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

In:
20 Oct 2016
By: 
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.

What you need to know about neighborhood balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships

In:
19 Oct 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Among the many impressive features on Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships, are two neighborhoods that offer a lot to see and do, as well as incredible staterooms that look into these areas.

Central Park balcony and Boardwalk balcony staterooms are a compelling choice for anyone looking at stateroom choices on any Oasis class ship, and here is the important information to consider when booking these kinds of rooms.

What is a Central Park or Boardwalk balcony room?

These neighborhood facing balconies are a balcony category stateroom that offer a balcony that looks towards either Central Park or Boardwalk, instead of a balcony that overlooks the ocean.

The idea was a first in the cruise industry because prior to Oasis of the Seas, balconies had never been internally facing. 

The neighborhood balconies offer the same fresh air and light that ocean view balconies do, but with the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of the Boardwalk or Central Park neighborhoods.  In addition, neighborhood view balcony staterooms tend to be slightly cheaper than ocean view balconies.

The exact size of a neighborhood view stateroom with balcony is 182 square feet with a 52 square foot balcony. Both types of rooms include twin beds that convert to a queen, a desk, sitting area (some with sofa bed), TV and minibar and a balcony with two chairs and small table.

Central Park balcony rooms are on Decks 10 through 14, and Boardwalk balcony rooms are on Decks 8 through 14.

Why might you not want to book a Central Park or Boardwalk balcony stateroom?

Other than what you can see from your balcony, the room experience between a neighborhood balcony and an ocean view balcony are pretty much the same. For some folks, a balcony without an ocean view is not desirable.

A common concern that we hear about is noise from the neighborhood impacting the guest experience. In our experiences, the ambient noise from Central Park or Boardwalk is negligible and does not bleed into the stateroom itself. Of course, if you desire the sound of the ocean with your balcony, that will be missing here. It is worth noting that Boardwalk balcony rooms can have more noise when there are shows occurring in the AquaTheater, but your stateroom location and noise tolerance will vary.

It is also worth noting in terms of privacy, there are neighborhood balcony rooms on the opposite side of the ship that will face your balcony.

What do neighborhood balcony rooms offer that ocean view rooms do not?

There are some inherent advantages to booking a neighborhood balcony room over an ocean view balcony room.  First and foremost, the price for neighborhood balcony rooms is often less expensive than ocean view balcony rooms.

Moreover, neighborhood balcony rooms allow guests staying in them to enjoy some great people watching opportunities and enjoy the general ambiance of the neighborhoods you can view.  

Boardwalk view balcony rooms also have an added benefit of some offering full or partial views of the AquaTheater performances.

Differences between Central Park and Boardwalk rooms

As the name implies, the primary and most noticeable difference between Central Park and Balcony rooms, are the view.

Central Park view balcony rooms offer a view of the Central Park neighborhood below.  Central Park is 

Central Park is one of seven distinct "neighborhoods" that help break up an Oasis class ship.  It is an immense area in the middle of the ship that offers a lush park for guests to enjoy with tropical plants, trees and walkways. Central Park features a lush garden in an area about as long as the Royal Promenade and twice as wide.  Central Park rooms tend to have a bit less noise from the neighborhood because there are no shows in this area (there is live music in the evenings), and there tends to be less guests hanging out in the area.

The Boardwalk neighborhood is reminiscent of the whimsical seaside resorts that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island. There is a carousel, restaurants and the AquaTheater stage. Unlike Central Park balcony rooms, there is a partial view of the ocean when facing aft, and some rooms even offer views of the AquaTheater (the more aft your room is, the better the chance). Because of the shows and the fact the Boardwalk tends to have higher foot traffic than Central Park, it can be a bit noisier than Central Park.  

Summary

In the end, Royal Caribbean's neighborhood balcony appeal will depend on how you cruise. Do you like quiet time watching the sea, or enjoy arriving into port? Do you find the Central Park or Boardwalk neighborhoods particularly intriguing? 

When you consider the usual less expensive cost for neighborhood balcony rooms and the new perks for neighborhood balcony rooms, it is a particularly compelling option. In addition, many Boardwalk balcony rooms still offer a view of the ocean when looking to the aft of the ship.

While neighborhood balcony staterooms do not offer a full view of the ocean, having a balcony, regardless of view, is still what makes a great cruise experience.

How to purchase Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages

In:
13 Oct 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Are you ready to purchase a Royal Caribbean unlimited drink package?

Many guests like the idea of locking in the price of their drinks onboard by getting an unlimited drink package so they have one less thing to worry about.  Here is how you can purchase a drink package for your Royal Caribbean cruise.

Online

To pre-order any drink package online, go to Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner and choose which drink packages you want to order.

In our experience, the drink packages are available for ordering online many months in advance of a cruise sailing date.  In fact, it is one of the first items available for purchase via the Cruise Planner.

Buying a Royal Caribbean drink package before your cruise begins offers two significant advantages: you can split up the total cost of the cruise vacation because the drink package cost will be charged at the time of purchase and it will be ready to be used once you board the ship.

For a seven night cruise, prices for an the Deluxe unlimited alcohol package will cost $454.30 (including gratuities) for the entire cruise. By opting to purchase an unlimited alcohol package in advance, guests can pay off the drink packages before the cruise even begins, which means less of a bill that will be incurred following the conclusion of a cruise.

Moreover, most sailings offer some sort of pre-purchase discount on the drink package, which can bring that cost down.  Pre-purchasing a drink package online is the most reliable way of saving money on a drink package purchase (compared to booking it onboard).

Phone

There is one more method of pre-purchasing an unlimited drink package and that is by phone.

Guests may call (800) 398-9819 in the U.S. or Canada to reserve drink packages for their cruise.

Onboard

Another option is to wait and purchase the drink package onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise.

Drink packages can be purchased at various kiosks set up around the ship, as well as any bar or lounge.

There are a few advantages of buying a drink package onboard your ship. First, you can use onboard credit towards the purchase of a drink package.  Second, if you choose to purchase a drink package on a day other than embarkation day, Royal Caribbean will prorate the cost of the package for the remainder of the cruise.

Royal Caribbean Secrets: Tony the Gnome on Harmony of the Seas

In:
13 Oct 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is filled with a lot of fun activities, exciting shows and incredible dining choices.  The level of detail on this brand new ship is truly amazing, including one very small (and cute) bit of detail that is easy to overlook.

Hidden in the Central Park neighborhood, among the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers, is Tony the Garden Gnome!


Photo by Tracey Van Leeuwen

Tony was donated by Matt and Samantha Alexander, and have been adopted by the ship's horticulturist, Tom Brownlee.

Guests can find Tony under a tree, opposite the Trellis Bar in the Central Park neighborhood.  While not as thrilling as the ship's water slides, Tony is a great example of a fun hidden gem onboard Harmony of the Seas that you can visit once onboard.

Royal Caribbean to resume calls to its private destination of CocoCay on October 15

In:
11 Oct 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Hurricane Matthew inflicted damage to many areas of the Bahamas, including Royal Caribbean's private destination of CocoCay.  The cruise line has skipped scheduled stops there since the storm passed, but will resume calls later this week.

CocoCay is scheduled to welcome guests back starting on Saturday, October 15.

If that schedule holds up, Enchantment of the Seas should be the first Royal Caribbean ship to return to the private destination on that date.

The extent of the damage to CocoCay has not been disclosed, although Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley issued a letter to guests last weekend that indicated the cruise line was working with Bahamian officials to help repair and restore services in the region.

"There are fewer details to share yet in the Bahamas, but he need will no doubt be great, and we will do all we can to assist. We are in contact with the Bahamian government to understand their most urgent needs and how we can help."

Royal Caribbean selects finalists for Harmony of the Seas Godmother

In:
11 Oct 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has narrowed down the choices for who will be Harmony of the Seas' Godmother to just three amazing women.

The cruise line is conducting a search for a Hometown Hero in Education for her Godmother. In selecting Godmothers, Royal Caribbean looks to capture the essence of the role by honoring women whose life lessons and achievements illustrate the kind of courage, dedication and determination that are an inspiration to all.

Anike Sakariyawo

Physical Science Teacher, Miami Norland Senior High School

Katherine O'Fallon

Magnet Coordinator, New River Middle School

Brittany Affolter

Manager, Teacher Leadership Development, Teach for America Miami-Dade

"We’ve seen an overwhelming response from the community with an outpouring of exceptional nominations from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. It is an honor to be able to recognize such inspiring educators for the work they do to make a positive impact on our youth," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "These three upstanding individuals have demonstrated unwavering passion and dedication, going above and beyond the classroom to make a huge difference in the community. We thank everyone who participated by recognizing our many heroes in education; they are leading the way in inspiring our youth to dream big, and that’s work we all can be proud of."

The public can now view each of the essay submissions and vote for the educator they feel is having the most positive influence on South Florda's youth. The winner will receive a $25,000 grant for their non-profit organization, and the honor of becoming the Godmother to Harmony of the Seas. The winner will receive an invitation to the naming ceremony of the Harmony of the Seas on November 10, 2016. The Grand Prize winner will also receive A 7-night Caribbean cruise onboard the Harmony of the Seas for two in a double-occupancy balcony stateroom (winner and a guest) awarded in the form of a cruise certificate.

Online voting is open from October 6 at 12:00pm to October 14 at 12:00pm EST, 2016 at local10.com/godmother.On Oct. 24, one finalist will be named the winner, and honored as Godmother of Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship, during an official naming ceremony on Nov. 10, 2016.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean offering up to 30% off drink packages for this weekend

In:
07 Oct 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Many guests with cruises booked are reporting seeing up to 30% off certain unlimited beverage packages for their upcoming Royal Caribbean cruises.

Royal Caribbean has been offering 20% the alcohol packages for a while now, but for the next 60 hours, there are now discounts of up to 30% off certain packages.

The exact discount will vary from sailing to sailing, but the Deluxe unlimited alcohol package has been spotted with 20-25% off deals and the Refreshment package has been seen with a 30% discount.

Based on the countdown clock, it appears this promotion ends at midnight on Sunday night, October 9, 2016. This promotion has been extended through midnight on October 10, 2016.

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site and navigate to the Dining & Beverage section to see any available offers.

If you have a drink package already prepurchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same drink package under this promtion.

Thanks to Royal Caribbean Blog reader Michael C for assisting with this information!

Do you see a similar discount for your sailing? Share the details in the comments and if you will buy one!

Hurricane Matthew delays boarding of next Empress of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas sailings

In:
06 Oct 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Two Royal Caribbean ships will have delayed boarding due to Hurricane Matthew and its impact on the state of Florida.

PortMiami closed in anticipation of the storm, and Royal Caribbean indicated that due to the closure and the storm's location, boarding for Empress of Seas and Enchantment of the Seas will now begin on Friday, October 7 at 5 p.m.

Royal Caribbean is asking guests that are on either of these sailings not to arrive to the port before 5 p.m.

If there are any questions, please contact Royal Caribbean at 866-562-7625.

This announcement comes on the heels of news that the October 8th Majesty of the Seas sailing has been canceled

Hurricane Matthew has caused a number of delays and cancelations, although the scheduled sailings for Freedom of the Seas and Allure of the Seas remain as planned for now.

Hurricane Matthew forces Royal Caribbean to cancel Majesty of the Seas sailing

In:
06 Oct 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The path of Hurricane Matthew has caused Royal Caribbean to make the decision to cancel its October 8th sailing of Majesty of the Seas.

The cruise line looked at the path of Hurricane Matthew and decided to cancel the cruise to avoid putting the ship, guests and crew in the path of the massive storm.

Royal Caribbean had planned on having Majesty of the Seas take a shorter sailing and depart on October 8.  The path of the storm and impact on the ship's departure point of Port Canaveral have caused the cruise line to reconsider its plans and cancel the sailing completely.

5:02pm UPDATE: Guests will have the option to receive a full refund of the cruise fare paid or future cruise credit in the amount of 150% of the cruise fare paid. Refunds will automatically be issued within one week to the form of payment applied unless Royal Caribbean is contacted and a future cruise credit is requested.