Key West

Royal Caribbean offering inexpensive Caribbean shore excursions starting at $19


Royal Caribbean's Shore Excursions offerings are now featuring some inexpensive shore excursions for guests on shorter sailings to Nassau, Bahamas and Key West, Florida.  Many of our readers are always interested in good and low-cost shore excursion options, so perhaps some of these will be helpful.


Through March 7, 2017, guests sailing on Empress of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas can take advantage of these fun and inexpensive tours.

Nassau Tours

Key West Tours

Royal Caribbean warns Key West that no dredging will result in ships passing them by


On Wednesday, residents of Key West, Florida discussed plans to dredge the channel to allow larger cruise ships to visit the city.  Royal Caribbean warned without such a dredging, Key West would simply be passed over by it and other cruise lines.

According to a reconnaissance study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project would be economically viable and cost about $35 million.

There are opponents to the plan who cite economic and environmental concerns.

Key West's Director of Port Operations, Jim Fitton, is worried that without dredging the channel, Key West will simply be bypassed by Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines on their way to Mexico.

Fitton told the room of residents, "They'll bypass us and go straight to Mexico. Royal Caribbean used to be our biggest client. In a couple of years, it'll be down to no boats; that's where we're going. "

Some residents wanted to know who exactly made the statement that Key West would be crossed off itineraries.  In response, Fitton named Royal Caribbean's vice president of government relations for the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia Michael Ronan.

In an email Ronan sent to Fitton earlier this month,  "All ships we have built and are planning to build since 2005... cannot call Key West under present channel conditions. We operate our newest, largest ships in the Florida/Gulf and East Coast itineraries.

As we bring on our newer vessels they replace older, smaller ones on the preferred U.S. itineraries. We presently operate routes that would call Key West if the channel could accommodate them.

With the opening of the new larger locks in the Panama Canal [scheduled for a 2014 completion] our ship designs for the forseeable [sic] future will be of a size that will not be able to call Key West if the channel is not modified. "

Key West considering dredging channel to allow bigger ships in


Key West officials are considering a plan to widen the shipping channel into Key West that would allow larger cruise ships to visit the iconic island.

The city council is considering the plan and wants input from its residents as well as consider the economical and environment impact dredging would have.

By enlarging the channel, ships like Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas could stop at Key West.  Currently Oasis is too big for Key West, but dredging would allow a ship like Oasis to make a stop there.

City Manager Jim Scholl cautions the plan is still in its infancy but it's a step in the right direction, "It's just a presentation and discussion.  The commission will hear about all the aspects of the channel-widening project and what the true impact of that proposal will be for Key West being a port of call for the cruise-ship industry. And really whether or not the commission will want to support the next step."

Grandeur of the Seas possibly to skip Key West


UPDATE: Guests aboard Grandeur of the Seas reporting they will skip Key West.

Due to a tropical storm Tropical Storm Bonnie brewing near the Bahams right now, there is a possibility that Grandeur of the Seas, which departed today, may not be able to dock in Key West. It has left port in Fort Lauderdale but a statement by Royal Caribbean had this to say about what lays ahead:

"According to the most recent weather forecasts, the ship will be able to depart on time and head south to Key West, Florida. However, U.S Coast Guard has closed the Port of Key West until tropical storm force winds have subsided. If the Port of Key West has not reopened by early tomorrow morning, Grandeur of the Seas will be unable to make its scheduled port of call there tomorrow. Should the ship be unable to visit Key West, Grandeur of the Seas will spend the day at sea tomorrow, sailing directly to Cozumel, Mexico, where it will arrive earlier than scheduled on Saturday."

Photo of the Day: Grandeur of the Seas in Key West


Photo by Ashley Sindaco