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Royal Caribbean reroutes Majesty of the Seas due to Hurricane Matthew

In:
03 Oct 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Guests departing on the Majesty of the Seas sailing that leaves October 3rd will find a new route planned, due to the path of Hurricane Matthew.

Majesty of the Seas will now call to Key West, Florida, instead of her scheduled call to Nassau, Bahamas. Majesty of the Seas revised itinerary:

UPDATED 10am

  • Monday, Oct. 3 - Port Canaveral, Florida at 4:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4 - Freeport, Bahamas 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 5 - Key West, Florida at 8:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 6 - Key West, Florida depart at 9:00 a.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 7 - Port Canaveral, Florida at 7:00 a.m.

Royal Caribbean has also changed the itineraries of three other cruise ships this week due to the storm: Allure of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas.

Given the storm's path, Royal Caribbean wants to ensure the comfort and enjoyment of all guests on its ships for the safety of guests and crew.

Video: Royal Caribbean's Royal Genies Curate a One-of-a-Kind Luxury Experience

In:
27 Sep 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Guests indulging in Royal Caribbean’s luxurious Star Class have the chance to enjoy the ultimate perk – a Royal Genie dedicated to building the ultimate personalized cruising experience. From planning once-in-a-lifetime destination adventures to a perfect dinner to celebrate a milestone, Royal Genies cater to their guests’ every whim – and create experiences that can’t even be imagined.

Royal Caribbean planning a photo opportunity with all three Oasis-class cruise ships

In:
20 Sep 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

A really big photo is being planned by Royal Caribbean that involves all three of its Oasis-class cruise ships in one place very soon.

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley confirmed that the company will take photos of the three ships together in coordination with Harmony of the Seas' arrival in the United States in a few short weeks.

"We're trying to arrange all three Oasis-class to be next to each other, off the coast of Florida on November the 4th in the afternoon," Bayley said at an event aboard Allure of the Seas earlier today.

The plan is for Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas to appear together on November 4, 2016.  Royal Caribbean will also invite guests up to the helipad for additional photo opportunities.

Royal Caribbean held a similar event back in 2010, when Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas met at sea.

Video: Behind-the-Scenes of Royal Caribbean's State-of-the-Art Studio

In:
13 Sep 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The largest entertainment producer in the world, Royal Caribbean International, operates a 132,500-square-foot facility that produces world-class entertainment for its fleet of ships around the world. The Royal Caribbean Production Studio, located on Florida International University's Biscayne Bay campus in Miami, FL, includes three-story studios, a 300-seat theater, a 20,000-square-foot costume-making facility, 10 rehearsal studios, audio rooms, a gym and residences for its singers, dancers and choreographers.

Royal Caribbean crew member dies and four others injured during lifeboat drill on Harmony of the Seas

In:
13 Sep 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

One crew member died and four other crew members were injured on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas earlier today.

During a lifeboat drill that was conducted in Marseilles, France, an accident occurred when a lifeboat, with five people on board, broke free from the vessel and fell. 

Royal Caribbean confirmed the injury totals via social media.

Local news in France are reporting the accident occurred this morning when the boat detached from the fifth deck while it had five people on board.

Harmony of the Seas is cruising the Mediterranean and departed Rome on September 8.

First time cruisers: Royal Caribbean's SeaPass card

In:
03 Sep 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

One of the first events on every Royal Caribbean cruise is when guests get their SeaPass card to use onboard their cruise. Every guest must use one and it is your figurative and literal key to your cruise experience and here is what you need to know about your SeaPass card and account.

SeaPass basics

When you hear the word, "SeaPass," it refers to your onboard expense account that is a lot like a credit card account, where all of your onboard purchases are charged against.  Since Royal Caribbean ships are cashless, your SeaPass card is how you make purchases, gain access to designated areas of the ship and identify yourself to Royal Caribbean easily.

Each person on the ship (including kids) will receive a SeaPass card with their information stored in the account. At embarkation, you will put down a credit card (American Express, Optima, MasterCard, Visa, Discover and Diner's Club) to place against your purchases.  At the end of your cruise, all of your purchases are added up and charged to that credit card.

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

Once onboard your ship, you can use the SeaPass card to do things like

  • Get into your stateroom
  • Make onboard purchases
  • Check-in when returning back to the ship in ports
  • Accessing your onboard photos

Your SeaPass card is something to bring with you anywhere you go onboard or onshore. 

Making purchases

Using your SeaPass card to make purchases online is pretty simple and identical to using a credit card. Present your SeaPass card to a Royal Caribbean crew member and they will swipe it, provide you with a receipt to sign and that is about it.

A running tab of all your purchases will be kept under separate folio numbers for each guest and an itemized statement left in your stateroom the night before disembarkation.

Normally to activate this SeaPass account, most guests provide a credit card, (American Express, Optima, MasterCard, Visa, Discover and Diner's Club), to have these purchases charged to at the end of their cruise. Additionally, the SeaPass system may be activated with traveler's checks, debit cards with a Visa or MasterCard logo, or cash.

Onboard credit

Often, guests have onboard credit from a variety of channels. This onboard credit is effectively free money that is credited to your SeaPass account that will offset purchases made onboard.

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

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

Kids

Children receive a SeaPass card too and they are essentially no different from an adult account, although there can be differences if you would like.

Minors receive SeaPass cards that have a different design to easily identify them to any crew member. 

In addition, parents can opt to revoke charging privileges completely or give a daily limit.

The cost benefits of Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society onboard discounts

In:
29 Aug 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, the Crown and Anchor Society, provides guests with some great rewards for being, "loyal to Royal" and cruising again and again with the company.  The benefits have always been a compelling reason to continue cruising with Royal Caribbean, and great incentive to move up the ranks of the Crown and Anchor Society to enjoy the top-tier benefits available. Of the many Crown & Anchor benefits available to guests, one of the most popular are the onboard discounts that are pre-loaded onto each SeaPass account.

How lucrative are these Crown and Anchor discounts and how much money could they save you on your next sailing? These are the sort of questions you might be wondering too, so here is our cost benefits of the Crown and Anchor Society, broken down by each level.

In order to calculate these benefits into dollars and cents, we looked at the perks available to members before and during their cruise and tried our best to assign a monetary value based on what they offer. Some benefits are a bit too intangible to assign an exact amount to, but we estimated as fairly as possible.  In many cases, there are discounts that can very greatly depending on what you actually order (internet package discounts, spa treatment discounts, etc) and we did the best job to offer a median discount, or something close to average.  We did note in these situations what we picked to be clear. For any discounts related to specialty restaurants, we picked Giovanni's Table as our example because the price is the same across the fleet.

Please note all discounts listed were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting and these discounts can change at anytime.

Gold

  • Buy any wine, beer or soda by the glass and get a second free: $6.95 (beer)
  • Purchase any glass of wine, beer or soda and receive a 10% discount: $0.69
  • Buy one, get one free Johnny Rockets milkshake: $4.50
  • Receive 25% off any coffee beverage (not valid at Starbucks): $1.06
  • Buy a Bingo Package and get 1 free Jackpot Card: $6
  • Buy any internet package and receive 10% off your purchase: $12.59 (7-night 1 device Surf + Stream package)
  • Spend $25 or more on Royal Caribbean logo products and receive 10% off: $2.50
  • Buy one photo and receive 50% off discount on a second photo: $9.99
  • Get 10% off any one spa or salon service: $9.90 (60 minute Swedish massage)

Total average savings: $54.18

Platinum

  • Buy any wine, beer or soda by the glass and get a second free: $6.95 (beer)
  • Purchase any glass of wine, beer or soda and receive a 10% discount: $0.69
  • Buy one, get one free Johnny Rockets milkshake: $4.50
  • Buy any coffee beverage and get a second free: $4.25 (hot latte)
  • One complimentary non-alcoholic specialty coffee drink with the purchase of dinner in any specialty restaurant: $8 (coffees from Chops Grille)
  • Buy a Bingo Package and get 3 free Jackpot Card: $11
  • Buy any internet package and receive 15% off your purchase: $18.88 (7-night 1 device Surf + Stream package)
  • Two free Spin to Win at the Casino: $0 (Most likely prizes are trinkets of nearly zero value like keychains, and even then getting a "prize" is unlikely).
  • 20% off Casino tournament entrance fee (excluding Poker tournaments): $5 ($25 slot tournament)
  • Spend $25 or more on Royal Caribbean logo products and receive 10% off: $2.50
  • Buy one photo and receive 50% off discount on a second photo: $9.99
  • Get 15% off any one spa or salon service: $14.85 (60 minute Swedish massage)

Total average savings: $86.61

Emerald

  • Buy any wine, beer or soda by the glass and get a second free: $6.95 (beer)
  • Purchase any glass of wine, beer or soda and receive a 10% discount: $0.69
  • Buy one, get one free Johnny Rockets milkshake: $4.50
  • Buy any coffee beverage and get a second free: $4.25 (hot latte)
  • One complimentary non-alcoholic specialty coffee drink with the purchase of dinner in any specialty restaurant: $8 (coffees from Chops Grille)
  • Buy a Bingo Package and get 6 free Jackpot Card: $15
  • Three free Spin to Win at the Casino: $3 (We assume one wins a keychain with three spins, we'll give a $1 value).
  • 25% off Casino tournament entrance fee (excluding Poker tournaments): $6.25 ($25 slot tournament)
  • Buy any internet package and receive 15% off your purchase: $18.88 (7-night 1 device Surf + Stream package)
  • Spend $25 or more on Royal Caribbean logo products and receive 10% off: $2.50
  • Buy one photo and receive 50% off discount on a second photo: $9.99
  • Get 15% off any one spa or salon service: $14.85 (60 minute Swedish massage)
  • Receive $5 off a $30 bag of Wash and Fold Laundry on 5 or more nights: $5
  • $5 off any dry cleaning or pressing services of $25 or more: $5

Total average savings: $102.86

Diamond

  • Buy any wine, beer or soda by the glass and get a second free: $6.95 (beer)
  • Purchase any glass of wine, beer or soda and receive a 20% discount: $1.38
  • Buy one, get one free Johnny Rockets milkshake: $4.50
  • One complimentary non-alcoholic specialty coffee drink with the purchase of dinner in any specialty restaurant: $8 (coffees from Chops Grille)
  • Buy a Bingo Package and get 6 free Jackpot Card: $15
  • Three free Spin to Win at the Casino: $1 (We assume one wins a keychain with three spins, we'll give a $1 value).
  • 25% off Casino tournament entrance fee (excluding Poker tournaments): $6.25 ($25 slot tournament)
  • 1 free day of internet usage or $30 off any Internet purchase: $30
  • Spend $25 or more on Royal Caribbean logo products and receive 15% off: $3.75
  • Free any size photo of your choice from your existing printed photograph selection: $19.99
  • Get 10% off a digital photo package or photo book: $19.90 (All inclusive digital photo package)
  • Get 20% off any one spa or salon service: $19.80 (60 minute Swedish massage)
  • Receive $10 off a $30 bag of Wash and Fold Laundry on 5 or more nights: $10
  • Receive $10 off a $30 bag of Wash and Fold Laundry on 8 or more nights: $10
  • $5 off any dry cleaning or pressing services of $25 or more: $5
  • Stateroom phone discount of $2 per minute: $11.90 (assuming a two minute phone call)

Total average savings: $173.42

Diamond Plus

  • Buy any wine, beer or soda by the glass and get a second free: $6.95 (beer)
  • Purchase any glass of wine, beer or soda and receive a 25% discount: $1.73
  • Buy one, get one free Johnny Rockets milkshake: $4.50
  • One complimentary non-alcoholic specialty coffee drink with the purchase of dinner in any specialty restaurant: $8 (coffees from Chops Grille)
  • Purchase one cover charge in a Specialty Restaurant on the first or second night of your cruise and the second cover charge is free: $25 (Giovanni's Table)
  • Three free Spin to Win at the Casino: $1 (We assume one wins a keychain with three spins, we'll give a $1 value).
  • 30% off Casino tournament entrance fee (excluding Poker tournaments): $7.50 ($25 slot tournament)
  • Buy a Bingo Package and get 6 free Jackpot Card: $15
  • $39.98 discount off any Internet purchase: $39.98
  • Receive $10 off a $30 bag of Wash and Fold Laundry on 8 or more nights: $10
  • $5 off any dry cleaning or pressing services of $25 or more: $5
  • One free $30 wash and fog bag on 5 or more nights: $30
  • 20% off one tuxedo rental package: $17.80 (Traditional package)
  • Spend $25 or more on Royal Caribbean logo products and receive 15% off: $3.75
  • Free any size photo of your choice from your existing printed photograph selection: $19.99
  • Get 10% off a digital photo package or photo book: $19.90 (All inclusive digital photo package)
  • Get 20% off any one spa or salon service: $19.80 (60 minute Swedish massage)
  • Book a signature spa service while in port and receive a complimentary add on treatment: $25 (Frangipani Scalp Massage)
  • Stateroom phone discount of $2 per minute: $11.90 (assuming a two minute phone call)

Total average savings: $272.80

Pinnacle

  • Purchase one cover charge in a Specialty Restaurant on the first or second night of your cruise and the second cover charge is free: $25 (Giovanni's Table)
  • Buy any wine, beer or soda by the glass and get a second free: $6.95 (beer)
  • Purchase any glass of wine, beer or soda and receive a 25% discount: $1.73
  • One complimentary non-alcoholic specialty coffee drink with the purchase of dinner in any specialty restaurant: $8 (coffees from Chops Grille)
  • Three free Spin to Win at the Casino: $1 (We assume one wins a keychain with three spins, we'll give a $1 value).
  • 30% off Casino tournament entrance fee (excluding Poker tournaments): $7.50 ($25 slot tournament)
  • Buy a Bingo Package and get 6 free Jackpot Cards: $15
  • Free unlimited internet for the length of your voyage: $125.93 (7-night Voom Surf & Stream at $17.99 per day for one device)
  • Receive $10 off a $30 bag of Wash and Fold Laundry on 8 or more nights: $10
  • $5 off any dry cleaning or pressing services of $25 or more: $5
  • One free $30 wash and fog bag on 5 or more nights: $30
  • 20% off one tuxedo rental package: $17.80 (Traditional package)
  • Spend $25 or more on Royal Caribbean logo products and receive 15% off: $3.75
  • Free any size photo of your choice from your existing printed photograph selection: $19.99
  • Get 10% off a digital photo package or photo book: $19.90 (All inclusive digital photo package)
  • Get 20% off any one spa or salon service: $19.80 (60 minute Swedish massage)
  • Book a signature spa service while in port and receive a complimentary add on treatment: $25 (Frangipani Scalp Massage)
  • Stateroom phone discount of $2 per minute: $11.90 (assuming a two minute phone call)

Total average savings: $354.25

Conclusions

It should be noted that very few guests will ever use every single discount on a cruise. In fact, many discounts go rarely used by guests.  However, this blog post aimed to consider how much potential savings one can take advantage of, as well as the sheer number of discounts Royal Caribbean rewards its loyal customers with.

Not surprisingly, the potential savings jump the most when guests reach Diamond level.  The lucrative savings really add up in the top-tier levels, providing further incentive to return for another cruise.  There are plenty more benefits provided by Crown and Anchor Society that are arguably more important than those listed here.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 28, 2016

In:
28 Aug 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Thanks for joining us for another weekly look at all of the Royal Caribbean news from this week.  The late-summer heat is still on, and we have plenty of Royal Caribbean news to share from this week.

A tropical storm in the Atlantic caused three Royal Caribbean ships to change itineraries in order to avoid being impacted by the storm.

Royal Caribbean announced changes for Freedom of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Empress of the Seas that resulted in some variations to the pre-set plans.

The changes for each ship were made to ensure the safety of every guest and crew member aboard.  There have been no futher itinerary updates announced for other ships.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 160th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we talk with travel expert Dan Moore about Harmony of the Seas.

Harmony of the Seas is generating a lot of attention with all of its amazing features and Dan Moore recently sailed on her while in the Mediterranean.  Dan shared with us his the favorite aspects of the ship, as well as his tips for a great time.

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

Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds

If you are on a Royal Caribbean cruise and spot something cool, new or just fun, share a photo with us on Facebook or Twitter so we can add it to our Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds each Sunday!

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

My Travel Monkey shared a trip report from Independence of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean lists the reasons a balcony stateroom is the best choice for a room.

Cruise Hive is reporting 3 cruise ship passengers injured on an excursion.

Cruise Habit has a look at cruising during hurricane season.

Royal Caribbean shares a look at the Wayfinders on its ships.

Royal Caribbean's Boardwalk: Everything you need to know

In:
26 Aug 2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

One of the most endearing neighborhoods found on Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class cruise ships is the Boardwalk, which is reminiscent of the whimsical seaside resorts. Dedicated to family, fun and nostalgia, the Boardwalk neighborhood was inspired by both the seaside piers that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island.

The Boardwalk is one of seven seven distinct "neighborhoods" that help break up an Oasis class ship.  Located at the aft of the ship, the Boardwalk is a rather large area on the ship that offers lots of entertainment throughout the day and evening.

The area is well known for the dining and entertainment options, as well as view of the ocean.  Being at the rear of the ship, guests can catch a glimpse of the ocean, along with a show or something to eat. Boardwalk is an area for the entire family to enjoy together, whether young or just young at heart. The elements of the Boardwalk are a dynamic way to engage families in classic fun with a colorful original carousel as well as casual eateries, retail outlets and carnival games. 

There is plenty to see and do in the Boardwalk and here is a look at what you can look forward to on your next cruise.

Dining

Royal Caribbean offers some terrific dining options in the Boardwalk, including restaurants and bars.

These include

The various restaurants in the Boardwalk are inviting choices for lunch or dinner.  Johnny Rockets is open for breakfast (with no charge for breakfast), and as you stroll the Boardwalk, most of the options are perfect for dropping in for a bite to eat.  The Boardwalk features some of the best dining choices aboard any Royal Caribbean ship.

Staterooms

There are a number of staterooms that offer views of the Boardwalk neighborhood on Oasis-class ships, a feature that is unique to this class of cruise ship. 

On Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships, guests can reserve three types of staterooms that offer a view of the Boardwalk.

Boardwalk View Stateroom with Balcony

Balcony Boardwalk staterooms offer a sitting area (some with sofa bed), minibar and private balcony overlooking the amusements and exciting entertainment down on the Boardwalk.

Boardwalk balcony staterooms are 182 square feet in size, with a 52 square foot private balcony (on Oasis of the Seas, the balcony is 47 square feet).

These rooms are a very popular and attractively priced option. Depending on your stateroom location, there is the possibility of seeing the ocean and/or AquaTheater from the balcony.

Boardwalk View Stateroom

Similar to the Boardwalk View with Balcony rooms, the Boardwalk View rooms are like oceanview staterooms, but with a porthole instead of a balcony that overlooks the Boardwalk.  These rooms offer convenient access to the Boardwalk neighborhood.

The rooms are 187 square feet on Oasis of the Seas and 191 square feet on Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas in size. The rooms feature two twin beds that convert to Royal King, boardwalk view, sitting area, and a private bathroom.

Boardwalk View rooms will cost less than their balcony cousins, but still offer a way to see all the happenings on the Boardwalk.

AquaTheater Suite

One of the most luxurious stateroom options on Oasis-class ships are the AquaTheater suites, which offer the perfect vantage point for entertainment in the AquaTheater.  They also are immaculately furnished and feature private wrap-around balconies and more.

The appeal of these staterooms are the top-of-the-line experience, along with the fantastic views.  It goes without saying that a suite experience is the ultimate way to splurge and enjoy oneself on a cruise, and these AquaTheater suites are tough to beat.

AquaTheater suites range in size, but expect a room around 650-823 square feet in size, with a private balcony that is around 600-803 square feet in size.  Yes, this is a big room.

Entertainment

Like all areas of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Boardwalk offers many things to see and do as well.

The centerpiece of Boardwalk is a one-of-a-kind carousel. Handcrafted from poplar wood especially for Royal Caribbean, the full-sized, traditional carousel feature 18 figures suspended from stainless steel poles showcasing a time-honored menagerie of animals such as zebras, giraffes and lions, alongside a variety of hand-painted horses including a princess horse and a crowned frog prince.

The lead horse, customarily the fanciest horse of the carousel, is adorned with Royal Caribbean logos, while a single chariot serves as a stationary seat for two. The frame of the carousel has a red and golden yellow facade, turn-of-the-century artwork scenery panels, and LED lights that twinkle during the day and night.

Many shows will take place in the AquaTheater, which is a remarkable outdoor venue that features a backdrop of the ocean across the horizon. Guests will find a variety of shows during the day and a dazzling ocean front theater with water and light shows, and professional aquatic acrobatic and synchronized swimming performances by night. 

The AquaTheater is a distinct high diving, acrobatic performance space introduced by Royal Caribbean with the Oasis class of ships, that feature two 10-meter high platforms and the hydraulic-floored pool, the largest and deepest freshwater pool at sea, below will serve as podiums for high-diving, hair-raising aerobatics that AquaTheater audiences have come to love. With seating for 600 theatergoers, the AquaTheater features some of the very best entertainment found on any Royal Caribbean ship, and the diving shows are not to be missed. 

There are two rock climbing walls that flank the AquaTheater, with multiple climbing routes that offer the right kind of challenge for climbers of all levels.

The Boardwalk Arcade is another fun family option, where you can try your luck at ring toss, skeeball and other beloved carnival games.

Boardwalk Must-Dos

Of all the experiences available in the Boardwalk neighborhood, there are a few must-do activities we recommend all guests check out for themselves.

Take a ride on the Carousel

No cruise aboard an Oasis-class ship is complete without a ride (or three) on the Carousel.  Regardless of age, guests of all ages can enjoy the classic nature of this attraction.

Be sure to bring your camera, because there are bound to be terrific photo opportunities and ride during the evening and day to get completely different experiences.

AquaTheater shows

The evening AquaTheater diving and acrobatic shows are some of the best entertainment Royal Caribbean offers and should not be missed.  The shows are awe inspiring athletic and artistic masterpieces that features incredible diving performances.

There are three different shows featured in the evening across the Oasis-class ships.

  • Oasis of the Seas: Oasis of Dreams
  • Allure of the Seas: OceanAria
  • Harmony of the Seas: The Fine Line

Guacamole at Sabor

On three Oasis-class ships, Sabor is priced a la carte, and that means it is easy to drop in for arguably the best food on their menu, the guacamole.  

The guacamole at Sabor is authentic and incredibly tasty, and has been widely regarded by other Royal Caribbean fans as superior to most other guacamole they may have tried.  Enjoy a serving of guacamole and chips either in the restaurant or take it to go to enjoy elsewhere. Regardless, you will find the perfect snack on your cruise.

The Boardwalk is available on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

What do you enjoy about the Boardwalk? Share your thoughts in our comments!