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Icon of the Seas aerial drone photos show construction progress recently made

14 Feb 2023
Matt Hochberg

Let's take a peek at the what Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship looks like while still under construction.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

Icon of the Seas is at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, where she is being assembled. commissioned a set of aerial drone photos to survey the progress being made for the benefit our readers.

These drone photos were taken on the morning of February 14, 2023.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

Icon of the Seas will have her inaugural sailing January 2024, and the ship is already incredibly popular based on the bookings Royal Caribbean has seen so far.

"That ship literally has been the best-selling product in the history of our business," said Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley during last week's earnings call with investors.

"It's been absolutely outstanding in terms of the demand and the pricing that we're generating."

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

Icon is the first ship in a new class of Royal Caribbean cruise ships, and that means it introduces a host of new innovations and concepts that have resonated with consumers.

Icon of the Seas will have 26 new features never before seen on a Royal Caribbean ship, which includes 15 new water experiences.

It will have have more than 40 food and beverage concepts, with 23 of them completely new to Royal Caribbean.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

The 20-deck-high vessel will feature a variety of new-to-fleet ideas, such as a water park, Vegas-style pool area, indoor AquaTheater, dedicated neighborhood for young families and so much more.

Royal Caribbean has also added new types of cabins that are designed to hold more guests.

The new ship will be 250,600 tons in size and take the title of the biggest cruise ship in the world.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

The first sailing of Icon of the Seas will be a seven-night cruise from her homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on January 27, 2024.

Icon will then alternate between Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries through April 2025.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

Much of the construction shows more cabins have been added since our last photo update.

Cabins are constructed elsewhere and then slid into the superstructure of the ship once the slot for them is ready.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023
Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023
Cabins being installed on Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas was floated out for the first time in early December 2022.

Royal Caribbean shared a timeline of events for Icon in December, and the plan is for the new ship to have her first sea trials in May 2023.

Sea trials are when a new cruise ship tests out her systems at sea in order to evaluate performance and stability.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

Icon's second sea trials are scheduled for June 2023, with deliver in the second half of 2023.

Once complete, she'll be a bit longer and higher than Wonder of the Seas, which is currently the largest ship in the world.

Icon will have two more passenger decks than Wonder, and about 10 feet longer.

Icon can accommodate up to 5,610 passengers at double occupancy (7,600 passengers if you maxed out every bed).

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

She will also be Royal Caribbean's first ship to use liquified natural gas (LNG) and fuel cell technology. 

Icon of the Seas is the first of at least three Icon Class cruise ships.

The next one will be completed in 2025 and the third in 2026.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

Beyond the Icon Class, Royal Caribbean has no current orders for more ships, but the company hasn't ruled anything out.

Speaking with Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty in December 2022, he said there is more time to order ships than a few years ago, "The level of demand for new ships was so high that you had to order ships much further out in order to have access to those slots. So you were seeing people order ships six or seven years out."

"If you think about the Icon one's and the Icon two's, there's a little bit more breathing time for us to have to place in those orders because of that structural change pre-pandemic."

Spotted: Royal Caribbean brings back RFID "WOW Band" wristbands on one cruise ship

13 Feb 2023
Elizabeth Wright

It looks like Royal Caribbean might be bringing back their WOW Bands.


Symphony of the Seas departed on a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise in February 11, 2023, and to many guests' surprise, they found that they were once again able to purchase WOW Bands at Guest Services!

Here's everything you need to know about the soft relaunch of WOW Bands onboard Symphony of the Seas.

What are WOW Bands and what can you use them for?


WOW Bands are silicone ready-to-wear, water-resistant wristbands that come equipped with RFID chips. They are a great option for those who do not like to carry around their SeaPass while onboard. With the tap of your wrist, everything is billed directly to your onboard account; there is still no need to carry cash or credit cards. 

All guests are able to purchase and wear WOW Bands; they are neither Crown & Anchor nor suite exclusive benefits. 

Ship docked in Caribbean

The wristbands can be used for everything onboard except the casino. You can open your stateroom door, make onboard purchases, access lounges (for suite guests and select Crown & Anchor members), and even order a drink with your drink package.  

Note that if you are ordering a drink on the pool deck or casino, the bartenders are not equipped with mobile scanners. You will have to take off your wristband and/or provide your stateroom number. If you order at a physical bar, they are able to tap your WOW Band while it is on your wrist. 

If you are disembarking the ship in ports of call, you will need to use your physical SeaPass. It is best to leave your WOW Band inside of your stateroom when you are disembarking the ship for the day. 

How much do WOW Bands cost?


WOW Bands can be purchased at Guest Services for $5.99 each (yep, there was a price increase!). If you have an old WOW Band on hand, you are able to reuse it! Just make sure that you stop by Guest Services, so they can encode it for your specific voyage. 

There are three colors available for guests to choose from: white, black, and blue. Every band costs the same, regardless of what color is chosen. On this specific cruise, yellow was not available, even though it was in the past. 

The price also stays the same throughout the cruise, whether you buy it on the first last or last day. If using a WOW Band interests you, you will get the most out of the price by purchasing the wristband as early as possible. 

What is it like using a WOW Band while onboard?


I found out about WOW Bands on day 2 of my 7-night cruise and immediately went to Guest Services to purchase one! 

I never heard Royal Caribbean make an announcement that WOW Bands were available. I saw other guests wearing them and deduced that they were brought back. 

My family and I purchased WOW Bands on our Harmony of the Seas cruise in 2018, and we never really used them because of how many issues we had. My dad said he remembered us regularly visiting Guest Services to have them replaced.

Since that was my last cruise before the pandemic and Royal Caribbean discontinuing the bands, I was eager to try out all of the features. 

Since I have a drink package, my first stop, obviously, was the bar. I went to Boleros and ordered a glass of champagne at the bar; it was a seamless process!

The scanner has some difficultly reaching where I was sitting, so I assume if you were sitting at the far end of the bar or in the lounge area, you would have to take off your wristband and/or provide your stateroom number. 


I had no trouble opening my stateroom door. In fact, I prefer using the WOW Band for that, as I keep my SeaPass in my phone case and have to pull it out whenever I want to enter my cabin. Having the WOW Band will make it easier to get into my stateroom tonight when I return with Sorrento's pizza and a drink! Last night, I struggled opening my door with pizza in one hand and my soda cup in the other. 

My next stop was the pool deck. I was disappointed to learn that the bartenders do not carry mobile scanners with them, as that kind of defeats the purpose of the WOW Bands; I asked a few different bartenders if they were able to tap my wristband from my lounger, and they all said no. I was able to provide my stateroom number without handing off my SeaPass or WOW Band.

Later on in the evening, I used the WOW Band to order drinks at Izumi during dinner and Schooner Bar. My waitress at Izumi did not have a mobile scanner, so she, too, had to take my stateroom number. At the Schooner Bar, the scanner only reached so far, so I had to get out of my seat to go tap the wristband. 

Thus far, I have enjoyed the convenience of not carrying a SeaPass around; however, I wish Royal Caribbean had better outfitted their staff to be able to accommodate guests with the bands. Having to take off my wristband, provide my cabin number, or physically move closer to the scanner seems to defeat the purpose of paying extra for it. 

What if you do not want to use a WOW Band?


WOW Bands are totally optional. If you do not wish to pay for one, you can continue to use your SeaPass as normal. 

Even if you opt to purchase a WOW Band, you can use your SeaPass whenever you feel like it.

Perhaps the WOW Band is not the right accessory for formal night. No worries! Buying a WOW Band will not tamper with the functionality of your SeaPass. 

What ships have WOW Bands on them?


As of February 12, 2023, the only confirmed ship with WOW Bands onboard is Symphony of the Seas. Royal Caribbean has not made an announcement as to when they expect to roll them out on the rest of the fleet. In fact, they never even announced their launch on Symphony of the Seas.

When you board your ship, you can always head to Guest Services to see if they are available. If not, you will just have to use your SeaPass as normal! 

Royal Caribbean News Round-Up: February 12, 2023

12 Feb 2023
Matt Hochberg

Happy early Valentine's Day! Hope the holiday is filled with chocolate, flowers and a Royal Caribbean cruise! I'm spreading the Royal Caribbean love with our look at all the Royal Caribbean news from this week.

During Royal Caribbean Group's earnings call this week, the top executives shared details on a variety of topics that interesting to cruise fans.

Icon of the Seas aerial at night concept art

The top brass talked about opening a CocoCay expansion, how much passengers are spending, and how popular Icon of the Seas is so far.

These important takeaways share how Royal Caribbean is doing and what their plans are for the rest of 2023.

Royal Caribbean News

New RCB Video: 15 things I look forward to every time I go on a cruise ship

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 — Boarding day tips you need in 2022 — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Inside cabin vs. oceanview cabin: Is it worth an upgrade?

Comparing an inside cabin vs  oceanview cabin, you might be wondering if it's worth spending extra between the two.

Inside cabins are the cheapest option, but oceanview gives you a bit more space, and most importantly, natural light.

Let's help you decide if the differences are worth an upgrade from an inside cabin to an oceanview.

I cruised in a suite for the first time. Here are 5 things I learned from the experience

After trying a suite for the first time, Jenna has a few takeaways you should know about before trying a suite.

Suites have their own sets of amenities and benefits, but to best take advantage of these, there are definitely a few lessons learned.

Jenna shared 5 things she learned from her first time staying in a cruise ship suite.

Over 60 years old? A cruise vacation is for you!

Cruising is great for all ages, but it's well-suited for anyone over the age of 60 years old.

After years of family vacations, Brad fell in love with cruises and thinks it's the perfect kind of trip for seniors.

From the relaxing atmosphere to the many places you can visit, Brad shared 10 reasons you should give cruising a try.

Royal Caribbean laundry services on your cruise

11 Feb 2023
Matt Hochberg

When your clothes get dirty, soiled, or just need to be pressed, how do you handle laundry on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

Navigator of the Seas in Miami

Going on vacation for even just a few days will likely result in a lot of dirty clothes, and you may want your options are to take care of wrinkles, stains, and what to expect if you want to have your clothes laundered.

Laundry options on a cruise ship are limited compared to on land, especially if you're used to doing it yourself.

Since keeping clothes clean and wrinkle-free is something a lot of cruisers worry about, here's what you can expect when it comes to cruise ship laundry.

Self-service laundry options

Clothes in a closet

If you'd like to do your own laundry on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you wont find any facilities to do it yourself.

Royal Caribbean does not offer any self-service laundry options. This includes washing machines or dryers.

Desk in a suite

Moreover, Royal Caribbean does not provide irons to use in any cruise staterooms.

Keep in mind that Royal Caribbean prohibits passengers from bringing irons onto the ship, because they are a fire hazard. It will be confiscated for the entire voyage.

Paid laundry and dry cleaning options

I cruised in a suite for the first time. Here are 5 things I learned from the experience–and 3 I'd do differently next time | Royal Caribbean Blog

While you wont be able to do laundry on your own, there are paid laundry services available to Royal Caribbean passengers.

Both washing and dry cleaning services are available on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

For either option, you need to provide your stateroom attendant with the clothes to be cleaned, as well as a form listening all the garments. Look for a bag and form hanging in your cabin closet that you can use.

Once you have the form filled out and the clothes in the bag, just leave it on your bed and the cabin attendant will pick it up at their next cleaning.

Royal Caribbean offers:

  • Wash & Press
  • Pressing only
  • Steaming only
  • Dry Clean & Press

 The cost of the order will be deducted from your SeaPass account.

How much does laundry cost on Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean laundry price list

The exact price depends on which laundry service you want, if it's expedited or not, and the type of clothing.

Pressing or steaming only will be the least-expensive laundry option, with dry cleaning being the most expensive.

How long does it take for Royal Caribbean to do your laundry?

The standard turnaround time for laundry on a Royal Caribbean ship is the next day by 5:30pm. This assumes you drop the clothes off with your stateroom attendant the day before.

Royal Caribbean also offers same day laundry service at a 50% extra charge.

Same day service must be picked up before 11am, so that it can be done before 5:30pm.

Wash and fold specials

Royal Caribbean ships usually offer a "Wash & Fold" special, where you can get as many clothes washed and folded that you can fit in one bag for a fixed cost.

For $34.99, you get a bag (usually plastic) that you can fill to be washed and folded for $34.99. Royal Caribbean says you can "fit as much as you can into the bag provided."

Just as your stateroom attendant for this special, although it's also advertised in the Cruise Compass as well.

How to get free laundry on Royal Caribbean

One of the best Crown and Anchor Society perks are for passengers that are at least Diamond Plus actually get this for free once per cruise.

Read moreThe Crown and Anchor perks you should use on every Royal Caribbean cruise

While not free, there are discounts for the Wash & Fold bag for Gold members and higher (basically anyone that's cruised before).

Sky Loft Suite

If you're staying in a suite (Grand Suite or above), you automatically qualify for complimentary clothes pressing for the first formal night only.

Since the first formal night is usually the second night of the cruise, all you need to do is ask your stateroom attendant about the service on the first day so that there is sufficient time for it the pressed and returned to you before formal night.

Read moreWhat are the Royal Caribbean suite perks?

Laundry hacks to clean clothes yourself

Family in dining room

While you wont find laundry machines you can use, there are a few ways to get laundry done on your own without paying the cruise line.

The tried-and-true method is to bring single-packet detergent on the cruise and then fill your sink up with water to wash small loads of laundry.

Wash the clothing in your sink and then hang the clothes to dry in your shower on the laundry line provided by the cruise line. This is best for undergarments and shirts, and kids clothing.

Balcony smooth seas

If the clothes don't dry fast enough, there is a hair dryer in the room you can use on anything that stubbornly won't dry.

Some cruisers on longer sailings (or back to back cruises) will bring their own clothes lines so they can dry more clothing at the same time.

Another idea is bring wrinkle-release spray that is useful for keeping clothes looking good after being packed away in your suitcase.

I cruise almost every weekend: here's my walking tour of Nassau

10 Feb 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Nassau is one of the world’s busiest cruise ports. It’s a common port on short Caribbean cruise itineraries, offering gorgeous beaches, tasty cuisine, and centuries of history to discover.

However, it can be challenging to figure out the best things to do in Nassau. Some passengers may spend $100 or more on shore excursions whereas others may opt to spend the day on their cruise ship instead of disembarking.

To help you plan your day in Nassau, we wanted to share one of the most interesting ways to spend the day in the city: a self-guided walking tour, inspired by our good friend Brandon Smith of The Weekend Cruiser.

Brandon, founder of The Weekend Cruiser YouTube Channel, boards a cruise ship nearly every weekend. Because 3-night weekend cruises typically visit the same two ports, Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay, Brandon is an expert in everything to see, do, and experience in these two Bahamian cruise ports.

In one of Brandon’s YouTube videos, he provides a detailed plan for a self-guided walking tour in Nassau, with a focus on culture and history. This tour can be done solely by foot and on a budget, as most of the attractions are either free to enter or have an admission fee of only a few dollars.

Let’s take a look at Brandon’s self-guided walking tour itinerary to inspire your next port day in Nassau.

The Queen’s Staircase

The Queen’s Staircase is a major landmark of Nassau. It was built in the late 1700s and comprises 66 steps built directly into limestone. The work was completed by an estimated 600 slaves to create an escape route from Fort Fincastle, which is located directly above the stairs.

Visiting the Queen’s Staircase is completely free, although a guide is often available at the base of the staircase for those interested in learning more of the area’s history.

A small waterfall is located next to the stairs as well, and the walkway leading to the stairs is shadowed by steep limestone cliffs on both sides.

Directions from your cruise ship to the Queen’s Staircase:

When you walk into port, immediately make a left onto Bay Street, the main street in downtown Nassau. Continue on the street until it meets Elizabeth Avenue, where you’ll take a right. Walk past the Princess Margaret Hospital until you reach the staircase.

Fort Fincastle

Built in 1793, Fort Fincastle is a historical fortress atop Bennet Hill in downtown Nassau, which overlooks the city and ocean. The fort, built in the shape of a paddle-wheel steamer, protected the city’s harbor when it was in use.

Walking the fort’s exterior is free of charge, but you can enter the fort for around $3 to explore more of this historical landmark. US dollars and Bahamian dollars are both accepted, and an optional guide may be available inside the fort as well.

Next to the fort is a straw market where visitors can purchase souvenirs, snacks, and refreshments.

Directions from the Queen’s Staircase to Fort Fincastle:

Climb the Queen’s Staircase. Once at the top, turn to the right and you’ll see Fort Fincastle.

Government House

Photo credit:

Mount Fitzwilliam, a hill overlooking Nassau, has been the site of the residence for the Governor General of The Bahamas since 1737. The 10-acre property has housed several buildings since then, with the most recent built in 1932.

Today, visitors can admire the architecture of the bright pink Government House, a colonial-style building with large white pillars. A statue of Christopher Columbus stands in front of the house on the staircase, commemorating his discovery of the New World on San Salvador Island, Bahamas in 1492.

While the building itself is gated, you can take a photo of the Government House from outside. Note that the Government House may currently be under construction as of 2023.

Directions from Fort Fincastle to the Government House:

When you walk out of the castle, make a right and go down the back staircase before making a left onto Sand Road, a right onto East Street, and a left on E Hill Street. Walk on E Hill Street until reaching the Government House on the left.

Graycliff Hotel

Next door to the Government House is the Graycliff, which is Nassau's oldest hotel. Originally built as a mansion in 1740, the upscale hotel now has 20 guest rooms.

While cruise ship guests won’t stay overnight at the Graycliff, there are several ways to enjoy the hotel’s offerings during a port day. Day passes to the hotel are available, which include pool access and a three-course lunch.

A number of classes are offered, too, including cooking, cigar rolling, and chocolate making lessons. A tour is not required to walk around the hotel, whether visiting the Graycliff Cigar Company or chocolate shop.

Additionally, the Graycliff has several dining options, including the 5-star Graycliff Restaurant and a Brazilian churrascaria. Wine luncheons and afternoon tea may be available during your port day as well, which can make for a unique way to spend the day in Nassau.

The Graycliff has the third largest wine cellar in the Western Hemisphere with over 175,000 bottles!

Directions from the Government House to the Graycliff Hotel:

The Government House is only two minutes walking distance away from the Graycliff. From the front of the Government House on Duke Street, continue west before making a left on Baillou Hill Road. Continue on this road briefly before making a right onto W Hill Street, where the hotel is located.

National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is an art museum, which features both permanent collections and rotating exhibitions on Bahamian history and culture.

Like most buildings on our Nassau walking tour, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is located in a historic building, having been originally built as a mansion in the 1860s. The grounds feature a garden with sculptures and greenery, and this is a popular place to walk through when visiting.

Admission to the museum is $5.

Directions from the Graycliff Hotel to the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas:

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas is located right next door to the Graycliff. Simply continue walking west on W Hill Street for 600 feet and the art gallery will be on your left.

John Watling’s Distillery

John Watling’s Distillery is located on the Buena Vista Estate in Downtown Nassau, which was originally founded in 1789.

Short, guided tours of the distillery are complimentary (tips are expected) and teach visitors about the history of The Bahamas, of John Watling’s, and why rum is made in The Bahamas.

The tour will end in the distillery’s rum store, where you can order John Watling’s rum at the distillery’s bar. Flights of rum are available in addition to cocktails including a piña colada and rum runner.

Directions from the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas to John Watling’s Distillery:

From the museum’s entrance on W Hill Street, turn left onto West Street. Continue for 300 feet before making a right on Delancy Street, which is where you’ll find the distillery.

Junkanoo Beach

If you’re looking for an easy-to-access beach in Nassau, Junkanoo Beach is your best bet. This beach is one of the closest beaches to the cruise port and offers bars and food stalls along with ample beach space to relax and sunbathe.

From Junkanoo Beach, you can either head back to your cruise ship by walking east on Bay Street, or you can continue heading west on Bay Street until reaching the Fish Fry.

The Fish Fry is where you’ll find a wide selection of food stalls and restaurants specializing in Bahamian cuisine and fresh seafood.

Directions from John Watling’s Distillery to Junkanoo Beach:

Upon exiting John Watling’s Distillery, make a left onto Delancy Street before taking a right on Augusta Street. Continue on Augusta Street until Bay Street. Take a left on Bay Street and walk along Nassau’s waterfront until you run into Junkanoo Beach on the right.

How to prepare for a self-guided walking tour of Nassau

Freedom of the Seas aerial at Nassau

Before setting off on your self-guided walking tour of Nassau, it’s important to be prepared, from wearing the right clothing to staying hydrated.

Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes during your tour of Nassau. Nobody wants to end their port day with blisters, so ensuring your walking shoes are sturdy and fit properly will help ensure your walking tour goes smoothly.

Related: What to pack for a Bahamas cruise

In addition, be prepared for the tour by applying sunscreen and wearing lightweight clothing, especially if you’re traveling in the summer. Nassau can get extremely warm in the summer months, and exploring the city for several hours can be uncomfortable if you don’t dress properly.

In the winter, however, it’s important to check weather forecasts before disembarking the ship in Nassau. Some days in the peak of winter can feel relatively chilly, so you may need to pack a light cardigan or jacket.

Bringing a bottle of water is important, too, but you can always purchase water bottles or other refreshments while walking around the city. When purchasing anything, we recommend having cash on hand. US dollars or Bahamian dollars are accepted on the island.

Finally, before starting your self-guided walking tour, be sure to have access to a map. If you don’t have international cell phone service, download an offline map of downtown Nassau from Google Maps. This allows you to access the city’s maps without an internet connection.

Alternatively, friendly Bahamians can guide you in the right direction should you get lost at any point during your walking tour.

Thanks again to Brandon from The Weekend Cruiser for sharing his excellent self-guided walking tour of Nassau with us!

More Nassau tips & tricks for your next cruise:

Crown and Anchor Society loyalty program info, tips & secrets

10 Feb 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Royal Caribbean has a program of rewards for anyone that cruises multiple times with them that acts as their customer loyalty program.

The Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor Society is an exclusive program designed to reward dedicated Royal Caribbean cruise guests. By signing up, members can enjoy exclusive benefits on future cruises such as priority check-in, onboard discounts, and even complimentary beverages during their cruise. Additionally, members have access to dedicated venues, private cocktail parties onboard the ship, and more.

Earning points for your cruise vacation enables you to move up in the loyalty program, giving you exclusive access to pre-cruise discounts as well as onboard benefits and events.

All in all, The Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society provides great incentives for frequent Royal Caribbean passengers who want to take advantage of special offers throughout their cruising experience. It's a great way for guests to be rewarded for their loyalty.

At first glance the Crown & Anchor Society may seem a bit overwhelming, so we wanted to give you a comprehensive overview of the program’s benefits and offers.

How do I earn Crown & Anchor Society points?

Earning Crown & Anchor Society points is fairly simple. Each night on a cruise earns you one point. Therefore, if your cruise is seven nights, you will earn seven Crown and Anchor points.

There are a few ways to earn points more quickly. If you are staying in a suite, you will earn double points per night, making a 7-night cruise worth 14 points. Likewise, you will also earn double points by cruising solo in a regular (non-studio) cabin. If you happen to be cruising solo and are staying in a suite, you will earn a whopping 21 Crown and Anchor points on a 7-night cruise.

Points are not rewarded until after you have completed a sailing. This means that if you technically reach the next tier of the Crown & Anchor Society on day two of a cruise, your upgraded status will not be recognized until your next cruise.

Joining the Crown & Anchor Society is free and we recommend creating an account prior to your first cruise. If you did not have a Crown & Anchor Society account before your cruise, you can create one and link past sailings from the previous 12 months.

Crown & Anchor Society Tier Overview

There are six tiers to the Crown & Anchor Society:

  • Gold - 3 points
  • Platinum - 30 points
  • Emerald - 55 points
  • Diamond - 80 points
  • Diamond Plus - 175 points
  • Pinnacle Club - 700 points

There is also the Pre-Gold level, which is where every guest will start on their first Royal Caribbean cruise. As most sailings are 3 nights or longer, the majority of guests will reach Gold status after their first cruise.


Ranging from 3-29 points, the Gold level is the first official tier of the Crown & Anchor Society. As a Gold member, you do not receive an extensive list of benefits, but you will receive the following:

  • Crown & Anchor Society Onboard Offers
  • SeaPass card recognition
  • Crown & Anchor Exclusive Rates
  • Priority notice on special offers, new ships and itineraries
  • Additional cruise points for purchasing suite accommodations and/or single pricing type
  • Exclusive email offers
  • Crown & Anchor Society Desk for membership inquiries
  • Crown & Anchor Society Exclusive member newsletter


From 30-54 points you will be a Platinum member of the Crown & Anchor Society. If you have accumulated this many points, you are likely a seasoned cruiser compared to your Pre-Gold days. Platinum members receive all benefits listed above with the addition of:

  • Robes for use onboard
  • Signature Lapel Pin
  • Discounts on Balcony and Suite staterooms
  • Matching Celebrity Cruises Captain’s Club


An Emerald member does not see a substantial increase in onboard and cruise planning benefits compared to at the Platinum level. Emerald members, from 55 to 79 points, receive all benefits listed above with the addition of:

  • Welcome Waters & Snack + Beverage Selection
  • Bigger discount on Balcony & Suite staterooms compared to a Platinum member

If you took eight week-long cruises in a non-suite cabin, you could reach the Emerald level fastest.


Becoming a Diamond member is a right of passage for Royal Caribbean cruise fans. Whereas Gold, Platinum, and Emerald all see a few benefits, the Diamond level, from 80 to 174 points, is where you begin to receive benefits that will better impact your cruise vacation.

As a Diamond member, one of the biggest benefits you receive is access to the Diamond Lounge. Reaching 80 points means that you now have access to a completely new area onboard and all of the benefits that come with it, like complimentary food, coffee, and access to the Diamond concierge.

Diamond members receive all benefits listed above with the addition of:

  • Milestone recognition
  • Priority waitlist for Shore Excursions/Vitality Spa services
  • Diamond Club (on select ships)
  • Exclusive Nightly Diamond Event
  • Entertainment Tour
  • Priority waitlist seating request in the Main Dining Room
  • Bigger discount on Balcony & Suite staterooms compared to an Emerald member

If you took 12 week-long cruises in a non-suite cabin, you could reach the Diamond level fastest.

Diamond Plus

The jump from Diamond to Diamond Plus in the Crown & Anchor Society is a big milestone. Whereas you can reach the Diamond level after “just” 80 points, reaching Diamond Plus requires more than double that at 175 points.

And once you reach Diamond Plus you will likely stay in this tier for a long time, as Diamond Plus ranges from 175-699 Crown & Anchor points.

Solo cruisers are sure to love the 50% reduction in the single supplement charge that occurs at 340 points.

Diamond Plus members receive all benefits listed above with the addition of:

  • Personalized Gift/Amenity (per household)
  • Exclusive Top Tier Event
  • Early access at theater, ice show, and AquaTheater events
  • Cheers with an Officer for members with 340+ cruise points
  • Upgraded bathroom amenities for members with 340+ cruise points
  • Bonus Gift for members with 340+ cruise points (per household)
  • Bonus Gift for members with 525+ cruise points (per household)
  • Exclusive access to Diamond Plus & Pinnacle Club call center staff members
  • Single supplement cruise fare reduced to 150% from 200% for members that have 340 or more cruise points
    • This offer is based on availability with certain restrictions. Ocean Voyage Packages, Holiday sailings (Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving, Easter/Spring break) and the peak summer months of June 15 thru August 15 are not included in this offer. 
  • Bigger discount on Balcony & Suite staterooms compared to a Diamond member

Pinnacle Club

The most coveted tier of the Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society is the Pinnacle Club. Making up only a very small percentage of C&A members, a whopping 700 points must be earned to reach the Pinnacle Club level.

Reaching Pinnacle is a huge milestone for Royal Caribbean fans. As Royal Caribbean Blog writer Marcy Miyar explained, though, you don’t necessarily have to spend 700 nights on a cruise ship to reach Pinnacle. Booking suites or cruising solo allows you to earn more than one point per night, thus making your pathway to pinnacle a little bit quicker.

Pinnacle Club members receive all benefits listed above with the addition of:

  • Flexible arrival
  • Personalized lapel pin for Pinnacle Club
  • Pinnacle Club SeaPass Card with exclusive privileges
  • Daily breakfast at a specialty restaurant
  • Exclusive nightly pinnacle club event
  • Milestone cruise certificate valued at the prevailing rate of a 7-night balcony stateroom for 700 and 1050 cruise points
  • Milestone cruise certificate valued at the prevailing rate of a Junior Suite stateroom for 1,400 and every 350 cruise points thereafter
  • Bigger discount on Balcony & Suite staterooms compared to a Diamond Plus member

Member Benefits for Youth & Companions

Family members in the same household of a Crown & Anchor Society member can be added into a relationship with the member and receive equal tier status. Points listed in the family member’s account will be according to the amount of cruises that individual has taken. However, they will still receive all benefits of the tier level they earned as someone in the household of a Crown & Anchor Society member.

For example, if you are a Diamond Plus member, your kids will automatically be Diamond Plus members as well after their first cruise, even if their own Crown & Anchor Society account only has a few points. The only exception to this rule is with the Pinnacle Club. Dependents are not able to receive Pinnacle Club status from their parents or guardians and must achieve that milestone themselves. Spouses and domestic partners are able to reach Pinnacle status through their partner.

Other benefits for youth members of the Crown & Anchor Society include onboard offers and a commemorative gift for Diamond level and above.

Recent Policy Changes

Since the restart of cruises in 2021, Royal Caribbean has added enhancements and temporary adjustments to the Crown & Anchor Society benefits. These benefits include:

  • Daily drink vouchers for Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Members for drinks with up to a $13 value that can be used at any bar, Diamond Lounge during Happy Hour, or private destination at any time
  • Flexible arrival for Pinnacle Club and Suite guests, allowing early check-in at the terminal
  • Pinnacle members are still able to dine in Coastal Kitchen, but reservations are required
  • Pinnacle members on Oasis and Quantum class ships receive a $25 dining voucher for a specialty restaurant of their choice
  • “Master Class-type experience” for an insider view into the ship’s entertainment
  • Early access at onboard entertainment for Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members
  • “Meal with an Officer” for Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members has been evolved to a physical-distanced “Cheers with an Officer”

Royal Caribbean announced in December 2022 that Diamond Plus guests would no longer have access to the Concierge Lounge on ships that lack a Suite Lounge.

Due to high counts of top-tier members on most sailings, Royal Caribbean decided it had to limit access to the Concierge Lounge altogether.

What is the Diamond Lounge?

Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle guests can access the Diamond Lounge while onboard. The Diamond Lounge is open 24 hours a day and is an exclusive area only for Diamond members. Comfy seating and complimentary snacks and coffee are available throughout the day.

In addition, the Diamond Lounge has a concierge available that can help with booking things like dining, entertainment, shore excursions, and spa appointments while onboard. They are also available for general questions about the ship and any problems you may encounter.

The Diamond Lounge also has a happy hour each evening. Prior to the cruise industry shutdown, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages in the Diamond Lounge were complimentary during happy hour. This benefit has temporarily changed, though. Now Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members are given a select number of drink vouchers per day to be used at happy hour or at bars around the ship. Diamond members receive 4 vouchers, Diamond Plus receive 5, and Pinnacle Club members receive 6 vouchers per day.

Most Royal Caribbean ships have a Diamond Lounge. If a ship does not have a Diamond Lounge, a Diamond-exclusive event will be held each night at a designated venue onboard.

Crown & Anchor Society Onboard Offers

When you board a cruise ship as a member of the Crown & Anchor Society, there will be a paper waiting for you in your stateroom listing your exclusive onboard offers. These offers increase by your Crown & Anchor Society tier and help you save money on your cruise vacation. Here are the current offers by membership level:


Wine & Dine

  • 50% off coupon for any glass of wine, beer, or soda (two coupons per sailing)
  • 25% off any Coffee Beverage (Starbucks not included)
  • Two 50% off coupons for Johnny Rockets Milkshakes
  • 10% off any wine, beer, or soda by the glass


  • Buy a Bingo Package, get one free Jackpot Card
  • 10% off any Internet Package
  • $2 Free Play

Shopping & Services

  • Buy one, get one 50% off - Photo
  • 10% off RCCL Logo Products (must spend $25)
  • 10% off any Spa Service (excluding Medi-Spa)


Wine & Dine

  • 50% off coupon for any glass of wine, beer, or soda (two coupons per sailing)
  • 25% off any Coffee Beverage (Starbucks not included) (two coupons per sailing)
  • Two 50% off coupons for Johnny Rockets Milkshakes
  • 10% off any wine, beer, or soda by the glass
  • Receive one free non-alcoholic Specialty Coffee with the purchase of one Specialty Restaurant dinner


  • Buy a Bingo Package, get three free Jackpot Cards
  • 15% off any Internet Package
  • $4 Free Play

Shopping & Services

  • Buy one, get one 50% off - Photo
  • 10% off RCCL Logo Products (must spend $25)
  • 15% off any Spa Service (excluding Medi-Spa)
  • $5 off a $25 Dry Clean or Press
  • $5 off a $34.99 Wash & Fold Laundry Bag (5+ night sailings)


Wine & Dine

  • 50% off coupon for any glass of wine, beer, or soda (two coupons flouper sailing)
  • 25% off any Coffee Beverage (Starbucks not included) (two coupons per sailing)
  • Two 50% off coupons for Johnny Rockets Milkshakes
  • 10% off any wine, beer, or soda by the glass
  • Receive one free non-alcoholic Specialty Coffee with the purchase of one Specialty Restaurant dinner


  • Buy a Bingo Package, get six free Jackpot Cards
  • 15% off any Internet Package
  • $6 Free Play

Shopping & Services

  • Buy one, get one 50% off - Photo
  • 10% off RCCL Logo Products (must spend $25)
  • 15% off any Spa Service (excluding Medi-Spa)
  • $5 off a $25 Dry Clean or Press
  • $5 off a $34.99 Wash & Fold Laundry Bag (5+ night sailings)


Wine & Dine

  • Four free drinks daily up to $13 value (except Starbucks & Bionic Bar)
  • 50% off coupon for any glass of wine, beer, or soda (two coupons per sailing)
  • Two 50% off coupons for Johnny Rockets Milkshakes
  • 20% off any wine, beer, or soda by the glass
  • Receive one free non-alcoholic Specialty Coffee with the purchase of one Specialty Restaurant dinner


  • One free day of Surf Internet for 1 device or $25.99 off any Internet Package
  • Buy a Bingo Package, get six free Jackpot Cards
  • $6 Free Play

Shopping & Services

  • One free photo
  • 15% off RCCL Logo Products (must spend $25)
  • 20% off any Spa Service (excluding Medi-Spa)
  • 10% off a Photo Package or Photobook
  • $5 off a $25 Dry Clean or Press
  • $10 off a $34.99 Wash & Fold Laundry Bag (5+ night sailings)
  • Receive a discounted Stateroom Phone rate of $2 per minute

Diamond Plus

Wine & Dine

  • Five free drinks daily up to $13 value (except Starbucks & Bionic Bar)
  • 50% off coupon for any glass of wine, beer, or soda (two coupons per sailing)
  • 25% off any wine, beer, or soda by the glass
  • Two 50% off coupons for Johnny Rockets Milkshakes
  • 30% off Deluxe Beverage Package
  • Buy one Specialty Restaurant cover charge, get one free. For dinner on Day 1 or 2 only (except Chef’s Table & Hibachi/Teppanyaki)
  • Receive one free non-alcoholic Specialty Coffee with the purchase of one Specialty Restaurant dinner


  • Two free days of Surf Internet for 1 device or $51.98 off any Internet Package
  • Buy a Bingo Package, get six free Jackpot Cards
  • $6 Free Play

Shopping & Services

  • A free $34.99 Wash & Fold Laundry Bag (5+ night sailings)
  • One free photo
  • 15% off RCCL Logo Products (must spend $25)
  • Complimentary add-on Spa Service (excluding Medi-spa)
  • 20% off any Spa Service (excluding Medi-Spa)
  • 10% off a Photo Package or Photobook
  • $5 off a $25 Dry Clean or Press
  • $10 off a $34.99 Wash & Fold Laundry Bag (5+ night sailings)
  • Receive a discounted Stateroom Phone rate of $2 per minute


Wine & Dine

  • Six free drinks daily up to $13 value (except Starbucks & Bionic Bar)
  • 50% off coupon for any glass of wine, beer, or soda (two coupons per sailing)
  • 25% off any wine, beer, or soda by the glass 
  • Two 50% off coupons for Johnny Rockets Milkshakes
  • 40% off Deluxe Beverage Package
  • Buy one Specialty Restaurant cover charge, get one free. For dinner on Day 1 or 2 only (except Chef’s Table & Hibachi/Teppanyaki)


  • One free Internet Package 1 device, Surf & Stream, full voyage
  • Buy a Bingo Package, get six free Jackpot Cards
  • $6 Free Play

Shopping & Services

  • A free $34.99 Wash & Fold Laundry Bag (5+ night sailings)
  • One free photo
  • 15% off RCCL Logo Products (must spend $25)
  • Complimentary add-on Spa Service (excluding Medi-spa)
  • 20% off any Spa Service (excluding Medi-Spa)
  • 10% off a Photo Package or Photobook
  • $5 off a $25 Dry Clean or Press
  • $5 off a $17.49 Express Press (Redeemable on Day 1 only)
  • $10 off a $34.99 Wash & Fold Laundry Bag (5+ night sailings)
  • Receive a discounted Stateroom Phone rate of $2 per minute

Loyalty matching with other cruise lines

Once you attain status with the Crown & Anchor Society at the Platinum level, you can qualify for matching status with Celebrity Cruises' Captain's Club loyalty program.

You'll get matching status at the Select level in the Captain's Club Program. That will get you benefits such as:

  • 25% discount on internet packages
  • 30% discount on photo packages
  • 10% discount on spa treatments
  • Priority status for the shore excursion waitlist

If you can get to Diamond in Crown & Anchor Society, you can match to Elite Level within Captain's Club. This will get you more benefits such as:

  • 90 complimentary minutes of streaming
  • 40% off a digital or print photo package
  • $200 off The Studio photo packages
  • Unlimited free drinks from the Captain’s Club menu each day between 5 and 7 p.m. at most bars and lounges on the ship
  • Access to the Captain’s Club Coffee Lounge
  • Free access to the Persian Garden spa zone on one port day of your choice (Millennium & Solstice Class ships only)
  • 30% off Wi-Fi packages and upgrades
  • 15% discount on a drink package or a premium drink package upgrade
Silver Endeavour

There is no status matching with SilverSea, which is also owned by Royal Caribbean Group.

Crown and Anchor Society questions

Do Royal Caribbean points expire?

Water slides on Adventure of the Seas

No, points you earn in Crown and Anchor never expire and the status you earn is good indefinitely.

In fact, if you cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past and never created an account, you can still get credit for those sailings and the points you earned. You just need to call the Crown and Anchor Society phone number with your sail date and ship name to have it added to your account.

How many points do I need for a free cruise on Royal Caribbean?

Exterior view of Adventure of the Seas

The only loyalty tier that provides a free cruise would be when you reach Pinnacle Club status.

When you reach the top of Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, a free sailing is one of the many perks.

What is the Crown and Anchor Society phone number?

Royal Caribbean logo

If you're in the United States, you can call Crown & Anchor Society at (800) 526-9723.

If you are outside the U.S. and Canada, call (541) 285-9723.

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 AM-10 PM EST and Saturday through Sunday 9 AM-8 PM EST.

Can I use my Royal Caribbean points on Celebrity Cruises?

You can do a one-time status match with Celebrity and get an equivalent status with them.

You will still earn points with Celebrity separately from Royal Caribbean, but they will honor your equivalent status in the Captain's Club until you cruise enough with Celebrity to move up.

Read more about the Crown & Anchor Society

Cruising over 60? Here are the top 10 reasons you should give it a try

10 Feb 2023
Brad Whitaker

Royal Caribbean cruises are designed for all ages, but they can be especially well-suited for cruisers over 60. Cruising is flexible, easy-to-plan, and offers an incredible value, so it’s no surprise that it’s a popular vacation choice for passengers aged 60 and older.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Brad Whitaker recently shared with us his experience cruising over the age of 60 and why he recommends it to other travelers his age.

After countless years planning elaborate family vacations on land, he quickly fell in love with the relaxing, exotic vacation experience a Royal Caribbean cruise provides, and feels that many cruisers over 60 will feel the same way.

Let’s take a look at Brad’s top 10 reasons to book a cruise if you’re over the age of 60.

Great value

Women eating in main dining room

Cruising offers one of the best values in a vacation due to the sheer amount of inclusions in the cruise fare, and Brad lists this as one of his top reasons for booking cruise vacations.

“I recently booked an 8-day cruise on Symphony of the Seas to Aruba and Curacao,” Brad explained. “For an ocean view balcony, I only paid $125 per person, per night. If you consider all you get for that, it was a steal. Plus, Royal Caribbean gave me $100 onboard credit for being a shareholder.”

Compared to land-based vacations, cruises offer a tremendous value. Accommodation, food, entertainment, activities, and visits to diverse destinations are included in one set price.


Related: What's included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare

While you can always purchase extras like drink packages, dining packages, and shore excursions, the impressive base value of a cruise vacation cannot be understated, especially for those searching for a vacation with few added fees.

Doing something different

As you get older and retire, you may find yourself following the same routine with little change from day to day. Brad explained how a huge benefit of taking a cruise vacation when over 60 is the ability to do something different.

“Even if you never leave the ship (which is crazy to think you wouldn’t), there are tons of things to do and none of them the same. Cruising helps you break your mold and enlarge your variety of life.”

Just how many interesting things can you do on a cruise? Royal Caribbean offers an abundance of activities to guests of all ages, from toddlers to those in their 90s!

If you’re looking for something more relaxed, attend a trivia session, see a Broadway show, watch live music at the pub, or sign up for a wine tasting seminar.

If you’re a thrill seeker though, remember that being over 60 doesn’t exclude you from the adrenaline-filled activities onboard! Try the rock-climbing wall, waterslides, zip line, or skydiving simulator!

The amount of new things to try on a cruise is nearly endless, and that doesn’t even account for the variety of experiences you can have in port, either, such as snorkeling in the Caribbean and visiting glaciers in Alaska.

“The new, bigger ships have so much to do that it’s unlikely you can do it all!” Brad exclaimed. “Pace yourself and enjoy. You can do nothing or everything; it really depends on you.”

Only unpacking once

One of the biggest struggles with a land-based vacation—particularly those visiting several destinations—is packing and unpacking your suitcase several times.

Brad mentioned only unpacking once as one of the top reasons to book a cruise.

“I hate packing and unpacking. Of course, at some point your cruise will end and you’ll have to pack up all your dirty clothes and stuff them back into your suitcase, but it’s worth it.”

While visiting 10 countries in one week with a backpack may have been appealing in your 20s, most cruisers over 60 are in the market for a more relaxing vacation experience. Only having to unpack your suitcase one time while visiting several unique destinations is a major plus of cruising.

No cooking required

Family in dining room

Food is an important part of any Royal Caribbean cruise. Whether elegant dinners in the Main Dining Room or quick stops to the buffet for lunch, dining onboard is a highlight of the experience.

When it comes to food, Brad explained how not having to cook on vacation is a huge benefit for cruisers over 60.

“For many years during the summer, our family of seven would pack up the old family van and head to our houseboat on Lake Powell. It took weeks to plan, prepare for, and make happen. Just the food planning alone was a herculean effort!”

On a cruise, however, Brad does not need to worry about planning meals for his travel party, and that the variety of options works well when traveling with a group.


“There is so much variety onboard the ships that you can literally eat different ethnic food each morning, afternoon, and night. If you want, one person can grab a hot dog and the other something more exotic.”

Related: Food on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Of course, a Royal Caribbean cruise provides the opportunity to try cooking styles and dishes you may not otherwise try at home. Because you can ask for unlimited appetizers, entrees, and desserts, you may end up finding a new favorite meal.

“The main dining halls are incredible and they are all part of the cost of the cruise,” Brad continued. “All of the food is amazing and there is a LOT of it. Be sure to ask for additional entrees if you want to try new things!”

If you’re the family chef back at home, you’ll certainly appreciate the break from meal prepping, cooking, and cleaning once onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Cruising is a social environment

Trivia event

Something cruisers over 60 often appreciate is the social atmosphere fostered on a Royal Caribbean cruise. It’s easy to meet new people onboard, whether at dinner, on a shore excursion, or during an activity.

“My wife and I have always met and made new friends on cruises,” Brad said. “I love asking people if I can take their picture with their camera so I can strike up a conversation! I know it’s an over-60 thing, but I do love doing it! Where else can I meet so many people?”

Compared to a land-based vacation, the social atmosphere on a cruise is much more prevalent. Those over 60 who enjoy meeting new people from around the world will love making connections with other passengers and crew onboard.

Choose between adventure or relaxation

Another benefit of cruising over 60 is having the choice between adventure and relaxation. Your travel style at 60 is likely a bit more relaxed than in your younger years, but that doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of exciting experiences!

“At my age, you may have the energy to be adventurous in the morning, but all you want to do in the evening is relax,” Brad explained. “On cruises you can do both, and in no particular order!”

Many older cruisers find themselves enjoying a mix of thrill-seeking and chill experiences on a cruise. You may choose to play pickleball with friends in the morning, try the escape room in the afternoon, and spend a peaceful evening on your balcony.

Or perhaps you sleep in, spend all afternoon on the pool deck, and save your energy for a late night of dancing! There’s no wrong way to cruise, whether you’re 25 or 75, and having options is what makes a cruise such a wonderful way to vacation.

No cleaning required

Cabin desk

Cleaning on vacation? No thanks.

A major benefit of a cruise vacation is avoiding any house chores during your vacation. On a cruise, there’s no need to empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, run the vacuum, or mop the floors.

Royal Caribbean’s crew members work diligently to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for guests onboard. A stateroom attendant picks up your room twice per day, attentive waiters quickly deliver food, and maintenance crew can handle any potential issues that arise.

Brad enjoys the escape from housekeeping whenever he is on a cruise and joked, “Between no cooking and no housekeeping, these are my wife’s favorite things!”

Easy to plan

Brad’s aforementioned summer trips to Lake Powell involved a lot of planning.

“I never relaxed the entire trip. I was constantly working on equipment, worrying about various issues with the houseboat, the ski boat, and the jet skis. While I loved being there with my family, I rarely relaxed, and when I got home, I had to take a ‘vacation from vacation’ to unwind!”

A cruise, on the other hand, involves little planning, which is something Brad loves most about the cruise vacation experience. Royal Caribbean handles the transportation logistics, dining, and entertainment onboard, leaving you with nothing but time to rest and relax.

Junior Suite balcony on Anthem of the Seas

Brad explained how booking a cruise is easy, too.

“Most cruise lines have really easy to understand websites. They are simple to navigate through. However, if you are not so tech savvy, just call a travel agent and they will do it for you. All you really have to do is pick a date, and maybe a few potential destinations, and they will do the rest!”

Related: Top 5 things to look for in a good travel agent for your cruise vacation

We agree with Brad in that having a good travel agent can make your cruise planning process even simpler. Travel agents can help with the entire booking process; they’re available to answer any questions you have, plan travel to and from the port, and handle any discrepancies in the cruise planning process.

Exotic and romantic

Cruise vacations can offer an exotic and romantic cruising experience for those over 60, whether you sail to the Bahamas, Mexico, or Europe!

“I recently planned a cruise where we are going to celebrate our 49th anniversary, a birthday, and recovery from a liver transplant,” Brad explained. “Now that is a lot to pack into one celebration cake, but where better to celebrate than on the open ocean. I can’t wait!”

There are plenty of ways to celebrate a special occasion onboard, including:

  • Booking an intimate dinner at a specialty restaurant
  • Surprising your significant other with a spa treatment
  • Upgrading your cabin to a balcony or suite
  • Planning a private shore excursion
  • Arranging for decorations or desserts to be delivered to your cabin on embarkation day

Just being onboard is a romantic experience for many cruisers, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular for celebrations like honeymoons and anniversaries. Cruising over 60 is a perfect way to make new memories with a loved one in a beautiful and stress-free way.

No responsibilities

Whether you’re 30 or 60, life is full of responsibilities. From taking care of grandkids to yard work, a cruise offers an amazing escape from mundane responsibilities back home, and this is the top reason Brad loves cruising with Royal Caribbean.

“I can relax from minute one on the cruise,” he stated. “I am totally unplugged for a week or so and don’t need to call or follow up on anything! We can come and go as we like, doing as much or as little as we want.

“We can go to bed early or stay up late, it just really doesn’t matter. Just about the only responsibility we have is to make sure we have fun, enjoy each other’s company, and do it all again the next day.”

Are you a cruiser over 60? What are your top recommendations and advice for other passengers over 60 planning a cruise? Let us know in the comments below!

Cruise ship passengers are booking activities months earlier than in 2019 - and paying more too

09 Feb 2023
Matt Hochberg

It's not your imagination: more people are booking up activities and things to do before their cruise than ever before.

Liberty of the Seas

If your approach to cruising has been to wing it and leave things to the last minute, you're likely going to face an uphill battle going forward if you want to try certain activities onboard.

One of the interesting anecdotes to come out of Royal Caribbean Group's quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts was a revelation about how soon customers are booking things to do on a cruise.

Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty talked about a change his company is seeing in how far in advance people book up experiences once booked on a cruise, "Approximately 60% of our guests book some of their onboard activities in advance of their cruise, representing double digit growth in pre-cruise purchase penetration when compared to 2019 at significantly higher rates."

Aerial view of CocoCay from balloon

So not only are people booking things sooner, they're also willing to pay more for it.

Prices of shore excursions, drink packages, and just about anything you can reserve before a cruise have anecdotally gone up by cruise fans.  The exact price of these items varies from ship to ship and sailing to sailing, but without a doubt, prices are generally higher for 2023 cruises compared to a few years ago.

This is exactly what Royal Caribbean wants from a business standpoint, because people that book things early generate more revenue for the cruise line.

"Every dollar a guest spends before the cruise translates into about $0.70 when they sail with us, and over double the overall spending when compared to other guests," said Mr. Liberty during the call.

Casita on Wonder of the Seas

While the dollars and cents of the cruise industry business may not matter much to you, the trend of booking earlier should.

Royal Caribbean offers many different activities and things to do on a cruise, and these are quite popular.

Chill Island cabanas

Cabana rentals, shore excursions, culinary classes and more are popular among cruise ship guests, and Royal Caribbean sees more people booking them sooner.  This puts people that wait to the last minute at a disadvantage if they want to lock in these activities for themselves.

"Our guests are now engaging with us to book on board activities much earlier than in 2019."

"So far, guests booked on 2023 sailings purchased onboard experiences an average of more than two months earlier than in 2019."

For the company, they see this as a win-win for the company and passengers, "This translates into more revenue, stickier bookings and happy guests."


What's driving this change? Royal Caribbean thinks at least part of it is a consumer that is more comfortable making online purchases.

"The consumer at all different levels have gotten more comfortable using digital commerce to make their purchases," Mr. Liberty said.

Higher prices for cruises too

Symphony of the Seas docked at CocoCay

Besides excursions, wifi, and drink packages, the price for a cruise will cost you more than in 2019.

At the onset of the earnings call, Mr. Liberty talked about how cruise prices cost more today, "Pricing for our vacation experiences was higher than record 2019 levels when we operated with normalized occupancy."

North American itineraries in particular are trending up in terms of costs, which is where about 70% of its deployments are in 2023.

Serenade and Mariner of the Seas docked in Cozumel

"From a cumulative standpoint, these itineraries are now booked at the same load factor as they were in 2019 and at higher prices," Mr. Liberty stated.

So far in 2023, Royal Caribbean Group has enjoyed busier than normal cruise bookings during wave season, which is an industry term for a popular time to book new cruises.

Harmony of the Seas in Barcelona

Demand has been so strong that even higher prices haven't diminished interest in new bookings.

"The demand is that is that strong that we're able to raise price across these different products and really not seeing a pullback from the consumer as we continue to do so."

"And that is really a reflection of what we've seen since our last earnings call, or really since the announcement of the protocols being dropped."

"Just acceleration and the propensity to cruise across all three categories of new to cruise, first to brand first cruise has returned and in many cases is better than what we saw pre-COVID."

More helpful information

I checked out a private island in Honduras —with crystal clear beaches and all-inclusive drinks, it far exceeded my expectations

09 Feb 2023
Haley Harnish

Roatan, Honduras may be known for its reefs and perfect snorkeling spots, but for those of us who prefer to keep our faces above water, let me introduce you to my new favorite spot: Maya Key Private Island Retreat.

Just a quick 5 minute tender ride from where cruise ships dock in Roatan is the 11.5 acre island of Maya Key. This small island offers two gorgeous beaches, sun chairs, a pool, garden paths, and exhibit centers.

We booked our excursion to Maya Key directly through Royal Caribbean for around $70 per person. The all-inclusive excursion included drinks, food, beaches, pool access, and select activities.

Aside from Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee, I had never experienced a “resort” type of shore excursion, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with our day at Maya Key.

Would it be worth the money, or would it have been better just to stay on the ship where we could get those same amenities, minus the beach, without paying extra? I headed to the island to find out for myself.

First impressions of Maya Key

My group of three disembarked Allure of the Seas right away, and we were some of the first to the small island of Maya Key. The tender drops you off at a small dock where you are met by Cindy Carter, an expat who runs operations on the island. She gives a short introduction spiel, and then you can set off to explore!

The need for a speech may seem strange until you learn that Maya Key isn’t just any day resort, but a wildlife rescue center.

Right off the dock, you’ll see a giant sea lion splashing in his pen, and you’ll receive a secondary greeting from a big red macaw. Various animals can be found around the island, and you can even take a tour of the greater rescue facility.

After being welcomed by Cindy and her feathered friend at the entrance, I headed straight for the beach and the clear blue waters. There are plenty of lounge chairs on the beach in both sun and shade.

They are a little packed together in the main section, but I did find some further down the beach, past the snorkeling dock, that no one was using. 

Maya Key beach experience

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such crystal clear water. I spent most of the day wading around, watching silvery bait fish dart around the kids snorkeling.

Every so often one would pop their head up and yell, “Dad! I just saw a crab!” Apparently there was some kind of fish burrowing in the sand that they were chasing. For those scared of sea creatures, don’t worry. You can legitimately see everything around you; the water is that clear!

For those that do enjoy snorkeling, tours are offered on the island, but I didn’t see many people doing this—I’d guess most serious snorkelers book bigger excursions.

There is also a pretty big inflatable raft park, and the family I saw on it was having a great time challenging each other to races!

Food & drinks at Maya Key

Lunch at Maya Key is included, and it’s the typical island barbecue fare that you see on most excursions: jerk chicken, salad, beans, and rice. It was good, and a welcome protein break in the middle of the hot day!

There was also bar service on the beach, though I found it to be a little sparse. It was easier to run up to the bar myself.

Overall thoughts

If you’re looking for an easy retreat option while in Roatan, I’d book an excursion to Maya Key in a heartbeat. It’s simple, beautiful, and clean. Not only that, but the resort serves a larger purpose, so animal lovers will appreciate the rescue efforts that the island organizes.

Inside cabin vs. oceanview cabin: Are the differences worth an upgrade?

08 Feb 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Choosing between an inside cabin and an oceanview cabin for your next cruise? These budget-friendly cabins are both excellent options for a cruise vacation, but there are several differences to know about between the two cabins before booking one over the other.

While inside cabins are the cheapest cruise cabins available, many cruisers prefer the natural daylight and views provided in an oceanview cabin. Others, however, don’t mind the small size and darkness of an interior cabin provided it saves them money.

Let’s take a look at the differences between inside cabins and oceanview cabins on a cruise ship. From more space to better locations, this guide will help you decide if the differences are worth an upgrade from an inside cabin to an oceanview.

What is an inside cabin on a cruise ship?

Inside cabins on a cruise ship are cabins without a window, balcony, or porthole to the outside. They are located in the ship’s interior rather than along the ship’s perimeter and are, more often than not, the smallest cabins onboard.

Most inside cabins are around 170 square feet and can accommodate 2-4 guests depending on the room’s configuration. Aside from the lack of a balcony or window, inside cabins feature the same amenities as oceanview and balcony cabins, including:

  • King size bed (which can be separated to two single beds)
  • Plush chair or couch
  • Closet and drawer space
  • Vanity/desk area with a chair
  • Nightstands
  • Private bathroom with shower

These windowless cabins are usually the cheapest option onboard, making inside rooms a great option for those cruising on a budget. Many guests who book interior rooms choose to spend money elsewhere during their vacation, such as on drink packages or exciting shore excursions.

The majority of inside cabins on a cruise ship have no view outside the room, but there are two alternatives: virtual balcony and Promenade view inside cabins.

Virtual balcony inside cabins

While no inside cabins will have a window to the outdoors, new or amplified Royal Caribbean cruise ships may offer virtual balconies.

These interior rooms feature a floor-to-ceiling television screen with a live view of the outside. By booking an inside cabin with a virtual balcony, you can check the weather, watch the scenery, and have a better idea of what time of day it is outside.

It’s easy to get disoriented in a pitch black, windowless inside cabin, so many cruisers enjoy having the virtual balcony option.

Promenade view inside cabins

Promenade view cabins are interior cabins with a window facing the Royal Promenade on select Royal Caribbean ships. These staterooms are found on Voyager, Freedom, and Oasis Class ships. 

While you cannot see the ocean from these cabins, they offer nice people watching opportunities in the Promenade below and bring extra light into your room.

Related: Everything about Royal Caribbean’s Promenade View staterooms

Priced only slightly higher than interior cabins, Promenade view cabins make a nice “trade off” for those who don’t want to splurge on an oceanview or balcony, but want something nicer than a regular inside room.

In addition to Promenade view inside cabins, Oasis Class ships also feature Central Park view and Boardwalk view inside cabins, which look into their respective neighborhoods.

What is an oceanview cabin on a cruise?

Oceanview cabins are a step up from an inside cabin on a cruise; they offer a private porthole with a view of the ocean.

This porthole window does not open (nor does it have a balcony) but the window provides natural sunlight to the cabin, which is a must-have for many cruisers. 

There are several types of oceanview cabins to book:

  • Standard oceanview cabin: 170-179 square feet
  • Spacious oceanview cabin: 211 square feet
  • Ultra spacious oceanview cabin: 293 square feet

The exact dimensions of an oceanview cabin can vary from ship to ship, although most are the same size as an inside cabin. This gives you enough space for a king size bed, vanity, and seating area, but leaves little walking space in the cabin.

Therefore, upgrading to a spacious oceanview or ultra spacious oceanview cabin can be a great option for those looking for more living space.

Related: I spent $250 to upgrade my cruise ship cabin: Was it worth it?

The majority of oceanview cabins overlook the ocean, but some have obstructed views. Oceanview cabins in the very front of the ship may overlook the ship’s helicopter pad whereas others may have an obstructed view caused by lifeboats.

A unique type of oceanview cabin to consider booking is the panoramic oceanview cabin. These cabins take “oceanview” up a notch by offering a floor-to-ceiling, panoramic view of the outside. Compared to the small porthole in other oceanview cabins, the view from a panoramic view cabin cannot be beat.

What are the major differences between an inside cabin and an oceanview cabin?


Many cruisers upgrade to an oceanview cabin believing the cabin will be larger than an inside room, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

Most oceanview cabins are the same size as inside rooms. If you prefer a larger cabin, you’ll have to book a spacious or ultra spacious oceanview cabin.

These cabins come with a higher cost than a standard oceanview room, so be sure to compare the price of these cabins with the price of a balcony before booking. You may be surprised to find a balcony cabin at a lower cost!


The biggest downside to cruising in an inside cabin is the lack of daylight.

Inside cabins are completely dark when you shut your cabin lights off. Without checking the clock, it’s impossible to know whether it’s 3AM, 8AM, or 12PM. Additionally, you won’t have any idea what the weather is like outside from your cabin.

Many cruisers combat the lack of daylight in inside rooms by purchasing a sunrise alarm clock. The light on these alarm clocks remains off during the night and gradually turns on during sunrise, which can help you keep a normal sleep schedule.

Related: I tried the best inside cruise ship cabin hacks to see how well they worked


Inside cabins are located all over a Royal Caribbean ship, from the lowest to highest decks. Oceanview cabins, on the other hand, have fewer location options.

Oceanview cabins are primarily found on a cruise ship’s lower decks closer to the ocean. It’s not safe to build balconies so close to the water, so cruise lines build oceanview rooms there instead.

Related: Avoid these mistakes when picking a cruise ship cabin

You can occasionally find oceanview cabins on higher decks, but they won’t be in the best locations. For example, you’ll find oceanview cabins in the very front of the ship overlooking the helicopter pad, but these rooms are prone to more motion than mid-ship cabins.

While there’s nothing wrong with booking an oceanview room on a lower deck, many cruisers prefer the flexibility of cabin location they can find with other stateroom categories.


It’s no surprise that oceanview cabins are more expensive than inside cabins, but just how much more will a room with a window cost?

Cruise pricing can vary drastically from ship to ship and sailing to sailing, but you can expect to pay around $25-40 more per night for a standard-sized oceanview cabin compared to an inside cabin.

As an example, let’s compare the price of a guarantee inside cabin versus a guarantee oceanview cabin on a 7-night Oasis of the Seas cruise.

  • For two adults in an inside cabin, the total price is $2834, or $404 per night.
  • For two adults in an oceanview cabin, the total price is $3034, or $433 per night.

The price difference between an inside cabin and an oceanview cabin is $200, or around $29 per night.

Pricing is always subject to change. It’s possible to find an oceanview cabin for around the same price as an inside cabin, but they may also be priced significantly higher.

Are the differences worth an upgrade?

An oceanview cabin can certainly be worth the upgrade from an interior cabin, but there are several factors to consider before booking the upgraded cabin.

Understand your travel style

Before booking an oceanview room instead of an inside cabin, consider your cruising style. If you plan on visiting your cabin only to sleep, shower, and change, you might want to book an inside cabin to save money.

The $30-50 a day extra you would spend on an oceanview cabin could be spent on other onboard activities such as specialty dining or a spa treatment.

Related: 45 ways to save money on a Royal Caribbean cruise

On the contrary, if you plan to spend significant time relaxing in your cabin throughout the sailing, an upgrade could be well worth the cost.

It is, of course, important to look beyond just the price when comparing oceanview and inside cabins. If you fear feeling claustrophobic or disoriented in an inside cabin, booking an oceanview room is your best bet.

Look at the price of balcony cabins

Alaska balcony

If you’ve decided to upgrade from an inside cabin, first compare the price between an oceanview and balcony cabin. While balcony cabins are usually significantly more expensive than oceanview cabins, you might be surprised to find a deal on a balcony room.

If a balcony is only $100-300 more total than an oceanview cabin, it may be better to upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony cabin instead of an oceanview.

Related: Oceanview vs Balcony staterooms on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Consider the itinerary

If you’re cruising somewhere particularly scenic, such as Alaska or Norway, booking an oceanview room is recommended. You don’t want to miss a single moment of scenery outside, and time spent in an inside cabin means missing views of fjords, wildlife, and snow-capped mountains.

While you can still cruise in an inside room on these itineraries and view scenery from public spaces onboard, many passengers enjoy the privacy of viewing these destinations from their cabin.