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Royal Caribbean will add adults-only area to Perfect Day at CocoCay

In:
29 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

A new expansion at Royal Caribbean's private island in The Bahamas will cater to adults.

Royal Caribbean opens Perfect Day at CocoCay | Royal Caribbean Blog

In September 2021, Royal Caribbean teased a new expansion coming to Perfect Day at CocoCay, Hideaway Beach.

The announcement confirmed the expansion and name, but no other details.

During an earnings call with investors on Friday, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO confirmed Hideaway Beach will be an adults-only area.

Top 5 things to do on Royal Caribbean for adults | Royal Caribbean Blog

"We have an expansion taking place in perfect day with the addition of Hideaway Beach, which is a new experience that will open in late '22 for Perfect Day," Mr. Bayley said while talking about port projects on the books. "The beauty of Hideaway Beach is that it is an adult only area as part of Perfect Day."

Mr. Bayley said the new area will increase the capacity of the private island by "approximately 3000" passengers.

Mr. Bayley also added that Hideaway Beach will help improve the cruise line's overall profitability and drive more more revenue, which seems to indicate Hideaway Beach will have an extra cost.

The choice of an adults-only was part of a survey sent to some guests in late September for what sort of activities they would want see added to the island experience.

Hideaway Beach will be located on the western end of the island in a cove area that is slowly being developed.

The western end of the island is undeveloped land, as well as backstage storage and lodging, but it appears those operations can be relocated.

This will be the first expansion of CocoCay since the pandemic, and first since the Coco Beach Club was completed in early 2020.

Explorer of the Seas to begin her test cruise today

In:
29 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Not only is another Royal Caribbean cruise ship restarting sailing today, but a new homeport is making a return as well.

Explorer of the Seas will get limited dry dock in August | Royal Caribbean Blog

Explorer of the Seas will conduct her test cruise on Friday from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

It appears the test cruise will run between October 29 to October 31.

Explorer of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to restart operations from San Juan since it shut down operations in March 2020 due to Covid-19.

Royal Caribbean denies widespread cancellations of Puerto Rico cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

Explorer will set sail from Puerto Rico with a seven-night itinerary, stopping in San Juan; St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI); St Croix, USVI; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and returning to disembark back in San Juan.

This is another simulated cruises required by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) as part of its phased approach to cruise ships restarting in the United States.

Royal Caribbean has been systematically getting its cruise ships back in service by staffing them up, operating a test cruise, and then once they get approval from the CDC, beginning revenue sailings.

The purpose of a test cruise is to demonstrate to the CDC that the onboard health protocols can work, and keep crew members and passengers safe.

 

Explorer of the Seas is the latest Royal Caribbean cruise ship to undergo a test cruise, which have been successful on all the other ships that have conducted them.

If the test sailing goes well, Explorer of the Seas could be ready for her first scheduled voyage on November 7.

What happens on a test cruise?

Two Royal Caribbean cruise ships visited Port Canaveral this week | Royal Caribbean Blog

A simulated voyage (also known as a test cruise) is when Royal Caribbean operates its ships without paying passengers in order to demonstrate the Covid-19 protocols onboard are effective.

Test cruises also serve a dual purpose for the cruise line, as a way to give returning crew members a chance to prepare for paying guests later.

The CDC requires ships starting back up to go through a series of steps that prove the new health protocols onboard and simulate a few scenarios to ensure the ship and crew are prepared for any Covid-19 issues that could occur.

The CDC gives cruise lines the option of completing these requirements over one or multiple sailings, but thus far, Royal Caribbean has always completed its test sailings in just a single voyage.

Some cruise lines required at least 95% of its passengers be fully vaccinated, but Royal Caribbean has not and that is because of the line's dedication to families.

Royal Caribbean has been adamant that it wants families to be able to cruise, including children who are not old enough to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

As a result, Royal Caribbean decided to take the extra time to do test cruises so that it could continue to welcome children onboard its ships.

Royal Caribbean International's senior vice president of Hotel Operations, Mark Tamis, called the decision "obvious" given how many kids sail with Royal Caribbean, along with the cruise line's dedication to remaining a family brand. "A good 20 to 25 percent of our guests are kids."

Royal Caribbean reports $1.4 billion loss, but expects to be profitable for the full year 2022

In:
29 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group released its third quarter 2021 financial results, which reflect a $1.3 billion loss while restarting more than half of its ships.

New Royal Caribbean health policies expected no earlier than end of September | Royal Caribbean Blog

In fact, Royal Caribbean Group was able to get two-thirds of its ships back in operation, although the Delta variant of Covid-19 delayed booking progress.

The company championed a few key statistics from the quarter before diving into its financials:

  • Over 500k guests sailed across its five brands, including Royal Caribbean International. Over 1 million passengers are expected before the year ends.
  • By the end of 2021, 50 of the 61 cruise ships in the Royal Caribbean Group should be back in service, representing almost 100% of its core itineraries and approximately 80% of worldwide capacity.
  • Sailings for 2022 are booked within historical ranges and at higher prices than 2019, even when including future cruise credits (FCCs).
  • Guest satisfaction scores and onboard spending per passenger are both at the highest levels in the Company's history.
  • The Group expects to be cash flow positive by spring and profitable for the full year 2022.
  • Constructive dialogue with the CDC leading to the end of the prescriptive CSO in January.

Third quarter results

Royal Caribbean Group posted a $1.3 billion loss for 2021, compared to a $1.3 billion loss in the third quarter of 2020.

The Company also reported Adjusted Net Loss of $(1.2) billion or $(4.91) per share for the third quarter of 2021 compared to Adjusted Net Loss of $(1.2) billion or $(5.62) per share in the prior year. The Net Loss and Adjusted Net Loss for the third quarter of 2021 are the result of the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business.

The good news is 11 more cruise ships returned to service, which means there are now 40 cruise ships across all the Royal Caribbean Group brands operating today. This represents 65% of the fleet capacity have restarted cruises.

Royal Caribbean test cruise to Alaska should begin today | Royal Caribbean Blog

The Company also reported Adjusted Net Loss of $(1.2) billion or $(4.91) per share for the third quarter of 2021 compared to Adjusted Net Loss of $(1.2) billion or $(5.62) per share in the prior year. The Net Loss and Adjusted Net Loss for the third quarter of 2021 are the result of the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business.

Cruise ships that operated the Group's core Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe itineraries in the third quarter achieved a load factor of 44%. Core itineraries exclude sailings during the early ramp-up period of up to four weeks and also exclude specialized itineraries implemented during the COVID period (e.g., Singapore, Cyprus). 

Total revenues per Passenger Cruise Day in the third quarter was up 12% versus record 2019 levels driven mainly by strong onboard revenue performance. 

Cruise ship plans and capacity

How to plan a cruise vacation with maximum flexibility | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean Group says it will move load factors up to 65-70% during the fourth quarter.  

The Group expects all ships on core itineraries in the fourth quarter will be cash flow accretive even when including start-up costs.

By the end of the year, the Group expects that 50 out of 61 ships will have returned to service, representing almost 100% of core itinerary capacity and approximately 80% of worldwide capacity. 

Royal Caribbean releases health protocols for first U.S. cruise ship sailing | Royal Caribbean Blog

The remaining ships are expected to return by the spring of 2022 and return to historical load factors in the third quarter 2022. 

They believe Mainland China cruises will resume in the spring, albeit with lower load factors.

CDC and the Conditional Sailing Order

Royal Caribbean Group highlighted the fact the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a plan to transition the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) to a voluntary program.

Mr. Fain said of the change, "We are very pleased with the continued and constructive partnership with the CDC and the U.S. government's COVID-19 interagency group."

"This is a great example of how close collaboration between the cruise industry and the CDC results in health and safety protocols that have demonstrated cruising can be one of the safest forms of vacation," Fain continued.

Bookings

Royal Caribbean is first cruise line to restart cruises from Tampa | Royal Caribbean Blog

While the Delta variant had a negative impact on cruise bookings, Royal Caribbean Group said booking volumes have improved "significantly" since the slowdown.

The Company attracted more bookings in the third quarter compared to the second quarter.  September was particularly strong, with new bookings for 2022 sailings more than 60% higher than the monthly average during the second quarter.

Sailings for the full year 2022 are booked within historical ranges and at higher prices than 2019. 

Royal Caribbean extends ability to cancel cruise for a credit until November 30 | Royal Caribbean Blog

"As cases have come down, demand has come surging back.  Consumers are showing their resilience and desire to vacation, and the growing affinity of Royal Caribbean's leading brands, ships and crew. Although there are many uncertainties going forward regarding COVID-19, as well as cost and supply chain pressures, we continue our pathway forward and anticipate positive cash flow for the Group by spring of 2022 and generating positive earnings for the full year 2022," said Jason T. Liberty, Executive Vice President and CFO.

As of September 30, 2021, the Company had approximately $2.8 billion in customer deposits.  The comparable figure for the three brands at the same time in 2019 was $3.1 billion. This represents an improvement of about $400 million over the past quarter despite the $300 million of revenue that was recognized during the quarter.  

Approximately 35% of the customer deposit balance is related to FCCs compared to 40% in the prior quarter; a positive trend indicating new demand.  Customer deposits for second quarter 2022 forward sailings are higher than at the same time in 2019.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean brings back early check-in and welcome lunch to The Key

In:
28 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is bringing back some of the perks it had previously altered for its VIP treatment program guests can purchase.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader, Teresa McChane, received an email from Royal Caribbean before her Freedom of the Seas cruise this coming weekend with a look at her benefits for purchasing The Key, and there are two notable changes.

First and foremost, the option for early check-in at the cruise terminal has returned.

According to the email, guests who bought The Key can arrive to the cruise terminal between 11:00am - 11:30am instead of at the appointment time they received after checking in for their cruise online.

If passengers that purchased The Key are not able to make the early access window, they should arrive within their appointment time and will receive priority access into the terminal.

There will be a signage for guests who bought The Key at the cruise terminal so they can get their priority access.

In addition, the embarkation day meal is back in the Main Dining Room, which features a welcome lunch provided by Chops Grille.

The embarkation day lunch is available between 12:00pm - 1:30pm.

Finally, Royal Caribbean has also brought back the private debarkation á la carte breakfast, replacing the "grab and go" breakfast option.

A few weeks ago, Royal Caribbean brought back The Key to its ships, but with more restrictive changes than what is shown for this upcoming sailing.

Instead of true early access, guests still had to arrive at their booked arrival time.

Royal Caribbean had also swapped the embarkation day welcome lunch in the main dining room for complimentary room service for the duration of the cruise and 25% off onboard dining purchases.

The complimentary room service  and 25% off onboard dining purchases benefit still remains, even with the welcome aboard lunch offered again.

The price of The Key varies, and starts at $25.99 per day, per person, although there can be discounts available to bring that price down.

All guests over the age of 6 in the same room must purchase The Key.

Royal Caribbean Group announces pledge to get to net zero emissions by 2050

In:
28 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group announced on Wednesday a new initiative to make its cruise ships as eco-friendly as possible by reducing net zero emissions by 2050.

What was added to each Royal Caribbean ship during its Royal Amplified refurbishment | Royal Caribbean Blog

"Destination Net Zero" is the name of the new program that the company is calling its collective effort.

There are two primary objectives in its pledge to pursue science-based targets:

  • Delivery of a net zero emissions cruise ship
  • A path to net zero emissions by 2050

A comprehensive decarbonization strategy is behind how Royal Caribbean Group will get there, and executives feel now is the time to get moving on that goal.

"Decades ago, we set out on a course to advance sustainability; our vision now is to realize carbon-free cruising over the next two decades," said Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain.

"Today we are announcing the most important destination of all in our company's history – Destination Net Zero – an ambitious strategy to cut emissions, protect our oceans, and ensure the viability of the hundreds of destinations that our guests and crew members care deeply about."

How they will get there

Over 18 to 24 months, Royal Caribbean Group will develop goals to be validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The work will begin following the publication of SBTi's marine transport methodology. Science-based targets show companies how much, and how quickly, they need to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to help limit global warming.

The company will set key milestones to ensure they are making progress, one of which will be the delivery of a net zero cruise ship by 2035.

Thanks to optimized hull design and system upgrades such as AC chillers utilizing 30-40% less energy, Royal Caribbean Group has consistently delivered a new generation of ships 20-25% more efficient than their predecessors. 

To reach their goal of net zero emissions, Royal Caribbean Group will pull a lot of levers, including a few already announced. SilverSea Cruises will launch the first hybrid-powered ship set to debut summer 2023, and a wind farm in Kansas will offset up to 12% of the company's scope 1 and 2 emissions per year.

Destination Net Zero's four-pronged approach includes:

  1. Modernization of the cruise company's global brands fleet through the introduction of 13 new energy-efficient and alternatively fueled vessels.
     
  2. Continued investment in energy efficiency programs for its fleet, including energy saving technologies, enhanced data systems and digitalization.
     
  3. Development of alternative fuel and alternative power solutions.
     
  4. Optimized deployment and integration of strategic shore-based supply chains.

Save up to 35% off pre-cruise purchases with Royal Caribbean's new sale

In:
28 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Halloween sale begins today on its pre-cruise purchases for drink packages, shore excursions and more.

The No Tricks, Just Treats sale is valid on purchases made between October 28 - November 8, 2021.

It applies to all sailings between November 1, 2021 - October 31, 2022.

Here is what is included during the sale:

Drink Packages | Royal Caribbean Blog

BEVERAGE: Up to 40% off

  • Classic Soda Beverage Package: 30% off onboard prices.
  • Classic Soda Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship.
  • Dasani Water Cans: 40% off onboard prices.
  • San Benedetto Water Cans: 40% off onboard prices. (only on. AN, BR, JW, OY, RH, VI, VY, WN)
  • Evian Water Bottles: 40% off onboard prices. (excl. RD, VI, VY, WN)
  • Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship.
  • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship.
  • Refreshment Package: 30% off onboard prices.

SHORE EXCURSIONS: Up to 25% off

  • Shore Excursions: Discount varies by ship

What is the difference between Royal Caribbean's Voom Surf and Voom Surf and Stream? | Royal Caribbean Blog

INTERNET: Up to 50% off

  • The Key: Discount varies by ship.
  • 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.

DINING: Up to 55% off

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

Everything about Two70 on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

ACTIVITIES: Up to 20% off

  • All Access Ship Tour (Excludes GR, RD, RH, VY, WN)

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: Picture This Private Studio: 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. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

10 Fun Royal Caribbean upgrades under $50! | Royal Caribbean Blog

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

New Icon Class cruise ship construction update

In:
27 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean posted a new video update with the progress being made on the cruise line's next generation cruise ship.

Icon of the Seas is under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, and we have a closer look at  how the ship will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

This will be the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to be powered by LNG.

Traditionally, cruise ships are powered by diesel. The advantage LNG has over diesel is it is more energy-efficient and will reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

LNG is considered to be the cleanest-burning fossil fuel available because it has virtually zero sulfur dioxides and particulates, and a significant reduction in nitrous oxides.

Royal Caribbean's overall goal is to become emission-free.

The LNG fuel tank is 307 tons and 90 feet long, and were installed recently into one of the blocks that makes up the new ship. Royal Caribbean says the two LNG fuel takes are the largest in the cruise industry.

In addition, Icon of the Seas will utilize a shore power connection that removes emissions while connected at port.

Icon will have advanced waste heat recovery systems that repurpose heat to be used as energy across the ship.

Additional details about Icon of the Seas largely remain unknown. Royal Caribbean promises, " it will make waves with a mix of innovations and adventures cruising’s never seen before."

According to Royal Caribbean Group SEC filings in April 2021, the unnamed Icon Class ships will have a capacity of approximately 5,600 passengers.

The first of the revolutionary Icon Class is set to make its debut in fall 2023, and two other Icon Class ships are on order. The other two ships will be delivered in 2025 and 2026.

Top 10 Odyssey of the Seas frequently asked questions

In:
27 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas is an impressive cruise ship in the fleet that offers some of the latest and greatest features for passengers to enjoy while onboard.

First look around Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Being a new ship, many guests with sailings booked on Odyssey of the Seas are curious to know what there is to do onboard, as well as what makes this ship different from others in the fleet.

Every ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet stands out from others in at least a few ways, and Odyssey certainly has a lot of new additions and distinguishing features.

After scouring commonly asked questions on Google, here are some of the top questions people are searching for on the internet about Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas.

Is Odyssey of the Seas the biggest ship?

Photos: Odyssey of the Seas arrives in Israel | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you're wondering of Odyssey of the Seas is the biggest cruise ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet or the biggest cruise ship in the world, the answer to both questions is "no".

Odyssey of the Seas is a Quantum Ultra class ship, and she comes in at 347.1m long and 41.1m wide and has a gross registered tonnage of 169,300t. While that is no small ship by any means, she is still smaller than any of the Oasis Class ships.

Aerial photos of Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

The biggest cruise ship in the world is Symphony of the Seas (soon to be eclipsed by Wonder of the Seas).

Symphony of the Seas measures 228,081 gross tons and is 1,188 feet 1 inch in length (362.12m).

What is a Quantum Ultra class ship?

Odyssey of the Seas will begin sea trials on March 14 | Royal Caribbean Blog

When you read about Odyssey of the Seas, you may hear she is a Quantum Ultra class ship and wonder what makes that different from Quantum Class ships.

In practice, the difference between a Quantum and Quantum Ultra Class ship is less noticeable than the difference between other classes of ships. Think of it more like a sub class of the Quantum Class, rather than a completely different categorization of Royal Caribbean vessel.

Odyssey has the same basic layout and signature activities of a Quantum Class ship, such as the North Star, SeaPlex, Ripcord by iFly, a Royal Esplanade and more.

Royal Caribbean adds new Odyssey of the Seas cruises from England & Spain in 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

The real difference is when you look at the layout and additions Royal Caribbean has made compared to her older siblings. Odyssey has been reworked a bit, with a unified main dining room, a SeaPlex that features Playmakers sports bar, and a new resort-style pool deck.

Some other changes you will find on a Quantum Ultra class ship include a SkyPad, the indoor pool is now outdoor, a Teppanyaki restaurant, and a slightly larger size.

Read moreAll about Royal Caribbean's ship classes

Does Odyssey of the seas have Central Park?

5 things to love about Central Park on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

No, the Central Park area is only found on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships.

How many pools are on the Odyssey of the Seas?

First look around Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

There are two main pools on Odyssey of the Seas, and an adults-only Solarium pool.

The main pools have a resort-style theme to it that have in-pool loungers.  Something else different is there are hot tubs on the upper pool deck with a see-through side.

There is a smaller version of Splashaway Bay for kids to enjoy.  While it is not a pool, there are drench buckets, a kids slide, geysers and plenty of ways to cool off.

Does Odyssey of the Seas have laser tag?

Top 25 free things you can do on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

No, laser tag is not offered on Odyssey of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean offers laser tag on ships that have a Studio B ice skating rink, so that space can easily be converted over to laser tag when necessary.

Does Odyssey of the Seas have a Bionic Bar?

99 days of Harmony: Bionic Bar | Royal Caribbean Blog

Yes, there are robot bartenders on Odyssey of the Seas that can serve you drinks.

The Bionic Bar is located on deck 5 next to the shore excursions desk.

Anyone can order a drink from the Bionic Bar, as it can make alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Everything you need to know about the Bionic Bar on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Just go to the one of the nearby tablets and place an order. You have the choice of selecting from pre-defined drink recipes, or creating your own concoctions.  

After submitting your drink order, the robots assemble and serve the drink in the order they came in.

Does Odyssey of the Seas have an escape room?

Royal Caribbean now offering escape room game on Brilliance of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

While there is not a dedicated escape room on Odyssey of the Seas, they still offer an escape room game you can play.

Known as "A Royal Mystery" puzzle challenge, it is a game developed by the same company that creates the escape rooms for Royal Caribbean on other ships.

Held in Two70, this is a complimentary escape room game where teams try to solve a series of puzzles based on clues hidden throughout the room to help solve a whodunit murder case.

Brilliance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Guests participating have a set amount of time to comb over the details provided, as well as clues and puzzles they will discover until they can solve the case.  

Check the Cruise Compass for when A Royal Mystery will be offered.

Where is the Odyssey of the Seas right now?

Spotted: New Royal Caribbean show celebrating showgirls | Royal Caribbean Blog

Odyssey of the Seas is offering roundtrip cruises from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for winter 2021-2022.  There are 6- and 8-night sailings to choose from while the ship sails from Florida.

In summer 2022, Odyssey will transition to offer Mediterranean cruises from Rome, beginning in May 2022.

Which restaurants are free on Odyssey of the Seas?

Odyssey of the Seas restaurants | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean provides a number of restaurants that will cost you nothing extra onboard.

  • Main dining room
  • Windjammer Cafe
  • The Cafe @ Two70
  • Coastal Kitchen (suite guests only)
  • Sorrento's
  • El Loco Fresh
  • Cafe Promenade
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Sprinkles ice cream station

In addition, there are specialty restaurants you can dine at that cost extra, but offer cuisines and/or cooking styles not otherwise available onboard.

Read moreOdyssey of the Seas restaurants

Does Odyssey of the Seas have a water slide?

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

Splashaway Bay does offer kids a water slide, but Odyssey of the Seas does not have the Perfect Storm water slides found on other ships for guests of all ages.

Located on deck 14, there are two slides for kids to enjoy in Splashaway Bay, a small traditional slide and a tube slide. 

Royal Romance:  How to plan your dream wedding at sea

In:
27 Oct 2021
By: 
Marcy Miyar

A wedding onboard a cruise ship or in an exotic port of call is the epitome of romance.  If you are considering tying the knot or a vow renewal, you may not have any idea where to start. 

Here are some helpful tips for getting married on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Where to begin

You will first contact the Royal Weddings department.

The weddings department require a minimum of 90 days prior to your sail date but advise that you contact them even earlier than that, if possible.

You will choose your package and any add-ons that you desire.  Then you’ll be assigned a shoreside coordinator that will work with you to customize your ceremony and reception to your specific needs.

They can also assist you with getting your marriage license. On embarkation day you’ll meet with your onboard coordinator that makes it all happen! 

Who can Royal Caribbean marry?

Pretty much anybody, as long as you’re familiar with the rules.  If you get married onboard the ship, your marriage will be legal in the Bahamas as that is where the ship is registered.  Same goes for any port of call you choose to have your ceremony in.  

Same sex marriages can be performed on shore in the U.S. or any other port abroad that legally recognizes them. 

Since the Bahamas does not allow same sex marriages, those could not be done legally on the ship itself.  However, you can have a symbolic ceremony at sea if you wish. 

What does a package include?

There are many packages to choose from.  A sample can be found on Royal Caribbean’s website.  There are a few variations here and there but for the most part you can expect these to be included:

  • Priority check in at the pier
  • Non-denominational wedding officiant
  • Bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne
  • Pre-recorded musical accompaniment
  • 3 Tier wedding cake
  • Dinner for the couple at a specialty restaurant
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Mimosa breakfast in bed
  • One hour of photography service
  • Stateroom decorations
  • Keepsake certificate with the date, ship or port name
  • Private wedding venue

Add-ons

A Royal wedding - Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

If you really want to go all out you can add on, for an additional fee, salon services that include hair styling and nails for the ladies or hair cuts, shaves and beard trimming for the gentlemen.

You can add more hours with the photographer that includes all of your photos digitally.  You can also arrange for a live band or a DJ at your reception.

Speaking of receptions, you can book a venue and add bar services, hors d’oeuvres or food stations.  You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you wish. 

Vow renewals

You don’t have to be getting married to have a ceremony either!  Why not renew your vows in a picturesque setting?  That’s exactly what we did.  We got married on land and had our honeymoon on Freedom of the Seas.  Since we love cruising so much, we decided to celebrate our 10 year anniversary with a vow renewal on the ship we took our honeymoon on.

We wanted it to be just the two of us.  Our onboard coordinator took care of everything! We chose our vow renewal to be held the day we were docked in Labadee.  We added extra time with the photographer so we had photos done on the island before the ceremony. We had the ceremony itself in the Cloud 9 card room on Deck 14 (which is now the suite lounge). 

We provided our own music so we had a sound technician present that played the songs through a speaker system.  Our onboard coordinator also preformed our ceremony.  Afterwards we had a champagne toast. We requested to have the chocolate covered strawberries and the cake delivered to our room.  Next, we took photos around the ship.  Even though it was October 28th, the ship was already decorated for Halloween. 

Our amazing wedding coordinator followed us around, deflating the decorations so we didn’t have ghosts and vampires in our photos then set them all back up again.

The photographer was happy to take photos in all of our favorite venues: Vintages, Giovanni’s Table, The Diamond and Viking Crown Lounges, even the Next Cruise desk!

The one place I suggested that surprised our photographer the most was the main dining room.  I love its three story staircase and the giant chandelier.  It turned out to be some of my favorite photos of the day.

Later in the cruise we had our certificate delivered with our names, the date, the name of the ship and signed by the Captain.  The whole experience was even more perfect than we planned.

But what does it cost?

That’s hard to answer because there are so many variables that affect the price. 

Packages that include the couple and 10 guests start at $1950.  Packages that include up to 50 guests start at $3850.  Up to 75 guests start at $5600. 

For us, the experience and memories were worth every penny. 

Cruise industry supports CDC's temporary extension of cruise ship Covid-19 regulations

In:
26 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its requirements for how cruise ships need to operate due to Covid-19, and the cruise industry has come out in support of the temporary extension.

CLIA asked why CDC is holding cruise ships to a double standard | Royal Caribbean Blog

The extension means the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) will continue to remain in effect between November 1 and January 15, 2022, but the CDC says it will then expire.

While the CSO was at one time a major thorn in the side of the cruise lines who were eager to restart operations, the CDC began allowing ships to sail in June 2021 and since then, it has largely become a mere formality for ships to be able to sail from all major and minor cruise ports in the United States.

The Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA) issued a statement in support of the CDC's decision, as it provides a means for the CSO to transition to a voluntary basis, "Cruising has successfully resumed in the United States, with leading public health measures that have enabled our ocean-going cruise line members to effectively mitigate the risk of COVID-19 amongst cruise passengers, crewmembers and destinations."

"The changes to the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), announced today, show that the Biden Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize the cruise industry’s successful resumption of operations. We look forward to demonstrating the industry’s continued leadership in this final phase of the CSO, and to carrying out a smooth transition when the Order comes to an end on 15 January 2022."

In mid-January, the CDC says the CSO will transition to a voluntary program in which participation will be at the discretion of cruise lines.

"CDC wishes to stress that cruise ship participation in any future voluntary program would not be mandated; the scope and parameters of such a program would be subject to further discussion and information sharing; and cruise ship operators would be free to develop alternative pathways of detecting, mitigating, and controlling the spread of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships."

CLIA believes the industry is committed to a safe approach to cruising once that occurs, "The health and safety of cruise passengers, crewmembers and destinations remain the industry’s highest priority."

"CLIA ocean-going cruise line members will continue to be guided by science and the principle of putting people first as we work with the Administration and the CDC to expand on our progress and build additional confidence in cruising as one of the safest vacation options, during the pandemic and beyond."

In a statement to RoyalCaribbeanBlog, a Royal Caribbean Group spokesperson also supported the CDC's move, "As our phased approach to healthy return to service continues fleetwide, we are pleased by the decision of the CDC to end the Conditional Sail Order after a two-month extension until January 15, 2022."

"Royal Caribbean Group will continue to operate in accordance with protocols that prioritize the health and safety of our guests, crews and the communities we visit, as we have done successfully from the United States since June."

What does the Conditional Sailing Order require?

In a nutshell, the CSO laid out a phased approach for cruise ships to restart operations from the United States through a series of steps in order to get approval to sail.

Introduced in October 2020, the full set of rules were not fully unveiled until spring 2021, but they provided cruise lines with requirements to ensure their ships would not put crew, passengers or communities served by the ships under unnecessary risk to Covid-19.

Cruise lines had the choice of mandating at least 95% of their passengers and 98% of their crew members be fully vaccinated in order to restart cruises quicker, or run test cruises with volunteer passengers to ensure health protocols onboard were effective.

Cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises opted to mandate the vaccine, while Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line chose the test cruise path in order to allow unvaccinated children onboard.

Royal Caribbean began test cruises in June 2021, and has successfully launched every one of its ships that has had to conduct a test cruise.

Simulated voyages applied a variety of new cruise line policies and rules to ensure they mitigate any potential spread of a virus onboard. Besides testing protocols, Royal Caribbean found the test cruises a good opportunity to prep the ship to return to service after many months of being shutdown.

The CDC now believes the protocols devised under the CSO has helped avert concerns it had earlier, "cruise lines, with CDC assistance, have resumed passenger operations and successfully developed and implemented health and safety protocols to manage COVID-19 that have averted overwhelming onboard medical facilities and burdening shoreside hospital resources"

Why the CDC extended the Conditional Sailing Order

CLIA wants cruise lines to work closer with CDC to resume cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader smokeybandit reacted to the temporary extension by asking, "I want to know what difference another 75 days makes," which echoes many other cruise fans concerns about the CDC decision.

In the 54-page document the CDC issued regarding the CSO extension, it justified the temporary extension because of the upcoming winter season and anticipated increase in passengers and ships sailing from the United States.

"The winter season (November through January) has historically been the most active cruising season in the Caribbean and Central America, involving travel to countries currently listed by CDC as being under COVID-19 travel health notices where cruise ship travelers may be at increased risk for acquiring and subsequently introducing COVID-19 variants into the U.S.

 

"Additionally, cruise ship operators have informed CDC of their intended plans to increase the number of ships operating in U.S. waters this fall and winter."

The CDC added it was not "feasible" to pause the CSO in order to get a comment period, noting it would be "impracticable and contrary to the public interest."