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Royal Romance:  How to plan your dream wedding at sea

27 Oct 2021
Marcy Miyar

A wedding onboard a cruise ship or in an exotic port of call is the epitome of romance.  If you are considering tying the knot or a vow renewal, you may not have any idea where to start. 

Here are some helpful tips for getting married on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Where to begin

You will first contact the Royal Weddings department.

The weddings department require a minimum of 90 days prior to your sail date but advise that you contact them even earlier than that, if possible.

You will choose your package and any add-ons that you desire.  Then you’ll be assigned a shoreside coordinator that will work with you to customize your ceremony and reception to your specific needs.

They can also assist you with getting your marriage license. On embarkation day you’ll meet with your onboard coordinator that makes it all happen! 

Who can Royal Caribbean marry?

Pretty much anybody, as long as you’re familiar with the rules.  If you get married onboard the ship, your marriage will be legal in the Bahamas as that is where the ship is registered.  Same goes for any port of call you choose to have your ceremony in.  

Same sex marriages can be performed on shore in the U.S. or any other port abroad that legally recognizes them. 

Since the Bahamas does not allow same sex marriages, those could not be done legally on the ship itself.  However, you can have a symbolic ceremony at sea if you wish. 

What does a package include?

There are many packages to choose from.  A sample can be found on Royal Caribbean’s website.  There are a few variations here and there but for the most part you can expect these to be included:

  • Priority check in at the pier
  • Non-denominational wedding officiant
  • Bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne
  • Pre-recorded musical accompaniment
  • 3 Tier wedding cake
  • Dinner for the couple at a specialty restaurant
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Mimosa breakfast in bed
  • One hour of photography service
  • Stateroom decorations
  • Keepsake certificate with the date, ship or port name
  • Private wedding venue


A Royal wedding - Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

If you really want to go all out you can add on, for an additional fee, salon services that include hair styling and nails for the ladies or hair cuts, shaves and beard trimming for the gentlemen.

You can add more hours with the photographer that includes all of your photos digitally.  You can also arrange for a live band or a DJ at your reception.

Speaking of receptions, you can book a venue and add bar services, hors d’oeuvres or food stations.  You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you wish. 

Vow renewals

You don’t have to be getting married to have a ceremony either!  Why not renew your vows in a picturesque setting?  That’s exactly what we did.  We got married on land and had our honeymoon on Freedom of the Seas.  Since we love cruising so much, we decided to celebrate our 10 year anniversary with a vow renewal on the ship we took our honeymoon on.

We wanted it to be just the two of us.  Our onboard coordinator took care of everything! We chose our vow renewal to be held the day we were docked in Labadee.  We added extra time with the photographer so we had photos done on the island before the ceremony. We had the ceremony itself in the Cloud 9 card room on Deck 14 (which is now the suite lounge). 

We provided our own music so we had a sound technician present that played the songs through a speaker system.  Our onboard coordinator also preformed our ceremony.  Afterwards we had a champagne toast. We requested to have the chocolate covered strawberries and the cake delivered to our room.  Next, we took photos around the ship.  Even though it was October 28th, the ship was already decorated for Halloween. 

Our amazing wedding coordinator followed us around, deflating the decorations so we didn’t have ghosts and vampires in our photos then set them all back up again.

The photographer was happy to take photos in all of our favorite venues: Vintages, Giovanni’s Table, The Diamond and Viking Crown Lounges, even the Next Cruise desk!

The one place I suggested that surprised our photographer the most was the main dining room.  I love its three story staircase and the giant chandelier.  It turned out to be some of my favorite photos of the day.

Later in the cruise we had our certificate delivered with our names, the date, the name of the ship and signed by the Captain.  The whole experience was even more perfect than we planned.

But what does it cost?

That’s hard to answer because there are so many variables that affect the price. 

Packages that include the couple and 10 guests start at $1950.  Packages that include up to 50 guests start at $3850.  Up to 75 guests start at $5600. 

For us, the experience and memories were worth every penny. 

Cruise industry supports CDC's temporary extension of cruise ship Covid-19 regulations

26 Oct 2021
Matt Hochberg

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its requirements for how cruise ships need to operate due to Covid-19, and the cruise industry has come out in support of the temporary extension.

CLIA asked why CDC is holding cruise ships to a double standard | Royal Caribbean Blog

The extension means the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) will continue to remain in effect between November 1 and January 15, 2022, but the CDC says it will then expire.

While the CSO was at one time a major thorn in the side of the cruise lines who were eager to restart operations, the CDC began allowing ships to sail in June 2021 and since then, it has largely become a mere formality for ships to be able to sail from all major and minor cruise ports in the United States.

The Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA) issued a statement in support of the CDC's decision, as it provides a means for the CSO to transition to a voluntary basis, "Cruising has successfully resumed in the United States, with leading public health measures that have enabled our ocean-going cruise line members to effectively mitigate the risk of COVID-19 amongst cruise passengers, crewmembers and destinations."

"The changes to the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), announced today, show that the Biden Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize the cruise industry’s successful resumption of operations. We look forward to demonstrating the industry’s continued leadership in this final phase of the CSO, and to carrying out a smooth transition when the Order comes to an end on 15 January 2022."

In mid-January, the CDC says the CSO will transition to a voluntary program in which participation will be at the discretion of cruise lines.

"CDC wishes to stress that cruise ship participation in any future voluntary program would not be mandated; the scope and parameters of such a program would be subject to further discussion and information sharing; and cruise ship operators would be free to develop alternative pathways of detecting, mitigating, and controlling the spread of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships."

CLIA believes the industry is committed to a safe approach to cruising once that occurs, "The health and safety of cruise passengers, crewmembers and destinations remain the industry’s highest priority."

"CLIA ocean-going cruise line members will continue to be guided by science and the principle of putting people first as we work with the Administration and the CDC to expand on our progress and build additional confidence in cruising as one of the safest vacation options, during the pandemic and beyond."

In a statement to RoyalCaribbeanBlog, a Royal Caribbean Group spokesperson also supported the CDC's move, "As our phased approach to healthy return to service continues fleetwide, we are pleased by the decision of the CDC to end the Conditional Sail Order after a two-month extension until January 15, 2022."

"Royal Caribbean Group will continue to operate in accordance with protocols that prioritize the health and safety of our guests, crews and the communities we visit, as we have done successfully from the United States since June."

What does the Conditional Sailing Order require?

In a nutshell, the CSO laid out a phased approach for cruise ships to restart operations from the United States through a series of steps in order to get approval to sail.

Introduced in October 2020, the full set of rules were not fully unveiled until spring 2021, but they provided cruise lines with requirements to ensure their ships would not put crew, passengers or communities served by the ships under unnecessary risk to Covid-19.

Cruise lines had the choice of mandating at least 95% of their passengers and 98% of their crew members be fully vaccinated in order to restart cruises quicker, or run test cruises with volunteer passengers to ensure health protocols onboard were effective.

Cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises opted to mandate the vaccine, while Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line chose the test cruise path in order to allow unvaccinated children onboard.

Royal Caribbean began test cruises in June 2021, and has successfully launched every one of its ships that has had to conduct a test cruise.

Simulated voyages applied a variety of new cruise line policies and rules to ensure they mitigate any potential spread of a virus onboard. Besides testing protocols, Royal Caribbean found the test cruises a good opportunity to prep the ship to return to service after many months of being shutdown.

The CDC now believes the protocols devised under the CSO has helped avert concerns it had earlier, "cruise lines, with CDC assistance, have resumed passenger operations and successfully developed and implemented health and safety protocols to manage COVID-19 that have averted overwhelming onboard medical facilities and burdening shoreside hospital resources"

Why the CDC extended the Conditional Sailing Order

CLIA wants cruise lines to work closer with CDC to resume cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader smokeybandit reacted to the temporary extension by asking, "I want to know what difference another 75 days makes," which echoes many other cruise fans concerns about the CDC decision.

In the 54-page document the CDC issued regarding the CSO extension, it justified the temporary extension because of the upcoming winter season and anticipated increase in passengers and ships sailing from the United States.

"The winter season (November through January) has historically been the most active cruising season in the Caribbean and Central America, involving travel to countries currently listed by CDC as being under COVID-19 travel health notices where cruise ship travelers may be at increased risk for acquiring and subsequently introducing COVID-19 variants into the U.S.


"Additionally, cruise ship operators have informed CDC of their intended plans to increase the number of ships operating in U.S. waters this fall and winter."

The CDC added it was not "feasible" to pause the CSO in order to get a comment period, noting it would be "impracticable and contrary to the public interest."

Bahamas will extend requirement for cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated

26 Oct 2021
Matt Hochberg

The Bahamas will extend its order requiring cruise ship passengers be fully vaccinated if they are above the age of 12 until next year.

What you need to know about visiting Nassau on a cruise ship | Royal Caribbean Blog

Since September 1, 2021, The Bahamas enacted emergency powers requiring only cruise ships be allowed into The Bahamas if everyone over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated, including private islands.

The order is set to expire on November 1, but it now appears it will be extended.

Tourism, Investments and Aviation Minister Chester Cooper told The Tribune that the Bahamian government will look to extend the policy until next year.

"We are taking action to extend that until 2022," Mr. Cooper said before going to a Cabinet meeting.

"We will be looking at it closely moving forward. We are actively in conversations with our various cruise partners.

"We believe vaccination is the right approach in order to be able to attract tourists to our shores in a balanced and responsible way."

Under the order, cruise ships visiting The Bahamas must ensure everyone who is at least 12 years old or older be fully vaccinated.

The order was first added by Bahamian Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, but the new Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Philip Davis, supports extending it.

As a result of the order, cruise lines changed their protocols to require everyone above the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated on sailings from Florida. Prior to the Bahamian law, Royal Caribbean cruises from Florida had made exceptions for unvaccinated adults to sail.

Royal Caribbean was already requiring proof of vaccination from passengers 12 and older sailing from other U.S. ports. 

Travelers unable to show proof of vaccination are unable to sail.

Royal Caribbean not only visits Nassau, but operates a private island that is visited by so many of its ships operating in the region, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Royal Caribbean releases November 2021 cruise ship health protocols for U.S. sailings

25 Oct 2021
Matt Hochberg

Hours after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an extension of the Conditional Sailing Order, Royal Caribbean released its health protocols for cruises departing the United States in November 2021.

Guests booked on November cruises received an email with the health rules they can expect if sailing on a cruise ship in November.

Protocols have been released for ships sailing from the United States, as well a separate policy for ships sailing from Puerto Rico. You should, refer to Royal Caribbean's protocols online.

Here is the list of protocols for ships sailing from the United States (excluding Puerto Rico), including government mandates and CDC pre-cruise testing requirements. 


Spotted: Royal Caribbean adds new way to add Covid-19 vaccine card in its app | Royal Caribbean Blog

All guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing.


Two cruise lines shorten the window of time to get a pre-cruise Covid test | Royal Caribbean Blog

Required Pre-Cruise Testing: Guests will need to meet the new requirements recently issued by the U.S. CDC.

Vaccinated guests 12 years and older are required to present a negative COVID-19 Test Result (antigen or PCR) for a test taken no more than 2 days prior to the sailing's departure date and before their arrival to the terminal.

Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than 3 days before boarding day. Kids’ pre-cruise test cannot be taken on boarding day, because that may affect the sample taken during the kids’ test at the terminal.

No testing required for guests under age 2.

Pre-cruise tests are at the expense of the guest sailing, as well as scheduling.

Royal Caribbean recommends guests use the at-home test they recently approved for use and now sell directly to passengers via

Kids Age 2-11 Years: Additional Testing

In addition to the pre-cruise test, kids will take one or two more tests. 

At the Terminal:  Unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 years are required to take a PCR test for COVID-19 when checking in at the terminal. Registration details for this test will be sent via email in advance. This test is complimentary.

Prior to Disembarking: Unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 will take a complimentary antigen test prior to debark. Depending on sailing length, there may be additional testing. Registration details will be provided onboard.

Guests under 2 years of age will not be tested.


Masks are required in the terminal, in select locations inside the ship, and may be required at various destinations. Guests under 2 years old don’t need a mask. 

Masks are NOT required to be worn:

  • In open-air areas of the ship, unless you are in a crowded setting.
  • In the pool or any activity where they may become wet.
  • At venues designated for vaccinated guests only, such as select bars, lounges, restaurants and shows.
  • In your stateroom when you are with your traveling party.
  • While visiting our private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless you are in a crowded setting.
  • By any guest under the age of 2.

Masks ARE required to be worn:

  • While indoors in public areas of the ship, unless seated and actively eating or drinking.
  • While visiting public ports of call, where local regulations may require them.

Some venues and nightlife events will be for vaccinated guests age 12 and up, only. Masks won't be required in these venues. Vaccinated parents are invited to enjoy these experiences while their kids not present.


For Main Dining, Royal Caribbean will designate areas for everyone, including parents and unvaccinated children, and areas for vaccinated parties only.

My Time Dining will not be available to parties that include unvaccinated guests. Some specialty restaurants will be open to everyone, while others will be for vaccinated parties only. 

Other venues

The ship’s venues are set up to easily allow for physical distancing and there will be signage to guide passengers.

Theaters and activity venues will offer spaced seating and more showtimes. Some activities, showtimes, or seating areas will be reserved for vaccinated guests only.

The Fitness Center has operating hours for everyone as well as hours reserved for vaccinated guests only.

Spa services, except those offered in treatment rooms, are available to everyone.

Shore Excursions

Excursion Focus: Valley Church Beach in Antigua | Royal Caribbean Blog

Fully vaccinated parties may book a shore excursion or visit most ports freely — with the exception of those listed below, which will require tours for all guests who wish to go ashore, regardless of their vaccination status.

  • St. Lucia (November visits)
  • Barbados (November visits)
  • St. Kitts (November visits)
  • Antigua (November visits)

Families traveling with unvaccinated kids must purchase a local tour through Royal Caribbean if they wish to go ashore. This applies to all ports of call except Perfect Day at CocoCay, and Port Canaveral, Florida. 

Cruises from Puerto Rico

Royal Caribbean issues update on San Juan, Puerto Rico recovery | Royal Caribbean Blog

Explorer of the Seas is scheduled to restart cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico in November and there are slightly different protocols for these sailings.

I've noted the major differences for cruises from Puerto Rico, but otherwise the same protocols for U.S. sailings apply.

For guests above the age of 2, Puerto Rico requires a negative PCR or antigen Covid-19 test result for certain travelers to enter depending on their vaccination status and point of origin.

If you’re flying in from the U.S.

  • Vaccinated guests have no testing requirement to enter Puerto Rico.
  • Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to arriving at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.

If you’re flying in from an international country

  • All travelers age 2 and up, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to arriving at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.

If you are already in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico does not require a test from you.

Embarkation Day

No changes to Royal Caribbean cruises following Puerto Rico earthquake | Royal Caribbean Blog

To board the ship, you will need to bring a negative PCR or antigen test result to the cruise terminal. It can be the same result you used to enter Puerto Rico, provided you time it right.

  • Vaccinated guests age 12 and older must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than 2 days before boarding day.
  • Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than 3 days before boarding day. Kids’ pre-cruise test cannot be taken on boarding day, because that may affect the sample taken during the kids’ test at the terminal.
  • Guests under 2 years of age do not need to complete a pre-cruise test.

Kids Age 2-11 Years: Additional Testing

In addition to the pre-cruise test, unvaccinated kids will take two more tests. Royal Caribbean’s test provider will administer these, at no cost to guests.

At the Terminal
Kids will take a complimentary PCR test when checking in at the terminal. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.

Prior to Disembarking
Kids will take a complimentary antigen test onboard before the cruise ends. Vaccinated guests who require a COVID-19 test for re-entry into their country may receive one onboard as well. Guests will be notified onboard about how to register for this test.

Guests under 2 years of age do not have test requirements to board the ship.

CDC temporarily extends Conditional Sailing Order until mid-January 2022

25 Oct 2021
Matt Hochberg

With less than week left in the life of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) policy that regulates how cruise ships can operate from the United States during the Covid-19 pandemic, the federal agency has temporarily extended it for an additional two and a half months.

Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval for Independence of the Seas to sail | Royal Caribbean Blog

The CDC has temporarily extended the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) until January 15, 2022, with minor modifications. 

The CSO is the CDC's phased approach to allowing cruise ships to resume operations from the United States. There are phases each vessel must go through before it can be approved to sail again with passengers from U.S. waters.

Many cruise ships have been able to resume operations from the United States since summer 2021, including many from Royal Caribbean.

It is being called a "temporary extension", and will commence once the current CSO expires on November 1, 2021.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed the Temporary Extension & Modification of the CSO on October 25, 2021.

The Temporary Extension & Modification of the CSO shall remain in effect until the earliest of

  • The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency;
  • The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations; or
  • January 15, 2022 at 12:01 am EDT.

Once the Temporary Extension & Modification of the CSO expires in January, the CDC said it intends for the the program to shift to a voluntary basis, where cruise lines and other stakeholders will work together without a federal mandate to do so to ensure proper protocols are followed.

The original CSO was issued on October 30, 2020 as a response to Covid-19 and the perceived threat of it spreading on cruise ships.

According to the CDC, the rationale for extending it has to do with the threat the virus still poses today, "considering the continued spread of the Delta variant, emergence of other COVID-19 variants of concern, breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated, and possible additional surges of cases and deaths, CDC has determined a temporary extension of the CSO is necessary for foreign-flagged cruise ships operating on international itineraries."

The CDC did concede in its document it intends to let the CSO expire once January 15 passes, "After the expiration of this temporary extension, CDC intends to transition to a voluntary program, in coordination with interested cruise ship operators and other stakeholders, to assist the cruise ship industry to detect, mitigate, and control the spread of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships."

The extension has few changes to what the CSO had in it originally, although the CDC did take away a few restrictions and requirements including:

  • Removed language referring to cruise ship operator protocols as “unproven and untested”
  • Removed requirement to include any CDC travel advisory, warning, or recommendation relating to cruise travel in marketing material
  • Removed requirement to limit voyage to 7 days
  • Removed requirement for monitored observation period of passengers prior to embarking
  • Modified to state that voyage may be ended and further action taken if a ship meets “red ship criteria” under Technical Instructions for Crew
  • Removed previous requirement that cruise ship operator must immediately end voyage, cancel future voyages, and return to port if COVID-19 identified onboard.

Friday Photos | Royal Caribbean Blog

In addition, the CSO adds that its instructions only apply on a voluntary basis for ships  arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida, due to the Preliminary Injunction Order, entered by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on June 18, 2021.

Last week, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley hinted at the CSO becoming more guidance than regulation, "One of those next steps could be that the Conditional Sailing Order would just expire, and we would continue as we are voluntarily working with the CDC and operating with various protocols and guidelines that have been recommended."

Mr. Bayley believes the success cruise lines have had in getting back to service has been a result of the work with the CDC, "We've got 15 ships operating and the protocols are really working."

"Everything is operating extremely well, and that really was only possible through a lot of collaboration with the CDC and working with them and other health authorities around the world."

Questions investors are wondering ahead of Royal Caribbean Group's earnings call this week

25 Oct 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group has scheduled its third quarter earnings to be released on October 29th, and there are more than a few questions cruise fans have that could be answered as part of this disclosure.

A lot has happened since the last earnings call, with many more cruise ships back in service, but executives have hinted that the next phase of the restart is moving towards a sense of normalcy.  So what should we expect going forward, and what does the current situation look like?

Earnings calls are hosted by Royal Caribbean Group's top executives, and it is a combination of disclosures, prepared statements and answering questions from Wall Street analysts. 

Royal Caribbean Group will host their call at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, on Friday, October 29, 2021.

Royal Caribbean Group amends loans and gives them more financial flexibility | Royal Caribbean Blog

Following prepared statements by Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain, as well as Royal Caribbean Group Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty, executives will take questions from Wall Street analysts. Quite often this question and answer session reveals a lot about where the company is now and what to expect going forward.

I reached out to Dan Kline, lead advisor/host of 7investing Now to get a better sense of what Wall Street is thinking ahead of Royal Caribbean's call this week.

1. Revenue

Wall Street: Royal Caribbean's revenue will take years to recover | Royal Caribbean Blog

No matter which company is releasing its financials, revenue is going to be the biggest question from analysts.

Mr. Kline thinks the real question this quarter is how much did revenue grow quarter over quarter, and how much is it below the same quarter two years ago?

Wall Street expects there to be a loss, and a company losing money is not necessarily a bad thing if there are signs of progress being made. Mr. Kline's question is about determining if revenues are starting to increase again, and how that pattern matches up with pre-pandemic numbers.

Live Blogging from Freedom of the Seas - Preamble | Royal Caribbean Blog

"They are going to say future bookings are great, but at what price? I booked a room on a short Freedom of the Seas cruise for next fall at under $500," Kline noted. "If that’s typical, then they have a long way to normal."

As revenue grows, the gap between profit and loss narrows, and that means they can not only get back to making money but also pay off some of the major debts it incurred during the shutdown.

2. Debt

Royal Caribbean Group announces new $700 million loan | Royal Caribbean Blog

A major albatross around Royal Caribbean Group's neck for the foreseeable future will be the loans it took out to stay in business while all cruise ships were idle last year.

Mr. Kline wants to know on what the company will do to address that issue, "Are they working on refinancing the debt they took on during the pandemic?"

Whether paying off the loans or renegotiating the debt deals under more favorable terms, this will be an ongoing concern for investors.

3. Crew staffing

Could crew members returning be a sign Royal Caribbean is serious about cruises restarting? | Royal Caribbean Blog

More and more Royal Caribbean ships are coming back into service, so are there any issues with getting crew members back?

The faster ships get back into service, the faster revenue can increase, and Mr. Kline wondered if getting ships back up and running fully is an issue, "Are they having trouble fully staffing as they open up more ships?"

Mr. Fain said at a convention in September the goal is to get back to full capacity as early as next year, "In our core markets, we expect to be essentially there by the end of this year."

While Royal Caribbean does not divulge passenger counts or capacity limits for its ships sailing, there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence from passengers that the amount of guests onboard is going up from what it was this summer.

4. Capital projectsRoyal Caribbean will build new Royal Beach Club in Nassau, Bahamas | Royal Caribbean Blog


Since the restart of cruises this summer, Royal Caribbean has quietly been working on other port projects that incur costs.

A new terminal in Galveston, beach club in Nassau, and possible expansion of port facilities in Freeport are at the top of Mr. Kline's list of questions.

"I’d be curious as to anything on capital expenditures specifically the Freeport and Nassau projects as well as amping up certain ships."

How you can listen to the earnings call

Royal Caribbean Group amends loans and gives them more financial flexibility | Royal Caribbean Blog

There will be full coverage of anything intriguing that comes out of Royal Caribbean Group's third quarter 2021 earnings call on RoyalCaribbeanBlog, but if you would like to listen on your own, here's how.

The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations website,  

You will be able to listen via the link provided close to the start of the call.

How to plan a Royal Caribbean cruise on any budget

25 Oct 2021
Jenna DeLaurentis

Just like with airfare and hotels, a cruise vacation can be done on any budget. From picking a stateroom to dining onboard and exploring a port, a Royal Caribbean cruise offers options that fit every budget.

Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks for how to plan a memorable cruise vacation on a low, moderate, and high budget.

Low Budget

It is entirely possible to go on a Royal Caribbean Cruise with a tight budget. While Royal Caribbean offers plenty of opportunities to enhance a cruise experience with specialty dining, shore excursions, and onboard activities, there is more than enough included in the cruise fare to have a wonderful vacation without blowing your budget.

Stateroom Selection

If you’re planning a low-budget cruise, you will most likely be booking in an interior stateroom. Located within the interior hallways of the ship, these rooms lack a window or balcony. Thus, an interior stateroom is nearly always the cheapest type available for a particular sailing.

With no window, no balcony, and total darkness at night, an interior stateroom must be pretty grim, right? Not necessarily.

Interior staterooms offer many of the same amenities as other stateroom types, such as a TV, private bathroom, desk, mini fridge, and a chair or couch. Interior staterooms, especially on newer ships, tend to be spacious and have plenty of storage options as well. Some interior staterooms even have virtual balconies, allowing guests to watch a live feed of the ship through a large screen on the wall.

Plus, there is so much to do onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise that many guests find they don’t spend as much time in their room as they thought they would!

Therefore, staying in an interior stateroom can be a great way to save money and it is usually the best bet on a low budget. However, Royal Caribbean’s pricing changes constantly and you may be able to score a good deal on an upgraded room.

Let’s take this 5-night Mariner of the Seas sailing, for example.

An interior room is priced at $248/pp, an outside view at $286/pp, and a balcony at $338/pp. With only a $90 difference between an interior and a balcony, it might be worth it to stretch your budget.

On the ship

The majority of dining options and activities onboard a Royal Caribbean ship are complimentary. So if you’re on a tight budget, there is no need to spend extra money onboard.

Before your cruise, be sure to look up what dining options are available on your particular ship. All ships will offer the complimentary Main Dining Room and Windjammer Cafe, but other dining options can differ.

Depending on the ship, you may have other complimentary options such as the Solarium Bistro, El Loco Fresh, Sorrento’s, Park Cafe, and Cafe at Two70, among others.

If you are hoping to try one of Royal Caribbean’s specialty restaurants but are worried about the cost, try eating there for lunch! Many specialty restaurants onboard offer the same menu options for lunch and dinner, but lunch comes at around half the cost of dinner.

Just like dining, the majority of activities onboard are also complementary. Whether bumper cars, the gym, broadway shows, rock climbing, ice skating, waterslides, trivia, or surfing on the FlowRider, there is no shortage of fun and free activities to keep you busy onboard.

Keep a look out for activities that have both a complimentary and extra-fee option. RipCord by iFLY, for example, has a 1-minute complimentary flight experience and a 2-minute paid flight experience. The North Star generally has shorter ride options that are complementary as well as “premium” options that can run anywhere from $30-50.

To score a complimentary reservation, it is important to reserve the activity as soon as possible on the Royal Caribbean app once onboard. Most guests are looking to reserve the complimentary option of these activities, so the reservations can fill up fast. Be sure to open the Royal Caribbean app the first day of your cruise so you can reserve these activities without breaking your budget.

At port

While it is doable to maintain a strict budget while onboard, what about when you’re in port?

Whether a tropical island in the Caribbean or a historic mining town in Alaska, disembarking a cruise ship means it is time to explore an amazing destination. That often means spending money on ground transportation, activities, and food. With a little research and preparation, though, it is possible to explore a port without breaking the bank.

Before your cruise, do a little research into free activities in port. Find out which beaches are free, what hikes are nearby, and what historical monuments or museums are available at a low cost. Some destinations are simply so quaint to explore that just walking around the town can be a great way to spend a few hours at no extra cost.

Spending extra money on food in port can also be a concern. If the ship docks close enough to the main part of town, you can technically embark  the ship for lunch before heading back out to explore the port. However, since food is such an integral part of experiencing a culture or destination, I would recommend setting aside a small part of your budget to try local cuisine instead.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

An itinerary that includes Perfect Day at CocoCay is a great choice for budget cruisers. At Royal Caribbean’s private island, it is entirely possible to disembark the ship, enjoy a beautiful day on the island, and get back onboard without spending a penny.

CocoCay includes many complimentary dining options, such as Chill Grill and Snack Shack, where guests can enjoy a variety of food like burgers and fries, chicken sandwiches, salads, tacos, ice cream, and more.

And while the island offers many upcharge activities like the Coco Beach Club, Thrill Waterpark, and cabana rentals, the majority of the island can be enjoyed at no extra cost. Spending the day at Oasis Lagoon or lounging at Chill Beach is the perfect budget-friendly day in port.

Moderate Budget

Cruising on a moderate budget allows you the chance to try dining, activities, and excursions that you may not be able to do on a low budget. If you’re not counting every penny but also don’t want to blow your entire savings, here are a few ideas on how to plan your cruise.

Stateroom Selection

If you’re hoping to splurge a little on a stateroom, but not to the extent of a suite, a balcony room is a great option while cruising on a moderate budget. Balcony rooms offer a private place to enjoy the incredible views you are sure to experience on a cruise vacation.

There are a few types of balcony rooms available to book on Royal Caribbean ships. The standard balcony has a picture-perfect ocean view with a table and two chairs outside.

Oasis Class ships offer Central Park and Boardwalk balconies. These balconies do not always have a view of the ocean, but are a great option for those looking to try something different. With these balconies, guests can spend the day relaxing, listening to live music, and watching everything going on below.

The last type of balcony offered is an obstructed view balcony. These balcony rooms are the same size as a standard balcony, but there is something outside obstructing the view of the ocean. Usually a lifeboat or a piece of the ship's design, the views of the ocean can be slightly or severely obstructed. Because of this, these rooms usually come at a lower cost.

On the ship

Having a little more leeway in your vacation budget gives you more options for things to do and eat onboard. 

A great option for those looking for an enhanced dining experience on a moderate budget is the 3 Night Dining Package, which allows guests to eat at three specialty restaurants onboard. The price for this package is quite reasonable, coming in around $110.

This is a great option for guests looking to have a mix of specialty and complimentary dining. From homemade pasta at Giovanni’s to hibachi at Izumi, Royal Caribbean’s specialty restaurants are really good and offer extremely diverse cuisine.

A moderate budget can also allow for the opportunity to try out upcharge activities onboard. Several ships offer an escape room which comes at a cost of around $20-25 per person. There is also the new Zone Zero onboard Odyssey of the Seas, where guests can make their way through a virtual reality experience for a cost of $18 per person.

Other upcharge activities onboard include the arcade, FlowRider lessons, premium North Star experiences, and longer RipCord by iFLY flight times.

You may also choose to splurge a bit and treat yourself to a moderately-priced treatment at the Vitality Spa or try out a class in the fitness center. Or perhaps try a sushi making class at Izumi or reserve a backstage tour of the ship.

At port

While it is nice to explore a new island or town on your own, with a moderate budget, you can enjoy a destination without worrying too much about the costs you will encounter at port.

You can dive deeper into a port through activities such as a shore excursion, all-inclusive day club, or a cabana/equipment rental. 

Royal Caribbean offers plenty of shore excursion opportunities in every port of call and for all ages and fitness levels. Excursions are available to purchase on the Cruise Planner website prior to the sailing, and they can also be purchased onboard at the Shore Excursions Desk.

Another popular option is to spend the day at a nearby beach club. For a flat fee, these all-inclusive day clubs include food, drinks, and a private beach. Nachi Cocom in Cozumel and Maya Chan in Costa Maya are two examples of all-inclusives that you can enjoy during your day in port.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Perfect Day at CocoCay offers many enhanced experiences that are attainable with a moderate budget.

If you are traveling with kids or looking for an adrenaline-filled day, Thrill Waterpark is a great option. With costs usually ranging between $70-90, the waterpark features a wave pool, an adventure pool, and the tallest waterslide in North America.

CocoCay also offers equipment rentals for kayaks, snorkel gear, and jet skis for those hoping to get into the water. A few activities on the island, such as the zipline and the Up, Up and Away helium balloon ride also come at an extra cost.

Another upgraded venue at CocoCay is the Coco Beach Club. Guests at the Coco Beach Club can enjoy a private beach, infinity pool, private lounging area, and a delightful meal at the Coco Beach Club Restaurant. The beach club has a limited capacity, ensuring that the area remains tranquil for guests looking for a more enhanced beach experience. Costs for the Coco Beach Club vary, but often range from $80-180 for a full day pass.

High Budget

If you're looking to splurge at sea and have the vacation of your dreams, get ready for a once in a lifetime cruise experience. Cruising on a high budget offers the most flexibility in terms of dining options, shore excursions, and premium treatment onboard. 

Stateroom Selection

Forget interior rooms. If you’re looking to splurge, book a suite! Suites offer a more upgraded experience in your stateroom and range from offering solely extra living space to full-fledged luxury.

Junior Suites are the most affordable type of suite onboard, which have an extra large balcony and increased living space. However, they don’t include the same perks that guests will receive staying in a regular suite.

Regular suites include extra living space as well as perks like priority boarding, concierge service, and deluxe amenities. Some suites have multiple bedrooms which can be a nice perk when traveling with kids or in a larger group.

The Royal Suite Class, available on Oasis and Quantum Class ships, takes the suite experience to another level. It has three tiers: Sea Class, Sky Class, and Star Class. Each comes with benefits like a dedicated check in line, priority boarding, and dinner at Coastal Kitchen.

Star Class, the highest tier, includes complimentary specialty dining, a complimentary deluxe beverage package, and even a Royal Genie who acts as your own personal concierge onboard.

Staying in a suite is a fantastic way to add a touch of luxury to your vacation, and Royal Caribbean is constantly working to enhance the cruise experience for suite guests. Wonder of the Seas, the newest ship in the fleet, will even feature a brand new Suite Neighborhood. The Suite Neighborhood is dedicated only to suite guests and will feature its own pool, bar, seating, Coastal Kitchen, and the Suite Lounge.


The majority of the Royal Caribbean experience onboard is included in the cruise fare. However, there are a few ways to enhance your vacation even more.

If you’re traveling for a special occasion, such as an anniversary or birthday, make your travel companion feel extra special the moment they walk into the stateroom for the first time. Royal Caribbean offers the option of having your stateroom decorated for a special occasion and having special treats, like birthday cake or champagne, in the stateroom when you arrive. These options are available to purchase in advance of your sailing on the Cruise Planner website.

As far as dining and drinking onboard, don't hesitate to book the Unlimited Dining Package and the Deluxe Beverage Package. With both of these packages, you will be free to eat and drink wherever and whenever you want. Depending on the ship and sailing length, this will allow you to try a brand new specialty restaurant each night of your cruise.

One extra dining experience you may want to book is Chef’s Table. Coming in around $100 per guest, Chef’s Table is an intimate dining experience pairing the chef’s course selection with fine wine selected by a sommelier. As a relaxed, 2-3 hour dinner, Chef’s Table allows you opportune time to enjoy an elegant meal onboard.

With a high budget, you may also be interested in checking out all the treatments offered at Vitality Spa. A great way to do this is to visit the spa on the first day of your cruise and ask for a tour. One of the crew members will take you on a tour of the spa and discuss what treatment options are available and best for you.

At Port

Just like onboard, Royal Caribbean offers a variety of ways to enhance your cruise experience while in port.

Royal Caribbean has several “premium” shore excursion experiences, which tend to cost more than the average excursion. In Alaska, for example, guests can book a helicopter ride that travels above Mendenhall Glacier before landing on the glacier and allowing guests to walk on the ice. While not cheap, traveling with a higher budget can give you the financial flexibility to book an excursion of this caliber.

If you’re looking for a private shore excursion option, book a tour with Royal Caribbean’s Private Journeys. With Private Journeys, guests have an exclusive and personalized shore experience planned by Royal Caribbean's Destination Insiders. With Private Journeys, you can sightsee at your own pace and without the hassle of a large group tour. In addition, since it is booked through Royal Caribbean, there are no worries of missing the ship if the tour runs late.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

You don't have to visit the Maldives to have an extravagant beach day. At Perfect Day at CocoCay, there are several full-day cabana rental options available to enjoy. The most exclusive are the floating cabanas at the Coco Beach Club.

The Coco Beach Club offers a total of twenty floating cabanas that, as the name implies, “float” over the island’s crystal clear water. Each cabana has a lounging area with comfy furniture, dining table, freshwater shower, mini fridge, padded pool chairs, a slide, a hammock, and outlets. In addition, a cabana gives guests access to the Coco Beach Club itself, including the excellent lunch offerings at the Coco Beach Club restaurant.

Guests can enjoy this meal at the restaurant itself or from the comfort of the floating cabana.

The cabanas come at a premium, though, with costs reaching up to $1800 for a day rental. However, since each cabana has a capacity of eight guests (with the possibility of adding two more), the cost is not as much of a sticker shock when you split it up.


By evaluating how much money you are willing to spend on a cruise vacation, you can plan a Royal Caribbean cruise to meet your specific needs.

Ultimately, whichever stateroom, dining choices, onboard activities, or shore excursions you choose, a cruise is sure to create unforgettable memories for all those onboard.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: October 24, 2021

24 Oct 2021
Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! We are so happy that you stopped by and hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Grab a mug of your favorite hot beverage, sit back, and check out the latest in Royal Caribbean news.

Royal Caribbean announced earlier this week its first ever cruise around-the-world.

The 274-night sailing will be held aboard Serenade of the Seas and will visit all seven continents, along with visits to more than 150 destinations along the way.

The price range for the full excursion is between $66,000 to $112,000 per person, plus taxes and fees.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

Royal Caribbean was finally able to start cruises from New York this year with an Oasis Class ship, and Rebecca sailed on one of those early sailings.

This week's podcast episode shares Rebecca's experience on Oasis of the Seas out of Cape Liberty.

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: 15 Little Things That Make a BIG Difference on Royal Caribbean

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 — 15 Little Things That Make a BIG Difference on Royal Caribbean — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

10 things everyone on a cruise ship should do before their cruise ends

Oasis of the Seas Live Blog Day 7 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

The last day of the cruise leaves plenty of fun, but there are also a few things everyone should do before it all comes to an end.

These 10 tips for everyone to do before their cruise ends will expedite your final morning onboard, as well as avoid billing issues or problems afterwards.

Royal Caribbean Group CEO: Time to focus on how we come out of the pandemic

22 Oct 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has a new video update where he says he is done talking about the Covid-19, and it's time to move on.

Which is the best Royal Caribbean cruise ship? | Royal Caribbean Blog

The new video update is aimed at travel agents, but provides important insight into what he and the cruise line are thinking about at the moment.

In a new video update, Mr. Fain shares why now is the time to look past the pandemic and focus on cruises in 2022.

In fact, Mr. Fain declared he is going to stop talking about the disease, which is in itself significant since he began issuing these video updates during the cruise industry shutdown due to Covid-19.

South Florida Mayors ask Governor to lift ban on cruise ships asking for vaccine proof | Royal Caribbean Blog

"The time has come to look forward," Mr. Fain firmly stated. "The time has come to focus on how we come out of the panic and out of the pandemic, rather than how we should live during it."

"We all need to think differently. Our future becomes clearer every day."

Mr. Fain's message comes as the Royal Caribbean Group has re-opened its headquarters in Miami. While the disease will remain a concern, he feels society has a much better grasp on it becoming controlled, especially with children on the brink of being able to get vaccinated.

"It will continue to produce variants that vex us, but now we understand the main drivers. We know how to control the disease as it moves from totally uncontrolled spread with a high level of fatalities to a more ubiquitous, ongoing disease that impacts a declining number of people."

"There are likely to be more variants, but they are not likely to upset our ongoing progress, and all of this progress still isn't going to eliminate COVID, but it should bring it down from being a terrifying pandemic."

Mr. Fain also shared a recent map of Covid cases by county in the United States, and contrasted the case loads to cruise ships, which he believes have an advantage over land based comparables.

"The vast bulk of the people are vaccinated. We can control our sanitation, including air filtration, etc., and we can establish strict protocols. As a result, we can make ships safer than shore based alternatives," Mr. Fain explained.

"Although the CDC doesn't do a comparison, I believe a fair reading of all the data taking into account all the factors would color this ship blue, which is the lowest category of risk. Certainly better than the bulk of counties in America, and that's why I'm going to stop talking about the disease."

Mr. Fain also talked about a surge in new bookings coming from online rather than travel agents. To that point, he believes now is the time for travel agents to double their efforts to work on selling cruises since the market is showing signs of people wanting to travel again.

Read moreTop things you didn't know travel agents can do for your cruise vacation

CDC hasn't provided technical instructions to cruises lines four months after lifting the No Sail Order | Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Fain pointed to demand returning in the form of more visitors to Royal Caribbean's website, along with more calls and bookings made directly with the cruise line.

"We need you, our travel partners, to reach our full potential. Of course, there still will be many who prefer to buy buy online, and the internet does make that very easy."

"Simply put, we need you and we need your personal touch. We need you and your knowledge, and the clients need you to help them understand the complexities."

10 things everyone on a cruise ship should do before their cruise ends

22 Oct 2021
Matt Hochberg

They say all good things must come to an end, and that includes cruise vacations.

As your time left onboard begins to wane, there are a few important things to do before it's time to head off the ship and end your vacation.

Doing so will not only expedite your final morning onboard before you disembark, but avoid regrets or billing problems later.

Here are ten things every cruiser should do on the last day of their sailing before their cruise comes to an end.

Check the bill

The top crew members to find if you have a problem onboard your cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

Setting your bill is a good idea on the last day of the cruise so you can review everything on there looks to be correct, as well as render payment.

If you have a cash account, you will want to get that squared away before heading to bed. Likewise, if you are sharing a cabin with someone and need to split the bill, or otherwise change how you pay it out, this is the time do so.

If you want to deposit any cash to offset your charges, you can also do this now.

Should you prepay gratuities for a Royal Caribbean cruise? | Royal Caribbean Blog

If by chance you still have extra onboard credit that is refundable, you can go to Guest Services to refund it as cash.  If your onboard credit is non-refundable onboard credit, go down to the casino and cash it out at one of the slot machines as a cash advance against your account.

This can all be done at Guest Services, although keep in mind that lines for Guest Services on the last day can sometimes get long. The best time to visit Guest Services on the final day is during the day. Everyone seems to go there in the evening.

Remember, get any accounting issues settled while onboard the ship. Calling after the cruise is much more time consuming and difficult.

Read moreCruising 101: SeaPass Account

Return towels

Royal Caribbean updates guest towel rental policy | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean will charge you $25 per pool towel you take that is not returned, so now is the time to bring it back.

The cruise line added this charge after years of guests taking towels and leaving them on shore excursions rather than bringing them back onboard.

Go through your stateroom and ensure any towels you tossed in the corner are brought back to the towel station and double check with the crew member there that your account is all set.

Give out extra tips

How to make the drink packages on Royal Caribbean work for you | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you wanted to reward a specific crew member or two with extra gratuities, the last day is a good time to do it.

Whether your stateroom attendant, favorite bartender, or waiter, the last day is the perfect opportunity to say thank you one more time.

I've often thought I would just see them on the final morning, but you would be surprised how difficult it can be to track down a crew member.

If you prefer to give out cash tips to your stateroom attendant and dining room staff, you can opt to do that by going to Guest Services and asking to pay cash tips and remove the automatic gratuity from your account.

Read moreWhy do I have to pay gratuities for my toddler?


Category 6V Interior Stateroom on Mariner of the Seas Photo Tour | Royal Caribbean Blog

Perhaps the least fun thing to do on your last day, but a necessary evil is packing everything back up.

I have to remind myself packing on the last day is better than trying to pack it all up on the final morning when you are groggy and extremely displeased with the fact you have to get off the ship.

Find some time in the afternoon to pack up as much as you can.

Be very certain to leave out sometime to wear the last morning of the cruise, otherwise you may have to wear your pajamas off the ship.

Read moreTop 9 bad mistakes to make on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Leave luggage outOasis of the Seas Live Blog Day 7 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog


If you want assistance with getting your luggage off the ship, Royal Caribbean will deliver your bags from your stateroom to the cruise terminal.

The key is to leave your bags out by a certain time on the final night of the cruise, usually 10pm.  Check the paperwork left in your stateroom on the last day to confirm what time bags need to be out in the hallway by.

Also be sure to affix the luggage tags provided to you in your stateroom on the last day so that your luggage gets delivered.  It is also a good idea to take a photo of the luggage tag so you don't forget which number is yours.

Even though I mentioned it in the previous tip, I will mention it again: make sure you leave clothes to wear for the next morning, as well as any medication and toiletries.

Read moreWhat's the earliest time I can get off my cruise ship when it's over?

Get your photos

Spotted: New Royal Caribbean photo packages | Royal Caribbean Blog

If there is something I forget the most on the last day of the cruise, it is to print and pick up the onboard photos.

Remember all those photos you posed for onboard? The last day is when most people go to order prints and pick them up.

The final evening of the cruise will see likely a swarm of other guests doing the same thing, so ideally, try to hit up the photo area a little earlier in the day before everyone gets there at night.

Regardless of when you go, you can easily use the self-service kiosks to order prints.  The machine will give you a time to pick up the prints, so be sure to get there before it's too late.

Read moreIs a Royal Caribbean photo package worth it?

Book another cruise

Oasis of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - San Juan | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you had a great time onboard, maybe a stop at NextCruise to book another vacation makes sense.

NextCruise is where you can go to book a new Royal Caribbean cruise, and they will give you the added benefit of reduced deposit and extra onboard credit.

Just like Guest Services and the photo area, the last day tends to be quite busy at NextCruise. You can book a reservation via the sign up sheet out front, or hope for an open slot as you walk by.  The earlier in the day, the more likely there will be times available to chat.

If all else fails, NextCruise is usually open the final morning of the cruise. Be sure to check with the staff for exact times.

ListenRoyal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Booking another cruise onboard

Cash in casino chips

Royal Caribbean testing self-service casino SeaPass charge option on Harmony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Assuming you don't go back one last time to double down, be sure to cash out your casino chips.

Royal Caribbean is quite specific that if you fail to cash in your casino chips or vouchers, they are not eligible for cash after the cruise ends.  It is quite common for guests to leave these items in their pocket and forget to cash them out later.

Whether you won big or this is all you have left, be sure to get the cash for them.

Take a Covid test

Adventure of the Seas Live Blog - Day 6 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you need a negative Covid test result to get back into your country of origin, make sure you have a test done onboard the last day of the cruise.

Royal Caribbean will provide a complimentary Covid test to any passenger that requests one, but you need to schedule it earlier than the last day. My advice is ask to book one on the first day or two of the cruise so you can be in the schedule.

Just be sure to show up for the Covid test on time, as testing is limited.

Check-in for your flightRoyal Caribbean Blog - Unofficial blog about Royal Caribbean cruises


If you are flying home after your cruise, it may make sense to complete the online check-in for your flight (especially if you are flying Southwest Airlines).

You can purchase a 24 hour pass for Royal Caribbean's internet onboard to do this (assuming you didn't buy a Voom package before). Suite guests can usually get the assistance of the Suite Concierge to help complete it.

If you need to print out a boarding pass or other paperwork, speak to Guest Service or the Suite Concierge.