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Friday Photos

28 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

Happy Friday to everyone! When the calendar hits Friday, that means we are sharing our readers favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos!  

Each week we invite our readers to send us their favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we showcase them all right here!

Our first photo this week is from Cassie Sigmon, and it was taken in St. Maarten, while on an Independence of the Seas cruise. The color of the water in St. Maarten is incredible.

Next is a beautiful photo of Freedom of the Seas in the harbor of St. Thomas, as the sun is starting to set.  It was sent in by Caleb Raper and it is quite a lovely sight.

Here is Rhapsody of the Seas in Venice, Italy, by Adam Callaghan. Royal Caribbean's ships look even more beautiful at night, when they get all lit up.

Emmanuel Mossino sent this photo of Grandeur of the Seas in CocoCay, and it looks like another beautiful day in paradise.

In this photo by Amy Leigh, we have sister ships Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas docked next to each other in Cozumel. Which is which?

The Rising Tide Bar on Allure of the Seas is featured in this photo by Richard Dreyer. The crew are enjoying a ride, as part of some sort of celebration on the Royal Promenade. Looks like another fun night onboard!

Our last photo this week is from Hannes Scherz, and it is from Harmony of the Seas. This was Hannes' first cruise ever, and I could not think of a better choice to begin cruising on!

We want to share your Royal Caribbean photos too! Send us your favorite, best, most awesome Royal Caribbean cruise photos by using this form and we will feature them in an upcoming Friday Photos blog post!

Royal Caribbean offering weekend sale on internet, spa services, drink packages and more

28 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

For this weekend only, Royal Caribbean is offering a Cruise Planner Weekend Sale, with discounts on onboard experiences such as spa services, drink packages, internet packages and more.

Royal Caribbean has been offering discounts on certain areas of the Cruise Planner before, but this is the first time we have seen the nearly the entire catalog of pre-cruise bookable options on sale.

There are discounts on

  • Select shore excursions
  • Select specialty restaurant reservations
  • Voom internet packages
  • Unlimited beverage packages

This promotion ends at midnight on Monday, October 31, 2016.

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site and check any available offers.

If you have already pre-purchased any of these items, Royal Caribbean allows guests to cancel and receive a full refund, and then re-book at the new lower rate.

Share in the comments if this weekend sale saved you money!

Royal Caribbean reports better than expected profits in third quarter 2016 results

28 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean reported its third quarter 2016 financial results on Friday, which included higher-than-expected quarterly profit attributed to strong demand for North American cruises and increased onboard spending.

Continued strength in demand for North American cruises was a key driver for Royal Caribbean's strong quarter, with the rest of the itineraries performing within expectations.  This strong demand helped offset the impact from the delay in opening Empress of the Seas sailings in the fourth quarter. Onboard revenue growth continued to outpace net yield growth, even after an extraordinary outperformance last summer. In addition, favorable trends in both currency and fuel helped the quarter.

Net revenue yields, which take into account spending per available berth, rose 0.4 percent for the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

Royal Caribbean's net income rose to $693.3 million, or $3.21 per share, in the quarter, from $228.8 million, or $1.03 per share, a year earlier, when the company took a non-cash charge of $399.3 million related to its Pullmantur brand.

Total revenue rose 1.6 percent to $2.56 billion. Analysts on average had expected a revenue of $2.58 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Excluding items, the company earned $3.20 per share, beating analysts' average estimate by 10 cents.

At this time, 2017 itineraries are booked ahead of last year in both rate and volume. New ships including Harmony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas are seeing strong trends, supporting a solid outlook for 2017.

Video: Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas begins her Transatlantic Crossing

27 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

A historic journey is underway as the world's largest cruise ship starts her epic transatlantic voyage. Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's newest and most innovative ship, leaves Barcelona, Spain, to venture across the Atlantic to her new homeport of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Hear from Captain and crew about what it takes to make this epic journey.

Fun facts about Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

27 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas offers guests quite a bit to see and do onboard, and the ship itself is a marvel, when you consider just how large it is and how much work and coordination is required to make it run flawlessly. Here are some fun facts about Harmony of the Seas that put into perspective the sheer scale of everything on this ship.


  • Flag: Bahamian
  • Port of Registry: Nassau
  • Built by: STX France
  • Place built: St. Nazaire, France
  • Maiden Voyage: May 29, 2016
  • Godmother: Brittany Affolter

Neighborhoods: Seven (7)

  1. Adventure Ocean
  2. Central Park
  3. Pool & Sports
  4. Vitality Spa & Fitness Center
  5. Boardwalk
  6. Entertainment Place
  7. Royal Promenade

Ship Stats

  • 227,000 gross tons
  • 1,188 feet long
  • 46 wheelchair accessible staterooms
  • 5,479 guests (double occupancy)
  • 24 guest elevators
  • 16 passenger decks
  • 30 feet draft
  • 215.5 feet wide
  • 22 knots cruising speed
  • 6,780 guests
  • 2,100 crew


  • Total: 2,747
  • Outside: 266
  • Interior: 524
  • Balcony: 1,768
  • Virtual Balcony: 85
  • Staterooms with additional berths: 717 3/4
  • Accessible: 46
  • Promenade: 18
  • Studio: 15


  • Main propulsion: 3 x ABB Azipod, each 20 MW
  • Motors ABB: 60 MW = 80.500 HP
  • Generators: 6 with a power of 92MW each for a total of 128.000 HP
  • Stabilizers: 2 x Blohm & Voss
  • Bow Thrusters: 4 x Wartsila 5.5 MW each; 7.300 HP total of 22 MW or 29.500 HP
  • Max Speed: 25.1 knots
  • Fuel consumption at Full Speed: 16 Metric Ton/hour = 0.7 Metric Ton/Nautical Mile; 
    125 Gallon/Nautical Mile; 45 feet/gallon
  • Fresh water production: 4 x 825 tons/24 hours + 2 x 400 tons/24 hours;
    Total of 4100 tons/24 hours
  • Water Consumption: 1700 Tons/Day

Construction Facts

  • The AquaTheater pool is 17.9 feet deep; the largest performance pool at sea.
  • Harmony of the Seas is 75 feet longer than Freedom-class ships;
  • The Central Park neighborhood is the fist ever (along with Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas) living park at sea with 10,600 plants, 52 trees, 2 Living Walls containing 10,240 live plants and 70 tons of plating soil for them to grown in.  All plant material is contained in 2200 modules within 46 planter beds.  The entire park is automatically irrigated with a state of the art system to include a Fertigation unit.
  • 5,070,632 lbs. of water in the swimming pools.
  • 110,231 lbs. of ice cubes made every day.
  • 4,700,000 lbs. of fresh water consumption per 24 hours.
  • 181 grand blocks were used to construct Harmony of the Seas, each block weighed approximately 1,200,000 lbs. (600 metric tons).
  • Harmony of the Seas was constructed out of 500,000 individual parts.
  • 150 miles of piping.
  • 3,300 miles of electrical cables.
  • 158,503 gallons of paint.
  • 1,614,586 square feet of air conditioned area.
  • 968,751 square feet of carpet.
  • 86,111 square feet of windows.
  • 7,000 works of specially commissioned art.
  • The building of the cruise terminal 18 in Fort Lauderdale took 62,572,500 pounds of concrete, the weight of 782 18-wheeler trucks; 33.3 miles of conduit; and 153 miles of wire, which would stretch from Fort Lauderdale to Key West.

Food & Beverage Facts

  • 20 Chefs, 222 cooks, 102 sanitation & culinary cleaning crew.
  • 15 Bar managers/supervisors, 188 bar tenders & bar servers.
  • 25 food service areas including a 24 hour Crew Windjammer.
  • 37 front bars and 26 back-of-the-house support bars.
  • 28 galleys operating independently, some with a 24 hour operation.
  • Total of 108 catering areas, bars, galleys, pantries, provision food preparation rooms.
  • All breads and pastries are made fresh onboard. Our bakery has a machine that makes 4,000 bread rolls in 1 hour.
  • Have the most efficient and most innovative galley equipment onboard the Harmony of the Seas.
  • Each restaurant operates independently with own galleys and culinary & service teams, even each deck of the main dining rooms.

Consumed in an average week

  • Beef: 15,600 lbs.
  • Chicken: 16,000 lbs.
  • Pork: 10,517 lbs.
  • Lobster: 1,800 lbs.
  • Seafood: 11,000 lbs.
  • Salmon: 4,000 lbs.
  • Fresh eggs: 86,400 pcs.
  • Flour: 16,500 lbs.
  • Sugar: 3,500 lbs.
  • Coffee: 1,500 lbs.
  • Fresh Fruits: 45,000 lbs.
  • Fresh Vegetables: 62,000 lbs.
  • Fresh berries: 600 lbs.
  • Potatoes: 18,000 lbs.
  • Ice cream: 8,000 gallons
  • Milk and fresh cream: 8,000 gallons
  • Cheese: 5,800 lbs.
  • Beer: 10,200 bottles
  • Beer: 8,500 cans
  • Soda: 11,500 cans
  • Wine: 2,225 bottles
  • Whiskey: 175 bottles
  • Vodka: 550 bottles
  • Champagne: 175 bottles
  • Water: 3,500 bottles
  • Individual yogurts: 4,200
  • Slices of pizza: 18,000

Harmony of the Seas Transatlantic Crossing Infographic

26 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is making her away across the Atlantic to her new home in Port Everglades, Florida, and Royal Caribbean has released a new infographic that shows off how long this journey really is.

Harmony of the Seas will arrive in Port Everglades, Florida on November 5, 2016, in the early morning hours. 

You can track Harmony of the Seas' progress during her journey, via our Harmony of the Seas ship tracker.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean offering up to 30% off onboard prices for spa services

26 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 30% on select spa services reserved through the Cruise Planner on most cruises that guests have booked.

Not all services offered by the spa include a discount, but there are quite a number of discounted options to choose from, including deep-tissue massages.

The 30% off deal mentions this is a "limited time offer," although there is no indication of when the discount will expire.  Keep in mind that anything pre-purchased via the Cruise Planner is 100% refundable before your cruise begins, so there is little risk in purchasing it under this deal and deciding later to keep it or not.

This is the first time we have seen discounts on spa services, although up to 30% off deals have been spotted on drink packages and internet packages.

Would you book a spa service if you received this kind of discount offer? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Royal Caribbean names Brittany Affolter as Godmother to Harmony of the Seas

25 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has found its Godmother for its newest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, and that person is South Florida educator Brittany Affolter.

Brittany’s work with Teach for America in Miami-Dade County has supported and inspired a number of high-needs schools in Royal Caribbean’s hometown.

Following a search that lasted months, Affolter was among three finalists, who then competed in a vote by the general public.  Brittany was won that popular vote, and was selected to become the ship's Godmother. For winning, Affolter will be recognized for her incredible contributions to the education of South Florida youth with a grant of $25,000 donated by Royal Caribbean. The grant money will be donated to Teach for America Miami-Dade.

In addition, Affolter will have the privilege to officially name the ship and bless the vessel and all those who sail onboard, during the prestigious naming ceremony at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, FL on November 10, 2016.

Brittany will take part in the inaugural cruise and then be invited back to enjoy a seven-night Caribbean voyage on he Harmony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean offering bonus instant savings on cruises booked over next 100 hours

21 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will offer bonus instant savings of up to $100 for cruises booked over the next 100 hours, in addition to the current 60% off second guest promotion.

Royal Caribbean cruises booked between October 21 - 30, 2016 applies to sailings on or after November 19, 2016 (excluding China departures). This deal was extended through October 30 by Royal Caribbean on October 26.

The offer includes

  • 60% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first full fare guest.
  • 30% cruise fare savings for 3rd and 4th guests booked in the same stateroom as first two qualifying guests.
  • Instant savings
    • Sailings 5 nights or less
      • Interior and oceanview staterooms: $25
      • Balcony and suite staterooms: $50
    • Sailings 6-nights or longer
      • Interior and oceanview staterooms: $50
      • Balcony staterooms: $75
      • Suites: $100
  • Eligible Caribbean and Bahamas holiday sailings, offer includes a per stateroom savings based on stateroom category.
    • For eligible holiday sailings 5 nights or less departing December 22-31, 2016 and 2017
      • $50 off per stateroom for interior and oceanview and $100 off per stateroom for balcony and suite categories.
    • For eligible holiday sailings 6-nights or longer, departing December 15-31, 2016 or 2017
      • $100 off per stateroom for interior and oceanview, $200 off per stateroom for balcony, and $300 off per stateroom for suite categories.

BOGO60 is combinable with 3rd and 4th Guest Savings, Instant Savings, Holiday Savings, Anthem Free Upgrade, Crown & Anchor discounts and NextCruise offers. BOGO60 and 3rd and 4th Guest Savings are not combinable with restricted rates. Instant Savings and Holiday Savings are combinable with restricted rates and NextCruise offers.

Instant Savings and Holiday Savings are not combinable Crown & Anchor discounts. All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion.

Offer open to residents of U.S. or Canada. 

In-depth look at Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Drink Package

20 Oct 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Beverage Package is the cruise line's unlimited alcohol offering for guests to enjoy a wide variety of drinks for one fixed price.

Since Royal Caribbean revamped its unlimited alcohol packages in September 2016, there is now one unlimited alcohol package for guests who wish to "have it all" and lock in their price.  Beer, wine, cocktails, coffee, water and more are all included in this package and purchasing the deluxe drink package means you will know your cost for drinks in advance and be able to lock it in now.

You can read more about what the different unlimited beverage packages are and how they work.

What does the deluxe drink package include?

Guests can choose between unlimited cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, premium coffee, tea, and bottled water. This package includes drinks with a value of up to $12. For guests that would like to enjoy a beverage over that threshold, a $12 credit will be applied towards the beverage of choice and guests will be required to pay the balance.

Guests with Deluxe drink package can also get 40% discount on wines under $100. Wines above $100 will receive a 20% discount.

All Beverage Packages exclude any beverages served inside licensed Starbucks stores, such as those on Oasis-class ships.

How much is the deluxe drink package?

The base price in 2018 is $57-$63 per person, per night excluding the service charge, which will be added to the package price upon purchase.  In 2019, the price will range between $63 and $70 per person, per night of the cruise.

This means the daily price you pay covers all the drinks in the package as well as gratuity.

Often, there are pre-cruise discounts available for guests that purchase the drink package online, via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner.

Who is the deluxe drink package best for?

Guests who want to be able to pick from the widest variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will want the deluxe package.  

Royal Caribbean advertises the deluxe package as having "virtually unlimited options" and that is pretty close to the truth.  Guests who can consume a lot of cocktails, beers, coffees, juices and more are well-suited for this package.  

A common scenario we hear about is a guest who likes to drink a lot of coffee and/or juice in the morning, and then enjoy alcoholic beverages during the day and evening.

Can I get souvenir glasses/mugs while using the deluxe drink package?

You can get drinks like Labadoozies, Coco locos, after dinner shots or the drink of the day with the deluxe drink package but does not include the souvenir mugs/glasses they are often served in.

You should tell your waiter or bartender to get the drink without the souvenir cup to avoid being charged extra for the souvenir cup.

Can I purchase the deluxe drink package and share drinks with someone I know onboard?

No, sharing beverages on any of Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages is strictly prohibited.