Victoria, Canada working to expand harbor to handle Quantum Class cruise ships

By: Matt Hochberg

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority owns and operates the deep water, marina and upland holdings throughout Victoria's harbor and is working on expanding the docking infrastructure of Greater Victoria Harbor to allow cruise ships larger than a Quantum Class ship.

The project is planned for completion by May 2019, which is when Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas is expected to visit Victoria regularly.

This $6.8 million expansion project involves extending the existing berth and moor vessels by more than 55 meters, then adding a breasting "dolphin" and an additional structure that restricts the longitudinal movement of the ship when it’s moored near the pier. 

When complete, the harbor will be able to handle cruise ships of up to 200,000 gross tons.    

The construction project was awarded to Ruskin Construction Ltd. through a competitive bid process. Work began in October 2018 with the installation of falsework to temporarily support pouring of the concrete bollard platforms to which the ships will be moored. 

Ovation of the Seas will visit Victoria regularly beginning in May. The ship measure 348 meters in length, features 18 decks and can accommodate as many as 4,900 passengers — about 1,000 more passengers than the Royal Caribbean vessel that moored at the harbor previously.    

Brilliance of the Seas Live Blog - Day Two - Sea Day

By: Michael Poole

Today was our first sea day and I’m happy to report I slept in until 9am!  Well ship time 9am, still shifting time zones.  The weather today was very poor, high winds and rain.  Due to the weather being so poor the captain decided to change the order of our ports.  We are now doing Cozumel first tomorrow and then Grand Cayman.  No impact to our cruise, Royal Caribbean just finding the best weather and headed that direction. 

The Solarium was the popular place today since it was covered and warm.  I spent majority of our day in the solarium hot tub.  As the day went on they actually closed the top decks due to the bad weather.  The ship was also really rocking; the captain said we have 50mph wind. 

Since we were in the Solarium already, we ended up having lunch in here again.  They open at noon and people were lined up today for the roast beef! I went with the same lunch, I just wish the salad bar had ranch!

Since the weather was getting so poor we decided to head in early afternoon and make our first trip down to the pub.  I always seem to forget about the pub on Brilliance because it’s down on deck 4 beside the casino.  Made some new friends at the bar and enjoyed a few pints.

Tonight was formal night so most men were wearing pants and a jacket and ladies in their cocktail dresses.  I actually saw very few ties, so it was more like business attire than formal night.  We took advantage of taking photos and all the back drops and plan to use our Crown and Anchor perk to get two for free. 

We ended up sititng down at the R Bar for awhile, they were playing some weird games with solo cups and straws.  I thought this was strange being formal night vs having live music.  I suppose they were on break for an hour and they were doing the games to entertain people.  Once the music came on Hillary and I got up and danced. 

Dinner tonight was back in Givoanni’s table, though tonight it was just Hillary and I.  I had asked them last night to save some of the lasagna from lunch for me.  This is something on their lunch menu but not on their dinner.  They brought me out like 2lbs of lasagna! No way I was finishing that much, but it was so good.  We were only in the restaurant for a little over an hour tonight.  After eating all the pasta we decided to skip dessert, just couldn’t handle it.  That of you wondering the charge is $30 + 18% per person. 

Tonight we ended up in the silent disco at 10:30, it was fun since I was with a group of 10 friends.  Though the club was very empty maybe 20 people attended.  We had a blast singing away.  Around midnight we decided to get some pizza and call it a night.  I was surprised to find they also had a nacho bar open.  The late night food is in the solarium on Brilliance of the Seas. 

Tomorrow is our first port of call in Cozumel, Mexico.  I’m happy to report, I’m doing something brand new! Stay tuned…

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

By: Michael Poole

Cruise day has finally arrived! I was sailing with my fiancé and her family.  They live around 25 miles from the port so we all took a quick uber to the port around 11AM.  I did notice pretty long lines at check-in but it was the peak hour to arrive to the ship. 

I spent most of the morning just walking around exploring the ship, that excitement of it finally being cruise day.  I was wondering if I’d see anything new since Brilliance went into dry dock last year, but everything looked the same. Living on the West coast we were still struggling with the time change, so our first stop was actually the coffee shop on board. 


It’s been almost a year since I’ve sailed on Brilliance of the Sees so it was awesome to get back to the ship.  Many of the same crewmembers are still on board.  First things first was a glass of Champagne.   In my previous sailings, Chandon brut is $2 up charge from the drink package, however they have lowered the cost and it’s included in the beverage package now.

Park Café opened at noon, that’s a food option in the solarium vs the windjammer.  They have salads, roast beef sandwiches, and pasta salads.  I really recommend if you can wait until noon to have lunch to eat here.

At 1PM our cabins open, I had mentioned in the preview post that I had a balcony on the hump, 7108.  Well I can report our balcony is huge! In fact, it’s larger than my aft balcony I had last year.  I just wish I had a lounger, but I do love being the first room in the hallway. 

Dinner tonight was in Giovanni’s Table; we had a table for eight.  The server brought everything out family style, so our only decision was the main course.  I just love dining here, the food is outstanding and to be able to sample everything on the menu is pretty awesome! With a table this large dinner did take three hours, once I asked if they could speed up the service.  We had a few prior birthdays so the waiter brought out some cake with their names on the plate.

Overall the dinner was outstanding, best steak in the high seas if you ask me.  I loved it so much, I’m going back tomorrow night!

After dinner we did some dancing up in the night club, but it was empty.  I didn’t stay too long and called it a night.  Tomorrow is our first sea day, so looking forward to exploring Brilliance of the Seas. 

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: January 27, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

Hope you had a great week (maybe one week closer to your next Royal Caribbean cruise?) and you had a chance to keep up with what's new with Royal Caribbean this week. But if not, here's a roundup of this week's news.

Royal Caribbean fans were surprised to hear the Crown and Anchor Society Member Director will be leaving her role.

Millie Quiles sent an email to Crown and Anchor members that she will be stepping down from the role at the end of January.

Quiles spent almost ten years being the face of Crown and Anchor Society and working with members on a daily basis.  We will miss her contributions to the program and Royal Caribbean!

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 286th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available and we take an in-depth look at cruising from Australia.

Friend of the show Pippa joins Matt to talk about all aspects of a cruise from Australia and what someone looking to cruise down under can expect.

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

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Cruise Hive wrote ten reasons you need to take a cruise this year.

Eat Sleep Cruise listed the top cruise ships of 2019.

Travel and Whims shared 24 things you'll want to know before cruising Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean announces new head of sales for Singapore

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced Josh Wen as the new head of Singapore trade sales, in addition to his title of Head of Sales of Asia Pacific.

Royal Caribbean made the announcement at the company Chinese New Year appreciation dinner for trade partners in Singapore at Grand Hyatt on the evening of Friday, January 25.

Wen, who has been with Royal Caribbean for three and a half years, will now handle a total of 15 markets in the region for trade sales, namely Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines and Vietnam.  He was previously with the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry in trade strategy and management.  Wen is taking over the Singapore role from Mona Foo, Head of Business Development, who will now focus on corporate sales and operations in Asia.

Stephen also thanked the trade partners for their strong support in the past year that has contributed to the global success of the Royal Caribbean International brand. “Your efforts have put us in a strong position to launch our 50th anniversary this year.  Royal Caribbean is in an exciting time of transformation with the arrival of two Quantum Class ships here including the new Spectrum of the Seas, new itineraries and drydock projects coming up.  So the newly expanded team will work even more closely with all of you for a successful year ahead.”

In her announcement to over 200 invitees at the event, Angie Stephen, Managing Director, Asia Pacific said, “Trade and distribution will now be under one team with a unified focus. It’s a great opportunity for synergy, strategy and collaboration in driving even better results across the region.  With Josh’s expertise in handling multiple markets in Asia, I’m confident that he and his team will be a great asset and support for our partners in building up their business for the next decade.” 

Friday Photos - January 25, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

Welcome to our weekly showcase of great Royal Caribbean photos that our readers have shared with us.  Let's dive into this week's batch of photos!

Let's kick start this week's edition with a photo by Joseph Ingrassia of sunset taken from running track on Oasis of the Seas.

Next up is a photo of Grandeur of the Seas arriving in Nassau by Dennis Chimelis.

Phyllis Adelsberg sent us this photo of Hubbard Glacier, as seen from Radiance of the Seas.

We head over to Labadee for this photo by Nicole Ballinger.

Here is a look at Anthem of the Seas in Nassau. Photo by Anoop.

Tammy Murphy shared this photo of her family having a great time on their Royal Caribbean cruise.

The pride of New Jersey, John Bamber, took this photo from his balcony stateroom while on Anthem of the Seas.

Thank you to everyone for their photos this week! You can use this form to share your favorite Royal Caribbean photos with all of us.

Crown and Anchor Member Director announces departure from role

By: Matt Hochberg

Veteran Royal Caribbean cruisers will be sad to hear the announcement today that Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Member Director, Millie Quiles, will be stepping down from the role.

In an email sent to Crown and Anchor Society members, Quiles announced her last day on the job will be January 30th.

"After nearly ten years working for Royal Caribbean, I’ve decided to start a new adventure. My last day in the office will be January 30th."

"Please know that we remain completely focused and committed to taking great care of our most loyal guests. In addition to our Crown & Anchor Society Desk, you can also reach Kelly Sanchez, who leads our Crown & Anchor program, at"

No word yet on who, if anyone, will take her place.

Royal Caribbean CEO talks tech and Icon Class

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley spoke to TTG about a variety of topics related to the future of Royal Caribbean, and touched upon a few topics that revealed a few hints of what is to come.

When questions about the features and innovations of sister cruise brand Celebrity Cruises, Michael Bayley confirmed that the cruise line is looking at bringing the Infinite Veranda idea over to Royal Caribbean, “Edge has a lot of innovation. We need time to assess what works well and what doesn’t but we will take on some elements and put them on the new class of ship – Icon class and potentially Oasis 5."

Bayley's comments follow up on guest surveys from last year that showed off a possible Infinite Veranda for Royal Caribbean.

Mr. Bayley also commented on the status of the cruise line's new smart phone app, saying the new tech rollout will be available on around 12 ships by the end of year and the rest by "early 2020". He added, “We’re looking at facial recognition and notifications based on the profile of the passenger.”

Video: How Royal Caribbean gets you to spend more money

By: Matt Hochberg

Hi, there! We’re back with another RoyalCaribbeanBlog Video today, and we are discussing how Royal Caribbean gets you to spend more money on your cruise.

Like all companies, Royal Caribbean utilizes some great strategies to influence your purchasing decisions. These are good to be aware of in advance so you can make the most informed decision on what purchases will work best during your next vacation. So join us as we discuss some of these strategies in our latest YouTube 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 episode!

So check out the video and then let us know: What are your thoughts on some of these various strategies? 

Royal Caribbean weekend sale offers 60% off second guest, discount for kids and up to $300 instant savings

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean cruises booked this weekend may qualify for 60% off second guest, kids sail for less and up to $300 instant savings.

New cruises booked January 24 – 27, 2019 on sailings departing on or after February 24, 2019 are eligible for this weekend sale.

The offer includes:

  • 60% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first full-fare paying guest.
  • 30% off cruise fare for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualified guests.
  • BOGO also offers up to $150 instant savings per stateroom 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. 
  • Explore More Sale offers up to $150 instant savings per stateroom (up to $300 instant savings when combined with BOGO instant savings) 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.

BOGO is combinable with Explore More Sale, 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. Explore More Sale is combinable with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers and Free Upgrades but not combinable with Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates. Promo Code driven offers are based on select ships and sail dates and must be applied at time of booking, limit one promo code per booking. 

Offer available to residents of United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and select countries in the Caribbean.