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This Royal Caribbean drink package workaround saves so much money if you're not a heavy drinker

26 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

One cruise fan discovered a great trick for being able to enjoy alcoholic drinks on their cruise without a costly drink package.

Liquor bottles instead of a drink package

A Royal Caribbean drink package is a very popular add-on, but they are not cheap purchases. You could pay anywhere from $60-100 per person, per day for the Deluxe Beverage Package.

While drink packages do offer a cost-savings opportunity to cruisers, not everyone will find that value.  

On the Royal Caribbean Dining Facebook group, Mandi King shared a hack she found that is a good middle ground between buying a drink package and paying for your drinks individually.

The lesser-known liquor bottle option

Bottle liquor

Ms. King shared that she came across this idea because she doesn't drink enough to justify buying a drink package.

"I know this won't apply to many of you, but I don't drink enough to justify the drink package so I thought I would share my little cruise hack for those of you in the same boat (pun intended)," she said in her post.

She discovered 375 ml bottles of alcohol available for purchase from the Royal Caribbean gifts website.

Liquor packages

Each bottle comes with a few sodas, but she admits she'll give the sodas to her children.  Instead, she will bring different drink mix flavors with her onboard to mix with water and her vodka purchase.

"I purchased two vodka/sprite packages for $88, which sounds expensive for essentially a fifth of vodka but it will make 16 drinks with 1.5oz pours - that's just $5.50 per drink so will save me a ton compared to buying drinks at the bar"

Fruit at the buffet

To make her DIY cocktails better, she leverages the complimentary fruit on the ship.

"I also like to grab some fruit from the buffet to add to them - add a little watermelon, strawberries, orange, and/or pineapple and it becomes a fancy drink!"

Cocktail mixers

Another idea is to bring drink mixers with you so that the alcohol you choose can be better enjoyed.  A reader suggested taking Skinnies cocktail mixers as something that works well (Link contains affiliate link, which costs you nothing extra to use!).

There is a caveat to this hack, it’s not available on all sailings.

Liquor and wine

Combine this hack with the added ability to bring one bottle of wine or Champagne per adult in a cabin onboard your ship, and Ms. King feels she has a cost-effective strategy to enjoy drinks on her Royal Caribbean cruise.

Every adult (21 years or older) is allowed to bring, in a carry-on, one bottle (750 mL) of wine or Champagne. There is a $15 corkage fee if you consume your bottle in a dining room.  Sorry, you are not allowed to bring beer or liquor. 

Cruisers love this idea

Rum and cokes

"I did this and it was absolutely perfect for me!" is what Becky Weaver commented on the post, and a lot of other people have embraced the idea.

LeeAnn Freiburger added, "We did the same. Order 2 of these plus a bottle of champagne , 2-6 packs of Truly and will carry on two bottles of champagne. No way could we drink $1,200 worth so this was a no-brainer for us."

Marcia Tivoli agreed, "I purchased a bottle of whiskey for hubby one sailing -- totally worth it!"


It's not a perfect option for everyone, but it seems to fit the needs of casual drinkers.

"If you only want 2 cocktails per day (assuming 7 nights) and don't mind going back to your room to get one, it's a good idea," Tom Hoffman wrote.

Lj Castillo said, "That's what we do now that we're diamond. Makes no sense to buy the drink package when you can get those and sodas."

Other ways to save money instead of buying a drink package

If this hack has you contemplating skipping a drink package, there are other ways you can enjoy alcoholic drinks without splurging for an all-included beverage package.

Drink card

Ryan Southworth commented to keep an eye out for the 10 drink punch cards sometimes offered on ships.

In recent months, we've seen the drink card make a comeback on many cruises.  Essentially, it's a pre-paid card for 10 drinks that you can use (and share with anyone else) for a fixed price.  

The "catch" with the drink card is there's no way to know in advance if it will be offered on your cruise.  If it is offered, it may not be available until the end of the sailing.

Still, it's a great value and shareable.

Bar in Mexico

If you have a port intensive itinerary, it might be more cost-effective to do your drinking while in port.

Royal Caribbean's drink prices are probably higher than what you'll find in the places your ship visits, especially in the Caribbean.

Finding bars or vendors selling inexpensive beers, cocktails and more is not usually difficult. You can usually find a few right in the pier area, with more in the town or city your ship visits. 

Suite lounge

If you're booked in a suite, then take advantage of the free cocktails offered in the evening.

The Suite Lounge or Concierge Lounge offers beers, wine, and cocktails each evening for guests in a Grand Suite or higher.  Pinnacle Club members are allowed in too, although sometimes this is capped if there are a lot of Pinnacles onboard.

It's available for a few hours each night, so speak to the Suite Concierge host for more information.

Royal Caribbean announces new partnership with Hard Rock casinos, hotels to extend loyalty benefits

26 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean cruisers are about to get more value from being a loyal cruiser.

New partnership between Royal Caribbean & Hard Rock

Royal Caribbean Group announced on Friday a new partnership with Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming that will allow those with deals and promos on accommodations, meals, and more at Hard Rock and Seminole casinos, hotels and cafes, and on Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises vacations.

It essentially provides added perks for members of the Club Royale (Royal Caribbean) and Blue Chip Club (Celebrity Cruises) casino loyalty programs, as well as Unity by Hard Rock.

New benefits

Reciprocal benefits

Here's what cruisers and Hard Rock members can expect to get from this new arrangement.

Club Royale and Blue Chip Club members can get exclusive discounts and perks at participating Hard Rock locations, including annual complimentary trips at select Hard Rock hotels and casinos worldwide for premium tier Club Royale and Blue Chip members. 

Unity by Hard Rock loyalty members will receive discounts on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity vacations and can qualify for invite-only cruise giveaways. Top-tier loyalty members will also receive an annual complimentary cruise on select ships and itineraries. 

Hard Rock resort

What this means is you're a Royal Caribbean or Celebrity cruiser with status in the casino, you now have benefits with Hard Rock and vice versa.

Official starting date for rewards still being finalized but expect communication via your email if you are a Unity by Hard Rock member, Royal Caribbean Club Royale member or Celebrity Cruises Blue Chip member in the upcoming weeks with the complete detail.

The program will not extend to earning points Unity Points while playing in the casinos on a Royal Caribbean or Celebrity cruise, nor will you earn Casino Royale or Captain's Club points while playing at a Hard Rock casino.

More casino and cruise synergy

Celebrity casino

The new partnership with Hard Rock adds more value to cruisers with their loyalty status.

Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society already offers reciprocal benefits at MGM Resorts. For no extra cost, you can link your Crown & Anchor level and immediately take advantage of MGM benefits including resort fee waivers, discounts on entertainment, and complimentary hotel upgrades.

If you've cruised with either Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises, you can take advantage of the MGM Rewards program. These range from discount offers and welcome amenities for Sapphire and Pearl members to onboard credits of up to $300 and annual complimentary cruises for Platinum and Noir members. 

Slot machine

Just be sure to validate your MGM Rewards status and request these benefits at the time of cruise booking (at least 10 days before departure).

Read more: How do Royal Caribbean and MGM Resorts shared benefits work?

Special events this weekend

Icon of the Seas in Miami

If you happen to be in South Florida this weekend sailing on Icon of the Seas, there's some added festivities.

Tonight, Friday, April 26, Zedd will headline a star-studded celebration at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood Guitar Hotel Pool, alongside activations and giveaways, including a cruise giveaway on Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas. Ticket information is available at

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 27, the celebration will continue at Royal Caribbean’s Terminal A at PortMiami with music and giveaways. 

Terminal A pink color

Surprise events and pop-up activations presented by Hard Rock will also come to life on Icon’s 7-night Caribbean getaway departing that day. 

A special highlight at Basecamp, will be Hard Rock Cafe’s legendary Messi Burger named after Lionel Messi. Messi Burgers will be available at no cost throughout the sailing, plus giveaways of mini soccer balls and sunglasses.

Read more: Icon of the Seas restaurant and dining guide

Royal Caribbean executives talk amazing demand, beach club, ordering new ships and more

26 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group's earnings call on Thursday was filled with insights into what the company is thinking on a variety of subjects.

Earnings call quotes and anecdotes

While the hour-long call with Wall Street analysts is meant to provide clarity for investment purposes, it also doubles as a way to share guidance on the direction of the cruise industry.

For consumers, there's candid discussion of topics that will have an impact on what it's like to go on a cruise.

Here's an overview of the topics discussed that cruisers will want to know about.

Better demand than ever expected

Ships docked at CocoCay

Without a shadow of a doubt, business is really good across the Royal Caribbean Group brands.

"The first quarter was tremendous, sending us well on our path to a year that is significantly better than we expected just a few months back," is what Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty said at the onset of the call.

"What transpired over the past three months was even better than our already elevated expectations. Our brands are stronger than ever and demand for our vacation experiences continues to accelerate."

Oasis of the Seas next to Liberty of the Seas in Cozumel

In the first quarter, over 2 million people took cruises on a Royal Caribbean Group brand ship, and that lead to a lot of people paying for cruises, along with add-ons extras.

Demand is so strong that the company is raising its earnings forecast by fifty percent compared to what it forecast in February.

At one point in the call, Mr. Liberty pointed out that April was double the usual business. He sees this as a sign demand for cruises is accelerating. They thought things were getting better in February, but it went much better in the months since.

Pool on a cruise ship

Royal Caribbean Group Chief Financial Officer Naftali Holtz explained later in the call that having two million passengers was great, but higher cruise costs was a difference maker, "While a load factor recovery was a contributor, most of our yield growth was driven by rates that were up by 14% versus 2023."

Cruises in the Caribbean stood out given that 55% of their fleet was in this market, and the combination of new cruise ships and "much higher pricing on existing ships" drove up revenue.

80% of customers are from North America

Icon arrives in Miami

The vast majority of people going on a Royal Caribbean cruise are from North America.

"North America continues to be extremely robust, where approximately 80% of this year's guests are sourced," is a key stat that Mr. Liberty mentioned in his opening remarks.

While next year may see a slight shift in that number with China cruises restarting, Mr. Liberty doesn't see a lot of change in that, "we're going to follow the demand patterns and that is how we have we've done it for a very, very long period of time."

New cruiser numbers are up

Royal Caribbean

A fascinating stat shared during the call is how many new cruisers are coming to Royal Caribbean.

People that have never taken a cruise ever are up more than 16% year-over-year, while almost one in two guests are millennials or younger.

"Millennials and younger generations have gained 11 percentage points share compared to 2019," Mr. Liberty explained.

Sourcing new customers is always important, not just for a new booking, but for the repeat business.  He said new cruisers that try a Royal Caribbean Group cruise are seeing return rates over 30% higher compared to 2019.

New Bahamas beach club will be the envy of other cruise lines

Royal Beach Club in Nassau

Royal Caribbean has said it targets the new to cruise market over other cruise lines customers, but that doesn't mean there isn't a game of one-upmanship to be played.

Royal Caribbean broke ground on its new private beach club that will be exclusively for the use of Royal Caribbean customers, and it's located on the front door step of every major cruise line.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley pointed out, "The beautiful thing is the Royal Beach Club in Paradise Island is positioned pretty much at the entrance to Nassau."

Drone view of Nassau

"On a given day, there's 25 to 30,000 cruise guests coming in on multiple different cruise brands. And of course, when they sail into Nassau, the only thing they're going to see is the Royal Caribbean Royal Beach Club, which is going to be absolutely stunning. And they will be unbelievably jealous knowing that they can't go there."

Royal Beach Club, Paradise Island is a new land-based offering for the cruise line, and it will have an admission fee with a limited capacity.

Mr. Liberty confirmed that other Royal Caribbean Group brands will be able to go to the beach club too, but no other cruise line customers.

Almost everyone is using the mobile app

All aboard time in the app

Interestingly enough, almost every passenger is using the cruise app now.

About 94% of cruise ship passengers are using the app onboard, and that's important because it makes for an easier cruise experience for the guest, while making it easier to spend more money at the same time.

"We are removing friction and unlocking travel planning by investing in a modern digital travel platform, making it easier than ever for guests to book their dream vacations while allowing us to expand wallet, share our digital experiences, delight guests," Mr. Liberty said.

He touted a number of new features added to the app in the app, such being able to book flights, better cruise booking choices, tracking loyalty benefits, and more.

Read more: 14 improvements Royal Caribbean developed just for Icon of the Seas

Middle East issues not affecting European cruise demand


While the geopolitical problems in the Middle East are troubling, it's not stopping people from taking a European cruise.

Europe accounts for around 15% of capacity for the full year, and close to 25% during the summer.

"Despite the fact that we had to modify some of our eastern Mediterranean sailings that were previously expected to call in Israel or sail through the Red sea, our European itineraries have been performing very well and we are currently booked nicely ahead of last year in both rate and volume," Mr. Holtz said during the earnings call.

As for the issues affecting ships traversing the Red Sea, the company has already re-routed a number of ships and has, "contingency plans for a few other sailings that may be impacted in the fall."

Ordering more ships?


One analyst asked Royal Caribbean Group about the prospect of ordering more cruise ships given that Carnival and Norwegian both placed big orders recently.

Mr. Liberty was quick to point out that new orders don't take into account options and slot reservations.  

Options are opt-in ship orders a cruise line can elect to take that is built into the original ship order contract. Think of it like a sports contract where the player signs for a few years, but has the choice to stay with the team instead of returning to free-agency.

Slot reservations are a way cruise lines pay to reserve space at a shipyard in the future. There's no order placed, but just in case they do place an order, there's capacity to build.

"I think we feel very good, not only about our current order book and about the potential of that order book to grow moderately, but also our access to build those ships over an extended period of time," Mr. Liberty said.

Royal Caribbean would consider offering river cruises

25 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Would Royal Caribbean ever consider offering river cruises? It's not as far-fetched an idea as you might think.

Would Royal Caribbean ever consider getting into river cruises?

The Royal Caribbean Group has ownership in many cruise lines, but none are river cruises.  River cruises are quite popular in Europe, and it's an area of the market untouched by the company.

During Royal Caribbean Group's earnings call with investors on Thursday, a Wall Street analyst asked if they'd ever consider getting into river cruising.

Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty didn't dismiss the idea, "that could be something that we would consider at some point in the future."

Jason Liberty

But before you pack your bags, it's not on the horizon, "we're very focused on excelling in our core, growing our core and also further building out our destination platform."

He sees those tenants of the brand being the best path forward to deliver returns to their shareholders and grow the business.

However, Royal Caribbean Group does see the market as an opportunity, "River is an area where we do see some overlap, not a lot of overlap, but we do see some overlap occurring."


River cruising is a rapidly growing market and appeals to a lot of people who also enjoy expedition cruises.

River cruises are significantly smaller ships than an ocean going vessel, and travel slowly down popular rivers to offer stops at major cities along the way. 

Family touring in Europe

Traditionally, river cruises appealed to an older clientele, primary retirees.  But in recent years that has changed. Some river brands are targeting younger vacationers who are interested in active outings.

Companies such as Viking, Avalon Waterways and AmaWaterways have all added more ships to their fleet to respond to a growing market.

Keeping customers within the brands

One reason that getting into river cruises might make sense is it would align with Royal Caribbean Group's general strategy of offering something for everyone.

Mr. Liberty spoke about the importance of retaining its customers as they age during the earnings call, "We remain intensely focused on attracting and keeping guests within our unique portfolio of brands, and providing experiences for all of life's moments."

"We have been very thoughtful about having the right brands and the right segments," he explained and gave an example of how customers can dip between the different companies.

Silver Endeavour

"You could have a set of grandparents on Silver Sea that next month are going on a cruise with their kids and grandkids on the Royal Caribbean brand."

"That happens all the time. And one of our ultimate goals here is to make sure that we keep our customer and our ecosystem."

Offering different types of sailings has been a strategy Royal Caribbean Group has embraced ever since it acquired Celebrity Cruises. Since they, the company has grown to include full and partial ownership in other lines.

Celebrity Edge

The company has full ownership of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises and it is also a 50% owner of a joint venture that operates TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Mr. Liberty indicated they're always looking for ways to get better at what they do, and making their customers aware of ways to cruise within the company ecosystem is one component to their plan.

Cruise lines offering combined river and ocean itineraries

Viking river cruises

A few companies have already started to embrace river and ocean cruises together.

Viking Cruises was the first line to offer both river and ocean cruises.  

They started out offering river cruises and has added ocean going vessels to their fleet.  They even offer "Ocean & River Voyages" where you can go on a river and ocean going cruise in the same vacation.

Disney river cruises with Ama

Disney Cruise Line bridged the gap by partnering with AmaWaterways. Through the Adventures by Disney brand, Disney employees act as guides on the sailing that is operated by Ama.

There are special excursions that include a Disney touch to the experience.

However, AmaWaterways are adults-only, and kids aren't allowed on these sailings even if they are sold by Disney.

Almost 1 in 2 Royal Caribbean cruise ship passengers are millennials

25 Apr 2024
Elizabeth Wright

Royal Caribbean's demographic is shifting to attract younger passengers. 

Millennials in a hot tub

"Millennials and younger generations have gained 11 percentage points share compared to 2019," said Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group's CEO, "And today, almost 1 in 2 guests are millennials or's a very powerful statement."

This isn't necessarily a new trend, as the 2023 State of the Cruise Industry Report released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) revealed that passengers between the ages of 20 and 59 are now making up over 50% of passengers onboard cruise ships. 

Additionally, 88% of millennials expressed enthusiasm for cruising within the next few years. 

Hideaway Beach

The Caribbean remains the company's largest product group. In 2024, sailings to this region make up 55% of their deployment. 

Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's exclusive destination in The Bahamas, is a favorite. With activities designed for those who crave adrenaline rushes or a day of blissful relaxation, the island was created to appeal to a wide array of interests. 

Additionally, Royal Caribbean continues to launch new builds across all of its brands, including Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Silversea. 

Icon of the Seas in CocoCay

Whether cruisers are looking for a refined, destinated-focused sailing onboard Celebrity Ascent or a jam-packed cruise onboard Icon of the Seas, the company continues to provide exciting products and experiences that redefine what it means to take a cruise vacation. 

Royal and Celebrity have plans to grow even more, with Utopia of the Seas scheduled for debut in July 2024, followed by Star of the Seas and Celebrity Xcel in 2025. 

They're also working on creative more exclusive experiences for guests, such as the Royal Beach Clubs in Nassau and Cozumel, indicating that it's both the ships and destinations that are appealing to millennial guests. 

Those who sail with Royal Caribbean are five times more likely to sail with them again

Wonder of the Seas at CocoCay

From top-tier service to delicious dining, one-of-a-kind production shows, and more, the onboard experience onboard Royal Caribbean Group ships is unmatched, regardless of which line appeals to you the most. That, combined with the destinations, created a well-rounded experience. 

"There [are] 25,000 guests a day that come into Nassau," said Liberty, "And we're going to take some of those guests [and] bring them over to the [Royal] Beach Club."

Utopia of the Seas, for instance, will visit both Nassau and Perfect Day. "That's really a phenomenal game charger,' said Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean CEO and President. 

Royal Beach Club in Nassau

"It really is drawing in a huge amount of new to cruise, and it's beautifully positioned in Canaveral right fundamentally in Orlando."

In short, creating exclusive and elevated experiences is attracting a high level of demand from consumers, whether it's a private beach at a popular port or an entire island.

Royal Caribbean's website is seeing record demand


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers got used to online shopping. 

"In the first quarter, we had 100 million visits to our websites...that's twice what we had pre-COVID," said Liberty.

"We have really upped our game, not just on a marketing basis, but [to make our websites help our customers] dream about what they want to do and help them get to the experience that they're looking for."


The Cruise Planner allows guests to easily browse all available options for their sailing, including drink packages, shore excursions, specialty dining experiences, spa treatments, Wi-Fi packages, and more. 

In essence, those who take advantage of the online portal can have their entire cruise planned out before stepping onboard, making the cruise itself as hassle-free as possible. 

Liberty went on to talk about the growth of the mobile app, too. 

Royal Caribbean's website

We are removing friction and unlocking travel planning by investing in a modern digital travel platform, making it easier than ever for guests to book their dream vacations while allowing us to expand wallet share," said Liberty.

Our digital experiences delight guests. Our mobile app is consistently adopted by 94% of our guests on board, and we continue to enhance its capabilities."

"What a great start to the year" Royal Caribbean reports strong first quarter earnings

25 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

The year 2024 is off to a great start for Royal Caribbean Group's bottom line.

Royal Caribbean Group reported first quarter results

Royal Caribbean Group posted its first quarter financial results, which saw Net Income of $360 million, with total revenues of $3.7 billion.

"Wow, what a great start to the year!" is how Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty started his statement off in the press release for the earnings report.

"Demand for our leading brands and the incredible experiences they deliver continues to be very robust, resulting in outperformance in the first quarter, a further increase of full year earnings guidance, and 60% expected earnings growth year over year."

Icon of the Seas

That demand he talks about is what drove the company's financials into a better financial position than the company had originally anticipated.

Strong demand and strength in onboard spend pushed first quarter earnings ahead.  In fact, there was better demand anticipated during the lucrative WAVE season. This is an industry term for the beginning of the year when the general public books the most cruises of the year.

Read more: Royal Caribbean is making more money than it expected. The good and the bad news for cruisers

Family walking into CocoCay

High demand persisted across all of the top cruise markets, and on top of that, customers were spending more on cruise extras.  That combination lead to higher revenue, as well as Royal Caribbean Group updating its guidance for the rest of the year.

First quarter by the numbers

Spectrum of the Seas aerial at sea

Here are the key stats from the Royal Caribbean Group's first quarter.

Cruise ships sailed at an average of 107% full during the quarter. That's up 5 percentage points compared to the first quarter of 2023. 

Occupancy rates over 100% are a good stat, and it means there were more than two people in a lot of cabins.

Celebrity Logo

Total revenues were $3.7 billion, Net Income was $360 million or $1.35 per share, Adjusted Net Income was $478 million or $1.77 per share, Adjusted EBITDA was $1.2 billion, and operating cash flow was $1.3 billion.

About half of the first quarter yield growth was driven by higher ticket pricing on the fleet of ships, with the remainder driven by a combination of guest spending on extras, ships sailing with more passengers onboard, and new cruise ship demand. 

As of March 31, 2024, the Group's customer deposit balance was at $6.0 billion. 

Record booked position

Once again, 2024 is another year seeing more people book cruises than ever before.

Royal Caribbean Group is seeing "very strong" demand and prices. Overall, this has been the strongest WAVE season in the company's history from both a demand and pricing standpoint. 

Prices for a cruise in 2024 are higher than they were at the beginning of the year in 2023.

Drink package price onboard

Plus, passengers are spending more on add-ons and making purchases before the cruise at a rate higher than prior years.  The company said this is due to, "greater participation at higher prices." That essentially means more people are buying add-ons and they cost more than the used to.

Mr. Liberty called out the new Icon of the Seas as being a difference maker, "Our existing fleet along with our new ships continue to perform exceptionally well, highlighted by the market response to the launch of Icon of the Seas, which has exceeded all expectations."

Utopia of the Seas night render

"The momentum continues with Utopia of the Seas and Silver Ray, set to launch this summer. And, just this quarter alone, we announced an order for a seventh Oasis Class ship and the expansion of our Royal Beach Club portfolio in Cozumel; and we officially broke ground on Royal Beach Club Paradise Island.  These strategies will further propel our leadership in the cruise industry and push us to new heights in the vacation industry."

Royal Caribbean Oasis Class Ships by Age

24 Apr 2024
Calista Kiper

There's simply nothing within the cruise industry that compares to the scale and pizzazz of Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships.

Since Oasis of the Seas launched in 2009, these large ships have revolutionized what you can experience on a cruise.

Not only are these ships massive, but they’re also intentionally designed with a large variety of activities, entertainment, and dining.

The Oasis class was the first to introduce the concept of neighborhoods, distinct areas that offer different amenities, separating crowds and making it harder to get lost.


Not only that, but Oasis Class ships also feature amenities like laser tag, zip lines, ice skating rinks, AquaTheaters, Boardwalks with carousels, the Perfect Storm water slide, the Ultimate Abyss dry slide, and an entire nature-filled neighborhood modeled after Central Park.

However, they aren’t all the same. 

With each new rendition, Royal Caribbean seeks to improve and revitalize its ships.

In order of oldest to newest, here are all of the Oasis Class ships and what makes them unique.

Read more: Royal Caribbean ships by age — Newest to Oldest

Oasis of the Seas

  • Inaugural sailing: December 2009
  • Maximum passenger capacity: 6,780
  • Gross tonnage: 226,838

Royal Caribbean launched Oasis of the Seas in 2009, starting the Oasis Class off with a bang.


At the time of her launch, Oasis of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship in the world, featuring more amenities and activities than ever before.

She broke ground with seven distinct neighborhoods, becoming a destination in her own right.

In addition, she was amplified in 2019, adding new dining venues and bars, updating the pool deck to a Caribbean resort style, and revamping the kid’s programs and other activities.

Royal Caribbean invested $165 million in the amplification, ensuring that Oasis still feels fresh and luxurious even at 15 years old.

Oasis of the Seas in Port Canaveral

The first Oasis-Class ship mainly sails from Miami and Cape Liberty, offering Caribbean cruises.

In the summer of 2024, she will sail to the Mediterranean and begin 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises.

Read more: I've only sailed Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships: Will I be disappointed if I try other ships?

Allure of the Seas 

Allure of the Seas docked
  • Inaugural sailing: December 2010
  • Maximum passenger capacity: 6,780
  • Gross tonnage: 225,282

Royal Caribbean didn’t hesitate to continue the popularity of its Oasis Class.

Allure of the Seas, the second Oasis-Class ship, was launched in 2010, just one year after her predecessor.

However, she is the only Oasis-class ship that hasn’t yet been amplified. She was scheduled to receive an amplification in 2020, but the global pandemic has delayed this plan.

This means that Allure (unlike the other ships) does not have water slides, the Ultimate Abyss dry slide, newer specialty restaurants, or an escape room.

However, she still features some exciting activities and makes for a unique experience as Royal Caribbean’s only “original” Oasis-Class ship.

Another unique aspect of Allure is her itineraries: she currently offers 3 and 4-night cruises from Port Canaveral. 

While other Oasis-Class ships mainly have 6 and 7-night sailings, Allure makes shorter cruises and sailings on weekends possible.

Read more: I'm a new cruiser and tried a weekend cruise on one of the biggest cruise ships. It was filled with lots in a short amount of time

Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas in Cozumel, Mexico
  • Inaugural sailing: May 2016
  • Maximum passenger capacity: 6,687
  • Gross tonnage: 226,963

Harmony of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean’s most popular and well-known cruise ships.

She is the 3rd ship in the Oasis Class but ushered in new expectations with a set of enhancements to the Oasis-Class experience.

Big Daddy's Hideaway Heist on Harmony of the Seas

Harmony was the largest cruise ship in the world when she was launched in 2016, and was later revitalized in 2021.

She has the updated Oasis-class features like the Ultimate Abyss slide, three multi-story water slides, and an escape room.

Additional activities make for an adrenaline-packed cruise experience: an 82-foot zip line, two rock climbing walls, a mini golf course, a full-sized basketball court, an ice skating rink, and two FlowRider surf simulators.

The 3rd Oasis-class ship currently offers 7-night Western Caribbean cruises out of Galveston, Texas.

Symphony of the Seas

Symphony of the Seas
  • Inaugural sailing: April 2018
  • Maximum passenger capacity: 6,680
  • Gross tonnage: 228,081

When she launched as the fourth Oasis-Class ship, Symphony of the Seas replaced Harmony of the Seas as an even larger cruise ship.


Not all ships within the same class are the same, and Symphony does a great job of proving how Royal Caribbean tries to improve each cruise ship.

For example, she was the first Royal Caribbean ship to have Hooked Seafood, an extra-cost restaurant with fresh New England seafood cuisine.

Symphony is one of Royal Caribbean’s most action-packed ships, perfect for guests who love a variety of different activities.

Symphony of the Seas sailing away

She was recently re-amplified in 2023 and currently offers 6 and 7-night Western Caribbean sailings out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In May, she will home port in Cape Liberty, New York, sailing to Port Canaveral, Florida, Perfect Day at Cococay, and Nassau, Bahamas over 7-night cruises.

Wonder of the Seas

Photo by Stephen S.
  • Inaugural sailing: March 2022
  • Maximum passenger capacity: 6,988
  • Gross tonnage: 236,857

Much like her sister ships, Wonder of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship in the world at her launch.

Wonder of the Seas Royal Promenade

In fact, she was only recently de-throned in 2024 by Icon of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean continued to improve and change the Oasis Class with Wonder’s launch, adding unique features like the Mason Jar Southern restaurant, Cantina Fresca bar, and Vue bar.

Instead of the usual seven neighborhoods, she has an eighth addition: a Suites-only neighborhood at the ship's top.

The opportunities are endless. 

Wonder of the Seas also has countless activities and a new underwater-themed playground called the Wonder Playscape.

This massive vessel sails 7-night Caribbean itineraries (both Eastern and Western) out of Port Canaveral, Florida, with stops at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Utopia of the Seas (coming in 2024)

  • Inaugural sailing: July 2024
  • Maximum passenger capacity: 5,668
  • Gross tonnage: 236,860

Royal Caribbean isn’t done releasing Oasis-Class ships. 


Utopia of the Seas will launch in July 2024, sailing into the scene as the newest cruise ship and sixth Oasis Class ship.

Royal Caribbean’s upgrades aren’t over, either. 

Utopia will be its first Oasis-Class ship to use Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), the cleanest fossil fuel to power ships today.

Delivery of LNG

Use of LNG can reduce carbon emissions by 30%, sulfur emissions by 100%, and nitrogen oxide emissions by 85%.

Much like Allure of the Seas, Utopia of the Seas will begin by offering 3 and 4-night cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas.

Her inaugural sailing will begin on July 19th, 2024.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships by age

Unnamed (expected in 2028)


An order has been placed for a seventh Oasis Class ship, set to be launched in 2028.

Little details have been released, and the public does not yet know the name of the ship.

But Royal Caribbean has found a massive amount of success with its Oasis Class. 

The ships have become a new standard in the cruise industry, a paragon of size and amenities.

Jennifer Goswami

Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO said that, “From the moment [the first Oasis Class ship] sailed, it has been an absolute huge success.”

“These ships deliver from every dimension. And the most important dimension is customer satisfaction.”

He says that the breadth and depth of these ships, as well as the unique neighborhoods, are partially responsible for this huge success.

Family eating ice cream in Boardwalk

Because there’s something for every individual, families can experience fun activities separately, and then come together in the evening for dinner or other events.

families can experience unique activities, there’s something for every individual 

“It really is a winning formula.”

Royal Caribbean cruise ship cancels rest of sailing because of propulsion issue

23 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas has encountered a propulsion issue that has slowed the ship, and will now head to its final port of call.

Radiance of the Seas has cancelled the rest of her cruise

Guests onboard Radiance of the Seas were alerted by the ship's Captain of the issue, which occurred on Tuesday as the ship was sailing up the west coast of the United States.

Radiance of the Seas is sailing an open-jaw 4 Night Pacific Coastal Cruise to move the ship from Los Angeles to Vancouver and get the ship in position for her 2024 Alaska season. An open jaw cruise is one that begins and ends in a different port.

The Captain spoke to guests over the public address system to inform them of the issue, "Our teams have discovered that radiance of the seas is experiencing a technical issue with one of its propulsion systems, resulting in the ship being required to sail at a much slower speed."

Radiance of the Seas

He emphasized the ship is still safe to operate, "Please know your safety and comfort, along with that of my crew are my top priorities and our ship remains seaworthy and safe. It's just slower."

He did not specify exactly what the propulsion issue is, or what happened to cause it.

Radiance of the Seas has two Azipods, which are multidirectional pods that drive the ship and can be rotated 360 degrees and are have been the standard form of propulsion for all of Royal Caribbean's new cruise ships in recent years.

Radiance of the Seas wake

Guests could see only one Azipod is being used once the incident occurred.

As a result of the slower speed, Radiance of the Seas now needs to skip the rest of the ports on its itinerary and go straight to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

According to the Captain, Radiance of the Seas will arrive there on Thursday, April 25th in the evening between 9 and 10 p.m. The ship can then be ready to disembark guests on April 26 as scheduled.

Radiance of the Seas azipod

Radiance of the Seas is a 90,900 gross ton Radiance Class cruise ship. Her maiden voyage was in 2001.

Radiance is a smaller ship by today's standards, and has a capacity of 2,466 guests at double occupancy.

She is 962 feet long.


Radiance of the Seas

Letters were distributed to guests in their staterooms to confirm the changes.

As a result of the altered itinerary, guests can expect a partial refund for the disappointment. Royal Caribbean is not obligated to offer compensation for technical problems, but tends to do so as a gesture of goodwill.

Guests will receive 50% of their cruise fare paid back as an onboard credit.

letter given to guests

Any shore excursions purchased for ports that will be skipped will be refunded fully as an onboard credit.

The onboard credit can be used onboard the ship, and any unused credit will be refunded back to the credit card on file within 14 business days after the sailing concludes.

What about the next cruise?


A propulsion issue on Radiance of the Seas is cause for concern for anyone with an upcoming sailing booked on her as to what impact it may have on it.

In the letter given to guests onboard Radiance, the ship's staff conveyed a message for back-to-back cruisers that are booked for the next sailing.

 "Our teams are hard at work to correct this issue and our current progress is meeting our timeline. However, we'll need to be docked to complete the required repairs," the letter explained.

"At this time, we intend to sail as planned on April 26th, 2024, and we are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way."

"We'll provide you with another update by April 26th."

Letter to guests on April 26 sailing

Guests booked on the April 26th sailing also received an email summarizing the same information mentioned previously in this article.

Recent propulsion problems for Radiance

Radiance of the Seas in Alaska

Radiance of the Seas has had some bad luck lately with its propulsion system.

Last year, Radiance encountered a propulsion issue during her Alaska season that cancelled a few cruises at the last-minute.

Two cruises were cancelled before Radiance could resume sailings.

Cruise ships have redundant engines for this situation

Work on Oasis propellors

As the Captain of Radiance of the Seas explained, propulsion issues like this are not unheard of and the ship is quite safe to sail on.

Cruise ships can sail with less than both engines running. In fact, it's common not to have all engines going at once in order to conserve wear and tear.

When a situation like this occurs, the ship can still operate at a reduced speed safely.

Historically, ships with propulsion problems have been able to sail and either make repairs along the way, or hold off until a scheduled upcoming dry dock. The incident with Radiance last year having to cancel a couple of cruises was certainly an outlier.

Royal Caribbean cancels more visits to Labadee, Haiti into the fall

23 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

More cruise ships will skip a visit to Royal Caribbean's private beach in Haiti.

Labadee cancelled through September

Guests booked on cruises in the summer and early fall are getting notifications from Royal Caribbean, that their visits to Labadee have been cancelled.

Following on cancellations that began in March due to civil unrest in Haiti, the cruise line has been forced to cancel more cruises into September 2024.

Royal Caribbean had previously cancelled visits to Labadee through the end of May 2024.

Read more: Is Royal Caribbean still going to Labadee, Haiti?

More Labadee cancellations

Liberty of the Seas in Labadee

On Tuesday, cruisers began to share updates they received from Royal Caribbean that their itineraries have been updated to drop Labadee and replace it with another port or a sea day.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog has spotted different cruises cancelled in June, August, and even September.

In most cases, ships are being re-routed to Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Cancellation email

As an example, the Adventure of the Seas September 21st sailing has had her visit to Labadee replaced with a visit to Grand Turk.

"Due to the continuing situation in Haiti, we'll now visit Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos, instead of Labadee, Haiti," the statement said in an email to booked passengers.

"We're sorry for the change - your safety is our top priority."


Similar emails have been sent to guests booked on cruises with scheduled stops in Labadee throughout summer 2024.

Guests who had any shore excursions booked for their visit to Labadee will automatically receive a refund to their onboard accounts.

The cancellations affect ships such as Adventure of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas all due to visit Labadee in the summer.

No other cruise lines sail to Haiti.

Understandable disappointment

Oasis labadee

Guests have already started sharing the news and their opinions on the change.

"For the folks looking forward to Labadee, for the folks in Labadee, and for Royal, I am sorry this has been so tough," wrote WAYNO on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards.

"Understandable but sad as I was pumped to visit both private destinations in a single sailing," wrote tntornadox on another message board.

A necessary change

Labadee beach

The civil unrest in Haiti has forced Royal Caribbean's hand in this situation, even if Labadee is not near the areas of conflict.

Located on the north coast of Haiti, Labadee is a walled-off private enclave for Royal Caribbean cruise guests. It's at least a 6-and-a-half hour drive from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Royal Caribbean started cancelling visits to Labadee following the fallout of a siege of the government by gangs that began in mid-March. Since then, the country has experienced a major upheaval with a new government, prison break, and many deaths.

Barefoot beach

More than 53,000 people have fled Port-au-Prince and food shortages are taking place across the island, according to reports.

A state of emergency was declared on March 3, followed by the prime minister’s resignation on March 12. 

In July 2023, the US State Department raised the security threat to a Level 4 due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure.

Where is Labadee?

Google map

Labadee is located on the northern coast of Haiti, whereas the majority of the violence is occurring further south in more populated areas.

In short, it's walled off from the rest of the country and is in a remote area. It's guarded by a private security force. Guests aren't permitted to leave the area. 

Unlike other ports, such as Cozumel or Nassau, you won't be able to book a third-party excursion. Instead, all tours in Labadee have to be reserved directly through Royal Caribbean. Moreover, all food and supplies are brought ashore from the ship, rather than from elsewhere in Haiti. 

Royal Caribbean breaks ground on new beach club in Bahamas reserved for its passengers

22 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Work is officially underway on Royal Caribbean's new beach club in Nassau, Bahamas.

Construction begins at Royal Beach Club

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday for the new Royal Beach Club, Paradise Island.

The 17-acre Royal Beach club project was first announced in 2020, but the cruise industry shutdown of 2020 forced a delay in it becoming a reality.  Nonetheless, today's milestone signifies the official start of work for the new offering.

The official opening is slated for sometime in 2025.

Ground breaking ceremony

Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley were joined by The Bahamas' Prime Minister Philip Davis and Deputy Prime Minister I. Chester Cooper to commemorate the major milestone.

Construction will begin in the next few months, and Royal Caribbean hopes it will offer an authentic Bahamian experience. Plus, it is the first-of-its-kind project that gives back to the people of The Bahamas with a unique public-private partnership allows Bahamian nationals to hold up to 49% equity in the venture. 

Paradise Island pool

The first of the Royal Beach Club destinations, the Nassau club aims to offer Royal Caribbean passengers exclusive access to a prime spot to enjoy an unparalleled beach experience.

Unlike the private island experience, the Royal Beach Club is an extra-cost venue with a limited capacity.  Guests visiting Nassau on a port stop will have the opportunity to purchase admission to the beach club.

The club is located on a narrow strip of land near where the cruise ships dock on Paradise Island.

Pool and beach views in artist rendering

The club will have three pools with swim-up bars, live music, two beaches, four restaurants serving local food.

The capacity of the club should be about 2,000 guests.

More details are expected closer to the opening.

Opening 2025

To reach the beach club, passengers will have to taxi a complimentary water shuttle from Bay Street located near the Straw Market. Once onboard, guests will have two drop-off options: near Sapphire Beach and the west end of the pool.

The look of the club will take inspiration from its home country. The local architecture will be crafted by a local Bahamian architectural firm. Bahamian entrepreneurs and businesses are integral to the construction and management of the new venture, creating hundreds of job opportunities both immediately and in the future. Bahamian residents have already engaged in workshops. 

Another world-class experience

Family area rendering

The start of construction means this dream is coming to fruition, and Royal Caribbean couldn't be more excited for it.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Jason Liberty said at the event, "Marking more than the beginning of the construction process, today’s groundbreaking event symbolizes partnership, momentum and continued economic development for so many Bahamian entrepreneurs and the entire community."

"We are grateful to our partners for their support, especially the Bahamian government, who stand with us here today in celebration of what is to come"

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley also spoke, "As we break ground on Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, together with the government and the people of The Bahamas, we are celebrating what partnership and innovation can achieve. This will be yet one more reason, in Nassau’s bright future, to experience a destination we have visited since the very beginning of Royal Caribbean more than 50 years ago."

"The beauty and charm of the island are why we chose to debut the Royal Beach Club Collection in Nassau, and with the collaboration and support of local entrepreneurs and the wider community, we know that what we create will far exceed everything we imagined.”

Honorable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas spoke about the importance of this new beach club, "With the signing of this Heads of Agreement for the development of Royal Beach Club Paradise Island, we embark on this project to further enhance the vitality of our tourism product. Signing today’s agreement, we add another world-class experience to our tourism offerings. And even more importantly, we take a bold step toward greater Bahamian empowerment in the tourism industry."