Dreamworks characters rumored to be coming to Royal Caribbean

By: Matt Hochberg

According to a tweet by Stitchkingdom, the characters from DreamWorks Animation will be appearing as characters to meet aboard Royal Caribbean ships.  This could be the announcement promised at 11am eastern today by Royal Caribbean.  In a few hours, we will know more!

Update: USA Today is confirming the rumor.  Characters will first arrive on Allure of the Seas and then spread to Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.  The characters will include Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots from Shrek; Alex, Marty and the Penguins of Madagascar; Po of Kung Fu Panda and Hiccup of How to Train Your Dragon. The characters will appear as part of exclusive special events, parades, character breakfasts and photo opportunities. Characters also will appear in an AquaTheater show on Allure of the Seas, and in an ice skating show on the ship.

Norfolk Virginia still a popular port

By: Matt Hochberg

We all tend to think of states like Florida or Texas when it comes to the state we leave from for a cruise, but for those in the mid-Atlantic states, there's still lots of activity out of Norfolk, Virginia aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas.  Enchantment of the Seas serves Bermuda as well as other Caribbean ports of call and WAVY-TV 10 is reporting many who frequent Norfolk as their departure port are loving it.

"Cruising from Norfolk is a hit with local passengers like Tom Anthony who finds it a bargain too. He is just returning.

"We live in Chesapeake so to be able to be dropped off here and get on a cruise ship and not having to travel a whole additional day to and from makes it a lot better value for us. But also the price is about what you would spend on a hotel and they throw in all the food you can eat for free and drop you off at a beautiful place like Bermuda," Anthony said."

With so many ships heading to Europe to chase the high demand there, it's good to hear smaller ports like Norfolk are still generating demand to keep ships serving that port and making it easier to get to your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

Port Focus: Nassau

By: Matt Hochberg

If you've been on a cruise before, more than likely, you've been to Nassau, Bahamas.  Nassau has become the ubiquitous stop for most cruisers due to it's proximity to the United States eastern shore cruising ports.  Many seem to have a love it or hate it opinion of the port but there's definitely good reason many ships make a stop here.

Nassau Benefits

  • Beaches: Nassau has an assortment of private and public beaches to choose from that are sure to please most beach goers.  While Nassau beaches aren't the absolute prettiest in the world, they do embody that typical Caribbean white sand and blue water motif that many seek on any vacation into the Caribbean.
    • Best private beach: Atlantis Resort
    • Best public beach: Cable Beach
  • Shopping: The downtown area near the dock area is easy to navigate and offers a variety of shopping options.  Nassau isn't known for having the best deal on much, but pricing here can be a bargain when compared to buying the items back in the United States.  Liquor tends to be a good deal, especially the local variety.
  • Historic landmarks: While not renown for its historical significance, there are some rather interesting historical landmarks to see at least once.  These relics from the British colonial era can be fascinating and educational to see.
    • Not to be missed landmarks: Queen's Staircase, Christopher Columbus Statue, Fort Charlotte

Nassau Detractions

  • "Pushy" locals: Nearly all ports in the Caribbean will have their share of locals trying to persuade tourists to get their hair braided or take a taxi cab or some other service.  While the pushiness in Nassau isn't as bad as other islands, it's still existent and can be an issue for those who do not like being approached.
  • Lack of exoticness: Even proponents of Nassau will admit that Nassau and Paradise Island aren't the most exotic of locations.  Other ports in the Caribbean tend to be much more exotic looking and intriguing a destination.

If you choose not to get off the ship at Nassau, be sure to look into deals on board the ship for deals as port days often bring better deals at the spa, among other locations.

Royal Caribbean Ships stopping in Nassau: Explorer of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Changes Crown and Anchor Society Benefits

By: Matt Hochberg

On June 1, 2010, Royal Caribbean announced updates to its customer loyalty group, the Crown and Anchor Society.  Here's a run down of these changes...

  • New "exclusive" on-board booking privileges
    From now on, only Crown & Anchor members will be able to book future cruises on its ships with special bonuses available for rebooking onboard.
  • Combinable booking credits
    Crown & Anchor members can now combine the onboard booking credits with their credits from Crown & Anchor Society Savings Certificates
  • Additional on-board staff dedicated to members
    An extra Loyalty Staff member will be added to every cruise ship in their fleet
  • Priority notification of Royal Caribbean news, deals and special events
    Via email, Crown & Anchor members will receive advanced notice of announcements from Royal Caribbean
  • An expanded benefit booklet
    The booklet of savings that Crown & Anchor members receive will feature some new discounts on various items

The changes seem to be for the best, as of now.  There were no indications that other benefits were being removed, so it seems as though Royal Caribbean is trying to simply entice their customers to book their future cruises with Royal Caribbean with these new benefits.

Welcome to the Royal Caribbean Blog

By: Matt Hochberg

Welcome to the start of the Royal Caribbean Blog.  This is an unofficial and unbias look at the Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line.  This blog is written by fans of Royal Caribbean and cruising in general and it's meant to be an opportunity to document, discuss and celebrate cruising aboard the many Royal Caribbean ships found around the world.

Our Commitment

The mission of this blog is to provide interesting posts regarding various topics of the Royal Caribbean International cruise line and the ports of call it serves.  We promise to provide these stories to you consistently and without being influenced by Royal Caribbean itself.  The importance of being unofficial and independent is crucial to any good blog, and we resolve ourselves to maintaining the integrity of this site by standing by this rule.

This site is for you

Above all else, please feel free to take part in this blog and be a part of the community we're building here.  While we enjoy writing about Royal Caribbean and talking about it a lot, we want this to be a communal effort and you should feel free to be a part of the community we've established here.  This includes you sharing your thoughts and concerns on any and all of our posts as well as contributing useful, interesting and provocative thoughts to the site itself.  Our doors are always open to comments, criticism and suggestions so please feel free to voice your thoughts.

Thank you for checking us out and we're eager to get things underway.  Hope to see you "on board"!