Best reader tips for having fun with kids on a cruise

In:
09Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Cruising with kids on Royal Caribbean means ample opportunity to share in exciting and fun activities. While Royal Caribbean ships are designed with families in mind, we asked our readers for their best tips for maximizing family time while onboard.

We received a lot of great ideas, including these top tips for families to consider before their next cruise vacation.

"At the pool, I create water games in the pool." - Kimberly Sawyer

"They loved movies by the pool every night. " - Kristina Michelle 

"We set rules/guidelines before we ever got on the ship so they always knew the expectations." - Amanda Stieferman  

"Use Adventure Ocean as much as possible! I remember when I was a kid I loved it! I would skip dessert at dinner just to get there early!" - Sean Hurab 

"We always plan "together" and "apart" time. When they were younger: morning in Adventure Ocean, afternoon  lunch and activities (pool, golf, rock climbing, etc.) with the family, dinner together, back to Adventure Ocean for them and entertainment for mom and dad!" - Gayla Steiner     

"Don’t stress, don’t try to do EVERYTHING. Let them go at their own pace and if they want to play putt putt 15 times instead of swimming...let them." - Suzanne Marshall Sexton 

"If they are 11+ and mature enough to check in on time, allow the freedom to explore on their own." - Philip Dickson

"If they are old enough to navigate the ship on their own (especially teens) make sure you talk about ground rules before you leave such as how often they need to check in with you, meal time arrangements, curfew (some of the teen activities may be late at night), are they allowed to go to others cabins with friends that they meet on the ship. It helps to talk about things like this before you go." - Lisa Davis Boetje

"Schedule some down time. So much fun easy to get burned out." - Chris Caulfield 

"When dining ask your waiter to bring the little kid’s food first. Then bring something for them to do while you eat!" - Pam Brown

"Utilize the Royal Tots room so they can run & play!" - Kristina White

What is your best tips for having fun with kids on a cruise? Share your tips in the comments below!

Friday Photos - August 9, 2019

In:
09Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Every Friday, we ask our readers to send us their favorite Royal Caribbean photos so that we can showcase them here on the blog. After all, looking back on past cruise memories is always a great way to get excited for our next cruise!

First up is a photo by Tonya Backes of her kids watching the impending crossing below a bridge.

Joe Moran shares our next photo, which was sunset on his first night out from Bayonne on Anthem of the Seas as she headed to Bermuda.

Next up is a photo by Julie Hodgson of Ovation of the Seas, as seen from the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand.

Marc Linsey took this photo of the Boardwalk on Oasis of the Seas.

Ranán sent in this photo of North Star on Anthem of the Seas, as seen from the indoor pool deck.

Arnaud snapped this photo of breakfast on his balcony while on Jewel of the Seas.

Our final photo is by Patty V, and it is of the sunrise from her balcony on Adventure of the Seas.

That wraps up this week's edition of Friday Photos. Thank you to everyone that submitted their photos, and if you would like to, please feel free to share your Royal Caribbean photos with us for a future edition. Have a great weekend!

Video: Perfect Day at CocoCay secrets!

In:
08Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Before you visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, check out our favorite tips and tricks in our newest RoyalCaribbeanBlog video!

Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas is taking the cruising world by storm, with some incredible enhancements and offerings.  To maximize your visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay, we have shared a dozen secrets that are sure to steer you in the right direction!

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

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

So check out the video and then let us know: What is your favorite tip or trick when visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay?

Ship Classes on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
07Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Another episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure!

Episode 314 of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available for downloading and streaming.

On this week's episode, Matt compares the various classes of Royal Caribbean cruise ships to share the differences and similarities between each class.  

We will also share more listener feedback, including your questions and comments.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 314. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS 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!

Video: Royal Caribbean Drink Package Review

In:
06Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

We have a new RoyalCaribbeanBlog video to share today, which reviews Royal Caribbean's super popular unlimited alcohol package.

These days, perhaps no cruise purchase is more popular than an unlimited alcohol package, and we have a full review of what the drink package offers and what you should think about before purchasing one for yourself.

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 video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What are your thoughts on buying an unlimited drink package for your cruise?

Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort Hotel Review

In:
05Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

In our ongoing search for great hotels to stay in before or after your Royal Caribbean cruise, we spent a couple nights at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort after noticing it offered amenities that directly appealed to (large) families.

There is no shortage of hotels in the Port Canaveral area, but the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort (previously Wakulla Suites) features luxurious two-bedroom suites along with a water park, situated within a short walk to the beach. Families looking for a pre- or post-cruise stay are sure to take notice, and it certainly caught my attention.

Renovated in 2018, this resort offers 120 two-bedroom villas in the heart of Cocoa Beach.  In addition to offering access to the beach, it stands out for its Polynesian theme and aqua park.

The true appeal of this resort is the aquatic experience, between its pool area, splash pad and lazy river features.

The pool is rather large and deep, maxing out at 7 and a half feet at its deepest point. There is also a splash pool for young children and a hot tub.

The Wakulla Falls Water Park (named after the resort's former name) features a large splash pad, and reminded us quite a bit of Splashaway Bay on Royal Caribbean ships. It has a large drench bucket, geysers, sprays, (very tame and small) water slides and pretty much any other way to hose yourself down.

At the rear of the pool area is a lazy river complete with floats and a few ways to get wet along the way. 

Both the lazy river and splash pad is included with your hotel admission.  The resort says each room qualifies up to six guests admission into the water park. Wristbands are distributed and requested to be worn, although during our stay no one checked if we had them on.

The pool area features a tiki bar, which serves drinks and food.

We booked a two-night stay at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort, and were greeted to one of the most well appointed hotel rooms I have stayed at that were not a villa or apartment. The 2018 renovation clearly resulted in upgraded furnishings that present a very contemporary feel.

The hotel is in a "U" shape, with all rooms facing the pool and aqua park areas. Even the most remote room is a very quick walk back to the lobby, so getting around is super simple.

The two bedroom unit has a large living room, kitchen and dining nook, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The room measures 812 sq feet of space. There are not laundry machines in the room, but there are self-service laundry machines in the resort.

The master bedroom has a king size bed, along with master suite bathroom. 

The shower features three(!) different shower heads: traditional, rain and hand-held.  You can only use one at a time, but there should be no issue satisfying the most ardent shower head aficionado.

The other bedroom has twin beds, along with a connecting bathroom.

We enjoyed the large amount of space to sprawl out, and the fact each bedroom and the living room had a large television set meant there was not much competing for personal space. 

The resort does offer direct beach access, which is a very short walk to the beach from the hotel.  Umbrellas and chairs are available to rent upon request.

The hotel does not provide complimentary or for-pay shuttle service to the port, but there are a variety of third-party options, including ride sharing services.

Of course, we need to talk about price and a resort with these kind of ammenities and location will not be a bottom-barrel value by any means. We stayed two nights, Saturday and Sunday nights, with the rate being $519 and $309 each night respectively. Again, not cheap, but then again we did get a two-bedroom unit and one of the best pool/aqua park features near Port Canaveral, along with direct beach access. 

The best part about the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort is the room, both in living space and looks, along with the pool and water park. 

The price is what gives me the greatest pause about recommending staying here, and you may find better prices during other times of the year. We picked a random weekend during summer, which is high season for Cocoa Beach. 

While the water park was nice, I believe the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Cape Canaveral Beach Resort offers a superior pool and aqua park, and we paid less on our last visit to stay there. Granted, the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort Hotel is located much more centrally in Cocoa Beach, and it is very easy to walk to nearby attractions, restaruarants and more.

Just like the Holiday Inn Club Vacations resort, there is a low-pressure sales pitch to attend a timeshare presentation.  Regardless of whatever they offer you for the tour, do yourself a favor and skip this at all costs.

Overall, the room and pool area were up to our liking and it was a fun weekend in Cocoa Beach. The room update looks great, and the pool area was a focal point for my family during the weekend. While far from inexpensive, the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort is a great choice if you are looking for a lot of living space in a hotel in the middle of Cocoa Beach that does not compromise on resort amenities.

Your thoughts

Have you stayed at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort? Are you a fan of it? Is this a hotel you’d consider? Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below!

Royal Caribbean lowers unaccompanied guest age for Thrill Waterpark to 14

In:
05Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has lowered the age of unaccompanied guests at Thrill Waterpark at Perfect Day at CocoCay from 18 to 14 years old.

Effective August 3, 2019, the cruise line confirmed via Twitter the policy had shifted, which allows most teenagers to enjoy the water park without an adult present. This new rule change allows for adults to forgo purchasing water park admission in situations where teenagers want to enjoy thrills on their own.

The new rule states all guests under 14 years of age must be accompanied by a ticketed guest of age 14 or older to enter.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 4, 2019

In:
04Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Can you believe August is already here? It is the middle of Summer and there is a lot of Royal Caribbean news to catch up from during this week.

The big Royal Caribbean news this week was the announcement of new Empress of the Seas sailings from Bayonne, New Jersey and Montreal, Canada in 2020-2021.

Empress will offer guests the opportunity to see "the seaside lights and historic sights" of Canada and New England with more to see from Montreal to Newport. In addition, she will offer longer stays in Bermuda with overnight stays in St. George’s Island and Hamilton. Plus 6, 7 and 8 night Caribbean itineraries from Miami.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 313th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where Sheri joins Matt to share how to shop for a cruise at a dollar store.

In this episode, Sheri talks about the sort of things you can buy at a dollar store to prepare for a cruise and save money at the same time.

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.

New RCB Video: Worst Royal Caribbean advice you will get

Have you subscribed to the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel? We share some great videos there regularly, all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise! This week, we are sharing our latest video — Worst Royal Caribbean advice you will get — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Cosmopolitan wrote how a Royal Caribbean cruise turned into their favorite vacation.

Cayman27 shared details on a proposed dock in Grand Cayman.

Hello Fashion listed five reasons to cruise with Royal Caribbean.

New vegan menu to be added to Royal Caribbean's main dining room

In:
02Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Guests dining in Royal Caribbean's main dining room will have new vegan options to consider.

As first reported by Cruise Critic, an enthusiast site not affiliated with any cruise line, Royal Caribbean added the new vegan choices effective August 1, 2019 to its main dining oom menu.

Some of the new items include:

  • Edamame-stuffed portobello mushrooms
  • Vegan spaghetti "bolognaise"
  • Orzo pasta stew with green vegetables
  • New desserts

Friday Photos - August 2, 2019

In:
02Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

It is Friday and with the weekend nearly here, that means we are sharing our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean photos.  Each week, we ask our readers to send us Royal Caribbean photos to share on the blog.

We begin with a photo by Gloria7649 of Perfect Day at CocoCay while visiting on Navigator of the Seas.

Matt Leprino shared this photo of a doe standing watch over Symphony’s Central Park on a beautiful summer night.

Pat & Sharon Patterson shared this photo of whales feeding between Radiance of the Seas and land in Icy Straight Point, Alaska.

Our next photo is of Brooke Clapp and family at a stop in St. John.

Here is a great sunset photo from Harmony of the Seas as seen by Bradley.

Ranán submitted this photo of the North Star from on Anthem of the Seas.

Our last photo is of Paul and the Captain of Anthem of the Seas.

Thank you to everyone for sharing these great photos. If you want to include your photos too, please send them to us via this form!

Pages