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Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Sea Day

26 Dec 2021
Matt Hochberg

Our first full day on Navigator is a sea day as we head south to Mexico.

Of course, it's also Christmas, which means a ship-wide celebration throughout the day. Being on a cruise ship for Christmas doesn't mean you have to put off your family's celebrations. Lots of families do the pajama thing, take photos, and even decorate.

I started off my morning heading up to the Windjammer for breakfast. There was a gingerbread village just as you walk in.

Behind the village is complimentary eggnog and hot chocolate, conveniently located right near the Windjammer bar. A little Kraken rum and eggnog go a long way.

All around the ship, you will find crew members wearing different Christmas hats and clothing to join in the celebrations.

In case you're wondering, Royal Caribbean provides a midnight mass, as well as Christmas day mass.

While the sun was shining today, it was not warm out.  The high temperature was somewhere in the 60s, and with the ocean breeze, it felt brisk.

Of the many Christmas events, there was a "Holiday gift distribution", where Royal Caribbean provided a wrapped gift to all the kids from Adventure Ocean.

The gift was an Adventure Ocean themed pop it, which is a fidget toy consisting of a silicone tray with pokable bubbles. School aged children love these things.

With the weather not warm enough for the usual pool deck activities, we hit up the mini-golf course and then grabbed some towels to sit by the pool. The towels were for a blanket, rather than to soak up water.

We tried to hit up the ice skating, but the line was enormous, so ditched the line. This is one time I wish I had a Royal Genie again.

Royal Caribbean also held a Christmas day brunch from 9:30am to 1pm in the main dining room.

It is quite unusual to have the main dining room open for so long, and it was nice that you could choose between breakfast, lunch, or both.

After lunch, I decided to head back to the room for a nap. Isn't that a Christmas tradition too?

Having been on the ship for 24 hours, I thought it would make sense to talk about the mask rules and how it's working so far.

Many readers have been curious how the stricter mask rules "feel", and what it's like.

In general, the revised mask protocols means the change is wearing your mask in vaccinated-only zones. 

My experience has been if you are seated in a bar, restaurant, or lounge, as long as there was food or drink in front of you, you were fine without masks and not asked to put the mask on between bites or sips.

I've noticed nearly everyone compliant with the mask rules indoors.  I can think of perhaps one person that didn't have the mask on indoors when I saw them. 

There are definitely a few masks worn by guests that I don't think qualify as masks that do anything helpful, such as face shields alone or the one person had what looked like a coffee filter-inspired mask.

But I cannot recall seeing so many masks being worn on a ship since the early days of cruising's return.

There have also been many more people than I can recall seeing wearing masks outdoors as well.

I don't think Royal Caribbean wants to be in a situation where there are crew members every 10 feet looking to correct mask wearing, but I do know they want guests following the rules, and overall it feels like they've done a good job of focusing on the guest experience, while balancing mask enforcement.

The one rule no one seems to follow or enforce is the elevator rule. Elevators are supposed to be up to 5 people or your travel party, but those things get jam packed repeatedly. 

I'll keep an eye on the mask situation onboard, but so far, I'm very pleased with how the rule has been implemented and how well-received it has been from guests.

Back to the cruise day fun!

Dinner tonight took us to Izumi. We bought the 3-night dining package, and since Chops and Jamie's were blacked out due to the holiday, Izumi made sense. Plus, we'd probably be eating Asian cuisine on Christmas if we were at home!

The one change I noticed is the absence of the hot rock option from the menu.  During the shutdown, Royal Caribbean standardized Izumi's menu across the fleet, and the hot rocks are gone from Navigator, at the very least.

Nonetheless, we found great options and I enjoyed the various sushi options we had.

After dinner, we took the kids to Adventure Ocean. We had a reservation for this evening.  One tip is to ask daily if there's any reservations you can make. The staff member said tomorrow was pretty open, but there were a few spots for the next day.  So we booked that day, and will roll the dice on space for tomorrow.

With the kids gone, my wife and I headed down to the casino to try our luck. The Blackjack gods did not smile upon me, but at least they let me play for a while.

Following our "contribution" to the Royal Caribbean bottom line, we enjoyed drinks and music at the Schooner Bar and Pub.

Tomorrow is our first port stop in Cabo San Lucas.

Stray Observations

One of the weird foods you can eat on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship: three different varieties of gravlax.

I did an internet test today and the speeds were nothing special, but for email, social media, and text messaging, it's more than sufficient. My attempts to watch TNT live so I could catch the Christmas Story marathon failed every single time because of the low speeds and high lag.

I think the casitas on Navigator are complimentary, and do not cost extra. 

In his daily update, the Captain said on Navigator's last 7-night run, they saw a pod of humpback whales, so everyone should look for them as we arrive in Mexico tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I slept on my right shoulder last night and woke up with a strained muscle. Ibuprofen and laying down helps a lot. I'm hoping it gets better quickly.

I ran across the Diamond Lounge set up in the Cosmopolitan Club for their evening happy hour.

Printed Cruise Compasses are a rare breed on this cruise.

Here's a look at the main dining room Christmas menu

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day

25 Dec 2021
Matt Hochberg

Our cruise is here, and we're ready to board Navigator of the Seas for a 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise.

My family and I flew from Orlando to Los Angeles earlier this week, so we could spend a few extra days in Los Angeles and take the kids to Disneyland.

The flight over was great, and we stayed at the Residence Inn Anaheim near the Convention Center. It was walkable to Disneyland, and a 40 minute Lyft ride to the port.

Our embarkation time was 12:30pm, so we hung out at the hotel before requesting a Lyft to take us to the port.

When we arrived at the terminal, no one checked anyone's boarding times and was just allowing anyone to check-in.  This was disappointing, because not only is it the opposite of what Royal Caribbean has been preaching about the importance of check-in times, but it made for a much more crowded and slow check-in procedure.

Be sure to print out your luggage tags before the cruise, because there was a huge line for people who needed luggage tags. It seems the porters in Los Angeles do not have extra luggage tags on them like the porters in Florida or New York do.

Our kids (6 and 11 years old) are fully vaccinated, so I knew we'd have to still jump through a few hurdles to prove they are vaccinated. Royal Caribbean's check-in system has no mechanism yet to distinguish between vaccinated kids and unvaccinated kids.

We had to first go to the testing area to prove they were vaccinated and skip the test. Then, we had to wait in another (longer) line at check-in for them to once again prove the kids were vaccinated.

The rest of the check-in procedure was easy enough, and we made it onboard the ship.

Navigator looks great, and it's my first time back onboard since 2019.

We knocked out the emuster drill as soon as we could. So easy and fast!

The cabins were not ready until 1pm, so we went up to the pool deck to relax.  Kids ate ice cream, while I enjoyed the very comfortable outdoor temperatures.  It was partially sunny with highs in the upper 60s.

My wife went to the spa for a pre-booked massage.

The rooms opened up at 1pm. We have two connecting balcony cabins on this cruise, right near the elevator. I'm a big fan of two connecting rooms rather than one cabin with kids. The extra space and bathroom make a big difference.

Next stop was Adventure Ocean to register the kids. I'm disappointed with the Covid restrictions Adventure Ocean has currently. Families are limited to one reservation for the entire 7-night cruise.

If Royal Caribbean feels good about increasing the ship's capacity, Adventure Ocean has to scale up proportionally to match. 

I'm hopeful there will be more space available later in the sailing, but the staff gave no indication to expect more times other than to luck out with extra spots. Alas, I know we'll have a good time, but it makes planning for families more of a challenge.

For lunch, we stopped by the Windjammer. Like much of the ship, there's plenty of Christmas decorations, including a gingerbread village.

Speaking of decorations, there is the large tree on the Royal Promenade too.

I also noticed a mailbox for letters to Santa near Guest Services.

Back in the room, it was time to get ready for our evening activities.

As you may know, Royal Caribbean announced last week stricter face mask rules. Those new rules are in place for this sailing, which basically mean you cannot take your mask off for being vaccinated in a vaccinated-zone.

Likewise, you cannot walk around with a drink or piece of food without a mask. So far on the first day, mask compliance has been pretty good across the ship.

I ran up to the pool deck to catch the evening sunset.  Too many clouds to make for a great sunset, but the colors in the sky were nice.

While on the top deck, there was a hot chocolate station set up, where you could optionally get liquor added to it for the adults.

Dinner tonight was in the main dining room. I had gone down earlier to check with the head waiter about our table assignment to ensure we weren't in the unvaccinated deck, and sure enough we were not.

The dining room was pretty full, and decorated for Christmas.

After dinner, we took a stroll down the Royal Promenade and checked out the Bamboo Room.

At about 8:30 I called Adventure Ocean to see if there were any spots (they opened at 8pm on the first day) and sure enough there were! I dropped the kids off, and then met my wife back in the English style pub.

I love the music of the pub, which always has a guitarist playing.

On this ship, some friends that had sailed a few times on Navigator since the restart had "warned" the pub staff to expect me, and we had a nice laugh together.

Tomorrow is a sea day, as we sail south to Mexico.

Stray Observations

Guest services told me on two separate occasions we have about 2600 passengers onboard. They did not yet have a final count, but said we are at about 60% capacity on this sailing.

We have the new cans of water on Navigator (instead of the bottles).

The Windjammer is open for dinner on this sailing.

Live Blog Index

CDC investigation of Royal Caribbean cruise ship with Covid-19 cases on it reveal only mild symptoms

24 Dec 2021
Matt Hochberg

While Covid-19 cases on a cruise ship are never good news, the findings thus far show little concern.

Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas made headlines this week when just 1% of fully vaccinated crew members and passengers tested positive for Covid-19. 

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley shared a quote from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that indicates the cases onboard are all either mild or asymptomatic.

"The CDC is investigating the recent increase in COVID-19 cases identified on Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) Odyssey of the Seas," CDC spokesperson David Daigle told members of the media.

6 things you can only do on Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

"All cases appear to be mild or asymptomatic. Additionally, there have been no COVID-19 related hospitalizations, medical evacuations, ventilator use, or deaths from this ship."

Mr. Bayley touted this as a positive turn of events, "Bad news Good news!"

"Thought this statement by the CDC is helpful and supports what we are seeing with the mainly crew covid positive cases."

Mr. Bayley feels the fact the cases were very mild demonstrates that while Omicron spreads easier and faster than other Covid-19 variants, its effects appear to be milder, "More and more reports are confirming what we are seeing onboard! This new variant rapidly transmits yet no one (vaccinated) appears to get very sick."

Mr. Bayley has gone on the offense in recent days with social media posts following two Royal Caribbean cruise ships reporting between 40 and 50 cases of Covid-19.

In the case of Odyssey of the Seas, she was prevented from visiting Curacao and Aruba because of the cases onboard.

Two Royal Caribbean cruise ships will begin simulated cruises today | Royal Caribbean Blog

Last week, Symphony of the Seas had just 0.78% of the passengers onboard test positive for Covid-19.

While the mainstream media jumped on the story of another cruise ship with Covid, Mr. Bayley took the time to explain yesterday why things are not nearly as bad as they may seem in certain reports.

"We are seeing increases in positivity rates with some ships currently close to 1 percent (please note Florida positivity rate is 5 percent, which is pretty good relative to others)."

Symphony of the Seas 2018 Live Blog - Cruise Preview | Royal Caribbean Blog

"Recently Symphony of the Seas was in the media spotlight with 48 positive cases (mainly guests) which was less than 1 percent of the onboard population."

"My hope is this really is the beginning of the end of this virus and what we are seeing is its morphing to fast spread and less harmful like the common cold!  (If vaccinated)."

Royal Caribbean restarts cruises from Baltimore

24 Dec 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's restart process has reached Baltimore, Maryland.

Enchantment of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Enchantment of the Seas restarted cruises on Thursday when she departed from the Port of Baltimore to resume passenger operations.

Enchantment of the Seas will sail south to The Bahamas, and offer a 8-night cruise over the Christmas holiday.

Royal Caribbean will offer 8-night Bahamas sailings, and select 12-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean from Baltimore.

Port Executive Director William P. Doyle is joined by Cruise Maryland General Manager Cindy Burman, Deputy Executive Director Brian Miller, Operations Director Ryan Barry, and Operations General Manager Rockye Truelove

“The return of Royal Caribbean to the Port of Baltimore is great way to celebrate the holiday season!” said Maryland Port Administration Executive Director William P. Doyle.

“People love to cruise from Baltimore for so many reasons starting with our location. Our cruise terminal is directly off Interstate 95 and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is only 15 minutes away. We’re located right alongside Baltimore’s world-famous Inner Harbor, as well as Federal Hill, Fort McHenry, and Fells Point with plenty of sightseeing, dining, and shopping options. Come cruise from Baltimore, enjoy our great city, and sail to some of the most incredible tropical paradises in the world.”

Enchantment's 2022-2023 schedule has her offering cruises to Bermuda, including longer sailings that visit Bermuda and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Enchantment of the Seas Live Blog Day 1 - Embarkation Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

In August 2022, Enchantment will transition to offer Canada & New England cruises through October.

She will then spend winter 2022 into 2023 going back south to offer 7- to 12-night Southern Caribbean cruises.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has sailed from Baltimore since 2004.

What's next for the restart

Royal Caribbean announces Vision of the Seas will sail from Bermuda | Royal Caribbean Blog

Enchantment will be the last Royal Caribbean cruise ship to restart cruises in 2021. Vision of the Seas is next on the schedule, with a restart on January 24th.

That will leave just three more Royal Caribbean cruise ships to restart operations in the first half of 2022.

You can see Royal Caribbean's cruise ship restart plans for more deployment information leading into 2022.

Royal Caribbean's plan to buy Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport canceled

23 Dec 2021
Jenna DeLaurentis

Royal Caribbean’s plans to purchase the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport are off, but the company plans to participate in a new bid process.

The sale agreement of the Grand Lucayan was canceled this week after the new administration in The Bahamas determined that the way the sale was structured was ‘not in the best interests of the Bahamian people’. Concerns of clarity on how quickly the project would be advanced were mentioned.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation Chester Cooper stated that “The government was frankly not satisfied with what was proposed or that the project would be advanced in the short or medium term. We were not willing to continue on without clear timeline for completion and were of the view that many of the terms were not in the best interest of the Bahamian people.”

In early March 2020, Royal Caribbean announced plans to purchase the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport, Bahamas. Bahamas Ports Investments Limited (BPI), the joint venture of ITM Group and Royal Caribbean Group, spent months negotiating the sale of the resort, which is owned by the Bahamian government, to transform it into a popular port destination.

Plans included a transformation of the Lucaya Property into a beachfront destination, which would include a 526-room hotel, shopping village, spa and wellness center, water and adventure park, convention center, adventure activities (such as ziplining), restaurants and bars, and entertainment. The resort would be a popular attraction for both land and cruise guests.

There were also plans for a major enhancement project at Harbour Village, the cruise ship terminal in Freeport. Enhancements would include shopping and dining venues and a transportation hub. However, BPI was unable to finalize a deal with Freeport Harbour Company. As the purchase of the resort was contingent upon reaching an agreement with the port, efforts were delayed.

The Bahamian government still plans to sell the property, noting that new investors of the Grand Lucayan will more than likely not depend on development of the port. Mr. Cooper mentioned that coupling the port and resort together was a bad idea, as it led to significant economic delay as Royal Caribbean and ITM Group struggled to reach an agreement with Freeport Harbour Company.

Royal Caribbean still plans to participate in the new bid process for the resort, though. After ITM Group’s withdrew from the acquisition, Royal Caribbean began searching for a new partner in the land-based hospitality industry.

“We look forward to participating in the new public bid process for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan once a bid is issued by the government of The Bahamas. The transformation of the Grand Lucayan into a premier entertainment resort will complement our plans for the development of a world-class cruise ship port facility in Freeport to re-establish Grand Bahama as one of the world’s most popular cruise destinations.”

Royal Caribbean will also be investing in the $450 million transformation of the Grand Bahama Shipyard, where it holds a 40% stake. They have stated that they remain committed to supporting the government’s vision for transformation of tourism offerings in Grand Bahama.


Royal Caribbean CEO gives update on Omicron Covid-19 cases on cruise ships

23 Dec 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International's top executive took to Facebook on Thursday to address the recent news of Covid cases on his cruise ships.

Symphony of the Seas concludes second set of sea trials | Royal Caribbean Blog

In the wake of two Royal Caribbean cruise ships making headline news for having around 50 positive Covid cases on each ship, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO posted on his Facebook page a new update about where things stand, and why cruise ships are out performing everywhere else in terms of the positivity rate.

Mr. Bayley is no stranger to posting on social media to talk about the progress being made by Royal Caribbean.

Here is a breakdown of what Mr. Bayley said from his Facebook post.

Positivity rate on cruise ships

Symphony of the Seas 2021 cruise recap | Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Bayley touted the fact cruise ships are doing better than the average across the United States for Covid-19 positive cases.

"We now have a “positivity” rate way below the national rate and way below our big home port states such as Florida, California, Texas etc, and way below Broward and Miami Dade in Florida the two counties that are home to of our biggest home ports of Miami and Port Everglades."

Mr. Bayley then shared his opinion on the omicron variant, noting that he is not a public health official.

Symphony of the Seas December construction photo update | Royal Caribbean Blog

"We are seeing increases in positivity rates with some ships currently close to 1 percent (please note Florida positivity rate is 5 percent, which is pretty good relative to others).

"Recently Symphony of the Seas was in the media spotlight with 48 positive cases (mainly guests) which was less than 1 percent of the onboard population.

"Also Odyssey of the Seas has 50 positive cases mainly crew with a onboard population of over 5,000 plus, so approx 1 percent positivity rate."

Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas begins inaugural sailing | Royal Caribbean Blog

He then went on to talk about the reality of the cases onboard the ships as being quite mild.

"98 percent plus of positive cases are with the fully vaccinated and 99 per cent plus are asymptomatic or with very mild symptoms often surprised they are positive at all.    

"It really does seem as though the virus (if vaccinated) has morphed to something more like a mild cold !   (Second notice this is not in anyway a statement based on science but simply what we are seeing and hearing from our operations in this environment). "

He went on to say that he hopes Omicron variant is the start of a milder form of Covid-19, "my hope is this really is the beginning of the end of this virus and what we are seeing is its morphing to fast spread and less harmful like the common cold !  (If vaccinated)."

Good news

Royal Caribbean is first cruise line to restart cruises from Tampa | Royal Caribbean Blog

He started off by highlighting the tremendous progress Royal Caribbean has had with getting the restart process moving, "We now have 21 ships back in operation, 40,000 crew back to work all fully vaccinated and all now receiving their booster shots and over 50,000 to 60,000 guests a week sailing with us all fully vaccinated (over 12) and increasingly the 5 to 12 year olds are getting vaccinated."

Mr. Bayley also shared how well-received cruises have been by the public.

"Guest satisfaction is sky high ! Lots of very happy guests enjoying wonderful cruise vacations in a safe (relative to any other options) and fun way."

"The crew (God bless them all) have been through all kinds of obstacles and difficulties and are now back doing what they love to do do and are now able to care for and support their families back home."

Vaccinations on cruise ships

Celebrity Cruises will not ask for proof of vaccine in Florida, but there will be different rules for those passengers | Royal Caribbean Blog

Mr. Bayley said on a typical sailing, there are between 95% - 98% fully vaccinated guests onboard, with everyone getting a pre-cruise test for Covid-19.

In addition, crew members are tested every week, with front of house staff (crew members who deal directly with passengers) now being tested every three days, and everyone wearing masks the vast majority of the time, along with social distancing, sanitizing, etc.

Ship capacity

5 things to love about Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean has slowly been increasing ship capacity since the summer, and Royal Caribbean is now approaching 70 to 80% in December 2021.

"We have also been managing capacity from our start up in July with 20 to 30 per cent average load factors increasing approx 10 per cent a month to approx 70 to 80 per cent in December."

"Our normal year full year load factor is approx 110 per cent. (3rd and 4th berth occupancy which is normally kids)."

Read Bayley's entire message

Spotted: Royal Caribbean pulls ability to book new cruises through January 10, 2022

23 Dec 2021
Matt Hochberg

It appears Royal Caribbean has removed the option to book a new Royal Caribbean cruise for sailings between now and January 10, 2022.

Royal Caribbean will base Allure of the Seas in Galveston beginning November 2022 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Cruise fans began to notice sailings for the next few weeks were not showing up as an option on Royal Caribbean's website as of Tuesday.

More than 24 hours later, these bookings are still unavailable.

According to at least one tweet from Royal Caribbean's Twitter account, all sailings between now and January 10, 2022 are closed, which means new reservations are not being accepted.

The tweet also said despite the sailings being closed, upgrades and room changes can take place subject to availability.

A few hours later, Royal Caribbean tweeted another update that they wanted to, "ensure guests who are already booked can enjoy even more space & peace of mind while onboard."

This could be a way to limit ships from increasing in capacity while concerns over the omicron variant continue to mount. Or something else entirely.

What does this mean?

Which Royal Caribbean cruise ship will you never sail on again? Here's what our readers said! | Royal Caribbean Blog

Other than the one tweet, there has not been any sort of announcement or clarification.

Some cruise fans theorized it meant cancellations were coming as a result of the recent positive Covid-19 cases on Symphony of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas, but the tweet seems to point to something else.

UPDATE: Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service at Royal Caribbean International provided additional information about these sailings, “At Royal Caribbean International, we have robust, multilayered protocols that safeguard the well-being of our guests, our crew members and the communities we visit – to make it the safest vacation possible.”

”These measures include vaccination requirements for our guests and crew, a facemask policy, pre-cruise testing for all guests, and weekly testing for every crew member, as well as physical distancing and limited capacity. Sailings departing through early January 2022 are no longer open to new reservations because they’ve met the limited capacity we’ve set. Changes to existing bookings, such as upgrades or stateroom adjustments are still being accommodated, although subject to availability.

Cruise fan reaction

4 futuristic ideas Royal Caribbean has for cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

While Royal Caribbean may not be saying much, cruise fans have plenty of opinions.

Members of the Royal Caribbean Information Facebook group shared their thoughts on what might be happening.

"I understand RCCL’s need to make $ but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to pack the ships full right now," writes Kim Dudzinski.

Photos: Odyssey of the Seas arrives in Israel | Royal Caribbean Blog

"Limiting capacity. Whatever's been sold is it," writes Bruce Ballaban.

"We noticed that too. We are sailing next Jan 9th on Oasis. 3-4 people from our facebook group called their TA to ask," writes Claudio Menis Cohen. "They told them that there is no more booking from 10/01/2022 to limit the capacity of people."

Royal Caribbean trademarks names possible new cruise ships

22 Dec 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean registered 24 new cruise ship names recently, which could be used for a new cruise ship.

The registrations were made with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Royal Caribbean Group filed 24 different trademark registrations with the PTO for names that sound like they might be used for cruise ship names.

Trademark registrations are notoriously vague, and rarely give much insight into what they may be used for onboard a cruise ship, but it can sometimes tip Royal Caribbean's hand in what they have planned.

The names were trademarked on December 16, 2021.

Here are all the new names trademarked:


It's worth noting that of the 24 names registered, one is a name previously used.

Splendor of the Seas is the name of a former Royal Caribbean cruise ship, although it was spelled "Splendour".

Royal Caribbean sold Splendour to Marella Cruises, where she serves now as the Marella Discovery.

Splendour was the second in line in the Vision Class.

Odyssey of the Seas construction photo update - October 30, 2020 | Royal Caribbean Blog

It is worth noting that Royal Caribbean has registered other cruise ship names that it never ended up using for actual ships. Joy of the Seas and Apex of the Seas were registered back in 2017 and have yet to be used.

Royal Caribbean currently has three unnamed ships on order, in addition to Wonder of the Seas & Icon of the Seas.

Why do these trademarks matter?

Spectrum of the Seas steel cutting ceremony | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you are curious what might be next for Royal Caribbean, trademark filings are a good hint of what the cruise line may be thinking.

While a lot of trademarks get filed but never used, some do end up being the names of new venues, services or even cruise ships.

With new cruise ships under construction, and other projects around the world in various stages of development, there is always a chance the dreamers at Royal Caribbean are ready to move from concept to reality, and locking in a name is part of that process.

When it comes to ship names, it is common for Royal Caribbean to register more names than it intends to use. Think of this list as the finalists in a naming competition. In short, it's better to have more names than you need to ensure no one takes up a name later.

What's your prediction?

Odyssey of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean's second Quantum Ultra Class ship and sail from United States | Royal Caribbean Blog

Now is your chance to show us how much you (think you) know! Share your predictions what these trademarks will be used for the name of a new ship in the future!

A look at the protocols Royal Caribbean has in place to combat Omicron variant

22 Dec 2021
Matt Hochberg

If the news reports of Covid-19 cases on cruise ships has you spooked, now may be a good opportunity to review the extensive health protocols Royal Caribbean has for passengers and crew members aboard its ships.

Odyssey of the Seas restaurants | Royal Caribbean Blog

The omicron variant has generated a new wave of attention to Covid-19 cases around the world, and since cruise lines require passengers and crew members to test for Covid-19 on each sailing (unlike any other industry), cases get more attention since the data is easy to gather.

The good news is Royal Caribbean has strengthened its protocols onboard, on top of what it had in place since the cruise industry restarted cruises in mid-2021.

Here is a look at the important things every Royal Caribbean cruise ship is doing right now to mitigate and limit the spread of Covid-19 on its ships.

Vaccine requirement

Royal Caribbean stock jumps after COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean requires all of its passengers to be fully vaccinated if they are at least 12 years old, with the final dose administered at least 14 days before sailing.

All crew members are fully vaccinated.

Each guest's regimen must include at least two doses of vaccine unless the guest received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Royal Caribbean extends ability to cancel cruises, shortens final payment window, and extends Covid-19 assistance program | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean will not accept a Certificate of Recovery in lieu of a vaccination record card for guests of vaccine eligible age.

Children age 11 and under do not require COVID-19 vaccination to cruise, but there are additional requirements of them in testing and areas on the ship they may not go.

Stricter mask requirements

Face masks on Royal Caribbean: What you need to know | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean has required face masks to be worn on its ships since cruises restarted in 2021, but they recently altered the rules to require it in more places.

Masks are required to be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status, unless actively eating or drinking.  This included previously designated vaccinated-only zones of the ship, such as the casino or bars.

Royal Caribbean even banned smoking in its casinos in an effort to keep masks on passengers while indoors.

Masks are allowed to be removed indoors while in your stateroom, or while outdoors.

Pre-cruise testing

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: September 5, 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Every passengers, regardless of if they are vaccinated or not, needs to get a Covid-19 test done before the cruise begins.

Vaccinated guests 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 test (not antigen) taken no more than 3 days before boarding day.

In addition, unvaccinated kids get another Covid test administered on embarkation day to add an additional layer of safety.

For cruises that are 5 nights or longer, unvaccinated kids will take a complimentary antigen test onboard before the cruise ends.

Air filtration

One area of concern with an airborne virus, such as Covid-19, is how it could spread indoors.

Royal Caribbean's ships utilize 100% fresh ocean air that is continuously supplied from outside.

Intake of air occurs on one side of the ship for cooling and ventilation, then the air is removed via exhaust on the opposite side of the ship.

This continual intake of fresh air replaces the air in any space, with a total air change up to 12 times an hour in staterooms, and about 15 changes an hour in large public spaces.

Fan coil units in your stateroom and public spaces provide an extra layer of protection, continuously scrubbing the air of pathogens, using a high-grade MERV 13 filter that captures aerosols 1 to 3 microns in size with 90% efficacy — fine enough to filter cold and flu germs and coronavirus.

An independent study by the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the National Strategic Research Institute onboard Oasis of the Seas confirmed that cross-contamination of air between adjacent spaces is virtually impossible thanks to this powerful system.

Upgraded medical care

A look at Royal Caribbean's upgraded cruise ship facilities to combat COVID-19 | Royal Caribbean Blog

One big change Royal Caribbean has made with its ships since the restart is to add doctors and nurses onboard each sailing and provide them with state-of-the-art equipment onboard.

In the event of a suspected case of COVID-19, Royal Caribbean is fully prepared with immediate medical evaluations, rapid COVID-19 testing and dedicated zones for COVID-19 care, more critical care beds on each ship, and robust treatment plans.

What happens if I test positive for Covid-19 during my cruise?

Staterooms | Royal Caribbean Blog

For many people, the concern is greater about being "stuck" on a ship than the effects Covid-19 has on them.

If you test positive for COVID-19 during the cruise, Royal Caribbean will cover the costs of Covid-19 related medical treatment onboard, any required land-based quarantine, and travel home for you and any family members living with you in the same household and traveling companions assigned to your stateroom on the cruise.

Royal Caribbean has even flown passengers home that tested positive for Covid-19 via private jet.

Constantly re-evaluating protocols

Face masks not listed on Royal Caribbean's August health protocols | Royal Caribbean Blog

Without a doubt, recommendations from public health officials based on what we know about Covid-19 changes a lot. As a result, Royal Caribbean has said they are monitoring these changes and adjusting protocols as needed.

The new stricter mask rules were announced on many ships during the sailing, requiring an adjustment in protocols mid-voyage.

Royal Caribbean was uncompromising with its dedication to ensuring it has the best protocols in place when they announced the changes in an email, "We're sorry for any disappointment that this may cause, but hope you understand that health and safety come first."

CDC wants cruise lines to reconsider mask policies on cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

Changes in protocols have been a constant since cruises restarted this year, but Royal Caribbean has also given guests the greatest flexibility in changing their minds without penalty.

While airlines have rolled back policies that gave their customers the ability to cancel for any reason, Royal Caribbean retains that ability through its Cruise with Confidence program.

Guests can cancel their cruise for any reason up to 48 hours before the cruise departs and get a 100% credit to be used on a future cruise.

Royal Caribbean even pushed back final payment dates for cruises in the first 5 months of 2022 so everyone has more time to decide on what to do about their vacation.

Review: Day Pass at Margaritaville Beach Resort in Nassau

22 Dec 2021
Marcy Miyar

A mere half mile from where the cruise ships dock in Nassau, Bahamas, Margaritaville opened its newest resort in July 2021. 

The resort offers day passes that cruise passengers can purchase to experience some of the resorts amenities. 

What does a Margaritaville Beach Resort day pass include, and how is the experience? Marcy visited the resort on a December 2021 cruise to check it out.

What’s included?

The day pass includes:

  • The “Fins Up” Water Park admission
  • $25 food and beverage credit
  • Private beach access (chairs first come, first serve)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi.

Cost and Cancellation policy

The current price for the day pass is $115 per adult, $45 for children 3-12 and under 3 years old is free.

You can cancel your pass up until 11:59 p.m. the day before your arrival on their website, however, you can cancel by email up until 10 a.m. the day of your arrival. 

That’s great flexibility if the weather happens to be bad.

My experience

I booked the day pass online via the third-party website 

While Margaritaville doesn’t give an exact number, it is stated on their website that they will limit the number of passes sold per day.  I received my confirmation email that stated I had to check in at the front desk with a valid photo ID.

We went to the resort on Sunday, December 19th while our Royal Caribbean cruise ship was docked in port for the day.

We decided to do the half mile walk from the ship to the resort, which took fifteen minutes (six of which was just getting out of the port). The walk between the ship and Margaritaville is relatively flat.

We arrived at the resort and headed inside to check in.  We were stopped and told the policy had changed and were directed around the corner to the water parks ticket booth.  We provided our names and were given a wristband and our $25 per person food and/or drink coupons.

The Fins Up Water Park

The water park opened at 10 am, and we were there right at opening.

The first thing I noticed was how clean it was. The park features one pool, a lazy river, a kids slide, three larger slides for all ages, one hot tub and a flow rider type ride that is a scaled down version of the ones on Royal Caribbean’s ships. 

There is also a ledge 10 feet up that you can jump off of into the 11 ft. deep pool.  That was something I had never seen before at a water park.

The pools are not heated, so being December, it was a bit chilly. However, it was a sunny day so the water felt nice. 

There’s a rock climbing wall however, it was not staffed nor did we see anyone climbing it.

Lounge chairs and beach towels are complimentary. There were also lockers located near the restroom & changing rooms. I wanted to get one so my husband and I could store our valuables and enjoy the lazy river together but we were told they were just installed and were not in use as of yet.

The complimentary WIFI was easy to access.  After signing in, a pop up message said the WIFI would only be active for a one hour window.  Ours ended up working the entire four hours we were there so I’m not really sure what the actual rule is.

The overall atmosphere was enjoyable.  There were jumbo screens on the hotel itself that played every genre of music you can think of. 

We heard everything from Bruno Mars to U2, country music, 1960’s blues, 1980’s classic rock, Christmas music from the Monkees to Mariah Carey and of course plenty of Jimmy Buffet.  The volume of the music was perfect.  It was raised but not loud to the point where you couldn’t hold a conversation.

Food and drinks

This is the area that needs the most help, especially if you want to enjoy some cocktails, or any beverage at all. 

There are two areas to get drinks while visiting. The one by the food window was closed, so there was only the main bar that had one bartender the whole time we were there.

It’s obvious they have a bit of a staffing issue.  In fact, on their website, they mention that they offer poolside food and beverage service which we did not experience.  

Make sure to bring your wallet because the food is expensive, and this is coming from someone that frequents Walt Disney World ,so I’m used to overpriced food.

We ordered a chicken wrap and a burger (both included fries) and two beverages with alcohol that totaled $85.  Remember we did have two $25 food credits so that brought it down to $35 but that just seemed very overpriced to me. 

Gratuity and VAT taxes were automatically added.  They only accepted credit cards, no cash. 

I really did enjoy my chicken wrap.  It was made to order so even though it took about 15 minutes to get the food, it was fresh and delicious.  My husband wasn’t impressed with his burger though.  It was overcooked and bland.  The drinks were very good. 

Final thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed the day. It wasn’t crowded, I assume because not many people are aware of the day pass offer.

I love a lazy river so I could have just floated around in there all day.  My husband’s favorite activity was the ten foot jump, he said it was the best thing there.   

Would I do it again?  Maybe. It was a great day but the way I look at it, I could get a full day at CocoCay’s water park, which offers more activities for a cheaper price that also includes food.

However, if you’re looking for something new to do in Nassau, or you’re a fan of Jimmy Buffet and the Margaritaville brand, then the day pass is definitely for you.