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Cruising 101: SeaPass Account

In:
03 Jun 2014

I was browsing one of my favorite Royal Caribbean Facebook groups when I stumbled across a post by Ed Tinkertoy about Royal Caribbean's SeaPass account and how it works.  

Your SeaPass account is your means of paying for anything on your Royal Caribbean cruise while onboard your account.  It's the cash-less way Royal Caribbean allows its guests to manage onboard purchases.

What is the SeaPass account?

Royal Caribbean's SeaPass is the card you get for each person in your group and it functions just like a credit card. 

At embarkation, you will put down a credit card (American Express, Optima, MasterCard, Visa, Discover and Diner's Club) to place against your purchases.  At the end of your cruise, all of your purchases are added up and charged to that credit card.

Royal Caribbean also allows you to use traveler's checks, debit cards with a Visa or MasterCard logo, or cash to activate your SeaPass charging.

Can I pay off my SeaPass account besides the credit card?

Yes, at any point during your cruise you can pay down your running tab with cash or other credit cards. 

Will everyone have charging privileges?

Only those people the primary guest designates will be able to charge to their SeaPass account.  

Kids can have their privilieges revoked all together or given a daily limit.

Is there a limit to SeaPass charges?

Royal Caribbean stipulates there is a $500 daily limit on cash accounts for 7 night or longer sailings and $300 for 2/3/4/5 night sailings.

Once you reach that daily limit, guest services should contact you to inform you that you have reached your limit.

How can I get cash during my cruise?

There are two primary ways to withdraw cash.  The first is by using an ATM machine onboard the ship.  There is a transaction fee levied by the ATM owner in addition to any fees your bank charges you.

Alternatively, you can charge against your SeaPass account in the ship's casino.  There is a percentage fee taken to do so, but depending on the amount you borrow, may be a better deal than the ATM fees.

Currently the limit for cash withdrawl at the casino is $2,000 per person, per day and the fee (for non-Club Royale members) is 5%.

How does my onboard credit work?

If you have any onboard credit, it will automatically post to your SeaPass account on the first night of your cruise.  All charges you make your SeaPass card are first deducted from your onboard credit before you start accruing a tab.

You cannot designate certain charges to go against your onboard credit in lieu of others. Rather, it's a first charged, first debted system.

Royal Caribbean Secrets: Helipad on Freedom of the Seas

In:
03 Sep 2013

We love to share with our readers different tricks, secrets and other lesser known tidbits about cruising on Royal Caribbean so you can take advantage of them on your next cruise.  Today, we've got a great spot to go to for sail away on Freedom of the Seas that will get you a great view without a lot of people around.

The helipad on Freedom of the Seas is located on the bow (front) of the ship and during sailaway, Royal Caribbean permits guests access to the helipad.  This is a great spot to see the port as you leave, especially for those that do not have a balcony stateroom or simply want something a little different.

Photo by Andrew Quested

You can get to this special spot by walking all the way forward on deck 4 outside. There will be stairs that go up to the next deck, and farther forward is the helipad.  Once there, you will find benches to sit on but the best spots are as far forward as you can get.

In addition to sailaway, the helipad is usually open most of the day, but it can close at any time for safety reasons (usually high winds).

In addition to Freedom of the Seas, you should expect this secret to work on her sister ships Independence of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.  Guests may access the helipad on all Freedom, Voyager and Radiance Class ships.

Excursion Focus: Le Galion Beach

In:
07 Mar 2013

The hurricanes of 2017 damaged the beach. We do not recommend going here until it is rebuilt.

The island of St. Martin is known for its beautiful beaches but one of its lesser known beaches is a great choice if you're looking for a very calm ocean experience that is perfect for young children. On our recent cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, we tried Le Galion beach on the French side of St. Martin.

Description

Le Galion beach is a small cove that has a reef/sandbar that breaks any waves well off shore so it's basically a beach that is more like a pond. In addition, the depth of the water barely exceeds a foot or so for a good few yards.  All of this makes for perfect conditions for young children who want to be in the water but cannot swim or are not strong swimmers.

The beach is horseshoe shaped and is free to access, although if you want to use the chairs and/or umbrellas that are set up, it will cost a small fee (2 chairs and an umbrella cost $15).  One half of the beach has soft white sand while the other half has rocks and coral for those that want to do a little snorkeling.  The water tends to be very clear and it's just the perfect environment for kids to play in.  It's also serene enough for adults to enjoy for the quiet ambiance that a beach like this provides.

There's a small restaurant and bar on one end of the beach that has your basic beach bar food as well as a full array of drinks.  There is no waiter service but the beach is small enough that walking to it is not a problem.  Le Galion tends not to be as crowded as other beaches so that usually means no vendors walking up and down the beach trying to sell stuff to you.

Comments

Le Galion beach is perfect for families who have kids that want to play in the water but most beaches have too rough a surf for it to be safe.  Our two year old who cannot swim had no problem playing in the first few feet of water, that barely went up to her thighs when standing up.  

For adults, le Galion is great if you just want a no-frills, calm beach experience.  We saw plenty of adults without kids enjoying the beach on their own.  Given the relative lack of surf, this is not a beach that you will find lots to do in the water but there are 2 floating docks that anyone can swim to.  The first dock is relatively close to shore and a good option for kids but the other dock is further out and best suited for adults.  Otherwise, there are no other water toys available. 

What I love about le Galion is how simple and serene everything is.  For my daughter, it was heaven because of the no waves.  For the adults, we enjoyed sitting on our chairs and enjoying a few adult beverages while taking everything in.  The restaurant/bar is somewhat expensive, depending on what you order.  Drinks are average in price, although it's still cheaper to drink here than your cruise ship.

I do need to mention le Galion is a clothing optional beach, and on our visit we did see about 4 women bathing topless.  During our time, the sunbathers kept to one side of the beach while the families seemed to be on the other.  It was not a big deal for us and unless you're looking for it, the nudity is easy to miss.  

Location: e Galion Beach Rd., Quartier D'Orleans, St-Martin / St Maarten

Cost: Beach access is free. Chairs and umbrellas available for rent.

Freedom of the Seas Video Blog - Introduction

In:
08 Jan 2013
By: 
Matt Hochberg

We're very excited to kick off our first video blog episode that will take you through planning a Royal Caribbean cruise.  This new video series will take you from start to finish how we're planning our upcoming cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas that is sailing an eastern Caribbean itinerary. 

Let us know how you liked the video and any suggestions you have for our cruise!

For more videos, subscribe to our Royal Caribbean Blog channel on YouTube.

Royal Caribbean recognized by Port of Seattle for environmental achievement

In:
20 Feb 2012

Royal Caribbean was among the winners of this year's Green Gateway Partners Award by the Port of Seattle for its "comprehensive environmental achievements".

The Green Gateway Partners Awards set as a minimum requirement participation in the Port’s At-Berth Clean Fuels programme or use of shore power.

These and other environmental activities are assigned point values. Depending on the number of points earned, Green Gateway Partners can achieve one of three recognition levels – gold, silver or bronze. The awards and scoring system were done by a third party.

“These maritime operators demonstrate by their actions every day that you can be good environmental stewards while contributing to our economy,” said Tay Yoshitani, CEO of the Port of Seattle. “We look forward to honouring more of our customers in the future.”

Excursion Focus: Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa Day Pass

In:
15 Sep 2011
By: 
Matt Hochberg

With Royal Caribbean now making regular stops on its Western Caribbean itineraries in Falmouth, Jamaica, many cruisers are looking for good excursion ideas for this port.  On our recent cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas, we tried out the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa Day Pass. (Link contains affiliate link, which means I get paid a finders fee, but no additional cost to you)

Description

The Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa Day Pass is an excursion that is available from Resortforaday.  The day pass offers passengers access to the  Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, about 30 minutes from the Falmouth port.  There, guests have full access to the facilities including the pool, beach, food, beverages, chairs and more.

The resort is located directly on the beach and offers fantastic views and access to the ocean.  The sandy beach has lots of room with beach chairs right on the water.  There is also two pool facilities available for use.  The first pool is your generic swimming pool located near the beach and offers a fantastic view.  The Hilton recently opened a new pool facility, called the Sugar Mill Falls Water Park, which offers a pool, swim up bar, lazy river and a few water slides.

In addition, your day pass includes towels, non-motorized water sports including snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, volleyball, aerobics, and tennis.  There is also an optional transportation package that includes transfer to and from the port.

Comments

The Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa is a beautiful resort that is great for those looking for a beach/pool getaway while in Falmouth.  After a quick ride (25 minutes or so), you arrive at the resort where you pay the remainder of your balance (the company we booked with required only a deposit to book the package) and then you're given quick access.  We were happy to see the staff working quickly to get us onto the resort to enjoy the day.

The beach is quite nice and among all of our beach days on our Western Caribbean cruise, this beach was by far the nicest.  It was the least rocky with clear blue water and serene atmosphere.  If your idea of a beach day is enjoying a calm, picturesque view, then this is the beach for you.  There aren't any docks or water toys in the ocean, but that's okay because the nearby water park makes up for it.

The Sugar Mill Falls Water Park is really a glorified pool facility.  To call it a water park is a bit of a stretch, but it's more than just another pool.  It's one of the nicest pools we've been to and frankly, we spent most of our time here.  The pool opens up to a swim up bar, which you can get drinks for free.  There's a lazy river as well, although we found it quite difficult to navigate the lazy river while staying in your group.  There's also one large water slide and two smaller slides.  The Sugar Mill Falls Water Park really compliments the resort well and combined with the ocean access, make the perfect aquatic excursion for families.  If you want serene and calm, you have the ocean.  If you want to burn off energy and have fun, Sugar Mill Falls Water Park is for you.

Included in the price of admission is unlimited alcoholic drinks and food.  The drinks aren't top shelf liquor, but they were quite good and we found the bartenders to be rather liberal with their pouring. The staff was also quite nice and really made our stay here feel welcome.  The food wasn't anything special, however.  We found the food to be rather generic resort food and nothing great.  If you were staying here for a week, I'd be concerned but since you really only eat lunch, it's not a deal breaker but it is something to be aware of.

With the cost of the package (we paid $75 per adult), it's a little on the pricey side but acceptable.  All-inclusive beaches in Mexico are somewhat cheaper, but for Jamaica it's in line with other all-inclusive beaches we've been to at other ports.  Like any all-inclusive, the cost makes more sense if you're looking to have a lot to drink.  But even with people in our group that didn't drink, we really enjoyed our time at the resort and if you consider you'll spend about five hours or so at the resort, the price per hour is cheaper than most excursions you can find.

Location: P.O. Box 999 Montego Bay, Jamaica

Website: Resortforaday

Cost: $75 per adult or $55 per child (Age 4-17).  Optional transfer included increases price to $90 & $70 respectively.

Royal Caribbean will send Voyager of the Seas to China

In:
08 Jun 2011
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Speaking at the Shanghai International Conference Center in China, Royal Caribbean executives announced that Voyager of the Seas will be going to China in June of 2012.

The 3,114-guest mega cruise ship is double the size of any other cruise ship in the Asia-Pacific region and will offer itineraries ranging in length from four to ten nights and will address the burgeoning cruise industry in the country. Voyager of the Seas will serve to also attract cruise guests from around the world to visit China as they sail around Asia.

Royal Caribbean's CEO Adam Goldstein is excited about the move, "Our brand's strategy for China is to leverage Royal Caribbean International's leading position in the market by offering innovative ships and customized services. And we look forward to working with our travel partners and helping to grow the cruise economy in China."

In addition to Voyager of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas will return to China and homeport in Shanghai in March of 2012.  Both ships will be worked on to offer products tailored to Chinese guests such as more Chinese language services, authentic Chinese food and culturally appropriate recreational activities and duty-free items.

Voyager of the Seas will depart for Sydney, Australia in October.