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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.

Test your skills at Royal Caribbean Brain Teaser Trivia!

In:
Category: 
25May2020

Think you are a Royal Caribbean know-it-all? Do you regularly challenge friends and family with random cruise facts?

Step right up and try your hand at these ten Royal Caribbean trivia questions to see how well you know our favorite cruise line (and no cheating)!

1. CocoCay has been a private destination for Royal Caribbean for many years. Which cruise line did Royal Caribbean acquire in which Royal Caribbean assumed the lease of the island?

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Admiral Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Celebrity Cruises

2. What was the original name of Empress of the Seas?

  • Song of Norway
  • Sun Viking
  • Sovereign of the Seas
  • Nordic Empress

3. Which Royal Caribbean ship had the first Sabor location onboard?

  • Allure of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas

4. Which deck on Oasis of the Seas was Izumi originally located?

  • 16
  • 15
  • 14
  • 12

5. What was the first Broadway show ever on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

  • Cats
  • Hairspray
  • Chicago
  • Saturday Night Fever

6. Who is the Godmother to Quantum of the Seas?

  • Kristin Chenoweth
  • Steffi Graf
  • Shania Twain
  • Gloria Estefan

7. Which ship was the first to have first rock climbing wall at sea?

  • Sovereign of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

8. What real world attraction is North Star based on?

  • Big Ben
  • Empire State Building
  • London Eye
  • Eiffel Tower

9. On the side of Radiance Class ships, the letters GTV are largely printed. What does GTV stand for?

  • Gas Turbine Vessel
  • Gas Turbo Vessel
  • Gas Transmission Vehicle
  • Good Times Vessel

10. Which Royal Caribbean ship is Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd Chairman and CEO Richard Fain's wife the godmother of?

  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Monarch of the Seas
  • Splendour of the Seas

Once you have your answers set, challenge your friends and then score each other with this answer sheet.

Share your scores in the comments, along with which questions you may have missed!

How to have cruise ship fun at home while there are no sailings

In:
Category: 
25May2020

If you are among the many that miss being onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise, being stuck at home does not mean you do not have the opportunty to enjoy a little bit of cruise fun.

With no Royal Caribbean cruises since mid-March, it has been months since any of us had a chance to get onboard a ship and indulge in the kind of fun vacation we love.

While these are no substitute for the real thing, here are a few fun ways to help pass the time until cruises resume again.

Watch videos on YouTube

Take advantage of this down time to learn about cruising, explore new ships, or simply take a "mental escape" and watch a video others have posted from their Royal Caribbean cruises.

YouTube offers a plethora of videos about so many topics and experiences, and there are lots of videos dedicated to cruising and Royal Caribbean.

While you are on YouTube, be sure to visit the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel, and check out some of my favorites!

Cruise podcasts

Podcasts are a popular medium for not only learning, but enjoying great entertainment. 

There are a variety of cruise podcasts out there, and they are free to listen to, with cruise news, tips, experiences and answers to common questions.

There are a few good podcasts worth subscribing, and having on while you keep working from your designated social distancing location.

Island tunes

Something I always associate with a cruise vacation is the music of the Caribbean islands.

Reggae, steel drum, Jimmy Buffett, and Zac Brown Band are just some of the typical tunes you can find that will instantly set the mood that you are onboard or at the beach.

Whether you delve into your own collection of music, or check out an online radio station, or even a digital music streaming service, there are some great choices out there.

Radio Margaritaville is a good place to start, along with Spotify or Pandora.

Virtual cruises

Did you know that Royal Caribbean has been offering sailings on Virtual of the Seas for weeks?

Ever since its ships stopped sailing, Royal Caribbean decided to embrace the demand by its loyal guests for a cruise fix and offer virtual sailings on Facebook.

These pretend cruises offer do-it-yourself activities at home, Facebook live video chats, trivia sessions and even sunsets to enjoy from the comfort of your home.

Virtual cruises started out as a fun excuse to talk Royal Caribbean, but has taken on a life of its own with so many cruise fans clamoring for some virtual fun wherever they can get it.

You can follow along each day on Abe Hughes' Facebook page.

Cruise cocktails at home

While there are no drink packages offered in your house, you can still whip up a few cruise cocktails at su casa.

As long as you have the proper ingredients and a blender, it is pretty easy to make a variety of popular cocktails at home. Margaritas, lava flows, or daiquiris are just some of the popular concoctions you can make in your kitchen.

Check out this list of 38 Royal Caribbean drink recipes for instructions on how to make your favorite (or discover a new one)!

Plan your next cruise

Just because there are no cruises happening right now does not mean you cannot get a head start on planning your next cruise vacation.

This may be the perfect time to figure out what your future vacation plans look like, and begin the planning process.

Now is a great time to put a deposit down for a cruise in the future, and start planning which shore excursions you want to try, read a Cruise Compass to see activities onboard, and learn everything you can about the ship.

New virtual Royal Caribbean cruise will visit Australia this week

In:
Category: 
25May2020

Royal Caribbean's Virtual of the Seas, a pretend cruise experience at home, is set to begin its next sailing today and will head down under.

The fifth official sailing will head for its furthest destination with visits to Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart... and a even manage a port stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay (if you are going to pretend, may as well take advantage of it).

The first day of activities on Virtual of the Seas include a Facebook like assembly drill, iconic buildings photo share, social media sail away and more.

Once again hosting this magical sailing from home is Cruise Director Abe Hughes. You can follow along each day on Abe Hughes' Facebook page.

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