Friday Photos - October 25, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

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

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

Our first photo is by Ryan K, and it is of Allure of the Seas in St. Maarten.

Next up is a photo by François St-Onge of the sun starting to set at Labadee.

Gwensel shared this photo of them chilling at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Jason Nolan took a photo of the end of another great day on Explorer of the Seas.

Buddy Cruise hosts an annual special needs conference onboard a Royal Caribbean ship each year! Here is "Buddy" at Coco Cay with the beautiful Harmony of the Seas in the background! Photo by Pamela Arnoldson.

B J Phillips took this photo of Curacao.

Our last photo this week is by Dave Horn from Perfect Day at CocoCay.

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

Bonus instant savings up to $150 on Royal Caribbean cruises booked this weekend

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering bonus instant savings of up to $150 on new bookings this weekend.

The Soak Up Adventure sale kicks off today and is valid on bookings made October 25 – 29, 2019 on select sailings departing on or after  November 25, 2019.

Offer details: 

  • 30% off cruise fare for all guests in the stateroom.
  • Kids Sail Free
    • Kids Sail Free provides free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4-night or longer Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, CaribNE, Coastal, Europe, Hawaii, and Repositioning sailings departing between November 1, 2019 — May 15, 2020 and August 31, 2020 – December 17, 2020.
    • Offer excludes 2019 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 23 – 30, 2019), Holiday sailings (Sailings between December 15, 2019 — January 3, 2020), President’s Day sailings (Sailings between February 14 — 17, 2020), Spring Break sailings (Sailings between March 14 — 23, 2020), Holy Week/Easter sailings (Sailings between April 3 — 17, 2020) and 2020 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 21 – 27, 2020). 
  • Soak Up Adventure Sale offers instant savings of up to $150 per stateroom
    • Valid on select sailings departing on or after 11/25/19
    • Savings amount is determined by category booked and sailing length: 
      • Sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $50 for Balconies and $75 for Suites
      • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $150 for Suites
  • Up to $300 instant savings on select sailings departing on or after November 16, 2019.
    • Savings amount is per stateroom and determined by category booked and sailing length:
      • Sailings 5 nights or less, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $150 for Suites
      • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $75 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $100 for Balconies and $300 for Suites

30% Off Every Guest and Deck the Holiday Deals are combinable with each other as well as promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. 30% Off Every Guest and Kids Sail Free are combinable with each other as well as with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, instant savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Kids Sail Free and Deck the Holiday Deals are combinable with each other for sailings departing December 2 - 14, 2019 and November 28 – December 17, 2020 only. 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, and Net Rates.  

Offer open to residents of US, Canada, Puerto Rico and select countries in the Caribbean.

Video: Must-Try Food at Izumi on Royal Caribbean

By: Matt Hochberg

Grab your chopsticks and wasbi, because we have a brand new video all about my favorite foods at Izumi on Royal Caribbean.

Izumi is Royal Caribbean's signature Japanese specialty restaurant, and it has become a real favorite across the fleet.  Their menu offers a lot of fantastic choices, and I am sharing my top picks in this video.

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What is your favorite thing to order at Izumi?

Royal Caribbean announces activities, dining and more on Odyssey of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced today the features, activities, entertainment and more coming to Odyssey of the Seas in November 2020.

The first Quantum Ultra Class ship to arrive in North America, will feature a two-level pool deck, as well as a collection of restaurant choices to enjoy.

Thrills & Activities

Odyssey of the Seas will feature a variety of new offerings for the family ro enjoy, including the next generation of Royal Caribbean’s signature SeaPlex, the largest indoor activity space at sea. The most interactive arcade to ever sail will dominate the upper level of SeaPlex with VR games for individual and group play, augmented reality walls and floors for high-tech competitions and family experiences.

The SeaPlex on Odyssey will have a full-sized sports court with bumper cars, and a flying trapeze. The space will also double as a glow-in-the-dark laser tag arena in Clash for the Crystal City

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade is coming to the SeaPlex, which will offer club-level views of the competition in the SeaPlex as well as on onscreen. Playmakers will serve up buffalo wings, sliders and the signature Playmakers Burger, alongside ice-cold brews. Guests can also enjoy classic board games, step up to the most interactive arcade at sea, play trivia and pool. Also available is the Owner’s Box VIP area.

Also onboard Odyssey of the Seas will be the FlowRider surf simulator, RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, 40-foot rock climbing wall, and SkyPad bungee trampoline experience.

Pool time

If you want to relax and unwind, the pool deck on Odyssey of the Seas will feature two open-air, resort-style pools and four whirlpools, surrounded by plenty of shady casitas and hammocks.

The Lime & Coconut will also be onboard, featuring two stories of drinks and pool views. El Loco Fresh will also be nearby, with authentic Mexican grab-and-go fare, from tacos and burritos, to quesadillas and an array of fresh salsas.

Kids will be able to enjoy Splashaway Bay, an aqua park that boasts colorful waterslides, fountains, water cannons and more.

Adults can retreat to the Solarium, an exclusive space on the top deck, for some much needed “me time,” including swimming pools and whirlpools, a full-service bar, daybeds and hidden nooks for ultimate relaxation.


Two70 will be on Odyssey of the Seas, boasting 270-degree panoramic windows with sweeping ocean views that can transform into a 135-foot-wide and 22-foot-tall screen to utilize the Vistarama technology.  The iconic venue at the aft of the ship becomes a multidimensional theater – where a troupe of six agile Roboscreens come to life in sync with music, special effects and multitalented live performers and aerialists.  

Guests looking for live music will head to the Music Hall to enjoy cover bands, dancing and lounge space.

The Bionic Bar will also be onboard, which features robots serving up drinks on-demand.


A number of specialty dining choices will be on Odyssey of the Seas including:

  • Teppanyaki, the restaurant serving authentic oriental flavors cooked in one of Japan’s traditional styles.
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Royal Caribbean’s new take on its signature Italian trattoria.
  • Izumi, serving sushi and sashimi.
  • Chops Grille steakhouse
  • Chef's Table
  • Wonderland

Debuting in 2020

In November 2020, the ship’s inaugural year will kick off with 8- and 6-night itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, FL. Odyssey will then sail to her homeport of Rome in May 2021 and become the first Quantum Ultra Class ship to cruise Europe for the summer. 

Royal Caribbean CEO teases Odyssey of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International's President and CEO Michael Bayley seems very excited about its next new cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas, because he recently talked about some big things coming with this ship.

According to trade publication Travel Market Report, Bayley spoke to a number of travel agents about Odyssey of the Seas and the impact it will have on the industry.

"We’re not going to talk about it yet, but it will be a game changer with a lot of brand-new ideas, just as Oasis class was a real game changer. We’ve got a huge amount of innovation and new stuff coming online in the next couple of years that’s going to change the game.”

"We’re working on something super-special for Odyssey. We were in a meeting yesterday and I’m very excited about what we will be announcing, a twist we will be very pleased to announce."

Mr. Bayley also mentioned Odyssey of the Seas will be sailing out of Rome into the Eastern Mediterranean. Following the ship's inaugural season out of Port Everglades, Odyssey will sail back to Rome in the spring for seven- and nine-night sailings in summer 2021 and then return to Fort Lauderdale.

Odyssey of the Seas will also re-focus on its kids programming with new features for children. The ship will feature an area known as The Play Place and include:

  • Climbable creations
  • Art and science projects workshop
  • Tech studio
  • "The Arena" for competitive sports and games
  • The Hangout with video games
  • Revamped Adventure Ocean babies program, with lots of interactive and learning play and music
  • Adventure Ocean Junior space (for 3-5 year olds)

Senior VP of Sales, Trade Support and Service Vicki Freed talked about a significant change to the teens area on Odyssey.  The teen club will feature a secret Speakeasy entrance. “It won’t have a sign; it will be a secret place,” Freed said. “To get in, you have to know where it is.” Teens also will have a private outdoor deck and a new arcade lounge with arcade games teenaged guests have suggested.

Royal Caribbean schedules third quarter 2019 earnings call

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will hold a conference call on October 30, 2019, at 10am to discuss its third quarter 2019 financial results.

The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations web site, To listen to the call by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number.

A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.

Hawaii cruise on Royal Caribbean: Everything you need to know

By: Twangster

Royal Caribbean offers cruises to bucket list destinations, and Hawaii is right at the top for many people.  Hawaii is renown for its natural beauty and incredible offerings that are unique to the island chain, so if your cruise goes there, there are a few good tips you need to know about before visiting.

Hawaii is part of the United States, so that means if you are an American, cell phones, currency, credit cards and simple things like renting a car is no different compared to being right at home.  

Cruising the Nā Pali Coast of Kauai

Since Hawaii is a series of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the cost of everything from milk to gasoline can be significantly more expensive when compared to what items cost on the U.S. mainland.   This impacts everything in Hawaii, including the price of excursions.  Research and prepare a vacation budget accordingly.  

Arriving into Lahaina, Maui

Royal Caribbean offers Hawaiian cruises when it repositions its ships between the the Australian cruise season and the Alaska cruise season.  A combination of the U.S. Jones Act and the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) dictates that foreign flagged vessels are not allowed to offer cruises that remain within the Hawaiian Islands.  Instead, they must include at least one foreign port of call on the itinerary.  Since Hawaii is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with few foreign countries nearby that means Sydney, Australia or Vancouver, Canada are often the start or end of such journeys.  

The only time of year that Royal Caribbean offers a cruise that includes a visit to Hawaii is in the spring or fall, when ships are repositioning between Australia and Alaska.  It also means a number of consecutive sea days will be found on Hawaiian cruise itineraries.  This can also impact anyone who would like to sail on a back-to-back cruise visiting Alaska combined with a Hawaiian cruise which can in some cases be a violation of the PVSA.  

Booking a Royal Caribbean Hawaiian cruise means being limited to just a few dates available in the spring or fall, typically around May or September.

A Gecko makes an appearance to drink some water droplets from a Bird of Paradise

Royal Caribbean currently has different classes of cruise ships that move between Alaska and Australia.  Like many bucket list destinations, there are reasons to consider the type and size of ship when booking a Hawaiian cruise.   Smaller ships can get into smaller ports of call and offer port experiences that newer and larger ships cannot.   Larger and newer ships offer on-board features and experiences that smaller ships cannot.  

You will need to decide the right balance of on-board experience versus itinerary that fits your cruise style.  Radiance class, Voyager class and Quantum class ships have all recently sailed these routes.  Fortunately, all ships provide wonderful views of the seas, a range of cabin type from interior, ocean view, balcony and suites plus plenty of on board activities.

The beautiful black sand of Punalu’u Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii

The State of Hawaii is made of of an archipelago of islands.  Each island in the chain offers a different experience.  A benefit of cruising to Hawaii is being able to experience many different Hawaiian islands in one trip.  

Kauai is known as the garden island.  Maui is the valley island. Oahu is the most largely populated island, where the largest Hawaiian city of Honolulu is located, as well as popular tourist attractions such as Waikiki, Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor.  The biggest island in the state bears the name Hawaii, the same name of the state that represents the collection of these Hawaiian Islands.  

The Haleakalā crater on Maui, where tens of thousands of years ago lava would flow from volcanic vents

The Silversword is only found on the island of Maui.  Unique to Maui and not found anywhere else in the world, not even on other Hawaiian Islands

Cruises tend to start or end in Honolulu, on the Island of Oahu.  The port is close to the Honolulu airport, and is a great spot to spend a few days before or after the cruise.  If you are traveling to Hawaii, consider spending a few extra days before or after to explore everything the incredible Island of Oahu has to offer.  

Exploring centuries old lava flows on the Big Island

The Hawaiian islands are born from volcanoes.  Some are still active, while others are currently dormant (but not extinct).  At the time this blog post was written in 2019, there are no active lava flows or eruptions to experience.  However, you don’t have to go very far to find evidence of the volcanic history that has shaped these islands for millions of years.  This is particularly true on the Big Island, which last experienced new lava flows in 2018. 

Sunrise in Honolulu, as seen from the pool deck of Ovation of the Seas while in port

On Oahu, if you wish to visit Pearl Harbor (and you should), you will need to plan ahead and make reservations well in advance for a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial.  Simply showing up without reservations will likely result in disappointment.  

Visits to the USS Arizona Memorial had been suspended due to movements of the loading dock but recently the National Park Service re-opened the Memorial and visits have resumed.  

A series of daily lectures from a native Hawaiian guest speaker onboard

Hawaii may be part of the United States, but it roots are very different from the mainland.  Steeped in native culture and tradition, it is well worth researching the origins of the Hawaiian people and their history before visiting Hawaii.  There are flora and fauna that are unique to Hawaii and in some cases only exist on one Hawaiian island and no where else in the world. In some cases, they do not exist on other Hawaiian islands.  This makes a cruise to Hawaii a great educational experience for everyone including family cruisers.  

Royal Caribbean will often provide a series of guest lectures on board to help educate guests about Hawaii.

Tendering operations from onboard Ovation of the Seas, the largest cruise ship to ever visit the Hawaiian Islands

In many cases, a visit to a Hawaiian island from a cruise ship involves tendering. Not all islands have a pier or harbor that can accommodate cruise ships.   In some cases, smaller ships can dock, but for some islands even smaller ships must tender using smaller boats to transfer guests to shore. 

Royal Caribbean has a lot of experience with tendering and they will always strive to make the experience as smooth as possible, but you need to consider the extra time it takes to tender if you plan to explore Hawaiian islands that are tender ports on your own.  As you research each ship and itinerary, make sure you pay attention to what ports are tender ports and plan accordingly.  

Sunset as seen from near the summit of Haleakalā nearly 10,000’ above sea level

Excursions are the way to truly experience everything Hawaii has to offer.  Excursions vary and different experiences can be booked directly or through Royal Caribbean.   

The same reasons for booking excursions through the cruise line versus through third parties remains the same debate as any other cruise itinerary.  Regardless of how you intend to explore Hawaii, plan and research excursions well before boarding to ensure you make the most of your Hawaiian cruise experience.  

Snorkeling the Molokini Crater

Popular excursions either booked through Royal Caribbean or directly will sell out so don’t wait until you are on board to book your excursions.

On Oahu in and around Honolulu and Waikiki, you will find ride share services available much like in any American city.  On the remote Hawaiian islands, ride sharing drivers may be few and far between so plan accordingly.  On some islands there are few roads and some roads can become congested at times.  Give yourself plenty of time if self exploring to make sure you are back on board well before sail away time.

Visiting a National Park above the clouds on Maui

For anyone new to this incredible destination, using a travel agent can greatly assist in planning the ideal Hawaiian cruise vacation.   

Hawaii is a beautiful cruise destination that is unique and different from any other.  Some research and planning before booking will ensure that you can get the most from your Royal Caribbean Hawaiian cruise.  

Email Questions on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

By: Matt Hochberg

Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!

Episode 325 is available for downloading where I will be reading more of your questions this week all about Royal Caribbean.

Matt is diving into the email bag this week to answer your emails all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 325. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher 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!

Previewing Royal Caribbean's 2020 Europe cruise season

By: Matt Hochberg

In 2020, Royal Caribbean will sail to more than 100 destinations across seven ships in Europe, and we have a look at what options are out there for booking next summer.

Here is a look Royal Caribbean has ready for next summer across the continent.

Northern Europe

Explore the Baltic, British Isles, Scandinavia and Russia with 7 to 12 night itineraries onboard Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, and Anthem of the Seas.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brilliance of the Seas

Stockholm, Sweden

Jewel of the Seas

Copenhagen, Denmark

Jewel of the Seas

Southampton, United Kingdom

Anthem of the Seas

Mediterranean/Greece & The Greek Isles

Two newly Amped ships will offer sailings in Europe in 2020, with the arrival of Explorer of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Both ships will offer 7-night family-friendly Western Mediterranean adventures. Radiance of the Seas will hop around the Greek Isles.

Guests have the choice of 6-14 night itineraries ranging from Greek Isles, Italy or Spain centric, Canary Islands and Mediterranean onboard the Explorer, Vision, Jewel, and Anthem of the Seas.

Barcelona, Spain

Allure of the Seas
Jewel of the Seas
Vision of the Seas

Rome, Italy

Explorer of the Seas
Jewel of the Seas

Venice, Italy

Rhapsody of the Seas

Southampton, United Kingdom

Anthem of the Seas

Do you have a Royal Caribbean cruise to Europe booked in 2020? Let us know in the comments where you will be sailing!

Photos: Voyager of the Seas completes $97 million renovation

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean completed the upgrades and enhancements to Voyager of the Seas, which debuted in Singapore on October 21.

The $97 million amplification took 41 days, and made Voyager of the Seas the first Royal Amplified ship to debut in Asia.

Voyager of the Seas received a number of upgrades, including The Perfect Storm water slides and Battle for Planet Z laser tag. 

The Perfect Storm

Cafe Promenade

Diamond Club

Guest Services

Studio B

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