Royal Caribbean Fourth Quarter 2018 Earnings Call Scheduled

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will hold a conference call on January 30, 2019 at 10am to discuss its fourth quarter 2018 financial results.

The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations web site, To listen to the call by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number. A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.

Royal Caribbean announces its 2018 travel partners of the year

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced today its 17 top-performing travel advisors for the 2018 Travel Partners of the Year Awards of North America and Puerto Rico. 

The winners for the coveted awards include 2017’s Chairman’s Award recipient, Cruise Planners – an American Express Travel Representative, securing the coveted spot once again; Expedia Group, chosen for the President’s Award, and first-time honorees throughout North America: Cruises & Tours Unlimited (Southeast Partner of the Year), Magical Vacation Planner (Central Partner of the Year), MEI Travel (West Partner of the Year) and The Travel Agent Next Door (Canada Partner of the Year).

“Each year it is an honor to recognize our partners who have consistently shined with their skills, tremendous knowledge and passion for Royal Caribbean,” said Vicki Freed, senior vice president, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Royal Caribbean International. “As we gear up for another memorable year with the May 2019 opening of our new Perfect Day at CocoCay private island in The Bahamas, it is exciting to see a mix of new and familiar faces in our lineup of winners. This not only shows the strength among our longtime advisors but also the great growth we continue to see in the industry overall. We thank the travel advisor community for their support, and many congratulations to our 2018 winners.”

The 2018 Royal Caribbean Travel Partners of the Year: (*First-time winner)

Chairman's Award for Overall Achievement: Cruise Planners – an American Express Travel Representative

President's Award for Overall Achievement: Expedia Group

New to Cruise Partner of the Year: World Travel Holdings

Southeast Partner of the Year: Cruises & Tours Unlimited*

Northeast Partner of the Year: Crown Cruise Vacations

Central Partner of the Year: Magical Vacation Planner*

West Partner of the Year: MEI Travel*

Canada Partner of the Year: The Travel Agent Next Door*

Home-Based Partner of the Year: CruiseOne/Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc.

Online Partner of the Year: WMPH

Consortia Partner of the Year: Ensemble Travel Group

Corporate Incentive Partner of the Year: Buy the Sea

Host Agency Partner of the Year: Nexion Travel Group

Marketing Partner of the Year: ICE Enterprise

Top Overall Producer – Puerto Rico: A & A Tours Network

Top Independent Producer – Puerto Rico: Travel Planners Inc/Expedia CentrodeCruceros

Automation Partner of the Year: Vacations To Go

Brilliance of the Seas 2019 Live Blog - Michael's Cruise Preview

By: Michael Poole

It’s Michael Poole back for another live blog and I could notbe happier as my 100-day "dry dock" is finally coming to an end! 

This time I am going to be sailing on Brilliance of the Seas, out of my old stomping grounds in Tampa, Florida.  Sadly, I can no longer walk to the ship from home, so I’ll making the 2,000 mile journey from Southern California to Tampa Friday night. 

Why I booked this cruise?

I have sailed on Brilliance a few times before; in fact this will be my 6th sailing on her.  I have really grown to love this ship. Sure, it is a smaller ship than the newer ships, but I tend to appreciate all the ocean views more as I get older.  

Wait, did I just say that? 

I am actually sailing on two sailings in a row, though the live blog will just cover the first leg sailing January 25th.  The second sailing is Royal Caribbean Periscoper’s annual groups cruise sailing on January 31st.  So I am calling this sailing the pre-group cruise!

Ports of call

This is a 5-night Western Caribbean sailing going to Cozumel, Mexico and Grand Cayman, plus two sea days. 

For Grand Cayman I actually do not have any plans as of now.  I was here in October on Adventure and visited the Royal Palm, so I might go back. 

For Cozumel, I will be exploring one of my favorite restaurants on the water – more to come on that!   Not the most exciting plans for my port days, but I’m really looking to relax on this sailing. 


When I originally booked this sailing, I booked the solo inside cabin.  Brilliance of the Seas has three cabins for solo cruisers at a discounted rate. 

As life events happen, I was able to make it work for my fiancé to join me.  So I switched to an ocean view balcony on deck 7, cabin 7108.  This cabin is right at the start of the hump and the deck plans show a larger balcony, so I’ll see if that’s the case soon!

Drink Package

Since I am on Brilliance for two sailings, I decided to pass on the drink package the first cruise.  I mentioned previously “as life events happen”, 2018 I moved across country for work and a few months later relocated again.  So after living in 3 different homes, across the country move, I decided to treat myself and YOLO buy it! Not really worried about breaking even or not, just want to relax poolside and have zero worries in world. 

What’s Next

On Saturday, January 25th, I will be boarding Brilliance of the Seas. 

Each day I will upload photos and content around my experiences on board.  I will do my best to bring you unique things I see around the ship, drink specials, etc. 

I will also be posting pictures on my Instagram account across both sailings.  Feel free to comment below with any questions you may have throughout the live blog. See you at sea!

Australia cruises 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 286 is available for downloading, which is all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise from Australia.

Perhaps no cruise market has become as popular in such a short time as Australia, and this week's episode is dedicated to all things cruising from the land down under.  Pippa joins Matt to talk about the basics of taking a cruise from Australia, what the current cruise season looks like, and some of the highlights from the amazing places you can visit.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 286. 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!

Royal Caribbean offering up to 30% off pre-cruise purchases with Cruise Planner sale

By: Matt Hochberg

Guests can save up to 30% off on select pre-cruise purchases with Royal Caribbean's new Cruise Planner sale.

The Set Sail & Save sale runs between January 23, 2019 and January 28, 2019 on sailings between January 30, 2019 and July 15, 2019.

Royal Caribbean states guests can expect to see:

  • Beverage Packages: Up to 30% off on select sailings
    • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship.
    • Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship.
    • Refreshment Package: 30% off onboard prices. Discount varies by ship.
  • Save up to 25% on select shore excursions. Discount varies by ship.
  • Internet
    • 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 Packages
    • 3 Night Dining Package. Discount varies by ship.
    • 3 Night, 4 Night and 5 Night Ultimate Dining Package. Discount varies by ship.
  • Activities: Up to 10% off on select sailings
    • All Access Ship Tour: 10% off.

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.

Video: Top 12 cruise terms you should know

By: Matt Hochberg

We are back with another RoyalCaribbeanBlog Video today, and we are letting you in on the cruise line jargon that you might hear or read while planning a Royal Caribbean cruise.

In the cruise industry, there is a lot of words and phrases thrown around that have roots in the sailing industry as well as on cruise ships.  We have a breakdown of the most important words you should know prior to going on a cruise so that you know exactly what people are talking about.

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single episode!

Royal Caribbean refundable versus non-refundable cruise fares

By: Matt Hochberg

When you decide to book a Royal Caribbean cruise, you have to decide between a refundable cruise fare or a non-refundable cruise fare. The decision to opt for one or the other largely has to do with your risk tolerance, personal preferences and how you vacation.

Here is a quick breakdown of what to consider before booking a cruise.

What is a refundable cruise fare?

A refundable cruise fare is a booking made in which if the sailing is canceled prior to the final payment date, Royal Caribbean will issue a full refund of any deposit/money paid towards that reservation.

Historically, refundable cruise fares were the norm and they offer greater flexibility especially if vacation plans are not firm. Booking a cruise vacation months or years in advance can be difficult when trying to account for time off of work and other personal responsibilities.

Provided the reservation is before final payment date, refundable cruise fares are eligible for repricing, as well as changing to a different sail date or ship without penalty.

What is a non-refundable cruise fare?

Non-refundable cruise fares are bookings for a Royal Caribbean cruise in which if the guest opts to cancel a non-refundable booking prior to the final payment due date, Royal Caribbean will issue a future cruise credit in the amount of the deposit paid minus a $100USD per person service fee to the guest named on the canceled booking. Such Future Cruise Certificates can be applied towards your future.

The reason to book a non-refundable cruise fare is because the price is lower than a refundable cruise fare and they have become popular with cruisers who are interested in the lowest possible price for their cruise vacation.

Change fees are only incurred should an adjustment to the ship and/or sail date occur; therefore, no change fee will be assessed upon swapping between category types on the same ship and sail date (such as in the case of a price drop).

It is worth noting you can change from refundable to non-refundable fare at any time (but not back).

What to consider before choosing the cruise fare

Price: We would be remiss if we ignored the most compelling reason to book a non-refundable cruise fare and that is the price.  Often non-refundable cruise fares are hundreds of dollars cheaper than refundable cruise fare.  Multiplied by many people in a group and the savings can be substantial.

Flexibility: How flexible do you need to be with your sail date?  Are you dead set on the sailing and ship you are on? Or is this a placeholder reservation that you are not too certain you will sail on? These sort of questions are at the heart of deciding between a refundable and non-refundable fare. The more doubt you have about your plans, the less compelling a choice non-refundable cruise fare becomes.

Stateroom type: If you are staying in an upper suite, the decision has been made for you. Royal Caribbean made the change to enforce only non-refundable fare options for its suite inventory. This also holds true for guarantee categories, including W/WS, X/XB, XN, Y/YO, and Z/ZI.

Still unsure which to pick?

When in doubt, go for refundable cruise fare for the flexibility it provides. It may cost more money, but if you are still "on the fence" about your plans, the knowledge of being able to cancel and get a full refund before final payment date is a great choice to have.

Moreover, we recommend talking over the decision with a good travel agent.  Travel agents are a wealth of knowledge and have seen pretty much every booking scenario (and nightmare) you could imagine.  Their years of experience can be invaluable in choosing the right cruise fare and the best part is their services and consultation should cost you absolutely nothing extra.

Which cruise fare do you typically book? Do you still have a question about cruise fares? Let us know in the comments below!

Video: What's coming to Royal Caribbean in 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

Happy 2019! We are celebrating the new year with a new Royal Caribbean Blog video, previewing what will be new in 2019 on Royal Caribbean.

There are a lot of big changes coming to Royal Caribbean this year and there is bound to be a lot of excitement about a new ship, big upgrades to the fleet, CocoCay's opening and more.  Take a look ahead with us in our latest YouTube video!

And if you love this video, there’s plenty more for you to enjoy over on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single episode!

Royal Caribbean expands new smartphone app to Vision of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has released a "soft update" to its new smart phone app that allows guests sailing on Vision of the Seas to start using the app.

The new version does not list Vision as a supported ship in the app store, but opening the app shows both ships on the list.  

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 Post Round-Up: January 20, 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

Happy weekend! We hope you are enjoying a wonderful and relaxing weekend and managing to stay warm. Now it is time to sit back with a cuppa tea or java, and check out the latest in Royal Caribbean cruise news.

It now appears Royal Caribbean's second Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship will visit the UK after it launches next year.

Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley hinted at the fact Royal Caribbean will offer sailings to the United Kingdom in October 2020.

Royal Caribbean's first Quantum Ultra Class, Spectrum of the Seas, will launch in April and head to Shanghai to begin sailing from June. However, the second Quantum Ultra ship will "definitely not" be going to China.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 285th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we have a review of a multi-port Cuba itinerary.

Royal Caribbean recently expanded its sailings to Cuba to include even more stops on the island. This week, Bryan shares his review of an Empress of the Seas cruise that visited three different ports in Cuba.

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

Simply Emma shared her wheelchair accessible experience on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Eyewitness News posted news that Royal Caribbean gave scholarships to two maritime students in the Bahamas.

Travel Weekly interviewed Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean International’s associate vice-president and UK managing director.