Europe

Royal Caribbean releases 2021 Europe sailings

In:
Category: 
13Nov2019

Royal Caribbean released new information about summer 2021 European cruises.

Anthem of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas will return to Southampton and Barcelona respectively, while the brand-new Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s second Quantum Ultra class ship, will sail through Turkey and Greece.

All itineraries are available to book as of today with the exception of Odyssey of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas which will be open to book the week of December 9.

Anthem of the Seas will be the first Quantum-class ship to take guests to ports in Norway including Stavarnger, Kristiansand and Geiranger. Other new stops for Anthem include Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark and Bordeaux, France. Select sailings include late nights in Paris, France and overnights in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Lisbon, Portugal. 

Anthem of the Seas 2021 Europe Itineraries

Harmony of the Seas will be sailing 7-night itineraries through the Western Mediterranean from Barcelona. For those wishing to start and end their trip in Italy, round-trip sailings from Rome are also available.

Harmony of the Seas 2021 Europe Itineraries

Odyssey of the Seas, set to debut in November 2020, will be Royal Caribbean’s first Quantum Ultra Class ship to visit the spectacular shores of both Turkey and Greece on numerous itineraries. Odyssey will open for bookings the week of Dec. 9, 2019.

Vision of the Seas will continue to offer 12-night Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona sailing the Greek Isles and making stops in Kotor, Motenegro; Nice, France; Rome, Florence/Pisa, Italy and include an overnight in Venice, Italy and late nights in Split, Croatia.

Vision of the Seas 2021 Europe Itineraries

Select Jewel of the Seas sailings from her homeport of Amsterdam to the British Isles and Baltics will include overnights in Edinburgh (S. Queensferry), Scotland and in St. Petersburg, Russia; as well as late-nights in Liverpool, England – marking the first time a Radiance class ship calls to the city – and Bordeaux, France.

Jewel of the Seas will end the summer homeported in Barcelona, where she will offer sailings to the Iberian Peninsula and Greek Isles including stops in Cannes, France; Athens and Santorini, Greece.

Jewel of the Seas 2021 Europe Itineraries

Rhapsody of the Seas will spend another summer season in Venice offering 7-night sailings alternating between Greece/Croatia and the Greek Isles. Select sailings will offer late nights in Kotor, Montenegro.

Rhapsody of the Seas 2021 Europe Itineraries

Adventure of the Seas will offer 7- to 11-night sailings including overnights in St. Petersburg, Russia from Stockholm, Sweden and will also sail to Helsinki, Finland; Tallin, Estonia and Visby, Sweden. Adventure will be open for booking the week of December 9.

Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society members can begin booking sailings on November 13, 2019, with the general public available to begin booking on November 14, 2019.

Previewing Royal Caribbean's 2020 Europe cruise season

In:
Category: 
23Oct2019

In 2020, Royal Caribbean will sail to more than 100 destinations across seven ships in Europe, and we have a look at what options are out there for booking next summer.

Here is a look Royal Caribbean has ready for next summer across the continent.

Northern Europe

Explore the Baltic, British Isles, Scandinavia and Russia with 7 to 12 night itineraries onboard Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, and Anthem of the Seas.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brilliance of the Seas
10-NIGHT BRITISH ISLES
12-NIGHT BALTIC

Stockholm, Sweden

Jewel of the Seas
7-NIGHT SCANDINAVIA & RUSSIA

Copenhagen, Denmark

Jewel of the Seas
7 NIGHT NORWEGIAN FJORDS-COPENHAGEN
7/11 NIGHT SCANDINAVIA & RUSSIA
11 NIGHT ARCTIC CIRCLE

Southampton, United Kingdom

Anthem of the Seas
8-NIGHT NORTHERN EUROPE CITIES
5-NIGHT PARIS & BILBAO- SOUTHAMPTON

Mediterranean/Greece & The Greek Isles

Two newly Amped ships will offer sailings in Europe in 2020, with the arrival of Explorer of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Both ships will offer 7-night family-friendly Western Mediterranean adventures. Radiance of the Seas will hop around the Greek Isles.

Guests have the choice of 6-14 night itineraries ranging from Greek Isles, Italy or Spain centric, Canary Islands and Mediterranean onboard the Explorer, Vision, Jewel, and Anthem of the Seas.

Barcelona, Spain

Allure of the Seas
7 NIGHT WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN
Jewel of the Seas
7 NIGHT ITALY, FRANCE & SPAIN
12 NIGHT MEDITERRANEAN VENICE
12 NIGHT MEDITERRANEAN GREEK ISLES
Vision of the Seas
12 NIGHT MEDITERRANEAN
12 NIGHT MEDITERRANEAN GREEK ISLES

Rome, Italy

Explorer of the Seas
7/9 NIGHT GREEK ISLES
6/7 NIGHT WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN
7/8/9/10 NIGHT GREEK ISLES
12-NIGHT HOLY LAND
Jewel of the Seas
12-NIGHT HOLY LAND

Venice, Italy

Rhapsody of the Seas
6/7/8-NIGHT GREECE & CROATIA
7-NIGHT GREEK ISLES

Southampton, United Kingdom

Anthem of the Seas
8-NIGHT SPAIN & PORTUGAL
6/7/8-NIGHT FRANCE & SPAIN
14-NIGHT ITALIAN MEDITERRANEAN
13-NIGHT MEDITERRANEAN BEACHES
14-NIGHT DISCOVER THE CANARIES
13-NIGHT ITALIAN MEDITERRANEAN
10-NIGHT SUNSHINE IN THE CANARIES

Do you have a Royal Caribbean cruise to Europe booked in 2020? Let us know in the comments where you will be sailing!

7 tips for a great Mediterranean cruise

In:
21Oct2019

Cruising on the Mediterranean Sea is among one of the most popular cruising destinations available. With ports of call in France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and more, each port of call offers  its own incredible cuisine, architecture, historical sites and modern culture.

If you are considering your first European cruise, here are some helpful tips for an incredible first Mediterranean cruise!

1. Pace yourself

Most European cruises are at least 7-nights long and include multiple port stops. In fact, Mediterranean sailings usually offer less sea days than a Caribbean cruise, and that means lots more touring time.

Even before you step foot onboard your Royal Caribbean ship, you may be dealing with a long airplane flight to your embarkation port.  Flying across the world comes with its own challenges, such as fatigue and jet lag.  Add a busy itinerary of shore excursions and you have a recipe for burnout.

The key is to plan breaks and acknowledge you cannot do it all.  If possible, fly in a few days ahead of your cruise to adjust to the local time and recover from the lost sleep.

Once on your cruise, plan your excursions to vary the activity level.  Try alternating "culture days" spent in museums and historical sites with "sun days" spent on the beach or enjoying outdoor activities. If on one day you want to walk all around Rome, then try for a lighter activity level before tackling the mountains of Nice and Villefranche.

When it comes to nightlife onboard the ship, while heading to bed at 10pm seems sacrilegious, your body will thank you the next day when you are well-rested.

2. Try to blend in

While you are a tourist visiting these amazing countries, there are some easy ways to avoid becoming that guy and not become a spectacle.

While no one expects you to be fluent in Spanish, French, Italian and Greek, it means a lot if you can learn some basic phrases to communicate with the locals. Even a friendly bonjour, or grazie will go a long way when talking with the locals (especially if you are trying to get help).

Unfortunately, crime and scams are common in Europe so you want to avoid sticking out to not be a target for thieves. Wallet snatching, pick pockets and flower sellers usually go after tourists, so be vigilant and careful about these scams.  Carry only the credit cards you need and a minimum of cash. Men should carry their wallets in front pockets and women should use purses that have a zipper.

3. Dress appropriately

Most of the ports of call feature ancient cities and villages, replete with cobblestones and uneven pathways, so comfortable shoes are absolutely important if you want to enjoy the adventure (and avoid injury).

If you are planning to visit religious sites, keep in mind that the expected dress code is more conservative than what one typically wears on a shore excursion.   For example, you might need clothes that cover your shoulders and knees to visit a mosque.

4. Plan for the weather

Summer is the most popular time to go on a Mediterranean cruise,a nd that means the sun will be shining and the temperatures on the rise. If you go in the summer, plan for the heat. Bring broad-rimmed hats and plenty of sunscreen. 

Just like at home, when the temperatures are high, you will get tired quicker. Prioritize your destinations and take frequent breaks.

5. Sometimes you do not actually dock in the city listed

If your cruise lists a stop in Paris, Rome or Athens, your ship is not actually dropping you off in the city.

Since these cities are inland, Royal Caribbean will dock at a seaside port, which are often several hours away.

If you wish to visit these major cities, allow ample travel time in your itinerary to get there, and pad your estimates to account for traffic and other delays. 

6. When to go

Just like the Caribbean, there is prime time for Mediterranean cruises, as well as shoulder seasons.

June through August is the "high season" for most itineraries, with the prices during the other months being lower. Sometimes tourist facilities close during the offseason or have shorter operating hours, but the money saved by cruising in the shoulder season could be substantial.

The most comfortable temperatures will be found in the spring and fall.  Greece, Turkey, the Rivieras, and southern Italy and Spain get especially hot in the summer, with temperatures approaching 100 degrees away from the ocean.

7. Currency

No matter which cruise you take, having some cash for emergencies, refreshments, taxis or souvenirs is a really good idea. Many of the countries you visit on Mediterranean cruise will use the Euro including France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Malta. Before you leave for the cruise, double-check which currency the countries you will be visiting use if you plan to tour on your own or go to local markets. 

Be sure to also keep in mind that only US currency is accepted onboard Royal Caribbean ships. While the ship will offer currency conversions, you will likely get a better rate elsewhere.

Your tips

If you have taken a Mediterranean cruise before, what would be some tips to share to someone new to the experience? Did we miss important advice? Let us know in the comments!

Royal Caribbean announces 2020 Europe sailings

In:
18Dec2018

Royal Caribbean has released the second phase of its 2020 European sailings.

Six Royal Caribbean ships had their 2020 sailings revealed, alongside Anthem of the Seas and Independence of the Seas, which had their deployments announced a few weeks ago.

Headlining the 2020 season for Royal Caribbean in Europe will be Allure of the Seas, which will sail from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona on March 1, 2020 and then begin offering 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises until Allure heads to Miami on November 1, 2020.

Brilliance of the Seas will sail from Amsterdam, and offer sailings to the Baltics and British Isles.  Her 2020 European season will culminate with a 15-night Arctic Crossing on her way back to Boston.

Explorer of the Seas returns to Europe in 2020 to offer primarily Greek Isles cruises from Rome. Among her many itineraries, Explorer of the Seas will also offer 12-night Holy Land sailing.

Jewel of the Seas will sail a variety of itineraries in 2020, including a few sailings from Barcelona before moving to Copenhagen to sail to Scandinavia, Russia and the fjords. Jewel then returns to Barcelona to offer Greek Isles and Mediterranean sailings, including a couple of sailings to the Holy Land.

Rhapsody of the Seas will homeport in Venice, Italy, and sail primarily to the Greek Isles and Croatia.

Vision of the Seas will also sail the Mediterranean and visit destinations in the Greek Isles and Venice before heading to Cape Liberty, New Jersey on September 5, 2020.

Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society members can begin booking sailings on December 18, 2018, with the general public available to begin booking on December 19, 2018.

First look at Europe Phase II: Summer 2019 sailings

In:
07Mar2018

Royal Caribbean released new information about summer 2019 European cruises.

The newly released sailings include:

These new sailings are also being shown as available for booking via Royal Caribbean's web site.

Royal Caribbean previously announced European sailings for summer 2019 on these ships as well.

First look at 2019 Alaska and Europe Phase I sailings

In:
12Dec2017

Royal Caribbean released new information about 2019 Alaska and select European cruises, as well as when guests can expect to begin booking these adventures.

Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society members can begin booking sailings on December 12, 2017 at 9:30am - 1:30pm EST, with the general public available to begin booking at 1:30pm EST.

2019 Alaska Sailings

2019 Europe Sailings

The remaining deployments will be released sometime in Spring 2018.

Royal Caribbean announces 2018 European itineraries

In:
Category: 
23Mar2017

Royal Caribbean released today its 2018 sailings in Europe, which is headlined by the fleet's brand new Symphony of the Seas.

Across the continent, adventure awaits guests onboard eight of the world’s most innovative ships, with Spanish landmarks, Italian landscapes, French icons, Greek legends and Nordic Castles, comprising an unbelievable collection of more than 110 European odysseys. All itineraries are available to book as of March 23, 2017.

Making her debut in Barcelona, Spain in April 2018, Symphony of the Seas, the fourth sister ship in the Oasis-class, will spend her inaugural summer season sailing the striking blue waters of the Western Mediterranean. Starting April 21, she will offer seven-night itineraries from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples/Capri, Italy, where travelers can discover the breathtaking views from atop Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, and revel in the artwork of the old masters housed within the museums of Florence. For those wishing to start and end their trip in Italy, round-trip sailings from Rome are also available.

New in 2018, Vision of the Seas will join Symphony for the season offering 12-night sailings from Barcelona with ports-of-call in Rome, Italy; Nice, France; Santorini and Athens, Greece. In Northern Europe, Brilliance of the Seas will sail new 12-night itineraries from Amsterdam visiting countries throughout the Baltics, Norway and the British Isles, including Holyhead, Wales.

Barcelona

  • Oasis-class returns to Barcelona with Symphony of the Seas, which will headline Europe’s summer season exploring the Western Mediterranean on seven-night sailings, round-trip from Barcelona, Spain or Rome, Italy.
  • Vision of the Seas will embark on new 12-night Greek Isles itineraries from Barcelona, plus 12-night Mediterranean adventures to France and Italy, including stops in Rome and Florence/Pisa, the Amalfi Coast and an overnight in Venice.

British and Scandinavian Cruises

  • Brilliance of the Seas will call Northern Europe home for the first time, sailing 12-night itineraries from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, exploring the Baltics and British Isles, featuring new port-of-call Holyhead, Wales.
  • Independence of the Seas returns to Southampton, offering three- to 14-night voyages to the Mediterranean and a 14-night adventure to the Canary Islands all from Southampton. Navigator of the Seas will join Independence, sailing five- to 14- night itineraries.
  • Serenade of the Seas will offer seven-night sailings to the Norwegian Fjords, plus the ultimate Scandinavia and Russian adventure with departures from Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden.

Italian Adventures from Venice and Rome

  • Jewel of the Seas will sail seven- and nine-night sailings though the Greek Isles and Western Mediterranean.
  • Rhapsody of the Seas will return to Venice, Italy with seven-night excursions to the Greek Isles, and Greece & Croatia.

Royal Caribbean cancels all cruise stops in Turkey in 2017

In:
Category: 
18Feb2017

Royal Caribbean has decided to cancel all scheduled stops in Turkey for the 2017 cruise season, citing "unpredictability" in the country.

In a statement to travel agents, Royal Caribbean said that due to the current unpredictability of Turkey, and taking guests’ and crew members’ safety and wellbeing into account, Royal Caribbean has decided to replace our calls in Ephesus (Kusadasi) with alternate ports-of-call for the 2017 Europe season.

"We truly regret having to take this action and thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Any decision we make is made in an abundance of caution and safety, as your clients experience in our ports of call is always our utmost priority."

This will affect the following ships:

  • Brilliance of the Seas will now call on Mykonos, Greece.
  • Jewel of the Seas will now call on Rhodes, Greece.
  • Rhapsody of the Seas will now call on:
    • Kotor, Montenegro
    • July 14th: Chania, Greece
    • October 7th: Mykonos, Greece

Guests that purchased a Royal Caribbean Shore Excursion for their day in Kusadasi, a full refund will be processed to the original form of payment within one week.

7 tips for a great Royal Caribbean Baltic cruise

In:
17Aug2016

Please welcome Dr. Kris Leppien-Christensen as our guest blogger today! He is sharing insight and tips from his recent Royal Caribbean cruise on Serenade of the Seas to the Baltic countries in Europe.

Royal Caribbean offers some terrific cruises to Northern Europe and the Baltics, and for those taking a cruise to this part of the world that is rich in history and culture, here are seven ways to make your cruise even better.

1. Book your airfare early and be flexible

Unlike North American cruises, round trip airfare to your port of embarkation can run nearly as much as the cruise itself. As a result, one of the best pieces of advice to reduce the associated costs of airfare is to book early.

Most airlines allow you to book up to 330 days in advance. In doing so, you may be able to find an excellent deal. While deals can be had closer to cruising, you do risk paying substantially more as a result. For the last two years, the best deals we found for round trip air to Europe from California was Thanksgiving week and at the 300+ day mark.

Another way to save money on airfare is to spend a couple of extra days pre- and/or post-cruise. Doing so not only allows you some additional time to enjoy your embarkation and/or disembarkation port, but it also allows for you to travel home on a day that might be less expensive.

Similarly, look at airports within a drivable distance from your home. Sometimes airfare can be as much as half that of your local airport. Even with the additional expense of getting to or from the distant airport, the savings can be substantial especially because one-way car rentals are often an affordable option.

2. Book shore excursions early and consider looking at private companies

While there is safety in booking with the cruise line, cruise line excursions also tend to be large group endeavors. As a result, the group moves at a very slow pace and a lot of time is spent waiting for those who are lingering. Thus, for the same price, and sometimes less, you can often get a much more personalized tour with a smaller group. In addition, if you book early, you can often save an additional sum of money as many private excursion providers offer early booking discounts.

Private excursions can truly be beneficial in St. Petersburg, Russia as the private companies offer personalized service, an opportunity to see more sights, and often have access to places before they open to the general public. And like the ship tours, these private vendors provide the blanket travel visas that are need to enter Russia. In addition, many of these tour companies offer excursions in the other Baltic ports and offer additional savings if you book multiple tours with them.

3. Don’t be afraid to go it on your own

Besides Russia, where a visa is required to enter the country, most of the ports are very easy to tour on your own. In fact, Stockholm and Tallinn are a short walk from many of the sights and Royal Caribbean regularly offers shuttle service in Tallinn, Riga, and Copenhagen when their ships stop there, so it is easy to simply hop on the shuttle into town and then explore on your own. If you plan on coming and going back to the ship more than once, this can be a very economical option as taxis can be quite expensive, especially in Stockholm where taxis are not regulated and in Copenhagen.

Other options to consider are Hop On/Hop Off bus tours that give you a narrated tour of the city (although these often stop running well before your ship leaves port) or free walking tours offered in most ports (although a gratuity is expected for the service provided).

Uber is also another affordable option to get to and from the port if needed.

4. Invest in international travel adapter plugs

Odds are that you will be spending at least one night prior to your cruise in a hotel and odds are that the plugs for your electronic gadgets won’t fit in the European outlets. However, most modern electronics are dual voltage, so all you need is an adapter to convert your North American plug to the European standard.

Another benefit of this small investment is that you will now be able to use the 220-volt outlet in your cabin, providing you with yet another outlet to charge your electronics. Do verify, though, that your electronic devices are dual voltage before using an adapter plug as they do not convert the voltage.

5. Find time to stop into a local grocery store

One of our favorite things to do when traveling to different countries is to go into the local grocery stores to see how they compare to our own. We also like to check out the candy aisle and try to pick up unusual candies to share with our family when we return. These grocery stores also provide us with the opportunity to try things that we might not otherwise have an opportunity to try.

In the Baltics, we had the most fun in a grocery store in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Not only were we able to pick up some unusual candies, they had a small bakery department where we were able to pick up some local pastries. In addition, we noticed that a number of customers were buying these small bars out of the dairy case. Upon inquiring what the items were, we discovered that they were a goat cheese bars that came in a variety of flavors, many of which were covered in chocolate. Not only were they inexpensive, about 50 cents, they were delicious and unlike anything we had ever had before.

6. Don’t sweat the currency

When traveling to so many countries when on a Baltic cruise, one of the common worries is money. While it is true that U.S. dollars are not widely accepted, Euros are, although you might receive change in the local currency. And while having some currency makes small purchases practical especially from street vendors, most merchants take credit cards, but be aware that some credit card providers charge a foreign transaction fee.

ATMs are readily available and one of the best options for getting money at a low fee. Other options include large banks if you are an account holder there or online through AAA, who has a partnership with Wells Fargo for currency exchange services. Do realize, however, that your best exchange rate will be at ATMs or by using your credit card.

7. Use one of the online roll call sites

Making contact with fellow cruisers on a Baltics cruise can be very beneficial in a number of ways.

For example, some of the people we met made arrangements to share a taxi from the airport to the port significantly reducing cost of getting to the ship. We were also able to obtain a discount with our tour provider in St. Petersburg, Russia and in Federicia, Denmark by forming a group beforehand. Even though we all paid individually, we were able to benefit from a group discount and saved money over what the cruise line offered.

An additional benefit of joining a roll call is that you will have an opportunity to “meet” people before your cruise, which can be extremely beneficial if you have children. In our case, we were able to meet up with a family that had children and were able to tour with them over four days. The kids enjoyed each other’s company and kept themselves entertained as the adults explored the various sights.

If you have any tips to share or questions to ask, please do so by leaving a comment below.

Pages