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Five more tips for Freedom of the Seas

In:
08 Jul 2010

Last week, Andy Mayer posted tips from his recent cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas and he's back this week with more tips to share.  As always, these tips are specific to Freedom of the Seas, but I believe they can be applied to nearly any Royal Caribbean sailing.

  1. Get up early if you want lounge chairs near the pool on the days at sea
  2. Book your own excursions
  3. Get private lessons on the Flowrider
  4. Get a “cabana chair” in Haiti
  5. Return to the ship earlier than normal in Grand Cayman
  6. Depart on your own term

Here's a good tip Andy posted about regarding the best place to rest in Labadee

 

Unfortunately, we found information lacking about RC’s private beach at Labadee, Haiti.  We checked for maps at guest services and asked around, but could learn almost nothing.  The head of the excursions desk on deck 5 knew zero!  I want to pass one thing on to you.
 
When you get off this ship, go straight and take the path almost as far as you can take it.  By walking straight and far, you come to a less rocky area, from which you can swim.  However, you will also find “cabana” chairs.  These are two normal chairs pushed under a half-moon, umbrella like cover that provides shade and a bit of privacy.  They are first-come, first-serve.  If you don’t care about swimming, then find some shade under a tree.  But, if you want to swim and want shade to relax, go directly for a cabana chair.

Royal Caribbean offering late checkout in Europe

In:
08 Jul 2010

Royal Caribbean is testing out a new option on its European based ships.  For $35, you can opt for a "late departure".  Rather than hurry in the early morning to be off the ship, you can pay extra and stay onboard until the mid afternoon. If you opt into the program, you will be able to stay on the ship until 90 minutes prior to its next sailing.  The cost is $35 for adults and $17.50 for children.

Now available on all eight Royal Caribbean ships in Europe, the program allows passengers to stay aboard the vessels through lunchtime and into the afternoon on disembarkation day instead of a traditional early-morning departure. Passengers who sign up for the program can stay on their ship until 90 minutes prior to its next sailing.

Passengers who stay onboard later will have access to all the public areas on the ship as well as select restaurants but will need to be out of their stateroom by 9am.

Preview of entertainment on Allure of the Seas

In:
07 Jul 2010

Royal Caribbean offered a glimpse into the entertainment options about the still under construction Allure of the Seas.

  • Chicago
    As you may or may not know, the Broadway musical Chicago is coming to Allure of the Seas.  This was announced a while ago but a rehearsal was put on for various members of the Allure team

    Jeremy Plummer, Director & Choreographer for Blue Planet, took us through this exciting original production. This show has scenes that are unreal! Highlights will be when a tree comes to life as a “living tree,” as well as an enormous mountain scenic unit with trampolines built into it, so you can just imagine the action and choreography that will take place! This show is a departure from any production show we have done, and takes us from the rain forest, to the desert, to the ocean, and then the mountains and brings together the music, aerial artistry and gymnastics together in a very surreal way.
     
  • New ice show: Ice Games
    This will be a new ice show that brings the board game Monopoly to life.  Things like rolling the dice and visiting various landmarks are displayed but "with a twist".

    we might land on Boardwalk, or Dazzles, or even go directly to Jail. This is definitely a very clever story line.
     
  • New ice show: How to Train Your Dragon
    Based on the hit 3D Dreamworks film of the same name, this 20-30 minute show is a family friendly show that is expected to be a great spectacle.

    While you typically wouldn’t find me using the word “magical,” for obvious reasons, it is truly the word that describes how we will bring to life the movie in this ice show. Our Co-Producer, Willy Bietak, said he has done projects for decades and this was one of his favorites ever.

Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines drop lawsuit against Alaska

In:
06 Jul 2010

The Alaska Cruise Association, a group that Royal Caribbean is part of, has dropped its lawsuit against the state of Alaska over a cruise ship passenger tax.  The bill passed by Alaska lawmakers this past Friday cuts the head tax from $46 to $34.50 and allows deeper offsets for ships stopping in at least one of two ports. It was signed by Governor Sean Parnell last week, and hailed as both as a way to settle the litigation and attract more ships and tourists.

In addition, cruise lines will be reimbursed an additional amount each time a ship calls in Juneau, Ketchikan or both.

The cruise association had placed at least partial blame on the tax and Alaska's regulatory climate for an expected loss of ships, and about 140,000 passengers, this season.

The tax was voted into law by Alaska residents in 2006 and was highly unpopular among the cruise lines and even argued to be illegal as it discriminates against the larger ships that carry more than 250 passengers.  Experts blame much of the relocation of cruise ships away from Alaska stemming from the tax increase.  

Juneau's Cruise Ship Comeback

In:
06 Jul 2010

The cruise market in Alaska is heating up as cruise lines are showing higher demand for the cruise location than in the recent past.  Royal Caribbean gave a positive assessment of the Alaska market in a report two months ago.  Daniel Hanrahan, president of Celebrity Cruises (Royal Caribbean operates Celebrity Cruises) said, "The Alaska product, where we are once again operating three ships, is also performing well and doing better than ... last year".  

Competitor Carnival reported that "Alaska and other exotic locations," are helping drive increased revenue in Carnival Cruise Line's North American brands.  In addition, Alaska has seen "significantly higher year-over-year pricing," according to David Bernstein, chief financial officer of Carnival Corp.

Last year one million cruise ship passengers came to Juneau, but this year only about 860,000 are expected after Carnival and others relocated ships to other destinations, citing the head tax as one reason for the decline.

View from Oasis of the Seas bridge

In:
06 Jul 2010

Wired Magazine is featuring a series of photos of a photo gallery of awesome cockpits and they have featured Oasis of the Seas as one of them.  

Situated on the center line of the ship, the captain’s station has two trackball-controlled 27-inch LCDs that are used to display the electronic chart and the ship information system, which aggregates mission-critical data like radar, GPS, and sonar. Nineteen additional screens are positioned less than 10 feet away, so the captain can quickly access, say, the machinery automation system, which tracks everything from the 5.5-megawatt bow thrusters to the fore and aft ballast tanks.

Greece cuts red tape to lure back investors

In:
06 Jul 2010

The country of Greece is trying to lure back companies looking to invest in the country by cutting bureaucratic red tape that can stall investment plans in the past.  Greece, a country mired by debt, wants to make things easier on companies like Royal Caribbean.  

Earlier this year, Royal Caribbean had plans to use the port of Piraeus as a hub in Greece, but after repeated strikes by unions left thousands of passengers and cruise ships stranded at ports, Royal Caribbean said last week it was dropping plans to use Greece's Piraeus Port as a hub.

Greece is seeking foreign investors to help spur its economy, expected to shrink by about 4 percent this year as it implements a draconian austerity programme to deal with the country's debt crisis.  But it carries an unenviable reputation as one of the most difficult places to do business in the western world due to a web of regulations, restrictive laws and combative unions.