Royal Caribbean's Lucky Saver Sale offers 30% off every guest, kids sail free and up to $200 total savings

In:
16Mar2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is inviting vacationers to enjoy bonus savings on cruises booked this weekend with its Lucky Saver Sale.

Royal Caribbean cruises booked between March 16 and 19, 2018 on sailings departing on or after April 16, 2018 qualify for the deal.

Here is what is included:

  • 30% off cruise fare for all guests in the stateroom.
  • Kids Sail for Free offers free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on 4 nights or longer Europe, Bahamas, Bermuda, Hawaii, Canada, Coastal and Caribbean sailings departing April 7 – June 1, 2018 or September 1 – December 17, 2018.
    • The Kids Sail Free Bonus excludes sailings between November 17 – 23, 2018.
  • Instant Savings
    • $25 instant savings for Interior and Ocean View on sailings 5 nights or less
    • $50 for Balconies and $75 for Suites on sailings 5 nights and less
    • $50 instant savings for Interior and Ocean View on sailings 6 nights and longer
    • $75 for Balconies on sailings 6 nights or longer
    • $100 for Suites on sailings 6 nights or longer
  • Caribbean Bonus of up to $100 instant savings is available for those guests who book a 6-night or longer Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada or Northeast sailing departing May 1 – December 31, 2018.
    • Instant savings are determined by sailing length and category booked: $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $100 for Suites.
  • Suite Bonus
    • ASuite Bonus of up to $1000 instant savings per stateroom is available for those guests who book a 7-night or longer Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, or Canada sailing departing on or after May 1, 2018.
    • Savings are determined by Ship and Suite Class: $200 savings for Sea Class, $500 for Sky Class and $1000 for Star Class for those guests sailing on Oasis class or Anthem of the Seas and those guests who book a suite on Jewel, Freedom, Liberty, Adventure, or Grandeur of the Seas sailings will receive instant savings determined by suite category: $200 savings for Junior Suite or above and $1000 for Royal Suite.

30% off, Caribbean Bonus, Kids Sail Free and Suites Bonus are combinable with each other as well as Lucky Saver Sale, NRDB OBC, OBC, instant savings, NextCruise offers, restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military), Shareholder benefits and Crown and Anchor discounts. Lucky Saver Sale is combinable with 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. 30% off bookings made for China departures are combinable with NextCruise offers and Crown and Anchor balcony/suite discounts only. Instant Savings are not combinable with 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 and Canada.

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

In:
16Mar2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 30% off select drink package and shore excursions purchases this weekend, with its Sip, Tour & Save sale.

The weekend Cruise Planner sale promises savings on certain shore excursions and drink package purchases.  Guests can check which discounts, if any, are available for their upcoming sailing by visiting the Cruise Planner site. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

Based on the countdown timer, the sale will expire at midnight on Sunday night.

If you cannot access the Cruise Planner via the new site yet, use this link to get to the old login in the interim.

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site and navigate to the Dining & Beverage section to see 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.

A look at everything Royal Caribbean is adding to CocoCay

In:
15Mar2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Have you heard about the big changes coming to CocoCay? Royal Caribbean unveiled its plans for the Perfect Day at CocoCay that is sure to offer a lot for guests of all ages.  

Perfect Day at CocoCay will roll out in phases, beginning Sept. 2018 with the completion of the pier, and the majority of the island will launch spring 2019. Coco Beach Club, the final experience to be completed, is set to open Nov. 2019.

Here is a breakdown of everything we know that is being added to CocoCay, from racing down the tallest and most thrilling waterslide in North America or riding the tide of the Caribbean’s largest wave pool, to taking in the highest view in The Bahamas from a helium balloon 450 feet in the air, unwinding at the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, or enjoying the perfect beach day.

Splash and play

As you arrive in CocoCay (on the newly added pier), the opportunity to get soaked and cool off is right around the corner.  The shipwrecked Galleon features 30 water cannons to play with, along with Sprayaway Geyser, spraying water 82 feet in the air.

Royal Caribbean has been adding a new aquatic adventure park to its cruise ships, dubbed Splashaway Bay.  On CocoCay, Royal Caribbean will create the largest version of its aqua park yet.

Splashaway Bay will feature fountains, pools, sprinklers, geysers, water cannons and whirlpools – plus five kid-size waterslides and two massive drench buckets.

Dining

At Captain Jack’s, the island hangout and meet-up spot, guests can grab a drink at the rowboat bar and enjoy waterfront views or chow down on chicken wings and crispy steak fries – the house specialty.

For a nautical, world-traveled vibe, guests can opt to head to Skipper’s Grill for lunchtime favorites like burgers, sandwiches, tacos and salads.

Thrills

The home for adrenaline-seeking guests is Thrill Waterpark, and it will be in the middle of Perfect Day at CocoCay.  It is home to two brag-worthy water towers with 13 slides – the most slides found in any waterpark in the Caribbean – as well as the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.

Key features of Thrill Waterpark will include:

  • Daredevil’s Tower – Guests will push their limits on seven exhilarating slides, including twin Dueling Demons drop slides and the duo of Manta Raycers; the high-speed, fully vertical Screeching Serpent; the coiling Green Mamba; and the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak – the tallest waterslide in North America.
  • Family Tower – Adventurous squads will share the thrill with six multi-rider slides, including The Twister, a winding tube slide for two sharing a raft; The Slingshot, a zero-gravity slide for four; and the four-lane Splash Speedway racing slides.

There will also be a 1,600-foot zip line that ends with the only splash water landing in the region.

For younger kids, Adventure Pool will offer an obstacle course of lily pads, a rock-climbing wall and swing ropes to bounce, climb and swing to their heart’s content.

Birds-eye View

You will be able to see it all with Up, Up and Away.  This colorful helium baloon will take guests 450 feet above CocoCay to provide the highest vantage point in The Bahamas and offer views all around the island.

Largest Freshwater Pool

Royal Caribbean is planning to add the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean at Oasis Lagoon.

Guests can find a spot among three distinct coves, each with their own vibe.  There will be a swim-up bar, zero entry pool access, or three mini swim-up islands with in-water loungers. 

If indulgence is more your style, private cabanas area available, complete with its own cabana attendant.

Beach time

If you are looking to enjoy time on the beach, Chill Island may be the place for you.  Royal Caribbean promises vacationers can find pristine, crystal-clear tropical waters and white powder-like sand

Chill Grill, the largest dining venue on the island, will offer beachside dining with fresh bites. Guests will also find beach day favorites here, including wave runner excursions, boat tours, snorkeling to see the spectacular marine life, as well as plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation under the shade. There will also be beach bars with roaming bartenders.

South Beach will offer many activities to do while at the beach, such as volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball.

You can grab a bite at the Snack Shack or wade out to the floating bar to cool off with a drink.

If relaxation is more their speed, photo-worthy teepee cabanas, as well as daybeds, are perfect for napping and snapping in the shade.

An exclusive retreat

The Coco Beach Club will offer the first and only overwater cabanas in The Bahamas that seeks to offer guests with an additional level of luxury.

Cabanas at the Coco Beach Club come with an overwater hammock, waterslide and private attendant.

In addition, beachside cabanas and daybeds will offer up a private slice of paradise. Elsewhere, guests can find zen at a freshwater infinity edge pool and bar, spanning an expansive 2,600-plus feet, or enjoy an exclusive dining venue that serves up freshly made Mediterranean fare with a side of ocean views.

Your thoughts

Which addition to CocoCay are you most excited to try?  Are you brave enough to go down the Daredevil’s Tower? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

Royal Caribbean announces massive expansion for private destinations and new ship upgrades

In:
14Mar2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced plans for a massive expansion to its private islands, as well as fleet modernization effort.

CocoCay

Leading the big news is the announcement of a $200 million transformation of Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay in the Bahamas.

CocoCay will be the first in the cruise line's most ambitious project yet, which they are dubbing the Perfect Day Island Collection.  This will be a series of unrivaled and exclusive private island destinations around the world.

Perfect Day at CocoCay is aimed at offering "the ultimate family destination in the Caribbean."

Highlights include:

  • Thrill Waterpark, featuring two brag-worthy water towers with 13 slides – the most slides found in any waterpark in the Caribbean – will include the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America. In addition, the waterpark will feature the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.
  • Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool, with a swim-up bar and in-pool loungers.
  • A 1,600-foot zip line that crisscrosses the island at up to 50 feet high and features the only water landing in the Caribbean.
  • A helium balloon, dubbed Up, Up and Away, floats up to 450 feet above the ground providing for the highest vantage point in The Bahamas.
  • Two specially designed beaches – Chill Island for the ultimate beach escape, complete with pristine, crystal-clear tropical waters and white powder-like sand – and plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation; and the action-packed South Beach with volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball.
  • The exclusive Coco Beach Club, will offer an upscale island experience that will feature the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas.

The island transformation will roll out in phases beginning September 2018 with the completion of a new pier, and by spring 2019 the majority of the island’s experiences will be open. Coco Beach Club, the final phase, is set to open November 2019.

Additional Perfect Day Island Collection destinations in Asia, Australia and the Caribbean will be announced at a later date.

Ship revitalizations

Royal Caribbean also announced it will invest $900 million to reimagining its fleet through a new modernization effort called Royal Amplified.

Royal Amplified will cover 10 ships over four years, and Royal Caribbean promises the program will touch every facet of the guest experience, and introduce a wide range of innovative features and bold, new experiences, including specialized pool spaces, experiential dining and nightlife concepts, and first-of-its-kind attractions.

Royal Amplified will include the Oasis, Freedom and Voyager class ships.

Independence of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to receive updates under the Royal Amplified program. Mariner of the Seas will receive her upgrades in time for this summer. The program will continue in 2019 on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, which also will be redesigned to specifically cater to those who seek a quick getaway.

Oasis of the Seas will be completely reimagined in fall 2019, ten years after her revolutionary debut. The ship will gain new thrills, pools, bars and culinary creations, as well as introduce new restaurants and onboard adventures found on the newest Oasis Class ship, Symphony of the Seas. These enhancements will cascade to Allure of the Seas in spring 2020, making every ship in the class more adventurous than ever.

Freedom of the Seas will be up next, debuting new features in 2020, followed by Liberty of the Seas in 2021.

In developing Royal Amplified, the global cruise line analyzed multiple years of guest satisfaction ratings, venue utilization data and crew interviews to focus the major investment on key features and experiences that matter most to travelers.

Full details on each ship’s new amenities will be revealed on a continuous basis in the next three years.

Royal Caribbean looking to push the envelope for family fun on Symphony of the Seas

In:
14Mar2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has big plans for the world's largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, especially when it comes to offering more for families to do than on any of its ships since.

Families on Symphony of the Seas can try a glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure, take the plunge down the tallest slide at sea, or soak up some sun after getting drenched on the ship’s epic waterslides and surf simulators.

The highlights for families on Symphony of the Seas include:

The Ultimate Family Suite

The new Ultimate Family Suite is two stories of thrills on every level. This one-of-a-kind stateroom has some "swoon-worthy" features, whimsical color schemes and a whole lot of awesome.

The 1,346-square-foot interactive space is designed for both the young and young at heart, providing a space for families to come together during their cruise vacation, while also offering enough room and amenities to relax during that special “me time.”

Family Friendly Menus

Eating on Symphony of the Seas will be a pleasure, as the ship offers a little bit of everything onboard to ensure even the pickiest eaters can find something to enjoy. Symphony will make it easy for families to taste the ultimate kid’s menus at sea across more than 20 restaurants found on board, four of which are new concepts for the cruise line.

  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade is where families cheer on their home team playing on any of more than 30 big-screen TVs, while they munch on American classics like wings, popcorn shrimp, sliders, burgers and picture-perfect sundaes. After finding inspiration in celebrating a win, it is game on at the arcade with Ms. Pac-Man, Star Wars Battle Pod, Ice Skee-ball and a lineup of other popular arcade games.
  • El Loco Fresh is perfect for the family on the go with a fiesta of flavors, from made-from-scratch mole sauce and tangy salsa verde to the made-to-order tacos and burritos. This crazy delicious Mexican fare is fresh and fast for those looking to fuel up for their next onboard adventure.
  • Hooked Seafood is the ultimate catch for families looking for fresh seafood. Those angling for a real taste of New England-inspired classics can enjoy lobster and crab claws, or take their pick of local fish and just-shucked oysters at the ice-cold raw bar.
  • Sugar Beach candy and ice cream shop is the ultimate spot for that sweet tooth. Adults and kids alike can take their pick from a family’s favorite confections and ice creams, alongside a few sugarcoated surprises. The sweetest place on the high seas also features family-friendly DIY activities for aspirational culinary artists.

Things to do

Royal Caribbean has added new high-tech, high-energy original productions that will captivate children and grownups alike.

  • Battle for Planet Z has family, friends and foes go head to head for control of the last planet in the galaxy in this new glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience, complete with state-of-the-art technology and special effects.
  • Puzzle Break: Escape the Rubicon challenges teams to race against the clock as they learn to work together toward one common goal – to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.

Fun for all ages

Symphony of the Seas will also offer plenty of family favorites onboard, such as

  • Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea
  • The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides
  • Two FlowRider surf simulators
  • Splashaway Bay, a vibrant waterscape for kids and toddlers
  • Skating in a real-ice rink at Studio B
  • Mini-golf course
  • A nine-deck-high zip line
  • Two rock-climbing walls that stand 43 feet high
  • Full-size basketball court
  • Table tennis
  • 19 pools across 1,188 feet

Symphony of the Seas will also offer complimentary programming for kids, in the form of the Adventure Ocean youth program.  Guests ages 3 to 17 years old can participate in entertaining and educational experiences and activities infused with innovative fun and excitement. Highlights include:

  • Aquanauts (ages 3-5 years) serves up cool experiments and the chance to become Certified Jr. Adventure Scientists.
  • Explorers (ages 6-8 years) includes fun events and adventures, such as themed parties.
  • Voyagers (ages 9-11 years) offers a range of activities that puts the "cool" back into learning.

Babies and toddlers also have their own array of options to consider.

  • Royal Babies (ages 6-18 months) offers the tiniest guests and their parents interactive classes filled with enriching activities developed by early childhood experts.
  • Royal Tots (ages 18-36 months) provides 45-minute interactive playground sessions filled with age-appropriate activities and toys.

Tweens & Teens Program (ages 12-17 years) allows older kids the freedom to come and go from their dedicated spaces on board, while checking out games, sports and parties with others their age.

Video: Royal Caribbean Reimagines Mariner of the Seas

In:
14Mar2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International is inviting adventure seekers to break out of their ordinary routine and take their weekends to new heights with the debut of the reimagined Mariner of the Seas. After an extensive $90 million makeover, Mariner's 3- to 4-night Bahamas cruises will offer the chance to do, see and experience more than any quick getaway has ever done before, complete with an out-of-this-world bungee and trampoline virtual reality experience, a glow-in-the-dark laser tag arena, a tiki-chic lounge and more.

Live Blogging from Rhapsody of the Seas - Preamble

In:
13Mar2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Welcome to my live blogging adventure on Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas. This is an opportunity to take you on a virtual cruise with us, as we strive to share the cruising experience.

Photo by Royal Caribbean

This time around, I am sailing on Rhapsody of the Seas for a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise.  We will visit some new ports, try a completely new class of ships, and stay in a type of room that we only dreamed of booking earlier.

Why we chose this cruise

Photo by Royal Caribbean

With so many Royal Caribbean cruises to consider, the choice of the right one can sometimes feel daunting.  Sometimes, however, it seems to fall into your lap.  

We booked Rhapsody of the Seas because I was "kicked off" another sailing.

A while back I booked a cruise on Jewel of the Seas for this time of year, thinking it would be a sailing I would like to take again.  In the months that followed booking it, I saw new opportunities and cruise choices appear and my interest in sticking with what I booked waned.  My wife and I decided we would cancel that Jewel of the Seas cruise in lieu of something else.  While we came to that conclusion, I was slow on the trigger to actually cancel the booking (canceling any cruise pains me).  

I was so slow in taking my time to cancel that a group chartered the Jewel of the Seas sailing we had booked (but were planning on canceling) and as a result, Royal Caribbean canceled our reservation and gave us bonus onboard credit for "the inconvenience"! I always knew my mother was wrong about not being lazy!

We knew we wanted to sail this particular week because it is my daughter's spring break, and after considering a few other sailings picked Rhapsody of the Seas.  We did it for two primary reasons:

  • It was the least expensive option for a 7-night cruise out of Florida
  • It offered us an opportunity to book an Owner's Suite (and it was still the cheapest option).

Our plans onboard

This will not only be our first time on Rhapsody of the Seas, but our first time on a Vision Class ship.  I have always wanted to go on a Vision class ship, if for no other reason than to be able to speak about it better on the blog.  

Sailing out of Tampa means we do not have to travel a great distance (or at great cost) to get onboard, and the itinerary Rhapsody offers sounds really intriguing (more on that later).

We booked an Owner's Suite for a steal of a price.  One big advantage of the smaller, older ships is you can find some really good deals on them.  And as Master Yoda said, "size matters not."

We have stayed in suites on a few ships now, and we are by no means "suite snobs", but when the price is right, the perks are quite lovely.  With the kids, having priority embarkation and added service from the Concierge really helps.  Simply put, it is nice to have.

While Rhapsody may not have as much to see and do onboard as the larger ships, my kids are at the age where they simply want any and all opportunities to swim, eat ice cream, and then swim some more.  I think we will find plenty to fill our time.

Our plans on shore

Photo by Michael Poole

The itinerary for this cruise is particularly intriguing, because it brings us to a lot of different places.  

We have four port stops on this sailing:

  • Key West, Florida
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • Belize City, Belize
  • Costa Maya, Mexico

My wife, nor my kids, have ever been to Key West.  Living in Central Florida, driving to Key West is just far enough away to fit into the "we will eventually go there, but not anytime soon" category.  A cruise ship stop there is perfect for our needs.  My kids (ages 7 and 3) are not quite mature enough to appreciate the history of Key West, but I think they will find a fun adventure in exploring the area.

For Belize, I decided to take a page out of Carrie Underwood's playbook, and instead of letting Jesus take the wheel, I let Royal Caribbean do so.  We contacted Royal Caribbean's private shore excursion option Private Journeys to have them help us plan a day.  I essentially said I have no idea what to do here, give me an idea.

Private Journeys came back with a personalized 5 and half hour private tour, which begins at the Belize Zoo, with up-close encounters with wild baby animals.  We then head to the at Kukumba Beach for Beach, a man-made watering hole where adults will find waterfront relaxation while sunning on beach chairs while the little ones go swimming, playfully bouncing on a floating trampoline or everyone can bravely descend a 90-foot waterslide.

It has been 8 years since my last visit to Costa Maya and we are going back to Maya Chan resort for a day of indulging at one of the best all-inclusive day passes I have ever been to.  This means more time at the beach, and unlimited Shirley Temple's for my older daughter.

We have no plans for Cozumel yet, but we are pros when it comes to Cozumel.  We may do another beach day with the kids, or leave them in Adventure Ocean and enjoy a day in town with my wife.

Our Itinerary

Three things I am excited to try

3. Vision Class ship

While I tend to gravitate towards the larger ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet, I cannot deny the appeal of going on a smaller ship that offers a more intimate experience. 

When it comes to cruising with my kids, I find that the more I can slow the pace down and let the vacation come to them, the better everyone fares.  Sure, I want to run around and "do it all" in the first two hours onboard, but cruising with kids has shown me that things work better when we let them dictate the pace.

I think going on Rhapsody of the Seas will offer all of us an opportunity to do more relaxing, or at least me watching them splash their heart's content out at the pool from dawn to dusk.

Of course, each class of Royal Caribbean ship has its own nuances and I am excited to try a Vision class ship first-hand.

2. Belize shore excursion

This is our second go around with Private Journeys, and I am excited to see how this one stacks up to our first experience.

We tried Private Journeys last year in Curacao and our guide was wonderful.  The primary reason I really like this option is because traveling with children is not simple. They tire out, get hungry, act out, and otherwise are a challenge in a group tour setting.  When we tried Private Journeys last time, it was so nice to have a tour guide who allowed us to skip a scheduled stop, stay longer at another and even work in a snack break at....McDonalds.  

1. Owners Suite

I firmly believe staying in a suite is a great way to splurge, but not the end-all be-all way to cruise.  When the cards work out in my favor to be able to afford one, I am all for it.

While being in an Owner's Suite means sleeping in the same room as my kids, I think the extra space offered in the room will make up for it.  Plus, my kids are a little bit older and theoretically slightly better at sleeping through distractions (I can already hear the cackling from other parents who are reading this).

What's next

Our Rhapsody of the Seas cruise begins on Sunday, March 18th, and I will be sharing the details on the blog, as well as across my social media channels.  Be sure to follow me on FacebookInstagram and Periscope for live updates throughout the day.

I invite you to share in this experience with me, by posting in the comments for any blog post questions and comments you may have.  I try to make these live blogs as interactive as I can, so I want everyone to feel welcome to share their thoughts.

Thanks for reading all of this and welcome aboard our next fun live blog experience!

Royal Caribbean announces policy to protect full value of Future Cruise Certificates for travel professionals

In:
13Mar2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced it has reevaluated its commissions structure for Future Cruise Certificates.

SVP Sales and Trade Support & Service Royal Caribbean International Vicki Freed announced to its travel partners that the cruise line is implementing a permanent policy to ensure travel professionals will receive the full value of the booking's commission when clients redeem their Future Cruise Certificates. 

Effective April 1st, 2018 and beyond, travel professionals that have a client redeem a Future Cruise Certificate will receive the full value of that booking’s commission.

According to Freed, the change came about as a result of last year's hurricanes that impacted so many reservations.  Because of this, Royal Caribbean protected the full value of commissions on bookings which included the redemption of a hurricane related Future Cruise Certificate.

Video: The Best Cruise Ship of 2018

In:
13Mar2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas, is set to redefine the family vacation. From the jaw-dropping Ultimate Family Suite and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience to a trio of waterslides, there’s adventure at every corner for all ages on board the world’s largest cruise ship.

Brilliance of the Seas Live Blog – Day 9 – Sea Day

In:
12Mar2018
By: Michael Poole

My final day on board Brilliance of the Seas was a sea day, as we head back to Tampa, Florida. Today was the first day all cruise I slept in, I think all those early mornings finally caught up with me.


 

I went down to the solarium to relax, while my girlfriend went to the spa. She received the 50-minute hot stones massage. The cost after the 20% Diamond Plus discount was $130 + 18%. Not the cheapest massage, but it sure did make her happy. Of course, she mentioned the upsell at the end of the treatment, but she kindly said no thanks.


 

I was relaxing in the solarium and noticed how many chairs were open. Since 1/3 of the ship is spring breakers and they don’t hangout in here, you could almost always find a chair. We grabbed some breakfast from the Windjammer and just ate it poolside.


 

For lunch we had our one last meal at Park Café. I tried the corn salad and didn’t think it was very good. But the salad and roast beef sandwich were wonderful. After lunch it was time to get some packing done in the cabin, it so much more fun unpacking!



 

While walking through the main pool, I saw the Cruise Director Mike had a trivia game going on around March Madness. I’ve never seen this played on the pool deck, but I noticed almost everyone was playing.


 

They also had the same 50% off shirts & bags sale. I heard a lady tell her husband, “but it’s 50% off, we have to buy it!”



 

After the uneventful packing up the room, we headed down to vintages to enjoy some wine. We had one bottle in our room we hadn’t opened, so I thought let’s go enjoy it on the lounge.


 

Since it’s our own bottle we didn’t have to pay any fee to enjoy it, but I did tip the server a few dollars for getting us wine glasses and a cheese plate.


 

Dinner tonight was in the Windjammer; I wanted to dine here since I hadn’t tried their dinner all week. When we walked in, I thought wow I’ve never seen this place so empty!


 

They had the same lamb shank they serve in the main dining room the last night. I also found some grilled and fried fish, so I got them both.


 

The meal was enjoyable; I really liked that fact that I could look around at everything before deciding. For our dessert I just made a little sampler plate and we got to enjoy everything. When you can’t pick just one, get them all!

After dinner we walked around saying our goodbyes to all our favorite staff on board. I saw they were playing some kind of game in the centrum; I couldn’t really make out what it was. We ended getting to bed a little early, since we both have work tomorrow morning.


 

Overall it was an outstanding cruise, I loved being able to stay on board for the back to back. Brilliance was in good shape, but did have a few signs of wear. However, after her transatlantic to Europe next month, she will go under a dry dock. I tried to get some information about any changes to the ship, but was unable to get any confirmed information.

I hope you enjoyed this 9-day live blog; I had a lot of fun sharing my vacation with you. My next cruise is in 6 weeks on board Adventure of the Seas. I’ll be taking her from San Juan to New Jersey, so see you soon!

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