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I booked an $1800 floating cabana in the Bahamas. While Instagram-worthy, here are 6 reasons why I don't recommend it to everyone

04 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

We paid $1,800 for a floating cabana at Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas. It was unquestionably luxurious—with an over-the-water hammock and exclusive lunch—but I wouldn’t recommend it to every traveler.

Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island, has twenty private bungalows “floating” over the island’s turquoise waters. These cabanas are, by far, the most opulent way to spend a day on the island.

On my recent cruise, my travel party and I reserved a floating cabana for $1,800. There were eight of us sharing the cabana, which broke down to $225 per person. It wasn’t the cheapest way to spend our day by any means, but we were hopeful the cost would be worth it.

And while I certainly enjoyed myself during my eight hours on the island, I left with a few key takeaways I think others should be aware of.

From increasing prices to unexpected sea creatures, here’s why I wouldn’t recommend Perfect Day at CocoCay’s floating cabanas to everyone.

What is a floating cabana? Let’s take a tour

Royal Caribbean's floating cabanas are located within the Coco Beach Club, an exclusive area of Perfect Day at CocoCay that must be reserved in advance.

Related: Coco Beach Club: cost, tips & review

The beach club has its own infinity pool, Mediterranean restaurant, bar, and seating areas, along with private beach access. Floating cabana guests are free to use any of the Coco Beach Club’s facilities in addition to enjoying time at their private cabana.

As you walk along the Coco Beach Club’s lush, flowery paths, you’ll reach the entrance to the floating cabanas. There are two sets of ten cabanas on the island, which are located on opposite ends of the beach club.

Your cabana attendant will guide you to your cabana for the day. Cabana attendants act as your personal concierge and can deliver drinks, food, and anything else you may need directly to the cabin.

A covered living space in the cabana includes a plush couch and two lounge chairs, along with a coffee table. A screen is located on the wall next to the couch, where you can control the music from your cabana’s speaker and call your cabin attendant.

Also under the covered section of the cabana is a sink and mini fridge. Drinks in the mini fridge cost extra, but are included in Royal Caribbean’s drink packages.

The cabana also features a freshwater shower. Snorkeling equipment is found inside the shower area, which is complimentary for cabana guests.

Outside from under the roof of the cabana are four pool chairs, which are perfect for sunbathing between dips in the ocean. An umbrella can be opened between the pool chairs for extra shade, and a cooler with complimentary water bottles are found here as well.

Next to the pool chairs is a dining area. This area is perfect for enjoying lunch from the Coco Beach Club restaurant, which you can either get delivered to the cabana or eat in the restaurant itself.

Suspended over the crystal clear, turquoise Bahamian waters is a netted hammock, which is arguably the best place to relax in the entire cabana.

Of course, we can’t forget about the slide. Each cabana features a neon green slide launching guests directly into the ocean. This slide is especially popular for kids, but is fun for guests of all ages.

Are the floating cabanas worth it? Here’s why I wouldn’t recommend them to everyone

Whether or not something is “worth it” on a cruise is highly subjective, as it ultimately depends on your travel style and budget. For some cruisers, booking a $700 drink package may be worth the cost whereas others may prefer saving that money for an upgraded stateroom or shore excursion.

Nonetheless, here are six takeaways I took from my experience in the floating cabana that you should consider when choosing whether to book one or not.

For $1,800, we got a good deal on the floating cabana, but prices are increasing

While we paid $1,800 for a floating cabana, it’s not uncommon to see prices as high as $3,000 for a one day reservation. Prices at Perfect Day at CocoCay have been increasing due to high demand, so it’s unlikely you’ll see pricing lower than $1,800 for the cabana.

In fact, on my upcoming sailing on Icon of the Seas, the floating cabanas are priced at a whopping $3,799! Even if you split the price with eight guests, it’s nearly $500 a person.

It’s hard to justify spending over $3000 for an eight hour cabana rental, even if it provides an unforgettable day. That $3000 could easily be put toward other onboard expenses like drink packages, dining packages, or spa treatments.

It could even cover the cost of a weeklong cruise in a balcony room!

The cabana is fun with a large group, but may be unnecessary for just two people

Cabanas are priced per cabana and not per person, so you’ll pay the same amount whether sharing the cabana with your spouse or with seven of your friends.

Unless you’re celebrating a special occasion—such as a honeymoon or 50th anniversary—or you really don’t care about the cost, I would argue the cabana is almost too much space for just a few people.

If I were traveling with just one or two other people, I might opt for a different kind of cabana on the island. Outside of the floating cabanas are private cabanas on land at the Coco Beach Club, Thrill Waterpark, and Chill Beach. Not only are these priced lower, but they still offer a private, luxurious way to spend the day.

Related: Guide to Thrill Waterpark at Perfect Day at CocoCay

Even if cost isn’t a factor, the floating cabanas have so much space and amenities that it’s hard to take advantage of everything in just one day, especially if there are so few people in your travel party.

There’s so much to see at Perfect Day at CocoCay

Perfect Day at CocoCay has no shortage of free, fun things to do. From Oasis Lagoon pool to kids splash areas and a variety of beaches, there’s really no need to spend anything extra on the island.

While I certainly loved my time at the cabana, I found myself just as happy on previous trips to Perfect Day at CocoCay where I enjoyed only complimentary areas. I spend most visits to the island lounging in a chair at Chill Beach, where I spend $0 extra and still have an incredibly relaxing day.

Perfect Day at CocoCay beach

Even if you do want to book something extra, there’s a lot more than just the Coco Beach Club. Consider trying the zip line, booking a jet ski excursion, or renting snorkeling gear for the day. A quiet day at the cabanas is not for everyone when there are more adrenaline-filled activities elsewhere on the island!

The cabanas are a great choice for adults, but your kids might be bored

If you’re cruising with kids, a floating cabana may not be the best idea. While you may appreciate the peaceful, private atmosphere of a cabana, they aren’t the most kid-focused activity.

Related: 50 best cruising with kids tips & secrets

Many families prefer spending the day at Thrill Waterpark, the Oasis Lagoon pool, or Splashaway Bay. These areas of the island are exceptionally family-friendly and provide endless fun for kids of all ages.

The Coco Beach Club offers incredible amenities, but you don’t need a cabana to experience the club’s best perks

The Coco Beach Club is an excellent place to spend your day at Perfect Day at CocoCay. The club’s infinity pool, lounge areas, and beach access is perfect for guests in search of a peaceful atmosphere.

In lieu of reserving a cabana, you can always choose to buy a day pass to the Coco Beach Club. Day passes can be reserved on the Cruise Planner for around $150-250 depending on the sailing, and they include access to all areas of the club aside from private cabanas.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner site

Day pass access also includes lunch at the Coco Beach Club restaurant, which offers a more upscale menu compared to other food options on the island.

I’d argue that the amenities and hangout spaces of the Coco Beach Club almost rival that of the floating cabanas. During our day in the cabana, I found myself wanting to use the beach club’s amenities, but I felt almost obligated to spend time in the cabana we reserved due to the price we paid.

If you book a floating cabana, be prepared for some unexpected guests in the water

As soon as I got to the cabana, the first thing I did was climb up the slide and slide into the water below. If I had known about the unexpected guests we’d receive later in the day, though, I might have decided against it.

On our way back from lunch at the Coco Beach Club restaurant, we spotted a nurse shark swimming below the cabanas. Later in the day, a few members of our group were in the water when a stingray swam right past them!

Look, I know you should expect to encounter fish and other sea creatures in the ocean, but if you’re afraid of swimming in close proximity to sharks and other large sea creatures, you might be better off spending the day in more shallow waters!

Would I book a floating cabana again?

Even though I wouldn’t recommend Royal Caribbean’s floating cabanas to everyone, I wouldn’t be opposed to booking one again for the right price.

Whether or not I would book the cabana again would come down to a few factors:

  • Group size: Splitting the cost of the cabana with a large group is much more affordable than booking it for just 2-4 people
  • Overall price: I definitely wouldn’t spend over $3000 for the cabana, but if I found it for $1800 again, I would consider making a reservation
  • Purpose of vacation: If I were sailing to celebrate a milestone or special occasion, enjoying the island in a cabana would be an enticing option

Overall, having a “home base” on the island was definitely a nice perk, and the cabana was a fun way to splurge and enjoy quality time with our travel party.

15 things you don't need to bring on a cruise

03 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Packing for a cruise can be stressful, especially for first-time cruisers, and many passengers are worried they aren’t packing enough for their cruise vacation.

More often than not, however, they’re packing too much for their cruise! From beach towels to hair dryers, there are many items better left at home.

Having an idea of what you should and should not bring on a cruise can help tremendously in the packing process.

Some items, like walkie talkies, are allowed onboard, but we recommend against it. Others, such as power strips, are prohibited by Royal Caribbean and will be confiscated in the cruise terminal.

Gangway entrance

Before packing for your cruise, it’s helpful to have an idea of what you don’t need to bring with you onboard. No one wants to waste precious luggage space on things they don’t end up using during their vacation—or worse, aren’t allowed onboard in the first place!

Here are the top 15 things you don’t need to bring on a cruise.


Packing beach towels is unnecessary on a Royal Caribbean cruise, as the cruise line provides towels at no extra cost to guests. These towels can be used both onboard and in port, but make sure you return your towels by the end of the cruise. If you misplace a towel, you’ll incur a $25 per towel fee!

Towels simply take up way too much space in your luggage, so it’s recommended to use the cruise line’s towels instead.

Currency of every port you visit

Depending on your cruise destination, bringing local currency may be unnecessary. Many popular cruise ports accept US dollars, especially those in the Caribbean. With so many visitors each day, these ports expect cruise ship tourists to use US dollars.

If you’re visiting Nassau, for example, US dollars and Bahamian dollars have a 1:1 ratio. There’s no problem paying with US dollars, although change may be given back in Bahamian currency.

Of course, US dollars are unlikely to be accepted in ports on cruises from Europe, Australia, and Asia, and we recommend taking local currency with you when booking itineraries outside of North America.

Related: How much cash should you bring on a cruise?

American Express gold cards

One of the easiest ways to handle paying in different currencies is by traveling with a debit or credit card without foreign transaction fees. Many establishments in your cruise port will accept credit card payments, especially restaurants and shops.

Using a card avoids the hassle of figuring out which currency to use and can be a safer option compared to carrying around a lot of cash.


In most situations, you don’t need to pack snacks on a Royal Caribbean cruise. It’s no surprise that there is an abundance of food onboard, and you won’t need bags of pretzels, trail mix, and candy from home.

If you’re looking to bring a snack on a shore excursion, consider taking a few extra cookies from the buffet and placing them in a Ziploc bag. Alternatively, you can order snack-sized boxes of cereal from room service at no extra cost, and these make a great snack option while in port.

The one time we do see the value in packing snacks for a Royal Caribbean cruise is if you’re traveling with kids. If cruising with kids, it might be a good idea to pack a few of your child’s favorite snacks to have handy onboard.

Related: 50 best cruising with kids tips & secrets

Whether chips, granola bars, or fruit snacks, it can be handy to have snacks available both on the ship and in port.

Valuable jewelry

As much as you may love wearing sparkly jewelry, we recommend leaving your most expensive items at home or only wearing them while onboard.

While it’s unlikely anything will happen to your jewelry on a Royal Caribbean cruise, wearing valuable jewelry in port can draw unwanted attention to yourself and your travel party.

In addition, we also recommend leaving your Apple Watch in your cabin while in port, or at the very least putting it in your daypack. Wearing expensive items in port is, more often than not, not worth the risk.

Bulky stroller

Cruising with kids? It’s best to leave your big, bulky stroller at home.

Cruise ships are confined spaces, and it can be tough to navigate the ship with a large stroller. Not only that, but taking a bulky stroller into port can be complicated, as many cruise ports may have narrow, uneven sidewalks that make pushing a stroller difficult.

Instead, bring an umbrella stroller onboard. Umbrella strollers pack down easily and are much more lightweight, making travel with these strollers a breeze. Royal Caribbean does not provide these strollers onboard, so be sure to bring one with you from home.


Packing a laptop for your cruise? Unless you’re working remotely on a Royal Caribbean cruise, we advise leaving your computer at home. 

Related: Can you work remotely from a cruise ship? I put it to the test

While some travelers think they may want their computer to check emails and connect with friends and family onboard, bringing a laptop is an unnecessary hassle.

Instead, use your cellphone for any technology needs onboard, from checking in to a flight to researching ports of call. If you really need to use a computer while onboard, you’ll find public computers available around the ship.

Brand new shoes

A pre-cruise shopping trip can be fun, but rethink those brand new shoes you bought for the trip. Although cruising is relaxing, it often involves a lot of walking, and no one wants to deal with painful blisters on vacation!

If you buy new shoes for a cruise, be sure to wear them a few times at home before the cruise begins. This will help ensure you break the shoes in properly before your trip, which can alleviate the risk of blisters and feeling uncomfortable on vacation.

Related: The Ultimate Cruise Packing List

It’s usually a better idea to only pack shoes you’re confident will be comfortable throughout the sailing. After all, no one knows if you’ve worn a pair of shoes 200 times before, so bring your trusty pair of sandals as opposed to a brand new pair.

Walkie talkies

Not only are walkie talkies an unnecessary item to pack for a cruise, but the noise they produce can be annoying to other passengers. Plus, they don’t work very well onboard, as the metal walls on cruise ships produce significant interference.

Related: The worst cruise packing mistakes to avoid

Instead of bringing walkie talkies on your cruise, use the Royal Caribbean app. Royal Caribbean’s app has a complimentary chat feature where you can message others in your travel party.

Communicating via the Royal Caribbean app works much better than walkie talkies. It’s completely free even if you don’t have a wifi package for the sailing.

Over the door shoe organizer

A popular cruise cabin hack is bringing an over the door shoe organizer to provide extra storage space in your stateroom. Many cruisers like to bring these to store not only shoes, but toiletries, snacks, and other accessories.

When we tried an over the door shoe organizer on a recent cruise, though, we deemed it to be more of a hassle than it’s worth. While you can fit many items in the organizer’s spacious pockets, we didn’t feel the extra storage space was necessary.

Related: I tried the best inside cruise ship cabin hacks to see how well they worked

Most Royal Caribbean cabins—especially those on newer ships—have more than enough storage in the room. In fact, there’s often more storage space than you’ll need, so wasting packing space with an over the door shoe organizer isn’t needed.

Hair dryer

All Royal Caribbean cabins are equipped with a hair dryer, so in most cases, there’s no need to pack your own. For most passengers, a hair dryer will take up too much luggage space and isn’t worth the trouble.

However, if your hair requires careful styling, you may want to consider bringing your own hairdryer. You can find several travel-sized hair dryers on Amazon, which may work well for those with limited luggage space.

Flowy dresses

So you’ve found the most chic dress for your cruise and can’t wait to wear it onboard. The only problem? The outdoor decks on cruise ships can be extremely windy, and you definitely don’t want to put your underwear on display for everyone onboard!

Before packing short, flowy dresses, it’s important to understand that there’s a (strong) possibility these dresses will fly up in the wind. While you can certainly still pack flowy dresses, bring a pair of shorts to wear under the dress and/or avoid windy outdoor decks while wearing the item.

Prohibited items

Oasis of the Seas in Cozumel

Now that we’ve discussed the items you don’t need to bring on a cruise, let’s move on to the items you can’t bring on a cruise. Like all cruise lines, Royal Caribbean has a list of prohibited items.

If you bring a prohibited item on a cruise, the item will be confiscated at the cruise terminal and you can pick it up once you pass through the terminal on disembarkation day.

Here are the most common prohibited items cruisers try to bring onboard that you should avoid:

Clothing iron

Clothing irons pose a fire hazard and thus are prohibited on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Unfortunately, this means your clothes may sport more wrinkles than you’d prefer during your sailing.

Luckily, Royal Caribbean offers dry cleaning and pressing services onboard, although it comes with a per item cost. You can expect to pay around $6.99 to have a long sleeved shirt dry cleaned and pressed, and $13.99 for a dress.

Related: Royal Caribbean laundry services on your cruise

Alternatively, you can pack wrinkle release spray for your cruise, which may help to remove any unwanted wrinkles in your outfits.

Pool floaties

While pizza and unicorn-shaped pool floaties are all the rage on Instagram, they’re not permitted on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Inner tubes, pool noodles, floating mats, and other floating devices are not permitted in the pools on Royal Caribbean.

Related: What can you not bring on a cruise

Arm floaties for kids are tolerated, but your best bet if traveling with kids is to take advantage of Royal Caribbean’s complimentary swim vests. These are available on the pool deck and come in four sizes: infant, children, youth, and adult small.

While floating devices (outside of swim vests) are not allowed onboard, you may be able to use them in beaches or pools in your ports of call.

Power strips

Cruise ship cabins, especially on older ships, have limited outlets. This leads many first-time cruisers to pack power strips in their luggage, but this is prohibited on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Power strips with an extension cord are a fire hazard and will be withheld from your luggage on embarkation day.

Instead, consider packing a USB hub or outlet extender. Unlike power strips, these items are permitted onboard and can drastically increase the amount of outlet availability in your cabin.


Bringing alcohol onboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships is strictly prohibited, aside from one 750ml bottle of wine or champagne per adult in your cabin.

Beer and spirits are prohibited, and sneaking liquor on your ship is not recommended.

If you’re hoping to save money on alcohol on your cruise, you have a few options:

  • Book a drink package early and reprice it if the cost goes down
  • Save money by drinking in port instead of onboard
  • Ask for the drink of the day, which is usually a few dollars cheaper than other cocktails
  • Take advantage of bringing your own wine onboard

Do not, under any circumstances, bring liquor onboard. It's not worth the risk!

Complete list of prohibited items:

  • Firearms and ammunition, including realistic replicas
  • Sharp objects (shaving products and scissors with a blade less than 4 inches are allowed)
  • Illegal drugs and substances
  • CBD oil and products
  • Candles and incense
  • Coffee makers
  • Clothes irons and travel steamers
  • Hot plates
  • Hoverboards
  • Martial arts, self defense, and sports gear
  • Flammable liquids and explosives
  • Hookahs
  • HAM radios
  • Baby monitors
  • Electrical extension cords
  • Dangerous chemicals
  • Perishable food and meat products
  • Alcoholic beverages (except permitted amount of wine)

Intelligent automation will make Royal Caribbean's next cruise ship as efficient as it is fun

03 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

When Icon of the Seas debuts in early 2024, she will be the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to implement intelligent automation.

Icon of the Seas aerial at night concept art

Intelligent automation is a way to to bring some level of automation to processes that incorporates a certain level of artificial intelligence (AI), but utilizes many more tools. Royal Caribbean is rethinking how the company does its daily work, and it employs intelligent digital solutions like machine learning in their strategy.

It's a burgeoning area of IT, and it has the potential to make crew members' workloads easier while also benefitting the cruise ship passenger experience.

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President and Chief Product Innovation Officer Jay Schneider spoke this week at a panel on intelligent automation, and it provided insight into how Royal Caribbean is using AI more in how it operates.

Mr. Schneider's job is to lead the digital transformation of the guest and crew experience, as well as the physical transformation of the guest experience, which includes new water parks, restaurant concepts, and technology.

Given that Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are complex technological marvels to begin with, integrating automation into them is no simple feat. After all, cruise ships incorporate resorts, food and beverage, supply chain, entertainment, gaming, Broadway shows, and moving people logistically around the world. 

Mr. Schneider calls it a "data ecosystem" and sees opportunity in balancing how to deliver experiences to people and how to lower costs.

"We spend a lot of time with our crew at sea understanding how do we generate job function automation that delivers value to them so they can spend more time with our guests day in and day out."

Inside cabin on Icon of the Seas

One of the innovations to come out of that exercise was a stateroom automation program that could leverage algorithms to prioritize work.

"We learned that crew on board our ships had access to reports and data on a regular basis that was often latent, and it was information that we had on our ships in our data centers that we could automate, create algorithms around to help them prioritize work, understand when people weren't on ship in a way that allowed them to spend more time with our guests."

IA on Icon

Pool aerial on Icon of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's next cruise ship to launch will be Icon of the Seas in January 2024, and there's already intelligent automation integrated onboard.

The cruise line saw an opportunity to balance the guest experience along with being environmentally savvy with the air conditioning in passenger cabins.

Mr. Schneider explained, "if you've ever stayed in a hotel, oftentimes your housekeeper moves your stateroom into eco mode and you return to your room it's super hot and you're very dissatisfied. But it saved that hotel money. It was better for the environment."


"We have data on our ships that know when you get off the ship. And so we connected those two systems to say, well, wait a minute, we know when your whole party gets off the ship, let's let's have this ship automatically move your room into eco mode."

"And then when you the first person pings back on the ship, we slowly start to bring your room back to the experience level that you expected. Our ships are big enough by the time you get back there. We have a shot that we're getting closer and closer to what the level is that you wanted."

It's still being worked out, but there seems to be wins across the board if implemented properly, "That's something that we're testing to make sure that we're delivering our service promise, but also, again, reducing our environmental footprint and then frankly, saving cost as well."

A white paper ship

Hidewaway aerial

When you have a blank slate, integration of new technology is a heck of a lot easier than with an existing model.

The Icon Class is Royal Caribbean's first "white paper ship" in about a decade, and it allowed Royal Caribbean to build its most innovative cruise ship yet.

Icon will include heat recovery systems that repurpose energy across the ship, and it will be the first ship in the fleet to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). It includes six LNG-powered engines that provide 67,500 KW of energy to run the ship.

Icon of the Seas top down aerial

The 365-long (1,198ft) Icon of the Seas – 250,800 gross tonnage – will be able to take 7,600 guests when it debuts in January 2024, making it the largest cruise ship ever built. 

Icon of the Seas will sail from Miami and offer 7-night cruises to the Caribbean.

Celebrity Cruises guide: Ships, itineraries, tips & more

02 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Celebrity Cruises is Royal Caribbean’s sister brand that provides a slightly more upscale, refined experience onboard. The premium cruise line’s fleet of 15 ships sail around the world, from the Galapagos to the Caribbean.

Originally formed in 1988 by the Chandris Group in Greece, Celebrity Cruises was acquired by Royal Caribbean Group in 1997. The cruise line remains part of the company today, and even provides a coveted status match with Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society.

Unlike Royal Caribbean, which focuses heavily on family-friendly experiences, Celebrity cruises provide an adult-focused environment, although kids are still allowed onboard. With elegant dining options, unique hangout spaces, and diverse cabin categories, cruising on Celebrity makes an excellent vacation for any cruiser.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about cruising with Celebrity, from picking a ship to knowing what’s included and which destinations you can visit around the world.

Let’s jump in!

Celebrity Cruises Fleet

Celebrity Cruises has a fleet of 15 ships, with 12 traditional cruise ships and 3 expedition vessels. These ships belong to four separate ship classes.

Edge Class

Celebrity’s Edge Class cruise ships are what the cruise line is most famous for today. These massive ships are the biggest in Celebrity’s fleet at 130-140,000 gross tons and with a capacity of 3,000-3,200 passengers.

Edge Class ships are known for their sleek, modern designs. The Magic Carpet—a multipurpose deck raised and lowered off the side of the ship—is just one of the record-breaking features found in the Edge Class.

Passengers also love Eden, a lounge spanning three decks that doubles as a restaurant and entertainment venue.

There are three ships in the Edge Class:

  • Celebrity Edge (2018)
  • Celebrity Apex (2021)
  • Celebrity Beyond (2022)

Two additional Edge Class ships are planned for Celebrity. The Celebrity Ascent will launch in late 2023 and a fifth Edge Class ship (currently unnamed) is set to launch in 2025.

Solstice Class

With a capacity of 2,850 passengers and gross tonnage of 122,000, Celebrity’s Solstice Class was a game changer for the cruise line when the first ship launched in 2008.

The ships are most known for The Lawn Club, a half acre grass lawn at sea. On this green outdoor patio, guests can enjoy live music, lawn games like bocce and croquet, and outdoor restaurant and lounge spaces.

Other features on Solstice Class ships include a glassblowing workshop, indoor pool, and larger staterooms (with more balconies) compared to Celebrity’s Millennium Class.

There are five ships in the Solstice Class:

  • Celebrity Solstice (2008)
  • Celebrity Equinox (2009)
  • Celebrity Eclipse (2010)
  • Celebrity Silhouette (2011)
  • Celebrity Reflection (2012)

Millennium Class

Millennium Class ships are the smallest of Celebrity’s traditional cruise ships, at around 90,000 gross tons and with a capacity of around 2,170 passengers.

Although Millennium Class ships are over 20 years old, they have received refurbishments in recent years, adding new venues and updates to the ships. Celebrity Millennium, for example, received an upgrade in 2019 to revitalize staterooms, update decor and furnishings, and add new lounges.

Millennium Class ships sail around the world, from the Caribbean to Alaska, Europe, Antarctica, and beyond.

There are four ships in the Millennium Class:

  • Celebrity Millennium (2000)
  • Celebrity Infinity (2001)
  • Celebrity Summit (2001)
  • Celebrity Constellation (2002)

Expedition Vessels

Celebrity Cruises also has expedition vessels which sail throughout the Galapagos Islands. These ships all serve a similar purpose, but they are not technically a “class” of ships as the amenities, layout, and passenger capacity varies from ship to ship.

Expedition ships are small, with space for only 16-100 guests on each vessel. Given their exotic itineraries and intimate size, cruises on Celebrity’s expedition ships are vastly different from the ships fitting 3,000 passengers.

Celebrity has three expedition vessels:

  • Celebrity Xpedition (2001)
  • Celebrity Xploration (2017)
  • Celebrity Flora (2019)

What’s included on a Celebrity cruise?

There are two ways to book a Celebrity cruise: with the All Included program or with a Cruise-Only rate.

The cruise line launched their All Included pricing program in 2020, which aims to provide a more all-inclusive cruise experience on their ships. This program applies to bookings on all cruises with the exception of Galapagos itineraries.

The All Included program includes the Classic Drink Package, basic wi-fi, and gratuities in the base cruise fare. The Classic Drink Package provides cocktails, wines by the glass, liqueurs, beers, spirits, frozen drinks, sodas, specialty coffees, juice, and bottled water at no extra cost.

If you aren’t interested in the All Included program, you can choose to book a Cruise-Only rate. This rate includes accommodation, dining, entertainment, and onboard activities, but does not include drinks, wi-fi, and gratuities.

What food is included on a Celebrity cruise?

The majority of food on a Celebrity cruise is included in your cruise fare with the exception of specialty restaurants. Like a Royal Caribbean cruise, you can choose to dine only at complimentary venues, spending nothing extra on food once onboard.

Dining venues vary by ship, but each ship has an Oceanview Cafe buffet, poolside dining venue, and main dining room.

Edge Class ships have four separate main dining rooms, each with their own unique style and offerings. Normandie offers French cuisine, Cyprus for Mediterranean, and Cosmopolitan features American cuisine.

The fourth restaurant, the Main Restaurant, creates dishes made from a combination of flavors from around the world.

Outside of food, drinks, wifi, and gratuities, there’s a lot more included in a Celebrity cruise fare:

  • Theater shows and entertainment
  • Continental breakfast room service
  • Casino entry
  • Fitness center
  • Sundeck and pools
  • Live music, bars, and lounges
  • Kids programming and clubs
  • Daytime activities

Celebrity Cruises cabins

Like all cruise ships, Celebrity cruise ships feature a variety of cabin categories, from budget-friendly inside cabins to extravagant suites. The cruise line’s expedition vessels offer more limited cabin categories due to their small size, so we will first focus on Edge, Solstice, and Millennium Class ships.

Nearly all cabins will include the following features and amenities:

  • Two twin beds that can be connected into a king bed
  • Desk and vanity area
  • Private bathroom
  • Dressers and/or closets
  • Nightstands
  • Television and phone
  • Mini fridge

The majority of cabins are designed for double capacity, and solo travelers will incur a single supplement fee. Connecting cabins, accessible rooms, and staterooms with occupancy for up to four people are found across the fleet as well.

Here are the different types of cabins on Celebrity cruise ships:

Inside cabins do not feature a window, balcony, or view of the outdoors, and are the cheapest cabin option available on Celebrity. They make a great option for budget travelers or those who would prefer to save money for other purchases like shore excursions, drink packages, and spa treatments.

Ocean view cabins have a porthole to the outdoors, which provides natural light to the stateroom. They do not provide a private balcony, but are a nice middle ground between an inside and balcony cabin.

Veranda is Celebrity’s name for balcony cabins. As the name implies, veranda cabins feature a private, outdoor balcony, and are among the most popular cabins on Celebrity cruise ships. There are several types of balcony cabins available, from smaller basic balcony cabins to Sunset Verandas, which feature views of the ship’s aft.

Infinite veranda cabins are also available. Unlike a traditional balcony cabin, infinite verandas feature a window that can be raised and lowered, converting indoor space into an outdoor balcony. These cabins are only available on Edge Class cruise ships.

Suites on Celebrity cruise ships offer the most luxurious accommodations the cruise line has to offer. There are 10 distinct types of suites available to book, from a 1-bedroom Sky Suite to the panoramic Iconic Suite, the largest in Celebrity’s fleet.

Beyond a bigger, more opulent stateroom, the suite experience on Celebrity—known as The Retreat— provides unparalleled benefits.

Retreat guests have access to Luminae, a suites-only restaurant included in the cruise fare. In addition, guests staying in suites on most ships can access The Retreat Sundeck and The Retreat Lounge, two exclusive spaces only for Retreat guests.

Also included in the suite experience is concierge service, premium drinks, complimentary wi-fi, gratuities, and onboard credit.

Concierge Class and Aqua Class

Celebrity also offers Concierge Class and Aqua Class, which provide added benefits and amenities to veranda cabins.

Concierge Class includes a dedicated concierge, priority embarkation and disembarkation, exclusive lunch, priority dining times, and sparkling wine and snacks upon request.

Aqua Class offers a wellness experience, with access to the health-focused Blu restaurant, a spa concierge, thermal suite access, fitness pass, preferential rates on spa packages, and bottled water included in the cruise fare.

Are Celebrity cruises family-friendly?

Celebrity’s brand may not be as family-focused as Royal Caribbean, but that doesn’t mean the ships aren’t kid-friendly. Sure, you won’t find waterslides, bumper cars, and surfing simulators onboard, but kids are welcomed on every Celebrity cruise ship.

Camp at Sea is Celebrity’s complimentary kids programming for ages 3-12. It focuses on age-appropriate, fun activities for kids, including arts and crafts, sports, and treasure hunts.

Camp at Sea is broken into the following age groups:

  • Shipmates: ages 3-5
  • Cadets: ages 6-9
  • Captains: ages 10-12

Teens aged 13-17 can participate in Celebrity’s Teen Club, where they can enjoy teen-only parties, sports competitions, silent discos, video game tournaments, and much more. The teen space follows a “come as you wish” structure, where teens are welcome to enter and exit the Teen Club as they wish with their new friends.

How much does a Celebrity cruise cost?

Despite offering a more adults-oriented atmosphere compared to Royal Caribbean cruise ships, Celebrity cruises are still reasonably priced. It’s common to find a weeklong Caribbean cruise for around $700-1000 per person before taxes and fees.

A 7-night cruise on one of Celebrity’s new Edge Class ships may cost between $1,250 and $2,500 per person in a balcony room. The cost can vary greatly depending on the time of year you sail, destination, cabin choice, and whether or not you select Celebrity’s All Included option.

Cruise prices are lower during the off-season, which varies by destination. Hurricane season in the Caribbean and shoulder season in Alaska and Europe, for example, will see lower prices than the peak summer months or during the holiday season.

Of course, booking early is an easy way to ensure you find a great cruise fare, but don’t forget to check for last-minute deals if your travel schedule is flexible.

Captain’s Club

Captain’s Club is Celebrity’s loyalty program, and it offers excellent benefits to loyal cruisers. The program is free to join and consists of 6 tiers, each of which offer increasingly better benefits, including:

Preview (0 points): complimentary access to the Captain’s Club loyalty desk and a Captain’s Club newsletter

Classic (2-149 points): complimentary access to welcome event, exclusive onboard premium offers, 10% off wifi packages, 10% off drink packages, and one category upgrade through AquaClass

Select (150-299 points): discounted laundry services, 10% off drink packages 10% spa discount, and 25% off wifi packages

Elite (300-749 points): access to daily breakfast and evening cocktail hour, 30% off wifi packages, 15% off drink packages, complimentary access to Persian Garden on 1 port day, 1 complimentary bag of laundry

Elite Plus (750-2999 points): access to daily breakfast and evening cocktail hour, 15% off specialty dining, 15% spa discount, 35% off wifi packages, 20% off drink packages, and 2 complimentary bags of laundry

Zenith (3000+ points): complimentary 7-night cruise in veranda stateroom upon reaching Zenith, 25% off specialty dining, complimentary laundry, complimentary Premium Drink Package, complimentary premium wifi

You can earn Captain’s Club points in a variety of ways. Most points are earned on a daily basis onboard based on the type of stateroom you booked:

  • Inside and ocean view cabins: 2 points per night
  • Veranda cabin: 3 points per night
  • Concierge Class and Aqua Class: 5 points per night
  • Sky Suites and Aqua Sky Suite: 12 points per night
  • Penthouse, Reflection, and Edge Villa: 18 points per night
  • Iconic Suite: 24 points per night

Aside from earning points during a cruise, Captain’s Club members can earn points through Celebrity’s Power Up Points program. This program allows members to earn points when not on a cruise ship by participating in online surveys and social media contests.

10 Power Up Points are equal to one Captain’s Club point. Once registered for the Power Up Points program, Celebrity will send emails whenever new questionnaires or programs are available.

Crown & Anchor Society status match with Captain’s Club

One benefit to take advantage of before planning a Celebrity cruise is to match your status in Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society with the Captain’s Club. The Loyalty Match program allows you to match your Royal Caribbean status to Celebrity at no extra cost.

By matching your status, you can begin receiving coveted benefits of the Captain’s Club on your first Celebrity sailing!

Here is the status match you can expect when linking your Crown & Anchor Society account with Celebrity Cruises:

  • Gold: no status match
  • Platinum: Select
  • Emerald: Select
  • Diamond: Elite
  • Diamond Plus: Elite
  • Pinnacle: Elite

Where can I visit on a Celebrity cruise?

Celebrity Cruises offers itineraries around the world and to a far wider range of destinations compared to Royal Caribbean. In fact, you can embark a Celebrity cruise ship from over 25 ports around the world, from Valparaíso to Mumbai and everywhere in between.

Here is an overview of the destinations you can visit on a Celebrity cruise:


Caribbean cruises are, of course, a primary focus of Celebrity, and they offer year-round sailings to the Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean.

While Celebrity does not have its own private island in the Caribbean, itineraries may include a port stop to Royal Caribbean’s private destination of Labadee, Haiti.


Juneau aerial view

Interested in visiting Alaska? Celebrity offers Alaska cruises each summer season visiting the state’s most scenic destinations including Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, and Skagway.

Related: Alaska cruise guide

Cruises to Seattle depart from either Seattle, Washington or Vancouver, British Columbia. Cruise Tours are available to Alaska’s interior, too, visiting destinations such as Denali National Park & Reserve and Talkeetna.

Canada & New England

Each fall, cruises from the northeast are offered to New England and Canada. These itineraries visit both big cities and small towns, including Boston, Quebec City, and Charlottetown, and if you book an itinerary in October, the sailing will align perfectly with peak fall foliage.


Celebrity offers European itineraries year-round, although the vast majority of cruises in Europe occur from April to October. In the winter months, 11 and 12-night itineraries from Barcelona visit Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, and Morocco. Itineraries to Egypt and Israel are also offered throughout the year.

South America and Antarctica

South America is a popular destination for Celebrity cruises, with itineraries visiting countries throughout the continent, including Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, and Chile. Antarctica cruises are available, too, which include scenic cruising days off the continent’s coast and port stops in Patagonia.

Expedition cruises are offered to the Galapagos on Celebrity’s expedition ships: the Celebrity Flora (100 passengers), Celebrity Xpedition (48 passengers), and Celebrity Xploration (16 passengers).


In Asia, you’ll find cruises to Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Malaysia, among other countries. Cruises are offered year-round with itineraries between 11 and 14 nights.

Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific

Celebrity’s Australia cruise season runs from November to April each year, and itineraries are offered to Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific islands.

Australia itineraries include visits to Tasmania, the Great Barrier Reef, and southern Australia.

New Zealand cruises include scenic cruising days of Milford, Doubtful, and Dusky Sounds along with port stops in towns such as Dunedin, Picton, and Christchurch.

South Pacific itineraries visit the breathtaking islands of French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa.

Royal Caribbean updates: Cabin housekeeping, CocoCay adult beach, Wowbands & more

02 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

Ready to catch up on what's happening with Royal Caribbean cruises?

With a fleet of 26 ships, there are always going to be things happening and in an effort to keep everyone up to date, here's a quick run through of the latest news from this week.

Think of these as quick hits of changes and news that you should be aware of that changed in the last few days.

Confirmation of the once-daily cabin service

Oceanview cabin on Liberty of the Seas

We reported that Royal Caribbean is methodically converting over its ships to once-per-day cabin housekeeping for non-suites, and that looks to be confirmed now.

Instead of cabin attendants servicing a passenger cabin twice per day, it will occur just once per day in either the morning or afternoon (at the discretion of the passenger).

There's been no announcement by Royal Caribbean of a fleetwide change, but our readers confirmed this is going to spread to all ships in the fleet later this year.


RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Paul VanderDonck shared an email correspondence he received from Royal Caribbean's Executive Office regarding the change.

The email confirms on an executive level that cleaning will go to once a day.

"Recent feedback on housekeeping service, and hospitality industry trends, show us that our frequency is beyond our guests' preference and expectations. In response to this feedback insight and in alignment with our commitment to reducing waste and overall environment impact, daily cleaning service will take place once per day."

"Of course, we've made sure our service stays at our Royal standards, including everyone's favorite, towel animals. During housekeeping service, you'll receive a thorough stateroom cleaning. Your towels and amenities will be replenished. Guests such as yourself staying in a stateroom with 3 or more beds, will have them made up in the evening and stored away during the daily cleaning."

"As always, your stateroom attendant is available for any additional requests throughout  your cruise, like extra towels or soap. Should you require assistance, contact them directly via the extension on their business card. We remain committed to making your time with us as an enjoyable and memorable experience!"

Pullman bed

Speaking of the housekeeping change, many readers have been curious what happens if there is a pullman bed or sofa bed that needs to be converted in the morning and afternoon.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Justin Ligas contacted Royal Caribbean and was told if you have multiple people in your room, and you are using the pullout or the pullman beds, you will get a morning service to put the beds away for the day if you wish.

It may not be a full morning service (towels, et al.), but you aren't expected to set up/break down your room daily.  The evening service for re-setting up the bed will be between 6-8 PM ship time, and the morning service to store the bed will be as your schedule allows.

Hideaway Beach update

We have new photos to share of the progress being made on the new adults-only beach at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Colby Burnett took these photos of the work being done.

In addition, Robert Dempster took this photo of CocoCay from his airplane that shows the construction progress.

The current estimate is for Hideaway Beach to open in late 2023.

Royal Caribbean's beverage program wins award

Pouring a drink at the Mason Jar


Royal Caribbean got recognition for its cocktails earlier this week.

Royal Caribbean International’s beverage team has taken home the 2023 Vibe Vista Award for Best Overall: Hotels, Casinos & Cruise Lines.

A panel of Johnson & Wales University beverage faculty, staff and alumni reviewed entries and based the win on a couple of factors including positive sales initiatives, efficient operational innovations, high quality standards and more. Finalists included prominent casinos and hotel chains across North America.

Royal Caribbean’s award-winning beverage program was recognized in 2022 with the following award wins:

  • BevX Beverage Excellence Awards for Overall Hospitality Beverage Program
  • The Exchange Awards for Idea of the Year in Beverage Excellence
  • The SIP Award in Beverage Excellence

Latest on Wow bands coming back


It's still not crystal clear if Royal Caribbean is bringing back its RFID bracelets for good, or if they're just experimenting, but there's more information on what you might see related to them.

Known as Wow bands, they re-appeared for the first time in many years on Symphony of the Seas last month and other readers have reported seeing them offered on other Oasis and Quantum Class ships since.


Wow bands can be used in conjunction with a SeaPass card as a convenient way to do similar functions.

On Twitter, @thatchriscarley, shared screenshots from the Royal Caribbean app from his Harmony of the Seas cruise that talks about the Wow bands and that they will cost $9.99. They are complimentary for Sky and Star Class suite guests.

In addition, old Wow bands can be re-used as long as they don't have a muster station printed on them. The earliest Wow bands had that, while more recent bands do not.

Royal Caribbean changes amount of wine you can bring on a cruise ship

01 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

The amount of wine you can bring on a Royal Caribbean is changing somewhat.

Wine being poured

Passengers are not allowed to bring beer or liquor on their cruise, but wine is permitted in small quantities.

Up until now, Royal Caribbean has allowed guests to bring up to 2 bottles (750 ml) of wine per stateroom on the first day of the cruise.

In an update to travel agents, the amount you can bring will depend on how many adults are in the cabin. The same policy was also updated on Royal Caribbean's website.

Wine at Giovanni's

Starting on March 3rd, 2023, the new wine and champagne allowance for Royal Caribbean will be one (1) 750 mL bottle, per adult of drinking age, per sailing.

This change means staterooms with more than 2 adults in the cabin could now enjoy more wine than before, such as in a Royal Caribbean suite.

The potential downside to this change is someone cruising solo in a cabin, or booked with only kids in their room will now be limited to one bottle per sailing.

Anthem of the Seas in Port Canaveral

The cruise line still wants the wine to be brought via hand luggage/carry on and not in checked luggage. Moreover, Royal Caribbean recommends each guest bring their bottle in their respective carry-on bag for security purposes.

No beer or hard liquor may be brought onboard for consumption. Boxed wine and other containers are prohibited. Guests may only bring the wine onboard on embarkation day.

Wine brought onboard

If guests wish to enjoy their wine or champagne in our dining or bar venues, there will be a corkage fee applied.

While it's Royal Caribbean's policy to charge a corking fee when opening a bottle of wine a guest brought onboard, in practice it is rarely enforced.

Back-to-back cruise wine policy

Allure of the Seas in Galveston cruise terminal

For consecutive sailings, guests of drinking age are allowed to bring one (1) 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne for each individual sailing.

Additional bottles will be stored by the ship and delivered, one bottle at a time, to the stateroom on the first day of each new voyage. Guests bringing more than one bottle at the start of the first sailing should have documentation for any consecutive sailings available to share with security.

Advantage of bringing your own wine

Wine at Vintages

Being able to bring your own wine on a Royal Caribbean cruise has long been one of the best cruise tips for saving money on a cruise vacation.

Bringing wine onboard can be a great idea for those looking to cut costs while still enjoying all the good things that come with cruising. By bringing your own wine from home, you'll be able to choose from among a wide variety of wines, some of which may not be available in the ship’s bar or restaurant.

Plus, you can store it in your room, or take it anywhere else on board with you — perfect for sipping while watching the sunset!

Main dining room table

But if you don’t finish the bottle in one night, what do you do?

The answer is simpler than you think: simply store it! Royal Caribbean offers wine storage services in order to allow passengers to save their unfinished bottles for later.

This makes it possible for guests to enjoy their favorite wines throughout the entire cruise without having the pressure of “using it or losing it”.

Wine on dining room table

If you choose to enjoy dinner at a specialty restaurant or the main dining room instead of on your own stateroom, all you need to do is tell your new waiter that there's a bottle stored for you. Your waiter will ask for your stateroom number and within minutes your wine will appear at your table.

Cruise ship wine storage services are an excellent way for passengers to indulge in some extra luxury during their vacation without having to worry about finishing their bottles too quickly. 

Best first-time cruises on Royal Caribbean

01 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Planning your first Royal Caribbean cruise? With 26 ships in the fleet sailing to destinations around the world, it can be challenging to figure out the best first-time cruise.

Although you can’t go wrong with any Royal Caribbean cruise, there are a few itineraries and ships we recommend most for first-timers. These ships offer a wide selection of activities for both kids and adults while providing an excellent value in a cruise vacation.

Before booking any cruise, though, make sure to research the itinerary, ship, and cabin choices before booking. By researching in advance and following our recommendations below, you’re guaranteed to have an enjoyable first cruise experience.

Here are the five best first-time cruises on Royal Caribbean.

7-night Caribbean cruise on Oasis of the Seas

If you see a Royal Caribbean television commercial, there’s a big chance the commercial is highlighting an Oasis Class cruise ship. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships are unlike any other cruise ship at sea, and they’re a fantastic choice for a first-time cruise.

Oasis Class ships are the largest cruise ships in the world, and they’re split into distinct neighborhoods, each of which offers its own ambiance, amenities, and activities.

Related: All about Oasis Class cruise ships

The sheer range of things to do on an Oasis Class ship—from zip lining to watching Broadway musicals and relaxing in the ship’s outdoor park—is unmatched on any other Royal Caribbean ship.

What makes Oasis Class ships so nice for first-time cruisers is that there are nearly endless options onboard. Many new to cruising are concerned they will feel bored and not know how to spend their time on the ship. On an Oasis Class ship, feeling bored is practically impossible!

There are five Oasis Class ships. While you can’t go wrong with any ship, we feel Oasis of the Seas is the best choice for a first-time cruise.

Oasis of the Seas is the first ship in the class, having launched in 2009, but she was amplified in 2019 to add exciting features to the ship, such as waterslides, the Ultimate Abyss dry slide, and a Caribbean-style pool deck.

Related: Oasis of the Seas guide: Cabins, itineraries, what to expect

Despite the new features, Oasis of the Seas is typically priced lower than newer Oasis Class ships like Harmony, Symphony, and Wonder of the Seas. This means you can still enjoy the perks of sailing on an Oasis Class ship while saving money on cruise fare.

Money saved on cruise fare can be put toward cruise add-ons like drink and dining packages, spa treatments, and shore excursions, which can greatly enhance your first cruise experience.

4 or 5-night Caribbean cruise on Mariner of the Seas

Mariner of the Seas may not be Royal Caribbean’s biggest cruise ship, but she is a favorite among many cruisers. Recently refurbished in 2018, Mariner of the Seas features many of Royal Caribbean’s most popular amenities at a fraction of the cost of the fleet’s newest ships.

Related: Mariner of the Seas Guide & Review

During her 2018 amplification, a variety of activities were added to the ship, including waterslides, an escape room, virtual reality bungee jumping, and laser tag, among others. New dining venues and bars were added, too, including Izumi hibachi and the Polynesian-themed Bamboo Room lounge.

Bamboo Bar with people drinking

Due to these recent refurbishments, Mariner of the Seas provides an excellent value in a cruise vacation. She primarily sails 4 and 5-night itineraries to The Bahamas and the Western Caribbean, and these cruises are perfect for first-timers.

Booking a 4 or 5-night cruise offers a mix of sea days and port days, allowing first-time cruisers to experience the best of both worlds.

Mariner of the Seas sailing away from Port Canaveral

Related: Top things to do on a sea day on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Fun-filled port days in Mexico and The Bahamas mean passengers can enjoy delicious food, beautiful beaches, and diverse cultures. The sea days, on the other hand, give ample time to relax and explore the ship’s wide selection of activities, entertainment, bars, and restaurants.

7-night Alaska cruise on Ovation of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Alaska cruise season runs from May to September each year, and visiting Alaska can make a wonderful choice for a first-time cruise.

Alaska’s scenery is beyond stunning, with glaciers, rocky mountains, and quaint towns. Even when you’re not in port, you can still see gorgeous scenery on both sides of the ship as you sail through the state’s famous Inside Passage.

Related: Alaska cruise guide

What makes Alaska so special for first-time cruisers is that an Alaska cruise provides wildlife viewing opportunities and outdoor adventures like no other itinerary. Whether you book a whale watching tour or hike through the Tongass National Forest, there’s always something exciting to see and do in Alaska.

Royal Caribbean sends four ships to Alaska each year, but our top recommendation is Ovation of the Seas. Launched in 2016, Ovation of the Seas is a modern Quantum Class cruise ship offering 7-night itineraries departing Seattle.

Ovation of the Seas is perfect for guests of all ages. Built to sail in chilly climates, the ship features many indoor spaces including a pool, adults-only Solarium, SeaPlex sports center, and even indoor skydiving!

Passengers shouldn’t miss a ride on The North Star, an observational pod that rises 300 feet above sea level, offering unparalleled views of both the ship and Alaska’s scenery.

Related: All about Quantum Class ships

Outside of these activities are a variety of entertainment and dining venues. The most notable venue is Two70, an entertainment and lounge space featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with a 270 degree view of the outdoors.

Modernity is a theme around the ship, and the staterooms are equipped with plenty of outlets and storage space. They feature a sleek design, making the cabins comfortable for every passenger onboard.

3-night weekend cruise on Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas sailing away from Miami

Planning a cruise with limited PTO time? There’s no better choice than Freedom of the Seas, which sails 3-night Bahamas cruises from Miami each weekend.

Freedom of the Seas was recently amplified in 2020, adding new bars, restaurants, activities, and amenities to the ship. A colorful, Caribbean-resort style pool deck was added along with the popular Lime & Coconut bar, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen restaurant, and waterslides.

Freedom of the Seas pool

3-night itineraries on Freedom of the Seas depart Miami on Friday afternoon and return Monday morning. Most itineraries visit both Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, although some may visit just one port and spend the other day at sea.

Related: Guide to weekend cruises: Tips for taking a 3-night Royal Caribbean cruise

3-night itineraries can be an excellent time to try out Royal Caribbean’s drink package or dining package and splurge on a shore excursion in The Bahamas, such as visiting Pearl Island or spending the day at the Coco Beach Club.

What makes a weekend cruise such a great option for first-time cruisers is the short length combined with an exciting itinerary. A shorter cruise typically comes with a lower price, even if the price per night of a 3-night itinerary is higher than that of a 7-night cruise.

It’s important to note, however, that if you have to fly to Miami to embark Freedom of the Seas, it may be worth booking a longer cruise itinerary. Flying to Florida for a 3-night cruise won’t provide as much value as a longer sailing, and can significantly increase the daily price of your vacation.

top deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

In addition, if you're driving from northern Florida or a nearby state, sailing on Independence of the Seas from Port Canaveral may be a more convenient option.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a short weekend getaway, cruising on Freedom of the Seas to the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters of The Bahamas is sure to impress.

7-night Greek & Adriatic cruise on Explorer of the Seas

Explorer of the Seas docked

When planning a European cruise for the first time, many people look to book Western Mediterranean itineraries. These itineraries visit ports like Rome, Barcelona, and Florence, making them an enticing choice for those new to both cruising and European travel.

However, I wouldn’t recommend these itineraries to a first-time cruiser. Western Mediterranean cruises tend to be jam packed with sightseeing, and several of the ports are a far bus or train ride away from the main attraction.

Related: Western Mediterranean cruise guide

Unfortunately, busy days sightseeing combined with long travel times can make first-time cruisers feel exhausted rather than relaxed on their vacation, even if they are visiting some of the world’s most famous cities.

Instead, look at European cruise itineraries to Greece and the Adriatic. These cruises visit picturesque destinations such as Dubrovnik, Kotor, Mykonos, and Santorini, all of which are well suited for cruise ship travel due to their smaller size and more remote locations.

Related: Ultimate Greek Isles cruise guide

Many of the ports on a Greek and Adriatic cruise are well-preserved medieval towns, which are excellent for exploring on foot. Others, such as Santorini, offer jaw-dropping scenery and some of the world’s most delicious cuisine.

You can’t miss the scenic sail through the Bay of Kotor, either, which will make you feel as if you’re in Norway instead of the Balkans!

Explorer of the Seas offers cruises to Greece and the Adriatic during the summer 2023 and 2024 cruise season. As a Voyager Class ship, Explorer of the Seas fits over 4,000 passengers, yet offers a fantastic value compared to Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ships.

Related: All about Voyager Class cruise ships

Onboard you’ll find an outdoor pool, adults-only Solarium, jacuzzis, mini-golf, rock climbing, a sports court, ice-skating, and a set of racing waterslides. Other activities include live music, trivia, production shows, and game shows.

While the ship has not yet received an amplification, she still boasts several dining venues and lounges, including Chops Grille, Izumi, Giovanni’s Table, and Johnny Rockets.

Although not as big as Royal Caribbean’s newest ships sailing in Europe, Explorer of the Seas is the perfect size for a port-intensive Greek & Adriatic cruise itinerary.

Royal Caribbean Kids Sail Free 2023-2024 Dates & Tips

01 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

Kids Sail Free is a promotion Royal Caribbean offers from time to time on select sailings that are usually a great vacation discount.  Throughout the year, Royal Caribbean will offer Kids Sail Free deals as a way to encourage new bookings. 

 In this post, we will cover information about the promotion, tips for booking it, and offer answers to frequently asked questions.

For starters, Kids Sail Free is an offer Royal Caribbean offers selectively throughout the year.  It is not available all the time and there is no way to know exactly when it will be offered again. 

We always post new cruise promotions on this site, so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for notifications when a new Kids Sail Free promotion begins.

Kids Sail Free offer details

The exact offer details may vary, but Royal Caribbean's Kids Sail Free offers are usually consistent in their basics. Third guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4 nights or longer sailings are eligible for free cruise fare.

The "catch" with a Kids Sail Free deal are the blackout dates that prevent you from booking the promotion.

There are usually many blackout dates associated with any Kids Sail Free offer, which means if your cruise begins on or in any of the blackout dates, the Kids Sail Free offer does not qualify. Not surprisingly, most of the black out dates are over major school holidays in the United States calendar year. 

Here are some sample blackout dates from past Kids Sail Free offers:

  • Spring break sailings departing March 10, 2023 – March 24, 2023
  • Holiday sailings departing January 1 – 6, 2023
  • Easter sailings departing April 1, 2023 – April 11, 2023

How often does Royal Caribbean offer Kids Sail Free?

Best reader tips for having fun with kids on a cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

There is no pattern to how many times a year or when the offer will become available.

Kids Sail Free is usually available a few times throughout the year.

Is it really free?

Assuming your kids qualify for the deal, their cruise fare cost will be zero.

You are still responsible for paying for the taxes and port fees associated with the children, along with any other charges onboard.  But if you look at the cruise invoice, their cruise fare will be zero. 

Kids stuck at home? Check out these Royal Caribbean coloring sheets! | Royal Caribbean Blog

Like all guests, a daily gratuity will be charged per passenger, including the kids.

Be sure to check the fine print before booking to understand exactly the full price of the cruise.

When comparing prices, it is critical to compare the exact cabin type to each other. 

Royal Caribbean's Junior Suites: What you need to know | Royal Caribbean Blog

Often, people will look at the price of a cabin designed for two people and then increase the amount of people in the cabin to four people, and get a different cabin category.

The easiest cabin category to see how much money Kids Sail Free can save are suites because most suites can accommodate up to 4 people all the time. Not to mention the per-person savings in a suite will be significantly higher than in lower cabins.

Kids Sail Free dates

Last updated March 2, 2023

Royal Caribbean is offering Kids Sail Free in March 2023.

The offer runs on bookings made between March 1 – April 2, 2023 on sailings departing on or after April 1, 2023 – April 30, 2025.

It provided free cruise fare for third guests and higher who are 12 years old and younger as of departure date on sailings 3 nights or longer booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests in a triple or quad occupancy stateroom.

Kids Sail Free excludes Thanksgiving Sailings departing between November 17, 2023 – November 24, 2023; November 22, 2024 – November 29, 2024, Holiday sailings departing January 1 – 6, 2023; December 16, 2023 – January 5, 2024; December 20, 2024 – January 3, 2025, Spring break sailings departing March 10, 2023 – March 24, 2023; March 8, 2024 – March 22, 2024; March 7, 2025 – March 28, 2025, Holy Week/Easter sailings departing April 1, 2023 – April 11, 2023; March 22, 2024 – April 4, 2024; April 12, 2025 – April 24, 2025, Radiance Alaska Cruise Tour sailings departing May 19, 2023 – September 15, 2023 and Summer Sailings except for Europe & Alaska Summer Sailings departing May 24, 2023 – September 1, 2023; May 22, 2024 – August 30, 2024.

Taxes, fees, and port expenses are additional and apply to all guests.

Kids Sail For Less

Best reader tips for having fun with kids on a cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

In addition to the Kids Sail Free offer, Royal Caribbean may also offer the Kids Sail For Less offer, which is typically 25-30% off cruise fare for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualified guests.

The primary advantage of Kids Sail For Less is there are no blackout dates associated with Kids Sail For Less.  This means if you have a couple of kids in your stateroom, you receive a discount on them. 

Moreover, Kids Sail For Less often does not have age restrictions in place, so really any guest of any age who is a third guest, fourth guest, fifth guest, et al in the same stateroom as the first two guests can get a discount.

Other cruising with kids posts & resources

If you are interested in the Kids Sail Free offer, then you probably will find these blog posts equally helpful:

Your thoughts

Now, we want to hear from you.  Are you a fan of the Kids Sail Free promotion?  Have any tips for someone looking to cruise with kids?  Is there a better deal for families in your opinion? Let us know what you think of the promotion and whether you are planning on taking advantage of it in the comments!

I found the ultimate foodie destination in the Caribbean: The most delicious Cozumel food tour

01 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

I travel for food, and I’ve just found the best Caribbean cruise port for foodies: Cozumel, Mexico.

Mexican food is among the world’s most popular cuisines for a reason: it’s fresh, flavorful, diverse, and spicy. After all, who doesn’t love chips, guacamole, and tacos?

And although Cozumel is best known for its beaches and world-renowned scuba diving, I decided to plan a self-guided food tour on my recent cruise ship port day.

The plan was simple: find the most delicious, authentic Mexican restaurants in Cozumel for breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Yet with only 8 hours in port before my cruise ship would depart the island, I knew I had to strategize to find the best food in such a short amount of time.

Follow me on a self-guided food tour in Cozumel, which will surely inspire you to eat your way around Mexico on your next Caribbean cruise. I hope you’re hungry!

Getting to downtown Cozumel

If you’re visiting Cozumel on a cruise, there are two main cruise terminals: the Langosta pier, located right downtown, and the International Cruise Terminal, located three miles south of downtown.

Royal Caribbean ships dock at the International terminal, so we paid $8 one-way for a taxi from the port to downtown. For convenience, I had the taxi driver drop us off at Parque Benito Juárez, the main square in downtown San Miguel de Cozumel.

From here, countless restaurants, shops, and attractions are within walking distance, and the square is a relaxing place to spend time throughout the day.

After a brief walk around the square, it was time to check off our first item of the day: breakfast.


Tacos and enchiladas may get all the attention when it comes to Mexican cuisine, but Mexican breakfast is severely underrated. Whether sweet pastries or hearty plates of eggs, tortillas, and salsa, you can’t go wrong with breakfast in Mexico.

Here are some of the best breakfast dishes to try when you visit Cozumel:

  • Chilaquiles: tortilla chips simmered in a red or green sauce, often served with eggs or chicken
  • Huevos rancheros: fried eggs placed over crispy corn tortillas and topped with a red salsa
  • Huevos divorciados: a form of huevos rancheros drenched in green salsa on one side and red on the other
  • Huevos motuleños: A Yucatán specialty of fried eggs on tortillas served with black beans, cheese, ham, and peas
  • Concha: a sweet, fluffy bread topped with a crackly crust that resembles a seashell

Mexican breakfast is, by far, my favorite type of food to eat in Mexico. There are countless restaurants offering breakfast downtown, but I settled on La Candela, a breakfast and lunch restaurant located just a few blocks from the city center.

The ambiance of the restaurant was charming, with a palapa-style roof and open-air patio. I ordered the chilaquiles—my favorite Mexican dish—while my dad ordered huevos divorciados.

Both dishes far exceeded my expectations. In fact, the chilaquiles were the best, most flavorful chilaquiles I’ve ever had. I'm still dreaming about them a week later!

Of course, you can’t enjoy breakfast without a fresh-squeezed jugo de naranja (orange juice).

In total, we spent 300 pesos ($16 USD) on breakfast.

Food markets

After breakfast, we wanted to continue checking out Cozumel’s food scene, so we headed to the Mercado Municipal, just an 8 minute walk from Parque Benito Juárez.

From the incredible aroma of barbecued beef and chili peppers to the more... unpleasant odor in the raw meat aisles, Cozumel’s main food market immediately ignites all of your senses.

Although not the biggest open-air market I’ve been to in Mexico, the Mercado Municipal boasts restaurants, produce and meat stalls, a candy shop, and aisles of convenience stores.

Walking through the market can be an excellent way to learn more about daily life in Cozumel while sampling various dishes, candies, and fruits.

We couldn’t pass up the chance to try Mexican candies, and purchased a few for 60 pesos ($3 USD).

We walked back to Cozumel’s waterfront and enjoyed the candies with an ocean view. This is an excellent place for people watching and enjoying the sea breeze in between your Cozumel food tour.


Despite our goals of trying as much food as possible during our 8 hour port day, we faced one problem: we were still full from breakfast! To pass the time, we headed to the Museo de Cozumel, a museum with artifacts and information on the island’s history, geography, and culture.

The entrance fee was only $7 USD per person, and I was impressed by the museum’s exhibits and technology, which gave me a new understanding and appreciation of the island. Of course, the air conditioning was a nice touch, too!

Hungry once again, we were back on Cozumel’s streets in search of lunch. On our way to the market earlier in the morning, we passed many small, unassuming restaurants and decided to head that way again.

A quick Google Maps search led me to Las Flamitas, a local spot just a few blocks from the Mercado Municipal. The first thing I noticed as I approached the restaurant was a nonchalant chalkboard with a list of daily specials, and I took that as a good sign.

Our waiters were exceptionally friendly at Las Flamitas, and we started the meal with a refreshing bottle of Fresca soda followed by a comforting bowl of chicken soup, which came included with our meal.

For our main courses, I ordered enchiladas with green salsa and my dad ordered chicken fajitas. Just as we hoped, both dishes were flavorful, fresh, and satisfying, although we found it a bit funny that the fajitas were served with a side of spaghetti!

In total, we spent 280 pesos on lunch, or $15 USD, and I’d definitely come back to Las Flamitas again.


In the mood for something sweet? Cozumel has you covered, and the moment I stumbled upon La Cozumeleña bakery, I knew I had to pick up some pan dulce.

Like Mexican breakfast, Mexican bakeries are highly underrated, but once you try the diverse assortment of baked goods—from savory empanadas to fruit-filled cakes—it’s easy to become addicted.

I settled on three items: a coconut empanada, guava and cheese empanada, and oatmeal-cinnamon cookie. The coconut empanada was the clear winner, but you can’t go wrong with any Mexican bakery item!

Street food stalls

Our final stop of the day was back to Parque Benito Juárez, where we had one final goal: street food.

If there’s anything that gets me excited about tasting new cuisines, it’s street food, but I was disappointed to see only a few street food stalls during my day in town. I may have been in the wrong area or perhaps the street food scene is more active at night, but I expected to see more food carts around downtown.

Nonetheless, my plan was to find a street food stall selling marquesitas, a dessert native to Mexico’s Yucatán state. These sweet snacks are made by rolling a thin crepe like a taco and filling it with caramel, condensed milk, edam cheese, and other optional ingredients like fresh fruits or jam.

Unfortunately, my search for marquesitas in downtown Cozumel left me empty handed, as most of the street stalls I saw were not open.

I was still determined to grab dessert from one of Cozumel’s food stands, though, so I continued walking around the park looking for something to eat.

This is when I made perhaps the best discovery of the day: a machacado de frutas.

In a corner of Parque Benito Juárez, in front of the Fat Tuesday bar, I noticed an older gentleman attending to his food cart (attached to a tricycle, might I add), and I was immediately intrigued.

The cart was stacked with bananas and a variety of colorful syrups along with cans of condensed milk and jars of cinnamon. Even with these context clues, I had no idea what this local man sold at his cart, so I decided to ask.

“¿Qué tipo de comida es esta?” What type of food is this?

“Machacado,” he responded kindly.

His answer left me even more confused. I had never heard of this dessert before (was it even a dessert?). Unlike churros, flan, and tres leches cake, the word 'machacado' had never appeared in any Spanish textbook, YouTube video, or articles I’ve seen about Mexican food.

Needless to say, l couldn’t say no to my curiosity, and he began preparing me the best dessert I’ve ever tasted in Mexico.

First came the mashing of two bananas, which were placed in the bottom of a large plastic cup. Next was a generous scooping of crushed ice, followed by a layer of creamy sweetened condensed milk. The dessert was topped with a drizzle of vanilla syrup, which soaked into the ice below, and a liberal dash of cinnamon.

I handed the gentlemen 30 pesos (roughly $1.60 USD) and I was on my way.

I had never tasted anything quite like this dessert before. It felt as if I were eating a homemade cinnamon roll coated in a thick layer of icing and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

It was everything I could have ever dreamed of in a dessert, and even my dad, who had just proclaimed he ‘couldn’t eat another bite of food,’ kept sipping away at his machacado.

My tips on planning a food tour in Cozumel

If you’re a foodie who’s interested in discovering Mexican cuisine, I can’t recommend planning a food tour enough. Cozumel certainly has gorgeous beaches, but walking the colorful streets downtown and trying a variety of local restaurants was, by far, the best day I’ve had on the island yet.

Here are my top tips for planning your own food tour in Cozumel:

Self-guided versus with a guide

I planned a self-guided tour in Cozumel because I value the flexibility of exploring without a schedule and choosing the restaurants myself. However, if you’re more comfortable with a local guide, you can book guided food tours on websites such as Tripadvisor and Viator.

A guided tour will likely provide you with more knowledge about Cozumel’s cuisine and take you to areas you might otherwise not visit yourself. On the downside, these tours will be more expensive than planning the day on your own.

Cozumel 4 You Facebook Page

A valuable resource I used when planning this tour was the Cozumel 4 You Facebook Page. This page is a hub of information on Cozumel with restaurant recommendations and ideas on how to spend your day on the island.

What to do in between eating on your food tour

An unexpected problem we encountered during our day-long food tour was not feeling hungry. If you’re planning a full day of eating in Cozumel, you’ll run into the same problem, so it’s helpful to know what to do in between meals.

I recommend visiting the Museo de Cozumel, sitting by the waterfront, and walking around various shops downtown to pass the time.

A variety of coffee shops are located throughout downtown as well, including the popular Aqui + Ahora Coffee Bar, and this can be a nice way to spend time throughout the day.

Download offline maps

While Cozumel’s downtown is walkable, having Google Maps on your phone can help you better navigate to your destination.

If you don’t have international cell phone coverage in Mexico, be sure to download an offline version of downtown Cozumel in Google Maps to allow for easy access when your phone is on airplane mode.

Pay with Mexican pesos instead of US dollars

While most places in Cozumel will accept US dollars, it's easier to pay with pesos, especially if you're eating at restaurants further away from the main tourist area.

There are several banks located downtown with ATMs depositing pesos, and having pesos on hand will make your life much easier throughout the day. Plus, you can ensure you are getting the best rate when paying in local currency.

Royal Caribbean updates loyalty program perks with new designs for crystal blocks & changes to other freebies

28 Feb 2023
Elizabeth Wright

Royal Caribbean is updating the loyalty benefits for Crown and Anchor Society members beginning on March 10, 2023, with one of the most notable changes being the new design for the crystal blocks. 


Royal Caribbean announced the new crystal block designs  via the Crown and Anchor Society's Facebook page on February 28, 2023 in a post that read: "Being a Crown & Anchor Society member has its perks. And the perks don’t just happen at sea — get ready for a new burst of color! 🌈"

"We're excited to announce that our new crystal blocks are debuting this spring, and they're ready to take your collection to the next level."

C&A Email
C&A Email update

All changes and updates to the Crown and Anchor loyalty program were soft launched on their website before being sent out via email in the February Crown & Anchor newsletter.

What are the loyalty program updates?


Changes to welcome snacks and beverages


For Emerald members (55+ points) and above, you will no longer have option to pre-select your welcome beverages, as all guests will now receive complimentary water in their stateroom when they arrive. If you are Emerald or Diamond, you'll get two bottles per person, and if you are Diamond Plus or Pinnacle, you will get three per person. 

Additionally, the cruise line removed the welcome snack as a loyalty benefit. Unfortunately, there will not be any cookies waiting in your stateroom anymore!

Daily drinks and wine discounts

All Diamond members (80+ points) and above will continue to receive daily drink vouchers for any beverage up to $14.

The number you get per day depends on your status: 4 for Diamond, 5 for Diamond Plus, and 6 for Pinnacle. Additionally, you will be able to receive 20% off bottles of wine over $100 and 40% bottles under $100. 

Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club wash & fold laundry benefit


While Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club members will still be able to receive one free $34.99 bag of laundry on sailings that are 5+ nights, they can only do so on the day of the ship's Wash & Fold laundry promotion. It's not valid for any pressing or dry-cleaning services. 

New amenities list


Diamond Plus (175+ points) and Pinnacle (700+ points) members have a new amenities list to choose from.

The number of points you have, as well as the length of your sailing, determines not only how many items you may choose from, but also what the items are.

For example, guests with 175-339 points only have fifteen options to choose from, while guests with 525+ points have over forty! 

No matter your points, you are eligible to select the new toiletry bag. Only guests with 340+ points, however, can choose the upgraded Crown & Anchor Society tote bag. 

New crystal blocks


The current crystal block design features Royal Caribbean International branding above the image and name of the cruise ship you are on when you cross the point threshold.

All elements are etched into the crystal, giving them an elegant and timeless look.

The update design will feature a colorful image of the ship with the Crown & Anchor logo in the top left corner and the ship's name in the lower right corner. 

Only five blocks have been released thus far, and they are all for Oasis Class ships. Every block, except for Symphony of the Seas, features a shot of the ship sailing during sunset.

As of February 28, 2023, the design for all other blocks is unknown. 

The updated look is facing mixed criticism from guests. 

Some are a fan of the new look, like HeWhoWaits who said, "With the change, maybe it's a good thing that my wife's block from last summer wasn't available."

"Hopefully this means she'll get the new version when follow ups are successful."

Others prefer the old design, including steverk: "My initial thought is we're going from something that was classy to something that looks like a cheap souvenir."

"I'll withhold final judgment until I actually see it, but that's my first impression."

Who is eligible for a crystal block?


Unfortunately, earning Diamond status (80 points) with Royal Caribbean is not enough to get you a crystal block. You will have to earn 140 points to be eligible to receive your first block. It is almost like a halfway marker between Diamond and Diamond Plus. 

You will also be able to get another crystal block every time you earn another 70 points on top of the 140, so you will get a block at 210, 280, 350, 420, and so on points.

There is no limit as to how many blocks you are able to collect. The more you cruise, the more blocks you will have!

After Royal Caribbean reversed the decision to stop giving out blocks in 2021, eligible guests choose to either have the blocks delivered to their stateroom or home, or if you do not want a block, you can decline delivery. 

I have over 140 points and I never got a crystal block. Who do I contact?

Wonder of the Seas in Labadee

If you have yet to receive a crystal block despite having over 140 cruise points, you can go speak with the Loyalty Ambassador if you are onboard a cruise ship. They will be happy to assist you in making sure that you get your crystal block! 

If you are at home, you can call Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor hotline at (800) 526-9723 or send an email to [email protected].

The representative will be able pull all of your sailing information via your Crown and Anchor loyalty number, so be sure to have it handy.

If you are emailing, you will want to include it in your initial message. 

Related: The Crown and Anchor perks you should use on every Royal Caribbean cruise