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Comparing the biggest cruise ship in the world vs. Titanic

In:
Category: 
05Mar2021

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas holds the title as the world's largest cruise ship, so how does it compare to the most well-known ship of all time?

Photo by By F.G.O. Stuart (1843-1923)

The Titanic is more than likely the most well-known ocean liner because of its famous accident in 1912. Her sinking has never been eclipsed in the public imagination, despite decades of larger and safe cruise ships.

Nonetheless, if you mention cruise ships to someone who is new to cruising, inevitably the Titanic references usually follow. So if your baseline for understanding what a cruise ship is is based on a vessel that sailed over 100 years ago, here is a look at how much different big ships are now.

Meet Symphony of the Seas

At about five times the size of Titanic, the world's largest cruise ship is Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas.

Spanning 18 decks, Symphony is the fourth Oasis Class cruise ship to be launched.

Size is everything with Symphony, as she is 1,184 ft 5.0 in length.  If you were to stand her up, she's almost as tall as the Empire State Building (1,250 feet without any antennas).

There are 25 pools, whirlpools, FlowRider surf simulators and water slides are on board to enjoy.

Getting around the ships is pretty easy, thanks to the neighborhood concept Royal Caribbean developed for these ships. There are seven neighborhoods inside the ship to help distinguish areas from each other and make navigation for guests simpler.

You will find 2,759 staterooms, including 188 suites and 28 more balconies than the next largest ship in the fleet (Harmony of the Seas).

Read moreFun facts about Symphony of the Seas

Comparing Symphony of the Seas to Titanic

Not only is Symphony of the Seas larger than Titanic, all of the Oasis Class cruise ships are larger than the Titanic in gross tonnage, as well as size.

The Titanic measured in at 882 feet and 9 inches long, and weighed 46,328 gross tons.

Symphony of the Seas measures 1,184 ft 5.0 inches in length and has a gross tonnage of 228,081.

In terms of gross tonnage, Titanic doesn't even make the list the top 64 world's largest cruise ships by gross tonnage.

Ditto for length; Among the top 64 largest cruise ships in the world today, the "shortest" ship comes in at 984.1 ft with the AIDAprima and AIDAperla.

Titanic was built at an estimated cost of $7.5 million in 1912, which in today's dollars would cost approximately $400 million.

Symphony of the Seas cost $1.35 billion to construct.

Titanic could handle 2,453 passengers, while Symphony of the Seas has a capacity of 5,518 passengers at double occupancy.

 Symphony of the SeasTitanic
Passengers5,518 passengers at double occupancy; 6,680 passengers maximum2,435
Crew Members2,200892
Length1,184 ft 5.0 in882 feet
Weight228,081 gross tons46,328 gross tons
Max speed22 knots23 knots
Decks189
Cost to Build$1.35 billion$400 million (today's cost)

Illustration by PA Graphics

In terms of things to do on each ship, Titanic offered a heated pool, gym, squash court, and Turkish bath.

Symphony of the Seas has 25 pools, two FlowRider surf simulators, two rock walls, a full-sized basketball court, ice-skating rink, mini golf course, and a carousel.

In the evening, Titanic would feature smoking rooms, billiards, music, and dancing.

On Symphony of the Seas, you can find the Broadway musical Hairspray, ice skating shows, piano bars, karaoke, jazz club, live music, movie screenings and production shows in the AquaTheater.

How much is a ticket on Titanic vs. Symphony of the Seas?

Any cruise fan knows that there is no standard price for a cruise.  Cruise fares vary from ship to ship and even sailing to sailing.

It is not unreasonable to pay around $2,000 for a balcony cabin for two guests on Symphony of the Seas.

The prices of tickets on the Titanic in 1912 ranged from £30 (equivalent to £3,000 in 2019) and £870 (equivalent to  £100,027.45 in 2021) for a parlour suite and small private promenade deck in first class, to £8 for a third-class adult fares and £3 for children. That's roughly equal to between $100,000 to $345 in today's prices.

Unlike modern cruise ships, Titanic had different classes of fares. First, second, and third class, which were distinguished by social status and ticket cost.

First class was for the wealthiest and most prominent passengers.  These were upper class people, who had careers in business, politics, the military, or industry. These were the well-to-do and most well-known people sailing.

Second Class was essentially the middle class people, which might include tourists, members of the clergy, and educators.

Third class (sometimes known as steerage) was mostly made up of immigrants moving to North America. 

How do these ships compare?

In short, Symphony of the Seas and Titanic don't have a ton in common besides being ships. Today's cruise ships are very different than ocean liners, like Titanic.

What many people who are new to cruise ships fail to understand is the fundamental shift leisure cruising underwent in the second half of the 20th century. Ocean liners and ferries evolved into the cruise ships that we know today.

Ocean liners were primarily used to bring passengers across the ocean from one point to another, whereas cruise ships go on pleasure voyages, closer to the coast, sailing between ports.

Unfortunately, many cruise novices have Titanic as their only frame of reference when it comes to non-cargo ships, so it ends up being the defacto benchmark.

Not only are ships like Symphony of the Seas immensely larger, the experience onboard is vastly different, with more to see, do, and eat than Titanic could have ever dreamed.

Bernie Sanders inauguration meme reaches cruise ships too

In:
Category: 
22Jan2021

You know a meme has hit critical mass when cruise ships get involved.  

Unless you have been off the internet since Wednesday (in which case, welcome back and thank you for visiting this blog first), Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has been the subject of a new meme involving how he sat at the Presidential Inauguration.

His mittens, winter jacket, and look on his face have proven to be Internet gold, as people have cropped him and pasted his sitting pose in endless funny scenarios, including cruise ship related memes.

It was not long until cruise fans got in on the fun, and we have seen quite a few Bernie memes involving cruise ships, and I wanted to share the ones I have run across so far.

None of these are my creation, nor do I take credit for making them.

A cruiser's manifesto: Cruise ship rules to live by

In:
Category: 
16Jan2021

There isn't a right or wrong way to cruise, but it seems there are several unwritten rules many repeat cruisers seem to follow.

These are the things we hold to be true, that all cruise sailings are not equal. As a result, we rely on tried-and-true advice to ensure a great vacation.

Whether you are brand new to cruising or have sailed for at least four score and seven years ago, these are the rules all cruisers live by to avoid problems later.

I will book my cruise as far in advance as I can to save money.

The key to getting the best price is to book your cruise as soon as you know you want to go on the sailing and lock in the cabin you prefer.

The ideal strategy for booking a Royal Caribbean cruise is if you live in a country where you can reprice your cruise up until final payment date. Residents of the United States, Canada and select other countries are able to contact Royal Caribbean if there is a price drop and take advantage of the lower price.

By booking 12, 18 or even 24 months in advance, you have the luxury of watching the price and making a price adjustment if there is a lower price offered. You can do this unlimited amount of times until the final payment date at 90 days prior to sailing. 

Booking a cruise one to two years in advance is not practical for many families, so a great time to book a cruise is between six and 12 months before sailing.

In addition to the lower prices, booking well in-advance of a cruise assures you of the ship and stateroom you want to reserve. Suites and some of the higher in-demand cabins are the first to be reserved, and waiting to book usually results in far fewer choices. Moreover, my observation is the price for a suite on Royal Caribbean tends to only go up over time at a greater rate than standard cabins.

Since booking many months in advance comes at the risk of guessing your own personal schedule and hoping for no surprises, I always recommend booking refundable cruise fare to avoid penalties if an unexpected reason to cancel a cruise occurs.

I will read about the ports I’m going to before I get there.

Your cruise ship will visit different ports of call during your sailing, so picking a great shore excursion for the few hours you have in each stop is very important.

Your first step is to determine the most popular activities in each port. Then, start looking at what tours are available, either on your own or through the cruise line.

The key is to determine which tours you want to book, and reserve it in advance. In some cases booking in advance will save you money, and everyone can benefit from having the luxury of time to consider all options.

I will try new foods.

Going on a cruise is one of the best times to try new foods, because so many of them are included in the cost of your cruise.

There is no penalty for not finishing something you ordered, so you should always feel free to order something to give it a try and know you can always have a backup order if you do not like it.

This is a great opportunity not only to indulge, but to also try out some new foods, like escargot!

I will be flexible, especially about my plans.

Even if you spend more time than any other human being before planning a cruise, you will still run into problem here or there.

The key is to not let little mishaps greatly impact your cruise and to understand sometimes you just have to let the little things go by.

Whether the weather does not cooperate, a port has to be skipped, or your kids decide they cannot be bothered to wake up before 11am, it is super important to adopt a "go with the flow" mentality to cruises.

As a major advocate of planning ahead, a little bit of footwork does go a long way to helping avoid some major pitfalls. However, there is always going to be some risk to any well-thought out plan.

It is a great idea to make plans and look forward them, but know in advance that no matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it.

The key is not letting this incident ruin the rest of your day or cruise. We all experience frustration, but try to remember the classic mantra of don't worry, be happy.

Read more7 things I wish more cruisers knew about going on a cruise

If a problem does arise, I will talk to someone about it while onboard.

A really common mistake I see is someone on a cruise runs into some sort of a problem that impacts their enjoyment of the cruise and does not say something to a crew member about it.

Whether it is a malfunction in the cabin, accident onboard, disagreement with a crew member, or anything else that stops you in your tracks, problems should be addressed onboard and not after the cruise.

I know that feeling of not wanting be a bother, but Royal Caribbean wants you to have a great experience, and problems should be identified so they can be fixed.

A classic example is slow service in a dining room, where a waiter may be handling too many tables or a kitchen delay slows everything down. Asking to speak to the head waiter to alert them that there is a problem is a helpful way to get the situation resolved quicker.

If you have a billing discrepancy on your bill, speak to Guest Relations on the ship. If something is not working properly in your cabin, alert your stateroom attendant.

Read moreThe top crew members to find if you have a problem onboard your cruise

I will take time while on my cruise to forget about the real world.

One aspect of going on a cruise that I love is the ability to disconnect from the world events for a little bit.

Whether it is politics, breaking news, or college football, it is nice to intentionally or unintentionally take a step back from the daily grind these updates can have on our psyche.

As someone who always buys an internet package, I am not advocating completely ignoring what is happening at home, but going on a cruise can be a nice break from the 24 hour news cycles and constant jibber-jabber that slowly eats away at us.

A good rule of thumb is to not bring up these topics to other guests onboard (just like at parties on land, politics and religion are never good topics), and spend more time enjoying the beautiful scenery and discuss the fun you had that day.

I will have no regrets about partying until dawn but I will be respectful of my fellow guests sleeping while stumbling back to my stateroom.

This is an important mantra, because there is no judging the "which bars are still open at this hour" crowd.  But respect goes both ways.

There are lots of activities on a cruise, plenty of indulgences, and no work the next day to stymie sudden impulses, but that is not carte blanche for dragging others along unwillingly with you.

Leave the party at the lounge or bar, and quietly find a comfortable spot in your room to close your eyes and wake up many, many, many hours later.

I will be friendly onboard and aspire to meet some new friends.

Speaking of respecting other guests, you should always greet other guests with a smile and practice good manners.

One mistake I made early in cruising was ignoring other people I was cruising with, in the same way I might look at a land hotel as just a bunch of rooms with beds and I was on my way.

Not everyone necessarily wants a new friend, but a simple "hello" and "goodbye" in an elevator, or "how do you do" during a shore excursion is not only a polite way to keep things friendly, but you never know whom you may meet.

So many cruisers make new friends onboard by virtue of the fact they happen to be under similar circumstances, which leads to a conversation that might end up forming a new bond.

Speaking of being friendly, do not limit yourself to just other guests. The crew members onboard work very hard to make your vacation a great one, and you should feel free to strike up a conversation with them as well.  

Even if you do not meet your new BFF on a cruise, being cordial to each other is the least we can all do and is always a good idea.

After 2020, I will not take cruises for granted.

After the events of the last 12 months, it is clear we all took the ability to go on a cruise for granted.

So much of our world has changed, and with it the casual ability to go on a cruise vacation.  While other aspects of travel have returned, cruises remain shutdown and it has served as a good reminder of what we once had and why we should treasure the opportunity.

Travel has always been a luxury, so the old saying of "stop to smell the roses" is appropriate for whenever we are able to get back on a cruise again.

Top 8 things repeat cruisers seem to say all the time

In:
Category: 
06Nov2020

People that cruise a lot are the backbone of the cruise industry, and just like any seasoned veteran, they tend to have an unique way of looking at things.

Repeat cruisers have "been there, done that" and if you spend enough time on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards or a Facebook group, you may notice certain idioms that repeat cruises love to repeat.

From one repeat cruiser to another, here are the most common things I see repeat cruisers posting all the time.

"I wish there was a no kids cruise"

Royal Caribbean has always been a family cruise line, and yet there are a certain contingent of cruisers who clamor for a mythical no children sailing.

This comment usually pops up on Kids Sail Free deal threads, or when family cruising is being discussed.

Most seem to just prefer times of the year when there are less children on a ship, while others really do wish for a Virgin Voyages approach.

"The sales are all the same"

When there is a new promotion or offer announced by Royal Caribbean, repeat cruisers tend to roll their eyes as they say that all the sales are the same.

There is a bit of truth to what they say, in that every new Royal Caribbean promotion does not necessarily mean additional savings. The price of a sailing varies, and unlike a sale on jeans in a retail store where a fixed discount is applied across the board, cruise fare pricing is much less generic.

The price of a sailing can fluctuate considerably, and promotional offers tend not to have a wide ranging effect on prices across the board.

When there is a new offer, there are absolutely certain cruises that become cheaper, but not every sailing. 

Repeat cruisers also know the importance of tracking prices of the long haul, and repricing when possible to lock in savings.

The mask sun tan meme

Ever since the cruise industry has shutdown and the idea of having to wear a mask on a cruise ship popped up, the photo of a couple with sun tan lines around their face where their mask was has been posted over and over again.

Like all memes, it is funny to some people, but this one gets shared a lot.

"When is ___ of the Seas coming back to ____?"

New ship deployments are a big deal, because it means potentially new itineraries to book.  

Repeat cruisers have a long memory, and will usually post about how they wish a certain Royal Caribbean ship would return to a specific homeport.

This is most commonly stated among British cruisers, who have a strong affinity for certain ships, but Americans also miss their favorite ships sailing from ports near them.

"The main dining room isn't as good as it used to be"

Perhaps no topic is as subjective as food, and cruisers are not shy about sharing their opinion on the state of food on a cruise.

Whether they yearn for the midnight buffet to return, or think the main dining room has gone downhill, repeat cruisers do not hesitate to talk about the state of dining.

The rise of specialty dining across Royal Caribbean ships (and the whole cruise industry) has convinced some people that the quality of the food in the main dining room has degraded as a result.

I certainly do not agree with this trope, but it is a hotly debated topic.

"I book directly with Royal Caribbean because I want to be in control of my reservation."

Old habits are the hardest to break, and this applies to how repeat cruisers book their cruises.

The most common hesitation from loyal cruisers that I hear why they do not want to use a travel agent to book their cruise is because they value being able to pick up the phone and call Royal Caribbean to book, cancel, or alter their reservation.

While it is true that using a travel agent means the agent is the one that can modify a reservation, I believe that is a positive change.  I take no joy in dialing the cruise line and having to talk to a representative to make changes to a sail date or reprice a cruise, when instead I could text my travel agent to do it on my behalf.

Using a good travel agent is a great idea, and I believe you only stand to benefit by using one.

How many cruises they have booked right now

I am guilty of talking about how many upcoming cruises I have booked, as it is not only a source of pride but also excitement.

Something that only repeat cruisers think is normal is having a bunch of cruises reserved, with multiple cruises in one calendar year.

While people that do not cruise a lot are often surprised to hear how often cruise fans go on a cruise, those of us that cruise all the time see nothing odd about it at all.

Wishing for new smaller cruise ships to be built

Whether their idea of "small" is a Radiance Class, Voyager Class, or Empress of the Seas, folks that have cruised a lot tend to have favorite size of ships and lament the bigger and bigger trend in cruises.

Whenever Royal Caribbean announces it has ordered a new ship, or a new ship is delivered, it is not uncommon to run across a comment from someone that wishes Royal Caribbean would build a new ship that is significantly smaller than an Oasis or Quantum Class ship.

While the economy of scale that makes bigger ships so much more profitable will likely prevent that wish from ever coming true, you can always sail on a smaller new ship on a sister brand, such as Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, or SilverSea.

Royal Caribbean will stream second virtual variety show

In:
Category: 
23Oct2020

Royal Caribbean is bringing back an online variety show that showcases some of the top entertainment acts across the cruise line.

The Very Virtual Variety Show 2 is a collection of popular onboard acts, including Tap Factory, Simeon Kirkiles, MO5AIC, Earl Turner and more.

Hosting the live performance will be Senior Vice President of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean International, Nick Weir.

You can catch the event live on Royal Caribbean's Facebook page on Friday, October 23 at 5 p.m. EDT.

The first Virtual Variety Show aired online in August and proved to be so popular, Royal Caribbean decided to bring it back.

This month's event has a mix of comedians, musicians, illusionists and more.

Mr. Weir describes the online event as, "kind of a bit of a cross between a podcast, and a talk show, and a variety show. And it's all very virtual and it's going to be great fun."

The show is described as family friendly, and it is offered as a means of enjoying the kind of entertainment we usually have on a cruise ship while there are no cruises sail on.

This is another online event held by Royal Caribbean during the global cruise shutdown. In June, Royal Caribbean streamed a virtual concert performance that was traditionally shown in Two70 on its Quantum Class ships.

The Virtual Concert featured Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns. High resolution video footage of that performance was captured on five 4K cameras to create a truly unique, immersive experience.

Top 10 best ways to spend $100 on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
Category: 
31Aug2020

If you are looking for some ideas on how to splurge on your Royal Caribbean cruise without breaking the bank, here are my top picks for how to spend less than $100!

Each of these items costs less than $100 per person, and offers a different and fun way to enhance your cruise vacation.

Sushi making class

One of the most enjoyable activities I have ever done on a Royal Caribbean ship was trying the On A Roll sushi making class.

This is a combination of learning the basics of sushi making, along with a lot of food.  It is really more of a meal than an educational experience, but it provides a fun way to learn how to make a few different types of sushi.

If you like sushi at all, this is well-worth trying out and be sure to come hungry.

Specialty restaurant dinner

When in doubt, eating is a great idea for how to spend some money and Royal Caribbean's ships offer exquisite specialty dining options.

The complimentary food onboard is great, but sometimes you want something different, and a dinner out at a specialty restaurant is a great way to spend $100.

Each restaurant has its own pricing, but most restaurants should cost less than $100 for two people to dine there (although a few will cost more).  

Giovanni's Table, Chops Grille, Jamie's Italian, Portside BBQ and Izumi sushi should all come in right around that $100 mark for two guests, and you will walk away very satisfied.

If you plan to eat at more than one specialty restaurant, consider instead buying a specialty dining package (although it will likely cost more than $100).

WOWbands

At just $5 each, a WOWband is a must-buy for me on any cruise I sail on these days.

WOWbands are RFID bracelets that are available on most Oasis and Quantum Class ships.  They work in conjunction with your SeaPass card to provide convenient access to your room, charging options, and being able to check-into activities.

Considering the low cost, I think it is well-worth it, and the bands can be exchanged for new bands on future sailings (most of the time).

Coco Beach Club access

If you can book the Coco Beach Club at Perfect Day at CocoCay for less than $100 per person, then I think this is a great way to spend the money.

The private Coco Beach Club enclave debuted in early 2020 and its popularity shot up rapidly along with the price.

The service, ambiance and upgraded food and amenities all make a day at the Coco Beach Club totally worth it, if you can get it at the right price.

For $100 or less per person, I think it is worth booking.  If the price comes in higher than that, I would probably consider booking a CocoCay cabana instead.

Sip. Tour. Brunch.

Another relatively new option has garnered rave reviews by many cruisers, the Sip Tour Brunch.

This activity combines unlimited champagne with a backstage tour of the ship's galley (the cruise ship's kitchen).

Not only do you get to see how Royal Caribbean manages to serve up thousands of meals for guests everyday, but you get to enjoy brunch in the Main Dining Room complete with unlimited sparkling wine.

Up, Up & Away helium balloon ride

The Up, Up & Away helium balloon ride is a great way to splurge during your visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay without spending a lot of money.

Up, Up  & Away will take you up to 450 feet up in the air to provide the highest vantage point in The Bahamas. The views at the top are incredible, and you can maneuver around the balloon to take it all in.

Be sure to bring your camera, because you will find some amazing photo opportunities.

Learn how to decorate cupcakes

A really fun family activity is the Sprinkle Time Cupcake Decorating Class, which allows anyone to try their hand at making really fun cupcakes...and then eating them.

If you enjoy watching those cooking competition shows where people create awesome looking desserts, this is the next-best way to live out your dream of being one of those chefs.

In 45 minutes, you will learn how to make a fun looking over-the-top cupcake that is appropriate for guests of all ages.

Stateroom decorations

If you are celebrating a special occasion on your cruise, you can buy stateroom decorations that will be delivered and set up for you onboard.

There are stateroom decorations for an anniversary or birthday, and it can be a great surprise for that special someone since Royal Caribbean will set it up before you arrive.

You can find the stateroom decorations options on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site under the "Gifts & Gear" section of the "Internet & More" category.

Onboard photo

While $19.95 for one photo is a lot of money, I do think getting that perfect family portrait that you can hang on your wall or put on your mantle is definitely worth it.

Each night of the cruise, there will be photographers around the ship to take your photo. There is no cost to take the photos, and later you can stop by the Photo Gallery to see how the prints came out.

If you spot one that you really like, you can buy it to bring home.  

I like that there is very low pressure to take the photos or to buy them, and getting a good family photo that you will want to show off later is worth $20 in the grand scheme of things.

Escape room

One of my favorite onboard activities is the escape room games that are available on more and more Royal Caribbean ships.

Each escape room challenges guests to solve a series of puzzles and clues in a limited amount of time.

Every escape room is different, and it is a completely different kind of cruise ship activity than you will usually encounter onboard. It is especially fun if you have a large family or group that enjoys competition.

Royal Caribbean will stream virtual variety show on Friday

In:
Category: 
13Aug2020

While there may be no Royal Caribbean cruises to sail on, you can still enjoy some of the very same onboard entertainment from the comfort of your home.

Royal Caribbean's entertainment team is putting together a collection of popular onboard acts, including American acapella group MO5AIC, British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, duo Gold Art, acrobats from the Ukraine and more.

Royal Caribbean is calling it the "Very Virtual Variety Show", and hosting the live performance will be Senior Vice President of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean International, Nick Weir.

"Anyone who thought that that just kind of misses the environment, misses cruising and in particular misses the entertainment at Royal Caribbean International, we're going to do something special," Mr. Weir said about the the idea behind the show.

"Kind of a bit of a cross between a podcast, and a talk show, and a variety show. And it's all very virtual and it's going to be great fun."

You can catch the event live on Royal Caribbean's Facebook page on Friday, August 14 at 5 p.m. EDT.

This is another online event held by Royal Caribbean during the global cruise shutdown. In June, Royal Caribbean streamed a virtual concert performance that was traditionally shown in Two70 on its Quantum Class ships.

The Virtual Concert featured Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns. High resolution video footage of that performance was captured on five 4K cameras to create a truly unique, immersive experience.

Turn your selfie photo into a Perfect Day at CocoCay virtual fun photo

In:
Category: 
28May2020

In lieu of taking a selfie while having a great time at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean is offering the opportunity to take your selfie photo and turn it into a virtual photo from the somewhere on the island!

Following up on the popularity of the last time it offered a virtual photo, Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society is offering anyone the chance to send in their best at-home selfies and the super talented social media crew will virtually transport you to CocoCay.

All you have to do is share a photo of yourself in the comments on the post, and the staff will transform you into a digital photo shortly thereafter.

Be sure to act quickly! Royal Caribbean will only take submissions from noon eastern until 1:30pm eastern.

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