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Royal Caribbean introduces new way to status match between its other cruise lines

30 May 2024

Starting June 5, Royal Caribbean Group's new Loyalty Status Match program will allow members of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Silversea's programs to enjoy reciprocal status regardless of which brand they sail with. 


With more than 50 ships sailing to nearly 1,000 destinations across the globe, shared status means that you can enjoy the perks and privileges equivalent to your tier status no matter where your travels take you. 

"We strive to provide guests with experiences within our portfolio of brands that meet them for all of life’s moments,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. 

“Each of our differentiated brands have passionate fans who take pride in the status they’ve achieved through repeat sailings. In a first for the cruise industry, our new Loyalty Status Match program rewards guests traveling across our brands, and this is one more step in our journey of transforming a vacation of a lifetime into a lifetime of vacations."


Whether you're a Pinnacle Club member within Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society or have accumulated 350 Venetian Society days within Silversea's program, you'll enjoy the same recognition across all three brands. 

Seamless Status Recognition and Effortless Tier Matching

Celebrity Ascent

Members of the Crown & Anchor Society, Captain’s Club, and Venetian Society qualify for a one-for-one status match across all three brands after enrolling in each of the brand programs, as loyalty status and tiers remain equal across the board. 

If, for instance, you're a Diamond Crown & Anchor member, you'll automatically become an Elite Captain's Club member and Venetian Society member with 250 VS Days once all of the accounts have been connected. 

Guests currently enrolled in two or three of the loyalty programs (i.e., Crown & Anchor and Captain's Club or Captain's Club and Venetian Society) will have their status automatically matched within seven days. There's no need to sit on hold with customer service to receive your appropriate loyalty status. 

Icon of the Seas

If you aren't enrolled in one or more of the programs, you'll have to enroll before your status is matched. Once enrollment has been completed, your status will automatically be matched within seven days. 

When sailing on each sister brand within the Royal Caribbean Group, passengers can enjoy the onboard benefits offered for their tier status within the line's respective loyalty program


Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have had a status match program for a while; however, the highest tiers guests could match into were Diamond and Elite, respectively. 

Now, passengers holding the highest status within each program can match into the corresponding tier across all three brands. This is a huge upgrade, especially for those who hold top-tier status, as Pinnacle Club members can now hold Zenith status within Celebrity's Captain's Club and vice versa. 

What guests shouldn't expect, however, is equal benefits. Rather than daily drink coupons, for instance, Celebrity's Captain's Club has a daily happy hour with complimentary drinks. Moreover, whereas Celebrity offers a complimentary bag of laundry for Elite cruisers and above, only Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club members are eligible for a free bag when sailing on voyagers that are 5+ nights. 

Read more: I reached Diamond status with Royal Caribbean: here's why this loyalty tier matters


Though cruisers won't get equal benefits, the higher their status, the more perks they will receive when cruising on sister brands. Elite Plus members, for instance, will now receive Diamond Plus benefits when sailing on one of Royal Caribbean's ships, including the brand-new Icon of the Seas

To become an Elite Plus member within Celebrity's Captain's Club, you must have 750 Captain's Club points, which are earned based on the category of room you sail in, as well as the duration of your cruise. 

Instead of four daily drink coupons per day, they'll get five. Additionally, they'll get a 30% discount on the Deluxe Beverage Package and two free days of Surf + Steam Wi-Fi. 

Emerald pin

When cruising onboard one of Celebrity's upscale ships, Diamond Plus members will have access to exclusive amenities like a 15% discount on the cover charge at specialty restaurants, 240 complimentary minutes of premium Wi-Fi, and two free bags of laundry, that weren't attainable with the previous status match. 

Unlike Celebrity's Captain's Club, Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society has a more streamlined earning process process. All cruisers earn one point per night onboard, with those in suites or sailing solo earning two per night. 

Some benefits are still excluded


Certain loyalty benefits are reserved for members who attain the status based on accumulated points and nights sailed within each brand, meaning those who match into the tier aren't eligible for certain perks, as points are earned at the individual level and cannot be combined.

Moreover, the Status Match program doesn't apply to status held with other cruise lines, such as Carnival, MSC, or Norwegian. 

Crown & Anchor Society:

  • Complimentary Pinnacle Club milestone cruises
  • Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club amenities
  • Single supplement cruise fare reduction
  • Cheers with an Officer onboard event
  • Milestone recognition (Crystal Block)
  • Upgraded bathroom amenities
  • Pinnacle Club milestone kits
  • Chef’s Choice amenity

Captain’s Club:

  • Complimentary Zenith cruises
  • Zenith milestone kits
  • WWF® donations
  • Retreat Lounge access when not staying in the Retreat (Status match members will only be permitted to access the Retreat Lounge when not staying in the Retreat based on availability and at the sole discretion of Celebrity Cruises)
SeaPass Card

Venetian Society:

  • “Sail with Us” referral offer prior to your first Silversea voyage
  • Complimentary cruises
  • Milestone recognition during the Venetian Society Party

Passenger goes overboard on Icon of the Seas, world’s largest cruise ship

27 May 2024

An unidentified guest has gone overboard while cruising onboard the world’s biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas. 

Passengers onboard the 7-night sailing reported the incident on social media as the events unfolded on Sunday, May 26, 2024. Icon of the Seas departed the day prior on May 25, 2024 from Miami, Florida for its current voyage. Guests sailing on the brand-new ship were enjoying a day at sea when the man went overboard. 

According to online reports, Icon of the Seas was sailing to its first port of call, Roatan (Honduras), when the man went overboard. The ship was reportedly sailing north of Cuba when the man plunged into the Gulf of Mexico, around 300 miles from Miami.

(Video shared by @davidcanter on X)

The incident allegedly took place in the morning on Sunday, prompting an immediate rescue mission from the vessel. According to guests onboard Icon of the Seas, a small rescue boat was launched from Icon of the Seas to search for the overboard guest.

(Video shared by @oliveblend to TikTok)

Based on reports from guests onboard, Icon of the Seas' captain made an announcement to guests regarding the overboard incident. Many guests onboard Icon of the Seas were just beginning their mornings when the rescue operation started, with some guests waking up to the captain's unfortunate announcement.

Guests online stated that Icon of the Seas halted its course for approximately two hours to complete the search and rescue mission. Crew members took swift action while the ship maintained its location for the duration of the rescue mission. 

Guests onboard Icon of the Seas were then notified by the captain that the man was successfully recovered, with reports that he was in the ship’s medical center receiving immediate care. 

(Video shared by @davidcanter on X)

The current status of the individual is not clear at this time, as reports online are differing. The captain reportedly told guests the overboard man was "recovered" due to the quick actions of the ship's crew members. 

Videos surrounding the incident from guests currently onboard Icon of the Seas were shared to social media, namely X and TikTok. Footage shows Icon's rescue crew sailing around the nearby waters in a small boat while attempting to locate the man. One video shows guests on their balconies looking out into the Gulf of Mexico trying to help locate the overboard man.

Notably, videos shared to TikTok and X appear to show fairly calm seas and clear weather when the search and rescue mission took place. Overboard incidents that take place at night or in rough sea conditions are not often successful. In this case, favorable sea conditions could have contributed to a successful recovery mission by the crew members. 

(Video shared by @GenAIChad on X)

Details surrounding the incident are limited to onboard reports from guests and the identity of the guest has not been announced. It is unclear at this time why the male passenger went overboard and Royal Caribbean has not commented on the incident. 

According to guests onboard, Icon of the Seas’ itinerary has not been altered due to the unforeseen incident. The ship’s location on CruiseMapper shows the vessel is en route and on-schedule to arrive in Roatan, Honduras on May 27, 2024. 


Overboard incidents are rare, but do happen ocassionally. According to data from the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), guests that go overboard from cruise ships are unlikely to be rescued. 

In a publicized report from CLIA regarding operational instances from 2009 to 2019, there were 212 identified overboard incidents from cruise ships for either crew members or passengers. Of these overboard incidents, only 48 (or 28.2%) individuals were successfully rescued. Based on these findings, around 71.8% of people who go overboard from cruise ships are sadly never recovered or located. 

Icon of the Seas at CocoCay

However, the CLIA report also shows an overall decline in overboard incidents throughout the 10-year period. The overboard incident rate decreased 64% from 2009 to 2019, with an incidence rate of 0.00004 overboard reports per active lower berth in 2019.

The report states, “When compared with the growth in capacity in the industry over the study years, man overboard incidents continue on a downward trend.” 

The Hideaway on Icon of the Seas

Additionally, the report states that all overboard incidents are thoroughly investigated to determine cause or motive. According to the CLIA report, “In every case where the cause of the man overboard (MOB) was established following a careful investigation, it was found to be the result of an intentional or reckless act. There were some instances, however, which were impossible to determine a motive.”

The operational report also shares that 66% of overboard instances were from passengers while 33% of reported instances involved crew members. This was also based on the 10-year period of operational data from the cruise lines.

While overboard incidents statistically result in unfavorable outcomes, there have been success stories in recent years. For example, a 28-year-old man survived a harrowing fall from a Carnival cruise ship in December 2022. James Grimes went overboard from a Carnival cruise ship and tread water for 20 hours in shark-infested waters. He survived the incident with a stunning rescue, but doesn’t recall why he went overboard.

Icon of the Seas is currently sailing on a 7-night Western Caribbean & Perfect Day itinerary. The voyage includes two sea days and four port stops: Roatan (Honduras), Costa Maya (Mexico), Cozumel (Mexico) and Perfect Day at CocoCay (Bahamas). The ship was on the second day of its itinerary - a sea day - when the man went overboard.

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas launched in January 2024 as the world’s largest cruise ship. The massive vessel can hold 5,610 guests at double occupancy capacity, along with 2,350 crew members. This is the first known overboard incident reported for the new Icon of the Seas. 

Coast Guard no longer searching for passenger who jumped from Royal Caribbean cruise

10 Apr 2024

According to a spokesperson for the US Coast Guard 7th District Public Affairs Team, the search for the passenger who went overboard while sailing on Liberty of the Seas has been suspended. 

Search called off for man who jumped off Liberty of the Seas

Last Thursday, a 20-year-old guest jumped off the ship around 4:00am after an alleged argument with his father. Liberty of the Seas, a Freedom Class ship that launched in 2007, was roughly 57 miles from Great Inagua Island in The Bahamas and just hours from returning to Fort Lauderdale after a 4-night cruise. 

Before jumping, he supposedly said to his dad, "I'll fix this right now," according to The New York Post

Fellow passenger Bryan Sims, who was in the hot tub with the unidentified guest leading up to the incident, said, "As we were walking from the hot tub back to the elevators, his dad and brother were walking towards us. His dad was fussing at him for being drunk, I guess."

Ocean view balcony

Though the vessel came to an immediate halt and crew members began searching for the missing man, the majority of the passengers onboard weren't aware of the situation until the Captain made an announcement later in the morning. Liberty of the Seas resumed sailing around 9:00am. 

About four hours later, the United States Coast Guard announced on X that USCG crews began searching for the overboard passenger. 

The statement read, "#Breaking @USCG crews are searching for a 20-year-old man who went overboard from the Liberty of the Seas cruise ship 57 miles from Great Inagua this morning. USCG Cutter Seneca and Air Station Miami HC-144 crews are conducting the search."

Liberty of the Seas

Recently, he was identified as Levion Parker of North Port, Florida. After being unable to locate Parker, the search, as confirmed by UNILAD, has been called off. 

Whenever a passenger does go overboard, Royal Caribbean opens up an investigation to determine how it occurred, as well as if there were any safety violations. 

Though cruise lines implement measures to help prevent guests from falling overboard, it's not rare to hear of such instances occurring. Thankfully, not all stories have an unhappy ending 

Symphony of the Seas

In October 2023, a guest sailing onboard Symphony of the Seas was reported going overboard shortly after departing from Barcelona, Spain on a 14-night transatlantic cruise. 

Passengers reported hearing, "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar," which is the crew's code for man overboard, over the PA system. X user @landonb94 even took to social media to post that he was able to see spotlights and rescue boats from his cabin's balcony. 

The ship turned around and successfully rescued the guest after about an hour of searching. They were then taken to the ship's medical facility. 

Mariner of the Seas in Nassau

Additionally, a 42-year-old passenger sailing onboard Mariner of the Seas in June 2023 was rescued after going overboard while sailing south of Punta Cana en route to Willemstad, Curaçao. 

As reported by FOX 35 Orlando, the passenger was recovered alive and in good health after falling from Deck 10. According to a statement released by a Royal Caribbean spokesperson, “The ship and crew immediately reported the incident to local authorities and began searching for the guest."

"Thankfully, the guest was successfully recovered and was brought on board. Our Care team is now offering assistance and support to them and their traveling party.”

Royal Caribbean teams up with Make-A-Wish to offer dream getaways to children battling critical illnesses

03 Apr 2024

In a new heartwarming collaboration, Royal Caribbean has partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to support the nonprofit's mission of fulfilling life-changing wishes for children who are living with critical illnesses worldwide through their new Wishes at Sea program. 


All wishes granted by the cruise line will feature a Royal Caribbean cruise that's designed with wish kids and their families in mind. From complimentary Wi-Fi to private FlowRider sessions, exclusive experiences, VIP treatment, and unique adventures at Perfect Day at CocoCay, every trip will be dedicated to ensuring that the getaway is special. 

"The memories we make with our families and friends on vacation are among the moments that are the most special and impactful, and for wish kids and their families, that very impact can change the course of their lives,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. 

“We are thrilled and humbled to partner with Make-A-Wish for years to come. In this partnership, we are in a position to do what we love – delivering memorable vacations – while making a difference in the lives of those at the heart of Royal Caribbean, families, who need it most.”

What is Make-A-Wish?


Make-A-Wish is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates transformative wishes for children battling critical illnesses. They aim to bring hope, joy, and strength into the lives of the children and their families through the experiences. 

Today, it's the #1 trusted nonprofit operating locally through all 50 U.S. states, and since 1980, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 585,000 wishes in 50 countries worldwide, more than 375,000 of which were in the United States and its territories. 

Donors, staff, and more than 20,000 volunteers help to deliver hope to both the children and their families. According to their website, 87% of alumni say that their wish was a turning point in their statement. Additionally, 99% of doctors say that the wishes help families alleviate traumatic stress. 

Children eligible must be diagnosed with a critical illness, which is defined as a progressive, degenerative, or malignant condition that places the child's life in jeopardy. Moreover, they must be older than 2.5 years and younger than 18 and have not received a wish from another wish-granting organization. 

What will the experience entail?


The experience begins with a free cruise for the wish kid and their immediate family. Plus, extended family members will receive a 20% discount, so the adventure can be shared with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents!

The wish kid and their immediate family won't have to worry about travel expenses, either, as free transportation is included. Upon arrival at the terminal, the entire group will receive priority boarding, so they can head straight to all of the fun onboard. 

With The Key, they'll receive other perks, too, such as a welcome lunch in the Main Dining Room, VOOM internet, and choice departure on disembarkation day. 


While at Royal Caribbean's award-winning private island in The Bahamas, the child will be given an All-Access Pass to experience the best attractions that the island has to offer, including a cabana, tickets to Thrill Waterpark, and even a flight on the Up, Up, and Away helium balloon! 

Back on the ship, the wish child will have fast-lane access to popular onboard activities and reserved seating at shows, as well as a private FlowRider session and even a behind-the-scenes tour that includes a meet and greet with the ship's Captain and take-home ship model. Finally, they will receive a celebratory dessert in the Main Dining Room

Royal Caribbean cruisers can contribute to the Wishes at Sea program by making donations online


Though online donations are crucial in helping wishes come true, those sailing aboard Royal Caribbean ships will be able to raise awareness and funds during their vacation. From Walk for Wishes 5Ks to walkathons, auctions, and more, there will be various events offered aimed at supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation's mission. You can even donate your casino winnings onboard if you'd like! 

"As we celebrate World Wish Month, we are grateful to partner with Royal Caribbean International and open a sea of new opportunities for us to fulfill our mission of granting life-changing wishes,” said Leslie Motter, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. 

“We know that a wish can chart a new course in these children's lives, and we look forward to having the opportunity to work together to deliver that life-changing impact.”

Those interested in donating can visit the Make a Wish website. All proceeds collected onboard Royal Caribbean ships go directly to Make-A-Wish. 

Royal Caribbean has hosted wish kids in the past, helping them create fun memories amidst battling their illness

Rum Cay in The Bahamas

In 2019, Hannah Updike, a then-rising high school Junior from South Dakota, received a trip to The Bahamas onboard a Royal Caribbean ship. Updike was diagnosed with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) after her father passed away from the same disease when she was just 13. 

FAP is an inherited disorder that's caused by a defect in the adenomatous polyposis tract. "People with the classic type of familial adenomatous polyposis may begin to develop multiple noncancerous growths in the colon as early as their teenage years...basically, it causes all sorts of cancers and problems," Updike explained. 

To prevent a premature death, both Updike and her brother would need to undergo surgery. Five surgeries later, she was able to embark on a Royal Caribbean cruise with her mother, step-father, and brother. 

“I met lots of people on the cruise from all over the world [and] learned that even though I do have a disease,... I’m still a normal teen trying to live out my life the best way possible,” Updike said.  

Sun rising in Alaska

Similarly, Lindsey from Chattanooga, Tennesse, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia at just 9 years old, was granted a wish to go on an Alaskan cruise

A year after receiving her initial diagnosis, she and her family, including her mom, dad, two sisters, brother, and grandfather, flew out to Vancouver to board their cruise.

Their VIP treatment began before embarking on the ship, as they were transported to the terminal in a limo. During the sailing, they went on different excursions, including a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier. 

Royal Caribbean and Make-A-Wish's collaboration guarantees that more children in the future will have the opportunity to create memories akin to Hannah and Lindsey on one of Royal's many ships. 

New Brightline station will be added near Port Canaveral

12 Mar 2024

Those cruising out of Port Canaveral will soon be able to rely on another form of transportation, as Brightline announced that they're planning on opening a new station in Cocoa Beach. Last week, the Cocoa City Council voted to designate $5 million for the new station.


Brightline recently opened up a new station at the Orlando International Airport (MCO), making it easier for those commuting from Central to South Florida for sailings from Fort Lauderdale and Miami. It was a wise move, as MCO is the busiest airport in Florida, seeing around 44 million passengers annually. 

Despite the influx of passengers, Brightline doesn't have a station in Brevard County. Those heading from Orlando to Port Canaveral have to rely on other forms of transportation, such as rental cars, rideshares, or shuttles. 

Brightline began operations in 2018 with stops in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Now, however, they've expanded to Boca Raton, Aventura, and, of course, Orlando, covering 235 miles. 

Premium Lounge

At the time of writing, there's no timeline as to when the Cocoa Beach station could open. However, according to City of Cocoa Mayor Michel C. Blake, the City of Cocoa has met with company executives and is ready to move forward with negotiations for a station located near State Road 528 and US 1. 

The drive from Orlando International Airport to Cocoa Beach takes about an hour. While not long, a new Brightline station will allow those embarking on a cruise from Port Canaveral to choose another transportation option. 

Brightline Director of Public Affairs Katie Mitzner said, “Brightline is ready to begin the formal process with Space Coast stakeholders to fulfill our vision for a Brevard County station. We agree the time is now to finalize a plan.”

Read more: I took the Brightline train from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale for my cruise. Here's what it was like

Brightline has seen an increase in ridership of over 100% this year


Additionally, they estimate that they'll see around 4.3 million passengers annually between South Florida and Orlando by 2025. 

A stop in Cocoa Beach makes sense, especially considering this is the area in which the trains slow down to transition from the East/West track to the North/South track. 

The maximum speed for Brightline trains from Orlando International Airport to Cocoa is 125mph. Between Cocoa and West Balm Beach, the speed maxes out around 110mph, while the train substantially decreases to around 79mph between West Palm Beach and Miami. 

Brightline is also building a new station in Stuart 

Brightline train car

In March, Brightline announced that Martin Country, specifically the City of Stuart, would be the site for their next station. 

The company reviewed five proposals from both private and public landowners along the Brightline/Florida East Coast Railway corridor. They, however, ultimately decided on Stuart due to its location, as well as the physical characteristics of the site.

The new station is estimated to cost around $60 million and will open in early 2028. 

Ships sailing from Port Canaveral

Royal Caribbean, along with numerous other cruise lines, sail from Port Canaveral. A total of 8 Royal ships will sail from Port Canaveral between now and April 2026. 

In July, Royal's newest ship, Utopia of the Seas, will begin offering 3- and 4-night cruises to The Bahamas. While not the largest ship in the world, guests can find various offerings unavailable on other Oasis Class ships, including the Royal Railway - Utopia Station specialty restaurant and Pesky Parrott bar. 

Additionally, upon Star of the Seas' debut in August 2025, the brand-new ship will sail from Port Canaveral to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

Other ships include Adventure, Explorer, Allure, Mariner, Voyager, and Wonder of the Seas. Sailings range in duration from 3-night Bahamas cruises to 13-night Transatlantic voyages. 

Royal Caribbean news: New cruise ship construction milestone, deployment schedule updated & more

21 Dec 2023

Construction of the second Icon Class ship is underway! On December 15, the keel laying ceremony for Star of the Seas took place at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. 


"Star of the Seas is very important for both the shipyard and the partner network: the 13,000 man-years spent on building the ship create employment and business in Varsinais-Suomi and, with the supply chains, significantly wider as well," said CEO Tim Meyer.

"Once the ship is complete, it will strengthen a completely new kind of cruise experience with the standards set by its sister ship Icon." 


When a ship's kneel is placed into the dry dock during construction, coins are placed beneath it as a symbol of good fortune. 

Just like Icon, Star of the Seas, too, had coins left underneath the steel block of the ship's hull by the ship's customer and builder's representatives. 

The steel block was lowered by a crane to the bottom of the construction pool, which signified the start of the hull's construction. 


Despite this milestone, Star of the Seas won't be ready to sail the seas until August 2025. When she enters service, she'll sail from Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. 

Thankfully, bookings are open. However, Royal Caribbean has not announced any details of how Star of the Seas will be different from Icon. 

There's some more Royal Caribbean news that you should be aware of, especially if you're looking forward to the 2025-2026 deployments or have a holiday cruise booked onboard Oasis of the Seas in December 2023. 

2025-2026 deployments changed


Royal Caribbean updated some of their 2025 and 2026 deployment schedules.

While cruises to the Northeast taking place between April 2025 and April 2026 will still be released for booking the week of February 12, 2024, the deployment of short Caribbean cruises and those departing from Los Angeles have been delayed. Short cruises are those that are 3, 4, and 5 nights long. 

Rather than being released at the same time as Northeast cruises, these sailings will now come out the week of February 19, 2024. 

Bahamas water as seem from Royal Caribbean cruise ship

There is some good news, though. Long Caribbean cruises (i.e., those over 7 nights) will be released one week earlier than planned, or the week of February 12, 2024. 

The deployment schedule for the remainder of cruises departing April 2025 through October 2026 has yet to be announced. 

While booking a cruise in March 2026 may seem like a long way away, by booking this far in advance, you can take advantage of the lowest rates, which are typically found as soon as cruises are opened for booking. 

St Kitts

Plus, you'll be able to frequently reprice your cruise through the final payment date. 

Guests sailing onboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas this holiday season will be able to visit the cruise line's first-ever holiday pop-up market


Found on Deck 8, the Oasis Holiday Marketplace, which was inspired by Europe's popular holiday markets, will run through January 7 and offer a selection of different Christmas ornaments, holiday appeal, and home décor. 

It's a great place to visit before dinner at Chops Grille or after enjoying a cocktail at the Trellis Bars. 

Plus, Santa Claus himself flew in straight from the North Pole for this special occasion! He'll be available to take photos with children, as well as encourage them to write letters to him at the North Pole. 


This special pop-up is in addition to the holiday décor found throughout the ship. 

“The Oasis Holiday Marketplace is a terrific example of Starboard's passion for ‘retailtainment’, offering families onboard engaging shopping experiences during magical holiday sailings,” says Claudia King-McWilliams, VP General Manager of Royal Caribbean.  

Oasis of the Seas' holiday sailings


Oasis of the Seas, the namesake ship of the record-breaking Oasis Class, is one of the largest cruise ships at sea.

Measuring over 226,000 gross registered tons and 1,187 feet long, there are tons of family-friendly activities onboard, making a holiday cruise on Oasis of the Seas the perfect way to celebrate and spend some quality time with loved ones. 

On December 22, Oasis of the Seas will depart from Miami, Florida on a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise to Falmouth, Jamaica; Labadee, Haiti; Nassau, Bahamas; and Perfect Day at CocoCay. 

Oasis of the Seas turning basin

The Christmas cruise will be followed by a 9-night New Year's cruise to the Southern Caribbean, with stops at CocoCay; Willemstad, Curaçao; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Falmouth, Jamaica. 

Read moreHow Royal Caribbean celebrates Christmas and New Years holidays on its cruise ships

What's Starboard Cruise Services?

Celebrity shopping

Starboard Cruise Services is the world's leading luxury vacation retailer at sea that has been in operation for 65 years.

In addition to "first at sea" brands, they're also responsible for customized cruise line merchandise and destination-inspired goods. They partner with several other mainstream cruise lines, too, including Virgin Voyages, Holland American Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruise Line. 

For instance, they have a line of "Texas-inspired" merchandise onboard Carnival Jubilee, Carnival's newest Excel Class ship sailing out of Galveston, Texas. The three different collections include Carnival Saloon, Inaugural Americana, and the Heroes Collection.


The first, Carnival Saloon, will feature denim and Western-inspired fashion (i.e., cowboy boots, fringed t-shirts, and more). 

Starboard Cruise Services employs a team of over 300 shoreside and 1,800 shipboard employees, with over 62 different nationalities represented. 

Royal Caribbean cancels excursions to Blue Lagoon Island following deadly incident

17 Nov 2023

Royal Caribbean has suspended all excursions to Nassau’s Blue Lagoon Island following a deadly boating incident in the Bahamas. The cruise line announced that it has suspended all excursions to Blue Lagoon Island through November 23, 2023. 

The cruise line offers a variety of excursions to Blue Lagoon Island, including snorkeling, beach breaks and encounters with dolphins. 

On November 14, 2023, a ferry boat filled with Royal Caribbean cruise passengers heading to the popular shore excursion in Nassau experienced rough seas and began to take on water. The double-decker boat slowly capsized, sending distressed passengers into the turquoise sea.

Unfortunately, the incident at Blue Lagoon Island turned fatal with one passenger, a 75-year-old American woman, passing away.

Royal Caribbean confirmed that the incident occurred during a shore excursion. Independence of the Seas was the only Royal Caribbean ship docked in Nassau on the day of the incident. 

In a notification from Royal Caribbean to guests who pre-booked excursions to Blue Lagoon Island, the cruise line said, “ We are currently working with local authorities to evaluate the boating incident that took place during a shore excursion. In light of the incident, we have decided to cancel all Blue Lagoon tours through November 23, 2023”

Guests booked on Blue Lagoon Island excursions through Royal Caribbean will receive a full refund for canceled excursions. There are no other excursions in Nassau currently impacted by the incident. In the communication to guests, Royal Caribbean reassures customers that safety is the top priority for the cruise line and apologized for any inconveniences caused. 

It’s unclear at this time whether further excursions to Blue Island Lagoon will be suspended. Presumably, the investigation could result in more Royal Caribbean excursions In Nassau to be canceled pending the results of the investigation. 

Many cruise ship passengers choose to travel to Blue Lagoon Island during visits to the port. The beautiful island is located about three miles northeast of Nassau, which is the capital of the Bahamas.

Details surrounding the terrifying incident

According to Nassau police, the ferry departed  for Blue Lagoon Island from Paradise Island around 9:30am. There were approximately 100 passengers onboard the ferry during the incident. As the ferry was approaching Blue lagoon Island, the boat reportedly hit a large wave and water started to flood the ferry. 

Police chief superintendent Chrislyn Skippings told Nassau Guardian ”The vessel experienced rough seas in the area, which resulted in the boat taking on water and becoming submerged in waters just outside of Blue Lagoon.”

The local authorities also shared that emergency teams from the island arrived quickly to the scene to assist the distressed ferry. Luckily, the boat was near shallow waters and did not submerge completely.  

Following the incident, local authorities reported a 74-year-old woman from Colorado sadly died in the incident. One report cites a police statement sharing that authorities attempted to rescue the woman from the water while the ferry was sinking, but she was unresponsive. CPR was reportedly performed after the passenger was taken to a dock, but she was pronounced deceased at the scene. All other passengers were safely rescued but two people needed additional medical attention. 

Videos on social media show the chaos

All over social media, videos began to surface of the ferry incident from passengers onboard the vessel. One TikToker, Kelly Schissel, chronicled the chaos onboard the Blue Lagoon Island ferry. 

“Our boat is sinking. So that’s fun. Everybody’s freaking out” says Kelly Schissel while showing the ferry capsizing.

In the background of the TikTok, you can hear screams from fellow passengers onboard the doomed ferry. Passengers can also be seen wearing life jackets and huddling to one side of the ferry. 

Kelly shares that she’s on the top floor of the ferry while simultaneously filming the ferry slowly submerging into the Blue Island Lagoon. “[We are] literally sinking,” she says in the TikTok.

In a second response video, the TikToker continues to share that guests on the bottom level allegedly heard the captain laughing about trying to do a donut-like maneuver by whipping the aft around quickly in a circular motion. While approaching the shore of Blue Island Lagoon, Kelly shares that she also thought the captain was maybe trying to show off with a quick maneuver. 

“I just don’t think it worked out the way he wanted it to” theorizes Kelly.

While the ferry continues to take on water, Kelly’s original TikTok shows many passengers panicking while still onboard the vessel. One passenger can be heard screaming amid the chaos. At one point, a male passenger jumps into the sea and encourages others to do the same. In Kelly’s TikTok video, passengers can be seen in orange life jackets jumping into the choppy waters of the Caribbean Sea from the listing ferry. 

In the comments section of her TikTok, Kelly shared that she safely made it off the ferry. She continued to share that the Blue Lagoon Island ferry appeared closer to the shore than it actually was, contrary to many peoples’ perception. 

The TikToker recounts how passengers were left without instructions during the incident.

In a second video, Kelly recounts the incident, sharing that the ferry captain made a sharp turn that sent everyone towards the front of the ship. When it was clear that there was an issue, Kelly said people started to panic and freak out.

Since Kelly was on the top deck of the Blue Lagoon Ferry, she said it was difficult to understand the severity of the situation initially. 

“Then one of the crew members that was downstairs ran upstairs. She is crying. Freaking out. Absolutely bawling while grabbing a life jacket.”

Throughout the incident, Kelly shares in her TikTok that the crew members were hysterically crying and did not provide any guidance or instructions. Eventually, guests started to jump into the ocean when it was clear that instructions would not be provided.

“It was actually pretty rough waves, so a lot of people were just trying to stay above water, even with their life vests on,” says Kelly in her second TikTok video. Although the water was warm and the weather was good, she shares that the seas were very choppy, which made the situation worse. 

The doomed vessel settled on the shore with the top half of the vessel above the waterline. After guests were brought ashore by other vessels, Kelly states that the survivors received hot dogs, chips and water. 

For many cruisers, Blue Lagoon Island is a popular destination while docked in Nassau, Bahamas. 

Royal Caribbean previously offered many excursions to Blue Lagoon Island. When Matt from Royal Caribbean Blog visited the island on a shore excursion a few years ago, he found at least nine different excursions that included a visit to the Blue Lagoon Island. 

Excursions to Blue Lagoon Island include a variety of options with shore excursions through Royal Caribbean. These include beach day passes, dolphin swim encounters, stingray experiences, Segway tours and more. 

Blue Lagoon Island is surrounded by pristine blue seas and white sandy beaches. There are multiple beaches across the island and many activities for guests to enjoy. Given the close proximity to Nassau, Blue Lagoon Island has been a popular destination for cruisers on shore excursions.

Royal Caribbean cancels 2024 Israel cruise season

02 Nov 2023

As a result of the continued escalation of the war in Israel, Royal Caribbean has canceled their 2024 cruise season in Israel. 

Last week during their Q3 earnings call, Royal Caribbean Group said that the canceled 2023 sailings to Israel will negatively impact their earnings for the year by three cents a share.

"Due to the ongoing geopolitical situation in Israel, and with your safety in mind," read an email sent from Aurora Yera-Rodriguez, Associate Vice President of Guest Experience for Royal Caribbean International, "we've adjusted our itinerary."

What ships are impacted?

Jewel of the Seas was slated to be homeported in Haifa, Israel from August to October 2024, with itineraries ranging from 3- to 10-nights.

A guest onboard a sailing in October received an email that said, "Due to the ongoing geopolitical situation in Israel, we've made the decision to redeploy Jewel of the Seas from Haifa, Israel to its new homeport in Boston, Massachusetts."

"Unfortunately, this means your upcoming October 7, 2024 sailing has been cancelled."


Instead of sailing from Israel, Jewel of the Seas will now sail Northeastern itineraries. Grandeur of the Seas will be redeployed to Tampa and sail to the Western Caribbean. 

Those originally booked on Grandeur of the Seas will be able to select one of three different itineraries. The first departs on September 22, 2024 and visits Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John (Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick; and Portland, Maine. 

The second option departs September 29, as well October 6, 20, and 27 and calls in Saint John (Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Portland, Maine.

The third and final itinerary departs from Boston on October 13 and will visit Sydney, Nova Scotia; Saint John (Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick; and Portland, Maine. 

Voyager of the Seas was supposed to call in Jerusalem (Ashdod), Israel during three 7-night round-trip cruises from Athens (Piraeus), Greece in June and August. 

An email sent to those booked on the August 19th sailing revealed that the ship will now have an overnight stay in Istanbul, Turkey, with additional stops in Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Santorini, Greece; and Mykonos, Greece. 

Odyssey of the Seas' four Holy Land sailings in May, September, and October were impacted, too, as the ship was supposed to visit both Hafia and Jerusalem (Ashdod). 

Those booked on the May 5th cruise were notified via email that they will now have an extra hour in Chania (Souda), Crete, Greece. Additionally, the ship will call in Mykonos, Greece and Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey instead of visiting Israel. 

Guests booked on Jewel of the Seas may book another sailing and have any non-refundable deposit change fees waived

Jewel of the Seas

If guests choose to rebook, they'll be responsible for any difference in pricing for the cruise fare, taxes, fees, gratuities, and other incidentals. 

For those who had their booking paid in full and decide to rebook a cruise with a cheaper fare, Royal Caribbean will provide a refund of the difference within 14 business days. Refund times may vary depending on the financial institution. 

Royal Caribbean will also help reimburse non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees for flights, trains, rental cars, etc. They'll cover up to $200 USD per guest for domestic changes and up to $400 USD for international changes. 


If choosing not to rebook, Royal Caribbean will provide a full refund of the paid portion of the cruise fare (including non-refundable deposits), as well as any pre-paid amenities to the original form of payment. 

For those who made their Jewel of the Seas reservation with a Future Cruise Credit and opt to cancel will have their original certificate reinstated, with any new funds paid above the certificate amount refunded. 

No additional compensation will be provided. 

Those originally booked on Grandeur of the Seas out of Boston have a few options

Those who choose to rebook will receive their original stateroom category, as it will be price protected at the original cruise fare rate, excluding taxes, fees, gratuities. If the booking was paid in full and the rate decreases, Royal Caribbean will refund the difference. 

If booked guests want to rebook another sailing on a different ship, Royal Caribbean will waive non-refundable deposit change fees; however, they'll be responsible for paying the difference in cruise fare, taxes, fees, and gratuities, if applicable. 

Guests will also be reimbursed for non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees. They'll cover up to $200 USD per guest for domestic changes or $400 per guest USD for international changes. 

Tampa downtown

Finally, Royal Caribbean will refund any paid portion of the cruise fare, including non-refundable deposits, if they decide to cancel. 

If the Grandeur of the Seas booking was made with a Future Cruise Credit and opt to cancel will have their original certificate reinstated, with any new funds paid above the certificate amount refunded. 

No additional compensation will be provided. 

Shore excursions will be automatically refunded


Any pre-paid Royal Caribbean International shore excursions booked for Jerusalem (Ashdod), Limassol, Alexandria, and Haifa will automatically be refunded to the original form of payment. 

Royal Caribbean is not the first cruise line to cancel the 2024 season


On Wednesday, November 1, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced that they would cancel the remaining sailings in 2023 and the entire Israel season in 2024. 

During their earnings call, CEO Harry Sommer said, "One of the main strengths and differentiators in our industry is our ability to reposition our assets, which is what we’ve done with the heightened tensions in the Middle East."

“The safety and well-being of our guests and crew members are without a doubt our number one priority.”

Royal Caribbean clarifies why they're restricting access to loyalty and suite lounges on some sailings

30 Oct 2023

Royal Caribbean wants to make it clear why top-tier members aren't allowed inside loyalty lounges on some cruises.


Royal Caribbean members have reported incidents on certain sailings when Diamond members haven't been allowed in the Crown Lounge, which is a dedicated space for top-tier members.

Those reports have compelled Royal Caribbean to respond to its members in a newsletter update.

Royal Caribbean sent out an email announcing that on sailings with a high number of top-tier members, Suite, & Pinnacle Club guests, access to the Crown Lounge, Suite/Concierge Lounge, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen will be limited. 

However, this is not a fleetwide policy change for all sailings.

Related11 of our favorite under-the-radar Crown & Anchor perks


(Thanks to Royal Caribbean Blog reader OCSC Mike for the above picture of the Crown Lounge logo on Allure of the Seas)

If there are a lot of Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club cruisers on your next sailing, you may find that access to the Crown Lounge will be limited at certain hours of the day. 

"On sailings with a high number of top-tier members, the Crown Lounge will be reserved for Diamond Plus & Pinnacle Club members during the evening, with beverage service from 5 - 8 p.m," read the email.

"However, the lounge and its services will remain fully accessible to all Diamond and above members at all other times. This includes continental breakfast in the morning, snacks throughout the day, and entry during dedicated concierge service hours."

Lounge email

There are no changes to the number of daily drink coupons that eligible Crown & Anchor members will receive. Diamond members will still get four complimentary drinks per day, while Diamond Plus will get five and Pinnacle six. 

Diamond members unable to go to the Crown Lounge between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. can still use these coupons at other bars throughout the ship, whether it's Boleros, Schooner Bar, etc. 

RelatedHow Royal Caribbean's free drink vouchers for Diamond and higher members works

These changes will only apply to sailings with a high number of top-tier Crown & Anchor members

At this time, Royal Caribbean is not making any other changes to its Crown & Anchor program. Additionally, the above adjustments are not permanent; they're based on the number of top-tier cruisers on each sailing. 

Possible sailings that could be impacted include but are not limited to charters, crossings, repositioning cruises, inaugurals, and President's Cruises.

Suite and Concierge Lounges, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen

Coastal Kitchen on Harmony of the Seas

When a sailing has a high number of Suite & Pinnacle Club guests, access to the Suite/Concierge Lounge, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen will be limited to guests staying in qualifying Suites, as well as to our top Pinnacle Club members onboard, based on cruise points," the email said. 

"Access will also extend to the guests in their stateroom. The number of top Pinnacle Club members granted access will vary depending on space and availability."

More members than ever

Diamond Lounge

The top tiers of Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor loyalty program have increased by 30% within the last year, according to Royal Caribbean International's CEO, Michael Bayley. 

The result has been overcrowding in loyalty and suite lounges. 

Royal Caribbean is not the only company seeing overcrowding in lounges. Recently, Delta Airlines has made changes to who can access their Sky Clubs in order to combat the issue. American Express Platinum cardholders, for instance, will no longer have unlimited annual visits. Instead, they'll be limited to ten per year. 

Rather than completely ban certain loyalty members from accessing the onboard lounges, Royal Caribbean sent out an email announcing that on sailings with a high number of top-tier members, Suite, & Pinnacle Club guests, access to the Crown Lounge, Suite/Concierge Lounge, Suite Sun Deck, and Coastal Kitchen will be limited. 

News comes just weeks after Royal Caribbean announced that the Diamond Lounge will be renamed

Courtney Brant, Director of Loyalty for Royal Caribbean announced that "...over the next few weeks, the Diamond Lounge — beloved by our Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members — is being specially renamed as the Crown Lounge across our fleet."

When this change was announced, Royal Caribbean Blog readers had numerous theories as to why they were implementing this fleetwide change.

"Seems like a no brainer to me that this is the first step to ultimately removing Diamonds from having lounge access," wrote Margaret

Serenade and Mariner of the Seas docked in Cozumel

Reader Rackham said, "I'm speculating that with the name change, Diamond access could be determined on a cruise-to-cruise basis depending on how many Diamond and up C&A members are aboard." 

While just a theory at the time, his prediction ended up becoming reality within a month! 

It is important to keep in mind that Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members will still have access to the Crown Lounge on every sailing.

If the lounge ends up being reserved for Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club passengers between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m each night, Diamond guests will still be able to access it at any other time. It may be the case that one sailing you're on sees a temporary adjustment, with the next having no restrictions whatsoever. 

RelatedRoyal Caribbean to rename Diamond Lounge to Crown Lounge

Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescues individual who went overboard

30 Oct 2023

A person that went overboard from a cruise ship in Europe was successfully rescued.


A person was reported going overboard while sailing on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas shortly after departing Barcelona, Spain. 

Just hours after setting sail, guests reported hearing "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar" over the ship's PA system, which is the code for man overboard. 

X user @landonb94 posted that he could see spotlights and rescue boats from his balcony. 

Thankfully, the individual was rescued and taken to the ship's medical facility. 

The incident occurred on the first night of Symphony of the Seas' 14-night transatlantic cruise

Abyss on Symphony

Symphony of the Seas' 2023 European season has come to an end. She departed Barcelona on Sunday, October 29 to begin her repositioning sailing to Florida, where she will remain until May 2024. 

The individual fell overboard after departing from Barcelona while en route to Valencia. 

Other scheduled ports of call during the voyage include Cadiz, Spain and Nassau, Bahamas. She'll arrive in Fort Lauderdale on November 12. 


The ship turned around, and after about an hour of search and rescue efforts, the Captain made an announcement that the person had been successfully recovered.  

No details have been given about the individual who went overboard

Symphony of the Seas docked

Royal Caribbean has not announced whether the individual who went overboard was a crew member or passenger. They also have not disclosed their gender, age, or any other details, such as why they went overboard in the first place. 

A full investigation will need to happen to determine if there are any safety violations. 

This is not the first time someone has gone overboard during a Royal Caribbean cruise


Back in April, an Australian man went overboard while sailing onboard Quantum of the Seas from Australia just two days before the ship was scheduled to arrive in Hawaii. A few months later in July, a woman cruising to Singapore on Spectrum of the Seas went overboard. 

On August 29, a 19-year-old guest sailing onboard Wonder of the Seas went overboard on a Caribbean cruise. 

Wonder of the Seas

According to CruiseJunkie's website, there have been 60 passengers who have gone overboard on Royal Caribbean ships since 2000, not including this recent incident on Symphony of the Seas. 

Oscar, Oscar, Oscar

Crew member emuster

Cruise ships have a variety of code words for different situations to avoid alarming guests. "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar," for instance, lets other crew members know that someone has gone overboard.

"Alpha" means there's a medical emergency and is typically followed by a location, such as Deck 11 Aft. 

Royal Caribbean also uses "Charlie, Charlie, Charlie," to alert the crew of a security threat onboard.

Night aerial photo Symphony of the Seas

Not all cruise lines use the same codes. If you hear "Alpha Team, Alpha Team, Alpha Team" on a Carnival ship, there is a fire onboard, rather than a medical emergency. 

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