Alt Text!

Top 10 Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas hidden secrets

08 Mar 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas is an amazing cruise ship that offers guests so much to see and do onboard. It is one of the largest cruise ships in the world and with so much going on, we present our list of the best secrets that are easily to overlook on Allure of the Seas.

10. Best drink you don't know about: Cucumber martini

There are so many drinks to try on any Royal Caribbean cruise, but if you are on Allure of the Seas, you should go out of your way to try a drink unique to this class of ships: the Cucumber Martini.

The cucumber martini has reached cult status with many Royal Caribbean fans and is available at two bars onboard: 150 Central Park and the Champagne Bar.

This drink is light and very refreshing and a very different kind of drink.  It also is quite tasty!

If you want to make a cucumber martini at home, here is the recipe!

9. Water fountain shows

If you want to see a really unique show on Allure of the Seas that is easily overlooked, then you need to head to the Boardwalk in the evenings for the water fountain shows.

On many evenings, the AquaTheater will utilize the amazing AquaTheater fountains to "dance" along to select instrumental music, and it is pretty darn fun!

Check your Cruise Compass for exact times, but this is a fun show that showcases the water synchronization ability, beautiful lighting and is mesmerizing to watch.

8. Best Izumi value: DX sushi combo

If you are looking for the absolute best value at Izumi, in terms of getting the most value for the dollar, you cannot beat the DX Sushi Combo.

In general, the sushi combination dishes at Izumi offer an excellent value, but we have found the DX Sushi Combo to offer the most sushi for the money and it is also a great selection of rolls as well.

As a bonus, the DX Sushi combo is also available at other Izumi restaurants we have dined at across Royal Caribbean's fleet.

7. Best breakfast spot: Johnny Rockets

If you want one of the best breakfast spots on Allure of the Seas that is likely not to be nearly as crowded as the Windjammer, then head to the Boardwalk to Johnny Rockets.

On Allure of the Seas, Johnny Rockets is open for breakfast and offers some great traditional breakfast items, such as pancakes, omelettes, French toast, and more.

The best part? It's free!  Johnny Rockets is complimentary for breakfast on Allure of the Seas (lunch and dinner at Johnny Rockets still cost extra).

6. Embarkation day lunch spots

Just like breakfast, the Windjammer can get pretty busy since so many guests head there for their embarkation day lunch but there are some good alternatives to consider that will be far less crowded.

Sabor, Park Cafe, Giovanni's Table and Johnny Rockets are all open on embarkation day on Allure of the Seas and you will find great food without the crowds.

If you find a line to get into the Windjammer, often these other spots will be far less crowded.  And the food is great there too!

5. Bridge wings

The absolute best place for sail away or for when sailing into a port are the bridge wings on deck 14.

These bridge wings extend away from the side of the ship, giving guests a very unique view of your surroundings, and Allure of the Seas itself.

To get to the wing viewing areas, go all the way forward in the deck 14 on the port side. Once you arrive at the end of the corridor, there will be a glass door on the left.

4. Exit the Amber Theater on deck 5

Imagine this: you just finished seeing another great show in the Amber Theater on Allure of the Seas and it is time to leave.  Problem is, the huge crowd exiting the theater is going nowhere!

Your best bet is to head up to deck five (the Amber Theater has two levels) and exit on that deck.

The reason is deck 4 empties into a narrow elevator lobby and the casino, whereas deck 5 opens up into the Royal Promenade.  There is physically far more space for guests to exit on deck 5.

3. Small wonders

Photo by nenner1

Hidden all over Allure of the Seas are an easily overlooked bit of art that is truly fun to look at, the small wonders.

You will find either something that looks like a periscope or telescope, coming from the ground.  If you happen to stop and look inside, you will find some cool art to enjoy. 

Finding these is a lot of fun for kids and adults, and there are over twenty of them all over the ship.

Hint: if you give up and cannot find them all, Guest Services can provide you with a list of them all to help!

2. Express Sabor guacamole option

Confession time: I love the guacamole from Sabor on Allure of the Seas. Did you know you can indulge in some guacamole anytime you want it without sitting down?

For guests who need to grab-and-go guacamole (maybe bringing it back to your stateroom), head to the Sabor bar on the Boardwalk.

It is the round bar area outside the entrance to Sabor and they serve up the same great guacamole the sit down restaurant has!

1. Take the Central Park guided tour

Royal Caribbean's Central Park is an impressive and beautiful area on the ship and guests can take a complimentary tour of the neighborhood with the ship's horticulturalists.

Check your Cruise Compass for the exact day and time, but this is a guided tour of Central Park to get a better understanding of how Royal Caribbean maintains a living park on a cruise ship.

It is very interesting to see what it takes to maintain Central Park and keep it so beautiful!

Did we miss any Allure of the Seas secrets? Share them in our comments!

How to get onboard credit on your Royal Caribbean cruise

05 Feb 2016
Matt Hochberg

As you start to learn about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise and hop on message boards, social media and other avenues of talking about cruising, you may start to notice other guests talking about free money they are getting in the form of onboard credit.

The natural reaction to this is: what is onboard credit and how do I get onboard credit?

What is onboard credit?

Onboard credit is essentially free money that you can spend onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise.

When a guest receives onboard credit, their SeaPass account is credited with that amount of money to offset any onboard purchases, such as shore excursions, specialty restaurants, spa treatments, drink purchases and anything else you can charge to your SeaPass account.

Once onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise, a guest's SeaPass account will receive a credit that corresponds to the onboard credit value they were promised.

A common misconception is you can take onboard credit and apply it towards a specific purchase.  Your onboard credit is applied against any and all onboard purchases you make in general. So there is no need to worry about ensuring you use it for one purchase or another.

You can only spend onboard credit once you are on your Royal Caribbean ship, so any purchases made in advance of your cruise cannot be applied towards your onboard credit.

How to get onboard credit

There are a lot of ways to get onboard credit, and not all means of getting onboard credit will always be available, but it is important to understand all the possibilities.

The simplest answer on how to get onboard credit is you have to be given onboard credit from someone else, either Royal Caribbean or another entity.  

Let us explore the possibilities.

Onboard credit from a Royal Caribbean booking promotion

The most common way guests receive onboard credit is to receive it from Royal Caribbean as part of a deal to book a cruise.

Royal Caribbean regularly offers onboard credit as an incentive to get guests to book a cruise.

These are typically periodic promotions, where the amount of onboard credit you receive is tied to the stateroom category you book, as well as the exact promotion offered. Some promotions will offer more onboard credit than others.

The amount of onboard credit will vary from promotion to promotion and it is important to read the deal's rules and conditions.  In a best case scenario, Royal Caribbean offered up to $400 onboard credit for Balcony & Suite guests in a recent Cyber Monday promotion.

This may not be the most lucrative source of onboard credit, but it is regularly the simplest way of getting some.

Onboard credit by booking another Royal Caribbean cruise while onboard

If you happen to be on a Royal Caribbean cruise and cannot wait to reserve space on another sailing, then take advantage of Royal Caribbean's onboard booking bonus.

Royal Caribbean incentives its guests to re-book another cruise while still onboard by offering them extra onboard credit on top of whatever promotion is currently running.

Guests can visit the NextCruise office and get up to $500 in onboard credit to spend on their current sailing or defer it to an upcoming sailing.

The onboard credit you get at the NextCruise office is free money, because Royal Caribbean is rewarding you for reserving another sailing and is one of the best, and most lucrative means of getting a lot  of onboard credit.

Onboard credit from a travel agent

We love using travel agents to book our Royal Caribbean cruises for the wonderful value they provide in terms of service, but travel agents are also a great source of onboard credit.

In general, many travel agents offer their own booking bonus for working with them.

The amount of onboard credit a travel agent can give you on top of whatever Royal Caribbean is offering will vary greatly, and depends on the agency size and the stateroom category you book.

Onboard credit is one way travel agents differentiate themselves from one another and take steps to earn business.

Onboard credit from the Royal Caribbean Visa card

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).

Each purchase you make with the card earns you points, and as you save those points, you can redeem them for onboard credit.

As an example, the Royal Caribbean card will net a guest $100 in onboard credit for 10,000 points.

Onboard credit from a Royal Caribbean mistake

No one is perfect, certainly not Royal Caribbean, and while you probably will not like the mistake itself, the silver lining is often Royal Caribbean offers guests onboard credit as a means of making it up to them.

Incidents like poor service, billing inaccuracies and other frustrations are often handled with onboard credit (in addition to remedying the situation as best they can).

The exact amount of onboard credit will depend on the nature of the incident.

Cancelled cruise

In a lot of cases, Royal Caribbean will try to make up for a cancelled cruise with onboard credit.

Hurricanes, a health crisis, maintenance issues and a variety of other possibilities can lead to Royal Caribbean cancelling a cruise.

In order to smooth things over with guests, the cruise line may offer onboard credit for a new sailing in order to make up for the disappointment of having to cancel the original sailing.

How have you gotten onboard credit in the past? Share your best tips in the comments!

Bringing wine on your Royal Caribbean cruise

04 Feb 2016
Matt Hochberg

Did you know that Royal Caribbean allows its guest to bring wine on their cruise? Not only is this a great way to save money, but it allows guests to enjoy their favorite wines while onboard.

Before you go on your next Royal Caribbean cruise, all wine lovers should consider these guidelines to ensure a great Royal Caribbean cruise complimented by your favorite wines.

How many bottles of wine can you bring on Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean allows its passengers to bring up to two bottles of wine per statertoom onboard their cruise on embarkation day.

Each bottle of wine may be up to 750ml in size and should be brought on in your carry-on luggage. Do not put the wine in your checked luggage.

No beer or hard liquor may be brought onboard for consumption. Guests may only bring the wine onboard on embarkation day.

What is the corking fee?

Since June 2017, guests who consume their personal wine and champagne in public areas, will incur a $15 corkage fee per bottle.  The corkage fee only applies to personal bottles brought onboard on embarkation day.

This means, guests bring their wine to any specialty restaurant, main dining room or bar to have it opened for them will be charged the $15 corkage fee.

What if I do not finish the bottle?

If you do not finish the bottle of wine, Royal Caribbean can store the wine for you and deliver it another restaurant at that time.

Whether you buy a bottle of wine onboard your cruise or bring your own, if you do not finish that bottle in one night, have your waiter store it for you.

And if the next night you choose to have dinner elsewhere, like the Windjammer or a specialty restaurant, just tell your new waiter you have a bottle of wine stored for you. They will ask your stateroom number and within a few short minutes your wine will appear.

Can I bring more wine if I am on back to back sailings?

Yes, guests are allowed to bring two additional 750 ml bottles of wine or champagne per stateroom, for each individual sailing.

Additional bottles beyond two, will be stored by the ship and delivered, two bottles at a time, to the stateroom on the first day of each new voyage.

Royal Caribbean notes that guests bringing four bottles at the start of the first sailing should have documentation for both sailings available to share with security.

Are you planning to bring wine onboard your next Royal Caribbean cruise? Tell us about it in the comments!

7 things Royal Caribbean veterans always do (and you should too)

03 Feb 2016
Matt Hochberg

It is natural when you are new to Royal Caribbean to want to learn all the tips, secrets and hints you can so that your Royal Caribbean cruise experience can be the best.  These tried-and-true strategies are something many Royal Caribbean fans have come to learn after taking many cruises over the years.

If you are new to Royal Caribbean, here are seven things Royal Caribbean insiders know about taking a cruise that you might want to consider doing too.

1. Sign up for Crown and Anchor Society

This may not seem like that much of a secret, but the truth is guests that have cruised time and time again with Royal Caribbean embrace Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program known as Crown and Anchor Society.

Essentially, Crown and Anchor Society rewards guests for taking multiple Royal Caribbean cruises with special discounts onboard, priority embarkation and check-in, offers on upcoming cruises and exclusive events.

There is no cost to join Crown and Anchor Society and the discounts you receive onboard alone are worth signing up for.

2. Arrive to port very early

Your Royal Caribbean cruise may not depart your port until sometime in the afternoon or evening, but Royal Caribbean veterans always show up early for two good reasons.

First, the earlier you arrive means the earlier your vacation begins.  Whether you arrive at the port at 11am or 2pm on embarkation day, the price you pay does not change, so you may as well show up earlier to get more time from your cruise.

Second, by arriving early, you will avoid the longer lines at embarkation that typically occur on embarkation day when a majority of guests show up in the afternoon. Arriving in the morning allows you to get through security and check-in with less wait.

If you are wondering what constitutes early, usually this infers any time before noon.  Depending on your cruise, embarkation port and other factors, the check-in process can begin as early as 10am.

3. Book specialty dining in advance

These days, Royal Caribbean ships offer some amazing specialty dining options and if you want to ensure there is a table waiting for you, then you ought to book something before you set foot onboard.

Royal Caribbean allows guests to make reservations for its specialty restaurants online, via the Cruise Planner site.  

By making reservations online, you will guarantee yourself not just a table, but the day and time that fits your schedule.

This is especially important on formal nights or holidays, when many guests wish to do something special.

4. Book their cruises years in advance

Royal Caribbean recently announced their deployment schedule of when guests can see itineraries for 2017-2018 cruises and begin making reservations.  Royal Caribbean veterans know the key to getting a good deal on a cruise and the perfect stateroom, is to book as far in advance as possible.

Royal Caribbean veterans will tell you that the best way to get a good deal on a cruise is to book as early as you can.  Ideally, years in advance.

By booking early, you will often find the best rates available because cruise fares operate on a supply and demand basis.  The less supply there is (i.e. staterooms available to book), the higher prices.  So by booking one to two years early, you will find the best rates.

If you ever strike up a conversation with a Royal Caribbean veteran, ask them when they booked their cruises, because the answer is often measured in years.

5. Read old Cruise Compass' to know what to expect

You just picked the perfect Royal Caribbean cruise for you and your family and it sounds like it will be a blast, but you might be wondering what events, activities and specials may be offered on your cruise.  

There is no way to know in absolute terms what your upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise will or will not offer, but Royal Caribbean insiders will consult past Cruise Compass' to see what was available on those similar sailings to get an idea of what to expect.

Generally speaking, Royal Caribbean sailings on a particular ship do not change that much from week to week in terms of the activities or entertainment offered.  There will be some discrepancies, but an old Cruise Compass can give you a good ballpark of expectations to plan around.

By reading an old Cruise Compass, you can prepare yourself for activities and events that you might want to participate in, such as themed dance parties, sporting events and anything inbetween.

6. Take cruises on the smaller ships

These days, any Royal Caribbean commercial you see on television probably shows off the amazing things its newest, and biggest cruise ships offer and they are really, really stunning.  But Royal Caribbean veterans know that it is just as fun and important to consider the smaller ships in the fleet.

Royal Caribbean has a fleet of 23 ships of various shapes and sizes.  While the largest ships gain the lion's share of attention, many veterans will tell you the virtues of the smaller ships in the fleet.

Radiance, Vision, Sovereign and even Voyager class ships all offer some amazing experiences that cannot be matched on the larger ships. 

These smaller ships can get to ports of call that larger ships cannot, as well as offer a more intimate experience in relationship with your fellow guests.  Not to mention, these smaller ships also come with a lower price tag!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sailing on an Oasis or Quantum class ship, but consider every class in the fleet for your next Royal Caribbean cruise, because Royal Caribbean super fans love them all.

7. Learn from others

Let's face it: no one knows it all and that is why veteran cruisers often look for ways to congregate online and share in their experiences.

The internet is perfect for sharing our collective Royal Caribbean knowledge, and there are some great resources you should consider when looking to learn more about Royal Caribbean.

At the risk of sounding self-serving, this web site offers more than just blog posts as means of helping others have a better cruise.  Read our message boards, listen to our podcast and chat with us on Periscope for some easy and fun ways to learn more about Royal Caribbean.

In addition, Facebook has become a wealth of Royal Caribbean information, and here are a few of our favorite Facebook groups that you might consider joining.

We would also be remiss if we did not mention the Cruise Critic message boards as another great online resource of Royal Caribbean information.

Are you a Royal Caribbean veteran? What advice would you give to someone new to Royal Caribbean? Share that tip in our comments!

Enchantment of the Seas Live Blog - Preamble

02 Feb 2016
Michael Poole

Hi Royal Caribbean Blog readers, its Michael Poole here for another live blog from Enchantment of the Seas.  This is going to be a short three-day cruise, but I’m excited to take you along with me. 

As many of you already know, Enchantment of the Seas is my favorite ship in the fleet, and this will be my 7th time sailing on her. 

This sailing is going to special for a few reasons, she is headed down to her new home in Miami this year, so I’ll likely visit Majesty of the Seas more often.  Also, I have some Royal Caribbean Blog fan’s joining me on this cruise! 

Finally, this cruise is going to be over Super Bowl weekend, so I’ll be able to watch the big game while at sea! 

The Group

For the past year, I’ve been active on twitter with Royal Caribbean Blog and started conversation with some other blog readers.  Since then, we have always talked about doing a cruise together, but never really found a time that works. 

Well, my friends we have finally found that time!  I’ll be going with my brother, Jason Poole and his husband Caleb Jones.  From Florida our good friend Nick Vitani, who can be found on the Enchantment a few times a month!  Also my good from Atlanta, Shawn Wallace and his wife Michelle are coming along; Shawn also has a deep love for the Enchantment. 

I will mention my brother Jason and Caleb have never sailed on any cruise less than 7 days or a smaller ship, so I’m excited for their feedback as well. 

Pre – Cruise

My group of six will be leaving Atlanta, GA. Thursday night and staying at Holiday Inn in Valdosta, GA. 

This is only three hours south of Atlanta, but due to work, and others traveling from Tennessee, we won’t be hitting the road until 8:00PM Thursday night. 

I’ve stayed at this hotel a few times over the years, and I’ve never had any issues.  The rates here are also very reasonable, usually a little under $100/night. 

Friday morning

Our plan is to be on the road by 7:00am, from Valdosta, GA.  We have around 4 hours to be on the road before we arrive in Port Canaveral, Florida. 

Before the cruise we have planned a small meet and greet at a restaurant beside the port. 

We have a few friends that live in the area, which can’t join us, so we are going to visit with them until noon.  I picked the restaurant Grill’s because it’s right beside the Enchantment, and we can look at the ship while enjoying some morning mimosas.  They also have a great patio on the water, and often have live music in the afternoons, but we will be on board by then. 

Port’s of Call

Our first stop Saturday is in Nassau, Bahamas from noon until midnight.  I enjoy this day the most, because you have a sea morning, poolside bbq lunch, and then a full day in Nassau.  It’s like the best of both worlds all in one day. 

I don’t have any plans here yet, might walk over to Junkanoo Beach for a few hours, and then stroll over to Starbucks to use their fast wifi ($3.00) to upload my Day 1 blog post! 

Sunday we are in Coco Cay, which is my favorite port of call in the Caribbean.  I love Coco Cay, because it feels like paradise to me.  I’ve cruised here during this time of year a few times before and often miss Coco Cay, so my fingers are crossed that doesn’t happen. 

That wraps up my preamble for my 3-day Cruise on Enchantment of the Seas! 

Be sure to follow me on Periscope, Instagram, and Twitter for up to the minute updates.  I’ll be doing a full ship tour on Periscope and uploading pictures on Instagram all weekend. 

I hope you enjoy the post all weekend and feel free to ask any questions you may have on the Enchantment of the Seas.  

Live Blog Index

Spotlight: Royal Caribbean dining packages

28 Jan 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean offers its guests that are fans of specialty dining the opportunity to purchase dining packages that promise to save guests money on the total cost of the restaurant experience.

Photo by Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean offers a variety of dining packages based on the number of nights you want to take advantage of the offer.  These packages can save guests up to 40% off the price if they were purchased individually.

There are dining packages for

  • 1 night (referred to as First Night Done Right)
    • Only available on first night of the cruise
  • 2 nights (referred to as BOGO package)
    • Only available on first two nights of the cruise
  • 3 nights
  • 4 nights
  • 5 nights
  • Ultimate dining package (good for the duration of the sailing)
    • The ultimate dining package includes lunch on sea days

Photo by Royal Caribbean International

Via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner, guests may select their dining party and preferred dining time and a courtesy dinner reservation will be made on your behalf in a pre-selected restaurant on day 1 or day 2.

On Day 1, guests will receive a reservation confirmation in their stateroom. If you would like to amend or to complete your additional dinner reservations, simply visit a Hospitality Desk or any specialty restaurant.

Guests then can make additional reservations on your first day onboard to guarantee preferred dining time and restaurants.

Kids ages 6-12 now dine at our specialty restaurants for only $10. Ages 5 and under eat free.  Royal Caribbean's staff can add children to your existing reservation at kid's prices once onboard.

For restaurants with a la carte pricing, package includes a $30 credit towards the food portion of your bill.

The main advantage of the dining packages are the cost savings compared to booking the individual specialty restaurants individually. 

Will you book one of these dining packages for your next Royal Caribbean cruise? Tell us in the comments below!

Dining with kids in Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants

14 Dec 2015
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants are one aspect of the cruise experience many guests look forward to each sailing, but just because you have children with you does not mean you cannot enjoy these restaurants.

Royal Caribbean welcomes children younger than 13 in all of its specialty restaurants (when accompanied by an adult) and even offers them special pricing.

How much does it cost for children to eat at specialty restaurant?

Kids ages 6-12 can dine at specialty restaurants for a $10 cover charge.

Kids 5 years old and under eat free.

Is there a special menu for kids?

Kids 5-12 have a modified adult menu,which is a round-up of kid-friendly favorites from the regular menu.

Kids under 5 are free and have a kiddies menu similar to the kids menu in the main dining room.

Some restaurants do not have kids menus and so kids order off the regular menu.

Royal Caribbean specifies restaurants such as Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, 150 Central Park, and Chef's Table do not have kids menus, as those experiences are better suited for guests age 13 and older. 

What if my kids want to eat off the regular adult menu?

In this scenario, you may be charged full price for your children.

It is worth discussing with your waiter, as we have heard of situations where they still charge the children pricing.  

Your mileage may vary, but expect to pay full price for children ordering off the regular menu when there is no kids menu option.

How do I make reservations at a specialty restaurant if I am bringing children?

If you book in advance, you will pay the full price but then it will be adjusted for the children's price as a credit on your SeaPass on board.

Bookings made on board will be charged the reduced rate when booked.

Because the Cruise Planner does not offer pricing for children, we recommend making reservations for a party size that omits the children and then showing up to the reservation with the children and informing the staff your dining party has grown.

This strategy allows guests to not overpay for their dining reservations and require an adjustment later.

What is the pricing for children at a la carte specialty restaurants?

At a la carte specialty restaurants, children are charged based on what they order off the regular menu.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: December 13, 2015

13 Dec 2015
Matt Hochberg

Good news, we are all one week closer to our next Royal Caribbean cruise!  In case you missed any of the Royal Caribbean fun from this week, here is our weekly round up!

The one day no one looks forward to is that last morning of the cruise, when it is time to go home.  But that does not mean you cannot do a lot of fun things on your last day!

This week, we listed six things to do on the last morning of your Royal Caribbean cruise to help you make the most of the last few hours onboard.

Frankly, there are some good options including seeing the sunrise, enjoying the benefits of your unlimited drink packages and enjoying one last meal in the Windjammer.

Here is the rest of the Royal Caribbean news you may have missed this week.

Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds

If you are on a Royal Caribbean cruise and spot something cool, new or just fun, share a photo with us on Facebook or Twitter so we can add it to our Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds each Sunday!

Edwin Wallace boarded Oasis of the Seas yesterday and his first stop was Sabor for some guacamole and drinks.

Shay Lowe reported it is easy to take photos of the Small Wonders art with your phone.

Nick Weir shared this sketch of this addition coming to the Aqua Theater on potentially Harmony of the Seas.

Announcing the 2017 Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise!

We are so excited to announce our 2017 group cruise plans for readers and staff of aboard Navigator of the Seas. This is an exclusive group where we are inviting you, our readers, to join us on the beautiful Navigator of the Seas on an 9-night cruise to the Southern Caribbean.

This Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise is all about enjoying this brand new ship with other fans who are big fans of Royal Caribbean.  Don't miss this opportunity to check out this fabulous cruise ship as well as be a part of exclusive events for those that book with our group!

For more details on booking the cruise, the itinerary and prices, check out the Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise page and if you have any questions, email me!

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 123rd episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available and this week, Matt is sharing twenty, yes twenty, tips to have a better Royal Caribbean cruise!

In this episode, Matt shares a slew of tips, tricks and secrets to get you the most out of your Royal Caribbean cruise.

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

Royal Caribbean shared 10 tips for a perfect honeymoon cruise.

AFRWeekend shows how Royal Caribbean's smart ship universe surpasses the real one.

Shermans Cruise has 7 myths about cruising.

Royal Caribbean Ltd shared the story of how its vice president of food and beverage operations got to the top of the Royal Caribbean food chain.

Brilliance of the Seas Live Blog - Preamble

24 Nov 2015
Matt Hochberg

Welcome to our next Royal Caribbean adventure, onboard the beautiful Brilliance of the Seas!

We are taking a four-night Western Caribbean cruise from Tampa on Brilliance of the Seas.  This will be a cruise of firsts: first time on Brilliance of the Seas, first time cruising over a holiday and first time cruising without kids!

Why we chose this cruise

There is a fun story behind why we decided to book this sailing on Brilliance of the Seas.  Back in September, my wife and I were watching an episode of Dream Cruises on AWE Network and it happened to be Brilliance of the Seas.

I love these documentaries, mostly because it gives me a quick Royal Caribbean "fix" and while seeing all the fun things available on Brilliance, I told my wife I was going to find a deal for us.

My wife scoffed at my remark, because she knew we were low on vacation funds and even lower on vacation days.  

Challenge accepted!

After a bit of searching (during the commercial breaks), I found a sailing over Thanksgiving that would require just one day off from work and an affordable price....provided we left the kids at home.

It took some negotiating, but eventually my wife gave me the okay to book the cruise.  

Our plan would be to leave the kids with my in-laws and we would drive down to the port.

Our plans onboard

This is our first time on Brilliance of the Seas, but not our first time on a Radiance class ship.

We sailed on Jewel of the Seas in 2013 and had a great time.  What the ship lacked in size, it made up for in character.

The big difference between Jewel of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas is Brilliance of the Seas was refurbished in 2013 and offers a lot to see and do onboard.

Since we are leaving the kids at home, the first thing we did after booking the cruise was to book the premium unlimited alcohol package.  This will be our first time using one of the drink packages and I am very interested to see if it's "worth it."  

I have always felt that the unlimited alcohol packages do not make financial sense for me because it is just too much to drink over the course of the cruise.  However, I am keeping an open mind and will see how well the package works.

I am also excited to try a number of the restaurants onboard, since I love Royal Caribbean dining and there are some favorites to visit and new choices to try.

Specifically, I am looking forward to going to RIta's Cantina, Chops Grille, Izumi and Park Cafe.  Reviews will be forthcoming!

Our plans on shore

We only have one port call, Cozumel, and our plans are still up in the air.  We want to do something different than we usually do, but not certain what that something is.

I think we will end up putting together a potpourri of activities.  I have been over the shore excursion options dozens of times but either what I like is too expensive or not really interesting to me.  

We have a fairly good amount of time in port, 8am to 6pm, so time is on our side.

I could see us taking a taxi to the east side of the island in the morning, heading downtown for lunch and shopping and then hitting a beach before heading back.  

Our itinerary

Our ship

Next update should be on our embarkation day, Thursday, November 26. Stay tuned for all of our live blog updates right here.

Broadway shows on Royal Caribbean: Everything you need to know

20 Oct 2015
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has a well-deserved reputation for offering its guests world-class entertainment and chief among the cruise line's offerings are the Broadway shows onboard.

Select Royal Caribbean ships offer Tony Award-winning shows that are the exact show you would have seen on The Great White Way.

Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know about the Broadway shows Royal Caribbean offers and what to expect.

Royal Caribbean's Broadway Shows

Here is the current list of which Broadway shows are shown on which ships


Ship: Symphony of the Seas

Back by popular demand, the hugely successful “Hairspray” – the brand’s first Broadway musical at sea – will return on Symphony with a total refresh to headline the Royal Theater.

Hairspray is the classic Broadway musical set in 1962 that deals with racial integration, dancing and the advent of television. Hairspray is a fun show that tackles a serious issue . The show features some very famous songs that many will find themselves singing along to. Excellent lighting, choreography and staging really make this a show not to miss.


Ship: Harmony of the Seas & Independence of the Seas

Hit musical specially adapted by Royal Caribbean Productions, boasts a soundtrack of crowd favorites such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Born to Hand-Jive,” “Beauty School Dropout” and more.

We Will Rock You

Ship: Anthem of the Seas

Musical from London's West End that was written by legendary comedian and author Ben Elton.

Show features a score of Queen songs such as Radio Ga Ga, I Want to Break Free, Bohemian Rhapsody and of course We Will Rock You.


Ship: Oasis of the Seas

Based on T.S. Eliot's “Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats,” CATS was one of the longest running productions on Broadway and is the winner of numerous awards including seven Tonys, two Oliviers and a Grammy.

Mamma Mia!

Ship: Allure of the Seas

Based on the hit music from ABBA, Mamma Mia! is the story of a girl getting married and wanting to meet her estranged father.  Mamma Mia! played on Broadway for over 10 years.

Saturday Night Fever

Ship: Liberty of the Seas

Go back to the 1970's with Tony Manero, the king of the disco dance floor.  It's a great mix of classic music, platforms and polyester!

Royal Caribbean used to offer the following shows as well, but they have since been retired from the cruise line's offerings

  • Hairspray - Oasis of the Seas
  • Chicago - Allure of the Seas
  • Mamma Mia! - Quantum of the Seas

Broadway show costs

There is no additional cost to see the Broadway shows on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Admission is included in guests' cruise fare.

Reserving tickets

On Royal Caribbean ships that allow for entertainment reservations, guests may reserve tickets in advance for the Broadway shows.

To reserve tickets, simply log into the My Cruises section of Royal Caribbean's website and then access the Cruise Planner section.

Broadway shows will be listed under entertainment.  Reservations for Broadway shows are usually not available until about 120 days in advance.

You can absolutely still see one of the Broadway shows without tickets, you will simply need to show up in advance of show time.  Being at the theater at least 20-30 minutes before show time should suffice.

Which Broadway show are you most excited to see on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Tell us in the comments!