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20 free things to do on Odyssey of the Seas

In:
08 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Odyssey of the Seas cost Royal Caribbean nearly $1 billion, and it has so many things for everyone in your group to do that there's no room for being bored.

Royal Caribbean Blog - Unofficial blog about Royal Caribbean cruises

Whether you are into dining, activities, events, or games, there is a lot to see and do across Odyssey's sixteen decks.

Having a good time on Odyssey of the Seas doesn't mean you have to pay extra for fun either.  Royal Caribbean includes a great deal of things to do that are included with your cruise fare.

Here is my list of 15 free things to do when you sail on Odyssey of the Seas.

1. Find the stowaway piano player

Top 10 Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas hidden secrets | Royal Caribbean Blog

Live music is something Royal Caribbean does well, and Odyssey has a really fun approach to hearing live music with the stowaway piano player.

Unlike other musicians onboard that have scheduled sets in a specific location, the stowaway piano player performs in random places at random times. The idea is you can stumble on him and literally run into a great performance.

The reason why the piano player is referred to as a "stowaway" is because the story Royal Caribbean tells is the piano player snuck onboard and is playing music for fun while avoiding getting caught.

Since there is no published times to find the stowaway piano player, keep an ear out for music emanating from an usual direction and then follow the tunes.

2. Bounce on the Sky Pad

First look around Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Odyssey of the Seas has its own Sky Pad, where you can bounce along on a trampoline to a virtual world.

After being hooked up to bungee chords, you put on a virtual reality visor and explore a virtual world while bouncing up and down on a giant trampoline!

There are three different games to try, including being transported to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games.

If you prefer, you can do this without the virtual reality helmet and instead look out over the ocean as you leap toward the sky.

3. Splashaway Bay

Odyssey of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation | Royal Caribbean Blog

While there are no water slides on Odyssey of the Seas, kids can splash around at Splashaway Bay.

This aqua park is designed for kids to enjoy, and does have a few short slides to enjoy, along with drench buckets, geysers, and pretty much any excuse to get soaked.

On sea days, you will find kids running through Splashaway Bay over and over again.

4. Go surfing

Top 10 Odyssey of the Seas frequently asked questions | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you ever wanted to learn to surf or boogey board, Odyssey of the Seas has a Flowrider surf simulator on the back of the ship you can try.

The FlowRider is a simulator that sends water a very high speed across a small area that mimics what it is like to surf on the ocean.

Each guest takes a turn until they wipe out, and staff assist in trying to improve everyone's skills.

5. Climb the rock climbing wall

First look photos around newly delivered Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Any Royal Caribbean ship will have a rock climbing wall, where you can try your best to reach the top and ring the bell.

This is a great personal challenge that also has the added benefit of providing some fantastic views of the ocean from. Don't worry about safety, because you are harnessed in at all times.

6. Take a ride on the North Star

North Star is a signature Quantum Class ship feature, where you can board an observational pod and go up more than 300 feet above sea level to see everything around you.

North Star moves slowly, and provides incredible views of the ship below and everything else around you for miles.

Rides on North Star cost extra on sea days, but it is still complimentary on port days.

Be sure to reserve a ride as soon as you can via the Royal Caribbean app to ensure you have a spot.

7. See what it feels like to sky dive

15 really cool things to do that you can only find on Royal Caribbean cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

Plenty of people want to try sky diving, but having to jump out of an airplane seems a bit much. Luckily for them, Ripcord by iFly solves that problem.

After a safety briefing and putting on a flight suit, guests take turns going in the air tube where high powered fans provide the sensation of what it is like to sky dive.

Trained instructors are with you the whole time in a totally controlled environment.

RipCord is going to be one of those experiences that you tell your friends and family about when you get home because it's not too often you get to experience something like this.

8. Bumper cars

Complete guide to Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

There is a lot to do in the versatile SeaPlex, but the signature event held here is bumper cars.

This multi-deck facility offers basketball courts, ping pong tables, dance floor, circus school, dodge ball arena and even bumper cars to ride.

Strap into your car and then see how fast you can go while evading others, or be that guy and try to slam into as many others as you can.

Sometimes the bumper car sessions are themed, like "90's Bumper Cars" or teens-only sessions.

9. Soft-serve!

Everything I ate on Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

No matter how old you are, or what you're doing, a quick pit stop for free ice cream is a great idea.

You will find a soft serve frozen yogurt station on the pool deck where you can have as many ice cream cones as you like.

Complimentary ice cream can also be found in the Windjammer (among other places), which has a wider selection of flavors.

10. The Book

New show for Odyssey of the Seas revealed | Royal Caribbean Blog

"The Book: Seven Chapters, One Adventure" is an original Royal Caribbean production that loosely tells a story of a librarian who explores the chapters of a book through song, dance, and music.

The Book is about a librarian who's in his mysterious library and he takes a few chapters from his favorite books, and then puts them into one bespoke book to take the audience on a journey.

The show features robots, performers dropping out of the ceiling, contortionists popping out of baskets, and the stage itself transforming throughout the performance.

11. Watch a game at Playmakers

5 ways Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas will be different from other Quantum Class ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

The food and drinks at Playmakers Sports Bar are not free, but there is nothing stopping you from enjoying this space and all the games being shown without paying a dollar.

Across the dozens of televisions, you will find any game the ship receives, and when there is a big game being broadcast, this is the place to go. Sports fans will love the ambiance of Playmakers, and there is nothing quite like rooting your favorite team along with a crowd of other sport fanatics.

12. Poolside movie

First look around Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Did you know you can watch recent blockbuster films on Odyssey of the Seas?

A giant screen at the pool deck plays recent flicks for no additional cost, which means you can watch it from a nearby chair, the pool, or the hot tub.

13. Showgirl: Past. Present. Future

Another must-see show on Odyssey is "Showgirl: Past. Present. Future", which pays homage to the dance style Las Vegas showgirls have made famous for decades.

A showgirl is a female dancer or performer in a stage entertainment show, and Las Vegas is famous for utilizing show girls in their acts, going back as early as the 1940s. Traditionally, Las Vegas Showgirls are classically trained dancers with skills in Ballet and Jazz dance.

Performed in the Royal Theater, Showgirl packs in a lot of energy and plenty of songs you likely know the words to.

14. Effectors

Speaking of shows to see, add The Effectors to the list.

Royal Caribbean added this new show at the end of October 2021, and it incorporates the superhero genre into Royal Caribbean's entertainment lineup.

Some superheroes are known for powers like ultra-fast speed, laser vision and titan-strength — but The Effectors draw their powers from their ability to create. Now, this band of heroes will have to face off against the ruthless Crash™, their arch-nemesis who’s bent on stopping the show and destroying the world. 

15. Silent party

Every evening features different music and parties, but one of the most fun has to be the HUSH Silent Party.

Held in the Music Hall, guests are given headphones to wear, which can be tuned to one of two music stations. Put on the headphones, choose your music, and then rock out.

Depending on which station you select, the color of your headphones change so you know who's listening to which track. Since everyone is wearing headphones, in reality everyone is dancing in a room without any music playing unless you have the headsets.

16. Watch a gameshow

First time cruisers: Entertainment on Royal Caribbean cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

Onboard Odyssey of the Seas you will find different gameshows you can play or be a part of, and see how far your fellow guests will go to win.

Shows such as Majority Rules, Blankety Blank, Family Feud and more are offered during your sailing.

These shows have no additional cost, and it's up to you if you want to participate or just watch the fun from the audience.

17. Karaoke

10 Fun Royal Caribbean upgrades under $50! | Royal Caribbean Blog

There is nothing quite like karaoke because you get all sorts of guests who step up to the mic to belt out their favorite songs.

There is usually karaoke on every night of the cruise held in the Music Hall and there is no cost to watch or sing.

18. Complimentary gaming lessons

Casino | Royal Caribbean Blog

The casino is about as far from free as you can get on a cruise ship, but the staff do offer complimentary lessons if you want to learn how particular games are played.

These sessions are about educating guests on how table games work, including crap, blackjack, and more. 

If you have ever wondered how the games are played, but are not ready to put money down to try yet, then these complimentary gaming lessons in the casino might be a good (and free) start.

19. RED

Entertainment | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you are looking for the best nightclub party on Odyssey of the Seas, check out RED - A Nightclub Experience.

Held in Two70, RED is planned to be the party onboard with all the hits, dimmed lights, and yes, lots of red lights all around.

20. Test your knowledge in trivia

First look photos around newly delivered Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Perhaps one of the most well-known cruise ship activities, there are multiple trivia contests held every day of your cruise.

Trivia is primarily held in the Schooner Bar, and there is usually a theme to each session. Music, geography, Broadway, and even pro wrestling, you will find all sorts of topics to tackle.

Teams of guests compete to get the most correct answers, with the winning team walking away with a novelty gift, such as a highlighter or pen.

Read moreTop 10 Odyssey of the Seas frequently asked questions

What is your favorite thing to do on Odyssey of the Seas? Have you sailed and tried one of these? Share with us your top picks in the comments below!

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: November 7, 2021

In:
07 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! Temperatures may be dropping, but there is plenty of Royal Caribbean news to share.  This is your weekly summary of all the Royal Caribbean news from this past week, perfectly fitted for your consumption.

Wonder of the Seas was delivered to Royal Caribbean this week, marking her arrival as part of the fleet.

The new largest cruise ship in the world departed the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire on Friday.

Wonder of the Seas' next stop is Marseilles, France, where she will get some finishing touches before she begins sailings in March 2022.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 429th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is available to enjoy, where Matt walks through how to use the at-home Covid-19 test that Royal Caribbean accepts.

The Abbott at-home test is a convenient and easy way to get your pre-cruise test done, and Matt shares what you should know about taking the test for the first time.

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: Royal Caribbean updates how full cruise ships will be!

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 — Royal Caribbean updates how full cruise ships will be! — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Cruising to Alaska: What I Did Right and Wrong

Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval to start test sailings on Ovation of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Everyone makes mistakes on a cruise, especially if it's your first time taking a cruise to Alaska.

Jenna recently sailed on Ovation of the Seas to Alaska, and there were several things she did right, but also several mistakes too.

From packing for Alaska's unpredictable weather to rushing to make a flight home, here are a few takeaways and lessons learned from her Alaska sailing.

Why your teens (and you) will love a cruise vacation

In:
06 Nov 2021
By: 
Chantal McPhee

Family vacations change as your kids’ become teens. They have their own likes and dislikes, and odds are your sleeping schedules don’t align. This can create challenges in planning the ideal vacation for your family.

What’s the solution? A cruise. With so many places to visit, endless activities, and food offerings, it is the perfect vacation for families to have fun and reconnect, with something for everyone’s tastes.  

It’s a great opportunity to let your teens venture off on their own, while parents can relax, sit by the pool, listen to live music, or try their luck in the casino. All while their teens are nearby having a great time.

Here are some of the top reasons your family with teens will love cruising.

Teen Club

One of the best things for teens sailing on a Royal Caribbean cruise is the teen club. Decorated in fun colors, with a lounge and dance floor, it is a hub to meet new friends and find out about all the great things to do on the ship. Most teens are in the same situation. they don’t have friends onboard but would love to hang out with people their own age, doing stuff they want to do. The teen club is the perfect place for this.

Divided by ages 12-14 and 15-17 for supervised activities, teens can come and go as they wish and participate in what they like. There is everything from organized sports to pool parties, karaoke, themed dances, ping pong, DJ training to guitar hero. A favorite is dedicated teen time at the Flowrider, a surf simulator.

It can also act as a meeting point for informal get togethers with new friends, maybe to grab some food or just stroll around. Information on the teen club can be found in the Cruise Compass (list of daily activities) or on the Royal Caribbean App. There is also a texting feature on the app, so you can chat with them if need be (at a cost of $1.99 per guest per day).

Tons of family activities

Beyond the teen specific programming, there are so many fun activities for teens and their families to enjoy together. In particular, the Oasis class ships, the largest class of ships in the Royal Caribbean's fleet, have so much to offer.   

For sea days, there are plenty of high energy activities including sports like basketball and volleyball, rock climbing, and zip lining. Try out the epic slides including the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea at 216 feet, spanning 10 decks.

Many like to cool off and take a dip in the pool or relax in a hot tub. Enjoy a round of mini golf, try your luck in the escape room, laser tag, or trivia. And probably most surprising, you can even ice skate.

In the evening, take in one of the nightly movies or variety of entertainment options including incredible diving shows at the aqua theatre and renowned Broadway musicals.

Excursions

Being a family focused cruise line, Royal Caribbean offers plenty of port excursions that span a wide range of interests and ages.

Offered on many sailings, is Royal Caribbean’s private island CocoCay, located in the stunning blue waters of the Bahamas. The thrill waterpark is a must with its sky high slides such as the Daredevil’s peak (North America’s tallest waterslide) and a large wave pool.  Or you can lounge at one of the many beaches and pools sampling the complimentary food.

Across the Caribbean, many ports offer sailing, snorkeling, scuba among other popular water activities.  For animal lovers, swim with stingrays, sign up for a dolphin encounter, or meet sloths and monkeys in Roatan. Zipline through the lush jungles of Jamaica, or in Costa Maya, see how chocolate is made (with some sampling of course). Leisurely explore port areas, doing some shopping, or trying local cuisine. Whatever fits your family best.

Endless food

Growing teens can eat a lot. The good news is that they won’t go hungry on a cruise. During the day, they can try one of the popular roast beef sandwiches at Park Cafe or indulge in late night pizza at Sorrento’s. Always a good choice, hot dogs and hamburgers by the pool, topped off with self-service ice cream, definitely a teen favorite.

A sit-down dinner in the main dining room is a great way to catch up on your family’s fun filled day. Or for a more casual meal, try the Windjammer. Everyone loves a buffet, and it offers a lot of variety, even a chocolate buffet that can put a smile on any teenager’s face.

To try something a little different, specialty restaurants like Izumi offer traditional sushi or Hibachi, always a good time as the chef entertains the table while cooking. Steak, traditional classics at 150 Central Park, Italian, and the whimsical Wonderland are all popular venues for families wanting to enjoy a special evening out.

New world's largest cruise ship departs shipyard after Royal Caribbean takes delivery

In:
05 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean took delivery of its newest ship, which has become the largest cruise ship in the world.

Wonder of the Seas was delivered to Royal Caribbean at some point last week, and departed the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire on Friday.

The newest cruise ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet is headed to Marseilles, France, where she will spend some time to get additional work done.

Delivery of a cruise ship means ownership of the vessel is transferred from the shipyard to the buyer, Royal Caribbean.

 

Photos by @loirepilot

While the ship now belongs to Royal Caribbean, her first sailing is not scheduled until March 2022.

Construction on Wonder of the Seas began in April 2019 with a steel-cutting ceremony.

Wonder's debut was pushed back from 2021 to 2022 due to the global health crisis. The impact of worldwide port and shipyard closures has created delays in the construction schedule and delivery of Wonder. 

The pandemic not only impacted Wonder's delivery date, but also where she would sail from. Instead of sailing from Shanghai, China to become the first Oasis Class cruise ship to be homeported in Asia, she will now sail from the United States and Europe initially.

Chantiers de l'Atlantique General Manager, Laurent Castaing, celebrated the delivery of Wonder, "At our yard, we are aware that we have designed and built one of the most exceptional ships in the history of the cruise market."

"Wonder of the Seas is a unique synthesis of innovation, state-of-the-art technologies, and savoir-faire of thousands of engineers and skilled workers. This splendid ship is really a symbol of the faithful and fruitful partnership we have established with Royal Caribbean International for nearly four decades."

World's largest cruise ship

At 236,857 gross tons, Wonder of the Seas is the fifth Oasis Class cruise ship and takes the title from Symphony of the Seas as the biggest in the world.

Wonder of the Seas is 1,188 feet in length and has a maximum passenger capacity of 6,988 passengers, in addition to 2,300 crew.

In fact, Wonder has 100 cabins more than Symphony of the Seas.

Not only is Wonder of the Seas bigger than her sister Oasis Class ships, she has an extra neighborhood onboard dedicated just to suite guests.

The eighth neighborhood offers Royal Suite Class guests private spaces, such as an exclusive deck with its own pool, bar and plenty of sun loungers, as well as nooks for lounging.

Read more: Wonder of the Seas tour

In case you're wondering, Wonder of the Seas is not the last Oasis Class ship. A sixth Oasis Class ship that is yet unnamed is expected to have her inaugural cruise in the second quarter 2024.

What's next for Wonder of the Seas

The inaugural sailing of Wonder of the Seas is scheduled for March 2022, when Wonder of the Seas departs from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

She will then transition to the Mediterranean, beginning May 2022.

7 things worth checking again on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
05 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

You might know you should book certain things, or check-into other things on your Royal Caribbean cruise, but did you know there's an advantage to going back in later and doing it again?

New Anthem of the Seas summer 2021 cruises from UK available to book now | Royal Caribbean Blog

Things can change when it comes to planning a cruise in the weeks and months leading up to the sailing, and sometimes it can be worthwhile to double check there is not a better deal or option available.

Whether it can save you time or money, Royal Caribbean will sometimes adjust what it offers and those that take the extra step to go back into the Cruise Planner, booking engine, or app may end up benefiting from these updates.

Here are the top things that definitely worth checking again, even if you already took care of it earlier.

Earlier check in times

Royal Caribbean will now offer limited Covid-19 testing at the cruise terminal on embarkation day | Royal Caribbean Blog

The time you can check-in for your cruise on embarkation day can sometimes get additional options after check-in opens up.

Ever since Royal Caribbean began enforcing check-in times, getting an early time has become important to many cruise passengers because they want to maximize the amount of time onboard the first day.

While check-in times will open up for everyone on a certain date leading up to their cruise (right around 45 days before your cruise departs), Royal Caribbean has been known to open up earlier times later on.

Spotted: Later check-in times for Royal Caribbean cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

It is becoming somewhat common for earlier check-in times to suddenly appear, many days after check-in times were first available. There's no notification or alert of these earlier times, you just have to check back periodically.

The good news is you can easily go back into the check-in process in the app and select a new time.

In the app, below the "View SetSailPass" button is a link to "Edit Check-in". Click that and then click "Arrival Time" to see if there are any earlier times to select.

You will have to repeat this process for every guest on your reservation.

Price drops on your cruise fare

How Royal Caribbean will let you take advantage of a price drop up until 48 hours before your cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

It is hard to beat the feeling of saving a lot of money, and you should be checking the price of your cruise regularly to see if the price has dropped.

Up until your final payment date, if you see a lower price for the same cabin category on the sailing you are booked on, you can get the difference refunded back to you.

With Royal Caribbean's enhanced Best Price Guarantee, you can get the difference as onboard credit if you spot the lower price after final payment date.

If you do see a lower price, contact your travel agent to have them re-price it for you.  If you booked directly with Royal Caribbean, then it is up to you to contact the cruise line to make the adjustment.

Read moreDo cruise prices drop?

Price drops on pre-cruise purchases

Just like cruise fares, the price you paid for drink packages, wifi, shore excursions, and more can all get lower in price.

Royal Caribbean makes it easy to cancel and rebook something before the sailing in its Cruise Planner website.

If you spot a lower price than you paid, you can instantly cancel your previous purchase and then go back and re-purchase it for the lower price.

Drink packages increase for 2019/2020 sailings - Royal Caribbean News and Rumors - Royal Caribbean Blog

If you used onboard credit to pay for some or all of it, the onboard credit will come back instantly to your account after you cancel the previous purchase.

There can often be wild swings in prices for certain pre-cruise purchases, especially the drink package, CocoCay cabanas, and wifi.

Read moreHow to cancel and rebook pre-cruise purchases on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner

New shore excursions

You will only be able to book cruise line shore excursions on Adventure of the Seas cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

Depending on when you booked your cruise, Royal Caribbean could add more shore excursion options later.

What to do in the ports you visit is always a popular topic, and shore excursions can be limited depending on the port and how many other guests are booking excursions.

Royal Caribbean does sometimes add new tours to choose from. This is especially true if you checked tours more than a year before your sailing is scheduled to begin.

Guide to CocoCay Cabanas | Royal Caribbean Blog

In addition, if a guest cancels a tour, suddenly a previously sold out excursion is bookable again.

Read moreHow to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion

New health protocols

Royal Caribbean announces health protocols for Harmony of the Seas from Spain | Royal Caribbean Blog

Consumers have no choice but to be vigilant about staying up to date with new health protocols these days, and you should keep an eye on the health protocols for your cruise leading right up to embarkation day.

In short, health protocols can (and often do) change often. Technically, you should get an email with any update to health protocols but do not rely on that.

First look at Royal Caribbean's new health protocols when it restarts cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

Instead, check back on Royal Caribbean's website for any new health protocols, especially in the month leading up your sailing.

Ignorance is never an excuse, and too often there is a family that misses their cruise because they were unaware of a change to testing or vaccine requirements.

Read moreThis should be your approach to getting a Covid test before your cruise

Cancelled staterooms

What are the different types of cabins on a cruise ship? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Whether for a price drop or option not available before, it is a good idea to check if new staterooms have opened up for your cruise.

The best time to check if there are new stateroom options or a lower price is right around final payment date.

Since a lot of people will have to decide at final payment date if they want to actually go on the cruise or cancel it, this is when you typically see the most cabins come back on the market to book.

If there is a better room location, or more desirable cabin category that you have had your eye on, it behooves you to check back for rooms that someone else cancelled.

Room assignment

Staterooms | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you booked a guarantee stateroom, it may be worthwhile to check not only if a room has been assigned, but where it is and if you can move it.

After booking a guarantee stateroom, Royal Caribbean will assign you a specific cabin.  You have the option of changing that room assignment to another unsold cabin of the same category.

It needs to be the same room category, but checking your room assignment again after booking may get you a better location than you were previously given.

What not to bring on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
04 Nov 2021
By: 
Haley Mills

You’re within a week of your cruise, the suitcase is out--and it’s already starting to get full. It’s finally here!

Best Cruises for Kids | Royal Caribbean Blog

You’ve got all the necessities that you’d normally take on vacation, but you’ve never been on a cruise before. Did you know there are certain items that you aren’t allowed to bring with you? 

There are some surprising things that make the list of items you should leave at home when packing for a cruise, and there’s really three different reasons why:  Safety, Public Nuisance, and Space Savers.

Safety

Fun facts about Symphony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

The following items are banned on cruises for safety reasons--often because of fire hazards. Anything that could cause a spark or has an open flame is dangerous on a closed vessel like a ship, where a fire would be disastrous. These items will be confiscated if brought to the terminal:

  • Candles, Incense, Coffee Makers, Clothes Irons, Travel Steamers & Hot Plates. (Items that generate heat or produce an open flame. This includes heating pads, clothing irons, hotplates, candles, incense and any other item that may create a fire hazard. NOTE: The only exception to this policy are curling irons and hair straighteners. Matches and normal lighteners are allowed onboard. However ""torch lighters"" and novelty lighters that look like guns are not allowed onboard. Torch lighters emit a powerful concentrated flame, and therefore are prohibited.
  • Hoverboards
  • Flammable Liquids and Explosives, including lighter fluid and fireworks.
  • Hookahs & Water Hookah Pipes.
  • HAM Radios
  • Baby Monitors
  • Electrical Extension Cords 
  • Dangerous Chemicals, including bleach and paint.

Just for fun | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you need special accommodations, email Royal Caribbean at [email protected]; please include in the e-mail the guests' names, booking number, ship name and sail date. You can let RC know about dietary needs or special room necessities, like extra plugs for a CPAP Machine. 

We also have to consider personal safety as well. We are used to the following items being banned or limited in large groups of people to limit someone getting hurt, and the same applies on a cruise ship. 

  • Firearms & Ammunition, including realistic replicas.
  • Sharp Objects, including all knives and scissors. (Note: Personal grooming items such as safety razors are allowed. Scissors with blade length less than 4 inches are allowed.)
  • Martial Arts, Self Defense, and Sports Gear, including handcuffs, pepper spray, night sticks.

Cruise FAQ: Cabins | Royal Caribbean Blog

There are different laws from port to port on what drugs and chemical substances are allowed, and so Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines have to limit what cruisers can bring on ship with them. 

  • Illegal Drugs & Substances
  • CBD Oil / CBD Products

Public Nuisance

Must Do Royal Caribbean: Enchantment of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

While Royal Caribbean does a terrific job of crowd control, you’re still going to be on a ship with lots of other people, so it’s important to consider that when choosing what to take with you. Most of the items on this list aren’t banned, but could cause a conflict, or are just impolite. It’s a good idea to just leave them at home.

Walkie Talkies

You’ll still find these on many downloadable packing lists, but with technology upgrades like Royal’s In-App chat feature, and internet service, you won’t need Walkies to communicate.

Most of the time, they don’t work very well anyway due to the distance and interference. I’ve come across a few people trying to use them, and it is mostly just loud static. Imagine being on an elevator with someone screaming into a handheld radio! Not a pleasant experience for a neighbor.

If you aren’t going to use your phone to communicate, take a whiteboard or post its and leave notes for each other in the room, or just set up check in times.

Pool Floats

I love floating in a cool pool on a hot day as much as the next person. But that unicorn floaty takes up a lot of real estate and the pools are sized appropriately for people, not inflatables.

At 5’0”, I’m able to touch bottom in almost all the RC pools I’ve been in (at least on my very tip toes), so you can still wade around and sip your Pina Colada all afternoon. Don’t worry, this does not apply to kids’ who need arm floats, and life jackets are provided on board for your littles as well.

Adult Toys

No, not those kind of toys.

I'm talking about Drones, Kites, Heelys, Hoverboards, etc. These may be confiscated for safety reasons, but they also fall into the nuisance category. No one wants to be walking on the promenade only to get run over by a hoverboard!

And I know we’ve all seen gorgeous drone footage of ships and beaches, but remember that those marketers have special permission from Royal to take those shots. Without license from Royal, you’ll not be getting onboard with that drone.

Space Savers

Category 2J Central Park View Balcony Stateroom on Symphony of the Seas Photo Tour | Royal Caribbean Blog

Lastly, there’s a few things I want to mention simply because they save room in your suitcase. You may find these on an online packing list, or you may be used to taking them on a land vacation. But, these are all things you don’t need to take with you on a cruise.

Beach Towels

 But wait, we’ll be going to the pool and the beach and we don’t need towels? How will we dry off? Royal Caribbean has towel stations around the pool area for you to grab as many towels as you need.

Plus, when you’re heading off ship for excursions, there are always staff members waiting to check towels out to you! Leave those bulky towels at home!

Food & Snacks

I’ll make an exception up front for parents with small children--you go right ahead and pack those little puffs that your baby loves! However, for the rest of us, there is more than enough food on board. We don’t need to bring anything to eat.

The first two cruises I took, I packed a box of granola bars, just in case...and both times they went home with me completely unopened. I’ve found there is something for everyone on ship, no matter what you’re in the mood for.

Royal Caribbean will also honor special requests in the event of food allergies or dietary restrictions. I’ve put the information at the bottom of this post.

Yeti Cups/Personal Water Bottles

Spotted: New Coca-Cola souvenir cup design | Royal Caribbean Blog

This one really is a personal preference, but I’ve found it's a good one if you really need to save some space.

Everything you drink on board is already going to come in a cup or bottle already, so you would have to pour it into your Yeti anyway. If you get the Unlimited or Refreshment Drink Package, you will receive a Freestyle Coke Cup with an RFID chip for the machines--your Yeti will not work with those machines. 

Books

If you want to see me struggle while packing, come visit me when it is time to choose my vacation reading. Every single time, I am in agony over whether I should just take my tablet, when I really want to take hard copies. They are so much prettier to take pictures with! In the end, though, the tablet always wins. Books are heavy, and as much as I love them, they have to stay at home.

Download Overdrive and check out some e-reads from your library. Plus, most tablets are at least semi-waterproof now, so if you drop it in the hot tub for a second, it won’t be totally destroyed. (Don’t ask me how I know…)

Your suggestions

Who out there is so good at packing that you can get down to carry on only? What do you trim out of your cruise packing list that most of us would deem necessary? We’d love to hear your packing tips! Share with us in the comments!

Royal Caribbean files trademarks for names the cruise line has been using for years

In:
04 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean regularly trademarks names and phrases it intends to possibly use for a new offering in the future, but they recently filed trademarks for a number of names that they have been using for years.

Royal Caribbean expands new smartphone app to Oasis of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

In paperwork filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Royal Caribbean Group filed four trademarks for things guests who have sailed on Royal Caribbean cruise ships for years would easily recognize.

The reason for a company to trademark anything is to protect them so competitors cannot steal creative ideas, names, or symbols from other businesses.

Royal Caribbean's parent company has changed its name | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean Group filed trademarks for these terms recently:

  • RCTV (October 14, 2021)
  • Cruise Compass (October 19, 2021)
  • RCG (October 22, 2021)
  • Royal Caribbean Group (October 19, 2021)
  • Royal Caribbean Group logo (October 28, 2021)

RCTV is the abbreviation for Royal Caribbean's in-house television programming. Certain crew members working on RCTV manage the programming, as well as film select events onboard for broadcast onboard.

First time cruiser's guide to Royal Caribbean's Cruise Compass | Royal Caribbean Blog

Cruise Compass is the name of Royal Caribbean's daily newspaper that lists all of the events and important information for the day onboard.

Passengers onboard can browse the Cruise Compass in the paper version or the digital version found in the cruise line app.

Read moreFirst time cruiser's guide to Royal Caribbean's Cruise Compass

Royal Caribbean Group lost over $5.8 billion in 2020 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean Group is the business name of the company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and other brands.

RCG is the abbreviation of Royal Caribbean Group.

Read moreWho owns Royal Caribbean?

How important are trademarks?

Royal Caribbean cruise ship restarts cruises after false positive scare | Royal Caribbean Blog

When Royal Caribbean trademarks something, how important is that to cruise fans?

Historically, Royal Caribbean uses trademarks for two purposes: protect names and slogans it is using, or protect names and slogans it might use.

In many cases, trademarks can provide a glimpse of plans the line has in the future, but not every trademark is necessarily an indication of a direction the company will go.

Royal Caribbean wants to offer guests Snapchat goggles for underwater broadcasts | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean has trademarked many different cruise ship names over the years that it never used.  Usually names get registered in a batch, and perhaps one ends up becoming the name of an actual cruise ship.

Last year, Royal Caribbean trademarked a name for its own brand of face mask, but ultimately decided not to do anything with it.

Read more: 8 things Royal Caribbean trademarked but never did anything with

In other cases, trademarks gave us a heads up on plans the line had before an announcement came, such as emuster, Chilla Thrilla beer, and venues on Wonder of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean releases 2023 deployment schedule

In:
03 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

We now know when Royal Caribbean will open up new 2023 bookings.

All about Royal Caribbean's ship classes | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed, released part of the new deployment schedule, although it is not complete.

The partial deployment schedule will cover Alaska, Europe, and 7-night Caribbean sailings.

  • Week of November 29, 2021: Alaska
  • Week of December 6, 2021: Europe
  • Week of December 13, 2021: 7-night Caribbean

Royal Caribbean promises more release dates will be announced soon for 2023 sailings from the Northeast, Los Angeles, Short Caribbean and more.

All itineraries are subject to change without notice.

What is a deployment schedule?

The deployment schedule is the plan for when Royal Caribbean will open select sailings for sale.

There is no indication of which day, just the week the new itineraries will become available to book, but it could be on any day of the noted week.

Guests will commonly misconstrue the new cruises to come out on the exact day, rather than at some point during the week.

When the new sailings are available, it is common for the new itineraries to be entered into the booking system first, and the website second. This means in some cases cruises are bookable earlier if booked over the phone or with a travel agent, even if they do not appear on the website.

What should you do now to prepare?

If you are in the market for a cruise during one of these new deployments, you will want to keep an eye out for once cruises go on sale.

Royal Caribbean typically allows Crown and Anchor Society members a 24 hour head start on the general public, but since anyone can sign up for Crown and Anchor Society, there is no excuse for waiting.

Talk with your travel agent in the days leading up to the new deployments coming online so you can jump on specific bookings and book them.  

One of the best strategies for the lowest prices is to book a cruise as soon as it goes on sale.  Hard-to-find staterooms are also available during this period, so now is the time to lock in a studio room or a suite.

Planning on booking a cruise in 2022-2023? These stories will help:

Don't expect Royal Caribbean to extend flexible cancellation terms again

In:
03 Nov 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean just extended the ability to cancel a cruise reservation at the last minute for a future cruise credit, but that may be the last time the cruise line extends this generous offer.

The Cruise with Confidence program is the name of the offer for guests who can cancel their cruise even after final payment date, up to 48 hours before a ship is scheduled to sail in exchange for a future cruise credit.

The program was introduced at the start of the global pandemic so passengers could feel assured they could change their mind closer to sail date.

Speaking to travel agents during a webinar, Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed said she does not think the Cruise with Confidence program will get extended again.

"This is a program that's been going on for some time. I do believe this is probably going to be the last extension of it," Ms. Freed told travel agents.

The reason for Cruise with Confidence likely not getting extended again? Ms. Freed said bookings are stronger now, "We are seeing such active bookings right now that I'm not sure we need to continue it much longer."

Royal Caribbean did extend Cruise with Confidence to include allow passengers to cancel up to 48 hours before you sail and get a future cruise credit valid to book by April 30, 2022 and sail by December 31, 2022, or one year from the original sailing date, whichever is later.

Royal Caribbean will extend future cruise credits that were going to expire at end of 2020 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Cruises must be booked on or before December 17, 2021 to qualify for Cruise with Confidence.

Without Cruise with Confidence, guests would incur a penalty for canceling a sailing after the final payment date, which is typically 90 days before a sailing begins. Cruise with Confidence provides a great deal more flexibility to change minds with no penalty.

Also part of the Cruise with Confidence program is the Best Price Guarantee, which allows guests to reprice their sailing up to 48-hours prior to the sail date if the price drops.

Royal Caribbean will refund your future cruise credits if you don't like announced health protocols | Royal Caribbean Blog

Anyone who has booked a cruise already, or will do so before December 17, will have the Cruise with Confidence program included with their reservation.

If having this flexibility is important to you, be sure to book a new sailing, or change a ship or sail date before December 17th to qualify for Cruise with Confidence.

Protocols

Ms. Freed also talked about onboard protocols as Royal Caribbean begins to get back to full capacity again.

Last week, Royal Caribbean Group executives told Wall Street by the end of the year, the company plans to get its ships back to normal capacity again.

"I just want to give you a little bit of the updates on protocols," Ms. Freed said during Wednesday's webinar. "We're going to start phasing all of this out because as we are getting back to service with our entire fleet.  We're always looking at what the CDC is saying and the public health standards."

Ms. Freed's comments echo what Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley told investors last week.

"Some of the protocols that we have in place will naturally fall away as the pandemic moves further and further in the rearview mirror."

"I think as we move into '22, hopefully what we'll see is is the protocols become easier and less cumbersome for our customers."

Air Canada's new Covid testing is a good option for Canadians flying to the US for cruises

In:
03 Nov 2021
By: 
Chantal McPhee

Air Canada, the nation’s largest airline, is making it easier for Canadians to get pre-travel Covid testing, which is great news for cruisers flying to the United States.

The airline recently announced that they are selling a portable test kit for both molecular and antigen testing. These kits allow for a self-administered test which will be monitored by a health professional via a mobile device, with results in 45 minutes.

Mark Nasr, Air Canada's Senior Vice president of Products Marketing and E-commerce noted "We are pleased to offer our customers the most comprehensive range of travel testing options that will make travelling abroad easier and more predictable"

This provides Canadian travellers with added flexibility, especially with varying testing requirements for flying.

Testing requirements

Currently, there are specific testing protocols for both flying and cruising. The latest testing requirements for Canadians flying to the United States for a Royal Caribbean cruise:

Flying to the United States - Canadians, aged 2 and over, flying to the U.S. must provide a negative Covid test within 3 days of their flight. More specifically, the test must be performed no more than 3 days before the first scheduled departure time in the flight itinerary. For flights to the U.S., either an antigen or molecular test(such as PCR test) is accepted.

Pre-cruise testing - Cruisers must provide testing 2 days before the sail date. The day a passenger sets sail is not included as one of the days you count back from. For kids under 12, there are additional testing requirements as noted on the cruise line's website. It is important to note that supervised telehealth tests are not accepted for unvaccinated guests (kids under 12), they must be completed in person.

Return to Canada testing - For the return trip home, travellers must have a negative COVID-19 molecular test (PCR, RT-PCR, NAAT, RT-LAMP) result. The test must be taken a maximum of 72 hours before the departure of their last direct flight to Canada.

How the test kits work  

Air Canada has partnered with Switch Health, which currently provides in person testing through clinics and airports in Canada. For the portable kits, they are currently offering both antigen and molecular (RT-LAMP and PCR), available for purchase via Air Canada’s website. These are accessible for purchase pre-trip, shipped to the desired Canadian address.

Travellers need to register the kit by creating an account prior to testing. When ready to test, log into the account with government issued identification such as passport or driver’s license. Access to the internet and a mobile device with a camera is required to join the telehealth session to complete your test. Telehealth sessions are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Participants will be guided through the testing process by a health professional. Results will be uploaded to the account within 45 minutes with an official electronic report suitable for travel verification.

At this time, Royal Caribbean is not yet accepting these tests, but they do provide travellers with more options when flying to and from the United States. 

How to order

The kits are available for purchase through Air Canada’s website under “Covid 19 testing locations”. This is fulfilled in partnership with Switch Health.

Currently, there is special pricing for Air Canada's Aeroplan members (the airline’s loyalty program ) with promotional pricing of $79 CAD for two Antigen tests. An RT-LAMP test kit is priced at $149 CAD and a RT-PCR for $159 CAD. In addition, members will receive 500 bonus Aeroplan points for the purchase of a kit. For those who are not currently members, signup instructions are included on the site. Additionally, tests can be purchased using existing Aeroplan points through the Aeroplan e-store.

Free shipping is included, mailing within 5-7 business days, or express shipping for 1-3 business days, for an additional $15 CAD.