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Royal Caribbean extends ability to cancel cruise for a credit additional month through October 2021

25 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has announced a new extension of its Cruise with Confidence program by another month.

This program allows guests to cancel a cruise up to 48 hours before their sail date with no penalty.

Royal Caribbean extended it by one month, and now Cruise with Confidence is good for cruises booked on or before October 31, 2021.  Previously the program was set to expire unless you booked by September 30, 2021.

With the future cruise credit you receive from Cruise with Confidence, you get a get a future cruise credit valid to book by April 30, 2022 and sail by September 30, 2022, or one year from the original sailing date, whichever is later.

Cruise with Confidence was introduced at the beginning of the cruise industry shutdown in 2020, and was designed to give guests peace of mind that they can change their plans after final payment date.

Ordinarily, guests would incur a penalty for canceling a sailing beyond the final payment date, which is typically 90 days before a sailing commences. Cruise with Confidence provides a great deal more flexibility to change minds with no penalty.

In addition, the Best Price Guarantee program will be extended to the end of October.

The Best Price Guarantee means you can take advantage of better rates up to 48 hours prior to sail date. Usually guests in certain countries can reprice cruises only up until their final payment date to take advantage of a price drop.

How does Cruise with Confidence work?

Ever since Royal Caribbean shut down cruises in March 2020, it has offered guests increased flexibility in being able to change their minds due to the fluid nature of news and the global health crisis.

Essentially, Cruise with Confidence is the name of the program that allows guests to change or cancel a cruise up to 48 hours before their sail date with no penalty or change fees.

Guests can opt for a 100% Future Cruise Credit that is good for 12 months or more.

Today's change means Cruise with Confidence is applicable to guests booked on-or-before August 31, 2021 on sailings departing through April 2022. 

The program includes refundable and non-refundable cruise fares, and only excludes chartered sailings.

It is important to note that if you elect to cancel a cruise on your own with this program, and later Royal Caribbean cancels the sailing, you waive any right to receive any refund oft he cruise fare paid.

Mariner of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Perfect Day at CocoCay

24 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Another day on a cruise, another day visiting Royal Caribbean's always impressive private island in The Bahamas.

On all the sailings I have been on since cruises restarted, I have had Perfect Day at CocoCay circled as the highlight of the itinerary. I love the diversity of activities, and relaxing nature of the island.

Our ship pulled in alongside Freedom of the Seas, which was also in port.

Some readers were curious if two ships were allowed to dock at once at CocoCay, and the answer is yes. The "one ship per CocoCay" rule applies to test cruises, but not the revenue cruises.

Originally I had no plans for my day here, but at the last minute I got invited to check out the floating cabanas at the Coco Beach Club. There were two good reasons for me to go for this plan: somewhere comfortable to write blog posts, and an opportunity to eat lunch at the Coco Beach Club.

I had a quick breakfast in the Windjammer with a cup of coffee before heading down to the gangway.

What is it like at Perfect Day at CocoCay with two ships? Pretty much the same as one ship during this era of limited capacity.

I heard Freedom of the Seas actually had less passengers onboard than us on Mariner, but even on the high end of estimating, that meant there were maybe 2,000 passengers total on an island designed to accommodate 9,000 - 12,000.

The weather was beautiful today, and there was a strong breeze that made it very tolerable to be outside since the heat was not quite so oppressive.

At the cabana, the combination of shade and breeze made it so comfortable to catch up on some blog posts.

I took a walk along the beach of Chill Island to see what the vibe was there.  It was a really nice day to be outside and hanging by the water.

For lunch, it was time for one of the top Royal Caribbean restaurants at the Coco Beach Club.

The hummus is so good, I asked for a double helping of it to enjoy. It is something I wish I could box up and bring home.

I would go as far as to say the filet mignon is the best steak on any Royal Caribbean ship.

Suffice to say, the meal was great.

After lunch, I went for a dip in the infinity pool and then back to the cabana to relax and do a little bit more work.

Luckily there was never any rain, or even hint of rain today.  A much nicer day compared to our start in Port Canaveral.

All aboard time was 4:30pm, so I headed back to the ship to shower and get ready for dinner.

Originally our plan was to eat dinner at the main dining room again, but our late lunch (1pm) was still very filling so we decided to push back out dinner plans and go to Playmakers.

Before dinner, I went up to the Diamond Lounge to see how busy it was up there. All the tables were full, so it looks like people still enjoy hanging out there.

The hors d'oeuvres are great (shoutout to the veggie eggrolls). No photo of the seating area because there were a lot of people watching me and it got awkward quickly.

To mix things up, we went with a bunch of appetizers to start with and just munched on those.

The nachos (veggies only, no sour cream) was my favorite of the bunch.

Of course, no meal at Playmakers is complete without the campfire cookie which is Royal Caribbean's take on a s'more.  It will change your life for the better.

Following dinner, I headed down to the Schooner Bar for piano music and an evening drink.

Tomorrow we will be in Nassau.  Let me know in the comments your favorite thing to do in Nassau.

Royal Caribbean announces it will add new lounge for its top tier cruisers

24 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

For the people that cruise Royal Caribbean the most, there will be a new dedicated lounge just for them.

Royal Caribbean announced on Tuesday it will add new lounge exclusively for its Pinnacle Club cruise members.

In order to be at the Pinnacle Club, you must accrue 700 points, making it the very top level of Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

The new Pinnacle Club Lounge is a result of Pinnacle Club members having access to the Suite & Concierge Lounges temporarily revoked due to Covid-19 protocols. These venues will operate with capacity limits and will only be available to guests staying in Suites.

While Pinnacle Members were still able to go to the Diamond Lounges on ships, the change did not sit well with some Pinnacle Club members.

Just like the Diamond and Suite Lounges, Pinnacle Club members will be able to enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and full bar service in a dedicated venue each night.

The new Pinnacle Club Lounges will operate through November 1, 2021. Further updates on its future will be communicated as the situation evolves.

In addition to the new lounges, Royal Caribbean is offering Pinnacle Club members a Flexible Arrival option to check in at the terminal no earlier than one hour before the 30-minute arrival window you select ahead of your sailing, or one hour after.

Pinnacle Club members sailing on Oasis and Quantum Class ships will receive a $25 dining voucher per member, per sailing to enjoy at any Specialty Restaurant of their choice.

Royal Caribbean made a number of other changes to its customer loyalty programming following the restart of operations, which in many cases was necessitated by the need for social distancing onboard.

This includes Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club members receiving beverage vouchers for drinks up to $13

Each day of the cruise, Diamond members receive four vouchers, Diamond Plus members receive five vouchers, and Pinnacle Club members receive six vouchers. These can be used at any bar, at any time, in the Diamond Lounge during Happy Hour or in our private destinations.

Royal Caribbean cruises in September 2021: What to expect

24 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Have a Royal Caribbean cruise planned for September 2021? Half the fleet will be back in service this month and that means more people will be able to go on a cruise again.

There is plenty happening and changing with cruise ships, so here is a look at what to expect if you are going on a cruise in September.

This post will share important information what you should know before going on a cruise in September. September is the traditional beginning of fall, but it is still a very hot month in the Caribbean.  Meanwhile there are also ships sailing to Alaska and Europe.

September is also one of the best months to book a cruise in terms of value.  Since school is back in session, there are less families cruising and with it being the peak of hurricane season, demand for cruises dips a bit.  The result is competitive prices for going on a cruise.

If you can find time to hop on a ship, September is a great time to cruise and with more ships back in service, there are lots of good options again to consider.

Ships sailing in September 2021

By the end of September 13 Royal Caribbean ships should be offering cruises around the world:

  • Adventure of the Seas from Nassau, Bahamas, although her last sailing is September 11
  • Freedom of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Anthem of the Seas from Southampton, England
  • Jewel of the Seas from Limassol, Cyprus
  • Serenade of the Seas from Seattle, Washington
  • Odyssey of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Allure of the Seas from Port Canaveral
  • Ovation of the Seas from Seattle, Washington
  • Symphony of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Independence of the Seas from Galveston, Texas
  • Harmony of the Seas from Barcelona and Rome
  • Mariner of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Oasis of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, beginning September 5, 2021
  • Quantum of the Seas from Singapore

In addition, Liberty of the Seas will sail her test cruise from Galveston, Texas on September 18, 2021. Liberty will begin offering cruises with paying passengers in early October.

New vaccine requirement for cruises sailing in September 2021

The biggest change in terms of protocols will begin in September when Royal Caribbean begins requiring all passengers to be fully vaccinated if they over the age of 12.

Due to a change in the policy of The Bahamas, Royal Caribbean cruisers ages 12 and older will now have to show proof of vaccination to sail from Florida.

Up until September Royal Caribbean was allowing adults to opt out of showing proof on sailings from Florida due to a Florida law that prevents businesses from asking for proof.

The Bahamas announced between September 3 and November 1, all passengers old enough to be vaccinated on a cruise ship must be vaccinated in order for a ship to visit any port in The Bahamas, including private islands.

For cruises departing from any U.S. port and visiting The Bahamas on and after Sept. 3, guests who are 12 and older must provide proof of vaccination in order to sail. This also applies to itineraries that include Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Travelers unable to show proof of vaccination will be unable to sail. Those of our guests under 12, who are currently ineligible for the vaccine, can still cruise with us as long as they continue to provide a negative test result at boarding and follow certain health and safety protocols.

September weather on a cruise

While it may be fall where you live, September is still very much summer in the Caribbean.

Expect typical summer weather in the Caribbean, which means hot and humid weather with passing rain showers at any given time.

If you are looking at the weather forecast for your cruise, don't be surprised if rain is in the forecast every day.  All that means is there is a chance for a passing or pop up storm.  More than likely you will have plenty of sun, with perhaps a quick downpour.

September is the beginning of the peak of hurricane season, which means the likelihood of a named storm is higher than it was earlier in the summer. 

According to the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, 87 percent of minor and 96 percent of major hurricanes occur between August and October, peaking in early September.

Hurricanes are obviously an issue, but Royal Caribbean monitors the weather and will move ships around storms.  Fear not: your ship will not go anywhere near a hurricane.

The biggest issue with cruising in September is the last-minute itinerary changes that can occur due to storms. 

Read moreWhat to know about cruising during hurricane season in the Caribbean

Over in Alaska, September begins the end of the Alaska cruise season, although Royal Caribbean extended the season this year by an extra month.

Just like in the Caribbean, September is one of the cheapest months to sail to Alaska because kids are back in school. 

In addition, the best time see the Northern Lights in Alaska is in September. September is the time of year when the sun sets earlier during the cruise season, which means the sky gets darker and makes for the most ideal viewing conditions.

Read moreTop 10 tips for planning your Alaska cruise

And yes, September is also a great time visit Europe for good deals.

September is a popular time to cruise the Western Mediterranean because you can avoid the families and still enjoy warm temperatures. 

Want to get on your cruise ship as fast as possible? Here's what you should do

24 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

When your it's cruise day and you are ready to go on your cruise ship, the last thing you want to do is spend any more than you need to in the cruise terminal filling out paperwork.

Royal Caribbean provides the means to make the check-in process as short as possible, but a surprising amount of cruisers do not take advantage of these options, which means they spend more time standing around in the cruise terminal than onboard the ship.

Your vacation time is precious, so don't spend it in the terminal doing things that could have been completed while you were at home. After all, the fast you get onboard, the sooner you get to really feel like you're on vacation.

After having been on a half dozen sailings since Royal Caribbean restarted cruises, here is my best advice for how to keep moving during the embarkation process and minimize your time in the cruise terminal.

Do everything in the online check-in

When Royal Caribbean opens up online check-in before your cruise, complete all the steps for everyone in your party.

Use Royal Caribbean's app to do the check-in because the app has a a feature to scan your passport, saving you time from entering the information manually if you do it on a computer.

You will have a choice of check-in times, and most people seem to always pick the earliest. If you have a flight or other need to get in later, pick an appropriate time.

Completing all of these questions, and especially taking the photo, saves so much time in the cruise terminal.

Yes, take a selfie photo

The one part of check-in most commonly overlooked is the selfie photo for security.

Whether you question if it's needed, or just decided to do it later, make sure you take a selfie photo and upload it into the app for everyone.

Find a plain wall in your house, and take a selfie in front of it. Think passport photo, with no hats or glasses on, and a neutral look.

Complete the health questionnaire before you arrive to the terminal

About 24 hours before your check-in time opens, you should complete the health questionnaire.

To access it, go back to the Royal Caribbean app and edit your check-in.  You will see the questionnaire to click and complete.

This will save you from every single person in your group having to answer a dozen yes or no questions in the terminal.

Print out your negative Covid test

Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring either a printed or digital copy of their negative Covid test, but you should bring a paper print out.

The reason why a printed copy is so much better is it's just more convenient.  You will have to show the negative test results two or three times during the check-in process, and having a printed copy means being able to more easily show it.

In case you're wondering, your vaccine card has to be a hard copy.

Arrive exactly at your check-in time

Royal Caribbean is strictly enforcing check-in times, so don't waste time standing around outside by arriving early.

Whatever time you pick for check-in is exactly the time you should plan to arrive to the cruise terminal so that you can hop right onto line to check-in.

If you are parking your car, you should plan to arrive a few minutes earlier just to get the car parked and your belongings down to the entrance of the cruise terminal.

Keep three documents handy

Once you get in line to check-in, there are three really important documents you will need access to during the entire process:

  • Passport (or birth certificate/state issued ID)
  • Negative Covid test
  • Vaccine card

You will need to produce these documents at different times, and sometimes multiple times.  You speak to different people throughout the check-in process, so having them ready to show saves time from digging through bags to get it back out.

Mariner of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day

23 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas set sail on it first revenue sailing since the cruise industry shutdown, and I will be live blogging from onboard this first sailing.

With Mariner's return, exactly half of Royal Caribbean's 26 ships are back in service, marking an important milestone in Royal Caribbean's return to service.

I booked this cruise earlier this summer when the restart plans started to shape out, and being that Mariner sails from Port Canaveral and I live in the Orlando area, getting onboard was a simple task.

As fate would have it, I ended up on Mariner's test cruise as well a couple weeks ago, but I rarely need an excuse to go on any ship these days. While this is my sixth sailing I have been on since the restart, that euphoria I think everyone feels to finally be back onboard is still there.

I had a 1pm check-in time for this cruise, so I departed my house a little before noon and made the roughly one hour drive to the port.

The check-in process was super easy, and I cannot stress the importance of doing as much of the check-in before your cruise.  It saves so much time, and I'll have a more in-depth blog post tomorrow explaining everything you should do.

Speaking of doing things before the cruise, I got a negative antigen test from CVS on this past Saturday.  CVS is the easiest option to get a test because they start taking reservations as far out as two weeks before your cruise.

While I printed out my negative Covid test result, I forgot it at my printer. Luckily, CVS emails and texts you a copy, so I was able to use a digital copy of the negative test result (you need the physical vaccine card, no digital copies of that accepted).

Once onboard the ship, I went straight to my room.  The nice thing about this being the first revenue sailing is all the rooms are ready already, so no wait. 

One change between the test sailing and this revenue sailing is guests are given tracelet contact tracing wristbands.

Royal Caribbean is also clearly mixing up the vaccinated wristband designs, with this week's band being a white silicon design instead of the blue satin wristband from the test cruise.

I have a ocean view balcony for this cruise, and it is your standard Royal Caribbean balcony room. There is space to move around, and of course that private balcony to enjoy whenever you want.

I headed up to the Windjammer for a late lunch. The garlic fried rice they have is really good.

In terms of protocols, things are about the same as any other ship right now. Masks in public areas, but you can remove masks when outside, or in fully vaccinated areas. No masks needed at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The new vaccination policy to match The Bahamas requirements does not begin until September 3, so there are still adults who are unvaccinated onboard.

One thing I neglected to see on the test cruise was the Adventure Ocean space.

Adventure Ocean is open on this sailing, and they allow families to sign up for sessions in advance to ensure there is a limited capacity.

The staff said kids would be limited to 4 sessions per sailing. Each session is 3 hours long. 

The nursery limit is 4 kids at a time.

At this time I remembered to do the emuster, which allows me to complete the ship's safety drill via the Royal Caribbean app.

The crew members working the muster stations are always so happy and enthusiastic, it is a nice welcome onboard.

Speaking of the muster drill, evidently there were some guests slow to complete the safety drill, so our departure from Port Canaveral was delayed until around 6pm or so.

I missed sailaway because I was eating dinner in the main dining room this evening.

In case you missed it, RoyalCaribbeanBlog's video editor, Jenna, is onboard as well and this is her very first cruise. I figured dinner in the main dining room was a must-do for her first night on a ship.

Service was great and very attentive. I went with the mushroom soup, spaghetti bolognese and of course a serving Indian curry.

The Indian curry is not on the menu, but there are always alternative options for various reasons, such as vegetarians, and anyone can request them.

After dinner, I went over to Studio B to check out the ice skating show onboard.

The ice shows are a fun performance, and the show started exactly as I walked out of dinner. With the ship sailing at reduced capacity, getting into a show at the last minute is possible, whereas it likely would have been at capacity on a sailing pre-2020.

After the ice skating performance, my plan was to simply walk through the casino to break some larger bills (the casino is a good alternative to guest services for getting change), and I decided to play roulette.  There was no one at the table and a $5 minimum.

I ended up breaking even, but I got to play for about an hour.  Not a bad return on my investment, as it was fun playing the numbers.  It was especially fun when a few of my numbers hit!

I walked up to the pool deck to catch the last glimpse of twilight.  The weather all day has been cloudy, and it was quite windy on the pool deck. That's okay, I'll trade bad weather today for good weather tomorrow at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Our itinerary is CocoCay, Nassau, sea day.

Tomorrow should be a fun day relaxing around the island again!

How Royal Caribbean reimagined its signature Italian restaurant

23 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Italian cuisine is among the most popular kind of cuisines on land or sea, and Royal Caribbean has relaunched one of its most popular specialty restaurants with an all-new menu that features fresh new choices.

Two of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships now offer Giovanni's Italian Kitchen, which is a refresh of Royal Caribbean's Italian specialty restaurant.

Just like how Royal Caribbean looks to evolve and enhance its cruise ships with new things to do, the Food and Beverage team saw an opportunity to improve on Giovanni's Table.

Royal Caribbean Vice President Food & Beverage, Linken D'Souza, said his team looked at how to amplify this particular restaurant, "it was about bringing something fresh, new, but also something that's traditional to our guests."

"We decided to make them younger and fresher and a little bit more contemporary."

"Giovanni's Italian Kitchen came out of that, and it was this opportunity to to introduce some new things, but also keep the favorites that's guests had."

The first thing the team did was not only look at the existing Giovanni's Table menu, but they actually went back to the Italian restaurant concept that has since been retired from the fleet, Portofinos, to identify what did guests like and not like about each of these experiences.

One missing piece they saw was hand-tossed fresh pizza, and immediately they looked at how to bring that option to cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean worked with Renato Viola, who is one of Italy’s best Master Pizza Chefs in the world. 

Before the shutdown, crew members went to Chef Viola's restaurant to spend a week learning how to stretch and perfectly treat the dough, as well as make the recipe.

Royal Caribbean started out with 42 different pizza recipes just to figure out the right dough to use, and then worked on picking out the perfect San Marzano sauce.  The sauce has no added sugar, and relies on a simple recipe of San Marzano tomatoes, water and herbs.

Mr. D'Souza says they are using the highest quality cheese you can get for pizza, and then added hand selected meats and greens to top it all off.

"My inspiration of that quality of pizza was I want to have a pizza that rivals what you would get in Naples."

Mr. D'Souza went as far to say he believes it is the best pizza at sea right now, "We said let's go out and figure out how to make the best and without bragging, I do believe it is the best pizza at sea."

On top of that, Royal Caribbean installed an electric oven that can heat up to 900 degrees, which is essentially the highest temperatures permissible on a ship.

The result? Chef Viola told Mr. D'Souza the pizza is as good as a pizza in his restaurant. Mr. D'Souza thinks that while it's not quite at that level, it is excellent and very good.

The first Giovanni's Italian Kitchen launched on Freedom of the Seas just before the cruise industry shutdown due to the global health crisis, but that ship is sailing again.  In addition, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar is onboard Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas.

Giovanni's on Odyssey is an extension of the new restaurant concept, with Giovanni's taking over what used to be the Vintages bar area on other Quantum Class ships and offering a smaller bar menu there, such as fried lasagna bites. These small plates are meant to go really well with a glass of wine.

Mr. D'Souza said they focused a lot on the main menu at the restaurant, "we spend a lot of time really developing American Italian favorites and then going a little bit nontraditional."

Top 3 Giovanni's Italian Kitchen must-try's

Holy Cheesus seven cheese pizza

What should you not-miss when you dine at Giovanni's Italian Kitchen?

I asked Mr. D'Souza for his list of the top three recommendations for anyone trying out the restaurant.

  1. Holy Cheesus seven cheese pizza
  2. Steak Muffuletta
  3. Chocolate raviolis

Calamari & Polenta appetizer

Mr. D'Souza added if someone considers themselves an adventurous eater to try the Calamari & Polenta appetizer and the Truffle & Eggs pizza, which offers a traditional fried egg recipe commonly found in Europe.

"In Europe, you see fried egg on pizza quite often. There's actually restaurants in every pizza they said we'll do a fried egg on it."

Photos: Oasis of the Seas departs New York Harbor for first time

23 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas sailed away from her new homeport near New York City on Sunday.

Luckily Hurricane Henri shifted enough to the east for the ship to safely depart Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Royal Caribbean shared photos of Oasis sailing away, with the New York City skyline in view.

Oasis of the Seas had her lights on during her evening departure, and sailed past Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

The cruise line's plans to bring Oasis of the Seas to the Northeast was originally planned for 2020, but the global health crisis forced a delay.

The ship is sailing on her 6-night test cruise, where the ship will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas before turning around to come home.

Assuming the test cruise goes well, the test cruise will be what the ship needs to get approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) to sail with paying customers.

Oasis of the Seas is scheduled to restart sailings with paying passengers beginning on September 5 from Cape Liberty.

Oasis will offer seven-night sailings from Cape Liberty with stops at Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau in the Bahamas, and Port Canaveral, Florida.

Read moreTop 10 Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas hidden secrets

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 22, 2021

22 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Thanks for joining us for another weekly look at all of the Royal Caribbean news from this week.  The late-summer heat is still on, and we have plenty of Royal Caribbean news to share from this week.

The Bahamas issued an emergency order on Thursday that says cruise ships will not be allowed to enter ports in the Bahamas if there are unvaccinated passengers on board aged 12 and older without a medical excuse.

Royal Caribbean subsequently said it will now require all passengers 12 and older to vaccinated because of the new Bahamian policy.

Royal Caribbean's new policy says any ship departing from any U.S. port and visiting The Bahamas on and after Sept. 3, guests who are 12 and older must provide proof of vaccination in order to sail. This also applies to itineraries that include Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 419th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where Matt gives answers to questions people are searching the internet for.

Something a little different this week, as Matt looks at some commonly searched internet searches related to Royal Caribbean and shares his answer.

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.

Video: When should you get a Covid test before your Royal Caribbean cruise?

Have you subscribed to the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel? We share some great videos there regularly, all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise! This week, we are sharing our latest video: When should you get a Covid test before your Royal Caribbean cruise?

25 things you need to know for your first day on a cruise ship

Have a cruise coming up and wondering what to expect once you get onboard?

The first day of the cruise is a busy and exciting time, so to make it as smooth as possible, I've got a list of the most important things you need to know about embarkation day.

This list has the most important things you should (and should not) do to ensure you have a great first day onboard!

Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval for Mariner of the Seas to sail

21 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

The  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved the onboard health protocols for another Royal Caribbean cruise ship to sail.

After completing a test cruise earlier this month, Royal Caribbean announced on Saturday Mariner of the Seas has received its Conditional Sailing Certificate to start cruising.

Mariner of the Seas becomes the latest ship to pass the CDC's stringent requirements in order to obtain permission to sail from the United States.

With the certificate, Mariner of the Seas will be ready to welcome paying passengers onboard for her first sailing from Port Canaveral on August 23.

For sailings on Mariner of the Seas from Port Canaveral before September 1, 2021, the cruise line strongly encourages all eligible guests age 12 and up to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before sailing. 

All unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 must undergo 2 more Covid-19 tests at the cruise terminal and prior to disembarking.

Guests under 2 years of age will not be tested.

Beginning September 1, 2021, all Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older are required to present proof of Covid-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing. This requirement will remain in effect until further notice.

All crew onboard all ships in the fleet will be fully vaccinated.

Guests who have been vaccinated will have full access to venues onboard, and will not need to wear a face mask at vaccinated-only venues. Here is a list of venues and activities available to vaccinated-only guests, as well as everyone.

Mariner of the Seas will become the 13th ship in the fleet to restart operations, which means exactly half of Royal Caribbean International's fleet is back in operation.

Other ships that have restarted sailings include: 

  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Jewel of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Odyssey of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas

Mariner of the Seas will offer 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay sailings from Port Canaveral.