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10 Ways to splurge on your cruise

In:
12 Jul 2022

Taking a cruise is a wonderful escape on its own, but what if you want to make the entire trip extra special?

Allure of the Seas aerial with sunset

There are lots of occasions when people want to make their cruise memorable, such as for an anniversary, birthday, graduation or other life event. For these kind of celebrations, I'll see questions about ways to enhance the experience.

Think of these tips as the proverbial "cherry on top" for a traditional cruise.

Couple at Giovannis

To be fair, these tips all deal with spending extra money on your cruise.  You certainly don't need to spend money in order to have a memorable vacation, but throwing money around can certainly make a cruise stand out given the extras it provides.

Hopefully these tips can help transform any cruise you have booked into an even more special occasion and something you'll look back on fondly.

Upgrade your cabin

Photos: Voyager of the Seas completes $97 million renovation | Royal Caribbean Blog

A straight forward way to surprise someone would be get them a more lavish cruise ship cabin.

Whether you move up from an inside cabin to a balcony, or a balcony to a suite, getting a bigger cabin is noticeable difference.

There are two ways you can upgrade your cabin.

Owner suite balcony

The first, is contact your travel agent and simply pay more to move up to a higher category. This is the simplest way, although you're subject to the prevailing rates for that cabin. How much more will vary considerably, but you're likely to get a better price for an upgrade if you do this many months before your cruise.

The alternative is to roll the dice with a RoyalUp upgrade, which is a way you can bid for a stateroom upgrade.

Once you get to final payment date, you can let Royal Caribbean know how much you would be willing to pay if an upgrade situation presented itself.

There's no guarantee that because you see a RoyalUp upgrade opportunity that there's a cabin available, but there's no harm in trying either. Just keep in mind your bids are binding if it were to be accepted.

Fly first class to your cruise

First class seats

One of my favorite ways to travel and get excited even before stepping onboard my ship is to fly first class.

First class airfare is not cheap, but if you book it early, there can sometimes be a good deal.  Moreover, this is a good way to use up those credit card points you may have stacked up.

You could also take a limo to the airport or stay in a suite at your pre-cruise hotel to complete the Hollywood treatment.

Book a cabana

Is your cruise visiting one of Royal Caribbean's private islands?

At both Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee, you'll find cabanas you can rent for the day.

When you rent a cabana, you not only get a dedicated spot to enjoy with shade, bottled water, and floating mats to enjoy, you'll have a cabana attendant who can bring you drinks (and food at Perfect Day at CocoCay).

Chill Island cabanas

Staying in a cabana gets you

  • Private ocean view cabana rental for the full day
  • Furnished with 2 luxurious resort-style lounge chairs & a sofa
  • Four bottles of water (in a cooler)
  • Floating beach mats and snorkeling gear.
  • Towels for your use during the day

If you really want to go big, try one of the cabanas at the Coco Beach Club.  While pricey, these are the most lavish cabanas Royal Caribbean has and the lunch you get is unrivaled.

Read moreGuide to Perfect Day at CocoCay Cabanas

The level of service with a cabana, along with the plush accommodations, make it a must-book nearly every time I visit either destination.

Spa treatments

Massage at the spa

Perhaps no other is more synonymous with treating yourself (or someone else) than the Vitality Spa.

Spa treatments are all about being pampered, so it makes perfect sense to book a spa appointment.

You can book spa treatments and salon appointments online via the Royal Caribbean cruise planner before your cruise. There's a wide selection of choices to consider.

Read moreWhen should you buy Royal Caribbean add-ons

Stateroom decorations

Royal Caribbean makes it very easy to decorate your cabin for a birthday, anniversary, or honeymoon with decoration kits.

You'll find these items in the cruise planner site.

The room decorations include door décor, mirror clings, photo frames and more.

Book a private shore excursion tour

There's nothing quite like exploring a port of call without having to wait for anyone else.

A private tour shore excursion can be not only liberating in the sense you get to do what you want, when you want, but it's also a great way to feel special since the entire tour is about your group.

There are a few ways to book a private tour, depending on the port you are visiting.

Eagle Beach

Royal Caribbean offers its own private shore excursion option through Private Journeys.  Be sure to contact them at least a month or two before your cruise, as it takes them a while to get options together.

In most ports, you can also arrange a private tour on your own. It's important to do your research for reputable options, but there's usually a few operators that can do this.

Some good ideas for a private tour would be a sightseeing tour, catamaran ride, or ATV tour. But your imagination is usually the limit.

Dress up for photos

Royal Promenade on Adventure of the Seas

With all these splurges, you're going to want to capture the memories with a great photo.

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.

Whether it's formal night or not, get everyone together and dress to the nines, put on matching pajamas, or find that eclectic outfit at Target for ironic photos.

You could also arrange a private photo sitting. Most ships have the option for a sitting, where you can go to a studio and have a photo session. There is an obligation to pay for the time and photos, but these are where you might get some really great shots.

Eat only at specialty restaurants

Izumi hibachi on Mariner of the Seas

While I really enjoy the main dining room, there's nothing quite like specialty dining as a way to enjoy additional cuisines and cooking styles.

Royal Caribbean offers an unlimited dining package, where you can eat at a specialty restaurant every night of the cruise for dinner and lunch on sea days (and embarkation day).

Giovanni's Table on Allure of the Seas

Depending on which ship you're sailing, there's quite a few different choices to consider. On a 7-night cruise, you'll have opportunity to repeat a few (or all) of the restaurants so you can try one of everything.

Read moreHow to know if you should buy a Royal Caribbean dining package

Form a group

This tip requires more coordination, but if you're going to sail with a few other families and friends, then you could really splurge in style.

If you can book at least 8 cabins with a single travel agent, you could create a group with Royal Caribbean.

When you have a group, then you can work with Royal Caribbean's groups department to arrange special events onboard, such a renting out certain venues. Imagine having the water slides or bumper for just your group for an hour. Or renting out a lounge to have a private party? Your imagination (and budget) are the limit.

Before anyone books a cruise, talk with a travel agent about arranging this so you can get the important group backend logistics set up first.

Read moreTop things you didn't know travel agents can do for your cruise vacation

Buy jewelry

Just like a photo can remind you of a wonderful vacation, a piece of fine jewelry can be an everyday reminder of one too.

There are jewelry stores on Royal Caribbean ships, with some ships even having name brand jewelry, like a Tiffany's store at sea.

You could also go jewelry shopping while in port, as nearly every port I've ever been to has plenty of jewelry shops.

Whether you look for a new ring, earing, or necklace, picking out a new piece of jewelry can be a wonderful way to top off the cruise.

Comparing the biggest cruise ship in the world vs. Titanic

In:
18 Jun 2022

Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas is among the largest cruise ships in the world, 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 Wonder of the Seas

Wonder of the Seas aerial rear night

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

Spanning 18 decks, Wonder is the fifth Oasis Class cruise ship to be launched.

Size is everything with Symphony, as she is 1,188 feet 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).

Wonder of the Seas Fun Facts Infographic

There are four pools and 10 hot tubs on Wonder of the Seas to enjoy

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

You will find 2,867 staterooms, including 175 suites.

Read moreInteresting facts you might not know about Wonder of the Seas

How big was the Titanic?

Titanic was a large ship for its time, coming in at 882 feet 9 inches long and encompassing 9 decks.

  • Beam: 92 feet 6 inches
  • Height: 175 feet
  • Weight: 46,328 gross tons

Titanic was the largest ship built up to that point in time.

Comparing Wonder of the Seas to Titanic

Not only is Wonde rof 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.

Wonder of the Seas measures 1,188 feet in length and has a gross tonnage of 236,857.

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.

Wonder of the Seas cost $1.35 billion to construct.

Titanic could handle 2,453 passengers, while Wonder of the Seas has a capacity of 5,734 passengers at double occupancy.

 Wonder of the SeasTitanic
Passengers5,734 passengers at double occupancy; 6,680 passengers maximum2,435
Crew Members2,300892
Length1,188 ft882 feet
Weight236,857 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.

Wonder of the Seas has 25 pools, a FlowRider surf simulator, 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 Wonder of the Seas, you can find original production shows, ice skating shows, piano bars, karaoke, live music, movie screenings and production shows in the AquaTheater.

How much is a ticket on Titanic vs. Wonder 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 Wonder 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?

Wonder of the Seas aerial aft

In short, Wonder of the Seas and Titanic don't have a ton in common besides being ocean going vessels. 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 Wonder of the Seas immensely larger, the experience onboard is vastly different, with more to see, do, and eat than Titanic could have ever dreamed.

6 Royal Caribbean trademarks that sound like they could be really cool things

In:
14 Apr 2022

Royal Caribbean has trademarked a lot of interesting names over the last couple of years, and perhaps these could be a hint at future projects they have planned.

In the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean has secured a spot for itself as a market innovator.  They have consistently used technology and lessons learned from previous innovations to create new onboard experiences that capture the attention of the cruising public.

It began with adding a rock climbing wall to cruise ships, but has since graduated to AquaTheaters, North Star, Bionic Bar, Ultimate Abyss, and much more.

Royal Caribbean is on the verge of launching a brand new class of cruise ship with Icon of the Seas, and there's still another Oasis Class ship to go.  While we wont know what Royal Caribbean has up their sleeve until they announce something, perhaps trademark filings will give us a clue of what to expect.

I went through the last two years of trademark applications to see which names stand out as sounding like they could be really cool.

It's important to note that just because Royal Caribbean trademarks a name, doesn't mean it will be used for anything. Moreover, I know nothing more than anyone else outside of Royal Caribbean, so these names could all end up being something completely different or not relevant at all.

So in the interest of purely day dreaming, here's my picks for names Royal Caribbean trademarked that just sound enticing.

Cruiseverse

Metaverse

Earlier this year, Royal Caribbean trademarked "cruiseverse" and while I don't think this will be a ship-based experience, it sounds very different.

Usually trademark applications are quite vague, but this one had more details about what the cruise line intends to do with it.

It's meant for "virtual cruise ship services" and is described as featuring, "operating a virtual cruise ship ship vessel featuring virtual cafes, restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and virtual excursions."

Whether or not this is meant for an online world, or something totally different, you have to admit this is more than just a new water slide.

AquaDome

In early 2021, Royal Caribbean trademarked "AquaDome" under the generic category of "Cruise ship services Restaurant and bar services"

Breaking apart the name, we have "aqua" and "dome", which seems to infer something involving water and a rounded structure.

Royal Caribbean likes to use the word "aqua" in the name of a few of its existing onboard features:

  • Aquanauts (Adventure Ocean room for younger kids)
  • AquaTheater (ampitheater on Oasis Class ships)
  • aqua coaster (type of water slide on Navigator of the Seas)
  • Aqua Class (name of suite amenities on Celebrity Cruises)

Pressure Drop

Royal Caribbean trademarked the name of what sound like brand new water slides in December 2021.

The new trademarks included:

  • Category 6
  • Hurricane Hunter
  • Storm Surge
  • Pressure Drop
  • Storm Chasers

Pressure Drop seems the most exciting of the bunch, and it could point to new water slides for its cruise ships or on its private islands.

Playaway Park

When I read the trademark for "Playaway Park", I immediately thought of Splashaway Bay since the names sound similar.

Splashaway Bay is an aqua park for kids on many cruise ships. Playaway Park sounds like it could be the name of a dry playground for kids. 

Absolute Zero

Ice bar

Could "Absolute Zero" be the name of a new ice bar?

Ice bars are a fad on land and on some other cruise lines, where the bar is cooled to such a low temperature the bar is made of ice and guests usually have to wear jackets to enter.

NCL ice bar

Norwegian Cruise Line has an ice bar on the Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Escape.

Perhaps Royal Caribbean is considering its own version of a chilly drink venue.

Thrillamanjaro

In the grand scheme of trademarked names, I think this is my favorite sounding name.

Given that it's a play on words from Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, I have to think it's some kind of tall activity.

8 cruise ship activities I'd like to see return this year

In:
03 Feb 2022

Royal Caribbean restarted cruises about eight months ago, and yet there are still some activities and entertainment onboard that have not returned.

The reason most of these activities have not resumed is due to social/physical distancing requirements. While we understand the rationale behind the decision, it doesn't mean we don't miss these fun things to do on a ship.

Here are just a few favorites that I hope can be brought back this year.

Pool Games

Friday Photos | Royal Caribbean Blog

A staple on almost every cruise line is the belly flop competition.

Who doesn’t enjoy watching your passengers throw themselves into the main pool to see who will make the biggest splash?

And it’s not just the belly flop. Also missing are the hairy chest and the world’s sexiest man competition.

Quest

50 things everyone should do on a Royal Caribbean cruise at least once | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you’ve never seen the Quest game show, you have missed out. It’s an adult themed scavenger hunt that not only has the teams participating but the audience too!

The cruise director will ask the teams to produce items (think “Let’s Make a Deal”) and if they don’t have it, they will look to the spectators to help them out.

Things can get a little racy, so if you’re easily offended, it may not be for you. It is such a hysterical show, even my 80-something year old grandmother was laughing harder than I’d ever seen.

Adventure Ocean

Symphony of the Seas family cruising guide | Royal Caribbean Blog

The kids club is open currently, but what is still missing is full capacity.

Pre-covid, you could drop your children off at Adventure Ocean and you may not see them again for the rest of the cruise due to all the fun they’re having.

These days though, you are required to make a reservation for a certain block of time to allow other guests access. It’s no surprise that the evening hours book up fast.

Main dining room seating

How to not eat with strangers on a Royal Caribbean cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

For now, the main dining room is only seating you with your immediate travel party, but I miss being able to sit with new friends for a meal.

Cruising can be a very social vacation, and to that point, there are many people who sail solo and like to meet new people. After meeting new friends at the pool or on an excursion, you may want to get together for dinner that evening.

As of right now, you are limited to sitting with people in your own stateroom, or those that have multiple rooms that were linked before the cruise.

Bar seating

Royal Caribbean announces $165 million upgrades and enhancements to Allure of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Even though the “meet and mingle” gatherings aren’t available, you can still sit with new friends in the lounges. What you can’t do is sit at the bar itself.

Watching the bar staff make your martini can be part of the entertainment but to keep the distance between the bartender and the guests, the stools have “unavailable” signs placed on them.

Production shows

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog | Royal Caribbean Blog

While you can still find Cats, Mama Mia and Grease on the Oasis class ships, what is noticeably absent are their other main theater shows.

Come Fly With Me, Blue Planet and Columbus! The Musical still remain dark. In fact, the main shows on most of the fleet have not returned. They are offering special guest entertainers in their places. I think this is due to a staffing issue.

This is probably what I hope comes back first. I enjoy having dinner and then going to the production shows with the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. Even with the condensed 90 minute version of the Broadway shows, it’s still a bit too long for me. The 45 minute production shows are perfect.

Cooking classes

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

Prior to your sailing, you would find cooking classes in your cruise planner available for booking.

Two that spring to mind are the cupcake decorating class, which we did on one of our anniversary cruises and the sushi making in Izumi. These were very popular, unique activities that are definitely missed.

Ship tours

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

The behind the scenes tour was offered pre-cruise and could also be booked onboard. We did the tour on the Freedom of the Seas. It was held on the last sea day. The tour took you to the laundry rooms, the crew areas (we saw their “grocery store” named “Freedom Mart”), the backstage of the production and ice shows, the engine rooms and the bridge. After a nice lunch in the main dining room, we went to the galley to see the chefs in action. The tour ended with a toast in the champagne bar.

Abbreviated ship tours have also been a long-standing perk for higher tier Crown and Anchor members but they have also been suspended. One captain I spoke to recently said he hopes they never return but this is something I definitely miss. I never passed up an opportunity to visit the bridge.

As time goes on and we get the pandemic more under control, it is expected that these beloved activities will make their way back to the ships. In my opinion, it can’t come soon enough.

Everyday things that are better on a cruise ship

In:
08 Jan 2022

Going on a cruise vacation is undoubtedly more exciting than your daily life at home. Each day on a cruise brings you to a different place packed with new views, experiences, and memories to make.

There are, of course, some everyday things that you will do both at home and on a cruise. But what everyday things are better on a cruise ship than at home?

Waking Up

The start to your day on a cruise ship is a lot more enjoyable than at home. You don't need to set an alarm, rush to get ready for work, and drop the kids off at school. You can wake up when you want with no obligations planned for your day.

Waking up on a cruise ship is even better when you have a balcony room. With a balcony, you will wake up to the sun shining through the window and sound of the ocean breeze. Our recommendation is to order room service for breakfast at least once on your sailing. Enjoying fresh fruit, pancakes, eggs, and toast on your own private balcony is a relaxing way to spend the morning on a cruise ship.

Plus, waking up on a cruise is especially exciting. Rather than waking up to prepare for your normal daily routine, you are waking up ready to explore and experience new things. It's a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning when you have a new island to explore!

Dining

Dining at home is much more complicated than on a cruise. From making a shopping list to going to the grocery store, meal prepping, and cooking, it can simply be a lot of work.

On a cruise ship, however, dining is exciting, dynamic, and stress-free. Say goodbye to sad leftovers at the office and say hello to endless dining choices with no cooking required.

Royal Caribbean cruises offer both complementary and specialty dining, which gives you the chance to try a variety of cuisines, dishes, and flavors.

Those looking for a unique dining experience may wish to try the peculiar dishes available at Wonderland. If you’re looking for something really fun, book a dinner at Izumi Hibachi, where you can watch your meal being cooked right in front of you.

Dining on a cruise ship may also be more elaborate than your usual meals at home. Whether in the Main Dining Room or at a specialty restaurant, meals often come with three or four different courses. Whereas dining at home may be a quick event, dining on a cruise ship always feels like a special occasion.

Another benefit of dining on a cruise ship compared to at home is the ability to try new foods without worrying about whether you will like them or not. While eating at a restaurant on land, you may be nervous to order a dish you’ve never tried before for fear of disliking it. After all, you’ll be paying for each dish you order!

On a cruise ship, though, there is no harm in ordering something new to try. Dishes are included in your cruise fare or dining package, so if you do not like something, you can always order something else.

Finally, did we mention that there is unlimited soft serve ice cream?

(Lack of) cleaning

Everyday life involves a fair amount of cleaning. Whether doing the dishes, laundry, vacuuming, yard work, or cleaning the kitchen, housework is a daily chore that many people really dislike doing.

One of the best parts of a cruise vacation is the service you receive while onboard. Once you board the ship, you can forget all about chores at home and enter vacation mode. Cooking, cleaning, and maintenance will now be dealt with by Royal Caribbean crew members.

On a cruise, your stateroom will be cleaned not just once, but two times per day. Did you leave your clothes on the floor? Are your dirty room service dishes on the desk? Did you run out of clean towels? No need to worry. Your stateroom attendant will come through to put your cabin back to picture-perfect condition.

After a big dinner at home, your kitchen sink is probably full of dirty dishes. On a cruise ship, you don’t have to worry about doing the dishes! You just eat your meal and a crew members take away the dishes for you.

All this being said, even though someone is going to be cleaning up after you, you should maintain common courtesy. And of course, be sure to leave gratuities to your helpful crew members!

You should also be aware that going home after your cruise and suddenly having to do these household chores again will feel very hard.

Entertainment

At home, it is unlikely that you are attending live musical events and theater performances every night. Your daily entertainment at home probably includes your couch, TV, and Netflix! This could not be more different than being on a cruise ship.

One of the biggest myths about going on a cruise is that you will be bored. People new to cruising may be nervous about feeling “stuck” on a cruise ship with nothing to do.

Once you get onboard, though, you’ll quickly realize that there is always something exciting happening on the ship. Royal Caribbean plans its days at sea or in port to be packed with entertainment, events, music, fitness, crafts, lectures, dance parties, and more.

Entertainment on cruise ships is nothing short of exciting. Depending on the ship, you can see full-length Broadway shows, ice skating shows, live music, comedians, and AquaTheater performances, to name a few. 

Another plus of being on a cruise is that unlike at home, entertainment on a cruise ship is included in your cruise fare. You won’t have to shell out pricey tickets to view a Broadway show or musician, and you can view as many performances as you want while onboard.

To find out which events are happening on your sailing, browse through the daily calendar on the Royal Caribbean app. It is a good idea to make reservations for shows in the Royal Theater, AquaTheater, Two70, and Studio B in advance to ensure that you have a seat.

Working out

Let’s face it: going to the gym can often feel like a chore. Whether before work, after work, or on the weekend, there is probably something you would rather be doing than going to the gym.

However, working out on a cruise ship is a whole lot better than on land. Royal Caribbean’s ships have excellent fitness facilities, and they design the gym so that most equipment is facing windows. This leads to unbeatable views as you sail through the ocean, making a strenuous workout a little more enjoyable.

While onboard, complementary and paid fitness classes are available. For complimentary offerings, take a look at the Cruise Planner each day to see what classes are available. You may find that there are complimentary guided stretching classes in the morning or dance lessons in the afternoon.

Some fitness classes come at an additional cost, including spinning, yoga, and pilates. These can be purchased individually. If you plan to attend several classes, though, you may want to purchase a class package in Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner prior to your sailing.

There are a variety of fitness opportunities outside the gym, too. One of the most popular places to get active onboard is the Sports Court. Here you can test out your strength on the rock climbing wall, practice surfing on the FlowRider, and play basketball, pickleball, soccer, or volleyball on the basketball court.

On select ships, you can also get your daily exercise in by roller skating, ice skating, or even trying out the flying trapeze at circus school!

And lastly, are you just looking for a simple run? Enjoying sunset views over the ocean while on the jogging track is much better than running on the treadmill at home.

Commuting

Commuting is a part of the day that most people do not enjoy. Traffic, increment weather, and long commutes are simply not very fun. On a cruise ship, commuting is much more exciting. Your "commute" will be more unique than sitting in a car on the freeway.

Going to Alaska? Board the White Pass & Yukon Railway for a commute up into the mountains. Visiting Cabo San Lucas? Step onboard a tender boat and make your way from the ship to Baja California's coast for a full day of whale watching, beaches, and tacos. How about Europe? Try exploring Croatia's coast in a sailboat, Copenhagen via bicycle, and Rome by foot.

No matter where you cruise, your commute as you explore a new port will certainly be more enjoyable than back at home.

Meeting new people

Whereas at home you are usually surrounded by the same community every day, a cruise vacation brings ample opportunities to meet passengers and crew from all over the world.

A great way to meet new passengers is, unsurprisingly, at the bar. Heading to the Pool Bar or the pub is a nice place to strike up a conversation with fellow passengers. If it isn’t busy, get to know the crew! Royal Caribbean’s crew is extremely diverse, and getting to learn more about where they come from provides a nice insight into their culture and background.

Shore excursions can also be a fantastic way to mingle with other guests. It is easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger when traveling to a destination on a bus, taking a walking tour, or touring a historical site. 

Kids and teens will have an enjoyable time meeting new peers, too. On the first day of your cruise, be sure to enroll your kids in Adventure Ocean, the kids programming onboard. Adventure Ocean is broken up by ages (3-5, 6-8, and 9-11) and is filled with games, crafts, science experiments, and more. 

If you have a teen who doesn't want to hang out with their parents the whole cruise, you’re in luck. Teenagers can go to the teen club onboard, where passengers aged 12-17 can meet and hang out with each other. The teen club also organizes group activities specifically for teenage passengers, including events like pool parties, dedicated time at the Flowrider, guitar hero, and themed dances.

Amazing views

At home, the views mostly stay the same. The view out of your bedroom window might change slightly from summer to winter, but nothing changes drastically. You likely spend most of your time in an environment with the same views.

This could not be more different when at sea. On a cruise, you will see a different view from the ship each and every day. One day you might see palm trees and sand in St. Maarten, the next day a view sailing into CocoCay, and the next day mountains in St. Lucia.

Beautiful views don’t only happen in port, though. One of the best parts of being on a cruise is looking out at the ocean around you on a sea day. Whether it's whales swimming near the ship in Alaska or sunset in the Mediterranean, views from a cruise ship are much better than at home.

Trying new things

Going on a cruise vacation is the perfect time to try something new.  A Royal Caribbean cruise is packed with activities, events, and entertainment. The majority of activities offered are included in your cruise fare, meaning that you can get outside of your comfort zone to try something completely different than what you would normally do at home.

Have you ever tried indoor skydiving? RipCord by iFLY is a popular cruise activity on Quantum-class ships. After a brief demonstration, you will have the opportunity to try to fly in the skydiving chamber. If the thought of jumping out of a plane terrifies you, RipCord by iFLY is a nice alternative!

How about ziplining? Oasis-class ships offer a zipline that goes over the ship’s Boardwalk neighborhood. Trapeze? Check out the circus school in the Seaplex. Bumper cars? Surfing? Karaoke? Sushi making class? 

Needless to say, there is surely something onboard that you have never experienced before, so give it a try!

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Wishes for the new year

In:
22 Dec 2021

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Billy and Matt are back to share three wishes for the cruise industry in 2022!

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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - "Royal Caribbean should"

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29 Sep 2021

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This week's episode is answering the top Google search questions about Royal Caribbean.

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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - "Royal Caribbean Is"

In:
18 Aug 2021

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And now for something completely different: this week's episode is answering the top Google search questions about Royal Caribbean.

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Top 8 ways you can make up for lost time while going on a cruise ship again

In:
22 Jul 2021

With cruise ships you can sail on back again, many cruise fans are eager to get back on the ocean and enjoy the kind of vacation they have been without since early 2020.

Not only is it exciting to get back on a cruise again, but a lot of people that love to cruise want to make up for lost time, and do as much as they can now as a way to soak in the cruise experience.

In the travel industry, that sort of mindset is being referred to as "revenge travel", where someone tries to get out there and travel again as much as they can since it was not available last year.

If the upcoming cruise you have booked is your first sailing back after many months, here are some creative ways to make the most of your time back onboard.

Share the wealth with the crew members

While cruisers have been without cruising for fun since early 2020, crew members have been without their career for the same amount of time.

Many of the crew members that are back onboard are finally getting an opportunity to work again, and all that time off from working on a ship may not have been while fully employed back home.

Just keep in mind the hard working crew when that check comes to your table, or when your drink order is served to you.

Book an unlimited dining package

Anytime you have the word "unlimited" associated with a consumable, you know it tends to lean in the direction of exorbitance.

With Royal Caribbean's unlimited dining package, now is as good a time as any to enjoy all the different specialty restaurant choices available on your ship.

Specialty dining was always something nice to sprinkle in, but eating all of your meals at these fantastic restaurants is the perfect way to get back into the swing of cruising again.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean specialty dining packages guide

Splurge on your cabin

I think most people that cruise a lot tend to gravitate towards a certain cabin category, so maybe this is the time to splurge and move up a category.

This does not mean you have to book a suite, but try the next room category above what you might ordinarily book. 

Moving up to a higher stateroom means more space, and if you do go for a suite, more Crown and Anchor Society points, as well as extra amenities.

Read moreWhat are the different types of cabins on a cruise ship?

Redeem your credit card points

While you may not have been able to travel much over the last 16 months, very likely you were still buying things (probably online). So now is a great time to redeem all those credit card points to enhance your cruise vacation.

If you have to fly, redeeming credit card points for an airline flight can really take a bite out of the total vacation budget you have to set aside.

You could also use points for a pre-cruise hotel stay, rental car reservation, or redeem points at various shopping sites for an assortment of cruise-related purchases.

Read moreHow to book a cruise with your credit card reward points

Try an activity you've never done onboard

If you are anything like me, you not only missed being able to go on a cruise, but realized how much we took cruising for granted.

One way to take better advantage of your time on the ship is to try an activity or offering you have never done before.

Here are some ideas for activities a lot of people see, but often say "I'll do that later":

  • Climb the rock climbing wall
  • Try the FlowRider surf simulator
  • Attend the napkin folding demonstration
  • Eat at Chef's Table
  • Play a round of mini-golf
  • Order the escargot in the main dining room

Read more15 really cool things to do that you can only find on Royal Caribbean cruise ships

Go on a sailing that visits Perfect Day at CocoCay

If you are looking to book your first cruise back, make sure it visits Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Royal Caribbean's makeover of their private island in The Bahamas is really impressive, and a day at CocoCay is a fantastic opportunity to truly savor a Royal Caribbean cruise.

While cruise ships are sailing at limited capacity, it will really feel like you have the island to yourself, and that means faster service and more options during your day there.

Read more40 Perfect Day at CocoCay tips, tricks and secrets

Catch the sunset at sea

Seeing a sunset at sea is something that never gets old, and it should be a must-do on your list when you get back onboard.

When conditions are right, and the clouds give way to an unobstructed sunset, a sunset is an incredible sight.

While activities like water slides, zip lines, or ice skating garner a lot of attention when it comes to marketing a cruise, sometimes the simple pleasures are what endears us all to cruising time and time again.

Stay onboard during a port stop

While I think visiting the ports of call your cruise ship visits is always a fun opportunity to explore the world, consider on one of those stops staying onboard to maximize your ship time.

During the cruise industry shutdown, I spent a lot of time daydreaming about being back on the Royal Promenade or in a hot tub on the pool deck, and staying on the ship while most others are on shore excursions is a great way to take advantage of everything a ship offers.

I think you can make an equally compelling argument that going on an awesome shore excursion is a great way to make up for lost time as well, but the more time you can spend onboard to immerse yourself in the cruise ship experience is not a bad idea either.

Read moreCruising 101: Staying on the ship on port days

My 2021 Royal Caribbean bucket list

In:
12 May 2021

If anything, a year without cruises has taught me how much I took a cruise vacation for granted, and now I am left yearning for the things that endeared me to cruising in the first place.

Usually, a bucket list has the connotation of being things you would love to do some day before you, well, "kick the bucket", and they are typically once in a lifetime experiences.  In most years, that would make sense, but I think right now so many of us have lowered our targets to simply getting back out to sea again.

With at least a few 2021 cruises on the horizon this summer, it looks like some of us may finally be able to get back to what we loved so dearly, and like many of you, I am still daydreaming about the possibility of getting back on a cruise ship.

With that in mind, this list is a cross between daydreaming and a low-ambition bucket list. After 15+ months of no cruises, getting your hopes up in general is a fool's errand.

I present my list of the experiences and activities on a Royal Caribbean cruise that I just cannot wait to do once again at some point this year.

10. Listen to live music in the pub

One of my all-time favorite forms of evening entertainment is going to the pub on a Royal Caribbean ship and enjoy the live music.

Live music is a major component of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience.  On any given night, there are usually a few live musical acts you can enjoy, but the one that I really love the most is the guitarist in the pub.

Usually the pub singer plays a variety of hits across different decades, and the rapport he or she strikes up with the crowd with jokes, stories, and requests really resonated with me.

I also think the backdrop of an old English pub with the music playing jives so well, and it's a great place to sit with friends and chat, while enjoy the tunes.

Read more50 things everyone should do on a Royal Caribbean cruise at least once

9. Getting to know the dining room staff

From my very first Royal Caribbean cruise, I relished the relationship with the main dining room waiters.

The main dining room is a beautiful location and it has a nice assortment of culinary choices, but I really like the service you can only get there.  Part of that is the fact you go there night after night, and the wait staff gets to know what you like.

Whether it is being brought a new drink without asking, checking if your favorite flavor of ice cream (coffee) is available, or performing a magic trick for my kids, the relationship with the dining room staff is something you just do not find anywhere else.

Just like parents who do not have a favorite child, waiters come with many personalities, but they all have something special about them that you can enjoy, and I really look forward to placing my next meal order.

Read moreTop 10 insider tips for Royal Caribbean's main dining room

8. Trying out the Floating Cabanas

Since this is a bucket list, I will include something I cannot wait to finally try out, which are the floating cabanas at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Right before the cruise industry shutdown, Royal Caribbean opened up the Coco Beach Club area, which includes floating cabanas.

I have stayed in plenty of beach cabanas at CocoCay and Labadee over the years, but the floating cabana takes the concept to a new level.

The floating cabanas are an attempt to bring a bit of Bora Bora to Royal Caribbean's private island, and each one has a private slide into the ocean, overwater hammock, dining area, freshwater shower & wet bar.

I was able to tour these in February 2020, but never actually spend the day in one, so I have one reserved when my family sets sail in June on Adventure of the Seas.

Read moreCoco Beach Club Floating Cabanas Photo Tour & Walkthrough

7. All the CocoCay food

Speaking of Perfect Day at CocoCay, the food on the island is something I still daydream about.

Traditionally, private island food was just typical barbeque eats, but when Royal Caribbean revamped CocoCay into Perfect Day at CocoCay, they elevated their food game considerably.

Tacos, Cuban sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, and mozzarella sticks are just some of the great food you can find on the island.  Then there is all the specialty restaurant-level cuisine you can find in the Coco Beach Club restaurant.

I would be remiss if I did not mention my all-time favorite: the "secret sandwich" at the Snack Shack. 

If you ask nicely, you can get a chicken parmigiana sandwich that is essentially a cross between the crispy chicken sandwich, mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce.

Read moreTop 10 Perfect Day at CocoCay secrets and tricks

6. Seeing the Caribbean water color

While I live in Florida, the color of the ocean in the Caribbean is something you do not get back in the states.

Whenever I am on a top deck, or on my stateroom balcony, I will quite often stare at the ocean for a while because the water colors there are incredible.  

The deep blues around the ship, turquoise near the beaches, and the overall clarity is something I really miss seeing.

Read moreWhy you should book a balcony stateroom

5. Cruising from outside the United States

This year, I get to try something completely different and join my ship from another country.

Whether from Florida, Texas, or New Jersey, I have always gotten onboard a cruise ship from somewhere in the United States.

To be honest, this is a sign of the times more than anything else, but I am glad to have the opportunity to get on a ship.  After more than a year without any cruises, flying to the Bahamas to get on a ship is a small price to pay if it means being on a cruise ship again.

Read moreSummer 2021 Cruise Planning Guide

4. Cruising from the United States

While I am excited to try a cruise that begins in another country, I think many cruise fans are eagerly anticipating the return of cruises from the United States.

Americans are used to having a great deal of choices in which ships and embarkation ports to sail from, and while there are some options overseas, the cruise industry knows the path back to a full return goes through U.S. ports.

It is anyone's guess when cruise ships will be able to sail again from America, but perhaps no other announcement will be as singularly important to cruise lines' bottom lines and cruise fans' hearts as ships that can sail from the United States.

There has been a lot of back and forth between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the cruise industry, so when this might happen remains unclear. And then there are the legal and legislative challenges that are attempting to circumvent the CDC's power over the cruise lines.

Whether there are cruises from the U.S. this summer, fall, or winter, I think at this point many American cruise fans are ready for cruises at any point this calendar year.

Read moreNo, nobody knows if the cruise you have booked will actually sail

3. Visit a new (to me) port

Getting back to a real bucket list item, I am excited to explore a port of call which is new to me.

Something I really liked about a cruise from my first sailing was the idea you would wake up in a new port and get to see what that city and country has to offer.

This year, I will get to explore Freeport in Grand Bahama Island, as well as some southern Caribbean ports later this year on a Barbados sailing.  I find it stimulating to learn about what there is to do in each port, and discover potentially a new favorite activity.

Read moreWhat you need to know about visiting Barbados on a cruise ship

2. Everything in Adventure Ocean

I love my kids, but the opportunity to drop my kids off at an incredibly well-run and supervised area is such a treat for both parents and kids.

My kids love it, because it is a few hours to play, make new friends, and see which counselors are their favorites.

As a parent, I relish the time alone with my wife to enjoy dinner and a show with just the two of us. 

Read moreSix things to know about Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean

1. Be more thankful

A year without cruises, in addition to the realities of a global health crisis that has taken so many people's lives, means not only is gettting back on a cruise a celebration, but also an opportunity to say "thank you" where it counts.

If there is a theme to these bucket list items, it is about being more appreciative of things we have, and not taking travel for granted. Moreover, being able to go on a cruise again is a very fortunate opportunity, and something not every can do.

The world has changed, and I am thankful for being able to take my family on a cruise vacation once again. And when I do, I will be certain to say "thank you" to the crew members who have suffered without the option to work for a long time, and a cruise line that has taken every possible step to not only remain in business, but return to a small level of operation.

I am not advocating gulping gallons of cruise line Kool Aid, but rather, be happy with what we have and appreciative of it all.

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