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Cargo ship hits Mariner of the Seas while docked in Freeport

In:
20 Apr 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship was hit at a slow speed while the ship was docked today. 

Mariner of the Seas was docked in Freeport, Bahamas on Wednesday when a cargo vessel made contact with the ship.  

It appears the vessel that hit Mariner was the Tropic Freedom vessel.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog writer Allie Hubers was onboard Mariner at the time of the incident, and reported another vessel hit the stern of Mariner.

The Captain of Mariner of the Seas immediately made an announcement that everything is under control.

Ms. Hubers said the Captain told guests, "a boat bounced into us on our stern."

A Royal Caribbean International spokesperson confirmed the incident and that Mariner suffered only "minor damage", "Today, in Freeport, The Bahamas, a cargo vessel made contact with Mariner of the Seas while the ship was docked."

"No one was injured on board, and Mariner experienced minimal damage. The ship will continue on its itinerary as planned."

Ironically, Mariner of the Seas was in Freeport today after a last-minute itinerary change was announced yesterday. Guests were informed instead of a sea day, Mariner was going to visit Freeport so the ship could undergo maintenance. No word was shared what sort of maintenance work was necessary.

Not a collision

If you want to get technical, the impact to Mariner of the Seas was not a collision, but an allision.

Commander Don Goldstein, Retired United States Coast Guard, pointed out that based on the photos he has seen, because Mariner was moored when it was hit by the other vessel, it made for an allision.

"Only the Coast Guard investigators and lawyers use that word, but it mean a moving vessel his a stationary vessel, dock, etc."

Odyssey of the Seas vs. Wonder of the Seas

In:
20 Apr 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas are Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ships, but they each belong to a different class, with each ship offering its own set of amenities, dining options, and entertainment.

If you’re looking to book a cruise on the latest and greatest of Royal Caribbean’s ships, both Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas are sure to make for a wonderful cruise experience. Both ships fit over five thousand passengers, offer activities for all ages, have no shortage of restaurants and lounges, and visit exciting destinations in the Caribbean and Europe.

While the ships share many similar features, they differ in layout, size, and onboard offerings. Let’s take a look at how Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas compare.

Overview

Odyssey of the Seas is the 5th ship in Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class. She has a maximum capacity of 5,510 guests, length of 1,138 feet, width of 136 feet, and measures 167,704 in gross tonnage. Her maiden voyage was on July 31, 2021.

Wonder of the Seas is the 5th ship in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class and is currently the largest cruise ship in the world. She has a maximum capacity of 6,988 guests, length of 1,188 feet, width of 210 feet, and measures 236,857 in gross tonnage. Her maiden voyage was on March 4, 2022.

Layouts

As an Oasis Class ship, Wonder of the Seas is split into distinct neighborhoods. Because Oasis Class ships can accommodate so many guests, it’s important to have a ship layout designed to spread guests around the ship and avoid overcrowding in any one area.

These are the eight neighborhoods on Wonder of the Seas:

  • The Boardwalk, an outdoor area in the ship’s aft with a carousel, restaurants, an arcade, candy shop, the AquaTheater, and rock climbing
  • Central Park, an outdoor park in the middle of the ship filled with plants, flowers, restaurants, and retail venues
  • The Pool and Sports Zone, where guests can enjoy pools, whirlpools, waterslides, and sports activities
  • The Royal Promenade, the main thoroughfare on Wonder of the Seas with dining, shopping, bars, guest service areas, and more
  • Entertainment Place, home to the casino, ice skating rink, comedy club, and Royal Theater
  • Vitality Spa and Fitness, home to the ship’s wellness facilities
  • Youth Zone, the hub of Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Ocean programming
  • Suite Neighborhood, an enclave just for suite guests with a private lounge, restaurant, and sun deck

Odyssey of the Seas does not have the same neighborhood concept as the Oasis Class, but the ship’s layout can be categorized into a few distinct areas:

  • The Via, where guests can enjoy artwork, dining, shopping, Next Cruise, and Two70.
  • The Royal Esplanade, a two-story thoroughfare with dining, bars, lounges, shopping, and guest service areas
  • The Pool Deck, where guests will find pools, whirlpools, bars, and the North Star
  • The Sports/Seaplex, home to sports activities like indoor skydiving, bungee jumping, and bumper cars

Odyssey of the Seas is built more like a traditional cruise ship whereas Wonder of the Seas has a split-layout, where sections of the ship are split down the middle to allow for areas like Central Park and the Boardwalk.

Dining

As the newest ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, both Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas have a large variety of dining options onboard. The following dining venues can be found on either ship:

  • Main Dining Room
  • Windjammer Cafe
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Coastal Kitchen
  • Cafe Promenade
  • Sorrento’s
  • Chef’s Table
  • El Loco Fresh
  • Wonderland
  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
  • Izumi hibachi (teppanyaki) & sushi
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
  • Starbucks

As Wonder of the Seas is a bigger ship, there are a few more dining options to note that are not found on Odyssey of the Seas:

  • The Mason Jar, a southern-inspired restaurant featuring dishes from around the American south with both a brunch and dinner menu
  • Park Cafe, a complimentary grab-and-go option for breakfast sandwiches, bagels, pastries, soups, sandwiches, and salads
  • 150 Central Park, a more upscale venue focused on sourcing local ingredients. Menu highlights include the pumpkin bisque, roasted tenderloin, and fried cheesecake
  • Johnny Rockets, offering classic American fare including hamburgers and milkshakes
  • Boardwalk Dog House, serving up hot dogs, sausages, and bratwurst
  • Hooked Seafood, offering a taste of New England through diverse seafood options from clam & crab chowder to the Maine lobster roll

Cruising on Wonder of the Seas gives the opportunity to enjoy outdoor dining venues, with Park Cafe, Chops Grille, and Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen offering both indoor and outdoor seating. Odyssey of the Seas does not have any outdoor dining available aside from El Loco Fresh on the pool deck.

Odyssey of the Seas has a larger hibachi area than Wonder of the Seas, as Teppanyaki (hibachi) is located in a completely different venue than Izumi sushi. This can make getting hibachi reservations easier as there are six cooking stations as opposed to the three found on Wonder of the Seas.

The only dining venue on Odyssey of the Seas that is not found on Wonder of the Seas is Cafe @ Two 70. This is a complimentary grab-and-go restaurant open for breakfast and lunch. Cafe @ Two 70 serves similar food to Park Cafe on Wonder of the Seas, offering bagels, breakfast burritos, salads, soups, quesadillas, and more.

Bars & Lounges

Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas share the following bars and lounges:

  • Giovanni’s Wine Bar
  • The Lime & Coconut
  • English-style pub
  • Schooner Bar
  • Bionic Bar
  • Casino Bar
  • Playmakers
  • Music Hall
  • Boleros
  • Solarium Bar

There are several bars and lounges found on Wonder of the Seas and not Odyssey of the Seas:

  • The Mason Jar Bar, focusing on moonshine and whiskey drinks inspired by the American south
  • Trellis Bar, a small outdoor bar located in Central Park
  • Cantina Fresca, a colorful bar connected to El Loco Fresh on the sports deck, specializing in margaritas and aguas frescas
  • The Vue, a cantilevered bar in the forward area of the pool deck offering views of the ocean day and night
  • Wipe Out Bar, located at the aft of the ship on the sports deck
  • Rising Tide Bar, a bar moving up and down through the ship’s Royal Promenade and Central Park neighborhoods
  • Spotlight Karaoke, a karaoke venue and bar that also has private rooms to reserve
  • The Attic, a comedy club with a selection of comedians each cruise

Entertainment

Whether cruising on Odyssey of the Seas or Wonder of the Seas, guests will certainly not get bored, as each ship offers impressive entertainment options.

Both ships have signature entertainment in the Royal Theater as well as live music found throughout the ship at bars and lounges. As the two ships belong to different classes, though, additional entertainment venues differ.

Odyssey of the Seas is home to Two70, an entertainment venue found only on Quantum Class ships. Offering 270 degree views of the ocean from the ship’s aft, this large venue is a popular hangout spot during the cruise both day and night. Technology is a large aspect of shows at Two70, with robotic video screens and 12k projection mapping enhancing set design.

Odyssey of the Seas offers the following signature productions:

  • The Book (Two70)
  • The Effectors (Royal Theater)
  • Showgirls (Royal Theater)

Wonder of the Seas does not have Two70, but is home to Studio B and the AquaTheater.

Studio B is the ice skating rink onboard, featuring a talented cast of professional figure skaters from around the world. Studio B shows incorporate figure skating with projection mapping and tricks including backflips and aerial performances.

Unique to Oasis Class ships, the AquaTheater is where Royal Caribbean’s aquatic shows are performed. AquaTheater shows combine high diving, slacklining, acrobatics, aeralists, and synchronized swimming for a unique performance at sea.

Wonder of the Seas offers the following signature productions:

  • inTENse (AquaTheater)
  • Voices (Royal Theater)
  • The Effectors II: Crash ‘n’ Burn (Royal Theater)
  • 365: Seasons on Ice (Studio B)

Pool deck

The pool decks on Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas share many similarities with each other as they both follow Royal Caribbean’s new Caribbean pool deck design. Colorful seating and decor brings a tropical vibe to the pool deck, which also features the Lime & Coconut Bar and private casitas available to reserve.

Despite similar decor, though, the pool deck layout of an Oasis Class ship differs quite a bit compared to a Quantum Class ship. Wonder of the Seas has a split pool deck design, as the open-air Central Park neighborhood is in the middle of the ship.

There are three outdoor pools on the Wonder of the Seas pool deck and one Splashaway Bay. Odyssey of the Seas has two outdoor pools in addition to Splashaway Bay. Both ships have several jacuzzis on the pool deck and plenty of seating.

Wonder of the Seas has more pool deck seating options available than Odyssey of the Seas, as the ship features a movie screen viewing area complete with padded lounge chairs and benches.

Odyssey of the Seas, as a Quantum Class ship, does not have any water slides and most of the ship’s signature activities are located in the SeaPlex and sports deck area. Wonder of the Seas has the Perfect Storm slides: two racing slides and one champagne bowl slide.

The Solarium on either ship is large, fully enclosed, and more similar than different, offering a pool, several jacuzzis, Solarium bridge wings, comfy seating, and the Solarium Bistro.

Onboard activities 

Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas may offer different signature activities onboard, but both ships provide a wide range of fun for guests of all ages.

Odyssey of the Seas offers the following signature activities:

  • The North Star, an observation pod that rises 300 feet above sea level from the pool deck, offering 360 degree views of the ship, ocean, and ports
  • RipCord by iFLY, an indoor skydiving simulator
  • Zone Zero, a virtual reality zone in which guests walk through and interact with a virtual world
  • Sky Pad, a bungee jumping arena with an optional virtual reality feature
  • Bumper cars
  • Roller skating
  • Circus school

Many activities on Odyssey of the Seas are located within the SeaPlex, an indoor sports area with a court for sports like basketball and volleyball, an arcade, and the Playmakers Sports Bar. Signature activities like Zone Zero, bumper cars, roller skating, and circus school are found in the SeaPlex.

Most activities offered on Odyssey of the Seas are included in your cruise fare, although there are a few exceptions. Zone Zero comes at a cost of $18 per person. The North Star and RipCord by iFLY offer both complimentary and extra cost options. To score a complimentary time slot, be sure to reserve a time for the activity on the Royal Caribbean app as soon as you get onboard, as they can fill up quickly.

Wonder of the Seas offers the following signature activities:

  • The Ultimate Abyss, a dry slide taking guests from the sports deck to the Boardwalk neighborhood
  • The zipline, where guest fly nine decks above the Boardwalk neighborhood
  • A carousel
  • Wonder Playscape, an underwater-themed playground for children
  • Ice skating
  • Mini golf
  • Sports court (outdoors)
  • Water slides

All signature activities on Wonder of the Seas are included in your cruise fare. An escape room is set to be constructed but has not been built yet. 

Both ships offer one FlowRider surf simulator and rock climbing. Two rock climbing walls are found on Wonder of the Seas. In addition, both ships have the revamped Adventure Ocean programming, including a teens-only outdoor deck space.

Odyssey of the Seas itineraries

Odyssey of the Seas splits her time sailing from Ft. Lauderdale and Rome, offering cruises to the Caribbean and southern Mediterranean. She sails from Rome between May and October.

Itinerary highlights for Odyssey of the Seas include:

  • 7-night Eastern Caribbean Holiday cruise visiting St. Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee
  • 6-night Mexico & Perfect Day cruise visiting Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Perfect Day at CocoCay
  • 6-night Greek Isles cruise visiting Santorini, Mykonos, and Naples
  • 12-night Holy Land cruise visiting Limassol, Jerusalem, Haifa, Ephesus (Kusadasi), Athens, and Naples

Wonder of the Seas itineraries

Wonder of the Seas will be homeported in Port Canaveral, Florida starting in November, offering primarily 7-night Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises. During the summer of 2022, Wonder of the Seas is sailing 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises departing from Barcelona and Rome.

Itinerary highlights for Wonder of the Seas include:

  • 7-night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day cruise visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten
  • 7-night Western Caribbean & Perfect Day cruise visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay, Cozumel, Roatan, and Puerto Costa Maya
  • 7-night Western Caribbean cruise visiting Rome, Naples, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Marseille, and Florence

Transatlantic cruises are offered on both ships when sailing to and from Europe.

Staterooms

Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas both offer a wide range of stateroom choices, from the most basic interior cabins to lavish loft suites.

As Quantum and Oasis Class ships, both ships offer the Royal Suite Class, which offers an upgraded suite experience for guests. From suite lounge access to exclusive dining at Coastal Kitchen, staying in a suite offers a fantastic cruise experience on either ship.

Wonder of the Seas has a few stateroom categories not available on Odyssey of the Seas, though. As the ship has a split middle section, balcony rooms are available in the Central Park and Boardwalk neighborhoods which look down into their respective neighborhoods. Boardwalk view rooms have a partial ocean view whereas Central Park rooms do not.

Wonder of the Seas also has the Ultimate Family Suite, which features an in-suite slide, jacuzzi, movie/game room, interactive piano staircase, and more.

As Quantum and Oasis Class ships, both ships offer the Royal Suite Class, which offers an upgraded suite experience for guests. From suite lounge access to exclusive dining at Coastal Kitchen and a private sun deck, staying in a suite offers a fantastic cruise experience on either ship.

Wonder of the Seas has the separated Suite Neighborhood onboard, which features Coastal Kitchen, the Suite Lounge, and a private deck with a plunge pool, comfy lounges, and a private bar.

Which ship should I choose?

As the newest ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, you’re guaranteed to have a top-notch cruising experience whether you choose Odyssey of the Seas or Wonder of the Seas. The ships offer many of the same dining venues, lounges, and onboard experiences.

The layout of Oasis Class ships offer a totally different feel to a cruise when compared to other ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet. From relaxing with a book in Central Park or hanging out at Playmakers with a sea breeze on the Boardwalk, many cruisers prefer the size of an Oasis Class ship.

Wonder of the Seas offers an unparalleled amount of dining venues and onboard activities, offering some of Royal Caribbean's most kid-friendly activities like mini golf, water slides, ice skating, the Ultimate Abyss, and the zipline. 

Odyssey of the Seas has more of a traditional cruise ship build, as there is no split section in the middle of the ship. Odyssey of the Seas may not be as large as Wonder of the Seas, but some cruisers find they prefer the feel of a Quantum Class ship over Oasis Class.

And while there are fewer entertainment venues on Odyssey of the Seas when compared to Wonder of the Seas, there is certainly no shortage of onboard entertainment. Plus, Odyssey of the Seas has several features not found on Oasis Class ships like bumper cars, the North Star, and RipCord by iFLY, which make for interesting onboard activities for guests of all ages.

Ultimately, both Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas will offer an unforgettable cruise experience, allowing you to enjoy all of Royal Caribbean's newest amenities, dining, and entertainment.

We recommend watching full ship tours of Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas before making your decision, as seeing a full video of the ship can help you decide which ship will work best for your cruise vacation.

Royal Caribbean has spent the second most on TV travel advertising so far this year

In:
20 Apr 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

If you've noticed a Royal Caribbean television commercial lately, you're likely not alone.

Rise to the Vacation television ad

Royal Caribbean has been aggressive in its TV ad spend so far this year. In fact, it has spent the second most money on TV advertising in the first quarter.

According to TV analytics firm iSpot.tv, Royal Caribbean spent $33.5 million so far in 2022, which is behind on Delta Airlines' $70.4 million advertising budget.

With the entire travel industry emerging from the depths of the pandemic, it's no surprise Royal Caribbean wants to get the message back out to the public that vacations on cruise ships are back.

Rise To The Vacation

Royal Caribbean's advertising campaign is titled, "Rise To The Vacation - The Year of Yes", which is a message that aims to remind people now is the time to book a vacation after two years of thinking otherwise.

This particular campaign cost the cruise line $26.3 million and has a central theme of encouraging people to come back to travel again. They spent almost twice as much this quarter as their $16.6 million spending in the first quarter of 2019. 

Odyssey pool deck couple

The commercial uses American singer Lizzo’s pop song “Worship,” to show off the fun things you can do onboard Royal Caribbean's cruise ship, and at its private destination in The Bahamas of Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have paid big bucks to advertise their vacation options. Celebrity also has a tv commercial, ‘Journey Safe, Journey WonderFULL’, which has been the line's largest-ever global advertising campaign.

More prominent commercials

Child on pool deck

Royal Caribbean's ad spend has not gone unnoticed.

Based on comments from cruise fans on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards, the increase in advertising is catching the eye of many.

smokeybandit wrote how he is seeing many more cruise line ads than normal, "I swear I see them all the time of late, across all the major lines that primarily serve the US."

EmptyNestTravels not only likes the commercials, but thinks its good for the industry, "I've noticed mostly the the Royal Caribbean “Come & Seek” commercials."

"Maybe tailored to my interests, but nice to see them and a positive image of the cruise industry in media for a change."

Mariner of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation

In:
20 Apr 2022
By: 
Allie Hubers

Reporting live from Mariner of the Seas! It’s the first day of our 4-night sailing from Port Canaveral to Nassau, Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay. The first day is always filled with so much excitement and anticipation.

As we drove up to the port, we could see both Mariner and Anthem of the Seas in the distance. Busy day in port for a Tuesday!

Our boarding time was 1:30 this afternoon. Upon arrival, the parking lot appeared to be more full than our last cruise from Port Canaveral onboard Harmony of the Seas in late February.

We were prompted to park in an open lot that was a bit further than the parking ramp that we had previously parked in. It was $85 to park for the duration of the cruise.

Checking In

After showing our negative covid test and vaccine card, we walked inside the terminal to go through security.

I was curious to see if we could ditch our masks during the check-in process, as last night the news broke about the CDC’s mask mandate being overturned. As such, all of the airlines dropped their masking requirements but I had yet to read any news about cruise travel being impacted.

We were almost immediately prompted to put on our masks while showing our travel documents outside the terminal, so that question was quickly answered. 

Signs indoors also instructed cruise passengers that masks were required in the terminal. Masks are currently optional onboard, but the vast majority of passengers are not wearing them.

Check-in was a breeze, and we were on our way to board the ship!

Stateroom Impressions

By the time we boarded, it was almost 2:00 PM and the staterooms were ready. This was great news, as we opted to carry on our luggage for this short cruise rather than giving our bags to the porters.

Since we booked an inside guarantee cabin, our stateroom was assigned right before the cruise departed. We will be staying in cabin 8371, which is located at the very back of the ship. We found our stateroom, unloaded our luggage and spent some time getting settled.

This inside cabin oozes with nostalgia for us. As a family, we cruised many times onboard Voyager Class ships for nearly a decade, so this cabin truly feels like home. These ships brought our family everywhere from Canada to Greece and around the Caribbean multiple times. Recent cruises for us have been on newer ships, which certainly have more modern cabins with updated interior designs.

This cabin has everything we need to be comfortable though; in fact, it feels a bit roomier than our inside cabin onboard Harmony of the Seas a couple months ago.

Angie and I didn’t pack too much for this cruise since it’s only 4 nights, but there’s plenty of space and storage. We barely filled up the closet with our clothes, so I don’t think we would need a bigger stateroom for the two of us even if we were cruising on a longer voyage.

It was quite windy today when we boarded the ship, so we were worried about whether our cabin location would make us feel the swaying of the ship more intently. We usually prioritize a midship cabin to limit motion, but we didn't want to pay extra to choose our cabin. Luckily, we haven’t felt the seas being rough, but I will keep you updated if my opinions change on that.

Itinerary Change

For the first time in all my cruising years, our sailing has a last minute itinerary change! Of course, this has become more common with the pandemic, but we were surprised to find an updated itinerary in our cabin.

Instead of having a sea day tomorrow, we will be docking in Grand Bahama Island. The letter stated that Mariner of the Seas needs to have some “regularly scheduled ship maintenance,” so this is a logistical stop, but we are able to get off the ship or book excursions if we choose.  

This is interesting for a few reasons, as the change appears to be pretty last minute. Regularly scheduled ship maintenance is necessary I am sure, but I figured these logistical needs were built into the itinerary or performed on the ship’s turnover day in Port Canaveral. I’ve inquired about the maintenance to multiple crew members. They’ve all been surprised to learn of the itinerary change themselves, so I haven't uncovered the need for the maintenance. 

Needless to say, we are excited to explore a new port! Neither of us have visited Freeport, Bahamas so we plan to explore the port on our own.

Getting Acquainted

After settling into our cabin, we finished our virtual muster drill safety requirements. I hope Royal Caribbean keeps the virtual muster drill forever, as it’s infinitely better than the traditional drill where everyone crams together on deck 4 and ‘learns’ how to put on the life jacket.

As with any cruise, we couldn’t go more than a few hours without eating so we grabbed a quick lunch at Cafe Promenade. Angie and I both enjoyed our sandwiches. She also tried the cheese pizza and felt it was equivalent to Sorrento’s pizza, which is her go-to lunch option when cruising.

I noticed immediately while sitting inside the cafe that the ship felt much busier than the last few times I’ve cruised. We didn’t have any issues finding a seat or waiting in a long line to get food, but the overall atmosphere felt more crowded.

The Bamboo Room

One of the things I was eager to try is The Bamboo Room, which is a tiki bar located in the promenade. Bright neon lights and greenery made this tropical venue easy to find. The bar had a very fun and inviting ambiance adorned with more neon lights, wicker lampshades, teal booths and floral wallpaper.

The bar was fairly busy, which was fine for us as we looked over the extensive cocktail menu. Specialty drinks seemed to included a multitude of rum and other liquors. There were so many quirky cocktails that we had a hard time choosing which ones to try!

I tried the ‘On the Run’ cocktail while Angie tried a classic piña colada. Mine was served in a Bamboo Room plastic bag, which was a fun twist on the traditional cocktail glass! The cocktail was priced at $14, so I had to pay the extra $1 since my Diamond + drink coupons only cover up to $13 per drink. The up-charge was well worth it! We both loved our drinks and definitely enjoyed the island vibes.

One of my favorite parts of cruising is getting to talk to the crew members and asking about their families or home country. The Bamboo Room bartender was very chatty with Angie and I while fixing our drinks. When I asked where he was from, he responded he was from Ukraine. I asked if he had family back in his home country, to which he said yes he did. He briefly mentioned that his family is in a safer area, but it certainly made my heart heavy for him. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for him to be so far from his family during this time. We told him we would be back to The Bamboo Room to try more drinks; but I also added I would be thinking of his family and sending prayers for their safety. He was genuinely grateful and said he looked forward to seeing us again.

Sail Away

Our ship was scheduled to depart Port Canaveral around 4:00 PM, so we had to check out the pool deck for the sail away party. Did you even cruise if you don’t wave goodbye to the port from the top deck?!

The pool deck was turnt-up with a DJ busting out some very classic, upbeat party tunes. There were lots of cruisers dancing with a drink in hand. The pools were pretty busy with kids swimming and also enjoying the fun atmosphere.

Again, it was much busier than the previous cruises I’ve done; granted, my last 2 cruises were sailing at 25% and 50% capacity. I noticed a small line coming from both the pool bar and Solarium bar. Because this cruise was so cheap and booked last minute, I assumed the ship would be sailing with a lower capacity as well.

According to the crew, we are sailing with 3,500 passengers, which is just below sailing capacity.

We’re also sailing at the tail end of spring break following the Easter holiday, so there are tons of families and college kids onboard. Normally, I feel like Angie and I are some of the youngest cruisers onboard - especially as we’ve been sailing on longer voyages to more unique destinations in recent years. What a change of pace!

These short getaway cruises attract an entirely different cruising population and the atmosphere feels much more party-like. Even the Solarium felt more lively than normal during sail away.

Angie and I both commented on the Solarium’s noticeable upgrades to feel more trendy and modern. There were multiple canopy beds intertwined with the lounge chairs and a greenery backdrop. These canopy beds looked super comfortable, so we are hoping to snag one during this cruise if we can.

As the ship sailed out to sea, we realized it was almost time for dinner. Time flies when you're having tiki drinks and head bopping to The Electric Slide. 

Our normal routine while cruising includes a quick visit to the Diamond Lounge before heading to dinner, so we made our way up to Deck 14 to check it out.

The Diamond Lounge had a small selection of hors d'oeuvres with limited seating, but felt like it was pretty busy. We normally prefer when the lounge has a more intimate experience and you can get to know the staff and other cruisers.

Since we can use our Diamond Plus drinks at any bar now, Angie and I opted to just grab a cocktail before heading to Chops Grille.

Dinner at Chops Grille

Because this cruise was so cheap, we were able to treat ourselves and spend a little extra to enjoy a more upscale dinner at Chops Grille.

We took advantage of the pre-cruise deal for Chops + 1, which was on sale last week when planning our cruise. This dining package allows us to enjoy Chops and another specialty restaurant during our cruise.

Growing up, we never ate at the specialty restaurants onboard. Our parents always said we had already paid for food in the main dining room with our cruise fare, and we were very satisfied with the food and service we received when cruising. As cheap college students, my husband and I also found the main dining room to offer a very nice dinner experience each night and never felt we needed to spend extra for food.

Within the last 5 years, we’ve all grown to appreciate the specialty dining experience while cruising. We normally choose to go when the main dining room has a lackluster menu or we want to switch up the nightly routine. The BOGO deal for Diamond + cruisers is also a nice perk that makes specialty dining more affordable.

Tonight, our Chops Grille dinner started with a warm plate of bread, which included pretzel rolls and onion buns. We both ordered the bacon starter, which is a thick cut of pork with a light drizzle of sweet & spicy glaze. For the next course, I ordered the fried goat cheese salad and Angie tried the wild mushroom soup. Both were excellent.

For the main course, I ordered the petite filet mignon and Angie ordered the roasted chicken. A steakhouse isn’t exactly the best place for Angie since she doesn’t like beef, but she has always loved the chicken entree.

My steak was very tender and flavorful. We love most of the sides, so we ordered mashed potatoes, asparagus, giant guerre tots and Mac and cheese. The tots are our absolute favorite!

Dessert is also a highlight for us, so Angie and I ordered 3 different ones to try: key lime pie, warm chocolate cake and cheesecake. The warm chocolate cake was the winner, with its ooey gooey molten center, followed by the key lime pie. The cheesecake didn’t do it for me, which was the only disappointing part of the meal - but we certainly didn’t leave hungry.

Ice Show

We ended our evening with the ice show, which was called Ice Under the Big Top. We love the ice shows, and this one did not disappoint! We scurried our full bellies from Chops down to Studio B for the ice show and arrived with just a few minutes to spare; unfortunately, this means we got stuck behind a giant pole because the venue was packed.

There was no main headliner or welcome abroad show in the Royal Theatre tonight, which was interesting. Instead, they were playing a movie, Sing 2. This didn’t appeal to me or Angie, although I am sure some of the families enjoyed.

The ice show was circus themed with some elaborate, dazzling costumes. It was certainly a show that anyone would enjoy, with some segments catered more towards kids and others simply showcasing the incredible skating skills of the performers. The littlest cruisers were very interactive with the cast members, often cheering and dancing in their seat.

You probably won't have to wear a mask in cruise ship terminals anymore

In:
19 Apr 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

It looks as though cruise ship terminals will not require passengers to wear a face mask.

Following a federal judge's decision to overturn the federal mask mandate in transportation hubs on Monday, the cruise industry has been wondering if the mask requirement would be rescinded.

Almost immediately airlines and some airports began informing the public masks were no longer required, but cruise ports remained quiet.

Late on Tuesday, the United States Coast Guard issued an update to its Requirements in the Maritime Transportation System to indicate they will no longer enforce the mandate following the judicial ruling.

"On April 18, 2022, the US District Court, Middle District of Florida, vacated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate for mask wear in airports, train stations, and other transportation hubs as well as on airplanes, buses, trains, and most other public conveyances in the United States, including vessels."

Per this ruling, the CDC has declared that the mandate is no longer in effect. Federal agencies are reviewing the court’s decision. In the interim the Coast Guard will not enforce the directives requiring mask use on public transportation and in transportation hubs."

The Coast Guard had been responsible for implementing the mask requirement, similar to how the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was responsible for enforcing it in airports.

In addition to the Coast Guard update, the CDC also updated its website to indicate the mask requirement is no longer in effect, "As a result of a court order, effective immediately and as of April 18, 2022, CDC’s January 29, 2021 Order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect.

"Therefore, CDC will not enforce the Order. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time."

Royal Caribbean removed face masks as a requirement while onboard and indoors on its ships back in February 2022.

What it's like to go on a cruise with the less strict Covid-19 protocols | Royal Caribbean Blog

Since Royal Caribbean made that change, masks were only mandatory for all guests while in the cruise ship terminal immediately before or after a cruise.

With this change, masks will be optional to wear in the cruise terminal.

What will the cruise ports do?

Odyssey of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation | Royal Caribbean Blog

So far, only one port has officially said masks are not required indoors.

Flynn Cruiseport Boston issued a statement on social media that masks are optional.

Prior to the Coast Guard's update, Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida issued this statement, "Our intention at Port Everglades is to allow the cruise lines to take the lead on instituting and maintaining their own safety policies in the cruise terminals and on their ships."

Guests that boarded Mariner of the Seas on Tuesday from Port Canaveral still had to wear a mask during the boarding process.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog writer Allie Hubers shared a photo that the mask rule was still being enforced. Her report came in hours before the Coast Guard update.

Royal Caribbean announces health protocols for UK cruises

In:
19 Apr 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has shared the health protocols for summer 2022 cruises out of Southampton.

The newly released protocols apply to ships sailing from Southampton, England through May 31, 2022.

Keep in mind these protocols are subject to change.

Here's a look at what Royal Caribbean has planned for protocols.

Vaccine & booster requirement

All guests 12 years and older must be fully vaccinated, having received their final dose no less than 14 days prior to sailing.

Additionally, for the purpose of these sailings from Southampton, to be considered up-to-date, guests must have received all doses in their vaccine series and have received their booster if the second vaccine was administered over 270 days (9 months) ago.

Children aged 5 to 11 years are not required to be vaccinated.

Royal Caribbean will not accept a Certificate of Recovery in the place of a vaccination record.

All crew onboard the ship and at our private destinations are fully vaccinated and receive a booster dose as they become eligible.

Entry into the UK

London

Guests traveling into England do not have any entry requirements at this time. This applies whether you are vaccinated or not. 

Royal Caribbean advises guests traveling into England from another country to look into any requirements of their own home country may have for exiting or re-entering its borders.

Testing

Anthem of the Seas docked in Southampton

Pre-cruise

Guests who are up-to-date with their vaccines will be required to present a negative test result for a COVID-19 test taken no more than 2 days before sailing.

Guests 2 years and older who are not up-to-date with their vaccines, or who are unvaccinated, will be required to present a negative test result for a COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before sailing. 

The test must be conducted at a certified testing location or supervised by a healthcare telemedicine professional.

Onboard

Depending on the itinerary, guests 12 years and older who are considered unvaccinated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or who are not up-to-date with their vaccines will require additional testing during UK sailings.

This test is at the guest's expense if they are ages 12 years and up and considered unvaccinated or if they are not up-to-date at the price of $55 USD per test.

Guests under 2 years of age will not be tested. 

Return home

Guests may be required to complete testing before flying home at their own expense. 

  • Guests can take advantage of testing offered via ExpressTest at Heathrow and Gatwick airports by registering ahead of time here
  • Some local testing options include The Regenerative Clinic or Randox Health. 
  • Vaccinated North American guests can travel with tele-health testing kits such as eMed for U.S. guests and Switch Health tests for Canadian guests.

Shore Excursion

Fully vaccinated guests and unvaccinated kids can visit ports of call freely.

Additional testing requirements may exist in some countries for guests who are unvaccinated.

For sailings visiting France, guests who are from an Orange List country will not be allowed to visit the port, per French government regulations. Learn which countries are on the Orange List

Masks

Masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests.

Unvaccinated children are expected to continue wearing masks indoors and in crowded settings.

Masks will be required in Adventure Ocean, in the cruise terminal, and may be required at various destinations.

Guests under 2 years do not have to wear a mask at any time.

Full protocols

Royal Caribbean offering up to 35% off Cruise Planner purchases this week

In:
19 Apr 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering a discount on cruise add-ons, such as drink packages, shore excursions and more, with its new sale.

Cantilevered hot tub on Freedom of the Seas

The newest cruise planner sale runs between April 19, 2022 - April 26, 2022 and is valid on sailings from April 23, 2022 - December 31, 2022.

Here is what is included during the sale:

Beverage: Up to 40% off

  • Classic Soda Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship.
  • Classic Soda Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Over 25% off onboard prices.
  • Spring Water Cans: 40% off onboard prices.
  • San Benedetto Water Cans: 40% off onboard prices.
  • Evian Water Bottles: 40% off onboard prices.
  • Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship.
  • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Over 30% off onboard prices.
  • Refreshment Package: Discount varies by ship. 
Floating cabanas

Shore Excursions: Up to 25% off

  • Shore Excursions: Discount varies by ship.

Internet: Up to 50% Off

  • VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship
  • VOOM Surf Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship.
  • The Key: Discount varies by ship
Friends at Lime and Coconut bar

Dining: Up to 55% Off

  • Unlimited Dining Package on 3N – 9N sailings: Discount varies by ship.

Gifts & Gear: Up to 20% Off

  • Anniversary Decorations with Champagne
  • Happy Birthday Decorations with Chocolate Cake & Strawberries
  • Happy Birthday Decorations with Vanilla Cake & Strawberries
  • 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

Photo Packages: Up to 70% Off

  • Photo Packages: From 5 - 100 Print and/or Digital Options: Discount varies by ship.
  • Photo Package: Private Photo Session: Discount varies by ship.
  • Photo Package: All Digital: Discount varies by ship.

Casitas: Up to 20% Off

  • Casita Packages: 20% Off Onboard Prices.

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

Guide to cruises from Fort Lauderdale

In:
18 Apr 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Fort Lauderdale is one of Royal Caribbean’s busiest ports, home to some of the fleet’s most popular ships. Due to its proximity to the Caribbean, cruises from Fort Lauderdale visit many of the region’s most popular destinations in the Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean, including Mexico, Aruba, and the Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean sails year round from Fort Lauderdale’s port, which is known as Port Everglades. From choosing an airport to booking parking and hotels, here is what you need to know before cruising out of Port Everglades on Royal Caribbean.

How to get to the Fort Lauderdale cruise port

Port Everglades is conveniently located just 5 miles from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and 4 miles from downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The address of Port Everglades is 1850 Eller Drive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316.

Royal Caribbean ships primarily use terminal 18 at Port Everglades, although ships may dock at a different terminal if terminal 18 is in use. Passengers should follow the port’s digital signage upon arrival to guide them to the correct terminal.

Flying to Fort Lauderdale cruise port

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Flying into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is the most convenient option for those flying to Florida before their cruise. With over 130 flights to domestic and international destinations, Fort Lauderdale’s airport has plenty of direct flights to choose from.

As the airport is located so close to the port, it is recommended to take a taxi or use a rideshare service to Port Everglades, which usually comes at a cost of $12-20. The drive from the airport to port should only take around 10 or 15 minutes.

However, one of our greatest tips at Royal Caribbean Blog is to fly to your cruise departure port the night before your cruise to ensure you don’t encounter any delays that could make you miss your vacation. There are many hotels to choose from located near Fort Lauderdale’s airport, making transportation from airport to hotel and hotel to port a breeze.

Related: Why you shouldn’t fly to your cruise the same day it begins

Miami International Airport

Alternatively, passengers can choose to fly out of the Miami International Airport (MIA). The Miami International Airport is around 29 miles away from Port Everglades. Driving time from Miami to Fort Lauderdale will take around 45 minutes, although it is important to leave wiggle room for traffic. Taxis and rideshare services are available from Miami to Port Everglades, and may cost between $50-70 each way.

It’s recommended to fly into Fort Lauderdale over Miami as travel time is shorter from the airport to Port Everglades. If your flight options are much better to Miami over Fort Lauderdale, though, flying into Miami may be a better option. If this is the case, be sure to leave extra time on your cruise embarkation and disembarkation days to ensure you arrive at the port and airport with plenty of time to spare.

What time should I schedule my flight home after my cruise from Fort Lauderdale?

When booking your flight home after a cruise, it’s crucial to make sure you do not book your return flight too early on disembarkation day, as you don’t want to risk missing your flight home.

We recommend booking a flight home no earlier than 11:30AM for flights out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and 12:30PM for flights out of Miami International Airport.

While you may be able to arrive at the airport in Fort Lauderdale by 8:30-9:30AM on disembarkation day, it’s always a good idea to leave extra wiggle room in case of any unexpected problems. Waiting at the airport for an hour or two longer than needed is a much better option than accidentally missing your flight home!

Royal Caribbean shuttle service from airport to port

Shuttle services are offered from the airport to port (and vice versa), which can be booked directly with Royal Caribbean or through an outside provider, such as the Fort Lauderdale Airport Shuttle.

We recommend a rideshare service or taxi over a shuttle bus, though, especially in Fort Lauderdale, as the port is extremely close to the airport. Not only do prices of taxis and rideshares tend to be quite low from Port Everglades to the Fort Lauderdale airport, but you will not have to wait for a shuttle bus to fill up before leaving.

Parking at Port Everglades

Those driving to the Fort Lauderdale cruise port have a few options when it comes to parking, all with varying price points. Because Port Everglades is located so close to Fort Lauderdale’s airport, there are many parking lots available to choose from. Passengers should expect to spend between $56 and $115 when parking for a 7-night cruise.

On-site parking is available at Port Everglades, with pricing at $15 USD per day for regular-sized vehicles and $19 for oversized vehicles. To park at Port Everglades, passengers should first drop off their bags with the porters at the terminal and then proceed to the terminal’s parking garage. This is the most convenient option due to its proximity to your cruise ship.

Off-site parking will be a bit cheaper, with prices around $6-10 dollars per day, and include a shuttle service to and from the parking lot to the port. Generally, the closer a parking lot is to the terminal, the more expensive the daily parking fee will be.

These are some of the best off-site parking options while cruising out of Fort Lauderdale:

Where to stay the night before your cruise in Fort Lauderdale

It’s highly recommended to fly in the day before your cruise departs, so booking a hotel is an important part of the planning process when cruising from Fort Lauderdale.

If your flight arrives late in the evening on the night before your cruise, it is easiest to stay near the airport. As you will likely arrive tired from a late flight, staying in an exciting neighborhood isn’t totally necessary. Dania Beach and Edgewood are two Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods close to the airport and Port Everglades, each with a variety of hotel options.

If your flight arrives earlier in the day, however, you may wish to stay closer to downtown Fort Lauderdale or the beach. This gives you time to explore the area and enjoy the city’s highlights before your cruise. Las Olas Boulevard is the main walkable street in Fort Lauderdale, offering plenty of shopping, restaurants, and bars. The street runs west to east from downtown Fort Lauderdale to the beach, with no shortage of hotel and resort options.

Royal Caribbean Blog readers shared the following recommended hotel options in Fort Lauderdale on our message boards:

If you plan to stay in Miami the night before your cruise, here are a few recommended options:

Some hotels will offer shuttle service to the terminal on embarkation day, but we recommend taking a taxi or rideshare service instead, as you’ll have complete flexibility on the time you travel to the terminal from your hotel.

Which Royal Caribbean ships sail from Fort Lauderdale/Port Everglades

Many ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet sail from Fort Lauderdale, whether they are homeported at Port Everglades or offering just a few sailings.

Odyssey of the Seas, the newest Quantum Class ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, is homeported in Fort Lauderdale for most of the year, excluding the Mediterranean cruises she offers during the summer. Odyssey of the Seas offers Western, Eastern, and Southern Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, visiting destinations such as Labadee, Curacao, Falmouth, and George Town (Grand Cayman).

Symphony of the Seas will begin sailing from Fort Lauderdale in November 2022, offering 6-night Western Caribbean cruises and 8-night Southern Caribbean cruises, visiting Labadee, Falmouth, Nassau, Aruba, and Curacao.

Related: Symphony of the Seas Guide & Review

Liberty of the Seas will be the ship of choice for those looking for short cruises from Fort Lauderdale. Starting in November 2022, she will offer primarily 3 and 4-night Bahamas cruises, visiting Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Harmony of the Seas will offer several cruises out of Fort Lauderdale from November 2022 - March 2023 prior to being homeported in Miami. She will offer 5, 6, 7, and 8-night Caribbean cruises, visiting destinations such as St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Puerto Plata, San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, and Labadee.

Allure of the Seas cruises out of Fort Lauderdale, offering 6, 7, and 8-night cruises to the Western, Eastern, and Southern Caribbean. Ports of call include Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Labadee, Aruba, Curacao, San Juan, St. Maarten, Nassau, and St. Thomas.

Vision of the Seas makes a great choice for those passengers wanting to visit lesser-known destinations. She sails from Fort Lauderdale to exciting ports such as Puerto Limon (Costa Rica), Colón (Panama), Cartagena, Bonaire, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua, and Aruba.

Other Royal Caribbean ships may occasionally offer a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale. Rhapsody of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas, for example, currently offer just one sailing each departing from Fort Lauderdale, with Rhapsody offering a 3-night Bahamas cruise and Enchantment a 14-night Panama Canal cruise.

More cruise ship port guides:

Live Blog Preview: Mariner of the Seas

In:
18 Apr 2022
By: 
Allie Hubers

It’s that time again to pack my suitcase, find some sunscreen and swab my nose for a negative covid test! My next Royal Caribbean adventure begins on April 19 when I’ll be boarding Mariner of the Seas for a 4-night Bahamas sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida. 

Each day, I will be live blogging my cruise to share our experience onboard Mariner of the Seas! I am very excited to share my cruise experience with y'all.

Our itinerary includes one sea day and stops at both Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas. Nothing like a short and sweet cruise to break up a normal work week!

This cruise was actually very cheap for an inside guarantee cabin, costing us just $62 a night. Since I live in northern Florida, the trek down to Port Canaveral is well worth the drive for this quick getaway cruise.

We've already been assigned our cabin, which is located near the back of the ship according to deck plans. Since it's a short cruise, I'm not too concerned about the cabin location.

We booked this cruise only 2 weeks ago, making this officially a ‘last minute cruise deal’ in my book. I've never booked a cruise this close to departure, but I love the feeling of being more spontaneous than I typically am in life.

My normal cruise buddy (my husband) is currently deployed, so I will be cruising with my sister. We are looking forward to having a sister cruise, something we’ve never actually done before in all of our years of cruising together as a family. 

Fond Memories

I am super excited to be sailing on Mariner of the Seas. The first time I sailed on Mariner of the Seas was 16 years ago in 2006 with my family; in fact, that was one of my first Royal Caribbean cruises. Mariner of the Seas was a shiny new ship back in 2006 and I remember being in awe of our cruise ship having an ice skating rink!

The most recent time I sailed onboard Mariner of the Seas was in January 2017 with my (now) husband back when we were in college. With a full month off during our J-term, we were so excited to sail around Asia and experience an entirely new part of the world together.

We took a wonderful 7-night Southeast Asia itinerary from Singapore to Thailand and Malaysia. We visited an elephant sanctuary, explore temples and visited floating villages. After exploring the culturally rich ports each day, Mariner of the Seas was so comfortable to return to each night. 

Needless to say, I have very fond memories of sailing on Mariner of the Seas. I’ve always been a big fan of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Class ships. I personally think they are the perfect size with just enough bells and whistles.  

The Cruise

I haven’t taken a quick getaway cruise in probably 10 years! Since I've never lived that close to a port, we always did a 7-night cruise to make the trip worthwhile. In fact, it seems over the years we’ve been taking longer cruises rather than short ones, so I am interested to see how the atmosphere is different when the sailing is much shorter. 

My sister and I both work remotely - so we will be testing out the internet capabilities and VPN connectivity while sailing as well. I've had good experience with the internet speed on other Royal Caribbean ships, so I am hoping Mariner of the Seas will be no different.

Our first port after the sea day is Perfect Day at CocoCay, which has quickly become one of my favorite Caribbean ports because of its lively atmosphere and ultimate convenience.

I love all the swimming pools, the swim-up bar and all the fun amenities that are offered on the island. This time around, I want to try the floating bar off South Beach. We ran out of time during our last visit to CocoCay, so I definitely need to make my way out there. 

After our visit to CocoCay, we will sail to Nassau. I’ve visited Nassau, Bahamas a few times on previous cruises, but never done anything that memorable during our time in port.

This time around, we are looking forward to trying a resort day pass at RIU Palace! Our pass includes unlimited drinks and snacks, along with access to all the resort’s pools and hot tubs. It should be a fun and relaxing day in port. 

Three things I am excited to try onboard

During our 4-night sailing, we are planning to try some of the new additions made to Mariner of the Seas. Back in 2018, the ship was refurbished and refreshed, with some exciting new venues and activities added. It’s been 5 years since I sailed onboard this cruise ship, so I am excited to see the upgrades, additions and enhancements that were made. 

Playmakers

We’ve been hearing great things about Playmakers, which is one of the newer dining options onboard Royal Caribbean’s ships. I have yet to sail on a ship that features this new restaurant, and apparently they have a killer cookie skillet for dessert! I am a sucker for all things sweets and desserts, so I have high hopes for this dessert especially.

The Bamboo Room

I had no idea this new bar addition was even available onboard Mariner of the Seas until I did a little research. Royal Caribbean describes this Polynesian-themed bar in the ship’s promenade as having ‘throwback vibes and crazy good cocktails’. I love all things that incorporate throwback vibes AND crazy good cocktails, so I am excited to sample some of the tiki bar drinks. 

SkyPad

One of the coolest additions to Mariner of the Seas since my last sailing is the SkyPad, which is a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience. Apparently this onboard thrill is considered ‘out of this world’. I’ve always loved bungee trampolines, so this will be a fun experience I think.

We'll see you later this week when I blog live from Mariner of the Seas!

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: April 17, 2022

In:
17 Apr 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Happy weekend! I hope Spring is starting to arrive where you live.  Regardless of the weather, it is time to sit back, relax, and check out the latest in Royal Caribbean news!

Royal Caribbean extended its health protocols for North American cruise ships through the end of June 2022.

There's been no change to the protocols that had been in effect prior to the extension, including vaccine and pre-cruise testing requirements.

Royal Caribbean periodically posts protocols for a few weeks at a time in order, although they are subject to change at any time.

Royal Caribbean also released health protocols this week for Italy & Spain Mediterranean cruises.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 450th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, which has a review of Matt's cruise on Oasis of the Seas.

Matt went on a 3-night cruise aboard Oasis of the Seas and shares his experience.

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 food is included with your Royal Caribbean cruise?

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 food is included with your Royal Caribbean cruise? — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

How do Royal Caribbean and MGM Resorts shared benefits work?

Did you know MGM Resorts will match your loyalty in Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society?

For no extra cost, you can link your Crown & Anchor level and immediately take advantage of MGM benefits including resort fee waivers, discounts on entertainment, and complimentary hotel upgrades.

We tried out the loyalty match to see how beneficial this perk really is.

6 Royal Caribbean trademarks that sound like they could be really cool things

Metaverse

Of all the trademarks that Royal Caribbean filed recently, there are a few that sound very intriguing.

While we wont know what Royal Caribbean has up their sleeve until they announce something, perhaps trademark filings will give us a clue of what to expect.

Royal Caribbean introduces new payment program for anyone that books with a travel agent

Flexpay

A  new FlexPlay option allows guests to set up automatic payments before the final payment date.

With the new FlexPay program, this can be scheduled and set up in advance.