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Royal Caribbean will offer first ever world cruise in 2023

In:
20 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

If you're in the market for an epic cruise, how about one that goes around the world?

Royal Caribbean announced a new 274-night Ultimate World Cruise on Serenade of the Seas that will promises to bring you to amazing destinations across all seven continents.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley hinted at this announcement earlier this week, when he promised "big news" and included an emoji of the Earth.

This is the first ever world cruise for Royal Caribbean International, and it will visit more than 150 destinations in 65 countries and 11 great wonders of the world.

Serenade of the Seas will sail roundtrip from Miami on Dec. 10, 2023 and through Sept. 10, 2024.

Fares for this world cruise include business class airfare, premium transportation as well as an evening of festivities and accommodations at a five-star
hotel before setting sail.

In addition, Crown & Anchor Society Platinum status members and above will receive a bonus Seven New World Wonders shore excursion package in addition to other perks, including a Deluxe Beverage package, VOOM Wi-Fi, laundry service and more.

Sound like fun? Here's where you can go on the world cruise:

Round the Horn: Americas and Antarctica Expedition
Dec. 10, 2023 - Feb. 11, 2024 

Three continents, 36 destinations, four wonders The once-in-a-lifetime journey begins in Miami, the cruise capital of the world, and sets course for postcard- perfect Caribbean destinations – like the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) – before heading to glacier- studded Antarctica and around Cape Horn.

Travelers can take in four of the world’s stunning wonders along the way in Central and South America, including Chichen Itza in Cozumel, Mexico; the largest art deco sculpture in the world, Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro – where they’ll celebrate New Year’s Eve – and the largest waterfall system on the planet, Iguazu Falls near Buenos Aires, Argentina.

One of the most iconic symbols of ancient Inca civilization and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu, awaits in Peru, while sunshine and glamour will welcome guests in Los Angeles.

Wonders of Asia and the Pacific Expedition
Feb. 11 - May 9, 2024

Three continents, 40 destinations, three wonders Guests will venture miles from the ordinary in Oceania, Asia and beyond on the cruise’s next showstopping leg. They can discover the beauty and adventure throughout the Hawaiian Islands’ world-renowned mountainous landscapes and black sand beaches before sailing south to Moorea and Tahiti, French Polynesia, for sapphire blue skies and crystal-clear waters.

The thrills continue with an exploration of New Zealand, before a deep-dive into Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – the only living thing on the planet that’s visible from space. Pristine natural beauty in Bali, Indonesia, is soon followed by two of the most iconic manmade world wonders, the Great Wall of China and India’s Taj Mahal, and gems of the South Pacific – from Vietnam to Malaysia.

Rounding out the expedition are endless possibilities in Japan, with unparalleled culture in Tokyo, street food in Osaka and the tropical beaches of Okinawa.

Middle East Treasures and Marvels of the Med Expedition
May 9 - July 10, 2024 

Three continents, 44 destinations, four wonders This expedition begins in glamorous Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and brings many of history’s greatest mysteries, myths and legends to life.

Adventurers can uncover ancient sites and more world wonders from the times of emperors and pharaohs, like Jordan’s lost city of Petra, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey, and the Colosseum in Rome. There are also less-traveled places to explore, such as Greece’s Olympia, once a sanctuary site to honor Zeus and the location of the first Olympic games.

The journey only continues to even more destinations known for their storied history — like Split, Croatia, and Cannes and Provence in France.

Spain will open its borders to cruise ships in June | Royal Caribbean Blog

Capitals of Culture
July 10 - Sept. 10, 2024

Three continents, 40 destinations The final leg of the Ultimate World Cruise is an immersive, cultural experience that begins in the Mediterranean and heads north. At travelers’ fingertips is the opportunity to discover Barcelona’s brilliant architecture, including Antoni Gaudi’s famed Sagrada Familia and whimsical Park Guell, and savor new flavors across continents — such as an indulgent lunch in a Parisian bistro and a dinner of tagine and mint tea in Morocco.

7 tips for a great Royal Caribbean Baltic cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

Museums, theaters and galleries line the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia, while larger-than-life fjords await in Norway. Guests can reflect on their epic voyage in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland before visiting New York on their way back to Miami.

How much is the world cruise?

If you are interested in booking the 274-night cruise, Royal Caribbean has starting prices available.  There is a discount when paying in full of 10% off the fare by January 6, 2023.

*Taxes, fees, and port expenses of $4,667 USD per person are additional and are subject to change at any time. All starting prices listed are per person, in USD, cruise only, based on double occupancy and are subject to change at any time. Pay in full by January 6, 2023, for savings of 10% on starting Lead Rate.

Pricing for the four expeditions will be announced once these sailings become available to book in December 2021.

How to book the world cruise

Bookings for the full Ultimate World Cruise can be made by phone starting today, with an exclusive one-week window through Oct. 26 for Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society Diamond status members and above.

Guests interested in booking can call Royal Caribbean’s dedicated line for the Ultimate World Cruise at 800-423-2100 (US toll free) or their travel advisor.

Celebrity Cruises will accept mixed vaccines following CDC update

In:
19 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Celebrity Cruises will accept mixed series of Covid-19 vaccines of many kinds for cruise ship passengers.

Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) update to its policy last week, the Celebrity Cruises website has been updated to reflect it will accept mixed series of any two of the following vaccines, with a minimum of 28 days between doses, as fully vaccinated: 

  • Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson,
  • AstraZeneca
  • Sinovac
  • Sinopharm

Prior to this update, Celebrity Cruises did not accept mixed dosages of non-mRNA vaccines, such as AstraZeneca.

Earlier this summer, most cruise lines changed their policy to prohibit mixed vaccines due to the CDC update.

Celebrity stated in its policy the change was a result of the CDC's change in stance, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has clarified their position regarding mixed vaccinations and provided Celebrity Cruises with updated guidance."

You can view the updated policy on Celebrity's website.

The issue of mixed vaccines affects residents of certain countries where the practice was encouraged by their governments, such as Canada.

Read moreWhat you need to know about going on a cruise if you're Canadian

Thus far, Royal Caribbean International has not updated their policy to match yet, but Celebrity has been usually quicker to update their policies than Royal Caribbean International, including the many updates to mixed vaccines.

When the mixed vaccine policy was changed earlier this summer, Celebrity was always a day or two ahead of Royal Caribbean in posting the new policy.

Booster shots

In addition to mixed vaccines, the Celebrity Cruises website lists a policy about booster shots.

Guests who have received 3 or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, due to booster regimens, will be considered fully vaccinated if at least one of these conditions is satisfied:

  • At least 2 of the doses are mRNA vaccines administered at least 28 days apart. The final dose must be completed at least 14 days before sailing.
  • At least 2 of the doses are AstraZeneca administered at least 28 days apart. The final dose must be completed at least 14 days before sailing.
  • At least 1 dose is Johnson & Johnson, completed at least 14 days before sailing.

What Canadians need to know about cruise insurance

In:
19 Oct 2021
By: 
Chantal McPhee

One of the biggest issues for Canadians wanting to cruise is the federal government’s advisory against cruise travel and its impact on insurance.

This level of risk assessment can void a portion or all of a travel policy, even if already purchased. Some cruisers have expressed concerns about the lack of transparency as it relates to insurance coverage in the current situation.

Consider the following tips when evaluating cruise travel insurance requirements.

Terms and Conditions

When purchasing travel insurance there are three main travel categories: trip interruption, trip cancellation, and emergency medical. It is important to understand coverage and limitations for all of them, especially as it relates to Covid.

Most insurance companies list Covid related travel products on their websites. However, the depth of coverage is not always clear. A detailed review of the terms and conditions or frequently asked questions (FAQs) section is often required to determine what is included, or more importantly what’s not included. In some cases, policies don’t reference cruising specifically but rather that travelling despite a travel warning or travel ban, will result in a lack of coverage.

For example, TD Insurance clearly lists on their insurance homepage, that travel advisories will invalidate any claims for Covid related expenses. However, for Manulife Insurance, their Covid travel insurance list exclusions in the FAQs section. There are also questions that relate to pre-conditions, which may impact eligibility for insurance.

Royal Caribbean’s Benefits

One great benefit to cruising with Royal Caribbean is their “We’ll Get you Home” policy. The Healthy Sail Centre explains:

  • “If you or a member of your traveling party tests positive for COVID-19 during your cruise, we'll take care of things so you can focus on getting better. Costs related to onboard medical care and your travel home — even a private jet, if needed — are on us.*”

It further specifies:

  • If you are fully vaccinated or unable to be vaccinated and you test positive for COVID-19 during the voyage, the cruise line will: • cover the cost of necessary COVID-19 related medical treatment onboard the ship; • coordinate and cover the costs of any required land-based quarantine for you and members of your Traveling Party; and • coordinate and cover the costs of travel arrangements to get you and members of your Traveling Party back home.

For those who add some vacation time pre or post cruise, it should be highlighted that this program covers getting Covid during the cruise (not pre or post cruise). And, as with most policies, is subject to change, so monitor accordingly.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean is flying passengers home on a private jet if they have Covid-19

Insurance Review

Given the variables in insurance, it is best to complete a review of travel insurance from all sources for both the land and cruise portions of the vacation. Check current travel insurance, annual plans, employee benefits, etc.

Note, major airlines such as Air Canada and WestJet were offering complimentary Covid insurance with ticket purchases, however, this has not been extended beyond Oct.31. 2021.

Consider what’s needed:

  • Trip cancellation, coverage if a trip is cancelled due to Covid
  • Trip interruption, for example, for quarantine
  • Emergency travel/ medical Insurance pre/ post cruise
  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions, age, and other exclusions

Often, the insurance legal ease can be unclear, and policies can vary amongst provincial jurisdictions. If ambiguous, it is best to contact the insurance company and seek clarification in writing so there is no confusion in the event that claims are submitted.

What the future holds

In July, The Canadian government said that they will open Canada to cruise ships starting Nov 1, 2021. The Federal Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra noted at that time that cruise companies will be required to "fully comply with public health requirements" in order to sail through Canada's waters and dock at its ports.

No additional updates have been provided on these conditions, or changes in timelines.  It is unclear if the government will maintain its travel ban on cruising while welcoming international cruise ships.

Travel advisories can change quickly, so it is critical to monitor both cruise and specific country travel notices, especially when a trip has been booked well in advance. Subscribe to travel updates through the government of Canada website and follow social media accounts.

Royal Caribbean CEO teases "big news" to be announced soon

In:
18 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Let the rampant speculation begin.

Royal Caribbean on list of companies possibly under investigation for violating Florida's vaccine passport ban | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley posted a short and cryptic teaser on his Facebook page about a big announcement coming soon.

Mr. Bayley wrote three sentences in his teaser, "Get ready for the news of a lifetime. A big announcement is on the horizon.  Stay tuned!"

Less than an hour after posting it, he edited the post to change some of the wording.

"Get ready for some big news. We’ve got an announcement on the horizon. Stay tuned!"

What could it be? We will have to wait and see.

Cruise fans were quick to jump in with their guesses, ranging from new ship announcements, to Covid-19 protocol changes, President's Cruise announcement, and pretty much everything inbetween.

Here are some of the interesting ideas people shared in the comments of his Facebook post.

  • Icon of the Seas information
  • Vaccine mandate change
  • Free cruise giveaways
  • Wonder of the Seas news
  • $18 per day Deluxe Drink Package

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley talks about when cruises will restart and other hot topics | Royal Caribbean Blog

Since there is not any kind of hint in direction of what to expect, numerous possibilities loom. Not to mention the fact there is no telling if this big news will come out tomorrow, this week, or even this year.

Mr. Bayley is no stranger to posting on Facebook, having often shared his thoughts about what is happening in the cruise industry, as well as sharing behind-the-scenes peeks of what is forthcoming.

Royal Caribbean has a number of projects planned, as well as speculated upon, but it is difficult to know what sort of announcement to expect.

Besides the upcoming Icon Class cruise ships to be built over the next few years, Royal Caribbean also has port projects in Vanuatu, Antigua, and Labadee that have all been placed on hold.

Meanwhile, progress quietly is made on the Royal Beach Club in Paradise Island, and a new port project in Freeport, Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean Group Chief Product Innovation Officer, Jay Schneider, recently confirmed ship upgrades under the Royal Amplified program will pick back up in the future.

Royal Caribbean announces $97 million Voyager of the Seas amplification | Royal Caribbean Blog

"We're going to pick up Amplification again. We're going to keep making sure that the Amplification we have is working."

Moreover, new ship construction is not stopping either, "Our new build portfolio isn't isn't stopping. We're going to continue to build amazing ships."

"You're going to see new concepts come out on future ships and you're going to see us experiment with new fun ways to, again, get people to have an amazing vacation."

Royal Caribbean announces $97 million Voyager of the Seas amplification | Royal Caribbean Blog

When Mr. Bayley and/or Royal Caribbean makes the announcement, I will share it immediately on RoyalCaribbeanBlog.

Share your best guesses of what Mr. Bayley is hinting at in the comments below!

Spotted: Royal Caribbean increasing capacity on its cruise ships

In:
18 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The amount of passengers on Royal Caribbean cruise ships is starting to slowly increase after remaining purposefully low during the initial restart process.

While Royal Caribbean does not divulge passenger counts or capacity limits for its ships sailing, there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence from passengers that the amount of guests onboard is going up from what it was this summer.

When Royal Caribbean restarted cruises earlier this year, the cruise line purposefully kept its capacity low to ensure the highest likelihood of success with regard to its Covid-19 protocols.

Why you shouldn't avoid older and smaller cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

Anyone sailing on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the summer and early fall of 2021 enjoyed going on a ship with 25-40% of the normal capacity.

Read moreBest things to do on Royal Caribbean while there is limited capacity onboard

It now appears things may be changing.

Latest counts

People that have gone on a cruise recently have come back sharing passenger counts that are higher than they were just a few weeks ago, which seem to point to a trend of a higher ship capacity.

The last couple Mariner of the Seas 3-night weekend sailings have seen between 2,000 - 2,300 passengers, according to officers onboard.

The Allure of the Seas 7-night sailing that departed on Sunday has around 2,700 passengers onboard, according to a RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader.

The Oasis of the Seas sailings from Cape Liberty have seen higher numbers as well, with the October 17th sailing coming in at 3,147 passengers.

Royal Caribbean cruise fans have been sharing their passenger counts on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com message boards, and while there are ebbs and flows to how many passengers are on a particular sailing, the general consensus seems to be there are more passengers now than earlier this summer on most sailings.

Part of the plan

Anecdotal data is one piece of the puzzle, as Royal Caribbean has hinted it plans to ramp back up before the end of the year.

Last month, Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain shared his thoughts at a recent industry conference on getting back to full capacity.

He said they kept capacity low initially to be extra cautious, "we made a deliberate decision to get more ships operating sooner, even when that means each ship operates at a very low occupancy for a few months."

"In terms of numbers next year, I definitely think so," Mr. Fain said. "In our core markets, we expect to be essentially there by the end of this year."

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley posted in August that the plan is to increase a ship's capacity monthly, "As we move month by month, we are increasing our capacity ship by ship."

With Royal Caribbean's health protocols working effectively, they seem poised to move to the next phase of the restart plan.

Best things to do on Royal Caribbean while there is limited capacity onboard | Royal Caribbean Blog

In speaking with various officers onboard Royal Caribbean ships I have sailed on, the plan is to ramp up passenger counts in November and December.

The benefits of more passengers

Top questions Royal Caribbean hasn't answered yet about its restart plans | Royal Caribbean Blog

Without a doubt, having limited capacity on cruise ships this summer spoiled anyone that got to sail because of the non-existent lines and waiting, but there are good aspects to having more passengers onboard.

One downside to a low capacity is the nightlife and entertainment is noticeably subdued. Being at a bar, lounge, or show with a fraction of the audience makes for a tame feel.

Moreover, having more passengers means certain venues will re-open or increase their capacity. When ships have exceeded 50% of their capacity, the Windjammer has re-opened for dinner service, which has been a common concern among cruisers this summer that miss having that option.

Of course, more passengers is also good for the cruise line and its employees.  Not only are more passengers good for the company's bottom line, but that also means more gratuities for crew members.  The trickle down effect cruise ship passengers have on the local economies of the ports a ship visits is also going to be positively affected by having more people traveling, from taxis, to hotels, to tour operators, and restaurants.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the cruise industry contributes over $55.5 billion annually, prior to the pandemic.

How many passengers will be on my cruise?

In short, there is no way to know in advance how many passengers will be on your upcoming sailing because Royal Caribbean does not announce or publish in advance passenger counts.

In addition, the cruise line does not say what percentage capacity its ships will be at going forward.

Once onboard the ship, you can usually ask Guest Services or an officer for a passenger count.

Keep in mind Royal Caribbean's cruise ships and private destinations are designed to handle a normal capacity of passengers, so even sailing with 50-90% capacity is still a positive experience.

Even before the pandemic, the myth of cruise ships being too crowded was out there, but thanks to better traffic flow and ship design, that is not the case.

Royal Caribbean's ships are built to include more deck space, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues to accommodate the larger number of passengers.

Read moreTop untrue myths about a Royal Caribbean cruise

From a former cruise kid: Why you should go on a cruise ship with your kids

In:
18 Oct 2021
By: 
Allie Hubers

From unlimited ice cream on the pool deck to the teen clubs and lucrative loyalty perks, there are plenty of reasons to bring your kids on your next Royal Caribbean cruise. 

As a former cruise kid myself, I am a huge advocate for cruising as a family. The fun is endless onboard for kids, and the quality family time can’t be matched. Also, adding a 3rd or 4th person to a reservation is usually heavily discounted, making it very affordable to cruise as a family.  

While there’s certainly a time and place for childless vacations, taking your kids on a cruise can have a lasting impact on their lives. 

Lifetime Crown & Anchor Status

7 things Royal Caribbean veterans always do (and you should too) | Royal Caribbean Blog

One of the biggest reasons I would encourage you to take your kids on a cruise is to take advantage of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor program. This is a lifetime loyalty program that can have huge benefits for your kids down the road. 

When we started to cruise with Royal Caribbean in 2006, my sister and I inherited our parents’ Gold Crown and Anchor status. Taking a family cruise became a yearly tradition for us, one that I eagerly looked forward to each year. My sister and I continued to earn loyalty points for each night at sea, allowing us to slowly work our way through each tier. 

Once we turned 18, we each retained our earned Diamond status. Effectively, we earned this through a combination of inheriting points from our parents and continuing to cruise as a family. 

We still loved to cruise even as my sister and I went to college, which allowed us to earn Diamond+ status in our early 20s. This is something we will carry with us for the rest of our lives!

My Diamond Plus status also transferred to my husband after we got married in 2018. With one phone call to Royal Caribbean, they joined our accounts together.

Moving forward, our C&A points are tied; so even if we cruise without the other, our statuses will always be the same. This has been a huge benefit for us, as the Diamond+ drink vouchers alone save us $800 on a 7 day cruise!

Similar to my experience, I believe our future children would also inherit our Diamond Plus status, creating 3 generations of Crown and Anchor loyalty with Royal Caribbean.

Make Lifelong Friends

Aside from loyalty perks, Royal Caribbean truly creates an awesome environment for kids of all ages. Onboard activities are plentiful, from insane waterslides to ship-wide scavenger hunts. 

There is also a unique opportunity to meet other kids through the Teen Program and Adventure Ocean. This program is an excellent resource to keep your kids entertained throughout your cruise.

As a young cruiser, Royal Caribbean’s Teen Program totally transformed cruising for me. I made friends from all over the world, which was such a unique experience to have as a teenager. I would spend the day with my family and then meet up with my new friends after dinner. On the sea days, we would spend the whole day exploring the ship and having the best time. 

More than 12 years later, I still keep in touch with friends that I met through the teen program. Luckily, social media makes it easy to stay connected through all these years. I’ve actually met up with one friend multiple times since we first met onboard the Explorer of the Seas in 2008. 

Exposure to New Foods and Experiences

Cruising as a kid also offers the opportunity to try many new foods and experiences. 

My parents would encourage us to try something new each night at dinner. In fact, this was the first time I tried caesar salads and steak! My parents emphasized that I could always order something different if I didn’t like what I tried. My sister, who was notoriously picky, expanded her palette immensely because of cruising. 

At a young age, I also started to develop a worldly perspective by experiencing different cultures. We were exposed to so much at a young age by visiting different ports of call. 

Locals and tour guides in each of the ports were always excited to share their culture with us. My parents loved to chat with our wait staff each night at dinner, asking about their families and home countries. I didn’t really experience this type of diversity back home in South Dakota. 

In high school, we started to take cruises with more interesting itineraries. We found that cruising around Europe was a great way to visit numerous new countries without worrying about logistics. Not only did we have really cool experiences in the ports, but we also met so many nice cruisers from all over the world onboard.   

A Lasting Impact 

Cruising played an instrumental role throughout my childhood and into my adult life. I have no doubt that cruising at a young age instilled within me a deep appreciation for travel.

My love for being at sea has followed me through life. In college, I jumped at the opportunity to study abroad by enrolling in a program called Semester at Sea. I spent 105 days traveling the world on a ship, visiting 12 countries and 4 continents. We took classes during sea days and spent 4-6 days in each port. To this day, it’s been the most rewarding and extraordinary experience of my life. 

Some of my biggest life moments have also happened while cruising.

At the ripe age of 16, my lifelong travel dream came true when we cruised around Northern Europe. Our ship docked in Le Havre, France, which is the closest port to Paris. We spent the day touring the City of Love, cruising down the River Seine and gawking all day at the Eiffel Tower. It was just as magical as the movies!

After graduating college, my now-husband and I got engaged on a bridge in Venice while cruising the Mediterranean with both of our families. We went back the following year to visit the bridge again and cruise from Venice to Croatia and Greece for our honeymoon. 

Just this summer, we celebrated my MBA graduation and my husband’s military pilot training completion on an Alaskan cruise. It’s been so special to commemorate these life events at sea. 

I’ve also continued to cruise with my family. In July 2019, we cruised around Japan from China. We have 2 cruises planned for 2022 (fingers crossed!). Even as my sister and I have become adults on our own, we still love to cruise as a family and appreciate the time we can all spend together at sea. 

I’m forever thankful that my parents valued the opportunity for me to travel, learn and experience different cultures throughout my childhood.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: October 17, 2021

In:
17 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The fall temperatures may be dropping, but the Royal Caribbean news from this week is as hot as ever, and we have it all summarized for you in this week's round up!

All eyes are fixed on what will happen at the end of this month when the CDC's Conditional Sailing Order expires, and Royal Caribbean's CEO has an opinion on it.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley was asked about the upcoming end to the CSO and what it means for his cruise line going forward.

He was asked to provide the latest information related to the CSO, and he shared his thoughts on what is still very much an unknown situation.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

Cruising with kids is a different kind of experience right now due to the new protocols and rules.

Matt just took his kids on a cruise for the first time since the Delta variant became widespread, and shares his thoughts on what to expect with children on a cruise.

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: New Things to Try on Royal Caribbean

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 — New Things to Try on Royal Caribbean — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Wonder of the Seas tour

Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship is going to pack in a lot of really fun things to do, so you may be wondering where everything is.

Wonder of the Seas will debut in March 2022, and already there are a lot of people excited to see and do everything onboard.

Before you step foot on Wonder of the Seas, check out our Wonder of the Seas tour to know where everything is located.

Royal Caribbean is first cruise line to restart cruises from Tampa

In:
16 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The cruise industry restart has reached the Port of Tampa.

Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas arrived in Tampa on Saturday to begin offering cruises from West Florida, which is the first time a cruise ship has sailed from the Port of Tampa since 2020.

Serenade of the Seas will depart Terminal 6 on Saturday to begin a new cruise season there, having just wrapped up an abbreviated cruise season in Alaska.

Serenade will offer 4- and 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Tampa, Florida, starting Oct. 16; and 7-night Caribbean itineraries, beginning December.

Royal Caribbean's return to Tampa is just as ceremonial as it is tangible to the area. Business Research & Economic Advisors estimated that a 3,000-passenger ship generates an average of $334,000 in passenger and crew onshore spending per call in a homeport city. 

Cruises have been able to restart from other ports in Florida, including Port Everglades, PortMiami and Port Canaveral, but this is the first time Tampa has been able to see ships leave.

Photos courtesy Port of Tampa

Later in December, Brilliance of the Seas will return to Tampa to offer 4- and 5-night Bahamas and Western Caribbean cruises beginning on December 16.

What's next for the restart

Four more Royal Caribbean cruises ships will restart operations before the year comes to a close.

Explorer of the Seas is scheduled to restart cruises when she sails from San Juan, Puerto Rico beginning on November 7. Explorer will sail 7-night Southern Caribbean sailings.

Royal Caribbean is especially excited to see Navigator of the Seas return to service, because it means the restart of cruises for the cruise line from the west coast.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean ship scheduled to sail from Los Angeles, California in 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Navigator will offer 3-, 4- and 5-night Catalina Island, California, and Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico cruises from Los Angeles, beginning November 19.

Grandeur of the Seas will start cruising again when she offers  7- and 14-night Southern Caribbean sailings from Bridgetown, Barbados, starting December 5.

Finally, Enchantment of the Seas will begin cruising again in December, when she sails from Baltimore on December 23, offering 8-night Bahamas sailings, and select 12-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean.

You can see Royal Caribbean's cruise ship restart plans for more deployment information leading into 2022.

What to do in Bermuda on a cruise

In:
16 Oct 2021
By: 
Chantal McPhee

Famous for its pink beaches, Bermuda is an island located in the North Atlantic, 650 miles east of North Carolina. It enjoys beautiful weather, with an average temperature in the 70-80s during cruise season.

Bermuda is only 21 miles in length and getting around is easy. Local pink buses and SeaExpress ferries serve the island well.  Many people rent scooters while there but keep in mind that residents drive on the left.  Also available are electric vehicles called a “Twizy” which are earmarked for tourists.

For those visiting on a cruise ship, there are numerous activities including beaches, water activities, sailing, and fishing, as well as world class golfing, food and culture.

For those who want to explore what makes Bermuda unique, here are a few suggestions.

What to do

Horseshoe Bay

Royal Caribbean will finally offer cruises to Bermuda from Florida | Royal Caribbean Blog

Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda’s most iconic beach, is located on the picturesque South Shore. With soft white sand and aqua blue waters, it is a great place to swim and play in the waves.

On the eastern side of the beach lies little bays and tidal pools to explore.  On the other end, there is a protected cove, with calm waters. Perfect for families with young swimmers, where they can see lots of local marine life.

All the required amenities are on site including food, washrooms, chairs, and umbrella rentals. The beach is easy to get to by bus and taxi.

Diving and Snorkeling

Thanks to the extensive reef system that encircles the island, there is excellent diving and snorkeling in Bermuda. Many ships have been stranded on the reefs making it the Shipwreck Capital of the Atlantic.  Dive sites like the Mary Celeste, a former civil era ship, is one of the most popular.  Many shipwrecks are in 30-80 feet of depth making them easily accessible to divers.

For snorkeling from a beach, Church Bay along the South Shore features dramatic cliffs leading down to a small bay with plenty of marine life. This is a more secluded spot, so ensure to bring everything needed. Tobacco Bay, on the eastern end of the island, is more sheltered and offers the opportunity to see parrotfish among many local species.

The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI), located in Hamilton, hosts a number of relics from shipwrecks. They also house one of the world’s largest shell collections and exhibits on the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.

Hamilton

A great way to travel to Hamilton (the capital of Bermuda) is to take the ferry from the port area. It provides a scenic water view with saltwater breezes.  

Once there, stroll along Front Street, enjoying water views and the colorful colonial style buildings.  There are plenty of great places to visit. Pop into the local shops such as Brown & Co. department store to pick up some local Bermuda perfume and soap.  Browse through jewelry and watch stores, and shop for a true pair of Bermuda shorts.   Visit the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity and its stunning architecture. Delve into local art at the Bermuda National Gallery (free admission) and Bermuda Historical Society Museum to get a taste of the past.

Bermuda has had a long love affair with rum. Bacardi has its headquarters in Hamilton, along with some great local brands such as Gosling’s (making rum since 1806.) For a true Bermudian experience, sample a Dark’n Stormy or a Rum Swizzle while sitting on a patio under the warm sun. Not to miss, is Bermuda's famous seafood chowder which is not surprisingly topped with black rum, and a dash of sherry sauce.

St George’s

It all started in St. George’s. The Sea Venture on its way to Jamestown was marooned on the shores of Bermuda. In 1612, the English established their first settlement at St. George’s.  

Starting from King’s Square, the historic and charming town is best explored on foot. Walk the narrow lanes, visit the museums, St. Peter’s Church, or sample some local food while listening to the Town Crier.  It is worthwhile to visit the nearby Fort St. Catherine, an impressive military defense built in 1614.

Heading back toward Hamilton, a must-see is the Crystal Caves. This magical underground cave system developed over millions of years and was termed by Mark Twain as the most beautiful cave in the world. The guides are amazing in explaining the science behind the crystals along with many humorous anecdotes.  

Dockyard / Port Area

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There is plenty to do within walking distance of the ship. Passengers can tour the former colonial era naval base known as Dockyard. The sandy colored, limestone buildings have been beautifully restored and now contain a number of shops and restaurants.

To relax, try some tasty local fare at the Frog and Onion Pub, shop at the Clocktower Mall, and pick up a local rum cake. Check out the Bermuda Arts Centre and handmaid glasswork. Outdoor activities include a small beach at Snorkel Bay and swimming with Dolphins.

Dockyard is also home to Bermuda’s National Museum, which details the country’s 500 year old rich history. One of the best parts of the museum is the former Commissioner’s House located at the top of the hill. The patio vistas are some of the most majestic in Bermuda.

Guide to Thrill Waterpark at Perfect Day at CocoCay

In:
15 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

If you want thrills in your private island day on Royal Caribbean, check out Thrill Waterpark at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Best things to do on Royal Caribbean while there is limited capacity onboard | Royal Caribbean Blog

With so many slides and pools, you may want to know what is included with a visit to the waterpark, and how to get the most out of your visit. This guide will give you a good overview of what the waterpark offers, as well as tips and tricks for a great day.

Overview

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Perfect Day at CocoCay is a private island only Royal Caribbean cruise ships can visit, and one way to spend your day there is to visit the waterpark.

Thrill Waterpark has an additional cost, which means only those that purchase admission can come into the park. Admission to the waterpark is priced per person, and includes full day admission.

Royal Caribbean used to offer a half-day pass, but that is no longer offered. Everyone that wants to come into the park needs to pay for entry, regardless of it they want to ride a slide or not.

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Children under age 14 must be accompanied by a ticketed Guest age 14 or older to enter Thrill Waterpark.

To get into the park, you just need your SeaPass card. Scan it as you walk in and you're good to go. No separate admission needed.

There are two entrances to Thrill Waterpark, although nearly everyone uses the main entrance.  The main entrance is located to the right of the arrivals plaza at Perfect Day at CocoCay. There is an additional entrance closer to Oasis Lagoon and Splashaway Bay, primarily meant for a convenient way to get back into the waterpark.

It is made up of three basic areas: Daredevil's Peak, Splash Summit tower, and the pools.

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You will find chairs, umbrellas, and picnic tables around each of the water slide towers, as well as near both pools. These chairs and tables are complimentary and first-come, first-reserved.

There are complimentary lockers near the main entrance where you can stash your stuff for the day. Restrooms and a first aid station are also located near the lockers.

Thrill Waterpark cost

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The exact cost for Thrill Waterpark admission per person will vary from ship to ship and sailing to sailing. In short, there is no set price for every sailing.

You can purchase admission before the cruise via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner website, onboard the ship at the Shore Excursion desk, or even on CocoCay at the entrance.

How much you will pay is determined by demand, time of year, ship you sail on, and other factors.

Prices usually range between $50 and $100 per person, but there is a great deal of fluctuation.

Admission to the waterpark is included with a Thrill Waterpark cabana (more on that further down this post).

What slides are there at Thrill Waterpark?

Royal Caribbean designed Thrill Waterpark to offer fun and thrilling water slides to enjoy.

There are two towers in the waterpark, with slides of varying speeds and intensity.

Video: Royal Caribbean Constructs Thrill Waterpark at Perfect Day at CocoCay | Royal Caribbean Blog

Daredevil’s Tower stands at 135-feet high and are all body slides that feature the longest, tallest, and fastest rides in the park.

  • Daredevil's Peak: 135 feet tall, this is the tallest waterslide in North America (Rider minimum: 48")
  • Dueling Demons: Two drop slides launch riders 75 feet from a vertical position (Rider minimum: 48")
  • Green Mamba: A 50 foot tall slide with lots of turns (Rider minimum: 48")
  • Screeching Serpent: Another 50 foot tall fully vertical speed slide (Rider minimum: 48")
  • Manta Raycers: Twin racing slides (Rider minimum: 48")

Splash Summit is the family tower, where you can ride with other members of your group together.

  • Sling Shot: Family raft slide. Up to 4 people in a raft that ride up a wall to provide zero gravity sensations (Rider minimum: 48" or 40" with life vest)
  • Splash Speedway: Mat slide, where up to 4 people can race down (Rider minimum: 48" or 40" with life vest)
  • Twister: Two riders slide down a tube slide (Rider minimum: 48" or 40" with life vest)

There are also two pools at Thrill Waterpark:

  • Wave pool: Royal Caribbean says this is the largest wave pool in the Caribbean
  • Adventure Pool: A pool with obstacles you can climb, walk, and swing onto. This includes lily pads, rope swings, and even a rock climbing wall (Guests under 48" must wear a life vest at all times)

Dining

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All the slides and pools will generate quite an appetite, so Royal Caribbean included a Snack Shack location inside Thrill Waterpark.

Snack Shack is complimentary, and offers hot dogs, salads, burgers, and lots more. The chicken sandwich and mozzarella sticks are must-trys.

In addition, it is very easy to depart the waterpark and get food from elsewhere on the island. Skipper's Grill is the closest option, and offers more variety.

There is also a bar in the waterpark for any cocktails, beers, or non-alcoholic drinks you may want. If you have a drink package purchased from your cruise ship, the benefits work here as well.

Cabanas

In addition to purchasing admission to the park, you could opt to rent a cabana for the day.

CocoCay Cabanas provide a private space to enjoy throughout the day, along with a cabana attendant who can bring food and drinks whenever you need it.

Thrill Waterpark cabanas can accommodate up to 6 guests and offer a lush sectional sofa and 2 resort-style chairs, as well as power outlets. Your Cabana Concierge will provide you with 8 towels and stock your cooler with 8 complimentary water bottles. Additional water bottles will be available for purchase.

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Included with your cabana purchase is admission to the waterpark for up to six guests.

Royal Caribbean has placed cabanas in three clusters around the waterpark:

  • Near Daredevil's Peak
  • Near Family Tower
  • Near the wave pool

The price of a cabana usually ranges between $499 - $899. Just like the cost of admission to the water park, the exact price will vary from sailing to sailing.

The reason to book a cabana is to have a dedicated space for your family, as well as the service provided by the attendant.  In many cases, the cost of the cabana becomes negligible when you factor in admission it includes for larger families.

Tips and secrets

1. Don't bring towels from the ship

Save the effort of going to get towels to bring with you to the waterpark.

There is a towel station near the wave pool where you can get towels, as well as exchange them for fresh ones.

If you rent a cabana, towels are provided for you at the cabana.

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2. Adults can use the Adventure Pool

While it may look like the Adventure Pool activities are for kids, adults can use them too.

The rope swing is a lot of fun, and you can race your kids on the lily pads.

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3. Best times for short slide waits

When your cruise ship is sailing to capacity, there are two good times to beat the lines for the popular slides.

First and foremost, get off the ship early and hit Daredevil's Peak and Sling Shot as fast as you can. Lines for these two slides will always be the longest.

The best times to ride slides with a short wait are:

  • Before 11am
  • After 3pm

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4. Your drink package works here

If you have an unlimited drink package already, then you can use the benefits while in the waterpark (and everywhere else at Perfect Day at CocoCay).

5. Look for chickens

If you hear a rooster, it's not your imagination. 

CocoCay is home to a variety of animals, including wild chickens. They walk around the island, but tend to frequent the waterpark the most.  

Look for them darting in and out of the bushes.

Regardless of which animal you see, please do not feed any of them.

Is Thrill Waterpark worth it?

Royal Caribbean delivers on thrills and fun with Thrill Waterpark, so the decision to go depends on what you want to do and the price.

There are enough waterslides and pool activities to keep you busy all day long during your visit. When the park is full, lines can develop for the popular slides during the day, but you should still have enough time to experience them all.

The wave pool in particular is underrated as a fun activity, and some of the waves get very high in the deep end.

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Perfect Day at CocoCay | Royal Caribbean Blog

When deciding if it's worth it to go to the waterpark, you have to consider what else there is to do at Perfect Day at CocoCay. Royal Caribbean packs in a lot of fun on its island, and you can find some really compelling alternatives at the beaches, pools, and beach club.

When Royal Caribbean opens Hideaway Beach in late 2022, there will be another compelling alternative to consider.

If you have only children under the age of 6 or so, you may consider skipping the waterpark and instead taking them to nearby Splashaway Bay and Captain Jill's Galleon.  Both are complimentary and aimed at younger/smaller children, and still have slides for them to enjoy.

If you have 4 or more people in your group, be sure to price compare buying admission for everyone versus booking a cabana. In many cases, the cabana makes a lot of sense to reserve because it includes admission, as well as the amenities it offers.

Ultimately, if you want to ride a lot of really fun waterslides and splash your way around everything else, Thrill Waterpark delivers it all.