Anthem of the Seas group cruise preview on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

By: Matt Hochberg

This week's podcast episode is ready to go, as we present episode 309 of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast for your downloading pleasure.

This week, Matt and Annette preview the plans for the Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise on Anthem of the Seas.

In this episode, Matt and Annette look at the idea behind a group cruise, what special events we have planned for the group cruise and talk about what they are most excited for on this sailing.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 309. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Royal Caribbean Fourth of July sale offers bonus instant savings

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Fourth of July Celebration Sale is offering 50% off the second guest, kids sail for less, and up to $150 instant savings.

The Fourth of July Sale is valid on cruises booked between July 3 – 5, 2019 on sailings departing on or after August 3, 2019.

It includes:

  • 50% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first full-fare paying guest
  • 25% off cruise fare for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests
  • Up to $150 instant savings for select sailings departing on or after 8/10/19.
    • Sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $50 for Balconies and $75 for Suites
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $150 for Suite

Deck the Holiday Deals: offers instant savings of up to $100 per stateroom on select sailings departing between 12/2/19 – 12/31/19 and 11/30/20 – 12/31/20. Savings amount determined by category booked and sailing length: On sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $50 for Balconies and $50 for Suites; on sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $100 for Suites.

Offer open to residents of US, Canada, Puerto Rico and select countries in the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean offering up to 30% off Cruise Planner purchases with 4th of July Savings sale

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 30% off certain Cruise Planner purchases during its Fourth of July Savings sale.

Offer applies to select sailings departing July 11, 2019 – January 31, 2020. Discount amount varies by amenity type.

It is available on all ships, except for Spectrum of the Seas.

  • BEVERAGE: Up to 30% off on select sailings.
    • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
    • Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
    • Refreshment Package: 30% off onboard prices. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
  • SHORE EXCURSIONS: Up to 25% off on select sailings.
    • Save up to 25% on select tours on select sailings. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
  • INTERNET: Up to 60% off on select sailings.
    • VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
    • VOOM Surf Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
  • DINING: Up to 50% off on select sailings.
    • •Unlimited Dining Package on 3 Night – 9 Night sailings. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
  • ACTIVITIES: Up to 10% off on select sailings.
    • All Access Ship Tour: 10% off. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
  • GIFTS & GEAR: 20% off on select sailings.
    • Happy Birthday Decorations: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes QN, SC, VY + Charter Sailings)
    • Happy Anniversary Decorations: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes QN, SC, VY + Charter Sailings)
    • Royal Caribbean Beach Towel: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes QN, SC, VY + Charter Sailings)

The weekend Cruise Planner sale promises savings on certain shore excursions and drink package purchases.  Guests can check which discounts, if any, are available for their upcoming sailing by visiting the Cruise Planner site. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.

Royal Caribbean accidentally offered the unlimited alcohol package for $18 per day

By: Matt Hochberg

UPDATE July 3: Royal Caribbean has decided to honor the drink package glitch price.

For a few hours on Monday, some Royal Caribbean guests thought they were getting the deal of a lifetime on the cruise line's popular unlimited alcohol package.

Royal Caribbean's website listed the Deluxe Beverage Package for $18 per day, per person on select 2020 sailings that got a lot of people's attention.  Usually, the Deluxe Beverage Package runs somewhere between $40 - $52 per person, per day when purchased in advance.

For a short time, the $18 price was listed and the news spread like wildfire around the cruising community. Royal Caribbean subsequently noticed the pricing mistake and reverted the price back to its correct price.

The cruise line has since notified guests who have inquired that the $18 per day, per person rate was a mistake and will not be honored. Royal Caribbean apologized for the mistake, but would not be honoring the package at the incorrect prince. Instead, the package purchase will be canceled and refunds will be issued.

Pricing Mistakes

Pricing mistakes do occur from time to time in businesses these days, and in general, there is no law that requires companies to honor an advertised price if that price is wrong.

Typographical errors, miscommunication and other glitches can result in items being offered at what appear to be deep discounts – discounts that would be ruinous for the company if it were forced to honor them.

Laws against false or deceptive advertising require an intent to deceive on the part of the advertiser. If a company can demonstrate that an advertised price was simply a mistake, then it's not false advertising.

In 2012, the Department of Transportation established clear rules against changing the price of a ticket after purchase. According to provision 399.88(a):

“It is an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712 for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, or of a tour (i.e., a combination of air transportation and ground or cruise accommodations), or tour component (e.g., a hotel stay) that includes scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation, tour or tour component to a consumer, including but not limited to an increase in the price of the seat, an increase in the price for the carriage of passenger baggage, or an increase in an applicable fuel surcharge, after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee. A purchase is deemed to have occurred when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.”

This rule wasn’t actually intended to cover mistake fares. Rather, it was put in place to ensure that airlines could not change the price of a ticket or add on fees post-purchase.

In light of a number of highly publicized incidents of mistake airline fares, the DOT posted an released its new policy for enforcing mistake fares, and here is the major change:

“As a matter of prosecutorial discretion, the Enforcement Office will not enforce the requirement of section 399.88 with regard to mistaken fares occurring on or after the date of this notice so long as the airline or seller of air transportation: (1) demonstrates that the fare was a mistaken fare; and (2) reimburses all consumers who purchased a mistaken fare ticket for any reasonable, actual, and verifiable out-of-pocket expenses that were made in reliance upon the ticket purchase, in addition to refunding the purchase price of the ticket. These expenses include, but are not limited to, non-refundable hotel reservations, destination tour packages or activities, cancellation fees for non-refundable connecting air travel and visa or other international travel fees. The airline may ask the consumer requesting out-of-pocket expenses to provide evidence (i.e. receipts or proof of cancellations) of actual costs incurred by the consumer. In essence, the airline or seller of air transportation is required to make the consumer “whole” by restoring the consumer to the position he or she was in prior to the purchase of the mistaken fare.”

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has posted via social media it is reconsidering what to do about this situation.

Royal Caribbean orders third Icon Class cruise ship

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today it has ordered a third Icon Class ship for delivery in 2025.

The agreement to build a third ship was placed with shipbuilder Meyer Turku.

Once complete, the ship will join sister Icon Class ships, which are set to be delivered in 2022 and 2024.

Very little is publicly known about Royal Caribbean's Icon Class ships, other than they will accommodate approximately 5,000 passengers and be powered by a combination of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel cell technology.

"We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our Icon-class fleet that affirms our commitment to clean-power technologies at sea," said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  "We've designed a class of ships powered by liquefied natural gas that leverages the latest, environmentally-friendly applications.  We believe that innovative shipbuilding can reduce our carbon footprint and boost energy efficiencies to help to build a cleaner future."

"These are exciting times for Royal Caribbean, and we have an incredible partner in Meyer Turku to bring to life now three vessels of what will be a remarkable class of ships," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Building on our vision with the addition of a third order is a testament to our confidence in the innovative design and energy-efficient technology and engineering that will, without a doubt, make Icon class a game changer."

This order is contingent upon financing.

Video: Perfect Day at CocoCay Vinfolapse

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International’s Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas is set to redefine private island destinations. After a $250 million transformation, Perfect Day is the ultimate combination of thrill and chill. This unrivaled private island, only available to Royal Caribbean guests, provides an array of distinct adventures and iconic features from, the tallest waterslide in North America, Daredevil’s Peak to Oasis Lagoon, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean -- one-of-a-kind experiences that will top any bucket list.

Deck by deck drydock changes to Oasis of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced a $165 million refurbishment for Oasis of the Seas that will take place later this year, and we now have a good idea of the full extent of changes coming to the ship.

After receving lots of questions related to how where the changes are onboard the ship, we've compiled a list of the changes coming visually. Note that some stateroom categories may have changed, but we were looking for significant changes to the ship.

Deck 3

  • No significant changes

Deck 4

  • Blaze Comedy Club includes Comedy Club
  • Diamond Lounge replaces Comedy Live

Deck 5

  • Spotlight Karaoke replaces On Air
  • Solera expands to occupy area by The Shop
  • Logo Shop replaces Prince & Green
  • Island Market replaces Kate Spade
  • The Collection replaces Regalia
  • Fine Watches Regalia replaces Michael Kors
  • Bionic Bar replaces Champagne Bar

Continue Reading

Anthem of the Seas 2019 Live Blog - Preview

By: Matt Hochberg

It is time once again to pack our bags, stock up on sunscreen, and get ready for our next Royal Caribbean adventure.  This time, we are going on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas for a 9-night Bermuda & Caribbean sailing.  Each day, I will be LIVE blogging to share with you what it is like to cruise on one of Royal Caribbean's most innovative ships. 

This particular sailing happens to be a Group Cruise, which means we have over 80 blog readers joining us on this sailing.  We have been doing group cruises for a few years now, and it remains a favorite way to enjoy a cruise because we get to share the cruise experience with friends who understand the excitement and pleasure of a Royal Caribbean cruise.

The Cruise

I picked this sailing because of the intriguing itinerary that combines Bermuda and a Caribbean sailing. Usually you have to pick one or the other, so to have both in one sailing is a real treat.

Our nine-night sailing will depart on Thursday, July 4th and take us to four ports. We will visit Bermuda, Labadee, San Juan and St. Maarten. It is a perfect blend of port stops and sea days to provide the right balance of rest and adventure.

This is my third time on Anthem of the Seas, and I am excited to return to this innovative class of ship. I have always enjoyed the great blend of entertainment and dining choices the Quantum Class offers, and to sail from the New York City area is an added bonus.


We employed one of my favorite strategies for family cruising on this sailing by booking two connecting balcony staterooms. Rather than put four of us in one room, or upgrade to a suite for added space, we went with two balcony rooms to not only keep the costs down but also provide separation between my wife and I and the kids, as well as provide another bathroom!

Our rooms are on deck eight, and that means we are essentially equidistant from the pool deck fun and the Royal Esplanade.


DayDateLocationPort of Call Guide
1Thursday, 07/04/2019Depart from CAPE LIBERTY - NJ (NY METRO)Cape Liberty, NJ
2Friday, 07/05/2019CRUISING 
3Saturday, 07/06/2019KINGS WHARF - BERMUDA 
4Sunday, 07/07/2019CRUISING 
5Monday, 07/08/2019PHILIPSBURG - ST. MAARTENPhilipsburg, St Maarten
6Tuesday, 07/09/2019SAN JUAN - PUERTO RICOSan Juan, Puerto Rico
7Wednesday, 07/10/2019LABADEE - HAITILabadee, Haiti
8Thursday, 07/11/2019CRUISING 
9Friday, 07/12/2019CRUISING 
10Saturday, 07/13/2019Arrive at CAPE LIBERTY - NJ (NY METRO)Cape Liberty, NJ

The itinerary is what drew us to this particular cruise and we will head to some favorite islands.

First and foremost, we get to spend the day in Bermuda. I have only been to Bermuda once, and that was back in 2012, so to say I am overdue for a return to Bermuda is an understatement. We have invited those who booked into our room block for the Group Cruise to join us for a private excursion through Royal Caribbean to Horseshoe Bay.  It promises to be a fun day at the beach, and the perfect opportunity for our friends on the cruise to do something together while in port. 

Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private destination, is always a highlight for me and we are snagged a Nellie's Beach cabana for the day.  We love Labadee, and cabanas are the icing on the cake for our family.  They are relaxing, provide a good "home base" for the children, and a nap spot.

In St. Maarten, we are hoping to visit a few spots around the island, namely Grand Case beach and Maho Beach.  

No plans yet for San Juan, but we typically walk around Old San Juan and explore on our own.  

What's next

Our Anthem of the Seas cruise begins on Thursday, July 4th, and I will be sharing the details on the blog, as well as across my social media channels.  Be sure to follow me on FacebookInstagram and Periscope for live updates throughout the day.

I invite you to share in this experience with me, by posting in the comments for any blog post questions and comments you may have.  I try to make these live blogs as interactive as I can, so I want everyone to feel welcome to share their thoughts.

Thanks for reading all of this and welcome aboard our next fun live blog experience!

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: June 30, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! We hope you’re having a relaxing weekend and enjoying summer! It’s time to sit back, relax, and catch up on all the recent Royal Caribbean news!

Royal Caribbean revealed the upgrades and changes coming to Voyager of the Seas as part of a $97 million amplification.

Part of the Royal Amplified program, Voyager of the Seas will become the fourth ship reimagined as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort. She will receive a number of new first-to-market features. 

Among the changes coming are new water slides, family activities, stateroom upgrades and more.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 308th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where Matt discusses the different balcony stateroom options.

When you hear about a balcony stateroom, you may think it is one type of room, but Royal Caribbean has a variety of balcony room offerings.  In this episode, Matt goes over each type of balcony stateroom.

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 5 cruise tips for all cruisers

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 5 cruise tips  — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

The Travel Women shared 11 things you did not know about Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Cruise Habit wrote about cruising during hurricane season.

Afar listed Royal Caribbean as the best cruise line for all ages.

Friday Photos - June 28, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

The weekend is here and we love to welcome some well-deserved time off with our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean photos.  Each week, we ask our readers to submit their best Royal Caribbean photos, so that we can showcase them right here.

Keith Davis starts us off with this sunrise on Symphony of the Seas, taken on debarkation day in PortMiami.

Gary Lorenz took this photo from his balcony on Freedom of the Seas.

Check out this beautiful photo of the Boardwalk on Symphony of the Seas taken by Cheva.

Ann and Gene Priest took some time to enjoy Johnny Rockets on Navigator of the Seas.

Here is a photo San Juan Antiguo Marina as Allure of the Seas enters. Photo by Norlydia and Eric McBee.

Our next photo is by Leonides Paesch and it was taken in Saint John.

Our final photo this week is by FlowBro Ty, and it is of Freedom of the Seas in St. Maarten.

Thank you to everyone that sent in their photos.  Would you like your Royal Caribbean photo to be showcased? Submit your photo via this form and we will use it in a future post!