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Royal Caribbean receives perfect score as workplace for LGBT Equality

05 Dec 2016
Matt Hochberg

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) named Royal Caribbean a "2017 Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality", with a perfect score of 100 on its Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

The HRC is one of the oldest gay and lesbian political action committees in the U.S. and launched the index in 2002 to rank American companies.  This year, for the first time since, the HRC required top-scoring companies to have a global non-discrimination policy or code of conduct that specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories:

  • Non-discrimination policies
  • Employment benefits
  • Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion
  • Public commitment to LGBT equality
  • Responsible citizenship

This is the second year running that RCL earned a perfect score on the CEI survey, even with the addition of the new global requirements. In October, Royal Caribbean International became the first cruiseline to be designated “Gay Travel Approved” by

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: December 4, 2016

04 Dec 2016
Matt Hochberg

Another week has gone by and that means we are all one week closer to our next Royal Caribbean cruise!

This week, Royal Caribbean entered the record books when North Star was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Guinness Book of World Records named North Star the “Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship"

The North Star is a one-of-a-kind and intimate experience that takes guests on an exhilarating journey high above the sea. This glass observation capsule gently rises more than 300 feet in the air and rotates upwards and over the sides of the ship to provide the most breathtaking, 360-degree views imaginable.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 174th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available and this week, Matt shares itinerary recommendations for first-time cruisers.

In this episode, Matt offers advice for someone new to Royal Caribbean and wanting to try their first 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.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Royal Caribbean wrote about its dedication to offering cruises to guests with special needs.

Cruise & Ferry interviewed the people that created the Ultimate Abyss slide on Harmony of the Seas.

Travelzoo takes a look at Harmony of the Seas.

Photo tour of Category D6 Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony on Harmony of the Seas

03 Dec 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas has a lot to offer, including a number of staterooms.  Today, we will look at the category D6  Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony, which will take you through the cabin to provide an idea of what to expect if you book this category stateroom.

On Harmony of the Seas, we reviewed stateroom 10662, which is located on Deck 10 aft, although it is very close to the aft elevators.  The room was very convenient to be so close to the elevator bank. Entry to the room is by RFID scanner, which is above the door handle.

Like all staterooms on Harmony of the Seas, the light controls require a SeaPass card to be inserted into a slot near the entrance.

Staterooms on Harmony of the Seas look more like staterooms on Quantum class ships than other previous Oasis class ships. Plenty of storage space and a great aesthetic.

The bed is joined together but can be split apart if need be. There's a large, flat screen television across from it and two night stands on opposite sides of the bed. Access to the balcony is also on the other side of the bed.

A D6 stateroom features a full bathroom, including a stand up shower.

The room also has a rather large sofa to sit on during the day.

Arguably the best feature of this stateroom is the balcony, which provides a private space to enjoy the view of port or the ocean.

The balcony is 53 square feet in size, with the stateroom measuring 182 square feet. 

Royal Caribbean Australia introduces streamlined cruise fares that include gratuities

02 Dec 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Australia announced today a new fare structure that includes gratuities for stateroom attendants and dining room staff in the cruise price.

With this change, guests will pay a single inclusive cruise fare incorporating all main meals, accommodation, kids club, entertainment and activities. Passengers will continue to have the option to provide a discretional additional gratuity.

The new cruise fares begin on new bookings made December 12, 2016 and onwards, on sailings departing on or after January 15, 2017.

The change means free gratuities will no longer be available as one of the perks included in the Go Big, Go Better, Go Best promotion.

"Guests will see no change to the published price of cruises via any Royal Caribbean point of sale, including website, advertising and call centre pricing," the company said.

Friday Photos

02 Dec 2016
Matt Hochberg

Friday is here and that means so is the weekend and our opportunity to share Royal Caribbean photos that readers sent us!  Every week, we ask our readers to send in their favorite Royal Caribbean photos, so that we can feature them here.

Enjoy this week's photo set!

Our first photo this week is from Scott Shaffer of Oasis of the Seas sailing away from Cozumel.  What a beautiful ship!

Speaking of sailaway, here is a shot of New York City from Thomas while he was onboard Navigator of the Seas.  There is nothing like the Big Apple at night!

Congratulations to Alex and Curtis, who got married recently on Harmony of the Seas.  Nadege Barnes shared this wonderful photo from their special day onboard.

Adrian Tassone sent in this photo of Explorer of the Seas docked in Circular Quay, Sydney.  A beautiful ship in a beautiful city.

I never get sick of sunrise or sunset photos, and here is one by Khadijah that was taken on Harmony of the Seas during her transatlantic crossing.  Simply stunning.

Speaking of Harmony of the Seas, here is another photo of Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship when she met Anthem of the Seas in St. Maarten, taken by Daniel.

Our last photo this week is from D J Epstein of Falmouth, Jamaica. I can still remember when the Falmouth port was being built, so it is still impressive to see what it has become in just a few short years.

Thank you to everyone that shared these great photos.  Do you want your photo included in our weekly photo showcase?  Use this form to send us your favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we will be sure to show it off to the world!

Royal Caribbean's North Star makes it into Guiness Book of World Records

01 Dec 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's North Star observational pod on its Quantum class ships has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. 

The North Star is a one-of-a-kind and intimate experience that takes guests on an exhilarating journey high above the sea. This glass observation capsule gently rises more than 300 feet in the air and rotates upwards and over the sides of the ship to provide the most breathtaking, 360-degree views imaginable. These views helped the North Star break the record for “Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship.”

North Star is available on three Royal Caribbean ships Quantum of the Seas from Beijing (Tianjin), China and Ovation of the Seas from Shanghai (Baoshan), China; Sydney, Australia; and Singapore. The third, Anthem of the Seas, cruises from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in New York Harbor to Bermuda, The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean offering Kids Sail Free and other special offers for the month of December

01 Dec 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has announced a new batch of promotions for December 2016 that can provide some significant savings on new cruises booked.

There are a number of offers available, and here is a full breakdown of each.

1, 2, FREE

Every third night of the cruise is free. 1,2, Free is valid on all sailings departing on or after January 1, 2017. Excluding China departures.

  • 3-5 night cruises
    • Includes 1 nights free
  • 6-8 night cruises
    • Includes 2 nights free
  • 9-11 night cruises
    • Includes 3 nights free
  • 12-14 night cruises
    • Includes 4 nights free
  • 15-17 night cruises
    • Includes 5 nights free
  • 17-20 night cruises
    • Includes 6 nights free
  • 21-23 night cruises
    • Includes 7 nights free
  • 24 night cruise
    • Includes 8 nights free

The 1-2-Free Offer is combinable with Kids Sail Free, Anthem Upgrades, Crown & Anchor Balcony & Suite Discount, Cyber Sale, Next Cruise offers, and Shareholders benefits. It is not combinable with any other offer, restricted rate, or promotion.

Kids Sail Free

Kids 12 years and under, sail free on 5 nights or longer sailings departing January 5, 2017- February 15, 2018.

Exclusions: Sailings departing on or after, February 16-23, 2017, March 10-20, 2017, April 6-16, 2017, May 16-September 4, 2017, November 16-26, 2017, December 15, 2017-January 5, 2018 as well as China, Alaska itineraries and Harmony of the Seas sailings.

Anthem Upgrade

Enjoy balcony accommodations for the price of an oceanview on sailings departing on or after January 1, 2017.

Crown and Anchor Discount

From December 1, 2016 – January 4, 2017, Crown & Anchor Society members can enjoy the balcony and suite discount of the tier above them, on Anthem of the Seas. For a limited time, even Gold members can enjoy this benefit– a member benefit usually only valid for Platinum and above members. PLUS, Pinnacle members will receive an additional $25. See discount chart below for the discount amounts per tier .

Cyber Sale

The cyber sale allows guests to receive up to $100 onboard credit, per stateroom, when they book between December 1-7, 2016.

  • Sailings 5-Nights or less
    • Interior/Oceanroom views will receive $25 OBC per stateroom
    • Balcony/Suites will receive $50 OBC per stateroom
  • Sailings 6-Nights or longer
    • Interior/Oceanroom views will receive $75 OBC per stateroom
    • Balcony/Suites will receive $100 OBC per stateroom

First time itinerary recommendations on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

30 Nov 2016
Matt Hochberg

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

Episode 174 is available for downloading, which offers advice for someone new to Royal Caribbean on a great first cruise.

There are a lot of ships and itineraries to consider, and so this week, Matt is discussing which options might make the most sense for someone looking to try Royal Caribbean for the first time.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 174. 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!

Spotted: Cafe Select Coffee Card offers specialty coffee beverages

29 Nov 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean guests can now pre-purchase a Cafe Select Coffee Card prior to their cruise via the Cruise Planner site.

The Cafe Select Coffee Card offers 15 specialty espresso-based coffees for a fixed price that can be used at any time during the cruise. Royal Caribbean claims the coffee card can save up to 50% on individually purchased coffees.

The terms and conditions for the card stipulates that the specialty coffees provided by the card do not include any beverages served inside licensed Starbucks stores/cafes.

The Cafe Select Coffee Card has been available on Oasis class ships since this summer, but this option is now available for guests to pre-purchase on the Cruise Planner site.

Where to eat breakfast on Harmony of the Seas

28 Nov 2016
Matt Hochberg

When you wake up onboard Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, you will probably be wondering where you can get something to eat to start your day. 

There are some obvious choices, but there is also some other options less passengers visit too. Depending on what you're in the mood for, there is something for everyone.


The all-encompassing Windjammer Marketplace is the most popular choice for breakfast, primarily because it offers the greatest variety of food.

For families or just groups that can't all agree on one thing, this is the best option. There is so much to choose from and also has a rather large seating area.  

The Windjammer is also a very popular choice, so it tends to get the most crowded of any breakfast location available on Harmony of the Seas.  During prime breakfast hours on sea days, it can get quite busy and lines to find a table are not uncommon.

Park Cafe

Located in Central Park, Park Cafe is a great alternative to Windjammer because it has a mix of pre-prepared and freshly made breakfast choices. While Park Cafe may not have the variety of choices that the Windjammer does, it does also include some breakfast stations not found anywhere else on Harmony of the Seas.

The menu here offers a little of everything, including a full bagel bar. There's also cereal, pastries, and some hot breakfast items. 

Johnny Rockets

Did you know that Johnny Rockets on Harmony of the Seas is complimentary for breakfast?  All Oasis-class ships offer this option, but many guests are unaware that breakfast is served here, nor that it is included with your cruise fare (Johnny Rockets has a cover charge for lunch and dinner).

The Johnny Rockets breakfast menu on Harmony of the Seas is a traditional American breakfast, with pancakes, omelettes, French toast and the like.  In fact, Johnny Rockets is one spot onboard Harmony of the Seas to get omelet made-to-order.

Johnny Rockets tends to be not very crowded for breakfast, because many guests are unaware of this option, and it also has a large seating capacity (indoor and outdoor seating options).

Mini Bites

Perhaps the fastest breakfast option that is not named "Windjammer" would be the Mini Bites station on Deck 15.

Mini Bites is kind of like a hotel hot breakfast buffet that merged with the Windjammer.  One particular distinction of Mini Bites is that it offers a custom omelet station.

Whether you choose to enjoy your breakfast at one of the many tables nearby, or take it elsewhere on the ship, Mini Bites is a great choice for someone that wants to get something hot and quick.

American Icon Grill

For fans of the main dining room breakfast experience, American Icon Grill is the next best thing.

Having breakfast at the American Icon Grill means you will be seated at a table (sometimes with other guests) and order off a set breakfast menu.  

What attracts most people to breakfast at the American Icon Grill is the table-service experience that is more formal than a buffet. As such, keep in mind that a breakfast in American Icon Grill is designed to be a bit more leisurely, so those looking for a grab-and-go option may want to dine elsewhere.

Just like the Windjammer, it can get busy here too during peak dining times.

Coastal Kitchen

If you happen to be staying in a suite while on Harmony of the Seas, there is a dedicated spot to enjoy breakfast just for you.  

Coastal Kitchen is a complimentary restaurant that is open to suite guests exclusively.  For breakfast, it is only available for guests staying in Sky or Star Class suites and is similar to the main dining room experience in terms of it being a relaxed, sit down environment.

As a suite guest, the appeal of Coastal Kitchen is that it is your exclusive spot onboard Harmony of the Seas to enjoy breakfast without the crowds.

Solarium Bistro

For something "off the beaten path", try the Solarium Bistro on Deck 15. The Solarium Bistro offers a buffet, but the options vary from what you might find at the Windjammer and it tends to be less crowded than some of the other spots mentioned earlier.

What we like about Solarium Bistro is the fact it is less crowded than the Windjammer or Park Cafe, yet offers a good variety of breakfast choices that should satisfy most palettes.

Cafe Promenade

If your idea of breakfast is coffee and a croissant or donut, then head down to the Royal Promenade and grab something quickly at Cafe Promenade.

Danishes, croissants and muffins are the kind of quick grab-and-go breakfast options available (along with a cup of coffee).

Cafe Promenade is great if you are running off the ship for a shore excursion or just want something simple.

What's your favorite spot for breakfast on Harmony of the Seas? Share it with us in the comments below!