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Matt

Please check my Royal Caribbean planning timeline

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I'm working on an idea for a RC cruise planning timeline blog post to give folks an idea of ideal times to plan things out.  Please respond with anything I missed or any mistakes I may have made

 

24-12 months before your cruise start looking at cruise itineraries to pick the right one for you.

 

Check RoyalCaribbean.com for available sailing dates and cruise options.  Depending on when you're looking, deployment schedules may limit how far in advance you can actually book.  

 

Be sure to also look at deck plans for which staterooms have most space (i.e. hump staterooms). Also consider using cruisedeckplans.com to be able to drag the decks above and below your stateroom to ensure your room isn't going to have noise bleed.

 

Put a deposit down on the sailing you want and to reserve the stateroom you want.  You can change or cancel the cruise without penalty for several months while you continue researching.

 

Research if trip insurance for your cruise makes sense, perhaps due to hurricane season or if there are health risks involved.  Royal Caribbean offers insurance as well as third party suppliers, which are often cheaper.

 

Look at excursions after placing your deposit.  When excursions become available varies widely but it's best to start looking at what Royal Caribbean is offer as early as possible.

 

90 days before cruise Final payment due for all holiday cruises (Christmas or New Years Day)

 

Online check-in becomes available

 

Start researching third party shore excursion options.  

 

75 days before your cruise Final payment due for 7-night or longer cruises

 

74 - 65 days before your cruise For those on 7-night or longer cruises, check again for available staterooms, dining, entertainment or shore excursions that may have become available due to other guests not making final payment.

 

60 days before your cruise Final payment due for 3, 4 or 5-night cruises

 

Around this time dining and entertainment reservations will become available on royalcaribbean.com

 

59 - 50 days before your cruise  For those on 5-night or shorter cruises, check again for available staterooms, dining, entertainment or shore excursions that may have become available due to other guests not making final payment.

 

49 days before cruise E-docs and luggage tags are available to download and print.

 

15 days before your cruise Last chance to reserve online using Cruise Planner.

 

4 days before your cruise Last chance to book specialty restaurants, spa or salon services. Last chance to complete online check-in at royalcaribbean.com. You must complete and print out your SetSail Pass by now.

 

72 - 24 hours before your cruise Check into your airline online

 

Do one last check of weather expected for your cruise.

 

2 days before your cruise Last chance to purchase Gifts and Gear from Royal Caribbean.

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Here are a few additional dates I can think of.

 

90 days before cruise Final payment for all holiday cruises (those including Christmas or New Year's Day)

 

90 days before cruise Online check-in becomes available

 

49 days (or later) before cruise E-docs and luggage tags are available to download and print

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Here are a few additional dates I can think of.

 

90 days before cruise Final payment for all holiday cruises (those including Christmas or New Year's Day)

 

90 days before cruise Online check-in becomes available

 

49 days (or later) before cruise E-docs and luggage tags are available to download and print

Thanks Marc, updated the original post with this info

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74 days before your cruise For those on 7-night or longer cruises, check again for available staterooms, dining, entertainment or shore excursions that may have become available due to other guests not making final payment.

 

59 days before your cruise  For those on 5-night or shorter cruises, check again for available staterooms, dining, entertainment or shore excursions that may have become available due to other guests not making final payment.

 

 

In regards to these two items I would say that maybe this is more of a range, say 74-65 days and 59-50.  It seems that RC doesn't necessarily immediately cancel rooms and return them to inventory.  For that reason I would continue to check back for several days.

 

I would also recommend regularly checking your airline itinerary, say every 30 days or so.  Frequently the legacy carriers, who allow booking up to 330 days in advance, change their schedules.  There have been times I didn't get a notification on it.  It is important to catch any changes that may adversely affect your ability to make your flight or cruise as soon as possible so you can make alternate arrangements.

 

This would be good in a printable checklist format, or, better yet, as a spreadsheet where you could enter your sail date and all the dates would fill in automatically.

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In regards to these two items I would say that maybe this is more of a range, say 74-65 days and 59-50.  It seems that RC doesn't necessarily immediately cancel rooms and return them to inventory.  For that reason I would continue to check back for several days.

 

I would also recommend regularly checking your airline itinerary, say every 30 days or so.  Frequently the legacy carriers, who allow booking up to 330 days in advance, change their schedules.  There have been times I didn't get a notification on it.  It is important to catch any changes that may adversely affect your ability to make your flight or cruise as soon as possible so you can make alternate arrangements.

 

This would be good in a printable checklist format, or, better yet, as a spreadsheet where you could enter your sail date and all the dates would fill in automatically.

Good points, I updated the info.

 

This will be a blog post once I feel like we're not missing anything major.

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This is a great topic for a blog post. Thanks! My suggeston/question would be whether, in addition to the cruise timeline, would you want to include airline, hotel, and ground transportation? You always recommend arriving at least a day early, so these arrangements become crucial as well.

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This is a great topic for a blog post. Thanks! My suggeston/question would be whether, in addition to the cruise timeline, would you want to include airline, hotel, and ground transportation? You always recommend arriving at least a day early, so these arrangements become crucial as well.

I thought about that too but it kind of gets off the scope because now we'll need to add when to book each, when to check in for each, etc.  I do agree they are usually necessary things but I dont want to go too far off target.

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Very thorough especially with the additions noted.

 

I saw reference to dining/entertainment reservations. What about shore excursions through Royal including possible port transfers (usually not worth the $$$ but advisable in some foreign ports).

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I think the problem with including shore excursions is that their availability is wildly variable.

 

For our Allure of the Seas cruise in October, we were able to reserve our Labadee cabana 17 months in advance. Other times, shore excursions don't show up until much closer to the cruise.

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I think the problem with including shore excursions is that their availability is wildly variable.

 

For our Allure of the Seas cruise in October, we were able to reserve our Labadee cabana 17 months in advance. Other times, shore excursions don't show up until much closer to the cruise.

That's exactly why I don't have a particular date.  I will add when booking a cruise to check immediately for available excursions, if any.

 

I think I will run the blog post early next week!  Please keep any other suggestions coming.

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