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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.

Comparing the biggest cruise ship in the world vs. Titanic

In:
05 Mar 2021

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:
22 Jan 2021

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:
16 Jan 2021

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.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Talking cruise with Sheri

In:
13 Jan 2021

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We're starting off the new year on the right foot by catching up and talking cruises with Sheri from CruiseTipsTV!

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Cruise wishes for 2021

In:
09 Dec 2020

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Every year, Billy and Matt reflect on their wishes for cruising in the past year and offer new wishes for the year to come. 

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Top 8 things repeat cruisers seem to say all the time

In:
06 Nov 2020

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:
23 Oct 2020

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.

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