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Aerial photos of Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

In:
22 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean released new aerial photos of Harmony of the Seas, this time in the Mediterranean.

Harmony of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship and it is the company's third Oasis-class cruise ship. She is currently sailing in the Mediterranean for the summer season, and will head to Port Everglades, Florida in November to her new homeport.

This is the second batch of aerial photos released, with the first batch posted in early June.

10 ways to save money on your Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
13 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Many of you are probably planning your next Royal Caribbean cruise and we want to help you save money so your trip costs less. To help you get the most of out of your vacation dollars, here are 10 money-saving tips for your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

Regardless of your budget, it is never a bad idea to consider ways to save more money.  For some of you, cutting spending may be the only way you can afford a Royal Caribbean cruise. For others, saving money might not be strictly necessary, but rather a way to fund that second (or seventh!) Royal Caribbean cruise of the year.

Here are some of our recommendations for saving money on your Royal Caribbean cruise.  Not all of these tips may be relevant to everyone.  We each value different aspects of our cruises differently, and what is unnecessary for some might be make or break for someone else. These are just possible ideas, not across the board recommendations for everyone. Cost-cutting is not a good idea when it’s at the expense of the fundamental experience–if you cut things that are important to you, don’t be surprised if the amount of fun you have is negatively impacted.

10. Credit cards

Personal fiscal responsibility aside, proper use of a credit card can definitely save you some money on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean has its own branded Visa credit card, which allows guests to earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit on future cruises (as well as other rewards too).

For each purchase made with the credit card, you can earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit or even free cruises.

Of course, there are lots of other credit cards out there with various reward programs that can help offset the cost of your cruise.  Credit card reward programs with cash back bonus are popular options.

9. Skip the drink package

Whether a Royal Caribbean drink package is worth the money is an age old debate (well, at least as old as the drink packages are). Yes, the drink packages can save you money if you can drink enough, but it assumes you can drink enough every day of your cruise to make money on it.  Many guests who buy the drink package often report back with a phenomenon known as, "drink fatigue", where after a few days of drinking 5-6 drinks per day (or more), they start to feel they are drinking just for the sake of drinking to utilize their drink packages.

Even in today's age of drink package popularity, the truth is there are still plenty of drink specials around your ship that are worth considering.

Guests who skip the drink package can still save money on their drinks by taking advantage of drink specials found around the ship. This includes the drink of the day, bar specials, Crown and Anchor Society coupons, Diamond drinks and more.

If you are looking to save money, the question to ask here is, "how little could we spend on drinks and still have a food trip?" compared to the cost of the drink packages, not, "how much would the same amount of drinks we would get with a drink package cost if we paid for it out of pocket?".

8. Bring your own wine

Hot on the heels of the last tip, there is no question one of the best ways to save money on your cruise if you enjoy wine is to bring your own.

Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring their own bottles of wine onboard, up to two per stateroom.

7. Take advantage of Crown and Anchor discounts

Once you are at least a Gold member in Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor society, you will receive automatic discounts that are pre-loaded onto your SeaPass card to be used on your cruise.

These discounts allow guests to save money off the regular cost of the services and products.  Buy one, get one drinks, discounts on the spa, photo discounts are just a few of the usual discounts.

As you move up the Crown and Anchor Society ladder of levels, you will get better benefits that can really help bring down that bill at the end of your cruise.

6. Consider low-cost excursions

The ports of call your Royal Caribbean cruise ship visits is usually the highlight of any vacation, but excursions are notoriously expensive.  There are, however, good alternatives to research that can offer a taste of the place you are visiting without breaking the bank.

Many Caribbean islands have inexpensive (if not free) beaches that may not be as impressive as some other beaches, but still offer a great beach day.  This includes Junkanoo Beach in Nassau or Emerald Beach in St. Thomas. Both are much closer to where Royal Caribbean docks than the more famous beaches, but both offer a fun beach day for far less cost.

While not as culturally enriching as other excursions, there are usually places to go right in the port area where your ship docks.  The Margaritaville in Falmouth offers a complimentary pool, the El Cid resort in Cozumel is next door to the port area and both offer inexpensive ways to spend your day.

5. Onboard discounts for specialty restaurants

There is no question that one easy way to bring down the cost of your Royal Caribbean cruise is to spend less, but that does not mean skipping all the fun.

Specialty restaurants have become a deeply ingrained part of the Royal Caribbean cruise vacation and there are ways to enjoy them without paying full price.

If a restaurant is open for lunch, often the cover charge is less to dine then, compared to dinner.

In addition, look for specials offered throughout your cruise that will knock down the cover charge or offer a discount on your bill. Attending complimentary events, like guacamole making demonstrations, will often come with offers to dine at the featured restaurant for less than the normal cost.

4. Take advantage of available discounts

In addition to the national sales promotions Royal Caribbean offers, there are also regularly available discounts for guests who may qualify because of their profession, affiliation or connection.

These sorts of discounts include

  • Active and retired members of the military
  • Crown and Anchor Society members
  • Royal Caribbean shareholders
  • Senior Citizens
  • Airline employees
  • Firefighters and police officers
  • Residents of certain states

Not all of these promotions are combinable with the highly advertised promotions, but it is important to be aware of them and to always consider them if they do apply. 

3. Spend your money on shore

If you want to enjoy plenty of drinks, eat at fabulous restaurants and buy some souvenirs for the family without breaking your budget, consider spending your money on shore, rather than onboard.

Generally speaking, the cost of drinks, food and souvenirs will cost less on shore.  Competition and even the cost of living can save a bundle compared to paying the prices for the same or similar products and services onboard.

If you are in the market for a massage, getting a massage on land can save a lot compared to the Vitality Spa.  Drinks at local bars almost always come out cheaper (and in greater quantity) at port.

If you followed the earlier tip to skip the drink package, drinking at the ports of call you visit can be a great strategy to enjoy a few drinks for far less.

2. Cruise off-season

If you really want to bring down the cost of your cruise fare and save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, then you need to cruise when others do not want to.

Cruising at times of the year when school is in session and most folks are not looking to vacation is a great strategy for saving tons on your cruise.  For cruises out of North America, these times include

  • January (except New Years eve week)
  • First two weeks of February
  • Late August
  • September
  • October
  • First two weeks of November
  • First two weeks of December

Many of the other tips we shared in this post are centered around saving a money here and there, but this strategy is the one suggestion that will really rack up the savings.

1. Use a travel agent

When it comes to saving money and ensuring you are getting the best possible deal, we are big fans of travel agents.

Travel agents provide great service to folks looking to take a Royal Caribbean cruise, whether it is your first cruise or your 100th, travel agents exist to make your life simpler.  They are keyed in on the latest promotions and they can be your best advocate for finding promotions that help you, not just the day you book but every day until final payment.

A good travel agent will be able to assist with the booking process, and give you every single permutation of pricing to figure out which itinerary, stateroom or promotion makes the most sense for you.  I cannot count the time I have saved by having the travel agent jump through the proverbial hoops for me to figure out what is the best deal for my family.

The reality is you only stand to benefit from using a good travel agent, both in convenience and time saved.

Your thoughts

Do you have any of your own “quick tips” for saving money on a Royal Caribbean vacation…or saving for a Royal Caribbean vacation? Disagree with any of our tips? Hearing from you is half the fun, so share your thoughts in the comments!

Excursion Focus: Le Galion Beach in St. Martin

In:
09 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The hurricanes of 2017 damaged the beach. We do not recommend going here until it is rebuilt.

Picking the right shore excursion for families is always a challenge because depending on the age of your kids, what is appealing to one family might be completely uninteresting to another family.  When you have young kids, the choices become even more complicated.

Just over the French side of St. Martin is a small beach that offers the perfect kind of beach day for young children or anyone that enjoys going to the beach without waves.

Description

The appeal of Le Galion beach is a horseshoe shaped beach that has little to no waves, which makes it perfect for kids that cannot swim or are not strong swimmers. 

The beach is a short drive from where Royal Caribbean docks its cruise ships and just over the French side of the border.  Upon arrival, there is a large cove surrounded by a beach that provides easy access to the water.

There is no cost to access the beach, but there are charges to use the chairs and/or umbrellas (5 Euros for either).  The beach is frequented by tourists and locals alike, with locals usually setting up further down the beach where they can just put out a beach blanket.

The chairs and umbrellas are provided by the nearby bar and restaurant, which offers waiter service and has a full bar menu, as well as a good-sized lunch menu.  

Over the years, the amenities and offerings at Le Galion beach have been improved and there are diving platforms (complimentary), kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skis and more available for hourly charges.

Comments

Le Galion is a quiet family beach that is great for non-swimmers and kids to have a relaxing day.  The beach is a shallow lagoon, and adults can walk out many dozens of yards from shore and not have the water go past their waist.  

Le Galion also tends not to get as crowded as some other beaches frequented by cruise guests.  It is a laid back beach experience that offers just enough for kids to do, without relying on a ton of water toys that can turn the ocean into a virtual playground.

We have brought our children to Le Galion for years because the beach experience is perfect for kids that just want to splash around without fear of getting knocked over by waves or suddenly finding them in deeper water than before.

The cost to use the beach chairs and umbrellas is fair and waiter service that brings drinks and food is pretty good.  There is nothing else around, so you are dependent on the beach bar for food and drink, but their prices are fair for the French side of the island and the staff speak English and French fluently.

If you want a quiet, relaxing beach that has little-to-no waves, then Le Galion beach is perfect for you.

Sabor on Royal Caribbean cruise ships

In:
02 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

One of Royal Caribbean's newest and most popular specialty restaurants is Sabor, which serves up a modern take on what Mexican cuisine can be.

While you will find favorites like tacos, quesadillas and margaritas there, Royal Caribbean also offers contemporary dishes, including ceviche, flautas, seafood and more.

There are two kinds of Sabor experiences on Royal Caribbean ships.

Sabor Modern Mexican was the original implementation, and is found on select Voyager- and Freedom-class cruise ships on Deck 4, near the Schooner Bar.

Guests dining at Sabor Modern Mexican will pay a cover charge and have access to all the food on the menu (drinks are excluded).

In addition, there are hand-crafted margaritas at Sabor Modern Mexican.

Sabor Tacqueria & Tequila Bar is a newer form of Sabor, that is found on Oasis-class cruise ships and located in the Boardwalk neighborhood.

At Sabor Tacqueria & Tequila Bar, there is a cover charge just like at the other ships.  A meal at Sabor will cost $19 per person and that includes all the food on the menu (excluding drinks).

Sabor for lunch

Sabor is open for both lunch and dinner on most days.

Sabor will be open for dinner on all evenings, and is usually open for lunch on sea days.

Additionally, Sabor is sometimes open for lunch on embarkation day.  It will depend on the ship and sailing, but usually the Oasis-class ships that have Sabor are open for lunch on embarkation day.

Reservations are not necessary for lunch.

Sabor tips

  • The freshly made guacamole is arguably the best thing on the menu. Do not miss out on having it made for you.
  • Chips and salsa are complimentary at all Sabor locations.
  • On Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, there is a bar outside Sabor, where you can order drinks and some food without going formally into the restaurant.
  • Do not miss out on the dessert tray.  The banana chocolate empanadas especially are divine.

Royal Caribbean extends cruises from Baltimore for 4 more years

In:
21 Apr 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will continue offering cruises from Baltimore, Maryland for another four years.

The Baltimore Business Journal reports that Royal Caribbean signed a new deal with the Maryland Port Administration that will extend its year-round departures out of South Locust Point until June 2020.

Grandeur of the Seas is currently offering year-round cruises from Baltimore to the Bahamas, Bermuda and Canada.

Grandeur of the Seas has been offering cruises from Baltimore since May 2013, when she replaced Enchantment of the Seas.

A Royal Caribbean primer for the Disney Cruise Line fan in sticker shock

In:
14 Apr 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Disney Cruise Line released its Summer 2017 itineraries this week and many Disney Cruise Line fans very surprised by the pricing they found.

With this kind of sticker shock, there are some fans who have come to a similar conclusion as Dave.

If you are someone considering an alternative cruise that is just as fun, relaxing and far less costly as a Disney Cruise, Royal Caribbean is a great choice.  

That being said, we understand there is trepidation about changing cruise lines and leaving the warm embrace of the Mouse.  We are here to tell you that there's nothing to worry about and that a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation is very similar to a Disney Cruise (minus that price tag).

Here is our guide to how you can learn to stop worrying and love the Crown and Anchor.

Step 1: Disney and Royal Caribbean offer similar experiences

Before one can consider a Royal Caribbean cruise, I think it is important to understand that both Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean offer very similar experiences.

Both cruise lines are mass-market cruise lines that target family travel.

Both cruise lines embrace a strategy of building cruise ships that offer guests a lot to do onboard.

Both cruise lines have plenty for kids, parents, adults, grandparents and everyone of all ages to do and see.

In my experience, many ardent Disney Cruise Line fans have cruised Disney Cruise Line solely and a DCL cruise was their first cruising experience.  Give Disney credit, they are great at marketing their products and getting those new to cruising to give their cruise line a try simply because of the name recognition.

Believe it or not, I like the product Disney Cruise Line offers but like you, I also see this, frankly, crazy pricing Disney Cruise Line has and it is why we cruise with Royal Caribbean.

The first step in giving Royal Caribbean a try is to believe me when I say there are things Disney does better and there are things Royal Caribbean does better, but the bottom line is the experiences are more similar than they are different.

Step 2: Looking at what Royal Caribbean offers (besides price)

While price is a big deal, no one should book a cruise purely on cost factor alone. If that were the case, this blog post should be focusing on some other cruise line options.

Royal Caribbean has 24 (soon to be 25 next month) ships in its fleet and there are a few areas of the cruise experience Royal Caribbean greatly distinguishes itself from Disney Cruise Line.

Itinerary variety

Disney Cruise Line only has 4 ships in its fleet today, so it can only offer so many itineraries.  Royal Caribbean's fleet size means you can take cruises from Florida, Europe, Galveston, Baltimore, Alaska, New York, Australia, China and many more destinations for most of the year.

While Disney serves many of those areas too, they do so only occasionally and in many cases, there is not much variety in itineraries offered.

With Royal Caribbean, you can opt to explore more of the world via a cruise ship or visit your favorite spots again and again.

Ship features

Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are built to be meccas of onboard entertainment.

Royal Caribbean cruise ships may offer Broadway shows, ice skating, surf simulators, rock climbing walls, water slides, multiple pools and much more.

Royal Caribbean ships offer adults-only pools, a wide variety of specialty restaurants, unlimited alcohol and drink packages, and a casino.

Many Disney Cruise Line fans that try Royal Caribbean often comment about the wide variety of stuff to do while onboard.

Step 3: Kids, kids and kids

Earlier in this post, Disney's brand recognition was cited as a reason why many choose to cruise with Disney Cruise Line in the first place, but children are also a big factor.

I get it, Disney and kids are nearly synonymous with each other and many parents are concerned how could any other cruise line compare to what Disney offers for kids.

While Disney does a great job with kids and kids programming, Royal Caribbean has stepped up their children's programming in recent years and it is much closer to what Disney offers than you may think.

Royal Caribbean offers complimentary programming for kids in its Adventure Ocean program, as well as teens in their own area.

The dedicated space for kids and breadth of programming has expanded greatly with each new ship class and for parents looking to cruise with children, the child care facilities on Freedom, Quantum and Oasis class ships should offer excellent choices.

Royal Caribbean also features on nearly all of its ships a nursery option, which for an additional hourly cost, can provide day care for children 6 to 36 months old.

Beyond child care, there is lots for kids to do onboard a Royal Caribbean ship.  Mini golf, ice skating, surf simulator, sports decks, video games, aqua parks and soon water slides are just a few of the options available.

In the Cruise Compass, guests can enjoy even more opportunities for activities throughout the day.

Step 4: (Thinking, considering & pondering) Making the jump

I hope by this point in this post you are thinking along the lines of, "I understand there is a huge price difference and the two cruise lines aren't really that different from each other."

If so, ask yourself this question next, "Why am I paying so much more for a Disney cruise?"

Answering this question may be the linchpin in the proverbial decision axle that convinces you to consider taking a Royal Caribbean cruise.

I think it would be foolish to assume every Disney Cruise Line fan that tries Royal Caribbean would be instant super fans and never look back, but I also believe (based on mine and others experience) that there is a good chance that making the switch would still result in a fun family vacation.

Look at the various options available to you in a Royal Caribbean cruise and consider the various itineraries and ships that might match up with what you are considering.

I often remind people considering Royal Caribbean for the first time, odds are they will still have a satisfying vacation on Royal Caribbean and they will either come around to cruise more with Royal Caribbean or opt to stay with the mouse.  In either case, it will be a good learning experience.

At the risk of shameless self promotion, here are some more resources on this blog to help guide you with what Royal Caribbean offers and what might be of interest to you

Have you cruised with Disney and Royal Caribbean? Share your thoughts on how they compare in our comments!

Video: Ovation Officially Joins the Family

In:
13 Apr 2016

There’s a new member of the Royal Caribbean family as the global cruise line officially took delivery of its 24th ship, Ovation of the Seas. Ovation and her Quantum-class sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, are of the most technologically advanced cruise ships in the world.

Royal Caribbean's April Fools joke invites man behind funny ship name to name next Royal Caribbean ship

In:
01 Apr 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has "invited" James Hand, the man who recently entered a contest in the UK to name a ship Boaty McBoatface, to "help" Royal Caribbean name its next cruise ship.

Coincidently posted on April 1, Royal Caribbean  knows that James Hand has forever altered the business of naming ships, and perhaps could make a career out of it. Therefore, Royal Caribbean is thrilled to extend James Hand an offer to bring his talents on deck, and help Royal Caribbean develop the name for a future ship.

With five ships debuting in the next three years, Hand’s clever copywriting skills will surely be put to good use.

"The people of the United Kingdom know the name of a great ship when they see it," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Like the rest of the world, we fell in love with the name Boaty McBoatface when we heard it, and we knew immediately that Royal Caribbean could use James Hand’s talent to name our next ship."

As the first step, Royal Caribbean is inviting James Hand to sail on its newest and biggest ship, Harmony of the Seas, when she launches in Southampton, UK this May. Hand will meet with the cruise line’s very own ship naming experts to discuss potential names for a forthcoming ship.

"If James accepts our offer, who knows, perhaps he could name all our future ships,” added Bayley. “James Hand, Chief Naming Officer, Royal Caribbean International. It has a nice ring to it."

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

In:
27 Mar 2016
By: 
Michael Poole

Blog writer Michael Poole is onboard Brilliance of the Seas for back-to-back Brilliance of the Seas cruises this week, and he is LIVE blogging all of it right here. Enjoy!

Hi friends, my cruise is finally here!  I woke up early and watched the Brilliance of the Seas dock in Tampa on the webcam.  Over the past year this has become a morning tradition of mine. 

Embarkation – Port of Tampa

I arrived to the port at 12:00 on the dot and my first thoughts were there are no signs that tell you where to go. 

The Vision of the Seas was beside us, so I could imagine first time cruises, not knowing which ship/terminal to pull up to. 

Once we pulled up, security asked us which ship we were sailing on, I suppose people get it mixed up often.   Once I arrived to the Brilliance terminal, there were lines out on the sidewalk.  Yikes, it was so hot and we were just standing outside. 

This was the line to go through security; it didn’t take too long approximately 20 minutes.   Once you get through security you are then asked to complete the health form, prior to approaching the check-in desk.  The only line at this point was the non-crown and anchor members, all others were wide-open. 

The ship

The ship itself is in great shape, everything still looks new from the dry dock she received two years ago. 

When you walk on, you have to walk through the shops to get to the Centrum.  The Centrum on the Brilliance is much larger than those on the Vision class.  I did notice the R Bar was a little smaller than the one on the Enchantment. 

The Next Cruise desk is now a full venue on deck 5 with the beautiful new décor.  I also noticed they have six desks in there now, so they must be seeing a lift in their on board bookings. 

The pool deck was full of passengers already enjoy their first day in the sun. 

However, there are a lot of kids and I’m talking in the masses.  But you just have to expect that around this time of year, it does make me miss the kid’s pool on the Freedom/Oasis class ships. 

My Cabin – SI Solo Cabin 4583

Since I’m sailing solo on this leg of the cruise, I booked a Solo cabin.  There are only three of these cabins on board and they were added during her last dry dock.  

First, let’s start out with the location of the cabin, it’s on deck 4 beside the centrum.  I really love having easy access to the centrum, it’s about four steps away and I’m there.  I was a little worried about possibly hearing music or the R Bar from my cabin, but so far I’ve heard nothing. 

Okay let’s talk about the cabin, it’s around 100sq feet with a twin bed.  I was expecting the cabin to feel much smaller than the standard inside cabin, however it doesn’t at all.  In fact, I feel like there is more space to walk around the cabin. 

The closet is much easier to access since it’s not beside the door when you walk in.  I would recommend this cabin’s to all solo cruisers, and will likely book them again. 

Sail Away

Almost sail away time, we had the mandatory muster drill at 3:15; they shut down all the bars down at 2:45 to prepare for the muster drill. 

As everyone knows, this is the worst and best part of the cruise.  Worst, because they pack you on the outside decks very close to others.  But best, because when it’s over you are officially on vacation!  It was over around 3:30, and I ran up to the pool deck, and yes I was almost running. 

They had a poolside lunch with hotdogs and hamburgers to enjoy during sail away. I also saw little mini bars set up all around the pool decks, I’m sure they needed these two weeks ago on college spring breakers. 

I met a bartender who said they were hit really hard with college crew for the last two weeks, but none on this sailing.   We sailed before the Vision of the Seas so I was able to take some great pictures of her.  I must be honest, seeing the Vision really made me miss the Enchantment; I just love that class of ships. 

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

After sailing for around two hours out of Tampa you get to pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  If you have never gone under a bridge on a cruise ship, it’s a really fun experience. 

I was actually enjoying a cocktail in the Diamond lounge and ran outside, just in time to see it.  We had 2-3 feet clearance from the top of the ship, so everyone was clapping once we passed. 

The captain also blows the horn as we are going under, so be sure to experience this from the outside decks. 

Dinner

For dinner tonight, I decided to do something different, this is starting to seem like the theme of this cruise.  But I dined in the Windjammer for the first time for dinner. 

I was actually surprised for two reasons.  One they have so many options and two it was very full of guest.  I enjoyed some grilled fish and 1 or maybe 2 cuts of prime rib, and maybe grabbed some pasta too!  I liked being able to sample a little of everything and leave when you wanted. 

And sadly, this is where day 1 comes to an end, after dinner I decided to get some sleep and call it a night.  After a full day on board it just finally caught up to me.  Tomorrow we are in Key West! 

Drink Cost Vs Drink Package Check – Up

As I mentioned in my first post, I didn’t purchase the drink package on this sailing.  I tried to enjoy myself just as I did have the package, and order at will. 

I ordered 3 beers before sailaway/during for a total cost $22. 

In the evening time, I used my diamond cocktails perks pre-loaded to the seapass card.  For those unaware, once you reach diamond level you get three drinks per evening at any bar from 5:00pm-8:30pm. 

So for day 1 looks like a saved a few dollars by buying them at bar price, but I didn’t enjoy post dinner entertainment. Let’s see if it holds true tomorrow… 

Tips for taking a 3-night Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
21 Mar 2016
By: 
Michael Poole

Royal Caribbean offers a lot of amazing cruise experiences, including 3-night getaway cruises that are the perfect escape for a weekend or just a few days away from it all.

Three night cruises are among the shortest sailings Royal Caribbean regularly offers and today we have a look at some tips to consider if you are going to try a quick Royal Caribbean cruise.

6. There is a formal night

Just because it's only three nights does not mean there is not a formal night.

Usually the formal night is on the second night of the cruise, and it is just like any other formal night on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

5. Consider Buying the Drink Package

I know there are so many mixed reviews about Royal Caribbean's drink packages and whether or not it’s a value to you.  However, you might find it to be a great value to you for just three days. 

The type of package you might want is going to deepened on what you like drink, but remember you are only paying for three days vs the standard seven cruise. One more deciding factor that might swing your decision is the drink package works in Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island. 

On both, Majesty and Enchantment weekend sailings, they visit Coco Cay so the package works all day in the island.  Even with all the Diamond perks I get, I still find the drink package to be a great value on the short three-day sailings. 

Ask yourself; can you drink 12-15 drinks in three days? 

4. Inside Cabins 

Since you are just going to be on the ship for a short 72-hours, consider an inside cabin. 

I don’t even look at the other cabin types when I’m going on the weekend sailings, because there is so much to do and so little time.  If the cruise is a special occasion I understand wanting to splurge a little and get a nice cabin. 

However, outside of showering and resting a few hours in the evenings, you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the cabin.  More often than not Royal Caribbean is offering some type of sale on the inside cabin’s. 

3. Planning shore excursions in advance.

Honestly, for any cruise I’d recommend planning port day activates in advance.  And this holds true when you have such a limited time on board, the last thing you want to do is stand in another line.  

Often the shore excursions desk can get a lengthy line, especially on the shorter sailings. 

Prior to the cruise you can make any shore excursion purchases online to avoid working with the desk on board.  I also find the planning part at home to be just as fun, as the cruise itself, okay almost as fun. 

2. Activities on board

On every Royal Caribbean cruise you get a daily Cruise Compass filled with all the activities throughout the day.  This Cruise Compass is going to have activities around the clock, so the problem you run into is, you just can’t do them all. 

Years ago, when I first started doing the shorter sailings, I tried doing as much as possible.  However, I’d find myself extremely exhausted by the evening.  So my recommendation is find a few activities you really want to do and left a few go for the next time. 

1. Board the ship early

Royal Caribbean often sends out text messages or emails advising guest with their boarding time.  Fact is, you can board the ship anytime you want, regardless of the message states.  It usually has times listed to board by which deck you are on, but just ignore this message. 

Again, you only have 72 hours on board and you paid for these hours, so do not waste them. 

I would recommend arriving to the pier at 10:30am and you should be on board no later than 11:30am, if not sooner.