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Choosing a cabin for your cruise

In:
29 Jul 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

One of the first considerations when booking a Royal Caribbean cruise is the cabin you will select that will be your home for the duration of the cruise.  

On any given Royal Caribbean cruise, there are plenty of cabins to consider across a number of stateroom categories.  There are many considerations to take into account, but choosing the right cabin for you should not be a daunting task.

Staterooms come in different sizes, layouts, views and even benefits.  What is important to one person might not be as important to someone else.  There really is no wrong cabin to pick, but there are definitely rooms you can choose that will enhance your cruise experience.

When considering the right stateroom for you, it is important to consider the differences between the various categories. 

Cabin categories

Inside cabins

The most basic and smallest of the staterooms are inside staterooms.  Inside staterooms are distinguished from other rooms primarily because they offer no natural view of outside the ship.

Inside staterooms typically have no windows and no balconies.  

The compelling reason to book an inside stateroom is for the value, since they are often the least-expensive rooms you can book and that means it is the lowest entry point to getting on the cruise.  The exact size of the room will vary depending on the class of ship you are sailing on, but inside rooms will offer the least amount of space at the least price.

Over the years, Royal Caribbean has introduced new kinds of inside staterooms that retain the basic qualities of an inside stateroom, but with a new twist.

Promenade view: Promenade view staterooms are inside staterooms that feature a bay window that overlooks the Royal Promenade.  While the room has no view outside the ship, it does provide something to look at, with great opportunities for people watching as well as a great vantage point for events on the Royal Promenade.

Another added benefit of this room category is the bowed windows offer more square footage compared to standard inside staterooms.

The exact size of Promenade stateroom varies depending on the class of ships. Voyager and Freedom class ships Promenade staterooms are 160 square feet, whereas on Oasis class ships they are 193 square feet.

Virtual Balcony: One of the newest innovations to the inside stateroom is the virtual balcony stateroom, which takes a conventional inside stateroom and adds an 80-inch LED high-definition television that provides live views around the ship.

The screens are 4K ultra high definition capable screens that stretch from floor to ceiling and receive a video feed from the ship's cameras that are mounted at the stem and stern of the ship.

With virtual balcony staterooms, guests can enjoy a balcony experience without the balcony price.

Virtual balcony staterooms are available on Symphony of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas.

Oceanview cabins

The next category up from inside staterooms are oceanview staterooms, which are slightly larger rooms that have a porthole or window to the ocean.

Much like the inside staterooms, oceanview cabins are on the inexpensive side and provide guests with an affordable means of being on the ship and still have a view.  Natural light is important to many guests, and the ocean view provides that.   Essentially, oceanview rooms are slightly larger inside rooms with a window.

The reason to consider an oceanview room is if a view is important to you, but the price of a higher-category stateroom is not possible. Alternatively, sometimes the price difference between an inside room and an oceanview is not too large, and someone may want to upgrade their room option at not a lot of extra cost.

There is one variation on the oceanview stateroom, which offers even more of a windowed view without the balcony.

Panoramic oceanview: Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom gives much more of a view than a traditional oceanview room, with a floor to ceiling wrap around panoramic window that is 76 inches high by 103-321 inches wide.  That is a big window.

As you might imagine, the reason to book a stateroom like this is for the amazing views without the balcony view price.  

Panoramic ocean view staterooms are found on Navigator of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.

Balcony cabins

One of the most sought-after stateroom categories are the balcony cabins.  Balcony rooms offer the same kind of living space the previous categories did, but with a private balcony space.

Having your own balcony means you have a special spot on the ship just for you to enjoy, that provides views all around the ship, as well as that terrific ocean breeze. Many cruise fans swear by a balcony for the added space, private area and ambiance that only a balcony room can provide.

As you move up the categories of Royal Caribbean staterooms, balcony staterooms come with more space compared to interior staterooms.  As anyone that has cruised before will tell you, every square foot matters!

When you book a balcony stateroom, you get more inside as well as the space from your balcony.  It all adds up to more room for everyone to maneuver in and makes the entire experience less crowded.  Having a balcony means you have a great spot for sail away, enjoying the ocean passing by, or seeing the port you are docked in from the comfort of your stateroom.

There are a few variations on the traditional oceanview balcony cabin available on Royal Caribbean ships.  These are all the same balcony experience, but with a different vantage point.

Central Park balconies: On Oasis-class ships, Central Park balcony staterooms are available that instead of offering a balcony that overlooks the ocean, this stateroom category offers a view of the Central Park neighborhood.

The Central Park balconies offer the same fresh air and light that ocean view balconies do but with the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of Central Park along with the people watching aspect. In addition, Central Park view balcony staterooms are often slightly cheaper than ocean balconies.

The exact size of a Central Park view stateroom with balcony is 182 square feet with a 50 square foot balcony.

Central Park balcony staterooms are available on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

Boardwalk balconies: Just like the Central Park balcony staterooms, the Boardwalk balcony staterooms trade the oceanview of a traditional balcony for a view of the Boardwalk neighborhood.

In addition to the view of the Boardwalk fun, some Boardwalk balconies can offer views of the ocean and/or the AquaTheater, depending on where your room is located.  Boardwalk balcony rooms are also usually priced less than ocean balconies.

A Boardwalk balcony room offers 182 square feet of living space, with a private balcony between 47 and 52 square feet.

Boardwalk balcony staterooms are available on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

Suites

At the high-end of Royal Caribbean's stateroom options are the suite cabins, which offer the most luxurious and largest of all the staterooms.  As you might imagine, suites are also the most expensive.

The reason to book a suite is simple: you want to indulge on your cruise and splurge for something a bit more than the norm.  Suites offer a tremendous amount of personal space, higher-end amenities, special bonuses and exclusive access.

From Junior Suites to Presidential Suites, there are a number of options to choose from. Suites offer access to a concierge lounge and even a butler. Cabin suites usually consist of more than one room in your cabin and have the most space of any cabin.  It is difficult to convey just how much larger some of the suites really are, with balconies that exceed the size of some staterooms.

In addition to the impressive rooms, suite guests typically enjoy double Crown and Anchor Society points for each night of their cruise, concierge planning assistance, complimentary drinks and a private lounge, reserved seating by the pool and shows, and a whole lot more.

On Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Quantum class cruise ships, the benefits program has been refreshed and is dubbed, the Royal Suite Class.  Suites on these ships offer the most benefits and highest level of service, split across three tiers of benefits. 

Cabin amenities

All Royal Caribbean staterooms come with private bathrooms that are equipped with showers.  Suites have bath tubs in addition to showers, so if you need a tub, be sure to look for that as an option.

Not all staterooms have the same level of amenities, depending on ship class, but there are some basics that all have:

  • Television
  • Private bathroom
  • Safe
  • Minibar
  • Sitting area

Be sure to refer to each ship's layout for specific accommodations and amenities.

Read moreWhat is the best room on a cruise ship?

Cabin location

Where your cabin is located can be just as important a consideration as the type of room you select.  Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are massive, and picking your room location means you have to take into account access and convenience to a number of public areas on the ship.

It is important to note that there is no bad location on a cruise ship, it is just a matter of personal preference in terms of which location means more to you.  It is difficult to make generalizations about cabin locations because it can be a very subjective decision but here are some basic guidelines.

In general, the most sought after location for a stateroom is midship, simply because it is centrally located relative to all the amenities and spaces on the ship.  This is true of all cruise ships, and depending on your preferences and itinerary, this may or may not be important to you.  

In addition, being centrally located is what most guests who are sensitive to motion on the ocean choose, because the center of the ship tends to have the least sensations of movement.  Those that can become easily sea sick, may want to take special consideration.

When it comes to picking a stateroom location, arguably the most important criteria can be how close (or far) your cabin is from certain onboard facilities.  Some guests prefer to be close to the pool deck, others like easy access to the Royal Promenade and others want to be in close proximity to elevators.  

As they say, it is all relative, but consider your cabin's proximity to public spaces near, above and below your room when selecting it.  On the larger ships, the time it takes to walk from one point to another is far more pronounced than on smaller ships, but no ship's walking distance is too great to truly be a concern (provided you suffer from no mobility issues).

Speaking of location, you may also want to consult deck plans before choosing a room to look at how close your room is to public areas that tend to generate a lot of noise.  If you are a light sleeper, some rooms that are above or below a night club, restaurant, pool or some other public area can suffer from noise bleed. How much noise and how bad of an issue can vary from cruise to cruise and person to person.

If you're at all concerned about this, choose a cabin that has at least two decks above and below it and the nearest public area to assure quietness.

There is also the choice of having your room on the port (left) or starboard (right) side of the ship.  In my years of cruising, I have found this to be among the least important considerations, since you never know what you will be facing when, and both sides of the ship offer something to see and getting to the opposite side of the ship is quite easy.

Read moreWhat is the best location on a cruise ship?

Your cruising group

Much of the decision surrounding which stateroom to pick may have to do with whom you are cruising with. A couple cruising will have different needs than someone cruising with kids.

If you are cruising alone, keep in mind most staterooms come with a single supplement fee, which means you will pay extra to subsidize the lack of another passenger.  There are some staterooms that are specifically designed for solo cruisers, but they are rare and only on a handful of ships.

Families are at the heart of what Royal Caribbean offers, and those sailing with children may want to consider two additional alternatives to a typical room.  Family sized staterooms are extra large versions of regular staterooms that are designed with larger groups in mind.  They offer much more space without the typically higher prices that come with a room of that size. Family sized staterooms may not be available to see on Royal Caribbean's web site at all time and tend to have a minimum amount of guests in the room to become available.  Check with a travel agent for exact rates on these rooms.

Families should also consider two adjacent or connecting rooms.  Having multiple rooms may sound expensive, but often it is not that much more and the added space and extra bathroom (!) make this a very attractive alternative.  Families with younger children will want to get connecting rooms to ensure easy access between the rooms, while older kids can probably be fine in a nearby room.  Regardless, a second room is an option to consider for larger groups that need more space.

Couples will find the most options to choose from, since staterooms are mostly designed for two guests per room. Nearly all rooms have twin beds that can be separated or combined to form a queen-size bed. You can request either configuration from your stateroom attendant.

Cruising with friends is another common choice, and like couples, bed configurations can be altered as needed.  In addition, some cabins have 3rd and 4th berths, which means options like sofa beds and Pullman beds (beds that pull-down from the ceiling) can fit everyone comfortably.

More help picking a cruise cabin

Your thoughts

What cabin category do you usually book on a Royal Caribbean cruise?  Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of each category? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!

How to use your cell phone on a Royal Caribbean cruise (and not come home to a big bill)

In:
30 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Nearly everyone that goes on a Royal Caribbean cruise will have a cell phone with them.  These days, most adults and plenty of older children have a phone and odds are, they are bringing it with them on their Royal Caribbean cruise. With all of those phones on the ship, the last thing you want to do is come home with an unexpectedly large cell phone bill.

The nature of cell phones these days is they are constantly using their cellular connection to determine where the phone is, get updates, and update apps.  When you are at home or work, that is quite useful and functional, but on a cruise, it has the potential to cause a major headache when all that use leads to costly roaming charges.

Before we get into how to avoid a big bill, it is important to understand how and why an unexpected large bill can occur.

Understanding roaming

Before we can discuss strategies for avoiding big bills, we have to explain why these big bills can occur.

It is probably not a surprise to hear that your cell phone functions by communicating with cell phone towers that are set up and powered by the cell phone provider company that you pay each month.  When you are in your home country, your service plan allows for regular use of their network, under the service you signed up.

On a Royal Caribbean ship, you are outside your cell phone company's service area and that is what the cell phone industry refers to as "roaming."  Instead of using your cell provider's network, you use someone else's cell phone tower and network.  Royal Caribbean partners with Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN) to provide a cell phone signal at sea known as "Cellular at Sea."  MTN provides the ability to place and receive calls, text messaging and (slow) data at a relatively high cost.  

Even if you were to go on a cruise with your phone and never use it, most modern smart phones still use their cellular signal when not in active use to keep its apps up to date. Of course, if you actively use your phone to make a call, check an app or otherwise use your phone's cellular signal to do something, then you will likely have an expensive bill because of all that roaming.

Airplane mode

In order to avoid having your phone try to use its cellular connection, all modern phones have an ability to turn off its cellular signal by enabling something called, "airplane mode."  This refers to a function that was originally intended for people going on airplanes when phone use was prohibited.  

By enabling airplane mode, your phone is incapable of using its cellular antenna.  It can, however, still use its WiFi and Bluetooth connections to stay connected, if you so choose.

Airplane mode is a mode that can be easily turned on and off, so it is important to ensure it remains in airplane mode while you do not want your phone communicating with any cellular towers.

The advantage to using airplane mode is it is a kind of "master switch," which makes it very simple to know if your phone can or cannot accept a cell signal.

How to enable airplane mode depends on your phone model, but a quick Google search should be easy, such as, "How do I enable airplane mode on an iPhone" or "How do I enable airplane mode on a Samsung Galaxy", etc.

You will want to enable airplane mode as soon as you get onboard the ship on your first day.  A very common mistake is guests forget to do it until later.

Data roaming

There are additional ways to ensure your phone will not rack up extra charges and one of them is to disable data roaming.

Your phone roaming on another network is something that can happen nearly anywhere.  It can happen in foreign countries or even somewhere in your home country that your primary provider does not offer service.

Most modern phones have an option to enable or disable data roaming.  This is important, because while most folks know enough not to make phone calls or text while roaming, they may not be aware that their phone is using data even when the phone is not being used by them.

As we mentioned earlier, smart phones perform a variety of maintenance functions, even when the phone is not in active use.  Phones will check for app updates, grab local data and try to determine its location.  This is normal for smart phones, but if you are on a cruise ship, it can lead to unintentional data use.

A smart safe guard against your phone ever using its data connection while not on your primary cell phone provider is to disable data roaming. Just like airplane mode, it is a setting in your phone that you can toggle. Just do a quick Google search for the exact instructions for your phone model.

Voom

Royal Caribbean's high-speed internet, known as Voom, is available on all ships across the fleet and it is the key to staying connected without the big bills.

To use Royal Caribbean's Wi-Fi without endangering your financial future, here are the basic steps:

  1. Put your phone into airplane mode prior to your ship leaving your embarkation port
  2. Connect to the "royal-wifi" network
  3. Sign up for the Voom plan you prefer
  4. Keep your plane in airplane mode for the duration of the cruise while using Voom

Regardless of which Voom service you choose, this method is the simplest and most reliable way to avoid using your cellular antenna.

How to make phone calls

If you want to make a phone call while at sea, there are a few options.

  • Sign up for an international plan with your cell phone company. These tend to be expensive, but cheaper than trying to make calls without a plan.
  • Use an app: Many apps will allow you to make phone calls using the internet, instead of over a cell signal.  Skype is a common solution.
  • Wi-Fi calling: Some carriers (AT&TT-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon) support making phone calls over a data connection. In order to use Wi-Fi Calling, customers just need a compatible device with iOS 9 installed, a postpaid wireless account set-up for HD Voice and a Wi-Fi Internet connection.

How to send & receive text messages

If you happen to have an iPhone, you probably can send and receive texts quite easily using Apple's iMessage capability.  iMessage is a feature Apple offers that allows messages to be sent via data instead of the usual SMS text messaging service.  Since iMessage uses data, and not a cellular signal, you can easily use Voom to make it work.

If you do not have an iPhone, there are other popular (and free) apps that can help. WhatsApp, Google Voice, Viber and a host of other solutions exist that use data-only and will allow you to message from your phone. 

Other strategies

There are other ways to avoid a big cell phone bill without having to use Royal Caribbean's onboard internet.  We think Voom is the simplest and most convenient option, but other options do exist.

  • You can use the internet while on land via free or low-cost Wi-Fi hot spots.  Nearly every port you visit will have internet options, and many include the service if you buy something at the store/restaurant.  A good strategy for finding good Wi-Fi connections on land is to ask a crew member, since they are visiting these ports on a regular basis.
  • Buying a SIM card for your phone and using that in the various countries is another option.  It is difficult to do in the Caribbean, but in Europe and other regions were cell phone carriers allow use between countries, it can be a good strategy for staying connected.
  • Turn off the phone completely and disconnect for your cruise.  Some people enjoy this low-tech strategy for avoiding a big bill.  While we cannot argue with the results, we do enjoy sharing the vacation experience with family and friends.

Interior vs Balcony staterooms on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
28 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

A common question for guests planning a Royal Caribbean cruise is whether they should save money by staying in an inside stateroom or pay a bit more for the amenities, size and view in a balcony stateroom. Is it worth it to pay extra for a balcony cabin on a cruise? Do I really need a room with a balcony?

Like almost every hypothetical question posed by this blog, the answer is, "it depends."  I hope this post will be helpful in analyzing the most important features of each stateroom category to see which category has advantages.

Price

Guide to balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean | Royal Caribbean Blog

It should come as no surprise that inside or ocean view staterooms are usually cheaper than balcony staterooms.  The added room size, balcony and view of a balcony come with a higher cost.  The thing is, how much extra can vary.

The price gap between an interior stateroom and a balcony will vary from ship to ship and sailing to sailing.  Sometimes it is measured in the thousands of dollars, and other times it is just a few hundred (or less).

When considering the price difference, one should look at the nightly price and what that gets you.  Nearly everyone that books a Royal Caribbean cruise is on some sort of budget, so even if they want to book a balcony stateroom, it may not be financially viable.  It is important to at least consider the options because there are many scenarios in which the difference in price is quite low.

Independence of the Seas Category D3 Balcony Stateroom photo tour | Royal Caribbean Blog

Read moreOceanview vs Balcony staterooms on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Often inside staterooms are the least expensive option, which means guests can spend less money on their cruise vacation or have more money to spend during the cruise on things like drinks, shore excursions, specialty restaurants or anything else for sale.

The difference in price will depend on factors like itinerary (balconies on Alaska itineraries are more expensive than Caribbean itineraries), time of year (peak vs low season) and ship class (newer ships have more balconies, so more supply).

Advantage: Interior staterooms

Living space

Balcony staterooms are significantly larger than interior staterooms. As an example, on Allure of the Seas a standard interior stateroom offers 150-172 square feet of space, whereas a Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony comes in at 182 square feet, plus a 53 square foot balcony.

Room size is hard to quantify in a blog post, but every extra foot you have of living space does make a difference and it becomes noticeable quickly. It all adds up to more room for everyone to maneuver in and makes the entire experience less crowded.

What are the differences between Royal Caribbean's 1D, 2D, 4D, etc balcony rooms? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Beyond the size difference, balcony staterooms have natural light, which makes the room feel less dark and gloomy.  You also get fantastic views of the ocean and ports you are visiting.  

Even the most ardent interior stateroom fan will be hard-pressed to debate the virtues of an interior stateroom over a balcony.  Personally, I think the best part of an interior room is the fact it can get pitch dark, which makes for excellent sleeping conditions.

Advantage: Balcony staterooms

Your vacation plans

Everyone vacations differently, and what you plan on doing (or not doing) may dictate which stateroom category makes the most sense for you.

Are you the kind of person that gets up at dawn, is doing every activity in the Cruise Compass and returns to their room only to shower and sleep?  Or are you someone that likes to take it easy and sleep in, or read a book?  

Many guests that pick an interior stateroom will tell you that they do not spend a lot of time in their room, so why should they pay for amenities they will not use.  It is a good point, although in my experience, I think the stateroom you book dictates to some extent what you end up doing.  

Photo tour of Category 5D Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony on Brilliance of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

If I book an inside room, I definitely do not spend as much time there as I do when I book a balcony. Having a balcony means I go there for sailaways and I bring food back to the room to eat.  The room can be the deciding factor in how you vacation in some cases.

Where you are sailing to also can be part of the decision.  Certain itineraries favor balcony staterooms over other itineraries.  In the Caribbean, it is not nearly as compelling to get a balcony stateroom over an interior stateroom compared to the Mediterranean or Alaska itineraries. That is not to say guests in an inside stateroom completely miss out on the natural beauty to behold, but they just have to do more to experience it.  

Advantage: Varies

Cruise Length

The duration of your cruise can be a major factor in deciding which stateroom category makes more sense.

Longer cruises, 7-nights or more, may offer more incentive to get a balcony so you can have your own outdoor space to relax.  Quick three- and four-night cruises may not necessitate spending money on a balcony since your time is limited and you may not spend as much time in your room.

One of the advantages of booking a balcony stateroom on a shorter cruise is the total price will not be as high as a longer cruise.  And some of the longer cruises (repositioning cruises) can offer great deals on all rooms, including balconies, because they are harder sailings to fill.

Generally speaking, the longer the cruise, the more advantageous a balcony stateroom, although the price factor that we spoke of earlier may supersede even the cruise length consideration.

Advantage: Balcony

Alternative choices

We would be remiss if we did not mention certain categories of staterooms that bend, blend or otherwise are a hybrid of the two categories.  Cruising has changed over the last few years, and Royal Caribbean has started offering new stateroom options that cater to different tastes and budgets.

One of our favorite room categories is a virtual balcony room, which is an inside stateroom with a 80-inch LED television that provides live high-definition views from outside the cruise ship, right into your stateroom.

There are balcony staterooms that do not face the ocean, but instead offer views of the Boardwalk and Central Park neighborhoods. These balcony staterooms have the same balcony experience of ocean-facing balconies, but often at a discounted price and perfect for people watching.

Royal Caribbean eliminates complimentary perks for Oasis Class neighborhood balcony staterooms | Royal Caribbean Blog

Speaking of people watching, Promenade view rooms offer a bay window view of the Royal Promenade, which provides the perfect vantage point for people watching and checking out what is happening on the Royal Promenade. It doubles as the perfect spot to view the parade!

Panoramic ocean view staterooms offer a floor to ceiling wrap around panoramic window that is 76 inches high by 103-321 inches wide.  That is a big window and you get amazing views without the balcony view price.

All of these stateroom categories offer guests the option of having a view without paying for the full balcony price.  Granted, none are exactly the same as having your own private balcony and the amount of living space is still more limited.  But for many guests, it is a "happy medium" between that balcony price and a standard inside stateroom.

Other

"Other" is not really a definable characteristic of any stateroom. Instead, this is a bit of a catch-call for other important features and amenities that do not fit in the above categories.  In addition to the critical categories above, another category that may be important is lifestyle. Being able to enjoy a glass of wine on your private balcony or have the ocean breeze enter your room are things that cannot be qualified objectively, but is important to some.

Likewise, sleeping in a pitch-black room of an interior stateroom can lead to some of the best sleep you have since college.  Many of us go on vacation to catch up on sleep and the notion of "quality of sleep" really means something when you avoid getting woken up by natural light entering the room.

How about romance? It seems like every cruise commercial out there that harps on romance on the sea has at least one shot of a couple enjoying the sunset on their balcony.  

Verdict

Guide to balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean | Royal Caribbean Blog

Whether it is worth it to you to pay more for a balcony stateroom depends upon your preferences, budget, and how much time you will be spending in your room.  If you like having extra space with views, balcony staterooms score points.  If money is an issue, the cost-savings of an interior stateroom will make you happy.  Plus, that is more money you can spend elsewhere on the cruise, like in a good specialty restaurant.

For us, balcony staterooms make a lot of sense for the extra space, private balcony and ambiance...provided the price is right.  We have a budget for every cruise we take, and the price difference between a balcony and interior stateroom is often a major deciding factor.  There is no question that when we have a balcony room booked, we spend more time in there than if we have an inside room.

For inside room fans, there are plenty of public places onboard to enjoy views anytime of the day or night.  The promenade deck, helipad (on select ships) and pool decks give us plenty of outdoor space when we need to "get out."

The interior staterooms are not for everyone, but we have nothing against them.  If it is the difference between going on a cruise or not, we will gladly book an interior stateroom.  A balcony is great, but not worth breaking the bank for it either.

Your thoughts

Is it worth it to you to stay in a balcony stateroom? Or, do you just save as much as money as possible by staying in an inside stateroom? Share where you normally choose to stay (and why!) in the comments!

16 Great Alaska Royal Caribbean Cruise Tips

In:
23 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

When going on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, there are lot of things that can save you time and money, or improve the quality of your vacation.  

Here are 16 random tips based upon our readers' experiences in taking cruises to Alaska. Some of them are simple and easy to understand tips. Other tips require a bit more effort, but will make your cruise more enjoyable.  

Not all of these tips may be applicable to everyone, but there should be a few "nuggets of information" that everyone can use.  Whether you are a first time planner or a weathered veteran, there are tips for you here.

With these tips in hand, you can get the most out of your Royal Caribbean vacation.  

Make sure to also read the additional reader tips in the comments, as some of you readers have some great tips of your own that are really helpful. If you have some good tips, be sure to add them there, too. The more, the merrier!

Plan early!

Even if you are “just considering options”, book a reservation as early as possible to get the best price. Alaska is definitely a destination where rates tend to increase the closer you get to sail date. 

Cheapest time to cruise to Alaska

For best value, consider shoulder season sailing (May or September). There are fewer children on board in May and September due to school.

Shoulder seasons can also be less-expensive.  It has also been reported that in September at the end of season, port shops have fantastic “everything must go” sales.

Royal Caribbean Will Not Yet Cancel Alaska Sailings Following Canada Cruise Ban | Royal Caribbean Blog

Don't overlook the Radiance Class

There are options for ship classes when sailing Alaska. Radiance-class was built for Alaskan type cruising with onboard viewing opportunities from everywhere, which in Alaska is important when you hear someone yell “whale” because you will want to see it too!

If you select Radiance, generally this will mean choosing either a north bound or south bound 7-night journey. 

Look at airfare before booking a cruise

If you choose a north bound or south bound sailing, you will be arriving at one port and departing from another, so when booking airfare, be sure to compare pricing for “open leg” versus two “1- ways”; we sometimes find it cheaper to actually book two independent 1-way tickets.

6 mistakes & 3 things we did right on our Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska | Royal Caribbean Blog

Balcony rooms are the way to go

Go Balcony! In Alaska, you can actually sit on the balcony and see everything! – or at least look out while waking up in the morning or changing.

Look for an aft balcony room

Speaking of balconies, if you book early enough, grab one of the huge aft balcony rooms at regular balcony prices!

The balconies on the aft of Radiance class are 4 to 5 times the size of side facing balconies; more than enough room for two lounge chairs, and two regular chairs and a small table. 

Royal Caribbean announces 2017-2018 Alaska sailings | Royal Caribbean Blog

Keep an eye on the ocean at all times

Always be looking at the water when on board. You may see whales, dolphins, seals, otters, and other sea life right from your cruise ship!

Near shorelines, you will often see bald eagles and maybe even a bear at water’s edge. Think of it like a kind of “free” excursion.

Alaska Senator introduces bill to permanently allow cruise ships to sail to Alaska without stopping in Canada | Royal Caribbean Blog

Don't rely on the weather forecasts

Weather forecasts don’t always match reality. Be prepared for changing weather daily. Be prepared with varying clothing options (i.e. wear layers). 

And when it does rain, just give it a few minutes, it generally doesn’t last long. Take it all in. And remember, many excursions go rain or shine!

Speaking of excursions … excursions will likely account for a large portion of your budget – plan accordingly.  Some excursions costs hundreds of dollars per person … but this will likely be a once-in-a-life journey for many … so don’t pass up anything you really want to do. 

Ovation of the Seas 2021 Live Blog - Preview | Royal Caribbean Blog

How to pick a great excursion

To save on excursions, consider third party providers.  There are many options.  And many are rated by other travelers on TripAdvisor, Cruise Critic, and elsewhere.  Use the internet for your research … it’s actually part of the fun of the trip and it helps you learn more about Alaska prior to arrival!  

Check pricing with both Royal Caribbean and vendors. Over the past few years, Royal Caribbean pricing has become much more competitive and comparable with direct vendor booking and in one example this year, we found that Royal Caribbean’s price was actually cheaper than direct booking with the vendor; albeit for the most expensive tours like helicopters you can still save significantly by direct booking with vendors. Be sure to read and understand cancellation policies when booking direct with vendors.

Nearly all will refund if the ship misses the port or there is an unplanned ship schedule change – but be sure to check.

Alaska Governor threatens to sue US over cruise ship ban | Royal Caribbean Blog

Free excursions

Check out the many hiking trails in each port town.

If you have an extra day at the Seward end of travel, check out the hand tram on Winner Creek trail in Alyeska in Girdwood, or hike to Exit Glacier near Seward.

Use the internet to search for trails in each port. Many of the trails are well traveled, nicely groomed, and clearly marked. Walking is free, and often the best sights are seen from wooded trails. This year we saw moose, bears, dear, and bald eagles.

Two Cruise Lines Offering Alaska Land Vacations This Year!! - Royal Caribbean News and Rumors - Royal Caribbean Blog

Make transportation an excursion!

If you are planning on a Radiance of the Seas sailing, you will have to get from Seward to Anchorage for your flight.  Take the Alaskan Railroad Coastal Classic Train!

It costs only a little more than the bus ride or rental car. The Train travels a path where no other vehicles can get too. And upgrade your seat on the train to Gold Star – that will include a meal, a few drinks, more personal space, private outside viewing area, and will ensure excellent viewing from your seat with glass ceilings and glass wall all-round.

You might even want to request the first row in the first car for the very best viewing opportunities! Specific requests can be made by contacting Alaska Railroad direct. 

Excursion Focus: Alaska Sled Dogs & Musher's Camp in Juneau, Alaska | Royal Caribbean Blog

Get off the ship!

No matter the weather, get off the ship at every port – even if you don’t have an excursion planned.

Sometimes the piers are a little longer in Alaska but the port towns are pretty small and easily walkable making them nice for self-guided tours. The trinket shops are pretty similar in each port, but each port will feature specialty items; Ketchikan will have more focus on totem poles, for example.

Radiance of the Seas, Alaska Southbound 8/31/18 - Page 4 - Live Blogs - Royal Caribbean Blog

Day light is plentiful

The sun will rise early and set late. But unlike Caribbean cruises, nightlife is less significant on board an Alaskan cruise – the ship still offers many night activities, but in our experience, late night activities are not well attended.

People hit the sack earlier in Alaska, and rise much earlier than customary in the Caribbean. It’s all part of the early bird and worm syndrome … port calls are typically early morning and people are up and ready for excursions at the crack of dawn, literally.

Oh, not to worry, Radiance is outfitted with blackout curtains.

Your phones work in Alaska

Americans will find cell phone service included in their coverage while in Alaska.  In fact, it tends to work quite well.

Video: Why Take a Cruise to Alaska | Royal Caribbean Blog

Icy Straight Point tips

In Icy Straight Point, numerous eagles, whales and sea lions can be spotted either sitting at the Duck Point Restaurant or walking along the path to the Icy Strait Point Cannery or into Hoonah.

Have fun and go with the flow! Enjoy the beauty and bounty that is Alaska! 

If you want even more great advice and tips about Alaska, listen to our two recent podcast episodes all about Royal Caribbean cruises to Alaska!

Your thoughts

If you have solid tips that are not mentioned here, please post them below! If you have any other comments or questions, please feel free to post those, too.

Aerial photos of Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

In:
22 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean released new aerial photos of Harmony of the Seas, this time in the Mediterranean.

Harmony of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship and it is the company's third Oasis-class cruise ship. She is currently sailing in the Mediterranean for the summer season, and will head to Port Everglades, Florida in November to her new homeport.

This is the second batch of aerial photos released, with the first batch posted in early June.

10 ways to save money on your Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
13 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Many of you are probably planning your next Royal Caribbean cruise and we want to help you save money so your trip costs less. To help you get the most of out of your vacation dollars, here are 10 money-saving tips for your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

Regardless of your budget, it is never a bad idea to consider ways to save more money.  For some of you, cutting spending may be the only way you can afford a Royal Caribbean cruise. For others, saving money might not be strictly necessary, but rather a way to fund that second (or seventh!) Royal Caribbean cruise of the year.

Here are some of our recommendations for saving money on your Royal Caribbean cruise.  Not all of these tips may be relevant to everyone.  We each value different aspects of our cruises differently, and what is unnecessary for some might be make or break for someone else. These are just possible ideas, not across the board recommendations for everyone. Cost-cutting is not a good idea when it’s at the expense of the fundamental experience–if you cut things that are important to you, don’t be surprised if the amount of fun you have is negatively impacted.

10. Credit cards

Personal fiscal responsibility aside, proper use of a credit card can definitely save you some money on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean has its own branded Visa credit card, which allows guests to earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit on future cruises (as well as other rewards too).

For each purchase made with the credit card, you can earn points that can be redeemed for onboard credit or even free cruises.

Of course, there are lots of other credit cards out there with various reward programs that can help offset the cost of your cruise.  Credit card reward programs with cash back bonus are popular options.

9. Skip the drink package

Whether a Royal Caribbean drink package is worth the money is an age old debate (well, at least as old as the drink packages are). Yes, the drink packages can save you money if you can drink enough, but it assumes you can drink enough every day of your cruise to make money on it.  Many guests who buy the drink package often report back with a phenomenon known as, "drink fatigue", where after a few days of drinking 5-6 drinks per day (or more), they start to feel they are drinking just for the sake of drinking to utilize their drink packages.

Even in today's age of drink package popularity, the truth is there are still plenty of drink specials around your ship that are worth considering.

Guests who skip the drink package can still save money on their drinks by taking advantage of drink specials found around the ship. This includes the drink of the day, bar specials, Crown and Anchor Society coupons, Diamond drinks and more.

If you are looking to save money, the question to ask here is, "how little could we spend on drinks and still have a food trip?" compared to the cost of the drink packages, not, "how much would the same amount of drinks we would get with a drink package cost if we paid for it out of pocket?".

8. Bring your own wine

Hot on the heels of the last tip, there is no question one of the best ways to save money on your cruise if you enjoy wine is to bring your own.

Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring their own bottles of wine onboard, up to two per stateroom.

7. Take advantage of Crown and Anchor discounts

Once you are at least a Gold member in Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor society, you will receive automatic discounts that are pre-loaded onto your SeaPass card to be used on your cruise.

These discounts allow guests to save money off the regular cost of the services and products.  Buy one, get one drinks, discounts on the spa, photo discounts are just a few of the usual discounts.

As you move up the Crown and Anchor Society ladder of levels, you will get better benefits that can really help bring down that bill at the end of your cruise.

6. Consider low-cost excursions

The ports of call your Royal Caribbean cruise ship visits is usually the highlight of any vacation, but excursions are notoriously expensive.  There are, however, good alternatives to research that can offer a taste of the place you are visiting without breaking the bank.

Many Caribbean islands have inexpensive (if not free) beaches that may not be as impressive as some other beaches, but still offer a great beach day.  This includes Junkanoo Beach in Nassau or Emerald Beach in St. Thomas. Both are much closer to where Royal Caribbean docks than the more famous beaches, but both offer a fun beach day for far less cost.

While not as culturally enriching as other excursions, there are usually places to go right in the port area where your ship docks.  The Margaritaville in Falmouth offers a complimentary pool, the El Cid resort in Cozumel is next door to the port area and both offer inexpensive ways to spend your day.

5. Onboard discounts for specialty restaurants

There is no question that one easy way to bring down the cost of your Royal Caribbean cruise is to spend less, but that does not mean skipping all the fun.

Specialty restaurants have become a deeply ingrained part of the Royal Caribbean cruise vacation and there are ways to enjoy them without paying full price.

If a restaurant is open for lunch, often the cover charge is less to dine then, compared to dinner.

In addition, look for specials offered throughout your cruise that will knock down the cover charge or offer a discount on your bill. Attending complimentary events, like guacamole making demonstrations, will often come with offers to dine at the featured restaurant for less than the normal cost.

4. Take advantage of available discounts

In addition to the national sales promotions Royal Caribbean offers, there are also regularly available discounts for guests who may qualify because of their profession, affiliation or connection.

These sorts of discounts include

  • Active and retired members of the military
  • Crown and Anchor Society members
  • Royal Caribbean shareholders
  • Senior Citizens
  • Airline employees
  • Firefighters and police officers
  • Residents of certain states

Not all of these promotions are combinable with the highly advertised promotions, but it is important to be aware of them and to always consider them if they do apply. 

3. Spend your money on shore

If you want to enjoy plenty of drinks, eat at fabulous restaurants and buy some souvenirs for the family without breaking your budget, consider spending your money on shore, rather than onboard.

Generally speaking, the cost of drinks, food and souvenirs will cost less on shore.  Competition and even the cost of living can save a bundle compared to paying the prices for the same or similar products and services onboard.

If you are in the market for a massage, getting a massage on land can save a lot compared to the Vitality Spa.  Drinks at local bars almost always come out cheaper (and in greater quantity) at port.

If you followed the earlier tip to skip the drink package, drinking at the ports of call you visit can be a great strategy to enjoy a few drinks for far less.

2. Cruise off-season

If you really want to bring down the cost of your cruise fare and save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, then you need to cruise when others do not want to.

Cruising at times of the year when school is in session and most folks are not looking to vacation is a great strategy for saving tons on your cruise.  For cruises out of North America, these times include

  • January (except New Years eve week)
  • First two weeks of February
  • Late August
  • September
  • October
  • First two weeks of November
  • First two weeks of December

Many of the other tips we shared in this post are centered around saving a money here and there, but this strategy is the one suggestion that will really rack up the savings.

1. Use a travel agent

When it comes to saving money and ensuring you are getting the best possible deal, we are big fans of travel agents.

Travel agents provide great service to folks looking to take a Royal Caribbean cruise, whether it is your first cruise or your 100th, travel agents exist to make your life simpler.  They are keyed in on the latest promotions and they can be your best advocate for finding promotions that help you, not just the day you book but every day until final payment.

A good travel agent will be able to assist with the booking process, and give you every single permutation of pricing to figure out which itinerary, stateroom or promotion makes the most sense for you.  I cannot count the time I have saved by having the travel agent jump through the proverbial hoops for me to figure out what is the best deal for my family.

The reality is you only stand to benefit from using a good travel agent, both in convenience and time saved.

Your thoughts

Do you have any of your own “quick tips” for saving money on a Royal Caribbean vacation…or saving for a Royal Caribbean vacation? Disagree with any of our tips? Hearing from you is half the fun, so share your thoughts in the comments!

Excursion Focus: Le Galion Beach in St. Martin

In:
09 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

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

Picking the right shore excursion for families is always a challenge because depending on the age of your kids, what is appealing to one family might be completely uninteresting to another family.  When you have young kids, the choices become even more complicated.

Just over the French side of St. Martin is a small beach that offers the perfect kind of beach day for young children or anyone that enjoys going to the beach without waves.

Description

The appeal of Le Galion beach is a horseshoe shaped beach that has little to no waves, which makes it perfect for kids that cannot swim or are not strong swimmers. 

The beach is a short drive from where Royal Caribbean docks its cruise ships and just over the French side of the border.  Upon arrival, there is a large cove surrounded by a beach that provides easy access to the water.

There is no cost to access the beach, but there are charges to use the chairs and/or umbrellas (5 Euros for either).  The beach is frequented by tourists and locals alike, with locals usually setting up further down the beach where they can just put out a beach blanket.

The chairs and umbrellas are provided by the nearby bar and restaurant, which offers waiter service and has a full bar menu, as well as a good-sized lunch menu.  

Over the years, the amenities and offerings at Le Galion beach have been improved and there are diving platforms (complimentary), kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skis and more available for hourly charges.

Comments

Le Galion is a quiet family beach that is great for non-swimmers and kids to have a relaxing day.  The beach is a shallow lagoon, and adults can walk out many dozens of yards from shore and not have the water go past their waist.  

Le Galion also tends not to get as crowded as some other beaches frequented by cruise guests.  It is a laid back beach experience that offers just enough for kids to do, without relying on a ton of water toys that can turn the ocean into a virtual playground.

We have brought our children to Le Galion for years because the beach experience is perfect for kids that just want to splash around without fear of getting knocked over by waves or suddenly finding them in deeper water than before.

The cost to use the beach chairs and umbrellas is fair and waiter service that brings drinks and food is pretty good.  There is nothing else around, so you are dependent on the beach bar for food and drink, but their prices are fair for the French side of the island and the staff speak English and French fluently.

If you want a quiet, relaxing beach that has little-to-no waves, then Le Galion beach is perfect for you.

Sabor on Royal Caribbean cruise ships

In:
02 Jun 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

One of Royal Caribbean's newest and most popular specialty restaurants is Sabor, which serves up a modern take on what Mexican cuisine can be.

While you will find favorites like tacos, quesadillas and margaritas there, Royal Caribbean also offers contemporary dishes, including ceviche, flautas, seafood and more.

There are two kinds of Sabor experiences on Royal Caribbean ships.

Sabor Modern Mexican was the original implementation, and is found on select Voyager- and Freedom-class cruise ships on Deck 4, near the Schooner Bar.

Guests dining at Sabor Modern Mexican will pay a cover charge and have access to all the food on the menu (drinks are excluded).

In addition, there are hand-crafted margaritas at Sabor Modern Mexican.

Sabor Tacqueria & Tequila Bar is a newer form of Sabor, that is found on Oasis-class cruise ships and located in the Boardwalk neighborhood.

At Sabor Tacqueria & Tequila Bar, there is a cover charge just like at the other ships.  A meal at Sabor will cost $19 per person and that includes all the food on the menu (excluding drinks).

Sabor for lunch

Sabor is open for both lunch and dinner on most days.

Sabor will be open for dinner on all evenings, and is usually open for lunch on sea days.

Additionally, Sabor is sometimes open for lunch on embarkation day.  It will depend on the ship and sailing, but usually the Oasis-class ships that have Sabor are open for lunch on embarkation day.

Reservations are not necessary for lunch.

Sabor tips

  • The freshly made guacamole is arguably the best thing on the menu. Do not miss out on having it made for you.
  • Chips and salsa are complimentary at all Sabor locations.
  • On Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, there is a bar outside Sabor, where you can order drinks and some food without going formally into the restaurant.
  • Do not miss out on the dessert tray.  The banana chocolate empanadas especially are divine.

Royal Caribbean extends cruises from Baltimore for 4 more years

In:
21 Apr 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will continue offering cruises from Baltimore, Maryland for another four years.

The Baltimore Business Journal reports that Royal Caribbean signed a new deal with the Maryland Port Administration that will extend its year-round departures out of South Locust Point until June 2020.

Grandeur of the Seas is currently offering year-round cruises from Baltimore to the Bahamas, Bermuda and Canada.

Grandeur of the Seas has been offering cruises from Baltimore since May 2013, when she replaced Enchantment of the Seas.

A Royal Caribbean primer for the Disney Cruise Line fan in sticker shock

In:
14 Apr 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Disney Cruise Line released its Summer 2017 itineraries this week and many Disney Cruise Line fans very surprised by the pricing they found.

With this kind of sticker shock, there are some fans who have come to a similar conclusion as Dave.

If you are someone considering an alternative cruise that is just as fun, relaxing and far less costly as a Disney Cruise, Royal Caribbean is a great choice.  

That being said, we understand there is trepidation about changing cruise lines and leaving the warm embrace of the Mouse.  We are here to tell you that there's nothing to worry about and that a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation is very similar to a Disney Cruise (minus that price tag).

Here is our guide to how you can learn to stop worrying and love the Crown and Anchor.

Step 1: Disney and Royal Caribbean offer similar experiences

Before one can consider a Royal Caribbean cruise, I think it is important to understand that both Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean offer very similar experiences.

Both cruise lines are mass-market cruise lines that target family travel.

Both cruise lines embrace a strategy of building cruise ships that offer guests a lot to do onboard.

Both cruise lines have plenty for kids, parents, adults, grandparents and everyone of all ages to do and see.

In my experience, many ardent Disney Cruise Line fans have cruised Disney Cruise Line solely and a DCL cruise was their first cruising experience.  Give Disney credit, they are great at marketing their products and getting those new to cruising to give their cruise line a try simply because of the name recognition.

Believe it or not, I like the product Disney Cruise Line offers but like you, I also see this, frankly, crazy pricing Disney Cruise Line has and it is why we cruise with Royal Caribbean.

The first step in giving Royal Caribbean a try is to believe me when I say there are things Disney does better and there are things Royal Caribbean does better, but the bottom line is the experiences are more similar than they are different.

Step 2: Looking at what Royal Caribbean offers (besides price)

While price is a big deal, no one should book a cruise purely on cost factor alone. If that were the case, this blog post should be focusing on some other cruise line options.

Royal Caribbean has 24 (soon to be 25 next month) ships in its fleet and there are a few areas of the cruise experience Royal Caribbean greatly distinguishes itself from Disney Cruise Line.

Itinerary variety

Disney Cruise Line only has 4 ships in its fleet today, so it can only offer so many itineraries.  Royal Caribbean's fleet size means you can take cruises from Florida, Europe, Galveston, Baltimore, Alaska, New York, Australia, China and many more destinations for most of the year.

While Disney serves many of those areas too, they do so only occasionally and in many cases, there is not much variety in itineraries offered.

With Royal Caribbean, you can opt to explore more of the world via a cruise ship or visit your favorite spots again and again.

Ship features

Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are built to be meccas of onboard entertainment.

Royal Caribbean cruise ships may offer Broadway shows, ice skating, surf simulators, rock climbing walls, water slides, multiple pools and much more.

Royal Caribbean ships offer adults-only pools, a wide variety of specialty restaurants, unlimited alcohol and drink packages, and a casino.

Many Disney Cruise Line fans that try Royal Caribbean often comment about the wide variety of stuff to do while onboard.

Step 3: Kids, kids and kids

Earlier in this post, Disney's brand recognition was cited as a reason why many choose to cruise with Disney Cruise Line in the first place, but children are also a big factor.

I get it, Disney and kids are nearly synonymous with each other and many parents are concerned how could any other cruise line compare to what Disney offers for kids.

While Disney does a great job with kids and kids programming, Royal Caribbean has stepped up their children's programming in recent years and it is much closer to what Disney offers than you may think.

Royal Caribbean offers complimentary programming for kids in its Adventure Ocean program, as well as teens in their own area.

The dedicated space for kids and breadth of programming has expanded greatly with each new ship class and for parents looking to cruise with children, the child care facilities on Freedom, Quantum and Oasis class ships should offer excellent choices.

Royal Caribbean also features on nearly all of its ships a nursery option, which for an additional hourly cost, can provide day care for children 6 to 36 months old.

Beyond child care, there is lots for kids to do onboard a Royal Caribbean ship.  Mini golf, ice skating, surf simulator, sports decks, video games, aqua parks and soon water slides are just a few of the options available.

In the Cruise Compass, guests can enjoy even more opportunities for activities throughout the day.

Step 4: (Thinking, considering & pondering) Making the jump

I hope by this point in this post you are thinking along the lines of, "I understand there is a huge price difference and the two cruise lines aren't really that different from each other."

If so, ask yourself this question next, "Why am I paying so much more for a Disney cruise?"

Answering this question may be the linchpin in the proverbial decision axle that convinces you to consider taking a Royal Caribbean cruise.

I think it would be foolish to assume every Disney Cruise Line fan that tries Royal Caribbean would be instant super fans and never look back, but I also believe (based on mine and others experience) that there is a good chance that making the switch would still result in a fun family vacation.

Look at the various options available to you in a Royal Caribbean cruise and consider the various itineraries and ships that might match up with what you are considering.

I often remind people considering Royal Caribbean for the first time, odds are they will still have a satisfying vacation on Royal Caribbean and they will either come around to cruise more with Royal Caribbean or opt to stay with the mouse.  In either case, it will be a good learning experience.

At the risk of shameless self promotion, here are some more resources on this blog to help guide you with what Royal Caribbean offers and what might be of interest to you

Have you cruised with Disney and Royal Caribbean? Share your thoughts on how they compare in our comments!