll need to do to make it to the port.