Spectrum of the Seas offers overnight sailings in Tokyo in 2020

In:
10Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will offer overnight stays in Tokyo, Japan during the summer 2020.

In summer 2020, Spectrum of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas will each sail two special cruises into Tokyo’s brand-new cruise terminal, Shinkyaku Pier. Spectrum will depart on July 25 and August 2 from Shanghai, China to Tokyo, and Voyager will offer itineraries beginning July 26 out of Hong Kong and August 2 from Tokyo, each staying overnight. Adding to the excitement, Quantum of the Seas will begin sailing from Singapore in 2019, and with both Spectrum and Quantum sailing from Singapore this year, this marks the start of Royal Caribbean’s Double Quantum Year in the region.

“Our ships are designed and created to deliver unforgettable vacation experiences to our guests, and we are proud to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience in Tokyo next summer,” said Bert Hernandez, President, Royal Caribbean China. 

Royal Caribbean launches stateroom bidding program in Asia Pacific

In:
10Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced guests who live in the Asia Pacific region can now bid for a stateroom upgrade via RoyalUp. 

RoyalUp is Royal Caribbean's stateroom bidding program, where the cruise line may offer guests the opportunity to bid for a higher stateroom category by inviting them to submit an offer of their choice. If the offer is accepted, the guests will be automatically charged and upgraded.

Accepted offers will be automatically charged, and the guests will be upgraded to their desired staterooms, marking the perfect start of their Royal Caribbean holiday. In the case of unsuccessful bids, the guests will keep their original staterooms without incurring any charges.

The program is currently available for most Royal Caribbean International ships, including Voyager of the Seas in Singapore, Ovation of the Seas in Alaska and Oasis of the Seas in the Mediterranean.  Guests will have a chance to bid for upgrading to a variety of higher category staterooms including the luxurious two-storey Loft Suites on available sailings of the Oasis and Quantum Class ships. 

Angie Stephen, Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said, “We are seeing very strong response for ‘RoyalUp’ from our other markets because of the great value it brings to our guests, and we believe that many guests in our region will likewise take advantage of this programme to pamper themselves even more on our cruises, starting from their accommodation.”

Royal Caribbean launched the program in North America in November 2018, and Australia/New Zealand in February 2019.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: June 9, 2019

In:
09Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! We hope you are having a great weekend and ready to talk a little Royal Caribbean.

The big news this week came when the U.S. government announced it would no longer allow cruise ships to travel between the U.S. and Cuba. As a result of this policy change, Royal Caribbean cancelled all scheduled visits to Cuba.

The two ships that were offering cruises to Cuba, Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas, have had alternative ports secured.

In addition, Royal Caribbean is offering the option of guests on affected sailings remaining on the cruise and receiving a 50% refund, or they can cancel their cruise and receive a full refund.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 305th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, and we are sharing our best tips for first time cruisers.

In this episode, Matt interviews Claudia Diaz-Gonzalez about her work in making the Perfect Day at CocoCay transformation into a reality. Claudia provides a behind-the-scenes look at the hard work she and her team engaged in to bring Perfect Day to CocoCay to life.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

New RCB Video: Royal Caribbean cruise mistakes that are not really a mistake

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 — Royal Caribbean cruise mistakes that are not really a mistake  — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Readers Digest listed the cruise lines that have a private island.

Shack News provided the history and evolution of CocoCay.

Travel Pulse looked at the culinary delights on Oasis of the Seas,

diginomica reported on Royal Caribbean's digital tools that aim to enhance the customer experience.

Cruise Habit shared information on cruising during hurricane season.

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

In:
07Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has kicked off a weekend cruise planner sale, where guests can save up to 30% off pre-cruise purchases.

The Splash into Savings sale runs between June 6 – 10, 2019 and is valid on sailings from June 12, 2019 – December 30, 2019. It is valid on all ships, except for Spectrum of the Seas and Empress of the Seas.

BEVERAGE: Up to 30% off on select sailings.

  • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes NE, SC + Charter Sailings). •Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes NE, SC + Charter Sailings).
  • Refreshment Package: 30% off onboard prices. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes NE, SC + Charter Sailings)

SHORE EXCURSIONS: Up to 25% off on select sailings.

  • Save up to 25% on select tours on select sailings. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes NE, SC + Charter Sailings)

INTERNET: Up to 60% off on select sailings.

  • VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. (Excludes NE, SC + Charter Sailings).
  • VOOM Surf Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. (Excludes NE, SC + Charter Sailings).

DINING: Up to 50% off on select sailings.

  • Unlimited Dining Package on 3 Night – 9 Night sailings. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes NE, MJ,  SC + Charter Sailings)
  • 3 Night Dining Package: Save up to 50% off on select sailings. Discount varies by ship. (Only on OA 8/22/19 + SY 9/3/19)

ACTIVITIES: Up to 10% off on select sailings.
•All Access Ship Tour: 10% off. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes NE, SC + Charter Sailings).

Video: What to know before booking a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
07Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

We have a brand new RoyalCaribbeanBlog video to share with you, all about the important things to know BEFORE you book a Royal Caribbean cruise!

We love going on Royal Caribbean and freely advocate others try it out as well, but it is important to know a few things before you put down a credit card to book that first cruise. Between logistics, saving money and learning about what each ship offers, we have some essential advice for anyone looking to book a cruise vacation.

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

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

So check out the video and then let us know: What is your top tip for anyone booking their first cruise?

Friday Photos - June 7, 2019

In:
07Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Friday and welcome to the weekend! Each week, we share our reader's favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos for everyone to enjoy.

Our first photo is by Beth Bean and it is of chocolate cake from room service, along with Starbucks on Beth's balcony on Adventure of the Seas.

Our next photo is by Khadijah Ahmad and it is of Symphony of the Seas in Malaga.

Next up is a beautiful photo by Mike Sperduto of the Boardwalk on Harmony of the Seas.

Adventure of the Seas makes another appearance in this week's edition, with a shot of her in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada by Philip Catarella.

Next up is a photo by Jeff L. of Brilliance of the Seas docking in Cozumel next to Independence of the Seas.

Luca Mifsud shared this photo of Symphony of the Seas docked in Palma de Mallorca.

Our final photo comes to us from Spectrum of the Seas. Brendan Glynn took this photo of The Silk Road show.

Thanks to everyone who shared photos with us this week. You can always send in your favorite photos to be shared on a future edition of Friday Photos!

Royal Caribbean provides financial impact due to Cuba travel policy change

In:
06Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

In a press release, Royal Caribbean commented on the impact the U.S. government's policy change on travel to Cuba and provided a range for its financial impact.

The company estimates that the financial impact of this regulatory change is a reduction to the Adjusted EPS for 2019 in the range of $0.25 to $0.35 per share.

"While the affected sailings impact only 3 percent of our 2019 capacity, the extremely short notice period for this high yielding destination amplifies the earnings impact," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "The result of this policy change has created a short-term impact to our guests, operations and earnings; fortunately, we have many alternative and attractive destinations for our guests to choose from."

On June 4, 2019, the U.S. government announced that effective June 5th, 2019 authorized travel to Cuba under the People-to-People program is rescinded and travel to Cuba via cruise ships is prohibited. Therefore, effective June 5th, cruise ships will no longer be allowed to travel between the U.S. and Cuba.

Top Ten Royal Caribbean Dining Tips

In:
06Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Going on a Royal Caribbean cruise means you will visit great ports of call, experience wonderful entertainment and of course, enjoy some really good food. Royal Caribbean delivers fresh and delicious cuisine that caters to a range of tastes and preferences.

To help you navigate all your dining options, we have an assortment of tips and tricks for ensuring you have all the best information before you step onboard your ship and begin chowing down.

1. Don't order just one anything

Whether you are dining in the main dining room or Johnny Rockets or a specialty restaurant, don't settle for just one entree or one appetizer.  

Royal Caribbean allows passengers to order as much as you want in most cases, which means you are free to try dishes and sample what you want.  Most often passengers act like they do in a land restaurant and only order what they wish to pay for but on a cruise, order as much as you want!

2. Bring dinner back if you can't make it

If you or someone can't make it to dinner for whatever reason, be sure to tell your main dining room waiter that someone cannot make it to dinner and they will be sure to wrap up an entire meal (including dessert) to bring back to your stateroom.

This can be a good option if someone is not feeling up for going to dinner but needs to eat.

In fact, you can take food to go from pretty much any venue. Whether you are bringing food to someone else, or cannot finish what you have, taking leftovers is perfectly fine.  

3. Bring your own wine

Royal Caribbean allows passengers to bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom onboard their cruise on embarkation day. Be sure to pack the wine in your carry-on luggage only.

You can enjoy the wine in your stateroom, or bring the bottles of wine to any bar or restaurant onboard. If you choose to open the wine at a bar or restaurant, you could be charged a $25 corkage fee.  

Bringing your own wine can be a great way to save money and expand your choice of wine to enjoy on your cruise.

No, you cannot bring any other alcoholic beverages onboard with you. Those will be confiscated.

4. Have your wine follow you

Whether you buy a bottle of wine onboard your cruise or bring your own, if you do not finish that bottle in one night, have your waiter store it for you.  And if the next night you choose to have dinner elsewhere, like the Windjammer or a specialty restaurant, just tell your new waiter you have a bottle of wine stored for you.

They will ask your stateroom number and within a few short minutes your wine will appear.  This is a great way to keep using the same bottles of wine without pressure to "use it or lose it".

5. Get food allergies and special requests taken care of on day one

If you or someone you are travelling with has a food allergy or a special dietary request, go to the main dining room on embarkation day and ask to speak with the head waiter on duty.

Once you speak with him or her, you can convey any special requests you may have and get it in place for the rest of your cruise.

6. Pre-book hibachi

We are advocates of pre-booking as much as you can via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site to save time and money, but when it comes to the wildly popular Izumi hibachi option available on select Royal Caribbean ships, pre-booking is critical.

The teppanyaki dining at Izumi is quite popular and seating is limited. Therefore, if you absolutely want to experience it on your cruise, pre-book it via the Cruise Planner to ensure a spot.  It is quite common for Izumi to sell out spots for hibachi, especially once onboard the ship.

7. Book a specialty dining package to save money

If you are interested in dining at more than one specialty restaurant, your best bet to save money is to purchase a specialty dining package.

Specialty dining packages can be purchased online via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.  These packages will absolutely save you money compared to booking individual restaurants a la carte. 

The "catch" with dining packages is you cannot book a specific restaurant or time until you board the ship, and must dine at one restaurant on either night one or two. Not to worry, booking reservations is simple enough once you get onboard, so be sure to make reservations once onboard.

8. Avoid lines for meals

If you are looking for less-crowded options for any meal, always consult the Cruise Compass for all venues open.  Too often, cruisers gravitate towards the main dining room or Windjammer for meals.  While these are great spots, always consider other venues for quicker service.

Venues such as Cafe Promenade, Park Cafe, Sorrento's Pizzeria, Solarium Bistro and Cafe Latte-tudes offer complimentary dining choices that can be quick and simple.

9. Have My Time Dining? Make reservations

If you have selected My Time Dining for your dinner choice in the main dining room, the best strategy is to make reservations to minimize waiting for a table.

While reservations for My Time Dining are not required, having a reservation greatly reduces your wait time, especially if you want to dine at at peak times (6pm - 8pm). Moreover, the larger your group, the more important reservations are to ensuring there is a table waiting for you.

You can pre-book reservations for My Time Dining via the Cruise Planner site or make reservations while onboard.

10. Make dietary requests before you board

If you have a dietary restriction, then you may want to let Royal Caribbean know about them up front. 

Royal Caribbean can accomodate dietary needs such as food allergies, gluten-free, Kosher, low-fat, and low-sodium.

In additional, vegetarian meals (including Indian-style vegetarian) are available on all menus in the main dining room.  Guests do not need to make a special request for these meals.

Lactose-free/soy milk, Ensure, and Kosher meals are available no extra charge. All you have to do is notify Royal Caribbean at least 45 days prior to sailing (90 days for European/South American Itineraries).

You may also send an e-mail request to special_needs@rccl.com; please include in the e-mail the guests' names, booking number, ship name and sail date.  It's best to make requests like this at least 90 days in advance of your sailing.

More Royal Caribbean dining tips

Here are a few more helpful Royal Caribbean dining resources:

Royal Caribbean cancels all scheduled visits to Cuba

In:
05Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced today, it will replace all Cuban ports that were scheduled for its ships to visit with alternative ports due to new U.S. government regulations that prohibit travel from the U.S. to Cuba by cruise ship.

The two ships that were offering cruises to Cuba, Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas, have had alternative ports secured.

In addition, Royal Caribbean is offering the option of guests on affected sailings remaining on the cruise and receiving a 50% refund, or they can cancel their cruise and receive a full refund.

Royal Caribbean issued a statement elaborating on the nature of the changes made, "In response to the U.S. government’s policy change imposing immediate restrictions on cruise ship travel between the U.S. and Cuba, we are informing our guests of revised itineraries for a limited number of sailings with Cuban port calls.

All 2019 sailings on the Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas will have alternative ports in the Caribbean.  Guests will have the option to cancel their current booking for a full refund, or to keep their sailing date with a new itinerary and receive a 50 percent refund.

We are working on alternate itineraries for 2020 sailings and will share those details with guests and travel partners as they become available. We appreciate our guests’ patience and flexibility as we adjust to accommodate the new regulation."

Scheduled 2020 sailings on both Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the seas are still in the process of being worked on to find alternative ports, and Royal Caribbean estimates it will communicate those changes within the next week.

The United States Treasury Department announced yesterday new regulations that will end group travel to Cuba for “people to people” educational purposes and prohibiting visits to the island via cruise ships.

An inside look at creating Perfect Day at CocoCay on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
05Jun2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!

Episode 305 is available for downloading and this week we have an exclusive interview with Royal Caribbean's director of private destination development, Claudia Diaz-Gonzalez.

Royal Caribbean spent $250 million to enhance its private island in the Bahamas, and this week we get to hear all about the hard work and research that went into making Perfect Day at CocoCay a reality.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 305. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

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