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Masks are not required anymore in Adventure Ocean

25 Apr 2022

Royal Caribbean has rolled back the rule requiring children to wear masks in the supervised programming areas of the cruise ship.

Adventure Ocean with kids

When Royal Caribbean dropped its mask requirement for vaccinated cruisers in late February, the only area of the ship that still required mask wearing as in Adventure Ocean, regardless of vaccination status.

As of this weekend, it appears the mask rule in Adventure Ocean has been changed.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader AshleyDillo posted a new posted rule on Oasis of the Seas that says masks are now optional for kids in Adventure Ocean.

"Mask wearing is optional for children participating in Adventure Ocean. However, masks are recommended for unvaccinated children 2 and up."

"Children under 2 do not need to wear a mask at any time."

Adventure Ocean is the kids camp on Royal Caribbean ships, where parents can drop their children off.

The updated mask rules for Adventure Ocean matches the general guideline for masks on ships made last week, in which Royal Caribbean said masks are optional for vaccinated guests and recommended for unvaccinated children onboard.

The change in mask wearing for Adventure Ocean tied in with the cruise line relaxing mask rules in cruise ship terminals.

Masks on a cruise are virtually non-existent

Oasis of the Seas boardwalk

Over the last couple of months, mask requirements are greatly eroded away to point now they are all but gone from cruise ships.

As cruise ships restarted operations in 2021, masks were a cornerstone of new cruise ship protocols.

It looked as though masks might have gone away as required in summer 2021, but a combination of the Delta and Omicron variants required Royal Caribbean to keep the requirement in place for much longer.

A combination of Covid cases dropping dramatically on land and Royal Caribbean opting into the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highly vaccinated program has enabled the cruise line to progressively remove mask requirements.

Face masks are among the most visible signs of the pandemic, and the need to wear them has been a major pain point for cruise fans who want to get the cruise experience back to a sense of normalcy.

In late February, Royal Caribbean dropped the requirement to wear masks while indoors.

Face masks free zone Royal Caribbean

Just last week, the cruise line announced masks are optional in cruise ship terminals.  

Now with masks not needed in Adventure Ocean, the only time you would need to wear a mask potentially on a cruise is due to local regulations, such as in a port of call the ship visits or in some cruise ship terminals as mandated by local requirements.

How Royal Caribbean transformed an Adventure Ocean game into a new mobile app

30 Jul 2020

It is not often you can take a cruise ship experience and make it widely available to anyone at home, but Royal Caribbean did just that with a new mobile game.

Royal Caribbean unveiled a new mobile game for kids to play at home that was originally created for children onboard cruise ships, and I was given an inside look at how it happened. 

The Treasure of Barnacle Briggs was released for families to enjoy, and the transition from onboard game to iPad game was a fairly quick turnaround.

Jared Finegold, who is a Senior Manager in the Emerging Products & Digital Innovation division of Royal Caribbean Group, said it took about three to four weeks from start to finish to port the game over.

Deciding to bring the game home

Royal Caribbean added The Treasure of Barnacle Briggs to large screens outside and inside Adventure Ocean on Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas, which are ships that have completely revamped their Adventure Ocean spaces.

Anyone can play these games, and they had become popular onboard the ships in the few months it was available prior to the cruise shutdown.

Lauren Berman is a Senior Manager of Product Development  for Royal Caribbean International, and indicated that through research, the 6-12 year old segment of kids is an important age group for the cruise line to enhance its offerings.

"In that segment of six to 12 year olds, video games are so important, but we wanted to layer in, how do we engage them in a unique way that's customized Royal."

"We knew we needed to push ourselves and engage kids in a unique way. And then kind of through this discovery, we landed on this high level pitch idea of this treasure hunt and rewarding them and having them investigate different areas and islands."

Following the shutdown of the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean began having conversations about how to connect with guests at home.

"I think that all of us here, miss being on the water, we miss the ship experience," Mr. Finegold recalled. "So in partnership with Firstborn, the agency we work with to develop these, you know, we said, what if we take a handful of games, specifically the touch ones and put it into an app?"

Creating the game

Of course, taking a game from a ship and making into a mobile game is no simple feat, but Royal Caribbean has been gearing up for this with some other work.

Mr. Finegold shared Royal Caribbean's approach to making a game, which is something they have been preparing for, following in the footsteps of other recent projects.  

"I think the game development part has been something we're starting to dabble in. So if you look back over the last few years, the first game we launched was Sasu's Mystical Quest onboard Spectrum [of the Seas]. Right after that was Expedition Two70."

Sasu's Mystical Quest on Spectrum of the Seas

"We're definitely not a gaming studio, but we have experience building games and we have experience understanding how guests want to interact with us."

Of course, the game in Adventure Ocean involves oversize touchscreens and body tracking technology, and two of the games require full body movement.

"So over the course of about three weeks, we skinned the games, put them into a phone, a ton of testing to make sure it works flawlessly and provide the same experience; a little bit different than being on a three by five device versus fifty five to seventy two inch screen. We wanted to deliver the Royal Caribbean experience at home."

iOS devices only...for now

The new mobile app is only available for iPhone or iPad at the moment, which means Android users are unable to play.  I asked the team about plans to provide an Android version too.

Mr. Finegold explained why they went with Apple Devices first, "At the moment it's just iOS. Most of our guests are on iPhone. Depending on the popularity and how this grows and what back to service looks like, it's definitely not off the table."

Ms. Berman added that the decision to port the game was rooted in the early part of the cruise shutdown and so many families being at home, and Royal Caribbean wanting to do something to deliver a bit of the cruise experience to families, "We have to bring something home to the kids to play with. All of their summer vacations are being canceled. So I think at our core, it it tugged on our heartstrings as well to really bring this and deliver this to kids everywhere.

What's next?

With the launch of the Treasure of Barnacle Briggs, the next logical question is what is next for Royal Caribbean, and what other ideas might we see come our way.

"Definitely something we hope to and look forward to in the future when things ramp up as a brand, and we're back to service," Ms. Berman explained. "I definitely think it's something that has been so successful or so passionate about. And this was just the beginning."

Mr. Finegold added that what we are seeing is the beginning of Royal Caribbean branded entertainment and characters coming to the fleet, "As we look at what it means to amplify our youth and family experiences, we're building a suite of intellectual property."

"I think the goal is to start to take these characters and make them such a big part of the family and experience on board that they're on every ship there... something kids want and expect to see on board."

You can download The Treasure of Barnacle Briggs for free from Apple's App Store.


How Royal Caribbean will make check-in, Adventure Ocean and its app easier & faster

27 Nov 2019

Royal Caribbean has a reputation for being a leader in a variety of areas, including integrating technology to make the guest experience easier.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. SVP Digital Experience Jay Schneider has been at the helm of Royal Caribbean's next-gen tech, known as Project Excalibur, for three years and shared the plans, challenges, and successes the company has with leveraging technology.

The origins of Project Excalibur

All good stories have a beginning, and Project Excalibur began with a simple task from the very top of Royal Caribbean.

"Project Excalibur started as a result of really a passion from Richard (Fain); Seeing what was happening elsewhere, both across the industry, travel and hospitality overall, and just frankly, the planet. With more and more Millennials sailing with us, with more and more digitally enabled consumers at all ages, it really became an opportunity for us to step back and look at how do we transform our company through the use of technology."

"It really became an opportunity for us to step back and look at how do we transform our company through the use of technology."

"It wasn't really an idea of what it exactly meant, but the goal was to unpacking how to digitize everything. Digitize the things that we could remove the hassles from guests, put them on vacation faster, pull friction out of the experience."

"We see friction in a number of different ways; It's interacting with the Cruise Planner website, it's doing your check-in process... Friction can be digital, it can be physical. There's real friction: your key doesn't work, you'll have to go Guest Services. Sitting through muster is friction. Not being able to get into your room is friction. Not wanting to have to wait in line for a cocktail, or have to run down to Sorrentos, is friction."

App development isn't easy

Like all software development, creating a brand new Royal Caribbean app that sought to simplify the cruise experience for guests is not an overnight task. Moreover, developing an app to work on a cruise ship comes with its own set of challenges.

"Everything you expected on land, is designed for you to be on land. Your phone wakes up through a push notification, because you're connected to the cloud somewhere, whether through WiFi or cellular. There are so many ways where technology on land is easier."

"The problem is we also operate 50 data centers at sea that have to work in a redundant way, and so if you think about that, our challenge is to figure out how, you, the consumer can work with us when you're on land and then when the guest is onboard, how everything is localized."

How close are we to chat across the fleet

One of the most-requested features for Royal Caribbean to offer is a guest-to-guest chat communication feature. Royal Caribbean has been testing a chat function in its app on Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas for months, so we asked Mr. Schneider when chat will roll out to the entire fleet.

"One of the things we've gotten complaints for, is the pace of our evolution. In fact, the number one reason people rate us poorly in the app store is, 'You're not on my ship.' That's deliberate. We want to make sure that the technology we put onboard every ship works flawlessly, and chat isn't there yet."

"We know people want chat. We know it's the number one feature they ask for, and it's something we're trying to rush to the market."

"I hope in early 2020, we will be able to light chat up on every ship that has the app. I think we're a couple months away of final testing."

"You asked the question around why it's hard to put technology on a ship, chat is the hardest. There is a number of ways Apple, and even Google on an Android platform, expect you to operate that doesn't exist at sea in the ocean."

"We know people want chat. We know it's the number one feature they ask for, and it's something we're trying to rush to the market."

How to make embarkation super smooth

We asked Mr. Schneider how his team's work is making embarkation as easy as possible, and he shared a few easy tasks anyone can do to take advantage of the cruise line's expedited arrival process.

1. Create a guest account with Royal Caribbean before the cruise.

2. Download the Royal Caribbean app from either the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.

3. Begin check-in and make sure you do a few steps:

a. Fill out all the questions in the short form provided.
b. Scan your passport with the app (do not manually enter the passport information).
c. Take a security selfie photo. Make sure you do not have a hat on or sunglasses, and have as muted a background as possible.

Adventure Ocean: A new challenge

On Oasis of the Seas, the Project Excalibur team faced a brand new challenge: Adventure Ocean kids programming.

"The reboot of Adventure Ocean on Oasis is amazing...We wanted to bring technology to the experience that was contextual for each of the different age ranges that we serve."

"We wanted canvases that we could continue to tell amazing creative on, and digital gives us the ability to do that."

"You'll see technology that we've partnered with companies and bought. You'll see custom content that we've created. We wanted canvases that we could continue to tell amazing creative on, and digital gives us the ability to do that."

"I think one of the game changers is kids registration, instead of filling paper out for parents. Parents no longer have to fill paper out, it's tap your SeaPass card, we know who you are; tell us what we need to know about your kid and go on.  Eventually that'll be available pre-arrival in the app, so you could just do it pre-arrival and not even hassle onboard."

"For kids, there's games they've never played before, stories they haven't come through yet, really ways to entertain them that we haven't put on ships yet, that I think is going to be awesome."

Video: Adventure Ocean Makes Cruising Fun for Kids of All Ages

22 May 2018

Parents can sit back and enjoy their vacation while their kids have a blast at Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Ocean kids program. Here, kids from 2-17 enjoy their own space with age-appropriate games, sports and educational activities. Best of all? Every member of the Adventure Ocean staff brings years of childcare education, training and experience so guests know they’re in good hands.

Six things to know about Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean

25 Sep 2017

Taking your kids on a Royal Caribbean cruise means a family vacation to fun and beautiful places to visit.  Along the way, Royal Caribbean provides award winning kids programming that is largely included in your cruise fare.

Before you step aboard, check out these six important tips for a successful time in Adventure Ocean

You can (and should) register on the first day

On the first day of your Royal Caribbean cruise, guests can register their children in Adventure Ocean prior to Adventure Ocean opening.  While you can register kids at any point in the cruise, take advantage of the open house on embarkation day for an optimal experience.

The Cruise Compass will list times when Adventure Ocean is open for registration.  This time is not when Adventure Ocean is open for kids to stay, but for kids to see the area and for parents to ask questions and get acclimated to the program.

It is a good idea to register kids on the first day simply because there is a set time for registration to occur, and it ensures a smooth first night later on.

Adventure Ocean is open on the first day

In the past Royal Caribbean did not open Adventure Ocean on the first day of the cruise, but that has changed in recent years.  

There will be limited hours, but Adventure Ocean will be open.  You will have to check with Adventure Ocean for exact hours, but expect it to be open the first night.

If you are looking to plan dinner, it is our experience Adventure Ocean opens at 8pm on the first day.

Port day hours are different from sea days

Aside from embarkation day, there are two types of Adventure Ocean operating hours: port days and sea days.

On sea days, Adventure Ocean is typically open

  • 9am - noon
  • 2pm - 5pm
  • 7pm - 10pm

On port days, Adventure Ocean is open for the entire duration your Royal Caribbean ship is in port.  Once the ship leaves port, it resumes the normal schedule described in sea days.

In addition, Royal Caribbean will open Adventure Ocean early enough for guests booked on Royal Caribbean shore excursions to drop children off.  Check with the staff on exact times.

Adventure Ocean is mostly complimentary

Up until 10pm, there is no additional cost for Adventure Ocean.  The programming is included in the cruise fare.

From 10pm to 2am, Royal Caribbean offers an after hour option that has an hourly cost for parents that want to let kids stay a bit later. The cost is $7 per hour. 

There is no need to make reservations for after hours, it simply kicks in if you do not pick up the child before 10pm.

There are special events for families

In addition to the Adventure Ocean programming, the Cruise Compass will list special events for families to enjoy, if they so choose.

Depending on your ship, the variety of activities will vary.  There are events like family movies, DreamWorks character meets, art sessions, ice skating and more.

Usually on the first night of the cruise, there will be a special time where many arcade video games are set to free.  Check the Cruise Compass for the exact time.

There is a special dinner option for families

My Family Time Dining is offered for the first seating time in the main dining room, for children ages three to 11.

Here is how it works

  1. You arrive at the dining room with the kids and let your server know that the kids will be headed to Adventure Ocean as part of the My Family Time Dining program.
  2. The kids order and are served right away so that they can finish their meal within the first 40 minutes.
  3. After about 45 minutes, the Adventure Ocean staff arrive in the dining room lobby to sign in and hand off the kids.Parents will need to escort their children to the designated Main Dining room entrance doors at 6:45 pm to check their child in with the Adventure Ocean counselors. Once checked­in, the Adventure Ocean counselors will then escort their children to Adventure Ocean for ongoing evening activities.
  4. Adults return to their table to enjoy the rest of their meal at a more leisurely place.

Pre­cruise, guests can call into Reservations, reserve online, contact their travel agent or certified vacation planner. Or guests can sign up onboard in the Adventure Ocean area. Pre­cruise reservations are encouraged.

Royal Caribbean opens Chops Grille and adds Studio staterooms on Adventure of the Seas

09 Mar 2017

Royal Caribbean has completed more of the improvements to Adventure of the Seas recently. including opening up Chops Grille and adding a few new staterooms.

Hurricane Mathew delayed Royal Caribbean's renovation plans last fall, and so some of the changes had to pushed back.  Chops Grille is now open on Deck 4, across from the Schooner Bar.  

In addition, we noticed five new Studio Interior staterooms (Category J) added on deck two.  These staterooms are designed for solo cruisers, and do not have the single supplement fee that is typicaly found when a guest wants to cruise alone.

Last year, Royal Caribbean added a number of other additions to Adventure of the Seas, including new water slides, a FlowRider and two-story mini-golf course.

Video: Adventures Abound for Kids in Adventure Ocean on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

31 Oct 2016

From Harmony of the Seas' extensive lineup of entertainment on for the whole family to kid-friendly spaces onboard, Royal Caribbean's newest and most innovative ship has something to offer guests of all ages. Young cruisers can enjoy Splashaway Bay waterpark or get active on the Lucky Climber, while teen have their own dedicated spaces such as a disco and lounge with video games and foosball.

A look at Royal Caribbean's kids club for 3 to 5 year olds

05 Mar 2014

Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean is the award winning kids club the cruise line offers to families of daily activities for kids.  The Aquanauts program is designed for children between the ages of 3 to 5 five years old and on our recent Navigator of the Seas we got a first-hand look at how it all works.

The basics

Aquanauts, and Adventure Ocean in general, is complimentary and offered to all children in the age group.  

The only requirements are the child be 100% potty trained and able to go to the restroom on their own without adult help.  In addition, children cannot wear pull ups or diapers of any kind.

Prior to first bringing your child to Aquanauts, you will need to register him or her.  It involves sharing pertinent information about the children and signing the proper waivers.

There's only one entrance and exit to the Aquanauts room, which requires a a buzzer to be pressed to open the door that also sounds a chime.  This prevents kids from getting out without someone noticing.

Once in, the kids are introduced to the staff via funny names the Adventure Ocean staff give themselves.  Some of the staff on our cruise were nicknamed "Tinker Bell" and "Dino".  Kids are also instructed to take their shoes off, put them away and wash their hands before being allowed to participate.

You can check up on the kids at anytime by calling the Aquanauts room directly and seeing how your child is doing.  


On our cruise, there were three main sessions per day on a sea day: 9am to noon, 2pm to 5pm, 7pm - 10pm. 

On port days, the schedule was simplified to two sessions per day: 9am to 5pm, 7pm - 10pm.

You could also opt in to the 10pm - 2am session for an additional fee of $7 per hour.


One of the first things you might be wondering is what exactly do the kids do.  The Aquanauts program is based around a combination of structured activities and free play.

Activities include story time, coloring, face painting, pirate night and central-theme based activities.  They did a lot and my three year old daughter would come back telling us about the funny things the Adventure Ocean staff took them through.  

They also did a lot of arts and crafts work that would be on display in the room and then eventually brought back to your stateroom.

Of course, there's plenty of free-play time with the toys and facilities available to the kids. Play time is supervised by the Adventure Ocean staff to ensure the kids are safe.


There's only two times the kids are fed and that is on port days around noon or in the Adventure Dining session from 5pm to 7pm.  

The food options depend on how many kids are in that day.  If they have a fair amount of kids, they will order pizza or chicken nuggets from the Windjammer to be delivered to the Aquanauts room.  If they only have a few kids, the staff will escort the children to the Windjammer and let the kids pick their own meal.

For dinner, you can opt into the My Family Time Dining, where if you are in first seating of the Main Dining Room, you can bring your kids to the Main Dining Room, where the kids will be served within 40 minutes and then escorted to Adventure Ocean by the staff directly from the Main Dining Room.  This is open to Adventure Ocean kids between the ages of 3-11.


The staff were quite good at making the kids feel welcome and they really seemed to enjoy their time there.

On paper, Adventure Ocean says Aquanauts parents will get a beeper when dropping the kids off in case the staff needs to get a hold of them.  In practice, we only got a beeper about half the time.  Not a big deal since we never needed it but worth noting nonetheless.

If you're wondering how well the program is run, look no further than the fact my daughter cried just about every time we picked her up because she did not want to leave.  Once she got over it, she would then begin telling us everything she did that day and would constantly ask us when she could go next.

There are no means for the children to nap at Aquanauts, but the break in sessions between noon and 2pm is when I assume most kids take their naps.  

The late night session starting at 10pm was a great bonus, even with the additional cost.  Getting a little extra time after dinner was a treat for me and my wife since we had second seating dinner on our cruise.  Well worth the extra cost.

The biggest concern for us going into this cruise was the potty situation and often people wonder how strict they are with the potty training.  Any parent will tell you it's very rare for a three year old to be 100%, completely potty trained.  

Basically it comes down to your child not wearing a pull up or a diaper and not soiling themselves during Adventure Ocean.  Our plan was to always bring her to the bathroom right before going to Aquanauts.  This worked well although she did report going to to the restroom on her own multiple times so clearly when properly motivated she did well with it.

I think the key is to make sure your child is aware that they need to be able to go by themselves to the bathroom without anyone helping.  Going beforehand is also good practice to ensure it's less of an issue.

`Overall I found the Adventure Ocean program to be run well and the thing my daughter looked forward to the most about the cruise. For parents, the Adventure Ocean programis a great means of getting some time to yourselves while the kids have a blast playing with other kids in a supervised environment.

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