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Royal Caribbean’s Black Friday sale for drink packages, WiFi and more announced

In:
21 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The first of Royal Caribbean's Black Friday deals is revealed, beginning with its Cruise Planner sale.

The Cyber Monday sale is being advertised as the "biggest sale of the year" with up 55% off onboard prices.

Royal Caribbean has not yet announced the details of its cruise fare sale for Black Friday.

The Cyber Monday sale is valid on purchases made November 23 - December 1, 2021. The sale prices do not begin until November 23.

You can sign up to be alerted of Royal Caribbean's Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals | Royal Caribbean Blog

It applies to sailings departing between November 23, 2021 - December 31, 2022.

Here is what is included during the sale:

Beverage: Up to 50% off

  • Classic Soda Beverage Package: 50% off onboard prices.
  • Classic Soda Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Over 45% off onboard prices.
  • Dasani Water Cans: 50% off onboard prices.
  • San Benedetto Water Cans: 50% off onboard prices.
  • Evian Water Bottles: 50% off onboard prices.
  • Deluxe Beverage Package: 30% off onboard prices.
  • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Over 35% off onboard prices.
  • Refreshment Package: 50% off onboard prices.

You will only be able to book cruise line shore excursions on Adventure of the Seas cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

Shore Excursions: Up to 50% off

  • Shore Excursions: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific percentages off.

Internet: Up to 60% Off

  • The Key: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific percentages off.
  • VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific percentages off.
  • VOOM Surf Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific percentages off.

Giovanni's Italian Kitchen | Royal Caribbean Blog

Dining: Up to 55% Off

  • Unlimited Dining Package on 3N – 9N sailings: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific percentages off.
  • Lunch at Jamie’s Italian Restaurant: 30% off onboard prices. (only on SC)
  • Dinner at Jamie’s Italian Restaurant: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific percentages off.
  • Dinner at Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen: 25% off onboard prices.
  • Dinner at Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar: 25% off onboard prices.
  • Dinner at Giovanni’s Table: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific percentages off.

Activities: 40% Off

  • All Access Ship Tour (excl. Grandeur of the Seas)

Gifts & Gear: Up to 55% Off

  • Anniversary Decorations with Champagne
  • Happy Birthday Decorations with Chocolate Cake & Strawberries
  • Happy Birthday Decorations with Vanilla Cake & Strawberries
  • Happy Birthday Bright Style
  • Inky Beach Set
  • Inky Beach Towel (TicTacToe)
  • Inky Travel Set
  • Red Wine and Cheese
  • Royal Caribbean Beach Towel
  • Strawberries with Champagne
  • White Wine and Cheese
  • 9 Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Photo Packages: Up to 70% Off

  • Photo Packages: From 5 - 100 Print and/or Digital Options: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific packages and percentages off.
  • Photo Package: Private Photo Session: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific packages and percentages off.
  • Photo Package: Picture This Private Studio: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific packages and percentages off.
  • Photo Package: All Digital: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific packages and percentages off.

Spa: Up to 30% Off

  • Spa Packages: Discount varies by ship. Please see spreadsheet for specific percentages off

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site look for any available offers. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

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.

More helpful information

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: November 21, 2021

In:
21 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! Temperatures may be dropping, but there is plenty of Royal Caribbean news to share. This is your weekly summary of all the Royal Caribbean news from this past week, perfectly fitted for your consumption.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley answered questions on a variety of topics this week, giving us insight into what to expect from the cruise line in the near future.

Speaking onboard Odyssey of the Seas, Mr. Bayley hosted a question and answer session with travel agents that covered many aspects of what Royal Caribbean is doing right now.

Questions touched on health protocols, the app, Perfect Day at Cococay, and more.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 431st episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is available to enjoy, where Matt interviews Royal Caribbean Group Chief Product Innovation Officer Jay Schneider.

Jay previews the ships, ports, and projects guests can look forward to seeing in the next two years.

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.

New RCB Video: What it was like to go on a cruise ship in the 1970s

Have you subscribed to the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel? We share some great videos there regularly, all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise! This week, we are sharing our latest video — What it was like to go on a cruise ship in the 1970s — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

6 things you can only do on Odyssey of the Seas

With every new Royal Caribbean cruise ship, there are at least a few things that the cruise line adds that are brand new to the fleet.

Along with favorites that make it on every ship, there are a few new venues and features that get added as well.

Here are a list of six things you can only do on Odyssey of the Seas.

Best things to do on an Alaska cruise

In:
20 Nov 2021
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Preparing for a cruise to Alaska can seem a bit overwhelming. Whether selecting a ship or planning your time in port, you don’t want to miss out on all of the outdoor and cultural activities Alaska has to offer.

It’s best to research what activities fit within your interest, fitness level, and budget. Some passengers may want to view as much wildlife as possible whereas others may be looking to learn more about Alaska’s history and culture.

Here’s a look at some of the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise.

What to do in port

Explore nature

Alaska’s nature is colossal. As the biggest state in the US, it can be difficult to comprehend just how vast the nature in Alaska really is. If you’re hoping to explore the outdoors, there are excursions to fit any interest and fitness level.

In the warmer months, consider a Bike and Brew tour in Juneau, where you will bike along a series of trails through the Mendenhall Valley and Tongass National Forest with a visit to Mendenhall Glacier. And, just as the name implies, these bike tours end with a stop at a brewery in downtown Juneau.

If you like hiking, check out what day hikes are available in port. Ketchikan, as an example, has several hiking trails of various difficulty. If you’re up for a challenge, push yourself to reach the top of Deer Mountain. With three thousand feet of elevation change over seven miles, it is certainly not easy, but you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Alaska in every direction.

There are plenty of ways to explore Alaska’s nature without breaking a sweat, though. After all, most excursions and activities focus on exploring the outdoors. For something relaxing and scenic, book a ticket on the White Pass & Yukon Railway in Skagway. This is a train ride that travels from Skagway into the mountains, passing through dense pine forests, waterfalls, and snowy mountain clearings.

Another less strenuous outdoor adventure is a whale watching tour. Whales are commonly spotted in Alaska’s southeast coast during the summer months. While you may be able to spot whales from the cruise ship, booking a whale watching tour allows you to get up close and personal with these magnificent sea creatures.

A helpful tip when looking for a shore excursion is to filter by “Activity Level” on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner website. You can filter excursions by mild, moderate, and strenuous. This can be helpful to ensure an excursion fits within the fitness capabilities of yourself or your group.

Grab a drink at a saloon

Whereas the Caribbean has tiki bars, Alaska has saloons. In many Alaskan ports you will find a historic or western-themed saloon. These establishments can be a great place to eat and drink after a shore excursion or relax in before heading back to the ship.

A popular spot to visit in Juneau is the Red Dog Saloon. The saloon was established in the height of the city’s mining era and has been recognized as Juneau’s oldest man-made tourist destination. Walking into the saloon is like walking back in time to the early 1900s. The establishment is eclectic, with frontier-themed decor as well as some more funky decor such as a collection of dollar bills and business cards posted on the walls.

The saloon offers very reasonably priced drinks as well as standard American and Alaskan fare. Make sure to try some of the saloon’s special drinks, such as the Alaskan Duck Fart shot and draft root beer. Or cozy up with a warm Irish coffee as you listen to live music from a local guitarist.

Luckily, the Red Dog Saloon is located only a few blocks away from the ship, so if you happen to have a few too many drinks, it won’t take very long to get back onboard.

Consider a land tour before or after your cruise

Cruises to Alaska primarily visit the state’s southeast region. Many of Alaska’s most iconic landmarks, such as Denali National Park, are located further inland and inaccessible by a cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean recognizes that many passengers want to visit Alaska’s inland destinations. Thus, they offer Alaska Cruise Tours.

Alaska Cruise Tours are a combination of a one way cruise and a land tour of Alaska. Both pre and post-cruise tours are available, meaning that you can decide to fly one-way to Alaska, do a land tour, and take a cruise back to Seattle or Vancouver, or do it the other way around. Land tours range from an extra 2-5 nights on land in addition to your time on a cruise ship.

Land tours offer a mix of guided tours and independent exploring. All accommodation and transportation is organized by Royal Caribbean, making your time on land worry free. Activities and excursions on a land tour may include boarding the Wilderness Express scenic train ride to Denali, cruising the Chena River in Fairbanks, and enjoying a scenic ride on the Turnagain Arm Drive near Seward.

What to do at sea

View the scenery from public areas

Many cruises to Alaska offer a few hours of sightseeing in destinations like Hubbard Glacier and Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier. On these days, the ship reaches a glacier and slows down, traveling along the glacier and turning the ship 360 degrees to ensure that passengers will get a chance to view the scenery from anywhere onboard.

Many passengers will opt to view the scenery from the comfort of their balconies, but this is not necessarily the best spot to do so.

Balconies usually only face one direction. If the ship is sailing past Hubbard Glacier, you will spend a significant amount of time there facing the opposite direction of the glacier from your balcony.

Viewing the glacier from a public area onboard, such as the pool deck, allows you to keep your eye on the scenery the entire time the ship is there. The glacier is on the ship’s starboard side? Simply walk over to that side of the pool deck. Now the best view is from the aft? Take a short stroll to the back of the ship.

A recommendation, especially if you do not have a balcony room, is to scope out the ship’s best areas for viewing the scenery when you get onboard. You may find a few “secret” areas, like the Solarium bridge wings or the outdoor seating area at the Windjammer, that offer fantastic views with fewer crowds.

Do nothing!

Funny enough, even though this article is about the best things to do on an Alaskan cruise, some of the most memorable moments onboard will be when you are doing nothing except relaxing and looking at the scenery around you.

A cruise to Alaska is less about the activities offered on a specific ship and more about the destination. Royal Caribbean takes very scenic routes through Alaska’s inside passage, meaning that a day “at sea” can also mean a day of sightseeing.

While some Royal Caribbean ships traveling to Alaska will offer more activities onboard than others, don’t let this be a deciding factor in which ship you choose. You may find that you spend less time doing activities indoors, anyway, and more time relaxing with a great view.

On the whole, an Alaskan cruise offers activities that fit various budgets and interests. And while the “best thing to do” on an Alaskan cruise might be relative, these options can be a great starting point for planning your trip.

If you’re looking for more inspiration on what to do on an Alaskan cruise, read our live blogs from Alaska on Explorer of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas for more ideas. In addition, don’t forget to check out our full ship tour of Ovation of the Seas if you will be sailing her to Alaska next summer.

Read more

You need to get a Covid test before your Royal Caribbean cruise 2 days, not 48 hours, before your cruise

In:
19 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The Covid-19 protocols are not easy to track across the board, but the amount of time before a cruise you need a test can be among the most easily confused.

Mariner of the Seas Test Cruise Live Blog - Day 2 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Over the last few weeks, I've noticed a lot of posts across the internet mentioning needing a negative Covid test and causing issues for some when they think they need to match up their check-in time with what time their test is taken.

In an effort to simply explain what's needed, here is a quick explanation of when you need to get your negative Covid-19 test before your Royal Caribbean cruise.

When you need to take your test

Royal Caribbean now selling at-home Covid tests for cruise ship passengers | Royal Caribbean Blog

First and foremost, Royal Caribbean says you need to get your test done in calendar days, not hours. So it does not matter at all what time your test is taken versus your check-in time.

Perhaps the notion of 48 hours comes from someone assuming 2 days and 48 hours are the same thing, but it has lead to confusion about what time of day you need to take your Covid test to ensure it is acceptable.

When you check-in for your cruise at the cruise terminal, the only things the staff will look at is:

  • If you are negative
  • What day you took the test
  • Type of test
  • Who administered the test
  • Name on the test to match your travel documents

Once again, the time of day the test was taken is irrelevant. As long as it was two calendar days for vaccinated passengers (or three for unvaccinated kids) before embarkation, the test will be acceptable from a time taken standpoint.

Cruises sailing from U.S. homeports

Royal Caribbean will now offer limited Covid-19 testing at the cruise terminal on embarkation day | Royal Caribbean Blog

For fully vaccinated guests, passengers need to get their negative Covid-19 test taken up to two days before their cruise.  

This means if your cruise leaves on a Sunday, you can get your test taken on Friday, Saturday, or even Sunday.

For unvaccinated kids, you have up to three days before your cruise to get a Covid-19 test taken.

Kids could get their test done on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday for a Sunday departure.  One difference is kids cannot get a test taken the same day their cruise departs because that may affect the sample taken during the kids’ test at the terminal.

Guests under 2 years of age do not need to complete a pre-cruise test. 

Cruises sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico

No changes to Royal Caribbean cruises following Puerto Rico earthquake | Royal Caribbean Blog

The rules are a bit different for cruises from other ports outside the mainland United States, such as Puerto Rico.

If you’re flying in from the U.S.

  • Vaccinated guests have no testing requirement to enter Puerto Rico.
  • Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to arriving at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.

If you’re flying in from an international country

All travelers age 2 and up, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to arriving at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.

If you are already in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico does not require a test from you.

Guests under 2 years of age do not have test requirements to enter Puerto Rico.

Cruises sailing from Barbados

Royal Caribbean will offer cruises from Barbados in December 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

All travelers age 5 and older require a negative PCR COVID-19 test result to fly into Barbados regardless of vaccination status. The test must be taken within the 3 days before the day you fly into the country. You must upload the result to Barbados’ online Immigration/Customs Form, and show it to authorities upon arriving. Learn more about island entry requirements at Visit Barbados.

Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 years of age must show a negative PCR COVID-19 test result at the cruise terminal for a test taken no more than 3 days before the day you board the ship. If timed properly, the same PCR test result provided for entry into Barbados can satisfy this requirement.

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Ensenada

In:
19 Nov 2021
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

The second and final day of our Navigator of the Seas media cruise brings us to Ensenada, Mexico.

This morning, I woke up early to walk around the running track on Deck 12 and catch some great views of the ship on its way to Ensenada. I ended up walking around the pool deck and promenade deck for around an hour, and I enjoyed the calm seas and slightly chilly weather.

I also ventured to the Helicopter Pad down below. The Helipad is only available to guests on Radiance, Freedom and Voyager class ships, and is one of my favorite places to go to have some peace and quiet while watching the ocean.

We ordered room service for breakfast this morning. One of my favorite things to do when I have a balcony room is to enjoy a nice, private breakfast on the balcony. Our room service arrived right as the ship docked in Ensenada.

Ensenada is south of Tijuana and Rosarito in Baja California and it definitely has a different feel compared to Royal Caribbean’s stops in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Whereas Cozumel is very green, humid, and flat, Ensenada is dry and mountainous. And while the Caribbean side of Mexico is known for its beaches and Mayan ruins, Ensenada offers different activities such as winery tours, horseback riding, and whale watching excursions.

Navigator of the Seas docks near downtown Ensenada. You can get to the main part of town via a short shuttle bus or by taking a stroll along the boardwalk in the harbor. We opted to go on foot, and it was an easy five minute walk to town.

We had nothing planned for our day in Ensenada, but we knew we wanted to experience a more local side to the city. Uber conveniently works in Ensenada, so we grabbed a ride to Mercado Los Globos, a large local market about ten minutes away. I love exploring markets in whatever country I visit, as it gives a great perspective into the local culture, cuisine, and traditions.

When we arrived at the mercado, our time in Ensenada quickly turned into a food tour. The market was packed with fresh produce, restaurants, and juice stands. We started off our food tour by tasting fresh fruit and snacks.

For lunch, I grabbed a Jamaica juice from one stand in the market and chilaquiles from another. It’s hard to go wrong with Mexican food, and the offerings at Mercado Los Globos are varied and authentic.

Following lunch, we continued exploring the market before taking an Uber back to the main tourist strip in Ensenada near the port.  There, we walked around the shops to pick up a few small souvenirs to bring home.

Ensenada is filled with street food vendors, though, so our food tour continued! First up was ceviche at La Guerrerense, a famous spot for locals and tourists alike. In fact, Anthony Bourdain named La Guerrerense one of the best street food carts in the world! If you like fresh seafood, this is a great place to try in Ensenada.

We ended our food tour with my personal favorite, churros filled with chocolate and dulce de leche, before heading back onboard Navigator of the Seas.

After a short walk around the promenade deck, I headed to the pool deck to watch the ship sail away from Mexico.

Sailaway happened right at sunset, and tonight’s sunset was magical. With vibrant colors and smooth seas, it may have been the best sunset I’ve ever seen while at sea.

I originally planned to attend tonight’s ice skating show, but the sunset was so beautiful that I couldn’t make myself leave the pool deck! I did, however, run down to Studio B to check it out for a few minutes and the show was quite impressive.

I especially enjoyed the synchronized drones that lit up at the start of the show. 

After watching the sunset, we went to Playmakers to play pool, shuffleboard, and Mrs. Pac-Man while enjoying a sampler of wings and truffle french fries.

Playmakers is one of my favorites venues on Royal Caribbean, and tonight the space was packed with guests, creating the energized ambiance that every sports bar should have.

After a brief rest in my stateroom, I spent some time listening to the pub singer at the Copper & Clover, which is always a relaxing way to end a busy day on a cruise.

Due to the extensive food tasting in Ensenada, I wasn’t very hungry for a big dinner, so I grabbed some pizza from Cafe Promenade. While not as fancy as last night’s dinner at Chops Grille, it definitely hit the spot.

Lastly, I headed to the theater to watch Showgirls before going to bed.

This two night cruise went by quickly and I’m sad to say goodbye to Navigator of the Seas tomorrow. At the same time, I’m excited that the ship will continue to sail out of Los Angeles and add more Royal Caribbean presence on the west coast.

6 things you can only do on Odyssey of the Seas

In:
18 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Odyssey of the Seas may be the fifth Quantum Class cruise ship, but she offers a few things you cannot find on her sister ships, or even any other Royal Caribbean ship.

With every new Royal Caribbean cruise ship, there are at least a few things that the cruise line adds that are brand new to the fleet.

Royal Caribbean certainly puts its tried-and-true offerings onboard, but it also mixes things up with new innovations when the opportunity presents itself.

Here are a list of six things you can only do on Odyssey of the Seas

Zone Zero

Tucked away in the corner of the SeaPlex is Royal Caribbean's first foray into immersive virtual reality, with Zone Zero.

Royal Caribbean already offers a virtual reality helmet experience on the Sky Pad, but Zone Zero puts your entire body into a virtual world.

Guests put on a full virtual reality suit, with sensors on their hands, legs, and feet.  The bulk of the hardware is contained in a backpack you wear as well.

Guests then literally walk through a virtual world and fight pirates as a group, where they can see each other in virtual world. If you move your arm, your avatar moves its arm. It is incredibly impressive.

Zone Zero has a charge of $18 per person.

Go on a Quantum Ultra class ship in North America

Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas arrives in Fort Lauderdale | Royal Caribbean Blog

Spectrum of the Seas may have been the first Quantum Ultra Class ship, but she went to Asia immediately leaving the western hemisphere without the opportunity to sail on her.

With Odyssey of the Seas, this is the first chance for many to experience the extras a Quantum Ultra class offers.

If you are wondering what the difference is between a Quantum Ultra and Quantum Class ship are, the answer is in the details.  It is more a sub class than a true different class.

Between the new dining options, revamped public areas, and a splash of new activities onboard, there is just enough to differentiate Odyssey from Quantum, Anthem, or Ovation.

Quantum Ultra Class firsts

Onboard Odyssey, you will find certain features to the first to be offered on a Quantum/Quantum Ultra class ship.

On the top deck is Royal Caribbean's new approach to the pool deck, which has a Caribbean-inspired look to it with the Lime and Coconut.

Royal Caribbean Group's Chief Product Innovation Officer Jay Schneider thinks the implementation of the open deck on Odyssey took it essentially to the next level.

First look around Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

The SeaPlex has also been redesigned, opting to swap out the pods found on other ships for new activities in those areas.

This SeaPlex is the largest indoor and outdoor activity center at sea.

Adventure Ocean on Odyssey of the Seas also has the new update to the supervised kids program.

The robust program for kids up to 12 years old is designed for young travelers to chart their own adventures from one vibrant, open space to the next. At Hangout, kids can kick back and play with the latest game consoles, digital interactive tables, board games and more.

Teens have two spaces just for them. Social180 offers the latest in music, games and movies as well as an outdoor deck called The Patio.

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade in SeaPlex

Speaking of the SeaPlex, Odyssey of the Seas is the first to offer Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade onboard.

Located in the SeaPlex, it has a great spot not just for watching your favorite team on one of the many televisions, but to check out the action below. Bumper cars, pickleball, basketball, and more are performed throughout the day.

This is one of the best implementations of Playmakers on any ship because it evokes the sports bar feel the most of any location.

There are 56 TV's you can watch, which means you can catch any game that is on from pretty much any seat.

Playmakers also has a giant TV screen that hangs over the SeaPlex sports court.

Oh, and then there is the menu.

Chicken wings, nachos, onion rings, burgers and chicken sandwiches make up a really tasty set of choices.

Then there is the impressive array of beers you can choose from, a welcome change from the usual Royal Caribbean selection.

New wine bar concept

When Royal Caribbean decided to revamp Giovanni's specialty restaurant, they also took a stab at the nearby wine bar.

Instead of Vintages, Giovanni's Italian Wine Bar took over  the area, and offers a smaller bar menu, such as fried lasagna bites. These small plates are meant to go really well with a glass of wine.

For wine aficionados and those that are looking to grab a quick bite, the new wine bar offers something different.  

Everything I ate on Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Pro tip: If you cannot get a reservation at Giovanni's Italian Kitchen restaurant, you can go to the wine bar and order the same food there without a reservation.

Read moreHow Royal Caribbean reimagined its signature Italian restaurant

The Book

Odyssey of the Seas in Pictures - Sept. 2021 - Live Blogs - Royal Caribbean Blog

Of course there are new shows that you can only see on Odyssey of the Seas.

In Two70 you will find "The Book: Seven Chapters, One Adventure"

This original production loosely tells a story of a librarian who explores the chapters of a book through song, dance, and music. It features lots of different elements and performing styles intertwined to create an act you have never seen before.

World Wonders you can see on your next Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
18 Nov 2021
By: 
Allie Hubers

World cruises are the ultimate bucket list item for many dedicated cruisers. You’re not alone if you’ve dreamed of sailing the world, taking in each world wonder from the balcony of your stateroom. Unfortunately, these cruises are typically very expensive and require months of being away from home. 

In a surprise announcement, Royal Caribbean released a 274 day world cruise with an outstanding lineup of ports for 2023. If time and money were unlimited, you’d be seeing me on that itinerary in a heartbeat! Sadly, I doubt my boss would approve that much time away from work. Not to mention, our dogs would miss us terribly.

Maybe you aren’t able to spend that much time away from your home or family. Perhaps you simply cannot afford to sail around the world on a voyage like this. But, fear not! You can still visit plenty of world wonders on shorter (and cheaper!) cruises. 

Some of the world’s most historic and famous monuments can be visited on a cruise. For example, Eastern Mediterranean itineraries often stop at historic cities in Italy, Greece and Turkey, making it super easy to visit multiple famous monuments.  

Below is a list of world wonders you can visit on your next cruise. If you didn’t know, there are multiple categories of world wonders, including the new world, ancient world, medieval world, modern world, industrial world, etc. So many places to see!

From the 7 New Wonders of the World

  • The Great Wall of China (Tianjin, China)

  • Petra, Jordan (Abaqa, Jordan)

  • Colosseum (Civitavecchia, Italy)

  • Chichen Itza (Cozumel, Mexico)

Cozumel is a common port for Caribbean cruises, making this an easy visit if you are cruising from the United States. I’ve been to Cozumel more times than I can count, but still haven’t made the trip to Chichen Itza. Adding it to my list currently!

Ships sailing Cozumel

Cozumel floats idea of being homeport for cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

Adventure of the Seas - 5 and 4 night sailings to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. November 2021 - March 2022 from Galveston, TX

Allure of the Seas - 6 night sailing to Cozumel, Puerto Costa Maya and Perfect Day at CocoCay. April 2021 to September 2021 from Fort Lauderdale, FL. 

Over in Europe, cruises to Italy almost always include a stop in Civitavecchia, which is a port city located an hour outside of Rome. No excursion to Rome is complete without a stop at the Colosseum in the heart of the city! 

Itineraries to Jordan are less common, but Royal Caribbean has featured this port a few times on Middle Eastern or Suez Canal cruises.

Ships sailing to Europe

European Union to allow fully vaccinated Americans during summer 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Vision of the Seas - 8 night Western Mediterranean to Rome, Nice, Sicily and Portofino. June 2022 to October 2022 from Barcelona, Spain.

Rhapsody of the Seas - 7 night Greek Isles cruise to Cyprus and Greece. August 2022 to September 2022 from Haifa, Israel. 

Brilliance of the Seas- 6 night Italy and Adriatic Sea cruise to Croatia, Italy and Montenegro. October 2022 from Venice (Ravenna), Italy.

Finally, Tianjin in China is a common stop and departure port for Royal Caribbean’s Asian cruises. The city is conveniently located 2 hours from Beijing and the famous, historic Great Wall of China. Add this one to your bucket list!

Ships sailing to China

Spectrum of the Seas - 7 and 8 night Best of Japan sailings to Nagasaki, Osaka and Kyoto. September and May 2022 from Tianjin (Beijing), China. 

From the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

  • The Parthenon (Athens, Greece)

  • Great Pyramid of Giza (Cairo, Egypt) 

  • Colossus of Rhodes (Rhodes, Greece)

  • Status of Zeus (Olympia, Greece)

  • Temple of Artemis (Ephesus, Turkey)

If you’re new to traveling and want to see as much ancient history as possible, a Greek Islands cruise is your best bet. You’ll be able to see 3 of these world wonders in Athens, Rhodes and Olympia. 

Cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Holy Land and Greek Isles, often include a stop at Turkey’s port city of Ephesus. This is a great stop packed with centuries of history. 

DSC_0165.thumb.JPG.fd5dd4e7a9a7fd3b38da4092dcd1f61b.JPG

If you’re hoping to see the Great Pyramid of Giza, you’ll want to look for cruises that stop in Cairo. This is a less common stop in recent years for Royal Caribbean, but hopefully will make its return to itineraries in the Mediterranean. 

Ships sailing to Greece and Turkey

Jewel of the Seas - 9 night sailing to Italy, Greece and Turkey in September 2022. Sailing from Barcelona, Spain. 

Odyssey of the Seas - 9 night Greek Isles sailing to Italy, Greece and Turkey in May 2022 and September 2022. Sailing from Rome, Italy. 

The 7 Wonders of the Medieval World

  1. Stonehenge (Southampton, UK)

  2. Hagia Sophia (Istanbul, Turkey)

  3. Leaning Tower of Pisa (Livorno, Italy)

These 3 wonders of the medieval world can be found in Europe as well. Stonehenge is a common excursion for ships docked in Southampton, which is a port located 1.5 hours from London. 

To visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, your ship will dock at Livorno, which is conveniently located to both Florence and Pisa. Very doable to visit both cities in one day! 

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is one of the most popular mosques in the world. No stop to Isanbul is complete unless you visit this famous medieval wonder. 

Ships sailing to UK and Italy

Royal Caribbean extends Anthem of the Seas season in the UK | Royal Caribbean Blog

Anthem of the Seas - 7 night France and Spain cruise from Southampton, England from May 2022 to September 2022. 

Rhapsody of the Seas - 7 night Western Mediterranean cruise from Venice, Italy to Barcelona, Spain with stops in Rome, Cannes, Livorno (Pisa) and Sicily in June 2022. 

From the 7 Wonders of the Modern World

  1. The Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, California)

  2. Empire State Building (New York City, New York)

  3. Zuiderzee Works (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

  4. Panama Canal (Panama)

Two of these modern world wonders can be found in the United States - one on each coast. Itineraries to the Pacific Northwest will typically include a stop in San Francisco where you can see the famous Golden Gate Bridge. 

New York is also a popular departure port on the east coast, where you’ll be able to see the Empire State Building.

Ships sailing from East Coast

Photos: Oasis of the Seas departs New York Harbor for first time | Royal Caribbean Blog

Oasis of the Seas - 9 night Eastern Caribbean from Cape Liberty, New Jersey to Labadee, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten in August 2022. 

Adventure of the Seas - 9 night Canada and New England Cruise from Cape Liberty, New Jersey from September 2022 to October 2022. 

Ships sailing from West Coast

Serenade of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Serenade of the Seas - 7 night Pacific Coastal cruise to San Francisco, Oregon and Victoria, British Columbia in September 2022 from Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Further south is where you’ll find the Panama Canal. Sailing through the canal is an incredibly memorable experience and the best way to see this modern wonder and engineering accomplishment.  

Ships sailing to Panama

Friday Photos - August 16, 2019 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Grandeur of the Seas - 14 night Ultimate Caribbean cruise sailing to Colon, Panama in January 2022 and February 2022 from Bridgetown, Barbados.

Finally, Zuiderzee Works is located just outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Royal Caribbean has Amsterdam as a common departure port for Northern European cruises. 

Ships sailing to Amsterdam

Voyager of the Seas - 9 night Best of Western Europe cruise to Amsterdam, Netherlands from Barcelona, Spain to Copenhagen, Denmark on April 15, 2022.

Jewel of the Seas - 12 night Iceland & Ireland cruise from Amsterdam, Netherlands from May 2022 to August 2022.

From the 7 Wonders of the Natural World

  1. Northern Lights (Arctic Circle)

  2. Great Barrier Reef (Cairns, Australia)

Most of the natural world wonders are located more inland than ports can accommodate, but there are 2 famous sites that are easily accessible by cruise ship. 

The Northern Lights can be seen on Arctic Circle cruises or itineraries that feature northern ports in Norway. If you catch a glimpse of these dancing natural wonders, you’ll remember the sight for the rest of your life!

Ships sailing to Arctic Circle

Top 5 unique 2022 Royal Caribbean cruises you can book now | Royal Caribbean Blog

Voyager of the Seas - 14 night Arctic Circle Crossing to Greenland and Iceland in September 2022 from Amsterdam to Boston.

Jewel of the Seas - 12 night Arctic Cruise to Norway’s Arctic Circle from Amsterdam, Netherlands in June and July 2022. 

If snorkeling or swimming in the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list, you’ll want to look for itineraries that feature stops to Cairns, Australia, which is located on the northern side of the continent.  

Ships sailing to Australia

Royal Caribbean cancels Australia 2021-2022 cruise season | Royal Caribbean Blog

Quantum of the Seas - 6 night Queensland cruise visiting ports in Australia from Brisbane, Australia in November 2022.

Special Mention: Other Famous Monuments

European Union to allow fully vaccinated Americans during summer 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

  • Big Ben (Southampton, England)

  • Eiffel Tower (Le Havre, France)

  • Church of Spilled Blood (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

  • Arc de Triomphe (Le Havre, France)

  • Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia)

  • Burj, Khalifa (Dubai)

  • The Berlin Wall (Warnemunde, Germany)

  • Mont Saint-Michel: (Normandy, France)

  • The Western Wall (Jerusalem)

  • Giant’s Causeway (Belfast, UK)

  • La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona, Spain)

  • The Grand Palace (Bangkok, Thailand)

  • Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

  • Blue Domes of Oia (Santorini, Greece)

In addition to the world's wonders, there are plenty of other famous landmarks that you can visit on your next cruise! From Europe to Asia and the Middle East, cruising makes it easy to see multiple famous monuments from the comfort of your stateroom.

If you’re dying to visit a historic city or see a world wonder, consider looking at more unique cruise itineraries that include these stops!

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation

In:
18 Nov 2021
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Today is the first day of a two night cruise from Los Angeles on Navigator of the Seas.

Navigator of the Seas is a Voyager Class ship and is the first Royal Caribbean ship to sail from Los Angeles in ten years. This two night sailing is a media sailing, and Royal Caribbean invited me onboard to check out all that the new west coast sailings have to offer.

I was especially excited for this cruise because I really enjoyed my cruise on Mariner of the Seas, which is also a Voyager Class ship. I love the size, decor, and layout of the Voyager Class. Plus, Navigator of the Seas was amplified in 2019, so it has many of the same features and venues as newer Royal Caribbean ships.

I arrived at the port around 11:30AM to board Navigator of the Seas. Our room was changed at the last minute and we were given an accessible ocean view balcony. The room is very spacious, and after two cruises in an inside cabin, I was really excited about the extra large balcony!

The first stop once I got onboard was The Bamboo Room in the Royal Promenade. I think this might be my favorite indoor bar on any Royal Caribbean ship. I love the Polynesian and tiki style decor and vibe, and the drinks are really great too! I ordered the Banana Colada which never disappoints.

One of the primary tasks for this cruise is to film a full ship tour of Navigator of the Seas for the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel. This will be the fourth full ship tour we have created, following Mariner of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, and Ovation of the Seas. This afternoon was spent exploring the ship with my camera to take video clips of all the exciting places onboard.

Being a media cruise, there were a few special events happening. Many of the specialty restaurants had food and drink samples available for guests to taste, and the Windjammer had an enhanced menu to celebrate the start of cruises in Los Angeles. I celebrated by sampling the red velvet cake from Chops (so good!) and enjoying some Indian food in the Windjammer for lunch.

After lunch, I continued exploring the ship. Navigator of the Seas' amplification included adding Playmakers, The Bamboo Room, waterslides, The Lime & Coconut, and more. The waterslides look extremely fun and even jet over the side of the ship! I thought the layout of the pool deck was great, too, with casitas, comfy seating, and a tropical vibe. 

Sailaway was at 5PM, right as the sun began to set in Los Angeles. For sailaway, I headed to the top deck of The Lime & Coconut. I love how The Lime & Coconut encompasses three decks, and the top deck in particular has both comfy seating and excellent views.

Soon enough, we were sailing past the Port of Los Angeles and into the open ocean. Since it got dark pretty quickly after sailaway, we headed back to our stateroom to relax before an evening of activities on board.

First, we headed to the Viking Crown Lounge. Whether during the day or night, this space is one of the best places to relax with a view on any Voyager Class ship.

Next up was dinner at Chops Grille. While I usually opt for Italian or Teppanyaki, I decided to switch it up on this cruise. Our table enjoyed the crispy goat cheese salad, black pepper bacon, lobster, salmon, key lime pie, and cheesecake. It was delicious as usual!

Dinner finished quite late and the rest of the evening was spent walking around the ship, listening to Latin music at Boleros, and relaxing on the balcony.

Overall, it was a great first day onboard and I am excited to keep exploring Navigator of the Seas. Tomorrow we dock in Ensenada, Mexico.

Stray Observations:

Be sure to go to the right cruise terminal! We originally drove to the wrong area and ended up at the cruise terminal where Carnival and the Queen Mary are docked. Luckily, it was only a ten minute drive away, and seeing the Queen Mary was fascinating. However, definitely type the exact address into Google Maps instead of just typing "Port of Los Angeles." Oops!

The DJ had some pretty awesome music playing during sailaway.

I wish Navigator of the Seas had Teppanyaki!

The gym area on Navigator is much bigger than on Mariner of the Seas. Playmakers also has more seating and space, including an Owner’s Box.

Right next to Navigator of the Seas at the port is the USS Iowa. This is a retired battleship turned museum and looks like an interesting thing to do if you have extra time before or after the cruise.

 

Disney Cruise Line will require kids 5 years and older to be fully vaccinated

In:
17 Nov 2021
By: 
Chantal McPhee

In a somewhat surprising announcement today, Disney Cruise Line updated their vaccine requirements for kids.

Disney Cruise Line delays test cruise over Covid-19 test results | Royal Caribbean Blog

Starting on January 13, 2022 guests ages 5-11 must be fully vaccinated to be eligible to cruise.

In emails sent to guests, Disney explained: “We are reaching out with important updated information about the COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for your sailing”.

Disney is the first among the major cruise lines to formally announce this policy. Royal Caribbean, also a family cruise brand, is not expected to immediately follow suit.

Disney's new vaccine policy

Disney Cruise Line gets approval to start test cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

Disney’s change comes shortly after the recent approval of Covid-19 vaccines by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Many in the industry have been speculating about modifications to vaccinations rules when the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) becomes voluntary on January 15, 2022. The CSO is the CDC's phased approach to allowing cruise ships to resume operations from the United States.

In explaining their new protocols, Disney emphasizes “that the health and safety of the guests and crew is top priority”. In addition to vaccinations requirements for ages 5-11, they note:

  • Prior to January,13, for those guests 5-11 cruising they must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test with 3 days and 24 hours prior to sailing.
  • Guests 4 and under will continue to require testing. Approved tests include NAAT test, rapid PCR test, or lab-based PCR test. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.
  • All Guests, regardless of age and vaccination status, are required to take a COVID-19 test (paid for by Disney Cruise Line and administered by Inspire Diagnostics) at the terminal before boarding

Royal Caribbean and kids vaccine mandate

Should you take your kids out of school for a cruise vacation? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Last week, Royal Caribbean’s leadership discussed this issue during the official ceremony for its newest ship the Odyssey of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain explained that he expects updated protocols soon (for smaller children), but that the cruise line will have no new vaccine requirements at this time. He added that he expects there will still be room for unvaccinated kids onboard.

This is no surprise as Royal Caribbean has made a commitment to families throughout their resumption of service. Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Mark Tamis commented previously “A good 20 to 25 percent of our guests are kids…more than 1 million children sail on Royal Caribbean ships each year”. Royal sees itself as the largest family cruise brand in the world.

Royal Caribbean says kids may be able to cruise under CDC's 95% vaccinated restart plan | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean’s current testing protocol for kids:

  • Unvaccinated kids aged 2 to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than 3 days before boarding day.
  • Kids’ pre-cruise test cannot be taken on boarding day, because that may affect the sample taken during the kids’ test at the terminal.
  • Guests under 2 years of age do not need to complete a pre-cruise test. 
  • In addition to the pre-cruise test, kids will take one or two more tests, depending on the length of the cruise. Royal Caribbean’s test provider will administer these, at no cost to our guests.

When asked about the new Disney vaccine requirement on Wednesady, Royal Caribbean’s International Assistant Vice President of Guest Experience, Aurora Yera-Rodriguez said,“it's been something that we've been talking about during our meetings, but we haven't committed to that yet.

"We're still keeping our involvement over vaccination rule, and we're still talking about it. So I don't know yet. That may come in the future. It may not come. So keep your ears open and we'll continue to assess our protocols in the situation."

Other Cruise Lines

Carnival is in active discussions with CDC to restart cruises in July | Royal Caribbean Blog

Other industry players have had varying approaches to unvaccinated passengers.

Carnival Cruise Line explains “Vaccine exemptions for cruises to the Caribbean will be limited to a very small number of children under 12.”

Carnival did not participate in test cruises, and therefore based on CDC requirements cannot have more than 5% unvaccinated passengers. This capacity restriction creates uncertainty: “If you are an unvaccinated guest, your reservation is not considered confirmed unless you receive an approved exemption, which will be issued within 14 days of sailing”.  They do a make a recommendation though, “if you are a family with children ages 5-11 and want to guarantee your ability to sail together, we encourage you to consider your vaccination options”.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, and Princess Cruise Line cruises are only sailing with 100% vaccinated guests at this time.

Summary of current CDC Vaccination Requirements

Celebrity Cruises will now accept a mixed combination of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines | Royal Caribbean Blog

Based on the guidance from the CDC and the World Health Organization, approved vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Novavax, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines fully vaccinated as 14 days after receiving:

  • A single dose of an accepted 1-dose vaccine
  • The second dose of an accepted 2-dose vaccine
  • The full series of an active (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine in the US-based AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • The second dose of any “mix and match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines (administered at least 17 days apart)

Royal Caribbean will begin offering consecutive cruisers at-home Covid tests

In:
17 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is going to change up the complimentary test it offers passengers doing a back-to-back or consecutive cruise.

Ever since Royal Caribbean restarted cruises this summer, the line has offered guests doing multiple cruises in a row a complimentary Covid-19 test onboard, but will transition from a test administered onboard to a test done via the home test.

Speaking to travel agents on a webinar on Wednesday,  Royal Caribbean International Assistant Vice President of Guest Experience, Aurora Yera-Rodriguez, said the line is working to change how these tests are conducted.

For anyone sailing with Royal Caribbean and moving to another ship within 3 days or less, they can request a complimentary antigen test be completed at the end of the first cruise.

Right now, guests are taking the test in the medical area onboard, but Royal Caribbean wants to change it.

According to Ms. Yera-Rodriguez, the plan is to give guests the same at-home tests many have ordered to use before a cruise begins.

"So far, back to backers and our consecutive cruisers, we do offer the testing. We're actually working through something right now that we're trying to deploy."

"If it's within that three day window and you're not staying on the same ship, we're actually handing our guests one of our eMed test at home kits, and then you just do it before you go on."

These at-home tests are the Abbott BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test. These are the same tests Royal Caribbean sells via Royal Caribbean's special link from the Optum website.

Here is my full review of trying out the BinaxNOW test, which was extremely easy and quick.

It sounded like offering the at-home tests already on some ships, but the program will be expanded to more vessels.

"We let them walk off with an eMed. And it's a perfect process and it's working swimmingly."

Regardless of which test you get, guests sailing on a ship and need a test to go on another ship in less than 3 days can stop by Guest Services to request the test be completed.

The Abbott tests are a FDA-authorized rapid antigen home test and conducted via video chat where the proctor can monitor how you take the test in the same way the test is conducted at a pharmacy or doctor's office.