Royal Caribbean alters itineraries of its cruise ships to avoid Hurricane Dorian

In:
30Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Late yesterday, Royal Caribbean announced updates to a number of Caribbean sailings in order to avoid the path of Hurricane Dorian.

  • The August 30th sailing of Navigator of the Seas has been extended and will return to Miami on September 4, instead of September 2. It will visit Nassau and Cozumel.
  • The September 2nd sailing of Navigator of the Seas has been shortened and will depart Miami on September 4th, instead of September 2. It will visit CocoCay.
  • The August 30th sailing of Mariner of the Seas has been extended and will return to Port Canaveral on September 4th, instead of September 2. It will vist Cozumel & Costa Maya.
  • The September 2nd sailing of Mariner of the Seas has been shortened and will depart Port Canaveral on September 4th, instead of September 2. It will visit CocoCay.
  • The August 24th sailing of Empress of the Seas has been extended, and will return to Miami on September 4th. A visit to Roatan has been added.
  • The September 1st sailing of Empress of the Seas has been shortened and will now depart on September 4th. It will visit Nassau.
  • The August 25th sailing of Harmony of the Seas has been extended and will return on September 4th. Harmony has added an overnight visit in Cozumel.
  • The September 1st sailing of Harmony of the Seas has been shortened and will now depart Port Canaveral on September 4th. It will visit Labadee.
  • The August 25th sailing of Allure of the Seas has been extended and will now return to Fort Lauderdale on September 4th. A visit to Roatan and Costa Maya has been added.
  • The September 1st sailing of Allure of the Seas has been shortened and will now depart Fort Lauderdale on September 4th. It will visit Cozumel
  • The August 28th sailing of Majesty of the Seas has been extended and will now return to Fort Lauderdale on September 4th. An extra sea day and visit to Nassau has been added.
  • The September 2nd sailing of Majesty of the Seas has been shortened and will now depart Fort Lauderdale on September 4th. 

Royal Caribbean maintains its own list of itinerary changes related to Hurricane Dorian on its website.

Video: Navigator of the Seas secrets

In:
29Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

We are sharing our favorite hidden secrets about Navigator of the Seas in this RoyalCaribbeanBlog video!

Royal Caribbean added some big changes to Navigator of the Seas in 2019, and we scoured the ship to find (and now share) little known secrets… from cool spots to ways to beat the crowd to unique entertainment, and SO much more. 

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 episode!

If you have cruised on Navigator of the Seas, what is your favorite secret about the ship? Share your ideas in our comments!

Hurricane Dorian alters four more Royal Caribbean ship itineraries

In:
28Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced itinerary changes to three more Royal Caribbean ships, and decided to wait on making a decision for sailings this weekend in order to take advantage of more accurate predictions.

  • The August 26th sailing of Navigator of the Seas had their day in Perfect Day at CocoCay scheduled for Wednesday changed to Nassau, Bahamas. 
  • The August 26th sailing of Mariner of the Seas will have their day in Perfect Day at CocoCay scheduled for Thursday changed to Nassau, Bahamas. 
  • The August 24th sailing of Empress of the Seas will remain in Cozumel on Friday and then spend a day at sea on Saturday. The extra day in Cozumel replaces a scheduled visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay.
  • The August 24th sailing of Symphony of the Seas will have their day in Perfect Day at CocoCay scheduled for Friday changed to Nassau, Bahamas. 

Royal Caribbean is deferring itinerary changes for the Navigator 8/30/19, Mariner 8/30/19, Harmony 9/1/19, Harmony 8/25/19 & Symphony 8/31/19 by an additional day in order to get more accurate prediction models. 

"Currently, the two main weather models used for prediction (American & European) have the storm going different ways. So, we’re going to wait a bit more to evaluate the new data, which we’ll receive this afternoon. Then, we’ll confirm alternate ports and share your final itinerary changes with you by 3 PM on Thursday, August 29th, or sooner."

Royal Caribbean also stated that the Harmony of the Seas 8/25/19 and Symphony of the Seas 8/31/19 sailings were never sailing to CocoCay, but their itinerary may be impacted by Hurricane Dorian in order to steer clear of any adverse weather.

Spotted: 2-Day Thrill Waterpark Pass

In:
28Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

With Royal Caribbean's recent announcement that it will offer sailings with two stops at Perfect Day at CocoCay, it should come as no surprise that the cruise line is now offering water park admission that covers both visits to the private island.

Ev Ares‎ noticed the 2-Day Thrill Waterpark Pass option in Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site that includes admission to Thrill Waterpark for both days at Perfect Day at CocoCay on the same sailing.

Like most pre-cruise options, the price may vary from sailing to sailing, but in Ev's example, the 2 day pass costs $79, while the cost of admission on the first visit is $55.99 and for the second day is $89.00 if purchased separately.

Thrill Waterpark includes the following activities:

  • 13 waterslides
  • Complimentary dining at Snack Shack,
  • Wave Pool
  • Adventure Pool
  • Beach chairs
  • Umbrellas and towels

Listener Emails on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
28Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!

Episode 317 is available for downloading, in which Matt is opening up the mail bag this week to answer more of your Royal Caribbean questions.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 317. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher 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 temporarily closes Perfect Day at CocoCay due to Tropical Storm Dorian

In:
27Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean informed guests that it will temporarily close its private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, until September 4, 2019.

Due to the forecasted path of Tropical Storm Dorian, the cruise line informed guests via email that it has decided to shutdown CocoCay until Wednesday, September 4th.

Any shore excursions pre-purchased for CocoCay will be refunded to onboard credit. If a guest onboard spend does not reach this amount, the remaining balance will be refunded to the credit card on file.

Royal Caribbean also promised an itinerary update for ships by August 28th at 3:00pm EST.

Reader finds: Update to The Key, Enchantment of the Seas propulsion issues and more

In:
27Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Our community of readers share news and changes with us all the time, we have a new lot of reader finds to share this week.

Enchantment of the Seas propulsion issue

Some guests with an upcoming Enchantment of the Seas cruise planned received an email from Royal Caribbean informing them, "to maintain a safe and comfortable journey, we must lower our maximum speed due to a technical limitation with one of the ship's propulsion pods."

The Key embarkation day lunch venue change

We have received numerous reports similar to this, where the embarkation day lunch perk that comes as part of The Key has moved from Chops Grille to the Main Dining Room. In fact, Timothy Krietemeyer spotted that Royal Caribbean has updated its website to list the venue change.

Despite the change in location, food from Chops Grille is still served to guests.  Moving to the main dining room allows for more efficient service, while still offering the Chops Grille menu.

New screens added to Allure of the Seas AquaTheater

A reader who did not share their name snapped this photo of new video screens added to the AquaTheater on Allure of the Seas.

Got at tip for us?

If you noticed something new or different on your Royal Caribbean cruise, you can always share it with us by emailing it over!

Video: How to get ready for your first Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
27Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

If you booked your first Royal Caribbean cruise, you probably want to know what important steps you should take to get ready for an amazing vacation.  We have a brand new video sharing the absolute most important things you should be doing in the weeks and months leading up to your cruise.

Getting ready for your first Royal Caribbean cruise means planning, preparing and packing.  This new video explains a few of the most critical tasks to complete before you get to your cruise ship.

Did you love this video? We have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

Check out the video and then let us know: What is the most important things to do in order to get ready for a cruise?

Avoid these Royal Caribbean drink package mistakes

In:
26Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Lots of cruisers love the value and conveience that a Royal Caribbean drink package provides, but you certainly do not want to make a critical mistake with these packages and take full advantage of what they offer.

While the unlimited beverage package seems like an easy enough service to enjoy, there are at least four ways we often see guests missing out on maximizing the package value and unlocking some great benefits.

Sharing the drink package benefits with another guest

An absolute faux pas of any Royal Caribbean drink package is sharing your drink package benefits with another guest. It is strictly against the rules and arguably the single most important rule that comes with the drink package.

Royal Caribbean warns that guests who share a drink with someone who does not have a drink package can risk having their drink package benefits revoked with no refund.  

The package is intended for only the guest who buys the package.  If you want to buy a drink for someone else, you can do so and pay for it individually along side your drink package transaction.

Not buying a drink package as soon as possible

If you decide a Royal Caribbean unlimited drink package is worth it, do not wait to buy it onboard the ship. Heck, do not wait at all to buy it.

First, if you purchase it onboard you will have to spend time buying it.  Often there are lines on embarkation day to buy the drink package, and then there is a bit of paperwork associated with its purchase.

Second, if you buy the drink package online before your cruise, it will absolutely save you money on the total cost! There are discounts offered for the drink package if purchased prior to the cruise, which means money saved for something else on your vacation.

Third, the price of a drink package could drop... or it could rise.  Buying a drink package as soon as you know you want it means you can protect against a price increase.  If the price of the drink package drops before your cruise, you can always cancel and rebook the drink package with no penalty.

Not getting a bottle of water with any order

It is easy to get a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to using Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol package.  In addition to alcohol, the package provides unlimited soft drinks, fresh squeezed juices, coffees and bottled water.

The bottled water, in particular, is very useful.  Not only is it a good idea to drink a lot of water while enjoying alcohol (many of us learned that lesson in college), but stockpiling bottles of water in your stateroom means you have a supply for use on shore excursions.

When you order an alcoholic beverage, in our experience the waiters never have an issue with also providing you with a bottle of water as part of the same order.  This means you can take a few bottles back to your room for use onboard or onshore.  

While you can always just order a bottle of water to bring offshore, having a small reserve of bottled water means you can easily grab as much as you need.  This is very helpful with families or large groups.

Not specifying brand of liquor when ordering a drink

When you belly up to the bar and order a drink, often you simply ask for the drink you would like to order, often we just ask for the name of the drink.

"Can I please have a pina colada?"

What you ought to do, is instead order the drink and specify the liquor.  The deluxe beverage package includes many types of liquor, including some more desirable brands.  Choices in liquor can be subjective, but higher quality brands of liquor are typically smoother, stronger, or just plain taste better.

So when ordering a drink, be sure to specify what you want in it.

"Can I please have a pina colada with Kraken rum?"

Not trying signature cocktails at specialty restaurants

Many Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants have their own menu of cocktails that were created specifically for that restaurant and may not be available elsewhere on the ship.

Part of the appeal of the unlimited alcohol package is the opportunity to try new drinks without fear of wasting money on something you do not enjoy.  Since the unlimited alcohol package works at all specialty restaurants, you can feel free to try one of the restaurant's drinks.  You might just discover something you really love.

If the restaurant has a special cocktail, usually it is on the drink menu that also includes the wines and other beverages available.

Specialty restaurants with particularly good drinks of their own include Sabor, Jamie's Italian, 150 Central Park and Wonderland.

We want to hear from you! What is your best tip for avoiding a beverage package mistake? Leave a comment and share with us below!

Tropical Storm Dorian changes itineraries of Allure, Harmony and Symphony of the Seas

In:
25Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Tropical Storm Dorian formed in the Caribbean in the last few days and has caused two Royal Caribbean ships to change itineraries to avoid the projected path of the storm.

Harmony of the Seas has changed from an Eastern Caribbean itinerary to a Western Caribbean itinerary.

Symphony of the Seas has changed her itinerary and is skipping a scheduled stop at St. Maarten, while adding a visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay at the end of the sailing.

Allure of the Seas has changed from an Eastern Caribbean itinerary to a Western Caribbean itinerary.

Photo by Joe Kuehner Jr

We will share any further itinerary updates if/when they occur.

As of Sunday afternoon, Dorian’s tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 35 miles from its center. Forecasters said that Dorian is expected to move generally west-northwestward for the next several days and start impacting some Caribbean islands.

We recommend following Royal Caribbean's Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet for weather updates.

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