Best Royal Caribbean ships and cruise guide

In:
26Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

This guide to Royal Caribbean ships contains short reviews of the best cruise ships based on a variety of considerations.  If you are planning to take a cruise and want the perfect ship for your family, this guide aims to help you. You may be familiar with some of Royal Caribbean's ships, but the different ship classes mean there is a lot to consider.

Of course, everyone has different preferences, so we will also provide a brief description of each ship to give you an idea of whether a particular ship might be a good fit for your family. 

This should help give you an idea of which Royal Caribbean cruise ships are a great choice for you. We are firm believers in the idea that all of Royal Caribbean's ships offer a really fun vacation experience. There is not one ship in the fleet that we would not sail on, but we also recognize there may be some ships better suited for the personal preferences of a family or group.

Let's take a look at the best Royal Caribbean ships for every need.

Thrills and fun aplenty

Symphony of the Seas - There is no denying Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, is filled to the brim with the cruise line's latest and greatest offerings.  Not only does it have the coolest new things onboard, but it has them in spades.  Water slides, laser tag, escape room, zip line, Broadway show are just a few of the incredible options available on Symphony of the Seas (with many of those features also available on other Oasis Class ships).

Anthem of the Seas - The Quantum Class ships offer a sleek, yet compelling cruise experience that offers guests onboard a lot to see and do.  In fact, entertainment is at the heart of Anthem of the Seas, with terrific venues to see it all.  In addition, Anthem of the Seas offers the giant indoor sports zone, North Star observation pod and a sky diving simulator.  

Harmony of the Seas - She may be only the second largest cruise ship in the world and second newest ship in the fleet, but Harmony of the Seas remains a great choice for those wanting lots of fun onboard.  In fact, Harmony of the Seas redefined the Oasis Class of cruise ships when she first offered water slides, an interactive aqua park, a new take on the Boardwalk and more. Taking a cruise on Harmony of the Seas means enjoying some of the best Royal Caribbean offers.

Families with young children

Oasis of the Seas - Oasis class ships have redefined what family cruising is all about, and if you have younger children, a cruise on Oasis of the Seas is a great choice.  We like Oasis for a few reasons.  First, she lacks the slides her newer sister ships have and that is not usually a concern for those with young children.  Moreover, she is priced slightly lower (on average) relative to her newer sisters.  Oasis of the Seas still offers plenty for young kids, such as a baby splash area in the pool, nursery, and open play area in Adventure Ocean.

Allure of the Seas - Like her sister Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas is quite similar in her offerings for families with young children. In our experience, having young kids means a slower pace while cruising, but it is important to have the facilities and options for young kids.  Allure of the Seas also offers the DreamWorks experience onboard, which means additional programming for kids of all ages.

Freedom of the Seas - Families with young children will likely find the best value with Freedom of the Seas.  She offers the type of facilities families look for in a cruise ship (nursery, baby splash pool, DreamWorks experience, etc) and is usually priced much less than any Oasis Class ship.  Later in 2018, she will move to San Juan, Puerto Rico and that means some incredible itineraries to enjoy alongside a fabulous ship.

Families with older children

Liberty of the Seas - If there is one thing older children typically enjoy a lot of, it is water slides and Liberty of the Seas has arguably the best collection of water slides in the fleet.  It has racer water slides, which typical now of any Royal Caribbean ship that has water slides, but it is the only ship with the Tidal Wave slide.  Liberty of the Seas also offers a rock climbing wall, FlowRider surf simulator, ice skating and more.  Moreover, Liberty of the Seas is a terrific value.

Anthem of the Seas - Older kids will find Anthem of the Seas to be one of the best suited for them, especially teens.  The SeaPlex area alone is home to so many activities that are perfect for older kids.  Bumper cars, roller skating, XBox, circus school...there is so much.  Plus, Anthem of the Seas has the FlowRider surf simulator, Ripcord by iFly sky diving simulator and an impressive teens club.  If you are a parent, do not plan on seeing much of your kids if cruising on Anthem (that is not a bad thing)!

Symphony of the Seas - The strength of the Oasis Class ships are the staggering amount of activities and things to do.  For older kids, having plenty of options is usually the best bet and Symphony of the Seas has plenty to keep the older kids busy.  Dual FlowRiders, ice skating, a large Adventure Ocean area, teens club, Boardwalk...that just barely scratches the surface of what is offered.  

Need to get away

Mariner of the Seas - Following Mariner of the Seas finishes $90 million refurbishment, Mariner of the Seas will call Miami, Florida home in 2018, and will be the first Voyager Class ship to offer short Caribbean sailings. Mariner of the Seas will offer 3- and 4-night itineraries from PortMiami.  That means an impressive ship offering the weekend getaways you are looking for without compromising on the ship.

Navigator of the Seas - Navigator of the Seas will also offer short Caribbean sailings, beginning in 2019.  Navigator of the Seas is a fabulous choice for the amount of fun activities onboard, plus the great prices we typically see on Navigator of the Seas. In addition, Navigator of the Seas will offer short cruises with stops in the newly expanded Perfect Day at CocoCay. Talk about an incredible long weekend!

Brilliance of the Seas - In the winter, Brilliance of the Seas offers short sailings that mix a great price and a terrific ship.  Being a Radiance class ship, weekend getaways on Brilliance of the Seas means a classic, relaxing cruise experience. If your idea of a get away cruise is enjoying drinks by the pool, Brilliance of the Seas is a perfect choice for you.

Honeymooners

Harmony of the Seas - Love birds will find lots to do and plenty of time for romance on Harmony of the Seas.  Harmony boasts a ton of activities, terrific specialty dining choices, adults-only Solarium, a beautiful spa and more. With all of the fun things to do onboard, we think Harmony of the Seas is a great choice for honeymooners that want fun in the sun.

Freedom of the Seas - Of all the cruise ships we have cruised on, Freedom of the Seas stands out as a great ship for nearly any cruiser.  It offers a well-rounded cruise experience, with enough activities and dining choices to cater to any honeymooner.  On top of that, Freedom of the Seas is priced so well, that a honeymooner can likely get more for their money and perhaps upgrade to a higher category stateroom than if they went on a newer ship.  

Anthem of the Seas - Going on a honeymoon? Anthem of the Seas is hard to beat as a great  option.  You can sip a fine wine at Vintages, take a dip in arguably one the most beautiful adults-only Solarium, watch the sunset from North Star observation pod, or maybe just enjoy a brunch date on your balcony. With sailings to Bermuda, the Caribbean, Canada and more, Anthem of the Seas is a new ship with lots of options.

Exotic itineraries

Empress of the Seas - One word: Cuba.  Perhaps no cruise stop in the Caribbean is as intriguing or fun to try as Cuba.  Empress of the Seas was refitted specifically for the Cuban cruise market, and is the best choice for taking a cruise that will bring you to any one of the Cuban ports of call.  In fact, Empress of the Seas also offers to stops in Cuba beyond Havana, which means a greater opportunity to tour this newly opened up country.

Ovation of the Seas - Australia, the South Pacific, Alaska...a cruise on Ovation of the Seas is very likely to bring you to some of the most beautiful spots on the planet.  Perhaps no other Royal Caribbean cruise ship can boast the sort of impressive itineraries that Ovation of the Seas enjoys. Being a Quantum Class ship, she offers an equally fun time onboard as well.

Rhapsody of the Seas - If exploring Europe is more your game, Rhapsody of the Seas will take you to some of the most beautiful European ports around.  Visits in the Adriatic, Aegean and Mediterranean seas will bring you to iconic ports of call.  Rhapsody of the Seas is no stranger to Europe, having become a stalwart of Royal Caribbean's European cruising season. 

Budget cruising

Majesty of the Seas - If your goal is to get on a cruise ship for as little money as possible, Majesty of the Seas is typically the first place to look.  Sure she is an older ship, but Majesty of the Seas offers the kind of chill cruise experience we all need from time to time.  Majesty was recently updated and has several whirlpools, plenty of bars, a revamped casino, and full-service spa. Majesty of the Seas often has some of the lowest cruise fares available on any Royal Caribbean ship, so it is unlikely to break any budget, regardless of time of year.

Enchantment of the Seas - Enchantment of the Seas combines a fun ship experience for bargain prices.  There are some great dining choices onboard, an expansive pool area, and all for a price you will likely not have to think twice about. For families, Enchantment of the Seas packs a lot into a small package, with an outdoor poolside movie screen, three pools—including the adults-only Solarium—and six different whirlpools. After a day spent lounging, there’s plenty of nighttime entertainment, like Broadway-style shows in the main theater, blackjack at Casino Royale, and eight different bars and lounges.

Mariner of the Seas - By offering short 3- and 4-night cruises, Mariner of the Seas is set up to offer a big ship experience for a small ship price.  Those that want to save money, but not compromise on the onboard experience may find the perfect fit with Mariner of the Seas.  With a full-sized basketball and volleyball court, as well as a rock-climbing wall that shoots up 200 feet above the sea, there’s no shortage of athletic action onboard any ship. The Royal Promenade regularly hosts parades, dance parties and many wonderful bars.

Your thoughts

Which Royal Caribbean ships are your favorites and which might you skip?  Do you agree or disagree with our ratings?  If you have not taken a Royal Caribbean cruise yet, which cruise ships are you most excited about?  Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your questions and thoughts in the comments!

Royal Caribbean talks social media, Symphony of the Seas, Cuba, guest spending and more

In:
26Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

During Royal Caribbean's first quarter 2018 financial call with investors, the company shared some interesting anecdotes, facts, and insight into the ever changing cruising environment.  While most of the information discussed in these earnings calls deal primarily with financial indicators, cruise guests can glean some insight into how Royal Caribbean runs its business.

Social media driving demand

Off the bat, Royal Caribbean's top brass was quick to point out that social media is crushing it in terms of raising the brand's awareness to consumers, assuaging myths about cruising and most importantly, driving demand.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) Chairman and CEO Richard Fain spoke about the impact of social media, "I attribute some of the recent healthy growth and demand to our success in the social media environment. Our social media teams really are doing an amazing job."

RCL Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty also talked about how social media has helped Royal Caribbean this quarter, "Levers, like social media and so forth, are really helping break through stereotypes on cruise and we have seen a real change in our new to cruise volumes.  That is also suggesting that a lot of these past detractors are becoming fans of cruise."

Symphony receiving tons of good press for a sister ship

There is no question that Royal Caribbean is proud of the launch of its newest ship, but the executives were down right impressed by how well Symphony of the Seas is selling, especially considering she is the fourth sister ship in the class.

Mr. Fain spoke about the public's reaction to Symphony of the Seas, "The public reaction to Symphony of the Seas was surprising even to us. Even though she is the fourth in the amazing Oasis Class series of ships, she has so many new amenities and attractions, that our guests and the media were simply blow away. Rarely has a sister ship received such press, and rarely has it been so deserving of it."

Mr. Liberty expanded on the results Symphony of the Seas has brought to the cruise line, "Prices for Symphony have not only exceeded our lofty expectations, they have also been even better than we saw from Harmony last year."

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley shared an anecdote about Symphony of the Seas' early success, "The week after we introduced Symphony of the Seas, our bookings beat track by 50%. That is the week after we introduced the ship, so it's really performing well."

Consumers want shorter, more frequent vacations

A trend that Royal Caribbean has picked up on is the desire for short Caribbean getaway cruises.  As a result, Royal Caribbean has invested heavily in Mariner of the Seas and the improvements coming to CocoCay.

"We're seeing more and more people opting for shorter, but more frequent vacations. We are responding to that call by modernizing Mariner of the Seas, which is one of our Voyager Class ships, and we're raising our game in the short cruise market with this upgraded vessel, " Mr. Fain explained, "At the same time we also announced a major upgrade to our private destination in the Bahamas at CocoCay that we are calling, appropriately I might add, Perfect Day. Perfect Day in that destination will be another great addition to our Caribbean offering.  It is really thrilling to see the work take shape, and I'm certain that this destination will get tongues wagging just as much as our new hardware has done."

Michael Bayley also spoke about what Royal Caribbean is doing to meet customer demand, "We're very excited about Mariner as a product coming into the shorts market, and that's very much focused on new to cruise, and Millennial, and that really is the on ramp for that market.  That ship is literally like having an Oasis Class ship in the short product market, because its capacity is just over 3200-3400 every three or four days."

Guest spend & onboard revenue is up a lot

If you want to find the "secret sauce" to what is making the biggest difference in Royal Caribbean's quarterly growth, onboard revenue is a big factor.  This means the things guests spend on their cruise above and beyond the cruise fare.

Mr Liberty spoke about the growth the cruise line is seeing in this area, "The main driver of the positive earnings in yield was the continued strength in onboard revenue, which was up 6.3% for the quarter. This result is notable considering that it follows an 8.9% improvement from the first quarter of 2017."

"Guest spend from onboard activities has continued to shift towards areas that involve experiences over buying things, and this quarter was no different. Beverage packages, specialty restaurants and internet were the main revenue streams driving the quarterly beat."

Mr. Bailey also spoke about the onboard revenue growth that Royal Caribbean is seeing, "We've been really pleased with our pre-cruise sales, and we've seen a significant uplift year over year that's been increasing for the past couple of years and it's been a big driver of onboard spend.  We kind of figure, for every dollar that we earn pre-cruise, we'll see somewhere between a 30 and a 50% uptick in the onboard spend."

"And then of course over the years, we've invested quite heavily in new venues, new attractions onboard of our ships and many of those are revenue generating.  We're beginning to see a lot of those now yielding superior revenue because of the kind of services they provide."

Cuba update

Another area that we received an update on was Cuba and cruises there.  A recent leadership change alongside strong demand for cruises to Cuba generated an update on where the cruise line stands with regard to this newly offered destination.

Royal Caribbean Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldstein spoke about Cuba, "We've been commenting over time about the fact that the Cuban market has been a good market for us to enter. The customer satisfaction about Havana has been very, very high. But the reality is that there is still just one functioning pier that ships can go to on either side of the pier in Havana.  There is going to have to be some type of considerable infrastructure improvement that takes place over the next several years, that will probably take time."

"I think what we've been seeing lately is that the Cuban Government has gotten a little bit more efficient in maximizing the use of the pier on both sides, and our company has definitely been a beneficiary of that. We've been able to increase the number of sailings on a year over year basis, even though their capacity hasn't increased."

"For what it is, it's been terrific, but in the overall sense of our portfolio, it is still fairly small. And we haven't seen any change whatsoever in their attitude towards us or their dealings with us, as it relates to their change in government to this point."

A look at the state of digital marketing

Michael Bayley provided a look at how Royal Caribbean is leveraging digital marketing (as opposed to traditional marketing) to better reach customers.

"We think that there's better targeting, and it's a more efficient channel. And certainly, with our social media presence, we believe that we've maneuvered ourselves into a really strong position in our space. In fact, we just recently conducted an independent survey of where we are positioned in terms of the social media universe, and we came out of it exceptionally well, in terms of how people view Royal Caribbean through that lens and how they are engaging with Royal Caribbean."

"We are also seeing that with the response from onboard internet, and how people are using the accelerated internet to utilize social media to actually promote our brands, which has been really quite effective."

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

In:
26Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Deals & Thrills sale is offering bonus instant savings on cruises booked this weekend.

Here are the details of this offer:

Valid on Royal Caribbean cruises booked between April 26 and April 29, 2018 on sailings departing on or after May 26, 2018.

  • 50% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first full-fare paying guest.
  • 25% off cruise fare for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualified guests.
  • Deals & Thrills offers instant savings of up to $150 per stateroom determined by category booked and sailing length
    • Sailings 5 nights or less
      • $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View
      • $75 for Balconies and $100 for Suites
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer
      • $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View
      • $100 for Balconies and $150 for Suites
  • Balcony & Suites Offer: Offer includes a $100 instant savings per balcony or suite booked. Offer excludes China departures.

BOGO and Balcony & Suites Bonus are combinable with each other as well as with Deals & Thrills, NRBD OBC, promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Deals & Thrills is combinable with NRDB OBC, OBC, instant savings, NextCruise offers, restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military) but not combinable with Shareholder benefits and Crown and Anchor discounts. All 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.

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

Royal Caribbean offering up to 25% off select shore excursions during Cruise Planner sale

In:
25Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 25% off select shore excursions booked through the Cruise Planner this week.

Offer applies to new purchases made April 25 - May 2, 2018. Discount applies to select shore excursion on select sailings departing May 9, 2018 - November 30, 2018. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

The exact discount amount will vary depending on the shore excursion. 

Tours involving flights, trains, special events, overnight stays, hotel stays and Private Journeys must be canceled 30 days prior to sailing to avoid cancellation penalties.

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site and navigate to the Shore Excursions section to see any available offers.

If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.

Video: Ultimate Family Suite Unveiled on Symphony of the Seas

In:
25Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Imagination brings the one-of-a-kind Ultimate Family Suite to life with swoon-worthy features, whimsical color schemes and a whole lot of awesome. The 1,346-square-foot interactive space is designed for both the young and the young at heart, providing a space for families to come together during their cruise vacation, while also offering enough room and amenities to relax during that special “me time.”

Staying onboard your ship while in port on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
25Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

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

Episode 247 is available for downloading, where we discuss the idea of staying onboard your cruise ship while in port instead of touring on land.

Royal Caribbean can bring you to ports of call around the world, but some guests opt not to disembark the ship and instead, enjoy the experience of staying onboard while docked in port.  This week, we talk about why you might want to try that too, and how to best take advantage of it.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 247. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Royal Caribbean provides official update on new smart phone app

In:
24Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean offered travel agents an official status update on the new Royal Caribbean app for smart phones.

Royal Caribbean says the new app is already available on Symphony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, and "currently being tested on other select ships."  The capabilities of the app vary from ship to ship and new functions will be "rolling out across the fleet throughout the year."

If you download and open the new app, the app lists the preview ships are

  • Allure of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas

The app takes advantage of the new Universal Guest Account, which was rolled out to, "deliver many capabilities of our digital cruise experience, to simplify the guest experience online and to allow guests to quickly access features and information."

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean announces Jewel of the Seas 2019-2020 sailings from Dubai

In:
24Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced today it will base one of its cruise ships in Dubai for a few months between December 2019 and March 2020.

Jewel of the Seas will call Dubai home, and offer 7-night sailings out of Dubai to destinations in the Middle East, including maiden calls to Sir Bani Yas, Doha, and Bahrain.. You can view a full list of available Jewel of the Seas sailings from Dubai here.

The two new itineraries will be available to book from April 24 for Crown and Anchor Society members and from April 25 for the general public.

Royal Caribbean is returning to Dubai, following a two-year absence.  Jewel will sail to Dubai, following a summer season in the Mediterranean that will also see Royal Caribbean return to Turkey. Like the Dubai sailings, the newly announced Jewel of the Seas itineraries will go on sale to Crown and Anchor Society members on April 24, and to the general public on April 25.

Excursion Focus: Maya Chan Beach in Costa Maya

In:
23Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

If there is a downside to having a really, really good time on any shore excursion it is that you begin to wonder if subsequent times going on that same excursion will match the first time.

Maya Chan Beach in Costa Maya, Mexico has been the high water mark for any all-inclusive excursion I have tried, ever since we went there back in 2010.  Having an opportunity to return eight years later, I was excited to try it again, but I was concerned perhaps the second visit would not match up to my first time.

While on Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas, we booked a visit to see if it could match up in a way similar to the hit Foreigner song.

Description

Maya Chan Beach is an all-inclusive spot that offers all the drinks and food you like right on a prime spot in Mahahual, Mexico.

This excursion is booked directly via the Maya Chan website.  The process is fairly smooth, with some emails traded back and forth before completing the booking.

Maya Chan Beach is not near the port area of Costa Maya, so you will need to take a taxi to get there. The folks at Maya Chan Beach arrange transportation back and forth.  Upon exiting the port area, you take a short walk down the street and meet up with the Maya Chan Beach representative, where they immediately hail a taxi for you.

On our visit, the Maya Chan Beach representative informed us that the entire area (including Maya Chan Beach) has been inundated with seaweed.  They showed us photos of the beach area, and told us they had a team of guys working to clean the beach. They offered to give us a full refund if we decided the seaweed was too much of a problem.  Since the problem was not just limited to Maya Chan, we decided to go forth with the excursion. I appreciated their honesty and offer for a refund, as the flow of seaweed is hardly something they can control.

The taxi ride to Maya Chan Beach takes around 20-30 minutes, and passes through much of Mahahual. Most of the ride is over dirt road, which was recently smoothed over for a much improved ride.  The road used to be riddled with holes, but this time around it was quite smooth (minus the incredible amount of speed bumps locals have installed).

Upon arrival to Maya Chan Beach, the representative meets you at the entrance and gives you a quick run down of how things work, along with a welcome drink.  

Each family/group is assigned a palapa area, that has enough seating, hammock and sun bed to enjoy.  There are palapa areas of various sizes to accommodate different sized groups.

By far the best part of Maya Chan Beach is the level of service you receive.  Their team is comprised of a staff that speak perfect English and are constantly roaming the grounds to assist in getting anything.  The quality service was exactly as good as on our first visit, and it meant we never waited long for anything and always had drinks and food.

In terms of food and drink, you are greeted with a serving of chips, freshly made salsa and guacamole.  Refills are available at any time. 

Their cooking staff creates a lunch each day from scratch, that is a buffet of create your own tacos to enjoy.  Truly great food all around.

There is a full bar of drinks you can enjoy throughout the day.  You can opt to get it yourself from the bar, or have one of the servers bring it to you.  

In fact, the staff set up a pseudo-floating bar off the beach to enjoy.  I loved the creativity.

Besides eating and drinking, a day spent at Maya Chan is about enjoying the beach.  While Maya Chan does not have a pool, it does have a large amount of beach access for its guests.

As I mentioned, the inundation of seaweed made getting out past the first 10 feet a little icky, but they did provide water shoes you could borrow.  

Your day pass includes access to:

  • Free WiFi
  • Kayaks
  • Snorkel equipment
  • "Cleanest bathrooms in town"
  • Lockers
  • Showers

Maya Chan also built an observation tower, which you can climb up to and enjoy a perfect view of the beach and surrounding area.

Maya Chan is also home to a couple of dogs and a cat.  The pets are well behaved, and if you like dogs or cats, they roam around and are happy to come say hello in exchange for a good scratch behind the ears.

Comments

These days, there are a lot of all inclusive day pass options at pretty much any Caribbean island you visit.  What seperates Maya Chan from the rest is the level of service and quality overall experience they offer.

Maya Chan bills itself on its service, and I think that has to do with the fact the beach is owned and operated by a few American ex-pats, who understand really well what tourists are looking for in a beach day. The attention to detail the staff provides is exquisite, and why we came back.

Despite eight years between visits, I think Maya Chan absolutely lived up to my expectations from my first visit.  Our family had a great time enjoying a relaxing beach day.  When we arrived to our palapa, there was a bucket of beach toys waiting for my kids to use.

The one issue we encountered was the seaweed, which Maya Chan has no control over.  They did have at least four guys working from morning to afternoon to clear the stuff off the beach, and by lunch there was a path to the water.  Moreover, I really appreciated the fact they offered us a warning and refund prior to going to the beach.  That kind of honesty goes a long way.

There are no guarantees with anything, but if you are headed to Costa Maya and want the kind of beach day that is very, very, very unlikely to disappoint, booking Maya Chan Beach is a great idea.

Cost: Adults: $59, Kids 0-3 $19, Kids 4-7 $39, Kids 8-17 $49.

Reservations can be made at the Maya Chan website.

Royal Caribbean wraps up cruising season in Australia

In:
23Apr2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's cruise season in Australia concluded on Sunday night, as Explorer of the Seas departed Sydney harbor to head east to Seattle.

Over the course of the summer season down under, Royal Caribbean offer 96 cruises throughout Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia during the 2017/18 summer season, delivering an injection of around AUD$198 million into the Australian economy in passenger spend alone. Around 330,000 guests sailed on Royal Caribbean, which made it the largest cruise line in Australia (in terms of capacity) over the 2017/2018 summer season.

During the summer season, Ovation of the Seas returned for her second and longest season in Australian waters. Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas sailed 36 South-Pacific itineraries.

Next year, Ovation of the Seas will return for her third and longest season yet based down under.  Radiance of the Seas will offer Royal Caribbean’s very first departure from Melbourne, as well as three one-way cruises departing from Auckland.

In 2018/2019, Explorer of the Seas will return down under for her fourth season.  Sister ship Voyager of the Seas will temporarily homeport in Asia for the 2018/19 season, before returning fresh from a multimillion dollar modernization next year.

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