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I spent $250 to upgrade my cruise ship cabin: Was it worth it?

11 Nov 2022
Jenna DeLaurentis

You’ll almost always find me in an interior cabin on a Royal Caribbean cruise. While the opposite of luxurious, I never mind my small, windowless rooms, especially if it means I can save money on cruise fare.

Nonetheless, I just disembarked a 4-night cruise in a Spacious Ocean View cabin on Liberty of the Seas. Wanting to “treat myself” but also try something new, I upgraded my cabin for $248 extra on top of the $779 I originally paid for an interior cabin. This brought my total cruise cost to $1027.

I always love trying new ways to cruise with Royal Caribbean, so when I realized I could upgrade to a Spacious Ocean View cabin for a reasonable price, I figured I would give it a try.

I had never sailed in an ocean view room before, so I was curious to see how my cabin experience would differ from an interior or balcony cabin. The price of an ocean view cabin is usually between interior and balcony cabins, but I had two main questions:

  • Would an ocean view cabin be that different from an interior to justify the extra cost?
  • If I’m upgrading to an ocean view, is it better to spend a little more to upgrade to a balcony?

With extra room and scenic views out the porthole window, was this upgrade worth it? Let’s find out.

Royal Up vs standard upgrade

Many cruisers look to Royal Caribbean's stateroom bidding program, RoyalUp, when hoping to upgrade their cruise ship cabin. I have used RoyalUp once before (without any luck), but I’ve since realized it’s better to first contact your travel agent about the cost to upgrade without bidding.

Related: Royal Caribbean’s RoyalUp guide, tips, and tricks

RoyalUp allows guests to bid on higher stateroom categories with the hope of winning the bid and upgrading at a lower cost.

What I’ve realized, however, is that the minimum bids on RoyalUp are not always cheaper than upgrading your stateroom directly through Royal Caribbean or a travel agent.

When I asked my travel agent how much it would cost to upgrade from my interior cabin, for example, I was surprised to see such reasonable prices. The Promenade View Interior and Guarantee Ocean View cabins were actually cheaper than the original price I paid for my interior stateroom.

Meanwhile, if I had placed a bid on a Guarantee Ocean View through RoyalUp, I would have had to bid a minimum of $30 per person for the weakest bid possible.

Initial impressions

As soon as I walked into our cabin, I was pleased to see it was quite spacious, although I was a bit surprised that the room was the same size as a balcony cabin.

For some reason I expected this cabin to be even more spacious than a balcony room, but this is probably reserved for the Ultra Spacious Ocean View cabins.

Regardless, compared to the tiny interior rooms I usually stay in, our ocean view cabin felt huge! The interior cabins on Freedom Class ships are tiny, and while I’ve stayed in this size stateroom with guests before, it’s definitely a tight squeeze.

Related: I tried the best inside cruise ship cabin hacks to see how well they worked

Our cabin was equipped with many amenities, including:

  • King bed (that we later separated to two twin beds)
  • Desk and vanity area
  • Wardrobe
  • Couch and side table
  • Television
  • Mini fridge

There was ample storage in the room, from drawers on both sides of the vanity to our nightstand and a spacious wardrobe. There were also shelves on the side of the vanity near our bed which I found useful throughout the cruise.

There was also storage located behind the mirrors in the vanity and bathroom which could easily be overlooked, so we took advantage of this, too.

The best part of our cabin, of course, was the porthole window. This window was larger than I expected, although I was surprised that we had a “balcony” outside the window.

Because this room is on deck 7 as opposed to the majority of ocean view cabins on decks 2 and 3, the porthole overlooked a non-usable balcony before reaching the ocean.

Pros of our cabin upgrade

More space

An obvious benefit of staying in our Spacious Ocean View cabin was having more space. We never ran into each other in the cabin and had no shortage of storage space.

We didn’t even utilize most of the storage, in fact, because there was more than enough room to keep our suitcases on the floor of the cabin without having to unpack for a short cruise.

I spent more time than usual in my cabin

On a short 4-night cruise, I never expect to spend much time in my room. Between attending onboard events and filming videos around the ship for the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube channel, I usually spend little time relaxing in my cabin.

This week, however, I spent more time than usual in my cabin. I have a few hours of computer work to do each day, for example, which I usually do from a public area onboard when staying in an interior room. Unsurprisingly, I don’t love working in a room without windows.

Related: Can you work remotely from a cruise ship in 2022? I put it to the test.

With an ocean view room, I spent these hours working next to my private porthole window instead. 

Our itinerary also changed due to weather and we ended up with two sea days instead of just one. This meant we had extra time to enjoy our stateroom (take naps) during the cruise.

Great option for a first-time cruiser

I sailed on Liberty of the Seas with my cousin Keli, and she had never been on a cruise before. I thought having an ocean view cabin as opposed to an interior was nice for my cousin's first cruise. 

While I’ve brought many first-time cruisers onboard in interior rooms and we’ve had a great experience, I thought Keli would appreciate being in a more comfortable room with a window.

And it worked, because she’s already looking forward to sailing again in the future!

Cons of our cabin upgrade

Stateroom location

One drawback of our upgraded stateroom compared to the interior room we originally booked was the location.

Our ocean view cabin was located in the very aft of the ship, so this location wasn't as convenient as somewhere closer to the elevators and stairwells. We spent a lot of time walking back and forth to our cabin down a long hallway.

Plus, because it was at the ship's aft, I felt a little more movement than I normally would as we sailed through the Caribbean. Our upgraded cabin location wasn't a dealbreaker, but I would probably take the location more into consideration next time I upgrade my stateroom.

The one plus of our stateroom was that it was located on deck 7, so we rarely had to take the elevators as we were located only a few decks from all the main attractions onboard.

Spending money on a cabin upgrade instead of other activities

Looking back, we probably could have stayed in our interior cabin and used the $248 we spent on a cabin upgrade for other cruise add-ons.

For around $120 per person, for example, we could have booked an Unlimited Dining Package for our 4-night cruise. Dining at specialty restaurants once (or more) every day could have enhanced our cruise experience more than a little more space in our cabin.

We also could have put this cost toward shore excursions, drinks, internet, and other onboard spending.

Only a 4-night cruise

Spending $248 on a cabin upgrade would have spread out further on a 7-night cruise compared to just 4 days. This brought the nightly cost of the upgrade to $62, whereas it would only be $35 per night on a weeklong cruise.

Next time I upgrade my cabin, I’ll calculate the nightly price of the upgrade to help justify whether or not it’s worth it.

Obstructed view

This con didn’t bother me too much, but our “ocean view” actually looked out toward a balcony not in use, so we didn’t have the panoramic view of the ocean we would have gotten in a smaller, cheaper ocean view cabin.

Was the upgrade worth the cost?

I am still torn whether our cabin upgrade was worth the extra cost or not. While $248 isn't a lot of money in the grand scheme of our cruise vacation, we could have put the money toward other onboard experiences.

That being said, I truly enjoyed having a larger stateroom with gorgeous ocean views from the porthole. There's no doubt this room was better than an interior cabin, and I could have spent my entire day reading in bed next to our cabin's window.

Overall I would lean toward the upgrade being worth it rather than a waste of money. While I’ll probably continue to sail in interior staterooms for the lowest cruise fare possible, it’s nice to treat yourself every once in a while!

7 new things Royal Caribbean leaked about Icon of the Seas

10 Nov 2022
Matt Hochberg

Ever since Royal Caribbean revealed the first details about Icon of the Seas, there has been an incredible amount of excitement for the new ship.

Pool aerial on Icon of the Seas

With any new cruise ship, Royal Caribbean likes to sprinkle updates leading up to the ship's launch.

While on Allure of the Seas this week, Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President and Chief Product Innovation Officer Jay Schneider talked to travel agents about Icon of the Seas.

Most of the talk was going over information that was already announced, but in the process, Mr. Schneider revealed a few new details previously not disclosed.

Swim and Tonic Bar

If you're like me, you can't get enough Icon of the Seas details and updates, so here's 7 new things about Icon of the Seas you should know about.

1400 Bar

1400 Bar

There's a new bar coming to Icon of the Seas, known as the 1400 Bar.

Located on the Royal Promenade, this is a bar that will be right when you walk onto the ship.

1400 Bar

If you're wondering about the name, it's actually a reference to the ship's build number at the Meyer Turku shipyard.

1400 new build for Icon

Each cruise ship is given a number at a shipyard because the yard constructs cruise ships for multiple cruise lines and they may not yet know the ship's name when construction begins.

Royal Caribbean decided to pay homage to Icon's build number by naming it the 1400 bar.

Royal Promenade

Promenade venues

Mr. Schneider talked about the Royal Promenade and talked about a few interesting facts.

First, the Royal Promenade will be two levels high, with an upper and lower Promenade.

In addition, the Promenade will loop around, meaning there will be no "dead ends".

We also got a few screenshots of dining venues that Royal Caribbean hasn't talked about yet.

  • Sorrentos
  • Boleros
  • Giovanni's Italian Table
  • Spotlight Karaoke
Central Park staircase on Icon
entrance to Central Park

There will be a staircase that leads directly from the Royal Promenade up to Central Park.

We also got a look at a rendering of the Playmakers Bar, which will be located off the Royal Promenade.

Playmakers rendering on Icon of the Seas

Sushi to go option

Sushi to go on Icon of the Seas

While we knew already there would be an Izumi sushi restaurant in Central Park, there will be a new way to get sushi on Icon of the Seas.

Izumi will have a "sushi to go" window, where you can order a bento box of sushi and take it elsewhere on the ship to enjoy.

Celebration Table

Celebration Table

Icon of the Seas will have the next evolution of the Chef's Table experience.

Known as Celebration Table, this will be similar to Chef's Table, but it will be a new take on what you can expect.

Celebration Table will be located in the AquaDome.

Supper Club

Supper Club rendering

We don't know what it is exactly, but one of many new dining concepts on Icon of the Seas will be the Supper Club.

Mr. Schneider didn't talk about it, but tried to move past what this venue is while going through areas of the ship.

Based on some later screenshots in his presentation, it appears this venue will be called the Supper Club.

Crown's Edge will cost money

Crown's Edge on Icon of the Seas

While the Category 6 water park will be included in your cruise fare, the Crown's Edge adrenaline experience will cost extra.

Crown’s Edge is a brand new activity coming to Icon of the Seas, combining a skywalk, ropes course, and thrill ride all in one.

Mr. Schneider didn't disclose exactly how much it would cost, only saying it would have a "nominal fee" to go on it.

Eco mode


In an effort to help save energy, Icon of the Seas will employ a new approach to air conditioning in your stateroom.

When you leave your cabin and walk off the ship for a shore excursion, the ship's computer will detect when the last person scans their SeaPass card upon disembarkation and at that point, the air conditioning will go into eco mode since no one is on the ship to need it maintained.

As soon as the first person booked in the cabin scans their SeaPass card coming back onboard the ship, eco mode turns off, and the air conditioning turns back on to the previous setting.

7 things I did right (and 3 mistakes) on my recent cruise ship port day

10 Nov 2022
Jenna DeLaurentis

Whether dipping your toes in crystal-clear water or tasting local street food, there’s no doubt that visiting new ports on a cruise ship is exciting. Many cruisers, though, find themselves in one of two situations: satisfied with the activities of their port day or wishing they had done something else.

Dominican Republic with cruise ship

I recently spent a cruise ship port day in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, a place I had never been to before. I knew little about the port prior to my arrival, but I was determined to make the most of my port day by experiencing the country’s culture, cuisine, and historical sites in just 7 hours.

From marveling at the port’s mountainous scenery to observing local lifestyle at the city’s public square, I was satisfied with my day in port when I returned back to the ship later in the day.

No matter how much research you do ahead of time, however, you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way, and I definitely did.

Here are the top 7 things I did right (and 3 mistakes I made!) on my recent cruise ship port day.

Staying flexible

The first thing I did right was staying flexible.

“No refunds!” was what I heard as I entered Port Everglades on embarkation day. A worker was handing out a sheet of paper to every guest, and I’ll admit I was a bit nervous about what it might say.

Tropical storm Nicole was approaching the Bahamas, and I had doubts our Bahamas & Perfect Day cruise would go ahead as scheduled. I was bringing my cousin Keli on her very first cruise, and I wanted her to have the best experience possible. I was nervous the paper might say we had all our stops canceled.

That wasn’t the case at all, though, and we learned our ship would be sailing to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic instead of the Bahamas! While I could have been upset that our itinerary wouldn’t go as planned, I was excited.

I had never been to the Dominican Republic before, and it was such an unexpected change that I couldn’t wait to see what Puerto Plata had to offer.

After talking to a few other guests, I realized some passengers were upset their plans did not go forward as planned. It’s always important to remain flexible when traveling, but especially on a cruise, so be sure to make the most of whatever unexpected changes may arise.

Not booking a shore excursion

While I’ve booked Royal Caribbean shore excursions in the past, I much prefer exploring independently. Even though organized tours can bring you to a port’s highlights without worrying about any logistics yourself, I find that the cons outweigh the pros.

Whether waiting for guests on the tour who are running late, being forced into sales pitches at tourist shops, or traveling in a group of 30+ people, I’ve almost always regretted when I’ve booked organized shore excursions over exploring independently.

Instead of a guided tour, we traveled around Puerto Plata with a taxi driver for the day for the same price a group tour would have cost. We were privately escorted to some of the port’s top sites, including Puerto Plata’s cable car and the Centro Histórico district.

Exploring without the hassle of traveling with a large group enhanced our port experience immensely.

Researching the port in advance

Because our cruise itinerary was not originally supposed to visit Puerto Plata, I knew very little about the Puerto Plata cruise port when I boarded Liberty of the Seas. I had two days to become acquainted with everything the port has to offer.

I watched YouTube videos, read articles, and spoke to a few friends who had visited Puerto Plata in the past. This was beyond useful for giving me a better idea of what to expect, deciding what I should do and not do, and creating a general plan for my port day.

One of the most important details I learned, for example, was that taxis are expensive in Puerto Plata. If I hadn’t read this, I probably would have experienced stronger sticker shock when I was quoted $70-100 for a taxi for the day.

It’s always helpful to research a port before arriving to become acquainted with the port’s offerings and the local area. I’m 100% certain that one of the reasons we had such a wonderful day in port was due to the research I did ahead of time.

Leaving the immediate port area

The Taino Bay cruise port in Puerto Plata is one of, if not the best, port area I’ve experienced thus far. It’s nearly brand new, immaculately clean, and has more than enough to keep you busy for a whole day.

Some of the port’s highlights include a large swimming pool, chic bars, and restaurants.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed the port’s facilities and we even spent the last hour of our day hanging out in the port’s large pool.

However, I came to the Dominican Republic to discover the country outside of a gated port area, so I’m glad we ventured off into a more authentic part of the city.

Hiring a local guide

We ended up spending the majority of our port day with a guide and he was fantastic—although we didn’t expect to have a guide in the first place.

In order to get to many of the city’s top attractions, I had to take a taxi. In Puerto Plata, however, taxis don’t just drop you off at one location. Your taxi driver stays with you the entire day, waiting for you at each location to take you to the next.

For $100 a day (plus a tip), we were escorted around Puerto Plata by Ramon, a local man who was determined to show us the best that the port had to offer. He has been working as a guide in his country for over ten years and already had a tentative itinerary set which we could customize to our liking.

Although I usually prefer exploring on my own, it was a nice change to not have to worry about a single thing while in port. Ramon knew where to bring us, what to show us at each location, and he shared insights to his country and city along the way. 

Considering Royal Caribbean was offering shore excursions for $50+ per person in a large tour group, spending $50 per person on a private guide for five hours seemed like a pretty good deal.

Trying local cuisine

I am always shocked to hear that some cruisers won’t spend a single penny on local cuisine while in port, instead opting to head back to their cruise ship every day for lunch.

While I understand that there is food you already paid for onboard the ship, I believe tasting local cuisine is an important part of traveling to new locations. Whether conch fritters in Nassau or tacos in Mexico, trying local cuisine is a must for me in any cruise port.

Our guide brought us to Cosita Rica, a waterfront restaurant serving local cuisine for lunch. Trying Dominican food was high on my list, and we enjoyed a meal of fish, chicken, rice, habichuela (beans), empanadas, and tostones (plantains).

I love the included food on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but how many times do I have the opportunity to eat traditional Dominican food near the beach in the Dominican Republic?

Planning a variety of activities

I could have easily spent my entire day in Puerto Plata lounging on a beach chair and sipping cocktails, but I’m sure glad I didn’t. I love the beach, but there were so many activities available in Puerto Plata that I couldn’t pass them all up in favor of a beach day.

There’s nothing wrong with spending 8 hours on a beach chair, but I knew I wanted to experience culture, food, scenery, and the beach in just one day.

We planned our day as follows:

  • Part One: cable car ride to Isabel de Torres National Park for scenic views and nature walks
  • Part Two: walking and shopping in Puerto Plata’s historical district
  • Part Three: lunch at a waterfront restaurant followed by a walk on the beach
  • Part Four: exploring the Fortaleza de San Felipe

The combination of these activities made for a busy yet insightful day in port, and I’m glad we chose to experience multiple types of activities in one day as opposed to choosing one thing over another.

Now that we’ve learned about the 7 things I did right on my recent port day, let’s take a look at our biggest mistakes of the day.

Leaving a cellphone in a taxi

At the end of our port day, our driver Ramon dropped us back off at the Taino Bay cruise port and we said farewell.

Two minutes later, my cousin Keli realized she left her cellphone in the back seat of his car. While I had no doubt that our friendly guide Ramon would return her phone, I was nervous he wouldn’t realize it was in his car until we had already left Puerto Plata.

Luckily I had gotten Ramon’s phone number earlier in the day, so myself and a few workers in port tried calling his phone, but it appeared to be off. We kept trying to call until a few minutes later when Ramon appeared on his motorbike to return Keli’s phone. Phew!

While this may seem like a rookie move, it’s easy to get distracted when exploring a new place for the first time. Be sure to always check to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind.

Not trying more variety of local foods

Looking back at our day in Puerto Plata, one other change we would have made would be to try more local cuisine. 

While we had a fantastic lunch by the beach, it was undoubtedly a restaurant catered almost exclusively to tourists. I’ll admit I didn’t let our guide know I would rather eat at a hole-in-the-wall local joint, but I found myself wishing I tried food from a variety of spots in Puerto Plata.

Whether a street food stall or pastry shop, it would have been nice to see what local food can be found in the city outside of tourist-centric restaurants.

Plus, we certainly paid more for our lunch than food we could have found at a non-touristy restaurant. Although I don’t necessarily regret eating at the tourist restaurant because the food was delicious, I wish I could have eaten where local Dominicans eat as opposed to just tourists.

Not staying more hydrated

Our day in Puerto Plata was gorgeous with sunny skies and warm temperatures, but we did not drink nearly as much water as we should have.

Staying hydrated is always important, but especially so when exploring a tropical destination where you will, most likely, be constantly sweating!

With all the excitement of discovering Puerto Plata, we forgot to stay hydrated and found ourselves parched later in the day. Luckily, a fresh coconut water saved the day.

Be sure to always keep a water bottle in your daypack to stay refreshed throughout the day to avoid any problems down the line.

More shore excursion tips & tricks:

First look at Royal Caribbean's new Galveston cruise terminal that opens today

09 Nov 2022
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's new home in Galveston, Texas is open for cruise ships.

New Galveston terminal

Terminal 3 in Galveston is Royal Caribbean's brand new cruise terminal, purpose built to allow the cruise line to send in the biggest cruise ships in the world.

The new $125 million cruise terminal is a symbol of the cruise line's dedication to the Galveston cruise market, and following in the tradition set forth by Royal Caribbean's other recently constructed buildings, it's spectacular to see.

Galveston cruise terminal with Allure of the Seas behind it

I was invited to sail on Allure of the Seas for a 4-night preview event, where we could walk through and experience the new cruise terminal.

The new terminal is located at Pier 10 for exclusive use by Royal Caribbean.

The building is 161,300 square feet and is a state-of-the-art building, including mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guest arrival.

Top of the terminal

It will is a LEED-certified terminal (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which means it is environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. 

Architects Bermello Ajamil & Partners Inc. came up with the look of the new terminal, but this firm is no stranger to Royal Caribbean. They also designed Terminal A in Miami, Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal, and Port Everglades' Terminal 18 and 25.

Not only can Terminal 3 handle Oasis Class ships, it will also be able to accommodate Royal Caribbean's new Icon Class ships.

Let's take a virtual tour in and around the new terminal!


Galveston terminal entrance area

Similar to the other new cruise terminals that Royal Caribbean has built recently, the new Galveston terminal is bright with lots of large signage.

As you drive in, there is a pick up and drop off area, with multiple lanes to allow cars to easily get in and out.

Galveston terminal drop off
Galveston terminal drop off

The porters in the new terminal all have a new Caribbean-inspired motif to them, which they say they will wear every day. 

Galveston cruise porter

There is parking available across 4 different lots at the terminal.

Galveston parking map

Once you drop off your luggage, the entrance is towards the front of the terminal.

Galveston terminal entrance
Galveston terminal luggage drop off

Keep in mind the waiting area if you have a later check-in time was uncovered from the sun on the day I was there.

Entry way

​ Edit media ​entryway

Once inside the new cruise terminal, you are greeted with a cavernous lobby.

Similar to Terminal A in PortMiami, there are different ways to enter for suite guests and everyone else. Also similar to Terminal A are the large propellors hanging from the ceiling.

​ Edit media ​entry

The main entrance for most guests will be up the escalator on the left. There is an elevator as well.

Galveston terminal entry


Galveston terminal check in area

Your first stop inside the terminal will be for check-in.

There are agents lined up to check you in by scanning your SetSail pass.  This is when completing the online check-in before the cruise pays off, because if you do everything ahead of time, this will take a matter of seconds.

Galveston terminal check-in agents

Once you complete check-in, you'll go through security. This is when your bags and belongings get scanned.

Galveston terminal security

Suites area

Suites entrance at Galveston terminal

The new Galveston cruise terminal has a special area for suite guests.

Galveston terminal suites entry way

When you enter the terminal, there is a special entrance for suite guests.

This not only means a shorter wait, but it expedites the process of getting you physically from curb to the waiting area.

Galveston terminal suites area
Galveston terminal suites area

Waiting area

Waiting area in Galveston terminal

Once you are past security, you will have a seat in the waiting area if the ship isn't ready to board yet.

Galveston terminal

There are lots of comfortable couches on both sides of the enormous room.

Galveston terminal couch

There are also restrooms here and vending machines, should you need them.

Galveston terminal restrooms

There's also a fun Instagrammable wall.

Vacation is calling

You will also find a large piece of art that was sourced by local artists.

Galveston terminal art

Forged in stainless steel and lost-wax bronze, the Galveston Beach Trio is the embodiment of island time and a dynamic first impression. It is the creation of Texas-based Brad Oldham Sculpture.

Galveston beach trio

Boarding and gangway

Walkway to cruise ship

When they call you to board your ship, the process is just like any other cruise terminal.

Your SetSail pass gets scanned one last time and then you walk down a hallway, where you can stop to take a photo with the ship.

Photo opp
Photo opp

Then, it's onto the ship and walking onboard!

Gangway entrance

Galveston port parking coupon

The Port of Galveston is running a special for parking at the port during the month of November.

Cruise Terminal 10 parking includes a park-and-walk lot and parking with free shuttles.

If you pre-book your parking in November, you can save $10 off with coupon code THANKYOU.

Just go to and use the code to save on your next cruise.

Royal Caribbean releases new 2024 Alaska cruises to book

09 Nov 2022
Matt Hochberg

Are you ready to book an Alaska cruise in 2024?

Royal Caribbean has released its Alaska cruises for the 2024 season.

The cruise line will send four cruise ships to Alaska in 2023, matching the amount of ships it has been sending to the region in the years prior.

The new sailings are posted on Royal Caribbean's website.

Why booking early is so important

Radiance of the Seas in Alaska waters

If you want to get in some of the lowest Alaska cruise prices, booking early is the key.

Equally important is the ability to get a specific cabin, especially suites.  Some highly desirable cruise cabins sell out quickly, especially the aft balcony cabins on the Radiance Class ships.

Read moreDifference between aft balcony & balcony cabins

Alaska glacier scenery

While you could roll the dice and hope for a better last-minute deal on an Alaska cruise, the cabin selections will be paltry at best.

More information to help you save money on an Alaska cruise:

A look at the 2024 Alaska cruises

Ovation of the Seas in Hubbard glacier

The new Alaska 2022 cruises are available to book between April and September 2024.

Ovation of the Seas will sail from Seattle and offer 7- and 8-night Alaska glacier cruises.

Quantum of the Seas will also sail from Seattle, sailing 7-night cruises.

Both Quantum Class ships will visit scenic cities and towns along the Northwest coastline, including Victoria, British Columbia; Sitka, Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau, Alaska.

The two Radiance Class ships will offer cruises from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Radiance of the Seas in Seward, Alaska

Radiance of the Seas will offer 7-10 night Alaska cruises that can also combine with Land Tours to offer immersive visits to Alaska, including in-land destinations such as Denali. 

Radiance is sailing alternating, open-jaw itineraries between Vancouver and Seward.

Brilliance of the Seas will sail primarily 7-night roundtrip cruises, including some multi-glacier cruises that visit Hubbard Glacier in addition to Dawes Glacier.

Be sure to consult the Royal Caribbean website or your travel professional for further assistance with itinerary options and booking.

Hawaii 2024 cruises

In addition to the Alaska cruises, Royal Caribbean also included Hawaii cruises in this new deployment.

Royal Caribbean sails to Hawaii as part of the repositioning process to get its vessels between North America and Australia. This means each ship that sails to Alaska, does a one-time Hawaii cruise as it gets into position.

At the time of this article's posting, Radiance of the Seas Hawaii itineraries are not listed yet.

In April 2024, the ships will offer cruises from Hawaii to North America:

  • Brilliance of the Seas: 8-night cruise from Oahu to Vancouver with stops in Maui & Hawaii.
  • Ovation of the Seas: 9-night cruise from Oahu to Vancouver with stops in Maui & Hawaii.
  • Quantum of the Seas: 10-night cruise from Oahu to Vancouver with a sailing along the Napali Coast and stops in Maui & Hawaii.

At the conclusion of the Alaska cruise season, the ships reverse the itinerary and sail from Vancouver to Hawaii.

  • Brilliance of the Seas: 10-night cruise from Vancouver to Oahu with stops in Kauai, Maui, Hilo& Hawaii.
  • Ovation of the Seas: 9-night cruise from Vancouver to Oahu with a stop in Maui and sailing along the Napali Coast.
  • Quantum of the Seas: 10-night cruise from Vancouver to Oahu with stops in Victoria, Seattle & Maui.

More about Alaska cruises

Can you work remotely from a cruise ship in 2022? I put it to the test

09 Nov 2022
Jenna DeLaurentis

A Royal Caribbean cruise may be synonymous with endless piña coladas on the pool deck… but what about laptops?

Cruise ships, despite being designed for vacations, can make for an excellent work environment. Working on a cruise means working without worrying about cooking, cleaning, or travel logistics. 

Just ask Super Mario, Royal Caribbean’s top cruiser, who has been working remotely on the cruise line’s ships for the better part of the past two decades!

Related: Life at sea - An interview with Royal Caribbean’s top cruiser, Super Mario

Oasis of the Seas next to Liberty of the Seas in Cozumel

But even though "workationing" on a Royal Caribbean cruise may seem appealing to the most adventurous of remote workers, there's always been one major setback: the onboard Internet speeds (or lack thereof).

As Royal Caribbean begins implementing SpaceX Starlink internet on its cruise ships, though, will working remotely become a more feasible option for cruisers?

To see for myself, I boarded Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas earlier this week to put the ship’s new internet service to the test. Is it really possible to successfully work remotely on a cruise ship in 2022?

Let's find out.

Why in the world would you work from a cruise ship?

We must first address the elephant in the room: why would anyone ever work from a cruise ship instead of taking a vacation?

Throughout the past few years, remote work has become increasingly common. More and more people are able to work from home—or from anywhere. Remote work means many workers have the freedom to travel and work at the same time without worrying about limited PTO.

So while we don't recommend working on a vacation, remote workers are on workation. Working during the day and enjoying the ship’s fantastic dining options and entertainment at night? Cruising while working remotely can be an attractive option for those who want to travel more than they otherwise could have.

Improving internet on cruise ships

Starlink logo

In the past, cruise ship internet was notoriously slow and connection issues were rampant. Facetiming friends and family back home, for example, would, more often than not, encounter delays and video freezes.

And if you had to upload any type of large file to the internet? Good luck. You would most likely end up finding yourself running to the nearest spot for wifi once in port.

Earlier this year, however, Royal Caribbean announced they would add SpaceX Starlink internet to every ship in the fleet. Their goal is to implement Starlink on all 26 ships in the fleet by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

Related: Spotted: Starlink being installed across multiple Royal Caribbean cruise ships

As someone who commonly works from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, working with the ships’ internet speeds has been a constant struggle. I was curious to see how much Starlink internet would improve my working experience.

Putting it to the test: working remotely from Liberty of the Seas

I’ve been onboard Liberty of the Seas for the past three days now and have been blown away by how much easier working remotely (or even just browsing the internet) from the ship has been with Starlink internet speeds.

As soon as I got onboard, I tested the ship’s new internet, which was implemented just a few weeks ago. I was shocked to see a speed of nearly 70 mbps download and 8 mbps upload. For those unfamiliar with internet speeds, this is, as Google tells me, “very fast”.

Royal Caribbean’s previous internet service, VOOM internet, would typically have speeds of only 4 mbps download and 2 mbps upload. This is a huge difference not only for remote workers, but for anyone trying to use the internet onboard a cruise ship.

During my first day onboard, I was ecstatic to be able to send a few photos over to the Royal Caribbean Blog team and video chat family back home with no hassle, but how would the speeds hold up when sailing through the middle of the Caribbean?

Day 2 of our sailing was a sea day en route to the Dominican Republic. Being nowhere near land, I assumed the speed would be slower, but I still saw speeds of 18mbps download and 10 mbps upload.

Uploading a video on Starlink internet

To put these speeds into perspective, I’ll give an example of one way Royal Caribbean’s new Starlink internet can improve working conditions for remote workers.

Because we upload three videos weekly to the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube channel, I need a solid internet connection while onboard. Previously, it might take 4+ hours to upload a 2GB video file to YouTube. I would usually leave the video to upload overnight and pray it successfully uploaded by the time I woke up the next morning!

When I tested it out this week on Liberty of the Seas, however, I was able to upload a 2GB video (a large file size) in just 45 minutes…while in the middle of the Caribbean Sea!

While the upload and download speeds still aren't the fastest internet speeds in the world, they are 1000x better than the non-Starlink internet onboard. Unsurprisingly, internet speeds seem to be a bit faster when near land compared to at sea.

Today, for example, I checked the speed as we are nearing the coastline of the Dominican Republic and was impressed to see a speed of 76 mbps download and 15.8 mbps upload!

In addition to working remotely, I’ve had absolutely zero connection issues when using the internet to stream videos on YouTube or video chat family back home. Compared to the past when Royal Caribbean’s VOOM internet would randomly shut on and off, my experience with Starlink onboard has been nothing but incredible!

The biggest issues with working remotely on a cruise


While Starlink Internet has made working remotely on a cruise ship infinitely better than in the past, it still comes with a few struggles that can make or break your ability to work remotely onboard.

Lack of public outlets

My biggest struggle whenever I work remotely on a cruise ship is that it’s difficult to find places to charge electronics outside of your cabin.

For obvious reasons, Royal Caribbean does not want its guests to sit on their computers and phones when they could be exploring the ship, participating in activities, shopping, and ordering drinks. There’s no real benefit in offering public outlets around the ship from a revenue perspective.

With a little exploration, however, you can usually find a few outlets in most public venues onboard. These outlets are almost always European-style (Type C) outlets, as these are the outlets used for the ship’s vacuums, so be sure to pack an outlet adapter.

If you’re able to work for several hours on one computer charge, you’ll find it easier to work remotely from a cruise ship compared to someone who must keep their electronics constantly plugged in.

I must say, however, that Liberty of the Seas has had the best remote work setup I've seen on any of the cruise line's ships yet. The internet cafe onboard has tables and chairs with several sets of both European and US-style outlets.

Ambient sound

If your work involves back-to-back calls throughout the day, you’ll find it difficult to find a quiet space to work from outside of your cabin.

From background music to ship announcements and conversations from fellow passengers, you’ll encounter noise in most public areas. While not always loud, it can be distracting if you’re hoping for a quiet “office” space.

Working from an international location

Ship docked in Caribbean

One other potential problem you may run into when trying to work remotely from a cruise ship is that you are technically working outside of the United States.

It’s important to review your company’s protocols and applicable tax laws before clocking in from the beach in Mexico or when sailing near the Cuban coastline.

My conclusion: it's totally possible to work from a cruise ship

As a remote worker, I constantly found myself wasting hours onboard waiting for photos and videos to upload to the Royal Caribbean Blog website or YouTube channel and it was insanely frustrating.

My recent cruise on Liberty of the Seas gave me the confidence that I can successfully work from a Royal Caribbean ship without any unnecessary stress or headaches.

Due to the fleet’s new Starlink internet and the increase in digital nomads—remote workers who travel the world with their laptops—I believe we will see more and more passengers taking a “workation” on Royal Caribbean’s ships in the future.

While working remotely on Royal Caribbean’s ships has always been possible, it’s certainly easier and more enjoyable now than ever before.

New Icon of the Seas aerial construction photos with AquaDome installed

08 Nov 2022
Matt Hochberg

It's been a few weeks since our last construction photo update of Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship.

Icon of the Seas at shipyard under construction

Icon of the Seas is being constructed at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, and RoyalCaribbeanBlog commissioned a new set of drone photos to share with all of you what the ship looks like.

Since these are exclusive photos, please do not redistribute these photos. Feel free to share a link to this article instead.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022

These photos were taken earlier today from near the shipyard.

Last time we shared a photo update, we did not know what features Royal Caribbean had planned for the ship as details were still under wraps.  Since then, Royal Caribbean has revealed what the ship looks like, as well as many of the notable fun things to do onboard.  

One major change you're likely to notice is the addition of the AquaDome to the front of the ship.

Icon of the Seas October 2022 construction update

The AquaDome will be a new neighborhood on Icon of the Seas that doubles as dining venue and evening theater.

Icon of the Seas October 2022 construction update
Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022

The AquaDome was lifted from its former location behind the ship to its current position at the front of the ship.

You'll also notice the bow of the ship is fully installed, featuring the parabolic bow.

This is a functional design element that creates a curved indentation in the bottom of the vessel’s hull. 

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022

Moving to the side of the ship, we can see a good look at the progress being made across the ship.

While none of the water slides are added yet, we can see the support structures for them.

Side of Icon of the Seas at shipyard

The Royal Caribbean logo is also on the side of the ship, which is where you can try the Crown’s Edge aerial adventure.

It’s part skywalk, part ropes course, part thrill ride, and the floor can fall away leaving you dangling high over the ocean. 

Let's move to the aft of the ship and see the progress being made on the back half of the ship.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022
Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022
Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022

Where the AquaDome was located before, we still see something in its place.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022
Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022

Icon of the Seas is scheduled to be delivered in late 2023 and begin sailing in January 2024.

Icon of the Seas is scheduled to start sailing in
Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022

Icon of the Seas is the first of three Icon Class cruise ships, although more could be ordered. The other two Icon Class ships will be in service by 2026.

Top 10 Liberty of the Seas hidden secrets

08 Nov 2022
Jenna DeLaurentis

Liberty of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Class cruise ships, is packed with onboard activities, dining options, and impressive entertainment. Everything from waterslides and ice skating to a Broadway show can be found onboard, but with all the excitement of a Royal Caribbean cruise, it’s easy to miss out on some of the ship’s best features.

Because Liberty of the Seas just repositioned from Galveston to Fort Lauderdale, there will be many cruisers onboard this ship for the very first time. To make sure you are as prepared as possible for a cruise on Liberty of the Seas, we’re sharing our top 10 hidden secrets that you shouldn’t overlook.

Tidal Wave waterslide

Waterslides have become more and more common on cruise ships, and Liberty of the Seas has one of the most unique waterslides in Royal Caribbean’s fleet: the Tidal Wave.

The Tidal Wave waterslide is a boomerang-style slide, which allows guests to slide on a raft downhill before “boomeranging” up a nearly vertical wall. This boomerang motion brings a feeling of weightlessness to passengers before they slide back down for a big splash.

Related: Which Royal Caribbean ships have water slides?

Because this type of waterslide is only found on Liberty of the Seas, don’t miss the opportunity to try it once onboard!

Other than the Tidal Wave, you can also find the Perfect Storm waterslides on Liberty of the Seas.

In-pool seating at the Solarium

There’s no swim up bar available on Liberty of the Seas (the fleet’s first will come to Icon of the Seas). You can, however, order a drink at the Solarium Bar and enjoy it from the ship’s in-pool table and chairs.

Located directly under the bridge above the Solarium pool is a small table with chairs located underwater. If you’re looking for the most refreshing place to enjoy a tropical cocktail or beer onboard, this is undoubtedly the best spot.

Because this area is located in the Solarium, it’s reserved for guests aged 16 and above.

Related: Everything about Royal Caribbean’s Solarium

Free saunas and steam rooms

One perk of sailing on Liberty of the Seas is having access to complimentary saunas and steam rooms in the Shipshape Fitness Center.

These saunas and steam rooms are gender-segregated. They can be found in both the men and women’s changing rooms in the gym on Liberty of the Seas. Each changing room has one sauna and one steam room.

On newer or recently amplified Royal Caribbean ships, these complimentary spa areas have been removed. On some ships this area has been removed altogether whereas on others they have built a thermal spa in its place.

The thermal spa on those ships, though, comes at an extra cost. This makes the complimentary saunas and steam rooms a huge benefit of sailing on Liberty of the Seas.

There’s a Broadway show

Most Broadway shows are found only on Oasis or Quantum Class ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, but did you know Liberty of the Seas also has a Broadway show?

Saturday Night Fever can be found on Liberty of the Seas. This show transports guests straight to the 1970s to follow the story of Tony Manero, a Brooklynite who spends his weeknights dancing at a local nightclub.

The 90-minute show features music from the Bee Gees, Sunshine Band, and Tavares.


Liberty of the Seas is one of the only ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet without Izumi Sushi, but another top-notch restaurant can be found in its place: Sabor.

Sabor is Royal Caribbean’s Mexican specialty restaurant which focuses on combining traditional flavors with a modern twist. The restaurant is most well-known for offering endless guacamole customized to your spice preference.

Related: How to know if you should buy a Royal Caribbean dining package

Don’t miss the opportunity to build your own tacos with a choice of barbacoa, spicy chicken, fish tempura, or shrimp. If you’d prefer something different, consider a burrito, quesadilla, ceviche, calamari, or chicken-stuffed jalapeños.

You can also pair your meal with one of Sabor’s specialty margaritas, such as the Sweet & Spicy Margarita. Combining Patrón Reposado tequila with fresh juices from pineapple, carrot, lime, and red chili pepper, this drink is sure to pair perfectly with endless Mexican food.

Ben & Jerry’s Suite

When Royal Caribbean built the Freedom Class ships, including Liberty of the Seas, they built a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor in the Royal Promenade.

The decor of Ben & Jerry’s includes signage with two cow statues overlooking the promenade. Although these statues added to the store’s design, they created a problem: the statues blocked the view from cabin 6305, one of the ship’s interior promenade view staterooms.

Related: The rare cruise ship cabins that get booked very quickly

Because of this, Royal Caribbean turned cabin 6305 into the Ben & Jerry’s Sweet. Instead of the typical cabin decor found elsewhere onboard, this cabin is designed with cow motif, including cow-print bedding, cow pillows, and cow wall art.

The best perks of the Ben & Jerry Sweet, however, include vouchers for complimentary Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and access to the Suite Lounge.

Helicopter Pad

All Radiance, Voyager, and Freedom Class cruise ships provide guests access to the helicopter pad. Located in the front of the ship, this spot is one of the best places to watch sailaway on Liberty of the Seas.

Related: The best spot for sailaway on every Royal Caribbean cruise ship

To access the helicopter pad on Liberty of the Seas, go to the outdoor Promenade Deck on deck 4. Walk all the way forward until you reach a set of stairs. Go up the stairs to deck 5, walk all the way forward, and you will reach the helicopter pad.

Easily missed quiet areas

While most people spend a Royal Caribbean cruise enjoying activities, entertainment, and lounging by the pool, some guests are looking for a quiet space to relax.

Liberty of the Seas has quite a few hidden places to take a break from the hustle and bustle found elsewhere onboard. Most of these locations can easily be overlooked, however, especially if you don’t stumble upon them by chance.

Here are our favorite tranquil spots on Liberty of the Seas:

  • Internet Cafe/Loyalty Ambassador space (deck 8 between aft elevators)
  • Library (deck 9 between aft elevators)
  • Card Room (deck 10 between aft elevators)
  • Seating space near Liberty Dunes (deck 13 forward)

On Air Karaoke Club

Karaoke is a popular nighttime activity onboard any Royal Caribbean cruise ship, but Liberty of the Seas has a separate karaoke venue, the On Air club. Located on deck 3 by the Studio B ice-skating rink, this area of the ship is often overlooked due to areas like the theater and Royal Promenade.

If you’re looking to watch your fellow passengers put their vocal skills to the test (or bust out your own favorite tune) be sure to spend time at On Air while on Liberty of the Seas.

Most karaoke-specific venues are only found on Oasis Class ships, with others opting to have karaoke in other onboard entertainment spaces instead. This makes the On Air club on Liberty of the Seas unique—and the best place to watch karaoke onboard.

Red dog statue

If you’re searching for a fun photo opportunity, head to the port side aft elevators on Liberty of the Seas. Here you’ll find a cute statue of a red dog overlooking the Royal Promenade.

This fun statue may not bark or play fetch, but it’s a fun piece of art in addition to all the other unique artwork found on Liberty of the Seas.

For the best photo opportunity with the big red dog, have the photo-taker stand directly across from the dog at the starboard side elevators.

Cruising soon? Check out more hidden secrets on Royal Caribbean cruise ships:

Royal Caribbean adds 363-ton dome to top of Icon of the Seas

08 Nov 2022
Matt Hochberg

Construction of Icon of the Seas has reached a new milestone with one of the signature areas added to the ship.

AquaDome installed on Icon of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has designed Icon of the Seas to have many new features that stand out from the rest of the fleet, as well as just about every other cruise ship out there.

The AquaDome is a new neighborhood concept that will take the AquaTheater concept from Oasis Class cruise ships to a new level.

AquaDome installation process
AquaDome installation process

On Sunday, the Meyer Turku shipyard installed the 363-ton dome, which has over 600 glass panels and was installed using more than 1,600 feet of cables. The length of cables is longer than the height of the Empire State Building.

Lifting the AquaDome

The process of lifting the massive dome is a large-scale, complex process.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from October 2022

Up until now, the AquaDome was located next to Icon of the Seas at the shipyard.

AquaDome installation process
AquaDome installation process

The dome had been constructed on its own in tandem with ship construction. This is a common strategy in cruise ship building, as it allows multiple facets of the cruise ship construction process to be done simultaneously.

Cruise ship cabins, ship blocks, and other features are built elsewhere and then assembled together later at the shipyard.

What is the AquaDome?


Once complete, the AquaDome is located at the very top of Icon of the Seas.

It will be home to restaurants, retail, bars, lounge spaces, and–most importantly–Royal Caribbean’s next-level AquaTheater.

Aquadome render

By day, passengers can relax in one of the AquaDome’s comfortable seating areas with expansive, 220 degree views of the ocean. Based on the ship’s deck plans, the AquaDome also features several dining venues including Hooked Seafood.

The show has the tallest waterfall at sea (55 feet tall), along with flying artists and divers.

Royal Caribbean is also promising guests will see a transforming pool, four robotic arms, state-of-the-art projection, and more.

Other notable new neighborhoods on Icon of the Seas

Hidewaway aerial

Besides AquaDome, there will be a few other new areas added to Icon of the Seas that are new to Royal Caribbean.

Thrill Island is a new water park at the top of Icon of the Seas, which has 6 waterslides to choose from.

If you prefer relaxation over excitement, then Chill Island neighborhood is for you, with seven pools to choose from, along with whirlpools, in-water loungers and breathtaking views. 

Surfside neighborhood with Water's Edge pool

The Surfside neighborhood is another new concept designed with young families in mind, where adults and kids ages six and under can stay and play all day.

There will also be a revamped adults-only area, known as Cloud 17. For guests age 16+ years old, it overlooks the ocean with dedicated Lime &
Coconut bar and whirlpool.

Thrill Island water park render on Icon of the Seas

The Hideaway has a multilevel terrace and first suspended infinity pool at sea.

Icon of the Seas launches in 2024

Icon of the Seas aerial top

Icon of the Seas will debut in January 2024 from her homeport of Miami.

The first sailing of Icon of the Seas, a seven-night voyage out of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean, is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2024.

The ship will alternate between Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean itineraries.

Subtropical storm Nicole disrupts Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries. Here are the changes so far

07 Nov 2022
Matt Hochberg

Hurricane season isn't over yet, and the proof of that is in the late-season subtropical storm Nicole.

While not a hurricane yet (and possibly never a true hurricane), Royal Caribbean has begun re-routing a number of ships to avoid the path of the storm.  

Guests with sailings this week have been notified on a series of changes.

"We're very sorry for the last-minute change caused by the weather. The decision to modify our itinerary is not one taken lightly, and we explored all options before taking this measure," a letter distributed to guests on Liberty of the Seas said.

"However, as always, your safety comes first."

"Please know, being onboard a ship is one of the safest places to be because we are faster and can move out of the way of any inclement weather.

Read moreSafe at sea: what it’s like on a cruise ship when there’s a hurricane

Freedom of the Seas aerial at Nassau

Here are the changes due to Subtropical storm Nicole so far:

Liberty of the Seas will change her 4-night Bahamas cruise to skip all scheduled ports and instead sail to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Freedom of the Seas will change from a 4-night Bahamas cruise to head to Falmouth, Jamaica instead.

Anthem of the Seas is altering her 7-night Bahamas itinerary to instead visit Labadee for two days in a row.

Independence of the Seas will still be able to visit Nassau as scheduled, but will drop a visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The November 7 sailing of Independence of the Seas will be extended by one day and will now return on November 12. As a result, the November 11 sailing of Independence of the Seas will be shortened by a day and begin on November 12.

Enchantment of the Seas is on an 8-night Southeast Coast and Perfect Day Cruise.  She was already able to visit Charleston and Port Canaveral, but will drop Nassau and CocoCay and head back north.

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

Necessary changes

Altering the planned itinerary for cruise ships due to a tropical storm is no simple task, and a large part of the planning process falls to Royal Caribbean's in-house meteorologist.

James Van Fleet shared a video update on Monday explaining the nuances of predicting a hurricane's track, which is necessary to know where to send Royal Caribbean's fleet to avoid the path.

"This is a very odd track, friends. It looks super weird, but it all makes sense to me meteorologically how this plays out."

Mr. Van Fleet explained that the storm's track is the result of various fronts the storm will encounter, including a cold front that is going to, "punch it right in the face, knock it back to the south west."

"That's why such a weird track over the Bahamas, down over Florida, and then finally going north. It's because that first front literally pushes it back to the southwest. It hangs out for about 12 hours or so, and then a next front comes and grabs it as we get into Thursday and Friday and will yank it up the East Coast as we head into Saturday, Sunday and Monday."

Mr. Van Fleet sees swells between North Carolina, the Bahamas, and the east coast of Florida.

"I think the worst part of that will be on Wednesday in the middle of the week. And that's when much of the fleet is out in ports and away from Florida."

How bad seas? Mr. Van Fleet is expecting ocean swells between 21-28 feet (7 or 8 meters).

Where is Subtropical storm Nicole headed?

Tropical Storm Alex

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is located about 495 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas.

Nicole has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and a minimum central pressure of 1002 mb.

According to the National Hurricane Center, a subtropical storm is a cyclone where maximum sustained surface wind speed is 39 mph or more.

Meteorologists expect Nicole will gradually strengthen over the next few days and be near or at hurricane intensity by Wednesday as it approaches Florida.