Reader finds: CocoCay lights, elevator panels on Oasis of the Seas and laundry

In:
22Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

We have a terrific community of blog readers who regularly share things they have noticed on a cruise with us.  Sometimes it is big news, and sometimes new offerings that are neat to track.

Without further adieu, here are some recent changes that came our way from our readers!

Express Press

Ken Jarvis noticed this new "Express Press Laundry special" offered on Anthem of the Seas. It offers a discount on laundry that will be pressed and delivered back within 24 hours.

Elevator panel on Oasis of the Seas

Rich Freudenberg took a few photos of a new elevator panel on Oasis of the Seas that uses a large touch screen for guests to indicate which deck they would like to select. It was added to just one elevator so far on Oasis of the Seas.

LED Lighting at Perfect Day at CocoCay

Lastly, Twangster noticed new LED lighting added to the pier at Perfect Day at CocoCay.  This lighting could be an addition to prepare the island for the upcoming late night stays.

Got at tip for us?

If you noticed something new or different on your Royal Caribbean cruise, you can always share it with us by emailing it over!

Video: 5 myths people use to avoid trying Royal Caribbean

In:
22Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

There are plenty of people who have never gone on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but unfortunately many do so based on completely untrue myths.

If you have not taken a Royal Caribbean cruise for one of the five reasons outlined in this video, you need to cut it out and give one a try.  Here are five commonly cited reasons people avoid taking a cruise, and why these myths are just plain wrong.

Did you love this video? We have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: Have you heard (or debunked) any cruise myths when helping friends or family plan their trips? 

Freedom of the Seas to get $116 million amplification in Spring 2020

In:
21Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced today its major plans to enhance Freedom of the Seas with an extensive $116 million amplifcation. 

The cruise line will add the Perfect Storm duo of waterslides, a redesigned Adventure Ocean, a Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and a reimagined pool deck that will feature Splashaway Bay, El Loco Fresh and The Lime & Coconut.

Beginning March 8, 2020, the reimagined Freedom will sail year-round, 7-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, Puerto Rico and will include stops in St. Lucia, Antigua and the ABC Islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.

Here's a full list of the changes coming to Freedom of the Seas:

Pool deck fun

  • The Perfect Storm waterslides: duo of racer waterslides, Cyclone and Typhoon.
  • Reimagined poolscape with a larger variety of seating and shade with casitas, daybeds and hammocks
    • Addition of Splashaway Bay aquapark for the youngest travelers.
    • Renewed, adults-only Solarium

  • The Lime & Coconut, Royal Caribbean’s new, poolside signature bar is a the three-level spot serves up live music, a lineup of cocktails and a rooftop deck for a bird’s eye view of the action.

Dining

  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen is a fresh, new twist on a guest favorite. Pick from authentic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair, including made-to-order pizzas hand tossed front and center, and baked in the new, in-house pizza oven. With a wide selection of wines and limoncellos on the reimagined menu, it’s “Sunday supper” Royal Caribbean style.
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, the Asian-inspired restaurant with teppanyaki tables and a sushi bar, features a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees, desserts and more.
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade features more than 80 TV screens, arcade games, and menu of classic bar bites with twist and ice-cold brews on tap.
  • El Loco Fresh will sit poolside and offer fresh grab-and-go Mexican fare, from tacos and burritos, to quesadillas, along with an array of salsas for an extra kick. For the first time, the venue will include a full-service bar with a selection of tequilas on offer.

Family & Activities

  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure – Clash for the Crystal City.
  • Floor-to-ceiling redesign of Freedom’s dedicated teens spaces and award-winning Adventure Ocean
    • Adventure Ocean will get a makeover that will touch every inch of the spaces specially designed for babies and kids. The imaginative layout encourages young vacationers to venture into a world of interactive experiences, from thought-provoking exploration at Play Place to art, science and tech activities at Workshop and friendly challenges at Arena. Kicking back is just as fun with gaming consoles and places to chill at Hangout. Babies and 3- to 5-year-olds will each have personalized areas with AO Babies and AO Junior
    • Teens will rejoice at their exclusive hangout, entirely transformed to feature the latest in movies, gaming and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck.

Freedom of the Seas will be the latest Royal Caribbean ship to join the Royal Amplified Fleet.  Royal Amplified is the cruise line's fleet moderinizaation effort that will encompass 10 ships in four years at a cost of more than $1 billion.

Video: 10 Things To Do on Any Cruise Shore Excursion

In:
20Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Regardless of what you have planned to do at the various ports your cruise ship will take you, here are ten things everyone should do to ensure a great time overall.

Royal Caribbean offers a lot of different things to do in the ports of call you will visit on your cruise, and there are definitely some "best practices" when it comes to not only having a fun time, but staying safe, informed and ready for more fun.

Did you love this video? We have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What are your best tips for having a great shore excursion?

Royal Caribbean offering up to 30% off Cruise Planner purchases with Set Sail & Save sale

In:
20Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 30% off select Cruise Planner purchases during its Set Sail & Save sale.

The offer runs between August 20, 2019 – August 26, 2019 and is valid on sailings from August 29, 2019 – March 15, 2020. It is valid on all ships, except for Spectrum of the Seas.

  • BEVERAGE: Up to 30% off on select sailings.
    • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings). •Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings).
    • Refreshment Package: 30% off onboard prices. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
  • SHORE EXCURSIONS: Up to 25% off on select sailings.
    • Save up to 25% on select tours on select sailings. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings)
  • INTERNET: Up to 60% off on select sailings.
    • VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings).
    • VOOM Surf Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings).
  • DINING: Up to 50% off on select sailings.
    • Unlimited Dining Package on 3 Night – 9 Night sailings. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes MJ, SC + Charter Sailings)
  • ACTIVITIES: Up to 10% off on select sailings.
    • All Access Ship Tour: 10% off. Discount varies by ship. (Excludes SC + Charter Sailings).
  • GIFTS & GEAR: Up to 20% off on select sailings.
    • Happy Birthday Decorations: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes QN, SC, VY + Charter Sailings)
    • Happy Anniversary Decorations: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes QN, SC, VY + Charter Sailings)
    • New! Strawberries with Champagne: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes QN, SC, VY + Charter Sailings)
    • New! Red Wine & Cheese: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes QN, SC, VY + Charter Sailings)
    • New! White Wine & Cheese: 20% off onboard prices. (Excludes QN, SC, VY + Charter Sailings)
  • PHOTO PACKAGES: Up to 25% off on select sailings.
    • New! Prints – 10: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes AD, AL, AN, BR, EN, EX, FR, HM, JW, LB, OA, RH, SC, SR + Charter Sailings)
    • New! Prints – 15: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes AL, BR, EN, FR, HM, JW, LB, MA, MJ, NE, NV, OA, RH, SC, SR, SY + Charter Sailings)
    • New! Prints – 20: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes All Ships + Charter Sailings except AD, AN, HM, LB, OA, OV, SY)
    • New! Prints – All: Discount varies by ship. (AD, AN, EX, HM, ID, LB, MA, NV, OV, QN, SC, SY + Charter Sailings)
    • New! Digital – 15: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes All Ships + Charter Sailings except AD, AN, EX, ID, OV, QN, VY)
    • New! Digital – 20: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes All Ships + Charter Sailings except AD, AN, HM, LB, OA, OV, SY)
    • New! Digital – All: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes GR, JW, MJ, NE, RD, SC, VI + Charter Sailings)
    • New! All Digital + Prints: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes All Ships + Charter Sailings except AL, BR, EN, FR, OA, RH, SR)

The Cruise Planner sale promises savings on certain shore excursions and drink package purchases.  Guests can check which discounts, if any, are available for their upcoming sailing by visiting the Cruise Planner site. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.

Royal Caribbean specialty dining packages guide

In:
19Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Specialty restaurants on Royal Caribbean cruise ships are a popular option, but the cost can add up fast.  Guests can save a ton of money on specialty restaurant dining with a dining package.  

Dining packages allow guests to bundle specialty restaurants and save money, at the expense of giving up a bit of flexibility.  If you are wondering what Royal Caribbean's dining packages are all about and if it makes sense for you, here is the important information you need to know.

Types of Dining Packages

Depending on your sailing, there could be a few different dining packages available to purchase. Dining packages usually are available to purchase prior to a cruise via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.

Typical offerings include:

  • 3 Night Dining Package
  • Unlimited Dining Package
  • Chops + 1 Dining Package

Each specialty dining package includes a specific amount of meals included with the package at a fixed price.  Compared to dining at the same amount of specialty restaurants without a dining package, the price comes at significant savings.

The caveat to the dining packages is you cannot reserve a specific time or restaurant until you board the ship. Essentially, Royal Caribbean uses the dining packages to fill up unsold reservations at their restaurants to guests once they board the ship.

Dining Package Rules and Limitations

Regardless of which dining package you purchase, there are some basic rules and caveats to what they include and what costs extra.

  • Guests who purchase a dining package must wait to make a reservation at any specialty restaurant until they board the ship.
    • Royal Caribbean will make a "courtesy dinner reservation" for the guest on day 1 or day 2, but this may be changed once onboard.
  • One reservation must be used on the first or second night of the sailing. 
  • For restaurants with a la carte pricing, package includes a $35 credit towards the food portion of your bill.
  • Certain specialty restaurants are excluded from all specialty dinner packages including:
    • Chef's Table
    • Izumi Hibachi
    • Wine pairings dinners
    • Mystery Dinner Theater
  • Enjoy a discount of 40% off bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100 while dining in specialty restaurants.
  • Children between the ages of 0-5 are complimentary and ages 6-12 are $10 per child; children must order from the kids menu. 

Dining Package Tips

If you book a dining package, be sure to make reservations for each meal included with your dining package as soon as you board the ship.  Reservations for specialty dining goes quickly, so make reservations quickly to take advantage of the greatest flexibility.

Do not purchase a dining package for children 12 years or younger. Instead, show up with the kids and pay for the children at the reduced kids rate.  

At restaurants with a la carte pricing, the $35 credit each guest with a dining package gets may be combined, which means you can pool your credits together.

Track prices of dining packages prior to your cruise, especially when a Cruise Planner sale occurs. Occasionally, the price of a dining package may drop.

Is a Royal Caribbean Dining Package worth it?

A Royal Caribbean dining package will absolutely save you money compared to trying to dine at the same amount of specialty restaurants and paying the list price.  Royal Caribbean advertises its dining packages will save up to 40% off the list price and it is quite accurate. Considering most specialty restaurant cover charges run between $35 to $50 per person,  a dining package has the potential to save a lot of money.

The issue with any specialty restaurant package is if you want to dine at the amount of specialty dining included with the dining package. Royal Caribbean's ships offer a wide variety of food included with your cruise fare, and it is quite good too. Specialty dining has always been a way to splurge and enjoy different culinary and experiential options, and a dining package offers a way to enjoy these at a reduced rate.

Moreover, a dining package is best for someone who wants to enjoy a lot of specialty dining during their cruise. Whether they are new to these restaurants and want to try some or all of them, or they are a repeat cruiser who prefers specialty dining, the dining packages are a good choice.  On Royal Caribbean ships that have a great deal of specialty restaurant choices (Oasis and Quantum Class ships), a dining package offers a greater variety of choices.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 18, 2019

In:
18Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Welcome to this week's edition of the Royal Caribbean post round-up, where we summarize all of the Royal Caribbean news and information from this week into one handy-dandy post! There is plenty of great content to enjoy, so sit back, relax, and enjoy this week's round-up!

Royal Caribbean revealed this week plans to add late night and two call visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Beginning September 30, 2019, Royal Caribbean will offer 4-night itineraries to the private island destination across nearly 40 sailings. 

The new itineraries are available to guests on select Navigator and Mariner of the Seas sailings.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 315th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where Matt offers an introduction to travel insurance.

You may have heard about travel insurance, but were unsure where to start or what it really covers. This week, Matt talks about the basics when it comes to travel insurance and what you need to know before purchasing a plan.

Please subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! 

New RCB Video: Royal Caribbean Drink Package Review

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 — How to get free drinks on a Royal Caribbean cruise — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

The Points Guy offers a guide to using cruise ship Wi-Fi.

Miami Herald reported on a man who went overboard on Symphony of the Seas.

The Mirror shared the experience of the man from Ireland who landed a dream job working for Royal Caribbean.

Cruise and Ferry wrote about ACS Productions work on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships.

Friday Photos - August 16, 2019

In:
16Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

The weekend is here and every Friday, we share our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean photos so that we can all enjoy a quick "virtual trip" back on a cruise.  If you want to share your Royal Caribbean photos, use this form to send them in!

We start things off with this photo by Joan Griffy of Liberty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas docked in Cozumel, as seen from Brilliance of the Seas.

Michael Kho shared this photo of Anthem of the Seas in Barbados.

Here is a lovely photo of the Solarium bar on Symphony of the Seas at night. Photo by Vandermaesen iven.

Kathy Pfister took this photo of the Gatun Locks at the Panama Canal while sailing on Brilliance of the Seas.

We have another great photo of a ship docked, this time it is Liberty of the Seas in Roatan, as taken by Peter M. Chen.

Chip Arnold shared this photo taken from Two70 on Anthem of the Seas.

Our final photo is by Adam Gillmor and it is of St. Thomas, as seen from the bridge wing on Allure of the Seas.

Thank you to everyone that sent in their Royal Caribbean photos and if you want your photos featured here, be sure to send us your favorite photos with this form!

Royal Caribbean's Back to Cruise Sale offers Kids Sail Free, 50% off second guest and bonus onboard credit

In:
16Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean kicks off its Back to Cruise Sale for cruises booked this weekend.

Back to Cruise Sale applies to new bookings made between August 16 – 18, 2019. Offer applies to select sailings departing on or after September 16, 2019. 

It includes:

  • BOGO50 provides 50% savings off the price of cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first, full-fare paying guest. 
    • Applies to select sailings departing on or after September 16, 2019.
    • BOGO50 also provides 25% cruise fare savings for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests.
    • BOGO50 savings applied to cruise fare at checkout.
  • Kids Sail Free
    • Applies to new bookings made August 16 – 18, 2019.
    • Kids Sail Free provides free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4-night or longer Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, CaribNE, Coastal, Europe, Hawaii, and Repositioning sailings departing between September 1, 2019 – May 15, 2020 and August 31, 2020 – December 17, 2020.
    • Offer excludes 2019 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 23 – 30, 2019), Holiday sailings (Sailings between December 15, 2019 – January 3, 2020), President’s Day sailings (Sailings between February 14 – 17, 2020), Spring Break sailings (Sailings between March 14 – 23, 2020), Holy Week/Easter sailings (Sailings between April 3 – 17, 2020) and 2020 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 21 – 27, 2020).  
    • In addition, Kids Sail Free applies to all Serenade of the Seas Alaska 2020 sailings.
  • Back to Cruise Sale offers up to $150 to spend at sea per stateroom determined by category booked and sailing length:
    • Sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $50 for Balconies and $75 for Suites
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $150 for Suites
  • Deck the Holiday Deals applies to new bookings made between August 16 – 18, 2019.
    • Deck the Holiday Deals offers instant savings of up to $100 per stateroom on select sailings departing between December 2 – 31, 2019 and November 30 – December 31, 2020. Savings amount determined by category booked and sailing length: On sailings 5 nights or less, $25 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $50 for Balconies and $50 for Suites; on sailings 6 nights or longer, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $100 for Suites.
    • Instant savings applied as instant rebate to the price of cruise fare at checkout.
  • Alaska Cruisetour offer applies to new bookings made August 16 – 18, 2019.
    • Alaska Cruisetour offers $100 to spend at sea (Onboard credit, “OBC”) for Alaska Cruisetour sailings on Radiance of the Seas departing between May 15, 2020 – August 28, 2020. OBC amounts are per stateroom. 

BOGO50 and Deck the Holiday Deals are combinable with each other as well as with Alaska Cruisetour offer, promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, instant savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. BOGO50 and Kids Sail Free are combinable with each other as well as with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, instant savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits.  Kids Sail Free and Deck the Holiday Deals are combinable with each other for sailings departing December 2 – 14, 2019 and November 28 – December 17, 2020 only. Back to Cruise Sale is combinable with BOGO50, Deck the Holiday Deals, Kids Sail Free as well as with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers Free Upgrades and Shareholder Benefits but not combinable with Crown and Anchor discounts.  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.  Promo Code driven offers are based on select ships and sail dates and must be applied at time of booking, limit one promo code per booking. 

Offer available to residents of United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and select countries in the Caribbean. 

Royal Caribbean jumps in on #ClearTheList movement to help local schools

In:
15Aug2019
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has joined the growing grassroots movement to help supply teachers with needed classroom supplies that may not be covered in the school’s budget.

Royal Caribbean is helping Florida teachers start off on the right foot this back-to-school season by participating in the #ClearTheList movement.Once the trending initiative was discovered by the Royal Caribbean social media team, they quickly jumped in because it was the right thing to do.  

Over the course of ten days, Royal Caribbean helped clear the lists of over 100 teachers across Florida. Teachers throughout the state immediately reacted to Royal Caribbean’s generosity by publicly thanking the company on social channels. In addition to this, the company is making a donation of $10,000 to DonorsChoose.org to support even more teachers.

"It’s in our DNA to support our communities, joining the #ClearTheList movement was a natural fit. We initially thought to support our hometown teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and quickly realized that we could go farther and touch classrooms across the state. I’m glad we did because the reaction has been incredible," said Helen O’Connell, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited."

If you're an Florida resident and you're on Twitter, you can help #ClearTheList here.

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