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Royal Caribbean WOW Sale offers extra onboard credit and reduced deposit

In:
07 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's WOW Sale begins today, with stackable savings that provide bonus onboard credit and reduced deposit on top of the current February WAVE offer.

For five days only, guests can enjoy bigger savings with this WOW Sale. Cruise must be booked Feb. 7-11, 2017. Offer applies to all sailings departing on or after Mar. 9, 2017 (excluding China departures). Here is the breakdown for this new promotion.

  • Buy one guest, get one guest 60% off
  • 30% off third and fourth guests
  • 50% reduced deposits
  • Onboard credit
    • Cruises 5 nights or less
      • $50 USD per stateroom
    • Cruises 5 to 9 nights
      • $100 USD per stateroom
    • Cruises 10 nights or longer
      • $200 USD per stateroom
  • Balcony upgrade offer on Anthem of the Seas
    • Free upgrade from Ocean view to balcony on Anthem of the Seas sailings departing on or after April 2, 2017.

WOW Sale is combinable with BOGO60, 30% Savings for 3rd and 4th guests, Anthem Upgrade, standard/full fare and restricted rates and Next Cruise offers. WOW Sale is not combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military, etc.) Crown & Anchor discounts, Shareholder Benefits or Loyal to Royal Sales. All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, and Net Rates.

Offer available to residents of United States and Canada. 

Top 5 Harmony of the Seas bars and lounges

In:
06 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

It seems like Royal Caribbean designed Harmony of the Seas to have everything in spades, including bars and lounges.  A ship as large as Harmony of the Seas offers guests many choices in where to enjoy their favorite beer or cocktail.  There are lots of great spots all over the ship to try, but we wanted to share a list of our favorites.

When considering our favorite bars and lounges on Harmony of the Seas, we placed importance on the bar decor, special offerings and general ambiance that resonated well after the drinks ended. We present our list of the top 5 Harmony of the Seas bars and lounges for your reading amusement.

5. Schooner Bar

A staple of any Royal Caribbean ship is the Schooner Bar. Over the years, the Schooner Bar has become a popular spot for guests to enjoy drinks, listen to music and convene for various events. On Harmony of the Seas, this tradition continues along with an Oasis class touch.

What we like about the Schooner Bar on Harmony of the Seas is the various activities that occur each day and night, including trivia and piano music.  Additionally, part of the Schooner Bar overlooks the Royal Promenade, which is great for people watching.

4. Trellis Bar

The Trellis Bar is located in the Central Park neighborhood and what makes this bar a great spot for a drink is the ambiance of its surroundings.  Central Park is a lush, open air part of the ship where guests will likely spend time exploring and enjoying the natural beauty of the flora found throughout the area. The Trellis Bar is situated near the middle of Central Park, which means you will be surrounded by the park while enjoying a drink.

Royal Caribbean updated the look of the Trellis Bar a bit on Harmony of the Seas, relative to her sister ships, and the new look adds to the atmosphere of the drink experience.

The best part of enjoying a drink at the Trellis Bar is in the evenings, when Central Park becomes even more beautiful with the exquisite lighting that activates after dark. In addition, guests can hear live music being played in Central Park, which makes the Trellis Bar our favorite spot for drinks any evening of the cruise.

3. Boot & Bonnet Pub

Live music and drinks seem to go together so well, and the Boot & Bonnet Pub in the Royal Promenade is a great choice for enjoying music you can sing along to, while sipping your favorite drink.

The Pub is always a good spot for meeting with friends for drinks, and Royal Caribbean did a great job making the Pub look like an authentic English bar experience.  Most evenings, there is a guitarist present who will play popular bar songs, and after a couple of drinks, you are likely to join in the singing fun.

2. Boleros

Speaking of live music, Boleros is one of the best places on Harmony of the Seas to enjoy great live music, especially if you want to get up and dance.

Boleros sports a Latin-themed motif, with bright colors, lots of seating and a stage where bands play terrific salsa, merengue and more. Boleros on Harmony of the Seas is rather large, which means ample seating around the lounge, near the bar or in the many comfortable chairs.

There is something about Latin music that just appeals to everyone. Maybe it is the smooth melodies or the intoxicating will to dance, but Boleros is always full and always a good spot for an evening drink while you enjoy the band play.

1. Bionic Bar

Regardless of if you actually get a drink here, the Bionic Bar is an experience to itself onboard Harmony of the Seas. Two robot bartenders can make two drinks per minute, delivered in plastic cups via four conveyor belts.  This is an undeniably cool experience and something that is just as fun to watch happen as it is to enjoy a drink.

Built by Makr Shakr, the idea is simple: guests place orders via tablets and then can watch the robot bartenders start mixing the cocktails. Bionic Bar combines two big trends, robotics and mixology. Guests walk up to tablets, where they can place orders for drinks, choosing from classic cocktails, signature drinks like Mnemonic Madness (a rum, pineapple juice and Midori concoction) or test the robot bartenders’ skills with their own creations.

Certainly the nearby Rising Tide Bar is quite intriguing too, but the Bionic Bar regularly has a crowd that convene to enjoy the spectacle of the robot bartenders doing their thing.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: February 5, 2017

In:
05 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Good news, we are all one week closer to our next Royal Caribbean cruise!  In case you missed any of the Royal Caribbean fun from this week, here is our weekly round up!

Guests looking to sail to Cuba had good news this week, when Royal Caribbean announced many more sailings to Havana for much of 2017.

Royal Caribbean announced its cruise schedule that will visit Cuba's capital city, including some itineraries that have an overnight stop. All the new sailings will be aboard Empress of the Seas out of Tampa, Florida.

There are new 4- and 5-night cruises with day and overnight visits to Havana, along with stops in Key West, FL. and Cozumel, Mexico.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 183rd episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available and this week, Matt shares how to make a Royal Caribbean cruise extra memorable.

In this episode, Matt looks at ways anyone can make their next Royal Caribbean cruise stand out with ideas for special events, upgrades and splurges.  

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.

How you can support Royal Caribbean Blog

So many of our readers have reached out to us to ask how they can help the blog and we are introducing the Royal Caribbean Blog Insiders for just that reason.

The Insiders group is a way readers can contribute to Royal Caribbean Blog and help fuel some of the really amazing ideas, projects and new content that we have lined up.

As a way of saying thank you for your contribution, there are some fun rewards for being a member of the Royal Caribbean Blog Insiders.

Becoming a member of the Royal Caribbean Blog Insiders is completely up to you and you can cancel at any time. No questions asked! 

As always, thank you for visiting Royal Caribbean Blog and being a part of our community!

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Cruise Hive shares tips how to keep your kids busy on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

The Washington Post shares the story of how two cruise families cut costs to cruise on Royal Caribbean more often.

Beyond Ships has a photo tour of Enchantment of the Seas.

ShermansCruise has their list of seven best places to eat on Royal Caribbean ships.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean offering up to 30% off pre-cruise purchases in Cruise Planner

In:
04 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering a special three-day sale, where guests can save up to 30% off select pre-cruise purchases.

The "Sale Before you Sail" deal is available for guests on select sailings, and offers discounts on services, such as unlimited drink packages, internet packages and even some shore excursions and spa treatments.

The exact discount available will vary from sailing to sailing, but there appears to be a fair amount of discounts applied.

Based on the countdown clock, it appears this promotion ends at midnight on February 6, 2017.

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site and navigate to the Dining & Beverage section to see any available offers.

If you have a drink package already prepurchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same drink package under this promotion.

Friday Photos

In:
03 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

While not scientifically proven, we believe enjoying Royal Caribbean photos at the beginning of a weekend leads to an awesome weekend.  With that in mind, we present this week's batch of Royal Caribbean photos that our readers shared with us.

This week's Friday Photos edition will be slightly different because the web browser crashed as we were writing up this week's post, and while we have copies of all the photos, we lost the names associated with them.  We always want to properly attribute photos here, so if your photo was used, please post in the comments and the post will be updated.

Our first photo shows the sun setting behind Harmony of the Seas, as seen from the helipad of Independence of the Seas.  Another stunning sunset at sea.

Next is a photo of Allure of the Seas docked in Labadee, after a day filled with plenty of good times all around. 

Mike Dinsmore shared this photo of a beautiful sunset, while aboard Radiance of the Seas. There are never enough sunset photos.

It is back to Labadee for this photo of Freedom of the Seas.  Looks like a picturesque kind of day!

Anthem of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas are in this shot, taken in Cozumel.  Notice North Star rising above Brilliance of the Seas.

Michael Poole shared this photo of his first cabana in CocoCay. Definitely a great way to spend the day while in paradise.

We wrap things up with a photo of the world's largest cruise ship, which shows in great contrast the difference in size of Harmony of the Seas and the cars parked nearby.  Quite a contrast!

Thank you to everyone who sent in their photos this week! As always, we welcome your photo submissions.  Use this form to send in your favorite Royal Caribbean photos so that we can use it in an upcoming edition. Have a great weekend!

Royal Caribbean opens bookings for many more sailings to Cuba

In:
03 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

After weeks of offering a handful of cruises to Cuba, Royal Caribbean has now opened up new sail dates for many more sailings to the island nation that extend through much of the year.

Royal Caribbean announced this morning that guests can now book many more cruises to Cuba aboard Empress of the Seas, through November 4, 2017. The new sailings go out of Empress of the Seas' new home port of Tampa, Florida.

There are new 4- and 5-night cruises with day and overnight visits to Havana, along with stops in Key West, FL. and Cozumel, Mexico.

After receiving permission to cruise to Cuba in late 2016, Royal Caribbean opened up bookings for a hand full of sailings in December 2016. With today's announcement, there are many more options for guests to choose from.

Royal Caribbean is inviting fans to join Crown and Anchor team on Anthem of the Seas

In:
03 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, the Crown and Anchor Society, is inviting anyone that enjoys taking a Royal Caribbean cruise to sail on Anthem of the Seas for a fun celebration at sea.

The special event is taking place on the March 26, 2017 Anthem of the Seas sailing out of Bayonne, New Jersey.  Crown and Anchor Society made the announcement on its Facebook page, and describes the event, "Join our Crown & Anchor Society Member Director Millie for a Bahamas getaway onboard Anthem of the Seas on March 26th! We'll have great activities going on, so stay tuned for more details."

Guests can book the cruise through their usual travel agent or directly with Royal Caribbean, although they are encouraged to register in order to participate in onboard events.

Royal Caribbean updates Oasis class neigborhood perks with more restaurant choices

In:
02 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Guests who reserve a Central Park balcony stateroom on a Royal Caribbean Oasis class cruise ship now have a few more choices for where to enjoy their complimentary lunch.

Royal Caribbean introduced special perks for guests that reserved neighborhood perks back in November 2016.  Guests who are in a Park View Balcony room will now have a choice for a complimentary lunch for two at Giovanni's Table, Jamie's Italian, Sabor or Johnny Rockets. Previously, this perk limited guests to lunch at Jamie's Italian on Harmony of the Seas or Giovanni's Table on Oasis and Allure of the Seas.

None of the other neighborhood balcony perks appear to have been changed. It is not clear when exactly this change occured, but it provides guests in a Central Park View balcony added choice in where to dine with their complimentary lunch benefit.

The Eat • Drink • Play benefits are as follows

  • Central Park View Balcony
    • Complimentary lunch for two at Giovanni's Table, Jamie's Italian, Sabor or Johnny Rockets.
    • A complimentary bottle of red wine
    • Casino gaming lessons from an onboard expert
  • Boardwalk View Balcony
    • Complimentary meal for four at Johnny Rockets
    • Complimentary soda package for two guests
    • Rock climbing wall session for the entire family

Free Royal Caribbean onboard physical and fun activities

In:
02 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Going on a Royal Caribbean cruise means taking a vacation on a cruise ship built to offer a very fun experience, both onshore and onboard. Over the years, Royal Caribbean has invested heavily in what it offers guests to do on its ships. While there are traditional cruise ship activities available, such as shuffleboard, swimming and the like, but there are lots of really fun active outdoor activities to do too.  In fact, these activities are complimentary!

Here is an overview of the fun outdoor activities you can try out on your next Royal Caribbean cruise.

Rock climbing wall

Perhaps no other onboard activity put Royal Caribbean "on the map" quite as much as the rock climbing wall did. When Royal Caribbean introduced the first rock climbing wall, the guest feedback was so positive that rock climbing walls were added to other ships in the fleet and have become a staple of any Royal Caribbean ship going forward.

The rock climbing walls come in different sizes, but they all offer different tracks that allow for different experience levels.  It is usually open most of the day for kids and adults to enjoy.  Royal Caribbean provides all the safety equipment that you will need, including helmets, harnesses and shoes.  You just need to bring a pair of socks.

Climbers need to be at least 6 years old and sign a waiver.  Climbing the rock wall is free and no reservations are required.

Mini golf

Miniature golf is one of those activities that seems timeless.  It is a fun activity day or night, regardless of age.  On Royal Caribbean's larger ships, you will find a variety of mini golf choices that feature not just a fun game, but a great view of the ocean as a backdrop to the game.

Royal Caribbean has revamped some of its mini golf courses with its newer ships and some recent refurbishments. The mini golf courses on Adventure of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas all have a new take on the traditional Royal Caribbean mini golf experience.  In fact, Adventure of the Seas has a two-deck mini golf course.

Playing mini golf onboard Royal Caribbean ships is free and no reservations are required.

FlowRider

Much like the rock climbing wall, the FlowRider surf simulator also made a name for Royal Caribbean's ships by offering something as incredible as a surf simulator onboard a cruise ship. The self-contained surfing area pumps 34,000 gallons per minute and allows passengers to try stand-up surfing as well as boogie boarding. 

While the FlowRider experience is far more of a controlled environment than the ocean, learning to stand up (and stay standing up) on your surf board is not so easy, so Royal Caribbean offers lessons for an additional price.  Both private and group lessons are available.

The FlowRider has scheduled times of operation during the day when it is open to all guests for no additional fee.  Guests must sign a waiver and there is a height requirement of 52" for boogie boarding and 58" for stand up surfing.

The FlowRider is available on Quantum class, Oasis class, Freedom class and select Voyager class cruise ships.

Zip-line

On Oasis class ships, guests can soar 9 decks above the Boardwalk neighborhood, stretching 82 feet from end to end.

Passengers must be at least 52" tall to participate and weigh a maximum of 275 pound, also must at least weigh 75 pounds.

The zip line is free and guests must sign a waiver.

Water slides

A very recent addition to Royal Caribbean's array of onboard activities are water slides.  Unlike other cruise lines, Royal Caribbean did not offer large water slides on its cruise ships until fairly recently.

Harmony of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas offer similar water slides known as, "The Perfect Storm." These slides offer a fast and thrilling ride that is certain to be a hit with families.

In addition, Harmony of the Seas features an additional champagne bowl slide that swirls guests around as they make their approach to the end of the ride. Liberty of the Seas has the Tidal Wave slide, which has guests boarding a raft and sliding up a near vertical wall for a very fun effect.

Water slides are available mostly during the day, and free for guests to enjoy as many times as they like.

Ultimate Abyss

Speaking of slides, Royal Caribbean added one more slide to Harmony of the Seas, but this one features no water. In fact, Royal Caribbean wanted to create a truly thrilling experience with the Ultimate Abyss slide. Located on the aft of the ship, the Ultimate Abyss is more than 150 feet above sea level and offers side-by-side slides that send guests down 10 decks at a rate of 9 miles per hour.

Guests board the slide by climbing stairs that lead directly into the mouth of a giant angler fish, where they get into a customized mat and then descend down the slide, traversing 216 feet of a multi-sensory tunnel. Guests can reach a speed of 9 miles per hour, and it is the kind of thrill experience unlike anything else at sea.

The Ultimate Abyss is free and available for rides mostly during the day.

Aqua parks

Royal Caribbean is a family cruise line, and as such, there are some great aqua parks for kids and their parents to enjoy together.  These aqua parks have different names, but they all incorporate a large splash pad area with plenty of geysers, water cannons and spraying water fountains.

Freedom class ships and Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas feature the H2O Zone, which is a multi-colored splash area that looks almost like a progressive art form, until you see all the water spraying in every direction.  There is even a swirling pool that kids can enter and turn-about to their heart's content.

Royal Caribbean re-imagined the aqua park concept with its latest creation, Splashaway Bay.  Available on Harmony of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas, this area features slides, water cannons, waterfalls and more in an "aquatic adventure park" for kids of all ages. Royal Caribbean describes Splashaway Bay as, "a vibrant waterscape for kids and toddlers with sea creature water cannons, winding slides, a gigantic drench bucket and a multi-platform jungle-gym to keep everyone entertained for hours."

On Radiance class ships, there is a small water slide and splash pool for young children to enjoy.

Due to public health regulations, children in diapers, swim diapers, pull-ups or who are not COMPLETELY toilet trained are not allowed in the pools, whirlpools or H2O zone. Otherwise, kids are free to use the aqua parks as much as they like.

Sports Court

The sports court is a multi-purpose facility onboard Royal Caribbean ships that offer basketball, volleyball and tennis games.  We have even seen dodgeball games on select cruises offered.  It is the perfect place to get outside and join your fellow passengers and cruise staff in a game or two of sports fun.

Guests can engage in pick up games, or enter into tournament style competitions that are organized by the ship's activity staff.  Check the Cruise Compass for what is scheduled but Royal Caribbean will provide all equipment needed to play.

Ice Skating

Royal Caribbean is always looking to bring the "WOW factor" aboard their cruise ships and the idea of offering ice skating at sea is exactly one of those ideas.  Whether you are a first time skater or a seasoned veteran, anyone can put on a pair of skates and join in.  Free skates are offered throughout the cruise along with special time for advanced skaters.  

Skates and safety equipment are provided for free, although passengers may bring their own skates.  Passengers must wear long pants and must sign a waiver to participate.

Jogging track

Exercise for a lot of passengers is an important part of their cruise experience and on the sports deck, you will find a jogging and walking track that will allow you to get a few miles of exercise in.  The tracks list how many loops are required to make a mile.  Of course, the jogging track on Royal Caribbean ships come with a great view of the ocean!

The track is split in half, with one half for joggers and the other half for walkers.  There is no fee to use the track and you may use the track anytime.

Fitness classes

Personal fitness has never been more popular, and Royal Caribbean offers a combination of complimentary and paid fitness classes. Guests can check their Cruise Compass once onboard to see the options available, but there are definitely a few classes to choose from that will cost you nothing extra.

The complimentary fitness classes have included courses that focus on stretching and getting great abs.  A full list of courses available will be found in the Fitness Center onboard the ship.  There are usually sign up sheets, where guests can lock-in a spot for them.

In addition to the classes, the Fitness Center is also complimentary for guests to use, with a variety of exercise machines, treadmills, free weights and open space for self-lead exercise. Royal Caribbean's Fitness Centers are quite impressive, especially on its newer ships.  It is a large space with lots to offer guests of all levels.

The Fitness Center is open most hours of the day and night, with just a few hours of actually being closed late at night.  Access to the Fitness Center is free, although there are some classes that come with an additional charge.

RipCord by iFly

Have you ever dreamed of skydiving but never pursued it primarily because you would have to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Yup, me too.  That is why Ripcord by iFly is such a great option. Similar to the FlowRider, this is a skydiving simulator, where guests enter into a vertical wind tunnel and with the assistance of an instructor, get the sensation of skydiving.

Guests don a special "wind suit" and after some instructions on the proper form, have their chance to experience a sky dive.  

Guests on Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas are able to reserve a complimentary session via the Cruise Planner during their cruise.  They also must sign a waiver.  

SeaPlex

The sports court has always been a popular spot for physical activity on cruise ships, but Royal Caribbean re-imagined what this space could be on its Quantum class ships.  While not outdoors, the SeaPlex allows for guest to do so much more than just what a sports court can, and it is not subject to weather conditions. 

Bumper cars, roller skating, full-size basketball court, circus school and more at Seaplex, the largest indoor active space at sea. There is even an X-Box lounge, for guests to play video games with friends onboard and online. At night, the SeaPlex can transform into a party zone, complete with floating DJ booth overhead.  

SeaPlex is available on Quantum class ships. Just like the sports court, SeaPlex is open throughout the day and has no charge for its use.

Your thoughts

What is your favorite physical activity on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Are there certain activities you think are must-do for someone new to Royal Caribbean? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Making a memorable cruise on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
01 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

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

Episode 183 is available for downloading, which offers tips for making for a memorable Royal Caribbean cruise experience.

Often a Royal Caribbean cruise coincides with a celebration or special occasion, and that means there might be a desire to do something different onboard to make the cruise really "pop" when looking back on it.  In this episode, Matt shares some ideas how to enhance the onboard experience that can help create some great memories.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 183. 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!