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Royal Caribbean offering cruise with perfect view of Great American solar eclipse

01 Jun 2017
Matt Hochberg

On August 21, 2017, millions of people across the United States will see nature's most wondrous spectacle — a total eclipse of the Sun. If you want the perfect vantage point, Royal Caribbean is offering a special cruise just for you.

Dubbed the, "Total Eclipse Cruise," Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas will offer a 7-night Caribbean sailing, which will cruise to the optimal spot at sea for guests to witness the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. During the sailing, the sun will be entirely covered by the moon. 

The Total Eclipse Cruise will feature a bucket-list-worthy viewing party with a live concert performed by a major headliner – to be revealed at a later date – to celebrate the celestial phenomenon that is poised to become the most photographed, most shared and most tweeted event in human history.

Events include

  • dance parties, trivia
  • enrichment lectures
  • interactive science fun for kids
  • tasty cocktails and dishes with names like the Cosmic Cosmo, Planetary Punch and Moon Pie

The 7-night Total Eclipse Cruise on board Oasis of the Seas will set sail on Aug. 20, 2017 from Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida and visit Eastern Caribbean destinations: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Nassau, Bahamas.

More information can be found at

Seven other Royal Caribbean ships will be in the Caribbean during the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, on itineraries ranging from 3 to 9 nights, offering guests extraordinary partial views of the phenomenon to make for a memorable experience. The seven ships are Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Empress of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean debuts new muster drill safety video

01 Jun 2017
Matt Hochberg

Guests aboard Royal Caribbean ships can look forward to seeing a new film during muster drill.

Cruise Critic spotted a new safety film that evokes a secret agent vibe that guests can watch in their stateroom prior to the mandatory safety drill that takes place before the ship can sail away.

The film is named "Operation: Little Bear," and will roll out to Royal Caribbean's fleet in June.

Guests aboard Oasis of the Seas reported seeing the film already as recently as last week.

Royal Caribbean offering 60% off second guest, Kids Sail Free and bonus savings in June

01 Jun 2017
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean released its June Offer, that has 60% off the second guest, 30% off third and fourth guests, kids sail free and instant savings.

Cruises booked June 1-30, 2017 on sailings departing on or after July 1, 2017 (excluding China departures) are eligible for this promotion.

The offer includes

  • Buy One Guest, Get Second Guest 60% Off
  • 30% cruise fare savings for 3rd guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests
  • Kids Sail Free Bonus: Guests 12 & under sail free on 5 nights or longer Bahamas and Caribbean sailings departing Sep. 1, 2017-May 31, 2018.
    • Excludes sailings departing 11/17/17-11/27/17, 12/17/17 – 1/8/18, 2/15/18-2/20/18 and 3/10/18-4/1/18.

Sail Away Sale

For cruises booked between June 1-5, 2017, Royal Caribbean is also adding up to $150 bonus instant savings.

Sailings departing on or after July 1, 2017 (excluding China departures) qualify for bonus instant savings

  • 5 nights or less
    • Inside/Oceanview : $25 per stateroom
    • Balcony/ Suite : $50 per stateroom
  • 6 nights or longer
    • Inside/Oceanview : $50 per stateroom
    • Balcony/ Suite : $150 per stateroom

BOGO60 does not apply to third and higher occupancy guests. BOGO60 and Kids Sail Free is combinable with adjoining 30% Savings for 3rd and 4th guests, Instant Savings Offers, Crown & Anchor discounts and NextCruise offers. BOGO60, Kids Sail Free, Instant Savings Offers and 3rd and 4th Guest Savings are not combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, and Military). All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates, Shareholder Benefits.

Offer available to residents of United States and Canada.

Best tips for first time cruisers on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

31 May 2017
Matt Hochberg

This week's podcast episode is ready to go, as we present episode 200 of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast for your downloading pleasure.

This week, Matt celebrates the 200th episode with a live recording, where listeners called in to share their best tips for someone taking their first Royal Caribbean cruise.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 200. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

7 fun facts about Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas

30 May 2017
Matt Hochberg

While Radiance of the Seas had her maiden voyage in 2001, she remains a staple of Royal Caribbean's fleet.  Built in Papenburg, Germany at the Meyer Werft shipyard, many guests from all over the world have enjoyed cruises on her. 

Looking back on her history, we dug through Radiance of the Seas' history to share with you seven fun facts about this fantastic ship. Whether you have sailed on her before, or are planning on taking a cruise soon, check out what makes Radiance of the Seas so special.

Designed to sail the world

When Royal Caribbean build Radiance of the Seas, they called her a "New Generation World Cruiser," because she was intended to sail worldwide itineraries.

The 88,000 tons ship is build to be flexible and to cruise comfortably in destinations from Alaska to the Pacific Northwest to Hawaii to the Panama Canal to the Caribbean. In the years since, Radiance of the Seas has even found her way to Australia and the South Pacific.

Radiance of the Seas is faster and has better maneuverability because of a combination of an Azipod propulsion system, unusually powerful bow thrusters, and a dynamic positioning system that uses GPS navigator to allows the ship to maintain a better position.

Radiance of the Seas was designed to be linked to the water in both warm and cool climates.  The abundance of windows, stateroom verandas, the wall of glass along the atrium, and the all-glass elevators facing the seas were all elements introduced in order to foster a relationship between the vessel's interior and the landscape design.

Incorporated a lot of Voyager Class amenities

Radiance of the Seas debuted just after the first Voyager Class ships launched, Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas.  As a result, Radiance features main cutting-edge features that she inherited.

The Steering Committee responsible for Radiance of the Seas' very being knew they wanted to incorporate many of Voyager of the Seas' entertainment and dining options, the global itineraries of the Vision Class ships, and some new innovations as well.

Specifically, Senior Vice President of Marine Operations Harri Kulovaara said, "We wanted to use some of the elements of the Voyager class and put them into a Panamax-size ship.  We wanted the ship to be sleek and represent something new in the exterior design, to be more of a mega-yacht and less of a bulky megaship."

Ushered in new design of Viking Crown Lounge

Royal Caribbean made a name for itself with its signature space, the Viking Crown Lounge.  It was originally created in 1970 for Song of Norway, and became so popular it continued be a staple of Royal Caribbean ship design.  Over the years, as ships grew in size, the Viking Crown Lounge grew, too, and starting with the Vision Class ships in 1995, moved from its position on the smokestacks to a nearby larger spot amidships with equally stunning views.

While you will still find a Viking Crown Lounge on Radiance of the Seas, the Viking Crown Lounge has evolved into an entertainment complex, with several venues under one roof. 

On Radiance of the Seas, RTKL/Snoweiss Design Group created two distinct nightclubs.  Starquest is a "futuristic" disco with revolving bar, while Hollywood Odyssey is a more mellow, intimate spot adorned with Hollywood memorabilia and featuring entertainment from comedians to jazz ensembles. In the years since, Royal Caribbean took some of the space in the Viking Crown Lounge to offer a Concierge Lounge and Diamond Club.


Have you ever noticed the large GTV initials painted on either side of the stern on Radiance of the Seas?

The initials stand for gas turbine vessel, which is an environmentally-conscious approach to ship propulsion.  Radiance of the Seas was the first ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet to have a General Electric gas and steam turbine as its primary source of power.  The power plant is more efficient and cleaner than traditional diesel-powered engines on most cruise ships employ.

The power plant on Radiance of the Seas consists of two gas turbines and one steam turbine.  The waste heat from each gas turbine is led through an HRSG (heat recovery steam generator), and steam from this generator is used by the steam turbine. Electricity generated by the turbines then powers the external propulsion pods, ABB Azipods,

The GE gas turbines burn clean distillate fuel, which contains fewer impurities than the fuel oil normally used for diesel-powered vessels, which means Radiance of the Seas has substantially lower exhaust emissions.

Moreover, the ship is quieter and there are substantially fewer vibrations because the rotating engine on Radiance of the Seas does not create the same kind of vibrations as the reciprocating diesel engines used on other ships.

$6 million art collection

Royal Caribbean ships feature lovely collections of art, and Radiance of the Seas is no different. Royal Caribbean commissioned nine architectural design teams to create the interior and exterior spaces on Radiance of the Seas. Each firm worked closely with London Contemporary Art to create the ship's fabulous $6 million collection.

The art collection on Radiance of the Seas includes paintings, sculptures, and other pieces by more than 100 different artists from countries around the world, including England, the United States, Norway, France, Italy and South Africa.

The ceiling of the dining-room foyer has a mural of exquisite cumulus clouds painted by Carlos Ozzimo and Associates.  

The electrifying centerpiece of the Centrum, spanning Decks 7 through 11, is the brilliant wire sculpture by artists Warren Seelig and Sherrie Gibson.  This delicately suspended, triple-arched geometric form, composed of softly sweeping translucent architectural mesh and radiating spokes, is meant to create an emotionally uplifting feeling, according to Seelig.

The 12-foot-high cedar totem pole carved for the ship by the famous Native American artist Nathan Jackson of Ketchikan, Alaska, stands guard like a sentry at the Mast Bar on Deck 12. According to Jackson, it tells the story "How the Raven Gave the World the Stars, the Moon and the Sun," from a book of Tlingit Indian traditions by Edward L. Keithahn.

There used to be a coffee and book shop onboard

When Radiance of the Seas debuted, there was a novel space on deck 5 adjacent to the Photo Gallery, called Books Books & Coffee.

Books Books & Coffee was meant to evoke a hip coffee bar scene, with shelves of books and magazines to buy or browse, lots of seating, and four computer stations clad in brushed stainless steel and cherrywood veneer.

The space was touted as an ultramodern bookstore-meets-cafe-meets-Internet center inviting guests to read, shop, or surf the Net while sipping espresso or savoring a chocolate eclair.  

In the years since, the bookstore was removed, and the space is now occupied by the Art Gallery.

Self-leveling pool tables

In the Bombay Billiard Club, guests will find a pair of self-leveling pool tables. 

The tables are gimbaled on a motion-sensitive, motorized gyroscope that counteracts the ship's movements to keep the tables as level as possible.  

At $90,000 each, Royal Caribbean wanted to offer its guests the most state-of-the-art diversions.

What is your favorite aspect of Radiance of the Seas? Did we miss a fact you know about? Share it all in our comments!

Royal Caribbean opens bookings for 2018/2019 Australia season

30 May 2017
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will open bookings for its 2018/19 Australian summer season today, Tuesday, May 30.

For the 2018/2019 season, Australia will welcome Ovation of the Seas for her third and longest season yet. She will be joined by Explorer of the Seas, as well as Radiance of the Seas.  Radiance will offer Royal Caribbean’s very first departure from Melbourne and three cruises departing from Auckland.

Radiance of the Seas will kick off the 2018/19 summer season, arriving to Sydney on October 6, 2018. Explorer of the Seas will return down under on October 27, 2018 and Ovation of the Seas on November 2, 2018. Together, the three ships will offer 61 sailings, ranging from three to 23-nights, sailing to nine different countries including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia, Malaysia, New Caledonia, Singapore, the USA and Vanuatu.

Ovation of the Seas, as well as Radiance of the Seas, will primarily offer guests a range of Australia and New Zealand itineraries. Ovation will sail exclusively from Sydney, while Radiance of the Seas will sail from Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.

As well as her New Zealand voyages, Radiance of the Seas will also sail a range of shorter cruises, including a three-night sampler cruise to nowhere, a new four-night cruise to Melbourne and a five-night Tasmania sailing.

Explorer of the Seas, will become the largest cruise ship to ever call to Newcastle in February 2019, following upgrades to the Port of Newcastle to allow mega ships to berth in the Hunter. Explorer of the Seas will call twice during the season, on 10 February 2019 during a six-night voyage that also includes calls to Wollongong and Hobart, and on 16 February 2019 during a 14-night South Pacific voyage. Explorer of the Seas will continue her focus on South Pacific voyages, with a range of eight to 14-night sailings.

“We can’t wait to welcome our three megaliners back down under for the summer of 2018/19 – marking our longest Aussie season yet,” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Royal Caribbean Australia & NZ.

“There’s no better time beat the winter blues and plan your summer getaway – for this season or next. By booking early, you’ll ensure you reserve your preferred choice of ship, departure date and itinerary, as well as your pick of the staterooms, and you’ll lock in a terrific price,” Armstrong concluded.

Buy One, Get One Half Price

Australia residents can celebrate the start of bookings with Book before 30 June 2017 and guests can ‘Buy One, Get One Half Price’ – PLUS receive a Balcony stateroom for the price of an Oceanview.

Promotion applies to new bookings made between 30th May - 30th June 2017 on all Royal Caribbean International voyages departing 1st July 2017 onwards. Offer excludes all voyages departing from China.

Eligible bookings will receive

  • Up to 50% off the total fare of the second passenger, who must be booked in the same stateroom as a first passenger who books at full fare.
  • 25% savings off the cruise fare portion for the third and fourth guests booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests.
  • Eligible bookings made on Royal Caribbean International Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Transpacific & Asia Repositioning voyages, five nights or longer will be able to book a Balcony stateroom at the price of Oceanview; voyage must start or end in Australia.

Offer is not combinable with any other offer or promotion unless otherwise stated. For full terms and conditions, please visit our website at

Oasis of the Seas Live Blog Day 7 - Sea Day

28 May 2017
Michael Poole

Today was our final day on board Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas.

This week has just flown by so fast, but it seems like they always do.

This morning we decided to skip breakfast; we just needed a break from all the food.

We decided to go relax in the hot tub that hangs over the side of the ship. These are right beside the solarium pool and have the best views of the ocean. While we were in the hot tub we were reflecting on the week.

For lunch today we had reservations at Izumi Sushi for noon. On our walk down to lunch we made a quick stop in the casino. We had received a card in the cabin that said we had a free $5.00 in the slot machines. Sadly, we didn’t win any money, but at least we didn’t lose any either!

Lunch in Izumi was different than usual stop in Sabor, but I’ve never seen them so busy before. I asked our waiter why they were so packed and he said they always are on the last sea day. Our service was a little slower than I would have liked, that’s okay we weren’t in a rush for anything. I ordered the DX Sushi combo, spicy tuna, and Ryu Futomaki. They were all good, and I also enjoyed some of those special Japan beers. At the end of the meal our waiter charged me $53 for the rolls. I talked to the manager on the way out and he voided the charge off, once I explained I had the dining package.

After lunch we went to Sabor to meet her parents, and I just saw people in line everywhere on the boardwalk trying to eat. Then I noticed it was raining outside so everyone came in for lunch. At one point the doghouse ran completely out of hot dogs, not to worry because you know they always have more!

We had planned to go see Cats today at 2:30pm. Unfortunately, the cruise director Tim made an announcement that both of the Cats shows are cancelled due to a few lead roles being sick. This was sad to hear, because I was actually getting excited for the show. They did put together a replacement show where they did some singing in the main theater.

We walked around the ship for a while to take in those last moments or something we hadn’t seen yet. We found ourselves on the back jogging track relaxing. On Oasis and Allure they have these wooden chairs that you can just sit and listen to the wake from the ship.

For happy hour this evening we went to the Champagne bar. I noticed this bar was usually very busy, unlike my other sailings where it was usually empty. I think people know they can make specialty cocktails in there now, and it’s become very popular. We both ordered the chocolate espresso martini, and wow is all I can say! If you ever need a wake-me-up kind of drink order this.

Dinner tonight was in Sabor, it’s become a tradition of mine to end any cruise with Sabor, unless of course I’m on a ship without it. We have good friends sailing with us Rich and Tammy, so I had arranged for the four of us to eat together on the last night. We had the best service tonight, I almost felt like family in there! I had the shrimp tacos for dinner and they were outstanding. But if you are a tuna taco lover, I’m sad to report it’s been removed from the menu.

After dinner we thought it would be fun for everyone to ride the carousal. Who said adults can’t have fun too! Everyone was laughing and just having the best time. I also recorded our ride on my periscope account if you want to enjoy that.

Wrap up

This was my third time on Oasis of the Seas, and by far my favorite cruise on her. I connected with so many of the staff members on board. The entertainment on board is the one thing that just stands out, as I reflect on the cruise. All the shows were so entertaining and we kept talking about them throughout the week. I hope you enjoyed following along with me this week, it was truly a lot of fun sharing.

  • Voom Internet worked so well on this ship. I always stayed connected and the speeds were very fast.
  • The crew was so friendly; some have been there since the first voyage in 2009.
  • Diamond drinks (3 coupons loaded on sea pass cards) could be ordered in any restaurant. I also saw many people getting their diamond drinks all at one time (unopened beers) to store in their cabin.
  • I never stepped foot in the Windjammer or Main dining room this whole cruise with since I had the ultimate dining package.
  • Customs no longer requires a declaration form if you aren’t claiming anything. Lines were moving very fast, didn’t take us more than 15 minutes from ship to car.

I hope you enjoyed following along with me this week, it was truly a lot of fun sharing. Until next time!

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: May 28, 2017

28 May 2017
Matt Hochberg

Welcome to our summary of all of this week's Royal Caribbean news.  As we mark a time of remembrance this Memorial Day weekend, we also look forward to fun celebrations with family and friends as the unofficial start to summer has arrived.

Here is a look at all the Royal Caribbean news from this week!

Royal Caribbean made news this week when it announced it has hired the first Chief Meterologist.

James Van Fleet joined Royal Caribbean to develop forecasts for the cruise line's fleet of 24 ships. With his guidance, captains have the added support to continue making informed decisions and delivering the best possible vacation experience for the cruise line’s guests.

Translating technical data into digestable information is second nature for Van Fleet, who’s a veteran TV meteorologist with more than two decades of experience.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 199th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, with a special interview with the Godmother of Harmony of the Seas.

In this episode, Matt is joined by Brittany Affolter to talk about "her" ship, Harmony of the Seas.  Brittany shares the story of how she came to be the ship's Godmother, and talks about her recent sailing on Harmony.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Explore with Ed shared highlights from his Independence of the Seas Mediterranean cruise.

Travel Pulse wonders if the Escape Room trend will continue on cruise ships.

Cruise Habit shares why a a checklist for packing for a cruise is really good idea.

Daily Echo featured a ten-year-old that build a Royal Caribbean cruise ship out of 2,000 pieces of Lego.

Oasis of the Seas Live Blog Day 6 - Labadee

27 May 2017
Michael Poole

Today was our third and final port stop in Royal Caribbean’s private island Labadee, Haiti.

I woke up early today and decided to go out to the lookout viewing area on deck 14. This is actually a couple feet away from my cabin, so it’s a nice perk if you pick a forward cabin on deck 14. The sun was just starting to rise, so I decided to do a quick morning Periscope (live streaming app). Well during my periscope it was featured, by periscope to draw more viewers in. At the time of writing this it’s over 143,000 views, well I finally got my 5 seconds of fame!

We didn’t arrive into Labadee until 9:30am, so I grabbed breakfast to go from Park Café to enjoy on our balcony. Their breakfast sandwiches are so good, and included in the cruise fare. It was also fun to see us pull into port from the balcony, while enjoying breakfast.

This morning we had reserved the Jet Ski tours from the online cruise planner. During a recent sale they had the tour 20%, so we paid around $75 each to have our own. We checked in and signed our waivers and were asked to meet our group leader by the lockers. I left all our personal items on board, because I figured they wouldn’t have lockers big enough for all my camera equipment and snorkel gear. They do have small lockers to rent for $8 for the day if you would rather no go back on board for items after a tour.

The Jet Ski tour was likely the highlight of my trip; it was such a unique way to spend in Labadee for me. We stop at different down the cost and our leaded would tell us something about what we were seeing.

At one stop during the tour locals kayaked up to our jet skis trying to sell us things they had made. The only downside to the tour is it only lasted for 50 minutes. I talked to a lot of people who also did the tour throughout the day, and everyone said I wish it were longer.

After our tour we quickly went on board to grab our items for the beach day.

It was actually very easy because there were zero lines at noon. Once back in Labadee we headed straight to the floating bar on Adrenaline Beach. I was surprised to find a lot of options for chairs at 12:30pm. Now that we settled in I went to explore the new bar.

First impressions were it’s much larger than the one in Coco Cay, and can hold a lot more people. Only downside was there is so much rock to walk through to get out there. Honestly, I wish I had brought water shoes out there to swim. I think I much prefer Columbus Cove in Labadee for swimming. We also did a little snorkeling but really didn’t see too much in the area we were in.

Around 3:00pm we headed back on board, and I need some food!

I realized I skipped lunch, so off to Sabor I went. I just sat at the bar for a drink and guacamole to avoid the $19 cover charge. I’ve made some friends with the staff in here, they all know me from coming daily!

For dinner tonight we went to Giovanni’s Table. For those keeping count, this is our third dinner here. I ordered the filet and lasagna in the middle for everyone to share. I’ve noticed they always have lasagna to serve if you just ask for at dinner. Our waiter was absolutely outstanding tonight; he really made this our best meal of the week. I find that the food is great everywhere on the ship, but it’s the staff in Giovanni’s that keeps is coming back, really great crew in here.

We had come fly with me reserved for 8:00pm but were having so much fun at dinner we actually missed the show. They always asked if you have a show in the evening so they can serve you quicker if needed. I also had the comedy show reserved for 10:00pm. We get in line around 9:30pm because I just have to sit front row in comedy shows hoping they pick on me. Tonight’s comedy show was really entertaining, but it’s not a show for the kids.

After the comedy show we headed to the pub to listen to their singer before bed. There wasn’t much of a crowd tonight in the pub. I think everyone was tired from the long beach day. I didn’t stay here long and called it a day around midnight.

Tomorrow is our final day on board, it’s a sea day as we head back to Port Canaveral, Florida.

Friday Photos

26 May 2017
Matt Hochberg

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  We're starting this weekend with our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos.  Each week we invite our readers to share their photos with us!

Our first photo this week is from John Bamber of Freedom of the Seas off the coast of CocoCay.  

Carl Green sent this photo of the sunset, as seen from Radiance of the Seas while heading back to Sydney from a 14 night cruise around New Zealand.

Here is a photo of Independence of the Seas on embarkation day, taken by Jeff L.

Caroline just returned from her honeymoon on Harmony of the Seas, and took this photo at the honeymooner's gathering event onboard.

Next is a photo of dinner from Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas, taken by George Alcazar.

Here is a shot of the sunset at Bermuda dockyard, taken by Jenn U.

We round things out with this photo by Paul Collins of Oasis of the Seas docked next to a few other, relatively smaller, cruise ships in Nassau.

We want your Royal Caribbean photos too! Use this form to send us your favorite photos and we will include it in an upcoming blog post.