Royal Caribbean jumps in on #ClearTheList movement to help local schools

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has joined the growing grassroots movement to help supply teachers with needed classroom supplies that may not be covered in the school’s budget.

Royal Caribbean is helping Florida teachers start off on the right foot this back-to-school season by participating in the #ClearTheList movement.Once the trending initiative was discovered by the Royal Caribbean social media team, they quickly jumped in because it was the right thing to do.  

Over the course of ten days, Royal Caribbean helped clear the lists of over 100 teachers across Florida. Teachers throughout the state immediately reacted to Royal Caribbean’s generosity by publicly thanking the company on social channels. In addition to this, the company is making a donation of $10,000 to to support even more teachers.

"It’s in our DNA to support our communities, joining the #ClearTheList movement was a natural fit. We initially thought to support our hometown teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and quickly realized that we could go farther and touch classrooms across the state. I’m glad we did because the reaction has been incredible," said Helen O’Connell, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited."

If you're an Florida resident and you're on Twitter, you can help #ClearTheList here.

Video: 8 things you need to know about a Royal Caribbean cabin

By: Matt Hochberg

If you want to feel like a pro before you ever step foot in your room, we have a brand new video to share with eight really helpful things to know about your Royal Caribbean stateroom.

Your cabin on a cruise ship is your homebase for the duration of your cruise, and there are some important things to know about your room that can greatly enhance and improve your time spent inside. Without further adieu, here are eight important need-to-know tips for a Royal Caribbean cabin!

Did you love this video? We have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What do you think is important to know about a Royal Caribbean cabin?

Royal Caribbean adds Anthem of the Seas to new app

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Anthem of the Seas.

Anthem now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean adding late night and two call visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced it will begin offering select sailings that visit Perfect Day at CocoCay twice, along with late night stays.

Beginning September 30, 2019, Royal Caribbean will offer 4-night itineraries to the private island destination across nearly 40 sailings. Three exclusive cruises also make their debut today.

In addition, three one-of-a-kind cruises with late-night visits to the island will be offered on Navigator of the Seas. Travelers of all ages will have the chance to extend the excitement long after the sun sets with traditional Bahamian-inspired activities, including a Junkanoo Jam Up Party, an island barbeque and performances by a calypso band and fire dancers, topped off with unforgettable farewell fireworks before setting sail.

The new itineraries are available to guests on select Navigator and Mariner of the Seas sailings.

"Perfect Day at CocoCay has revolutionized private destinations in the vacation industry, and the resounding feedback from our guests is that they want more – more time and even more ways to experience the island," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "We’re building on an incredible adventure that’s already winning the hearts of many."

Travel Insurance on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

By: Matt Hochberg

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

Episode 315 is available for downloading, where Matt provides an overview of what travel insurance is all about and why you might (or might not) want or need it.

The decision to get travel insurance or not is a very personal decision based on a variety of risk factors and preferences. This week, Matt shares what important information you should be aware of when it comes to travel insurance.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 315. 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!

8 ways Royal Caribbean changed the cruise industry

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is celebrating its 50th birthday this year and with a milestone of that magnitude, it seems fitting to review the cruise industry firsts that figuratively put Royal Caribbean on the map.

Innovation is a byproduct of competition among the cruise lines, and Royal Caribbean has brought about a number of changes to its ships with the goal differentiating it from other cruising choices that have since set the new standard for what guests expect onboard.  As guests, we love seeing what Royal Caribbean comes up with next.  It is what makes the cruise line different, special and most importantly, a heck of a lot of fun.

Here are our list of the top eight innovations Royal Caribbean brought about that have since changed the cruise industry.

1. First ship built for warm-weather cruising

In 1970, when the fledgling cruise line launched Song of Norway, it was the first ship designed specifically for warm-weather cruising.  By launching cruises from ports in south Florida and the Caribbean and flying passengers in from cities in the North, Royal Caribbean allowed its passengers to spend more time cruising in warm weather than would have been the case had the cruise originated in New York or Boston.

Prior to the launch of Song of Norway, cruise ships were built for point-to-point ocean transportation with significantly less open space.

The design of the Song of Norway was unique in a number of respects, not the least of which was its Viking Crown cocktail lounge cantilevered from its smokestack. Today most Royal Caribbean cruise ships feature a Viking Crown Lounge. The Song of Norway was also notable for its open pool and lounging area, which since has become an industry standard.

2. World’s first “Megaship”

We take for granted today the variety of amenities and activities available on cruise ships, but Royal Caribbean invented the category of a megaship with the launch of Sovereign of the Seas in 1988.

At 73,192 tons, the ship featured a five-deck Centrum, glass elevators, fountains in marble pools, and sweeping staircases. 

Sovereign of the Seas demonstrated that it is possible for a modern cruise ship to offer a balance of beauty and function and be something more than a container carrier or a ferry. 

3. Ice skating and rock climbing walls

Historically, cruise ships were built following the model set forth by ocean liners of the classic period of transportation.  These ships were designed to be a floating hotel that offered rest, relaxation and a great view.  But as times changed, guests wanted to do more onboard and have a greater variety of choices with it.

The launch of Voyager of the Seas in 1999 added the first ice-skating rink at sea, as well as the first rock climbing wall at sea.These were onboard activities that was previously not available on a cruise ship.  More importantly, it introduced the concept of guests being able to do physically activities onboard that were never considered previously.

The rock climbing wall became incredibly popular with guests and was expanded to all ships in the fleet, becoming a staple of a Royal Caribbean cruise experience.

4. Flowrider

With guests demonstrating an appetite for signature activities to enjoy onboard, Royal Caribbean added the first surf simulator at sea in 2006 when Freedom of the Seas debuted.

Similar to a lap pool, it creates waves and simulates current by passing 30,000 gallons of water over the ride surface.

The addition of a Flowrider was a cruise industry game-changer, because it offered more for families to do onboard.  

Freedom of the Seas also introduced the first full-size boxing ring at sea, which was inaugurated by Roberto Duran and Joe Fraser.

5. Oasis of the Seas

Perhaps no cruise ship in modern times has done more to change up the cruise industry than Oasis of the Seas did in 2009.

Oasis of the Seas introduced so many industry firsts and shifts in the cruise ship experience, including offering seven distinct neighborhoods, the first AquaTheater at sea, the first zip line at sea and an entire park filled with 12,000 plants.

Not only was Oasis of the Seas the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuted, her sister ships still sit atop the pantheon of largest cruise ships in the world to this day.

6. World's first smartship

When you introduce a ship like Oasis of the Seas, how do you outdo that accomplishment? The Quantum Class set to do just that.

Quantum of the Seas debuted in 2014 and brought forth a number of firsts, including the distinction of being the world's first smartship that integrated technology in a way cruise ships had never seen before.  Chief among those accomplishments was true high-speed internet, that allowed guests to use the internet onboard in the same way they would on land, and at a fraction of the cost that onboard internet had traditionally been charged.

Quantum of the Seas also introduced North Star, RipCord by iFly, the Bionic Bar and the SeaPlex. These venues continued the tradition of innovation Royal Caribbean had made a name for itself in years past.

7. Tallest slide at sea

When Royal Caribbean announced Harmony of the Seas would feature the tallest slide at sea, a lot of people too notice.

The Ultimate Abyss set the record for being the tallest slide at sea, with a ten story plunge that begins 150 feet above sea level. The Ultimate Abyss is a pair of side-by-side 100 ft- high slides that guests can ride down multiple decks of the ship. 

Royal Caribbean commissioned Spark Cooperative to push the envelope of what a cruise ship can contain and build on the cruise line's innovative reputation with a brand new, thrilling experience.

The end result was a slide experience that offers multi-sensory channels, including spontaneous audio effects, bespoke ride mats and custom uniforms and accessories.  The attraction is designed to thrill guests while maintaining a sense of heart-pumping anticipation.

8. A new kind of private island

Appropriately enough, in the same year Royal Caribbean is celebrating its 50th anniversary the cruise line revamped its private island in the Bahamas that has become the new gold standard in what a private island experience is all about.

Perfect Day at CocoCay officially opened in May 2019 and boasted the tallest waterslide in North America, the highest vantage point in the Caribbean, the largest wave pool in the Caribbean and the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean.

The Perfect Day at CocoCay makeover blends a combination of relaxation and adventure with plenty of space to enjoy time at the beach or pool, along with a waterpark, cabanas, helium balloon and more.

Your thoughts

Which innovations do you think Royal Caribbean deserves recognition for the most? Is there something that stands out in your mind? Tell us about in the comments.

Video: How to get free drinks on a Royal Caribbean cruise

By: Matt Hochberg

Did you know Royal Caribbean regularly gives out free alcoholic beverages on their cruise? We have the top seven ways to score a free drink in our brand new video!

We are all trying to save a little bit of money and keep that bar bill down, so this week Matt shares seven tried-and-true methods of getting an alcoholic beverage on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Did you love this video? We have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What is your favorite way to get a free drink on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

Royal Caribbean drink package prices

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's drink packages are a very popular option that many guests purchase for their cruise vacations. Beverage packages offer an unlimited assortment of cocktails, beers, sodas and more for a fixed cost.  That means a predictable cost to indulging onboard, as well as a convenient means of enjoying beverages without worrying about extra costs.  

If you are wondering what the Royal Caribbean drink package prices are, then check out this easy to understand guide for pricing basics.

Drink Package

It is worth noting that these price changes are reflective of the onboard pricing, and many guests are able to take advantage of discounts provided by the cruise line via the Cruise Planner site.

Deluxe Beverage Package

Onboard costs $63 - $70 per guest, per day (before gratuity). The exact price will vary from sailing to sailing.

Commonly referred to as the unlimited alcohol package, it includes beer, wine by the glass (up to $12 value or $13 on Oasis/Quantum Class ships), frozen cocktails, house and premium cocktails (up to $12 value or $13 on Oasis/Quantum Class ships), non-alcoholic cocktails, premium coffee and tea, bottled still and sparkling water, fresh-squeezed juice, fountain sodas with a souvenir Coca-Cola cup and a 40% percent discount on wine bottle purchases under $100 (wines above $100 will receive a 20% discount).

Royal Refreshment Package

Onboard cost is $29 per guest, per day (before gratuity). 

The non-alcoholic drink package includes premium coffees and teas, bottled water, fresh-squeezed juices, non-alcoholic cocktails and fountain soda. 

Classic Soda Package

Onboard cost is $12.99 per guest, per day (before gratuity). 

Drink package discounts

From time to time, Royal Caribbean will discount its drink packages if purchased prior to the cruise via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.

The exact discount will vary, although it is common to see up to a 20% discount off the daily rate. Royal Caribbean has been known to run even more lucrative discounts from time to time. The intriguing aspect to that discount is the daily price for a drink package seems to vary from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing. If you have more than one cruise booked on different ships, you may find different sale prices.

There is no guarantee your sailing will have a discount on drink packages via the Cruise Planner, but the pre-cruise discounts seem to be widely available.

Not all sailings have discounts available, but if they are available, guests can log into their My Cruises section of the Royal Caribbean web site, navigate to the Cruise Planner section for their sailing and check if there are any discounts available on the Royal Caribbean drink package prices.

Is a drink package worth it?

Royal Caribbean's drink packages can absolutely save you money when compared to ordering a similar amount of drinks without a drink package, but it is up to you to consume enough throughout your sailing to "break even" on the package investment.

The basis of these unlimited alcohol packages is the premise that you will drink enough to "break even" each day to make the packages worth it.  

Generally speaking, the Deluxe Beverage Package takes about 5-6 drinks per day to reach the daily cost of the drink package. The non-alcohol packages have a lower break-even point, that is closer to 3-4 drinks.  Of course, the deluxe beverage package includes drinks besides alcohol, which does help with that math.

Keep in mind that you must consume enough drinks every day of your cruise to recoup the cost of the package, and the longer the cruise, the more difficult it could be to maintain that amount of drinking.

What's the earliest time I can get off my cruise ship when it's over?

By: Matt Hochberg

No one likes to think about when your cruise vacation will come to an end, but inevitably planning for that last morning is a necessity to ensure you can get to work, school or flight on time.

The docking time listed is not the time you get off the ship

A very common misconception among first time cruisers is looking at the scheduled time a ship returns to port and assuming that is the first opportunity to disembark their Royal Caribbean ship.

Often, Royal Caribbean ships return to port in the early morning, around 6:00am or so.  Just because the ship returns at this time, does not mean it is ready to let passengers off the ship.  A couple steps need to be completed first:

  • The ship must dock at the pier and be tied up properly.
  • Local officials must inspect and clear the ship

There is no set time how long each of those steps can take, and that is why answering the question of what time someone can disembark the ship is so difficult. Moreover, the inspection by local officials is completely out of Royal Caribbean's hands.

Disembarkation process

There are two main groups who can disembark from a cruise once it is over: guests carrying their own luggage and guests picking up their luggage.

Carrying own luggage

The first group who may disembark the ship once the ship is cleared by local officials is guests who carry their own luggage off the ship (sometimes referred to as Express Departure). This means anyone that elects to not rely on Royal Caribbean to deliver their luggage to the cruise terminal and is capable of carrying their own luggage may disembark the ship. Guests who elect to carry their own luggage off the ship will be required to take their luggage from their stateroom, and take it all the way off the ship and through customs.

Most often, the Express Departure option is preferred by guests who want to depart as early as possible due to travel plans, work requirements, or other needs.  However, if you opt to carry your own luggage off the ship, you may depart at any time.  On disembarkation day, an announcement will be made once the gangway is opened and cleared by local authorities, and at that time, guests carrying their own luggage may depart the ship.

As stated earlier, the exact time of when self-assist begins will depend on certain factors, but usually it will commence around 7:00 or 7:30am. Keep in mind these times are generalizations and it will vary.

Luggage Pickup

To make things easier and simpler for guests, Royal Caribbean offers to deliver guest luggage to the terminal for pickup.  This is a very popular option, and most guests elect for this option.

Royal Caribbean gives every cruiser luggage tags with a number at the end of the cruise in sequential order.  The number corresponds to what time your luggage will be ready for you to  get off the ship.  

Do not worry if your number seems high because you can always go to Guest Relations and get a lower number if you need to be one of the first off the ship.

If you elect to have Royal Caribbean take your luggage, you need to have your luggage packed and in the hallway outside of your stateroom by a certain time (usually 11:00pm).

The advantage of picking your luggage up in the terminal building is it makes the disembarkation process simpler.  Guests can enjoy breakfast on the last morning and wait comfortably in a lounge or restaurant until their luggage tag number is called.

Just like guests carrying their own luggage off the ship, the exact time luggage pickup begins will vary, but it usually begins 30-60 minutes after guests carrying their own luggage are able to start walking off the ship.  Keep in mind that it takes time for Royal Caribbean to deliver all the luggage from the ship to the cruise terminal.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 11, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! We hope you are having a great weekend! Now it is time to sit back, relax, and catch up on all the Royal Caribbean news from the week!

Royal Caribbean altered its Thrill Waterpark policy this week by lowering the unaccompanied guest age to 14 years old.

Previously, unaccomapnied guests needed to be 18 years old, but effective August 3, the cruise line's policy has shifted.

This new rule change allows for adults to forgo purchasing water park admission in situations where teenagers want to enjoy thrills on their own.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 314th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where Matt discusses the differences between Royal Caribbean's ship classes.

Royal Caribbean categorizes its cruise ships based on a variety of characteristics, and on this episode, Matt talks about what makes each class different and what makes each class stand out.

Please subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! 

New RCB Video: Royal Caribbean Drink Package Review

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 — Royal Caribbean Drink Package Review — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Food Network listed the best food on every major cruise line.

Travel Weekly debunked the viral video of a crew member waving at a couple who missed the ship.

One Good Dad wrote about how he took his kids on a Royal Caribbean cruise for self-care.

Cruise Fever reported that Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships are at an 18 year low.

Drunk on Disney Podcast recorded a podcast about their recent Oasis of the Seas cruise.