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Royal Caribbean extends cruise cancellations until October due to CDC No Sail Order extension

In:
17Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement it has extended the "No Sail Order" until September 30, Royal Caribbean has extended its voluntary cruise suspension through the same time period.

Royal Caribbean confirmed on Friday that its new target date to resume operations is October 1, 2020.

Royal Caribbean's website has been updated to reflect the new dates.

In statement on the Royal Caribbean Group website, the cruise line will indeed match the CDC's guidelines.

The health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is our top priority. As we work with the CDC and others toward this shared goal, Royal Caribbean Group will be extending the suspension of sailings to include those departing on or before September 30, 2020.

CDC's ban was set to expire on July 24, although most other cruise lines had already extended their voluntary cruise suspensions through the end of September.

Compensation

Guests affected by the cancelled cruises between September 16 - 30, 2020 have three options for compensation.

Lift & Shift: Select next year’s sailing with the same itinerary type, sailing length, stateroom category, and within the same 4-week window of the original cruise date, and you can take your existing reservation and move it to next year.Option expires on August 5, 2020.

125% Future Cruise Credit: To account for the inconvenience this has caused, guests are eligible for a 125% Future Cruise Credit (FCC) that is based on the total cruise fare paid at the guest-level and will be automatically issued on-or-before July 31, 2020 — if neither of the other options is selected.

Taxes and fees, as well as any pre-purchased amenities or onboard packages will be automatically refunded to the original form of payment within 45 days from the cancellation date. 

If you previously opted to take advantage of our Cruise with Confidence policy, the 100% FCC will stand, and this new option is ineligible.

Additionally, if you redeemed your Cruise with Confidence Future Cruise Credit on a sailing that is now cancelled, their original FCC will be reinstated, plus 125% of any amount paid by the guest on the cancelled reservation.

A FCC will be automatically issued on or before August 26, 2020, if no other option is selected.

Refund: If you prefer a cash refund, you can do so by requesting this option on-or-before December 31, 2020.

You can expect their refund to the original form of payment within 45 days from the cancellation date. 

If you redeemed a Cruise with Confidence Future Cruise Credit on an impacted sailing and would now prefer a refund instead, Royal Caribbean will process this request in the amount of any new funds paid above the original certificate and, in turn, will reinstate the Cruise with Confidence FCC for future use.

Cruise Planner Purchases: If you had purchased any cruise add-ons, such as shore excursions, drink packages, wifi and more, you could opt to convert your Cruise Planner purchases  to an Onboard Credit valued at 125% of the total amount paid. This offer expires on August 5, 2020.

Inside the No Sail Order

The CDC announced its extension of the order as a means of preventing cruise ships from sailing out of concern cruise ships would spread COVID-19.

In the No Sail Order, the CDC Director outlined the rationale for the order being concern of the impact of infected cruise passengers creating problems after the cruise concluces.

The CDC's Director specifies information from epidemiologic and other data found in March and April 2020 determined that measures taken by State and local authorities regarding COVID-19 onboard cruise ships were "inadequate to prevent the further spread of the disease".

CDC extends "No Sail Order" ban on cruise ships through September 30

In:
16Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

The regulation chiefly responsible for preventing cruise ships from resuming sailing in the United States has been extended once again, this time through the end of September.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday it has extended its no sail order for cruise ships through September 30, 2020.

Prior to this extension, the "No Sail Order" was set to expire on July 24, although Royal Caribbean had already voluntarily cancelled most of its cruises through September 15, 2020, with the intention to possibly resume September 16.

Royal Caribbean has not yet commented or announced changes as a result of today's announcement.

This is the second time the "No Sail Order" has been extended, after first being implemented on March 13.

The CDC extended its policy to prevent cruise ships from sailing out of concern cruise ships would spread COVID-19, despite airlines operating flights, Las Vegas hotels and casinos re-opening, major theme parks re-opening, and other tourist destinations resuming operations.

In fact, by late January 2020, the RAND National Security Research Division found, "infections of COVID-19 were likely being exported from China, via commercial air travel, on a daily basis."

To date, the CDC has not shut down any airline operations.

What is the No Sail Order?

The No Sail Order and Suspension of Further Embarkation is a policy of the CDC that restricts the embarkation of passengers on top cruise ships in the United States due to the global health crisis.

Like the previous orders, this order will remain in effect until one of the following occurs:

  • The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
  • The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
  • September 30, 2020.

Royal Caribbean's plan

The extension of the "No Sail Order" is probably not a surprise to most, and Royal Caribbean already has a plan in place to protect guests and crew on its ships, as well as address the CDC specifically.

Royal Caribbean's Healthy Sail Panel is a blue ribbon panel of health experts that are tasked not only with creating policies and procedures for its ships, but satisfy the concern of the CDC that people can go on a cruise vacation safely.

A majority of the panelists have worked at the United States Centers for Disease Control, providing the group with insight into what the CDC will be expecting.

Furthermore, the CDC has been made aware of the panel and even invited to observe the planning and creation of procedures. They will apply the best available public health, science and engineering insights. 

Ultimately, the Healthy Sail Panel will be working to address any and all concerns the CDC might have that would prevent Royal Caribbean from starting cruising again.

Royal Caribbean updates cruise booking website with cleaner design

In:
16Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

If you are booking a Royal Caribbean cruise from the cruise line website, expect a new look to the process.

Royal Caribbean rolled out an update to its website on Thursday, which has a cleaner look to the booking process.

Once you select a particular sailing, the steps involved in booking the cruise have a new design to them.

Old look to booking site

New look to booking site

Select a stateroom

Choose stateroom assignement

Guests information

Payment information

So far, the new look begins to appear once you select a sail date.  In addition there are certain updated room descriptions as well more virtual tours.

The new look to the booking engine follows Royal Caribbean's last booking site design update in August 2017.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers shared their opinions of the new site design on our message boards, and generally were happy with the new look.

Razorrayy commented, "I absolutely love the new booking tool on Royal Caribbean website, just being able to get more details on your itinerary is awesome!"

WAAAYTOOO found a small functionality lift, in addition to the new look, "The only improvement that I can see so far is that you can now review the itinerary once you are in the mock booking.  Before you could never see the itinerary once you started looking at cabins."

With new change, comes also critique for how to make the site even better. SpeedNoodles wished for a change in booking terms up front, "When will they change it to show us the refundable price before we have to enter name/address/signooverfirstbornchild?"

Where are all of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships right now?

In:
16Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Ever since Royal Caribbean shut down cruises in March, many cruise fans have wanted to know where the cruise ships are in the world.

Royal Caribbean's 26 ships are spread throughout the world, with many having spent time getting crew members back to their home country.

Royal Caribbean's ships are currently spread out around the world, but "are ready and anxious to come back, and we're making sure that when we have the opportunity to do so, we will be able to do so as quickly as possible," Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said.

Information accurate as of July 15, 2020

CocoCay - Anchored off the coast

  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas

Barbados - Drifting off the coast

  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas

St. Maarten

  • Independence of the Seas

Southampton, England - Anchored off the coast

  • Empress of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas

Brest, France - Cruising to

  • Anthem of the Seas

Gibraltar - Drifting off the coast

  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Jewel of the Seas

Hong Kong

  • Radiance of the Seas

Singapore - Anchored off the coast

  • Ovation of the Seas

Manila - Anchored off the coast

  • Voyager of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas

Repatriating crew

While the cruise ship locations are interesting to note, the fate of the crew onboard is something Royal Caribbean has prioritized to ensure they are not only taken care of, but given the opportunity to go home.

In an update with travel agents, Fain explained the hard work it has undertaken to get its crew members home across 120 countries that have different rules and regulations.

While it has been a colossal effort to get crew home, Royal Caribbean has successfully gotten 97% of its crew home, with the remaining 3% making up about 40,000 crew onboard.

"It's been it's been horrific for the crew members who are stuck and haven't been able to get home, and it's been very wrenching for us, to know that and not to be able to solve the problem," Fain said in his webinar. "The people who are remaining are mostly from two countries which have sent severe restrictions on allowing anybody to come into the country, even their own citizens."

Two former Royal Caribbean cruise ships will be sold

In:
15Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

After weeks of speculation, Royal Caribbean is in the process of selling two former cruise ships.

Monarch and Sovereign are currently part of Pullmantur Cruises' fleet, but originally sailed as part of Royal Caribbean International.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain confirmed the ships' fate during a call with travel agents.

He indicated that there are no plans to sell any ships right now, apart from the Pullmantur ships.

"The one exception would be the Pullmantur ships, which are now in the process of being sold."

On June 22, Spanish cruise line Pullmantur Cruises announced it was filing for reorganization, which is a form of bankruptcy.

Pullmantur's board of directors make the decision following the "unprecedented impact" made the decision necessary.

A piece of history

Sovereign of the Seas plays a significant role in the history of Royal Caribbean, as the first mega ship to ever launch.

Sovereign of the Seas is one of three Sovereign Class cruise ships (along with sister ship Monarch of the Seas), and was operated by Royal Caribbean beginning with her maiden voyage on January 16, 1988 from PortMiami.

Sovereign of the Seas was the first Royal Caribbean ship to feature the now well-known suffix "of the Seas".

At 73,192 tons, the ship featured a five-deck Centrum, glass elevators, fountains in marble pools, and sweeping staircases. She completely dwarfed every vessel of her time, coming in double the size of Royal Caribbean's Song of America. A ship that large, with those kind of features was unheard of at the time.

Sovereign of the Seas demonstrated that it is possible for a modern cruise ship to offer a balance of beauty and function and be something more than a container carrier or a ferry. 

Sister ship Monarch of the Seas was built in 1991 and was the second Sovereign Class ship to be built.

At 73,941 tons, Monarch was one of the largest cruise ships in the world at time of her completion.

With the end for Sovereign and Monarch, this will leave Majesty of the Seas as the last Soveriegn Class ship.

Royal Caribbean Chairman gives global cruise update on ships being sold, name change and more

In:
15Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain answered some of the hottest questions the public has been wondering about the state of the cruise industry.

In a webinar with travel agents, Mr. Fain responded to questions about a variety of topics related to Royal Caribbean cruises and what the cruise line is doing now, and what it plans to do to get back resuming sailings.

Former Monarch and Sovereign of the Seas will be sold

Ever since Pullmantur Cruises announced it was entering bankruptcy, many have wondered about the fate of the former Royal Caribbean ships sailing in the fleet.

Mr. Fain answered a question if Royal Caribbean has plans to sell ships in its fleet, saying simply there are no plans, but it is a consideration.

"There are no plans, but there are consideration," Fain said. "I think we will look at that somewhat opportunistic basis."

While there are no plans right now to sell its ships, the Pullmantur ships will be sold off due to the financial issues that cruise line is facing.

"The one exception would be the Pullmantur ships, which are now in the process of being sold."

Capacity of ships will be reduced initially

Echoing earlier statements, Mr. Fain talked about reducing capacity on its ships in order to implement social distancing.

"It is likely that when protocols are implemented, at least at the beginning, the capacity of the ships will will be reduced."

In terms of how many less guests, Mr. Fain talked about starting up in Europe as an example.

"It's likely we'll start out at lower capacity in Europe, the capacity levels for the starting up or at 60 to 70 percent potential load factors. And obviously that's quite a bit less than we're used to."

"But I think over time, particularly as treatments and pervasiveness of the disease and especially vaccines, that will then go back up. So there's a cost in the early period which hopefully will disappear fairly quickly."

Royal Caribbean Group name change

One of the early questions Mr. Fain touched upon was about the name change for Royal Caribbean's parent company, which has shifted from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to Royal Caribbean Group.

Mr. Fain was quick to point out that the legal name of the company is still Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, and was not sure yet if that will ever change.

"There was confusion sometimes between the brand Royal Caribbean International and the group of brands, which covers all six of the different brands. It was a little bit confusing to some people. And so we wanted a name for the for the parent company that was clear it wasn't the operating entity"

"I think under normal circumstances, we would have had a big announcement and a big rolling out of thi, but in a in a post-COVID world or in our current COVID world, we are being a lot more quiet about the whole thing."

Global operations update

A large part of Mr. Fain's comments were about providing a global update on where Royal Caribbean is currently in terms of getting ready to resume cruises.

Mr. Fain saw many positive signs, including its German brand, TUI Cruises, resuming cruises on July 24.

In addition, the new Healthy Sail Panel is going above and beyond the standard responses on land.

"The ship has special features, somethings make it more challenging, but some things provide real opportunities, and so they're really looking at it with an open mind and with an imaginative core. So I'm really quite excited about how that's going to work."

In terms of getting cruises back in the United States, Mr. Fain thinks a lot hinges upon how quickly cases can be reduced.

"A key factor will be how quickly we are successful in bringing the prevalence of it in society down. And you're seeing the impact in Europe where they have been successful in bringing it down and in much of Asia."

Why Royal Caribbean partnered with Norwegian Cruise Line

One question asked to Mr. Fain was why Royal Caribbean partnered with Norwegian Cruise Line and not other cruise lines.

"The truth is that we started out with the idea of doing a panel just of our own," Mr. Fain recalled, "I did call around other other cruise line CEOs, not just let them know what we were doing. And when I spoke to Frank Del Rio of Norwegian, he said and well, that's a coincidence because we have been working with a guy by the name of Scott Gottlieb."

"And so at that point, I quickly said, well, wow, if we're both doing the same thing, wouldn't we be more impactful together? And it really has been a wonderful experience."

Crew repatriation update

Like all cruise lines, Royal Caribbean has struggled with repatriating crew members due to increasingly strict local laws that prohibit anyone, including citizens of that country, from getting home.

"It's been it's been horrific for the crew members who are stuck and haven't been able to get home, and it's been very wrenching for us, to know that and not to be able to solve the problem."

"Ninety seven percent of our crew are safely home with their family and their loved ones."

"The people who are remaining are mostly from two countries which have sent severe restrictions on allowing anybody to come into the country, even their own citizens."

The four tiers of making cruise ships safe

In terms of keeping guests and crew safe onboard once cruises resume, there appears to be four tiers of planning required to make any new procedures as effective as possible.

"We really need to be able to address all four of those. You probably have some ideas by seeing what's happening elsewhere, but we have some really cool, innovative ideas coming out of the committee."

Mr. Fain outlined them as:

Screening

"You take steps to make it harder for the disease to get onboard in the first place."

Steps onboard the ship

"You have steps onboard the ship, which would include lower capacities, probably not self-service buffets, etc."

Destinations ships visit

"To make sure both that we're not doing anything to bring the disease to the destinations and conversely, that the destinations would not be a source of contagion to our guests."

What if there is a case on a Royal Caribbean ship?

How do you make sure that you can handle that in a way that basically handles it smoothly and efficiently on board and and to get the people home safely. 

Royal Caribbean has significantly reduced refund delays to under a month

In:
15Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has made great strides in getting the average time it takes to process refund time, getting the average under a month.

Ever since Royal Caribbean suspended its global sailings in March, the cruise line has been swamped with refund requests, resulting in significant delays processing refunds.

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed, told travel agents that the average refund request is now 23 days.

Moreover, there are about 1,000 bookings that are still over 30 days waiting for a refund, but all of them should be processed by this Sunday.

"We also want to report some great news, and that is that our average refund is twenty three days," Freed said in a webinar.  "Now, we do have about a thousand bookings that are over 30 days waiting for a refund. And we should have those process by Sunday this weekend.

Tackling the problem

Processing refunds has been a sore subject for Royal Caribbean, with refunds taking much longer than expected.

Refunds were originally expected to take 30 days to process, but some refunds were taking up to 45 days or longer. 

In April, Royal Caribbean apologized to guests for the delays after hearing from so many guests how long things were taking.

To help speed things up, the cruise line rehired over 100 employees that were laid off in April 2020 in order to help with the significantly long phone hold times.

New Royal Caribbean sale begins today on drink packages, excursions, WiFi and more

In:
15Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 45% off pre-cruise purchases beginning today on add-ons such as drink packages, shore excursions, dining packages and more.

The Save on Cruise Faves sale applies to new purchases made July 15 ‑ July 22, 2020. 

Discount applies to shore excursion, beverage, dining and internet purchases on select sailings departing September 16, 2020 ‑ April 30, 2021.

Offer details:

BEVERAGE: Up to 45% off on all sailings.
• Classic Soda Beverage Package: 40% off onboard prices. (Excludes Charter Sailings + SC)
• Classic Soda Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: (Excludes Charter Sailings + SC)
• Dasani Water Cans: 40% off onboard prices. (Excludes Charter Sailings + SC)
• Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes Charter Sailings + SC)
• Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes Charter Sailings, + SC)
• Refreshment Package: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes Charter Sailings + SC)

SHORE EXCURSIONS: Up to 40% off
• Shore Excursions: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes Charter Sailings + SC)

INTERNET: Up to 65% off
• The Key: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes Charter Sailings, MJ & SC)
• VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. (Excludes Charter Sailings + SC)
• VOOM Surf Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. (Excludes Charter Sailings + SC)

DINING: Up to 55% off
• Unlimited Dining Package on 3N – 9N sailings: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes Charter Sailings, MJ & SC)

ACTIVITIES: 20% off
• All Access Ship Tour: 20% off onboard prices. (Sailings from 9/16/20 - 12/31/20, Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN & SC)

GIFTS & GEAR: Up to 20% off
• Happy Anniversary Decorations with Champagne: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY)
• Happy Birthday Decorations with Chocolate Cake & Strawberries: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes. Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY)
• Happy Birthday Decorations with Vanilla Cake & Strawberries: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY)
• Inky Beach Set: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY)
• Inky Beach Towel (TicTacToe): 20% off onboard prices.(Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY)
• Inky Travel Set: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY)
• Red Wine and Cheese: 20% off onboard prices. ( (Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY)
• Royal Caribbean Beach Towel: 20% off onboard prices.(Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY )
• Strawberries with Champagne: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY)
• White Wine and Cheese: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes Charter Sailings, OY, QN, SC + VY )

PHOTO PACKAGES: Up to 45% off
• Photo Packages: From 5 - 100 print and/or digital options: discount varies by ship. (Sailings from 9/16/20 - 4/30/2021; See full terms for exclusions)

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site look for any available offers. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.

What are the differences between Royal Caribbean's 1D, 2D, 4D, etc balcony rooms?

In:
14Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Balcony staterooms on a cruise are a very popular category of cabins, but Royal Caribbean breaks down its balcony rooms across a variety of subcategories leaving many to wonder what does it all mean.

Naturally, you might be wondering what the difference is between each category of balcony rooms, and why there are price differences.

Here is what you need to know about these balcony room to know the difference between them all.

1D vs 2D vs 5D vs 7D

When you decide to book a balcony stateroom, you will see a variety of category numbers: 1D, 4D, 1A, 1E, 2F, etc. There are sixteen sub-categories of balcony staterooms across Royal Caribbean's fleet (not including suites or interior balcony rooms).

The basic difference between each category code is the stateroom location and/or size of the room. The lower the number, the more desirable the cabin, in terms of size or location on the ship.

As the numbers start to climb, you will find rooms further away from the mid-ship, as well as less square-footage.

The differences can be very subtle from one category to another, but the price tends to drop as the number climbs (i.e. a 7D tends to be cheaper than a 1D).

In addition, the difference between staterooms can include rooms that have third and fourth berths.  Rooms with this distinction can result in different pricing compared to staterooms that cannot accommodate third and fourth berths.

In May 2018, Royal Caribbean simplified and re-categorized their staterooms to have more consistency across the fleet. In some cases, D1 or D4 balconies simply became 1D or 4D rooms, while other categories were combined or broken apart.

Other balcony categories

In addition to balcony staterooms that have the letter "D" in the category, there are other categories of balcony staterooms that may be on the same ship.

  • A : Ultra Spacious Ocean View with Large Balcony
  • C: Ocean view with Large Balcony
  • E: Obstructed Ocean View Balcony
  • F: Studio Ocean View Balcony
  • X: Ocean View Balcony Guarantee
Category
Code
(May 2018
and beyond)
Category
Code
(Pre-
April 2018)
Category NameCategory Description
1AFBUltra Spacious Ocean View with Large BalconySpacious room with large Balcony; Sleeps up to 6 guests
1CD1Ocean View with Large BalconyMidship room with large Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
2CD2Ocean View with Large BalconyMidship room with large Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
4CD1Ocean View with Large BalconyAft room with large Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
1DD2, D3Ocean View BalconyMidship room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
2DD4, D5, D6, D7Ocean View BalconyMidship room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
3DD3Ocean View BalconyMidship room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
4DD7, D8Ocean View BalconyMidship room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
5DD2, D3Ocean View BalconyForward/Aft room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
6DD4, D5, D6, D7Ocean View BalconyForward/Aft room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
7DD3Ocean View BalconyForward/Aft room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
8DD7, D8Ocean View BalconyForward/Aft room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
1EDOObstructed Ocean View BalconyObstructed View room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 4 guests
2EDOObstructed Ocean View BalconyObstructed View room with Balcony; Sleeps up to 2 guests
2FE6Studio Ocean View BalconyStudio room with Balcony; Sleeps 1 guest
XBXOcean View Balcony GuaranteeOcean View Balcony Guarantee

Which room should I book?

Now that you understand what the categories mean, you might be wondering which category is the right choice for your family.

First and foremost, you will be limited by the room capacity, so if you want a room that can handle 3 or 4 guests, then any category that can only sleep up to 2 guests is out of the question.  Similarly, rooms that can accommodate 4 guests may be "overkill" for what you need.

The other two considerations are price and location.

The location is arguably the next most important consideration, as where your room is on the ship (mid-ship, aft, forward, or somewhere inbetween) is an important consideration for some. 

If you are concerned about getting seasick, or prefer convenience to the elevators, then a room mid-ship should be your choice.

Lastly, price moves a lot of guests one way or another. Those higher balcony room numbers (6D and 7D) are going to cost you less, but expect a longer walk down the hall. The obstructed view rooms will save you money as well, but you will not have full view out of your balcony.

Ultimately, the rooms left to book and budget tend to dictate which room categories are really under consideration. Knowing how Royal Caribbean has categorized its rooms provides better insight into picking the right choice for you.

Top 5 things you can buy for a cruise that are totally not worth it

In:
14Jul2020
By: Matt Hochberg

When it comes to planning a Royal Caribbean cruises, there are plenty of accessories and add-ons you can buy for a cruise vacation, including a few things that I think are simply not worth getting at all.

With so many different buying choices for a cruise, I wanted to highlight a few that I would never buy and explain why I do not think they are worth it.

RFID tags for luggage

One of the big trends in tech is leveraging Radio-frequency identification (RFID), which allows different devices to interact when in close proximity, and there is a new generation of RFID trackers created for luggage. (Affiliate link means I get commission. No extra cost to you)

The idea is you place a RFID tile in each luggage you have, and that way if your bags get lost in the transition from shore side to stateroom, you can track it down.

While this sounds like a neat idea, I feel it is ultimately unnecessary.  No one wants to lose luggage, but I think the chances are very, very low of that occurring and even when bags get delayed, they do eventually show up. 

Portable wireless hotspot

One of the most troublesome issues for families or large groups is how to communicate onboard. There are a variety of ways to stay connected while onboard, including some people that opt to buy a portable wireless hotspot to use your phone onboard.

The idea is this device allows you to connect your phone to these, and the device provides a less-expensive means of being able to place calls or use data wherever you go.

While mobile hot spots like this might work well in Europe, in the Caribbean, they are an expensive option that sporadically work with less than stellar performance.

Given the high price to get one initially (plus the per GB cost for data used), and the fact Royal Caribbean's WiFi is reasonably priced, I think this product is just not necessary.

Vacation clubs

Every so often, someone will mention to me saving money on booking cruises by buying into a vacation club.

Vacation clubs are similar to a timeshare, where you buy into the program with an initial price, and then pay dues for access to "discounts" on cruise vacations.

The saying "if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't" holds true with this situation, because cruise pricing is pretty standard across the board. The idea anyone can offer deep discounts beyond what the cruise line is offering is simply not reality. While sometimes group space can bring prices down a bit, you do not need to buy into a vacation club to net lower prices.

Travel routers

A travel router is a portable device you can buy to simplify the process of connecting and managing devices on public Wi-Fi networks. It means the router connects to the WiFi, and then all of your devices can connect more easily, as well as boosting the WiFi signal around your stateroom.

Unfortunately, travel routers on cruise ships are most often used to bypass the device restrictions that Royal Caribbean establishes when you purchase a WiFi plan. 

In addition, Royal Caribbean has greatly simplified its WiFi to make signing on super easy with customizable usernames and passwords (instead of long PIN codes to remember).

Concealable flasks

Concealable flasks, cruise runners, or whatever you want to call them are products meant to sneak alcohol on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and they are not only something I would never buy, but they are flagrantly against the rules.

The idea is you fill these up with booze, and then can more easily sneak them on the cruise because you wear them inside your clothes so they cannot be detected by X-ray machines.

It should go without saying these are morally wrong, and I will go one step further by saying if you can afford to book a cruise, you can afford to buy drinks (or a drink package).  If you want to keep costs down, take advantage of some great strategies for drinking on the cheap while on your cruise.

Your thoughts

Have you bought any of these items? Is there something you can buy for a cruise that you think is not worth the cost? Share your experiences in the comments!

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