Video: Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class vs Quantum Class

In:
22Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Should you cruise on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class or a Quantum Class cruise ship? For families, this is a tough decision, with each offering something different and we have a breakdown of what each ship excels at and why it is a great choice.

In our brand new RoyalCaribbeanBlog video, we offer a look at what makes each class of cruise ship different and which types of cruisers would enjoy each.

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

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

So check out the video and then let us know: Do you prefer an Oasis Class or Quantum Class ship and why?

Royal Caribbean is adding more TV sports coverage to its cruise ships

In:
22Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Digital Video Systems will provide expanded high-definition sports coverage on select Royal Caribbean ships, with more getting the additional offerings next year.

CRUISESAT will offer satellite direct-to-ship programming that features marquee programming from the United States, including coverage of:

  • National Football League
  • Major League Baseball
  • National Basketball Association
  • NASCAR
  • Indy Racing League
  • Golf and tennis Grand Slam events
  • Major international (UEFA Champions League and other top soccer, cricket and more) sports from ESPN flagship networks
  • SEC Network
  • ESPN U

The expanded sports coverage is currently onboard four Royal Caribbean ships: Independence of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

In November, the service will be expanded to Oasis of the Seas. The service will expand to Allure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas by spring 2020.

Royal Caribbean International manager of Entertainment Media, Jake McDaniel, spoke about the upgrade, "Royal Caribbean always strives to provide the very best entertainment experience possible, and that includes delivering high-definition sports that are essential to their guests. CRUISESAT makes it easy for Royal Caribbean to access quality HD sports entertainment content that their customers demand while they are enjoying their cruise experience."

7 tips for a great Mediterranean cruise

In:
21Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Cruising on the Mediterranean Sea is among one of the most popular cruising destinations available. With ports of call in France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and more, each port of call offers  its own incredible cuisine, architecture, historical sites and modern culture.

If you are considering your first European cruise, here are some helpful tips for an incredible first Mediterranean cruise!

1. Pace yourself

Most European cruises are at least 7-nights long and include multiple port stops. In fact, Mediterranean sailings usually offer less sea days than a Caribbean cruise, and that means lots more touring time.

Even before you step foot onboard your Royal Caribbean ship, you may be dealing with a long airplane flight to your embarkation port.  Flying across the world comes with its own challenges, such as fatigue and jet lag.  Add a busy itinerary of shore excursions and you have a recipe for burnout.

The key is to plan breaks and acknowledge you cannot do it all.  If possible, fly in a few days ahead of your cruise to adjust to the local time and recover from the lost sleep.

Once on your cruise, plan your excursions to vary the activity level.  Try alternating "culture days" spent in museums and historical sites with "sun days" spent on the beach or enjoying outdoor activities. If on one day you want to walk all around Rome, then try for a lighter activity level before tackling the mountains of Nice and Villefranche.

When it comes to nightlife onboard the ship, while heading to bed at 10pm seems sacrilegious, your body will thank you the next day when you are well-rested.

2. Try to blend in

While you are a tourist visiting these amazing countries, there are some easy ways to avoid becoming that guy and not become a spectacle.

While no one expects you to be fluent in Spanish, French, Italian and Greek, it means a lot if you can learn some basic phrases to communicate with the locals. Even a friendly bonjour, or grazie will go a long way when talking with the locals (especially if you are trying to get help).

Unfortunately, crime and scams are common in Europe so you want to avoid sticking out to not be a target for thieves. Wallet snatching, pick pockets and flower sellers usually go after tourists, so be vigilant and careful about these scams.  Carry only the credit cards you need and a minimum of cash. Men should carry their wallets in front pockets and women should use purses that have a zipper.

3. Dress appropriately

Most of the ports of call feature ancient cities and villages, replete with cobblestones and uneven pathways, so comfortable shoes are absolutely important if you want to enjoy the adventure (and avoid injury).

If you are planning to visit religious sites, keep in mind that the expected dress code is more conservative than what one typically wears on a shore excursion.   For example, you might need clothes that cover your shoulders and knees to visit a mosque.

4. Plan for the weather

Summer is the most popular time to go on a Mediterranean cruise,a nd that means the sun will be shining and the temperatures on the rise. If you go in the summer, plan for the heat. Bring broad-rimmed hats and plenty of sunscreen. 

Just like at home, when the temperatures are high, you will get tired quicker. Prioritize your destinations and take frequent breaks.

5. Sometimes you do not actually dock in the city listed

If your cruise lists a stop in Paris, Rome or Athens, your ship is not actually dropping you off in the city.

Since these cities are inland, Royal Caribbean will dock at a seaside port, which are often several hours away.

If you wish to visit these major cities, allow ample travel time in your itinerary to get there, and pad your estimates to account for traffic and other delays. 

6. When to go

Just like the Caribbean, there is prime time for Mediterranean cruises, as well as shoulder seasons.

June through August is the "high season" for most itineraries, with the prices during the other months being lower. Sometimes tourist facilities close during the offseason or have shorter operating hours, but the money saved by cruising in the shoulder season could be substantial.

The most comfortable temperatures will be found in the spring and fall.  Greece, Turkey, the Rivieras, and southern Italy and Spain get especially hot in the summer, with temperatures approaching 100 degrees away from the ocean.

7. Currency

No matter which cruise you take, having some cash for emergencies, refreshments, taxis or souvenirs is a really good idea. Many of the countries you visit on Mediterranean cruise will use the Euro including France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Malta. Before you leave for the cruise, double-check which currency the countries you will be visiting use if you plan to tour on your own or go to local markets. 

Be sure to also keep in mind that only US currency is accepted onboard Royal Caribbean ships. While the ship will offer currency conversions, you will likely get a better rate elsewhere.

Your tips

If you have taken a Mediterranean cruise before, what would be some tips to share to someone new to the experience? Did we miss important advice? Let us know in the comments!

How to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion

In:
21Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

With your first cruise coming up, you might be wondering how to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion. After all, your cruise ship will take you to different ports of call to explore on your own and you do not want to miss out all that you can do while in the area.

In each port you visit, Royal Caribbean provides a variety of shore excursion options for guests of all activity levels, interests and ages. 

Here is what you need to know to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion.

Why book Royal Caribbean's shore excursions

The best reason to book your shore excursion with Royal Caribbean is the convenience and reliability the cruise line provides. 

There are two primary means of booking a shore excursion: online via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site, or onboard the ship at the shore excursion desk or via the app.

Booking a Royal Caribbean shore excursion is simple, especially for families and groups. Select the excursion you are interested in, select how many people will be participating and pay the price and that is it.  

Royal Caribbean thoroughly reviews its tour operators, whether it’s the guide on a sightseeing tour or the one that provides proper equipment and ensure the safety of gear used on active excursions like scuba diving, quad riding, and zip lining. Because guides are locally based, you’ll get an authentic experience from an expert in a safe, trusted environment.

The other major reason to book your excursion with Royal Caribbean is the cruise line guarantees you will not miss your cruise ship in the event your tour is delayed in returning.  The cruise line coordinates with trusted, local guides and private transport to build the day around the ship’s own schedule. As a result, there is no risk you will not return before the ship departs for the next destination. And if by chance your excursion gets stuck in a traffic jam, the ship will wait for you. Considering the alternative is you have to fly/drive yourself to the next port of call to catch up with the cruise, that is a big deal.

How do I book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion?

Online

The easiest way to book a shore excursion is to do so before the cruise on Royal Caribbean's website.  Simply log into Royal Caribbean's site, find your cruise booking and purchase your tour before the sailing begins.

Once in your sailing, select the Shore Excursions tab. From there, you can narrow down the results based on the port, interests, time of day, activity level, age, wheelchair accessibility and more.

You can book tours for family and friends as well. All you need to know is their last name and reservation number.  As you proceed through the booking process, there will be an option to add guests from another reservation.

Phone

If you prefer to call Royal Caribbean and already have a cruise booked, you can call 1-800-398-9819 for pre-cruise planning assistance.

Royal Caribbean allows guests to book their excursions up to a few prior to the beginning of the sailing.  All you need to know is who is participating in the excursion, and a form of payment.  Full payment is required when reserving a shore excursion.  In the event your ship skips the scheduled port call, Royal Caribbean will refund your money.  

Onboard

Alternatively, you can wait to book shore excursions onboard the ship.  There is a dedicated shore excursion desk onboard the ship (usually near Guest Services), where you can speak with staff members, view pamphlets of available options and ask questions.

Keep in mind that the excursion desk onboard the ship is commonly busy with other guests who are trying to book excursions, or asking questions, and this can lead to long lines.

Private Tours

A relatively new and lesser-known option is Private Journeys, which offers private tours that are organized by Royal Caribbean.

Private Journeys is a shore excursion option offered directly by Royal Caribbean, where guests can create a completely customized shore excursion in any port your ship visits.  You provide Private Journeys with an idea or basis of what you want to do, and then they work with local tour guides to come up with an excursion.

In the weeks and months leading up to your cruise, you and your Private Journeys representative will custom craft a tour for you and your family.  Just like a group tour, these tour operators are vetted and organized by the cruise line.  All you have to do, is show up.

We have tried Private Journeys twice (in Belize and Curacao), and think it is a great choice for anyone that wants to tour at their own pace, and like the benefits of what Royal Caribbean provides.

Can I cancel my excursions?

You may cancel purchase(s) made via Cruise Planner up to forty-eight hours prior to the cruise departure date. Excursions can be modified or canceled up to 48 hours prior to port arrival without penalty. Tours involving flights, trains, special events, overnight stays, hotel stays and Private Journeys must be canceled 30 days prior to sailing to avoid cancellation penalties. Other restrictions may apply.

 In the event a tour is canceled, a full refund will be provided to the guest’s onboard account.

No refunds are made for failure to use all of the described services included in the excursion price.  

Royal Caribbean CEO predicts 50% increase in Caribbean passengers

In:
21Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Speaking at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) outlook forum, Royal Caribbean's President and CEO, Michael Bayley, predicted that its Caribbean cruise tourism business will grow by 50 percent by 2030.

Mr. Bayley sees continuing growth in the Caribbean, with 8 out of the top 10 cruise destinations worldwide are in the Caribbean, and that more cruise passengers will be coming to the Caribbean in the future.

“The Caribbean was, is, will always be, the number one cruise destination in the world,” Bayley told the gathering of ministers, chief executives, policymakers and other senior Caribbean tourism professionals at the gathering in Antigua and Barbuda.

 

“There are considerations that we need to take into account in terms of some of the destinations’ ability to absorb the growth that is coming – in some places the growth is perhaps already at a critical mass – but we need to find a way to accommodate the growth that is inevitably coming to cruise tourism in the Caribbean,” he stressed.

Bayley touted the success of Perfect Day at CocoCay, citing it as an example of collaboration that benefits both the destination and the cruise line.

“There is a lot of demand for these products and if we can figure out how to collaborate together to create these experiences, they don’t always have to have this shape and form, they can be other types of experiences”.

 

“As we evolve in terms of our ship design and experiences and what we are creating for our customers we really believe there is a huge opportunity to take all that knowledge…and transfer it into the destinations in a very meaningful way,” he added.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: October 20, 2019

In:
20Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

The fall temperatures may be dropping, but the Royal Caribbean news from this week is as hot as ever, and we have it all summarized for you in this week's round up!

Sit back, and catch-up on all of the Royal Caribbean news and happenings form this week.

Royal Caribbean announced this week Grandeur of the Seas will leave the fleet in spring 2021.

When Grandeur leaves the fleet, she will be transferred to sister company Pullmantur Cruises. 

Grandeur of the Seas’ final sailing with Royal Caribbean will take place on March 26th, 2021. Thereafter, she will transition to Pullmantur. Enchantment of the Seas, will return to Baltimore to replace Grandeur in spring of 2021.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

There are plenty of tips and tricks shared all across RoyalCaribbeanBlog, but this week, Matt talks about the things he does not recommend to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

In this week's Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast, Matt lists the big missteps one can make while on a cruise.

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: Top things the pros wish they knew before taking a 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 — Top things the pros wish they knew before taking a cruise! — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Cruise.blog reported on a passengers that has been banned for life from Royal Caribbean for taking a dangerous selfie.

Cruise Hive listed 27 things to do on Harmony of the Seas.

Geek Mom shared 10 things she learned about Royal Caribbean.

Our favorite Perfect Day at CocoCay late night photos

In:
19Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

With Royal Caribbean offering its first sailings with a late night stay to Perfect Day at CocoCay, I wanted to share some of the better photos of the cruise line's private island once the sun goes down.

Earlier this summer, Royal Caribbean announced select sailings that would stay at CocoCay until 10pm, and the initial visits look to have delivered on the promise of a great evening on top of daytime fun.



View this post on Instagram


Perfect day and night at coco cay!

A post shared by Terry Milburn (@bigdaddy_tmil) on

Friday Photos - October 18, 2019

In:
18Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Every Friday, we show off the Royal Caribbean photos that our readers have sent us in a special blog post.  Each week, we invite our readers to send us their favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we post them right here.

Without further adieu, let's jump right into this week's batch of photos!

Our first photo is from Michelle, and it is a family photo on Harmony of the Seas.

Chelsea Nagy took this photo of Mariner and Navigator of the Seas, as seen from the steps of the Slingshot waterslide at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The next photo is from Kateri, and it is of Harmony of the Seas on the Boardwalk.

Gary Walker took this beautiful photo of Perfect Day at CocoCay from the aft of Harmony of the Seas.

Here is a shot of Symphony of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas docked in Cozumel. Photo by Gabrielle Owens.

Justin Scott took this interesting photo of the landscaping at Perfect Day at CocoCay, with Daredevil's Peak in the background.

Our final photo is by K Bellovary, and it was taken in San Juan with Allure of the Seas in the background.

Would you like to submit your Royal Caribbean photos for a future Friday Photos post? Use this form to send them to us and we will feature them very soon!

Voyager of the Seas added to Royal Caribbean app

In:
17Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Voyager of the Seas.

Voyager now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean simplifies stateroom categories

In:
17Oct2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced to its travel partners it will be recategorizing its staterooms in an effort to simplify room types for both travel agents and guests.

The latest categorization effort will result in a reduction in the number of categories and a 40% reduction in deck plan colors. In addition, deck plans will result in more intuitive identifiers.

Royal Caribbean is also making connecting staterooms easier than ever to identify and book with designated categories. Connecting staterooms will be double occupancy in both connecting rooms and available on all ships in the fleet except for Majesty and Empress of the Seas starting in 2021.

Royal Caribbean also announced its new Spa Stateroom category. Spa cabins will be featured on Radiance, Voyager, Freedom, Oasis, Quantum and Quantum Ultra Class ships. They will be open for booking later this month for cruises departing in 2021.

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