Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 26, 2018

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.

Earlier this week, one Royal Caribbean crew member was lucky enough to be picked as having the Best Job at Sea.

Cassandra, a 26-year old originally from Mexico, has been exploring the world with Royal Caribbean as a Cruise Director’s Staff since 2016. Beginning in November, she will kick off her 6-month journey as Royal Caribbean’s first Traveling Content Creator onboard the all-new Symphony of the Seas.

 “This makes me feel fulfilled and complete,” said Cassandra. Dancing is one of her passions and as a Cruise Director’s Staff, she can share her energy and help people have a great time. “I truly love what I do,” Cassandra included. On her time off, she always like to get off the ship with her camera in hand, immerse in the culture, and portrait the best of our ports of call. 

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 264th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we compare and contrast Royal Caribbean to Norwegian Cruise Line.

Many cruisers are curious to know the differences between Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, so this week, we invited a couple of friends to share their experiences on both cruise lines.

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 Around the Internet

Cruiseable posted a list of the new activities on Mariner of the Seas.

Travel Weekly reported on Mariner of the Seas' big makeover.

Cruise Critic has a list of 20 movies that will leave you wanting to take a cruise.

Royal Caribbean wants your Bionic Bar drink recipe

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is looking for the best Bionic Bar drink recipe to add to its drink menu on Symphony of the Seas.

The Bionic Bar is a pair of robots that were engineered in Italy to be able to muddle, stir, shake and strain all types of drinks; the cocktail combinations are endless, with 30 spirits and 21 mixers from which to choose. 

Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society sent the open invitation to all past cruisers to share with the cruise line their drink recipe submission, and encourages as much creativity as possible. You will have the opportunity to name the drink too.

Guests can fill out the Bionic Bar Recipe Contest form and see if their favorite concoction makes the cut as the next new cocktail.

The robot bartenders can produce two drinks per minute and can make up to 1,000 each day. Guests create an order—whether a custom request or standard menu item—on a specially programed tablet or with staff. They can keep track of their order on the digital screen next to the bar, and once it’s ready, the bartenders will release their drink with a simple tap of their SeaPass card or WOWband.

Friday Photos

By: Matt Hochberg

Every Friday, we share our readers favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos because, we all can use a "virtual escape" to relive some great cruising memories.

If you want your photo featured in an upcoming Friday Photos post, be sure to use this form to send it to us.

We begin with this photo by Lindsay Janek of a 747 landing near Maho Beach in St. Maarten.

Soeren Ellehauge captured this photo of the sunrise in Barcelona while on Symphony of the Seas.

Next is a photo of Explorer of the Seas in Seattle, Washington, which was taken by Kimberly as she boarded.

Travis N. took this photo of Independence of the Seas anchored off the coast of Grand Cayman.

Take a look at this shot of the Boardwalk on Oasis of the Seas, taken by Wayne D Stephens.

David Ep sent in this photo of Allure and Grandeur of the Seas in St. Thomas.

Our final photo this week is by Donna Clark, and it is of St. Kitts as Freedom of the Seas approached the island.

Thank you to everyone that sent in their photos that were featured this week, and we want to see your Royal Caribbean photos too! Use this form to send them in and we will feature them in an upcoming edition of Friday Photos!

Up to 30% off pre-cruise purchases with 48 hour Cruise Planner sale

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is running a 48-hour sale on pre-cruises purchases made via its Cruise Planner with the Endless Summer Sale.

The Endless Summer Sale is valid on Cruise Planner bookings made prior to the voyage departure between August 24, 2018 – August 27, 2018. Offer applies to select tours on select sailings between September 1, 2018-February 15, 2019. It is valid on select Alaska, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Cuba, Europe, Hawaii, New Zealand, South Pacific & Transatlantic sailings

  • Beverage: Up to 30% off onboard prices
    • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship
    • Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship
    • Refreshment Package: Save 30% off onboard prices
  • Shore Excursions: Save up to 25% on select tours on select sailings. Discount varies by ship
  • Internet: Up to 30% off onboard prices
    • 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

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.

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.

Royal Caribbean offering up to $100 instant savings on cruises booked this weekend

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Dash Deals sale begins today, where guests can get up to $100 instant savings on top of the August offer.

The weekend sale is valid on cruises booked between August 24 - 27, 2018 on all sailings departing on or after September 24, 2018.

The offer includes:

  • 50% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first full-fare paying guest
  • 25% off cruise fare for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualified guests
  • Instant savings of up to $100 per stateroom determined by category booked and sailing length (for all ships excluding Anthem of the Seas):
    • On sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $50 for Balconies and $75 for Suites
    • On sailing 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $100 for Suites

BOGO and Deck the Holiday Deals are combinable with each other as well as with Dash Deals Sale, Fall/Winter Sailings Promo Code Driven Promotion, Free Upgrades, NRBD OBC, promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Dash Deals Sale is combinable with Fall/Winter Sailings Promo Code Driven Promotion, Free Upgrades, NRDB OBC, OBC, instant savings, NextCruise offers, restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military) but not combinable with Shareholder benefits and Crown and Anchor discounts. All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates.  

Offer available to residents of United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and select countries in the Caribbean. 

Royal Caribbean wants to replace phone trees with virtual assistant

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (the parent company of Royal Caribbean International) is actively working on a plan to let its customers bypass annoying phone trees and instead interact with a virtual assistant to speed up the customer service process.

Travel Weekly shared details of the new tech initiative, which is scheduled for "selective rollout in the fall, with an end to phone tree envisioned in the spring of 2019".

Details provided by Royal Caribbean vice president  & Chief Guest Experience Officer Carlos Leyva indicates the new virtual assistant would be an automated system that would feature a more natural sounding voice programming.  Royal Caribbean was sure to mention that a human backup would be available to step in for situations where the virtual assistant cannot understand or process what the customer is saying.

In addition, text messaging support will launch in the fall, beginning with customer-service functions. Leyva indicated the new system will begin with travel agents and then become available to consumers directly.

Best Cruises for Kids

By: Matt Hochberg

Going on a cruise with kids means finding the right cruise ship for your family that offers plenty to keep children entertained, engaged and having a great time.  It also means not compromising on the adult experience as well.  

Cruising with kids is a great family vacation option, and Royal Caribbean offers some wonderful choices for kids, parents, aunts, grandparents, cousins and anyone else who joins in the fun.

When it comes to picking the best cruise for kids, Royal Caribbean's newest and recently refurbished ships tend to be the best choices.  Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ships offer the most dedicated space to kids programming, as well as the most onboard activities that kids (and their parents) will enjoy.  This includes rock climbing walls, ice skating, water slides and more.

If you have ever seen a Royal Caribbean television commercial, then you likely know that these cruise ships are designed to wow its customers, and that includes kids.  At the heart of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience for kids is Adventure Ocean.  Adventure Ocean is a supervised programming option that all kids that are 3 - 17 years old may participate in.  There is no additional charge for Adventure Ocean (unless you leave them for late night sessions), and it offers things to do in a camp style environment throughout the day.  Royal Caribbean breaks up Adventure Ocean by ages to ensure the programming is age appropriate and will hold their interest.  Younger kids may do more activities that incorporate music, crafts, creative arts and dinosaurs, where older kids get to enjoy scavenger hunts, video game competitions, talent shows and science experiments.

There is even more fun on Royal Caribbean ships for kids in the form of onboard activities.  Royal Caribbean offers a ton for kids to do on its ships, from family-friendly aerial, ice, stage and aqua entertainment, to racing water slides and even spa programs for the youngsters.  Kids can splash at one of the aqua parks and fire the water cannons, dodge geysers and avoid (or maybe aim for) getting drenched by the giant bucket of water.  

Royal Caribbean is well-known for the incredible adventures offered on its ships.  There is the Ultimate Abyss—the tallest slide at sea (available on select ships); FlowRider surf simulator; SeaPlex indoor venue that offers roller skating, basketball, bumper cars, bites and music from a floating DJ booth suspended overhead; or try one of our other can’t-miss onboard activities like laser tag and ice skating.

If all of this sounds wonderful, here are our picks for the best cruises for kids when it comes to sailing on Royal Caribbean.

Best cruises for kids of all ages

Ships: Symphony of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas

The newest Royal Caribbean ships offer the latest and greatest from Royal Caribbean, and they also dedicate the most space towards kids programming.  These ships are filled to the brim with the coolest new things onboard, such as water slides, laser tag, escape room, zip line, Broadway shows, just to name a few.

We believe the Oasis Class ships are an ideal choice for families of all ages for the sheer amount of things to do onboard that cater to guests of all ages. It is incredible to see how much fun Royal Caribbean has packed into these ships, with numerous pools, ice skating rink, zip line, dual FlowRider surf simulators and water slides on Harmony and Symphony.

Looking for more? How about escape room games, a boardwalk carousel, rock climbing wall, DreamWorks characters (excluding Symphony) and video arcades.

Equally impressive in their own way are the Quantum Class ships.  While Oasis Class ships garner a lot of the attention, Anthem of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas both offer some fabulous things to do that are not replicated elsewhere in the fleet.  Your kids will likely never want to leave the SeaPlex, which is an indoor entertainment center.  Bumper cars, XBox gaming, circus school, basketball, dodge ball, ping pong and roller skating are just a few of what is offered in here and it is a huge hit with kids.  Then there is the North Star observational pod that takes you 300 feet above sea level, Ripcord by iFly sky diving simulator, FlowRider surf simulator and a lot more.

Best value cruises for kids

Ships: Liberty of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Independence of the Seas

While we love Royal Caribbean's newer ships, those ships also come with a premium price tag, and going on a family vacation does not mean you have to spend a lot to have a great time.  Royal Caribbean has spent millions of dollars upgrading and enhancing its existing fleet, and the fruits of its labor make for great cruises for kids that will leave extra money in the vacation budget. This means some really fun cruise ships that offer a great bang for the buck.

Independence of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas both recently completed multi-million dollar refurbishments in 2018 and they are aimed precisely at the family cruising market.  Mariner of the Seas offers short sailings (3 and 4 night getaway cruises) with some new offerings that are taking the cruising industry by storm. Independence of the Seas offers slightly longer sailings, and alternates between North America and Europe. 

Both Independence and Mariner are the first ships to offer the virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, known as Sky Pad.  They also offer a pair of three-story-high racer water slides, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, FlowRider and escape room challenge.

If you are looking for a longer sailing, Liberty of the Seas does seven-night cruises and has her own array of fun activities onboard.  She is the only ship to offer the Tidal Wave slide, which is a boomerang style slide, along with a pair of really fun racer water slides.  Liberty is also home to Splashaway Bay, an aqua park featuring an interactive kid’s play area with water cannons, geysers and much more. 

Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas offer Broadway shows as well, with Saturday Night Fever on Liberty and Grease on Independence.  All ships have an adults-only Solarium pool area, lots of great dining and evening entertainment.

More cruising with kids articles

Royal Caribbean honors crew member with the Best Job At Sea

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has picked its first-ever Best Job at Sea contest winner by selecting 26-year-old Cassandra Aragon from Mexico as the winner. 

Cassandra has been exploring the world with Royal Caribbean as a Cruise Director’s Staff since 2016. Beginning in November, she will kick off her 6-month journey as Royal Caribbean’s first Traveling Content Creator onboard the all-new Symphony of the Seas.

To win this prestigious honor, Royal Caribbean reached out to its Crew Ambassadors to find which crew members could tell the best stories and capture the essence of different locales through their photography. From a pool of many, Cassandra stood out as the winner.

After working as a Cruise Director’s Staff, for 2 years on 5 different ships, Cassandra realized that she belonged by the sea. Her career with Royal Caribbean began in May 2016 on Anthem of the Seas and continued on Vision of the Seas until she injured her knee. As a result, Cassandra had to return home for knee surgery and stop working for 10 months. Slowly but surely Cassandra went back to ship life by doing fills onboard Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas, until finally the great Symphony of the Seas. 

Traveling 24/7, dancing, and creating content for her YouTube channel and Instagram account has encouraged her to inspire and have a positive impact on people. “This makes me feel fulfilled and complete,” said Cassandra. Dancing is one of her passions and as a Cruise Director’s Staff, she can share her energy and help people have a great time. “I truly love what I do,” Cassandra included. On her time off, she always like to get off the ship with her camera in hand, immerse in the culture, and portrait the best of our ports of call. 

Newest Royal Caribbean ships

By: Matt Hochberg

Are you trying to figure out what the newest cruise ships are in Royal Caribbean's fleet? Here is a breakdown of the top ten newest Royal Caribbean ships.

1. Symphony of the Seas

Year: 2018

Last refurbishment: N/A

Gross Tonnage: 228,081

Passengers (double/max): 5,518/6,680

2. Ovation of the Seas

Year: 2016

Last refurbishment: N/A

Gross Tonnage: 168, 666

Passengers: 4,180/4,905

3. Harmony of the Seas

Year: 2016

Last refurbishment: N/A

Gross Tonnage: 226,963

Passengers: 5,497/6,410

4. Anthem of the Seas

Year: 2015

Last refurbishment: N/A

Gross Tonnage: 168,666

Passengers: 4,180/4,905

5. Quantum of the Seas

Year: 2014

Last refurbishment: N/A

Gross Tonnage: 168,666

Passengers: 4,180/4,905

6. Allure of the Seas

Year: 2010

Last refurbishment: 2015. Next one scheduled for Summer 2020

Gross Tonnage: 225,282

Passengers: 5,492/6,410

7. Oasis of the Seas

Year: 2009

Last refurbishment: 2014. Next one scheduled for Summer 2019

Gross Tonnage: 225,282

Passengers: 5,400/6,360

8. Independence of the Seas

Year: 2008

Last refurbishment: 2018.

Gross Tonnage: 154,407

Passengers: 3,634/4,375

9. Liberty of the Seas

Year: 2007

Last refurbishment: 2016. Next one scheduled for 2021.

Gross Tonnage: 155,889

Passengers: 3,798/4,960

10. Freedom of the Seas

Year: 2006

Last refurbishment: 2015. Next one scheduled for 2020.

Gross Tonnage: 154,407

Passengers: 3,782/4,515

More resources

Royal Caribbean versus Norwegian Cruise Line Podcast Episode

By: Matt Hochberg

Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!

Episode 264 is available for downloading where we have an in-depth comparisson of Royal Caribbean versus Norwegian Cruise Line.

Erin and Kristen help Matt compare and contrast experiences on Norwegian Cruise Line to those on Royal Caribbean International.  Our roundtable discussion looks at the two cruise line experiences and seeing which line does better in various aspects of the cruise experience.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 264. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!