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When should you buy Royal Caribbean drink package, wifi, tours & other add-ons

In:
05 Jul 2022

Everyone wants to save money, so when is the best time to buy popular add-ons for your Royal Caribbean cruise?

Perfect Day at CocoCay beach

Drink packages, specialty dining packages, internet, and shore excursions are just a few of the very popular extras lots of cruise fans buy for their cruise vacation.

While you could wait to buy these items on your ship, you will pay more for them because Royal Caribbean typically offers a pre-cruise discount.

A common reason for trepidation to pre-purchase is not knowing fully if someone needs them. After all, Royal Caribbean includes a great deal of food and activities with your cruise fare.

Rising Tide

While you can have a very nice cruise without spending extra on a tour, cocktails, specialty restaurants or the spa, these optional purchase will enhance your cruise experience. After all, you're on vacation and this is all about splurging and treating yourself.

If you decide to buy any cruise extra-charge items, it's a really good idea to take advantage of the lowest price possible so your money can go further.

Here is my advice for when to buy these cruise-addons.

Why you should buy extras before the cruise begins

There's a few good reasons you should buy certain cruise add-on's before your cruise, and not all of them are purely related to dollars and sense.

Here's a few compelling reasons to do so.

Discounted Price

Cruise Planner on an iPad

In many cases, Royal Caribbean promises a discount on select pre-cruise purchases compared to the price onboard.

The discounted savings can vary, with the price of drink and internet packages varying from ship to ship and sailing to sailing. 

Break up total cruise cost

Budget

When you purchase anything before your cruise via the Cruise Planner site, you will be required to pay for it at the time of purchase.  This provides the ability to break up the total cost of the cruise.

When you make purchases onboard your cruise, at the end of the cruise you get a final bill with all of the charges tallied up. 

By pre-purchasing certain items, you can pay off parts of the cruise months or years in advance, allowing you to reduce the cruise bill at the conclusion of your cruise. This is incredibly helpful for budgeting to have control of what charges come in on which billing cycles.

Save you time onboard

Couple with drinks on Suite Deck

An intangible benefit to pre-purchasing anything is it saves you time onboard from doing the exact same thing, which means more vacation time back to you.

Taking the time to purchase anything onboard does not take very much time, but every little bit helps, and some purchases on the first day of the cruise can require waiting in a line, such as drink packages.

You can use onboard credit

Onboard credit to spend

When you buy something on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site, you can use any onboard credit towards these purchases. This alleviates a primary concern among cruisers in the past that wished to use onboard credit towards any purchases first.

One thing to consider is the onboard credit available for use in the Cruise Planner is limited to onboard credit provided by Royal Caribbean.  This means, if you are receiving onboard credit from a travel agent or other source, it may not be available for use online. 

Granted, while I have never had any trouble using up onboard credit on a Royal Caribbean cruise, some guests prefer to save their credits for on the ship.

You can re-price if the price goes down

Drink package prices

No matter what price you pay today, if there's a lower price at any point before your cruise, you can cancel and rebook it.

Cruise Planner purchases are fully refundable with no cancellation penalties. This means you can book something now and lock in the price, but if there's a lower price later, you can cancel it and rebook online.

This also helps protect you if the price goes up.

Best time to buy Royal Caribbean drink package

Royal Caribbean drink package

You should buy a Royal Caribbean drink package at any point before your cruise because it will be cheaper online.

Royal Caribbean runs many pre-cruise sales, and even when there's not an active promotion going on, the price of an unlimited drink package is cheaper before the cruise that onboard the ship.

You'll find the drink packages available to purchase on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner website.

It can be a little confusing to understand how much of a discount you're getting, since Royal Caribbean bases its discounts on an unknown onboard price, and then combines the price of a drink package with a buy one get one 50% off deal.

When you look at the drink package price online, ignore the sale details and look at the price when you add the drink package to the cart.

It's a good idea to keep track of the drink package price, as there's new sale promotions every few weeks. These sales don't always lower the price, but sometimes it can.

Best time to buy a shore excursion

It's a good idea to book your shore excursions at least 2-3 months before your cruise.

Just as important as the fun things to do on your cruise ship are the things you can do in the ports of call you will visit.

Royal Caribbean will list a variety of shore excursions you can pick from in the Cruise Planner, and some of the most popular excursions will sell out before your cruise.

Royal Caribbean will begin listing excursions as early as six months before your cruise (although they can show up even earlier than that). 

Many cruisers prefer to book their shore excursions through the cruise line for the convenience and peace of mind Royal Caribbean offers. For that reason, tours can sell out.

I find the majority of people on a cruise don't start really booking tours up until closer to the sail date because they are unaware of all the tips and tricks cruise fans know, so you'll notice things begin to sell out around six weeks before the cruise begins.

Family on Alaska tour

Excursions selling out are at a much higher risk in destination cruises, such as Alaska or Europe.  If you are booked on one of these sailings, it's a good idea to start booking up tours as much as 3 months before you sail.

You could always reserve a tour on your own, and outside tours do not sell out nearly as early. If you go on your own, it's a good idea to book these 1-2 months before the cruise.

Best time to book a Perfect Day at CocoCay or Labadee activity

Ship at CocoCay

Due to the popularity of Royal Caribbean's private destinations, you're going to want to book something fun here to do even earlier than shore excursions.

It's a really good idea to book a cabana as much as 4-6 months before your cruise to assure yourself of one, and get a lower price.  Cabanas have become the hottest selling commodity at either Perfect Day at CocoCay or Labadee, so you're going to want to act fast to get one.

Read moreGuide to CocoCay Cabanas

Chill Island cabanas

The days of cabanas going unsold are pretty much gone, so act quickly if you want one. Just like everything else in the Cruise Planner, they're refundable if you change your mind later.

Another hot ticket is the CocoCay water park, which can sell out. The entire water park selling out is less likely, but the price going up certainly is common. So book that 3-5 months early whenever possible.

The other must-book early add-on is admission to the Coco Beach Club

If the idea of going to an exclusive area of CocoCay appeals to you, then book your admission before it sells out.  I suppose the word is out about this place, because it's pretty rare for the Coco Beach Club not to sell out before the cruise begins.

Other CocoCay extras like the zip line, helium balloon ride, and aquatic activities rarely sell out, so book them at your convenience.

There is one extra I'd recommend not booking in advance at Perfect Day at CocoCay and that's the Up, Up & Away Helium Balloon Ride. The balloon can only go up in near-perfect wind conditions, and that tends to be fairly rare. 

Up, Up & Away Helium Balloon Ride

My advice is hold off and if you get to the island and see it going up, run over and book a spot. You might pay more, but I think it's a safer bet than waiting for an almost inevitable refund when it gets cancelled.

Over in Labadee, the zip line is a good idea to book in advance just to get a good time. Zip line rides are based on ride times, and it's a good idea to go in the morning before it gets overly hot or the threat of rain grows.

Best time to book an internet package

WiFi

Just like the drink package, the price of an internet package is always cheaper before the cruise.

These packages are good for the duration of your cruise, and are limited per device (not per person).

Unlike the drink package, wifi prices rarely change much. So you don't need to book it well in advance. Just book yourself a package at some point before you board.

Best time to book specialty dining restaurants

These days, you absolutely should pre-book a specialty dining package before your cruise, at least a month before your sail date.

Ever since Royal Caribbean restarted cruises after the global health crisis, demand for specialty dining has gone through the roof. A combination of pent-up demand, new dining concepts, and more cash to spend on vacations have lead a lot more people to try specialty dining.

If you are booking an individual restaurant, book it before the cruise. Izumi hibachi is one restaurant you must-book before the cruise because it sells out quite often before the cruise begins.

Izumi hibachi on Mariner of the Seas

If your cruise is over a major holiday, such as Christmas, New Years or Valentine's Day, pre-book a specialty restaurant to assure yourself of a spot. Everyone else will be thinking of a special meal on a special day.

Dining packages are just as popular, and it's becoming more commonplace to find dining packages sold out onboard. To be safe, if you want a dining package, buy it a couple months before your cruise.

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

Best time to book spa services

Thermal Spa

It's less clear of an advantage when to book a spa service, and it may make more sense to wait and book a spa service onboard on a port day.

Deciding to book a spa service before or after your cruise is not always a crystal clear decision, primarily because the spa services offered online do not always match up with the total services offered onboard.

Spa services are often discounted on the Cruise Planner, with the discount percentage depending on the day and time you select for the service.  The most lucrative discounts are usually earlier in the cruise.

Thermal spa

The challenge in figuring out whether to purchase or not prior to the cruise, is each day of your cruise will have some spa specials offered.  These spa specials are usually combination offers, which are not offered as an option in the Cruise Planner before the cruise. In my experience, the Cruise Planner offers individual services which are good for those that just want a massage, service or therapy.  

Royal Caribbean offers an onboard discount on an individual spa service, which varies depending on your Crown and Anchor Society status level.

Best time to book shows

Theater on Harmony of the Seas

You want to reserve a show as soon as you get onboard the ship.

Royal Caribbean allows guests on all ships to pre-reserve theater shows, but you're going to have to wait until you get onboard to do so.

Once on the ship, reservations open up via the Royal Caribbean app or at Guest Services.

You'll want to log onto the Royal Caribbean wifi and then open up the app and begin making reservations for shows because they will sell out, especially on ships that have must-see shows, such as the Oasis Class or Quantum Class.

There is no cost to make show reservations.

How to check for a price drop

Laptop

Regardless of which pre-cruise purchase is of interest to you, your best bet is to watch the price online in the months leading up to your cruise in case there is a price drop (or increase).

Royal Caribbean allows its guests to cancel and rebook any Cruise Planner purchase without a penalty.  This means that if you purchase something online, and then the price drops before your sailing, you can log back in and cancel the purchase and then immediately rebook to take advantage of the lower price.  Similarly, booking in advance protects against a price increase.

Moreover, if you decided to buy something online but change your mind later, you can get a refund on the pre-cruise purchase prior to your sailing.

More cruise advice

I tried my first cruise from the UK: here's what you should know

In:
05 Jul 2022

I recently returned from my first ever cruise from the United Kingdom, a 7-night Spain & France cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. Taking a cruise from the UK came with several differences than what I’ve experienced on cruises from the US.

From Main Dining Room meals to port options and expanded drink menus, it was fun to spot the differences in a Royal Caribbean cruise experience when departing from across the pond.

If you’re interested in booking a cruise from Southampton, here’s what you need to know about sailing from the UK.

Limited ship choices

Anthem of the Seas, a Quantum Class ship, calls Southampton home in the summer months, offering cruises to Norway, Spain, France, the Canary Islands, and the Mediterranean.

While having only one ship to book is very limited compared to what you’ll find in the United States or Mediterranean, the good news is that Anthem of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean’s most modern cruise ships.

As a Quantum Class ship, Anthem was built to sail in many types of weather conditions, and you’ll find a variety of indoor spaces throughout the ship, from multiple indoor pools to an indoor SeaPlex offering activities like bumper cars and volleyball. The entertainment on Anthem of the Seas is sure to impress, too, with a full-length Broadway production of We Will Rock You.

The ship has plenty of complimentary and specialty dining venues to enjoy as well, including Jamie’s Italian, Izumi Sushi, Wonderland, Chops Grille, Johnny Rockets, Solarium Bistro, and Cafe @ Two70.

Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Icon of the Seas, will be debuting in the United Kingdom in fall 2023 prior to being homeported in Miami, Florida. If you’re hoping to sail on the latest and greatest ship offered by Royal Caribbean, keep an eye out for when Icon of the Seas will be available to book.

Main Dining Room menu differences

Something unique about cruising from the United Kingdom is that the Main Dining Room menu will offer two additional menu options each day: an English-style option and an Indian option.

Menu items include shepherd's pie, chicken tikka masala, chicken and leek pie, and fish curry. You’ll definitely have the opportunity to taste diverse Main Dining Room meals when sailing from the UK!

More gins and whiskeys available

One interesting find on my Anthem of the Seas cruise was a menu of gins and beers located at bars around the ship. This is another way in which Royal Caribbean caters its offerings to guests from the UK, and it was a fun difference to spot onboard!

Menu items include Guinness, Magners Irish Cider, Old Speckled Hen, Hendrick’s, Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger, and Sipsmith.

Getting to the Mediterranean will take more time

If the idea of a sunny Mediterranean cruise sounds appealing to you, keep in mind that the United Kingdom does not have the most convenient access to the Mediterranean sea.

Reaching destinations like Rome and Barcelona from Southampton can take quite some time, so you won’t find any 7-night cruises visiting Mediterranean ports from the UK. Many Mediterranean cruise itineraries will be around 14 nights instead!

The Bay of Biscay can be choppy

If you’re on a cruise itinerary leaving from Southampton that travels to France, Spain, the Canary Islands, or the Mediterranean, your ship will be passing through the Bay of Biscay. The bay is located above northern Spain and to the west of France.

The Bay of Biscay is a body of water that has been feared by sailors for centuries due to its proximity to the open Atlantic waters and storms in the winter months. While today’s modern navigation technology and ship construction has no problem passing through the Bay of Biscay, you may still encounter choppy waters.

If you’re prone to motion sickness, be sure to pack seasickness remedies with you to ensure you can remain comfortable throughout the cruise.

Visiting unique ports

One advantage of cruising from the United Kingdom is that you’ll have the opportunity to visit less common cruise ports.

As an example, cruising from Southampton will give you the chance to visit ports like La Coruña, Vigo, and Bilbao in Spain along with La Rochelle and Le Havre in France.

These ports receive far fewer tourists and cruise ships compared to the most popular European cruise destinations. This can lead to a much more relaxed feel while in port, giving you more opportunity to immerse in local culture and lifestyle without hoards of other tourists around.

If you have more time to spare, you can also book a longer cruise visiting the Canary Islands along with ports in Portugal and mainland Spain. Cruise itineraries to the Canary Islands are not very common, but you’ll typically find a few itineraries on Anthem of the Seas every year.

Weather is unpredictable

While this may not be surprising for those who call the United Kingdom home, don’t be shocked if you encounter cloudy skies and chilly weather when cruising from Southampton. The weather on my June UK cruise was far from ideal for much of our time at sea, and I found myself wearing jeans and a jacket nearly every day.

This may not always be the case, however. When we arrived in our first port of call in France, we encountered lovely temperatures in the 70s. Just a day or two before, though, a heat wave passed through with temperatures over 100 degrees!

Weather is likely to be unpredictable, so remember to check the weather forecast before packing for your cruise!

You can visit Paris

If visiting Paris is on your bucket list, look for cruise itineraries that visit the port of Le Havre, located around 2.5-3 hours from the city center of Paris. Royal Caribbean offers excursions visiting popular spots in the city, from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre.

Be prepared for a long port day in Le Havre, as excursions to Paris will likely be over 10 hours! They also tend to be quite expensive, with some tours costing several hundreds of dollars.

You can choose to visit Paris on your own instead of on a Royal Caribbean excursion, but keep an eye on the time. With such a long travel time required to reach the city from Le Havre, you don’t want to risk missing the ship!

Gateway to Norway

If you’re hoping to visit Norway, cruising from Southampton will offer the chance to visit the country’s stunning fjords and charming towns. Royal Caribbean regularly offers 7-night Norwegian Fjords cruises visiting ports like Geiranger, Bergen, and Alesund.

A Norwegian cruise is arguably one of the most scenic in the world. If the idea of sailing past colossal mountain peaks on both sides of your cruise ship seems intriguing, don’t hesitate to book a cruise to Norway.

More guests and crew from the UK onboard

A Royal Caribbean cruise departing from Southampton will likely have a higher percentage of crew and guests onboard from the United Kingdom and Ireland. On my recent cruise on Anthem of the Seas, I'd guess that upwards of 80% of guests were from the UK! This was a huge difference compared to cruises leaving from the United States, where a large majority of guests are from the US or Latin America.

I enjoyed the shift in guest makeup on my UK cruise and it was fun talking to other guests on Anthem of the Seas, as I was able to learn more about the lifestyle in culture in different areas of the UK.

Cruising from Southampton is convenient

One aspect I really appreciated on my cruise from Southampton was how accessible the port is from London via public transit. The United Kingdom has an extensive train network, and there is a direct train from London’s Waterloo station to Southampton.

I paid $70 for my roundtrip train ticket on the app Trainline, and it only took around 90 minutes to reach Southampton from central London.

Not only that, but the port in Southampton is within walking distance of the train station! While I took an Uber on my way to the ship, I decided to walk to the station on disembarkation day to avoid a long wait for a taxi or Uber. It only took around 15 minutes!

Have you ever cruised from the United Kingdom? What tips and tricks do you have for those cruising from Southampton for the first time? Let us know in the comments below!

Royal Caribbean cruises in July 2022: What to expect

In:
04 Jul 2022

No month is more synonymous with summer cruise vacations than the month of July.

Liberty of the Seas pool deck

You'll find warm temperatures across all of Royal Caribbean's sailings along with (hopefully) sunny skies.

The month of July is the peak of the summer cruise season, which means families are on summer break and demand for a summer vacation reaches its height. Very likely your ship and the places you visit will have lots of people looking to enjoy a break.

In Europe specifically, July is the month when Europeans go on holiday (along with August), so prepare to see a lot of people wherever you go in ports. Be vigilant about your surroundings, as pickpockets in Europe are common in the summer.

Ship at CocoCay

The one region where the month of July is off-season is the Caribbean. Given many ships left the Caribbean to sail Europe or Alaska, there are less ships in the Caribbean.  While that may mean less ships in Caribbean ports of call, there's still plenty of people that will be booked on the ships that are left.

If you have a summer cruise in July, here's what to expect on your sailing.

Ships sailing in July 2022

Wonder of the Seas

Every single Royal Caribbean cruise ship is back in service, so here's a breakdown of where each ship is located.

  • Freedom of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Anthem of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey until she moves to Southampton
  • Allure of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Symphony of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Independence of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Harmony of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Mariner of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Liberty of the Seas from Galveston, Texas
  • Adventure of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey
  • Explorer of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Navigator of the Seas from Los Angeles, California
  • Spectrum of the Seas from Singapore
  • Grandeur of the Seas from Galveston, Texas
  • Enchantment of the Seas from Baltimore, Maryland
  • Radiance of the Seas from Vancouver, Canada or Seward, Alaska
  • Serenade of the Seas from Vancouver, Canada
  • Voyager of the Seas from Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Quantum of the Seas from Seattle, Washington
  • Ovation of the Seas from Seattle, Washington
  • Oasis of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey
  • Brilliance of the Seas from Rome, Italy
  • Wonder of the Seas from Barcelona and Rome
  • Odyssey of the Seas from from Rome, Italy
  • Vision of the Seas from Barcelona, Spain
  • Rhapsody of the Seas from Ravenna, Italy & Piareus, Greece
  • Jewel of the Seas from Amsterdam, Netherlands

You will find Royal Caribbean cruises sailing in three markets during July: the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe.

Health protocols for July 2022 cruises

Parasailing in Labadee

If your cruise is sailing in July, you can expect certain core Covid-19 health protocols to be in place for your sailing, with the exception of select European itineraries that have slightly stricter vaccine requirements.

All Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing.

Boosters are not required, except for some European sailings require anyone that hasn't had their last shot more than 270 days ago to get a booster.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean extends European cruise ship Covid protocols through July 2022

Kids in pool

Royal Caribbean does not require kids younger than 12 to be vaccinated.

Masks are optional for vaccinated guests & recommended for unvaccinated children while onboard. Masks are no longer required at Adventure Ocean for kids 2 years and up, they are recommended for unvaccinated kids.

Masks are also now optional while in the cruise terminal before or after your cruise, unless mandated by local authorities.

Allure of the Seas

Guests under 2 years old do not need to wear a mask.

Vaccinated guests must show a negative Covid-19 test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than 2 days before boarding day. 

Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR test (not antigen) taken no more than 3 days before boarding day. This test cannot be taken on boarding day for unvaccinated kids.

Guests under 2 years of age do not need to complete a pre-cruise test. 

July weather on a cruise

Rome

July sees some of the hottest temperatures for any of the regions you will be cruising from.

In Europe, heatwaves are not uncommon in July. The Greek islands can see temperatures that get into the 90s, but most of Europe should have high temperatures in the 80s, with overnight lows in the 60s.

Sea conditions in the Mediterranean are quite calm, with smooth sailing expected.  Likewise, July has great weather in terms of low chance of rain. 

Nice, France

In short, expect hot, sunny skies when you are in port or ashore.

Read moreWhat is the best time to cruise the Mediterranean?

If you are headed to Alaska, you will also enjoy some of the warmest temperatures of the season. July is one of the best months for an Alaska cruise because of the very comfortable outdoor conditions. Temperatures are always all over the place in Alaska, but high temperatures in the 70s or even 80s is not unheard of.

Expect up to 18 hours of sunlight in July. Chances of rain also increase as the summer months go by, so don’t forget to bring all of your rain gear.

Read moreWhen is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

Freedom of the Seas in CocoCay

If you have a Caribbean cruise, I hope you like it hot and humid.

Daily high temperatures in the Caribbean during July will be in the upper 70s to upper 80s, and plenty of humidity. Believe it or not, temperatures don't go much into the 90s because of how the tropics tend to always be around the same temperature throughout the year.

With those toasty temperatures, it will feel perfect for a swim, as the ocean temperatures will be quite warm.

Expect it to rain every day of your July cruise in the Caribbean, but that doesn't mean an all-day soaker. Thunderstorms roll in and out quickly in the Caribbean, so afternoon downpours are common, but short lived. Plan on outdoor activities but you may need to seek shelter for a few minutes to let the rain pass.

Don't forget, it's hurricane season in the Caribbean, so a tropical storm could cause a change in your itinerary.

Read moreWhat to know about cruising during hurricane season in the Caribbean

More information

Comparing Royal Caribbean's Private Islands: CocoCay & Labadee

In:
01 Jul 2022

Royal Caribbean operates two private islands that offer passengers a curated and exclusive experience where the cruise line manages the entire visit.

While cruise ships can take you to different islands in the Caribbean, they can also stop at pristine places reserved just for cruise ship passengers.

These days it's rare to find an itinerary in the Caribbean that does not include a stop at one of the private islands.  Many Caribbean itineraries will visit either Labadee or Perfect Day at CocoCay, or even sometimes both.

The idea behind both of these places is a controlled, yet relaxing environment, where there's none of the fuss associated with finding a tour or haggling with vendors. Instead, Royal Caribbean sets everything up and admission to either island is included with your cruise fare.

Perfect Day at CocoCay seen from ship

Private destinations have evolved from secluded beach to full-day destination with different things you can do. Just like a cruise ship, Royal Caribbean realized people like to spend their time ashore differently. Some like a party atmosphere, while others want no noise and just the water. 

Which private island is better for you?  What makes them different or are they pretty much the same? 

Let’s take a detailed look at these two beautiful islands.

A brief history

While Labadee is known as a private island, it is actually a peninsula on Haiti’s north coast.  It was the first private destination for Royal Caribbean, who leased the land in 1986. 

CocoCay is actually named Little Stirrup Cay.  It was originally leased by Admiral Cruises in 1985.  When Royal Caribbean acquired Admiral Cruises in 1988, they took over the lease and changed the name. Leases for both islands run until 2050.  It’s a pretty good assumption that they’ll be renewed.

Perfect Day at CocoCay prices and costs | Royal Caribbean Blog

Both destinations were originally tender ports, meaning you had to take a small boat from the ship to the island.  Now they both have a pier that has made visiting there much easier and reliable. A pier allows cruise ships more flexibility with regard to weather conditions, thus meaning less missed calls.

Royal Caribbean invested heavily in a major overhaul in 2019 that saw over $250 million invested to expand the island's offerings with a waterpark with 13 slides; the region’s biggest wave pool; the region’s largest freshwater pool; and a beach club area for an extra cost aimed at those who want an elevated experience.

Climate & Topography

Since both private islands are in the tropics, the climate is very similar. 

It is usually hot and humid most of the year, with the highest temperatures in July.

Royal Caribbean celebrates one year anniversary of Perfect Day at CocoCay opening | Royal Caribbean Blog

Although CocoCay is located further north, their temperatures can dip into the 60’s in January.  Both destinations are in the path of a possible hurricane.  

CocoCay is mostly flat while Labadee is surrounded by lush vegetation and mountains. 

Things to do in CocoCay

Guide to Thrill Waterpark at Perfect Day at CocoCay | Royal Caribbean Blog

You can’t miss the advertising Royal Caribbean has been doing for Perfect Day at CocoCay since it’s refurbishment in 2019 and with good reason.  CocoCay has become a must-do destination.  It’s Thrill Waterpark has slides that can rival most theme parks on land.

They have zip lines that stop at various platforms throughout the park and island (1600 feet in all), a tethered helium balloon that lifts you up to 450 feet in the air and Splashaway Bay, a complimentary kids area with slides and water buckets.

CocoCay has the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, Oasis Lagoon, which also has a swim up bar.  For a fee you can rent one of the cabanas that surround the pool or just grab any of the free lounge chairs.  There is also a DJ providing music.

Royal Caribbean surveys guests on possible ideas for Perfect Day at CocoCay expansion | Royal Caribbean Blog

But what if you just want to relax?  Then head to the beach!  South Beach is a more quieter area since it’s further away.  You can upgrade your experience by purchasing a pass to the Coco Beach Club.  There you will also find a beach and the infinity pool. 

One of the most unique things about CocoCay are the floating cabanas.  They can accommodate up to 8 people and include access to the Coco Beach Club.

Coco Beach Club debuts at Perfect Day at CocoCay | Royal Caribbean Blog

You’ll have your own private slide into the ocean, a hammock that sits just over the water, a shower, a safe, and a dining area.  What I loved most about it was the ability to play our own music by connecting to the cabanas Bluetooth system. 

They are pretty expensive. The average price I’ve seen for my recent sailings has been $1699 and up, which I guess isn’t bad if you split it up between four couples but for just my husband and I, that price is hard to justify.  But sometimes you can find a deal.  We did last October and were happy that we could finally experience the cabanas.

Food on CocoCay

Mariner of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - CocoCay | Royal Caribbean Blog

CocoCay offers a complimentary buffet with everything from burgers to tacos.

I love the Snack Shack that has chicken sandwiches, burgers, mozzarella sticks and funnel cakes.

Coco Beach Club: cost, tips & review | Royal Caribbean Blog

Captain Jack’s, which is adjacent to the Skippers Grill buffet, has flavored chicken wings and fries for a fee.

Coco Beach Club has a lunch that is more elevated than the complimentary options with lobster and filet mignon. If you have the drink package, it can also be used on both private islands.

Things to do in Labadee

Friday Photos | Royal Caribbean Blog

Labadee was the first to introduce over the water cabanas. 

They are more of a simple design and don’t include all of the bells and whistles of the ones on CocoCay.  However, they’re quiet and have more of a secluded feel. They allow access to the ocean via a nearby staircase.

Another option is the hilltop cabanas that are farther away from the beach but have amazing views of the ocean and the ship. There are also beachfront and standard cabanas.

Barefoot Beach Cabanas on Royal Caribbean's Labadee | Royal Caribbean Blog

There is one thing Labadee has that the current CocoCay doesn’t, which is a “suites only” area called Barefoot Beach.  It’s definitely more peaceful there and makes for a relaxing day.

Labadee also has thrills of its own.  The Dragon’s Breath zip line starts 500 feet above sea level and plummets you at speeds up to 50 mph 2600 feet to the beach below.  It is the longest over the water zipline in the world.

For a bigger rush, you can zip line head first on Dragon’s Fire’s. Dragon’s Tail is an alpine style coaster that takes you around a mountain and there’s the Dragon’s Splash water slide.  The Arawak Aqua Park is in the ocean itself and has slides and trampolines.  

First timer's guide to Labadee | Royal Caribbean Blog

Labadee also offers tandem parasailing which I really enjoyed.  It takes you up about 400 feet and the views of the mountains are spectacular!

Both islands also have jet skiing, snorkeling and floating beach mats. One thing to keep in mind is that Labadee does not have a freshwater pool.  

Food on Labadee

Buffet dining is available throughout the island.  Again, there is an upgraded buffet at Barefoot Beach for the suite guests that includes lamb and filet mignon.

Similarities between CocoCay & Labadee

What you need to know about snorkeling on Royal Caribbean's Labadee | Royal Caribbean Blog

While you can pick out a number of ways Labadee and CocoCay are different from each other, they have a lot more in common.

At the heart of both visits is a beach day. You will find multiple beaches to visit, and each beach is included with the cost of your cruise (except for Coco Beach Club for an additional cost and Barefoot Beach for suite guests).

A complimentary lunch is also offered at both, along with certain activities such as hammocks, sports courts, and a splash area for younger kids.

40 Perfect Day at CocoCay tips, tricks and secrets | Royal Caribbean Blog

An opportunity to purchase local goods from residents of either The Bahamas or Haiti is also part of the islands experience. Be sure to bring cash if you wish to purchase a souvenir.

And no Royal Caribbean private destination is complete without a few bars to visit. In fact, both CocoCay and Labadee have a swim-up bar you can visit just off the beach.

CocoCay vs Labadee: which island should you pick?

You really can’t go wrong with a visit to either destination.

While CocoCay has been updated with the latest amenities, Labadee has an unmatched natural beauty. Both destinations are a treat to have on any itinerary.

The beaches at both spots are great, although CocoCay's sand tends to be less rockier than Labadee.

Perfect Day at CocoCay beach

If you like variety of things to do, or are a "pool person" more than a "beach person", then you should pick CocoCay. You can still find seclusion and quiet at either South Beach or Chill island, but there's more happening at CocoCay.

If you like a relaxed beach day above all else, than you should pick Labadee. The zip line, alpine coaster, and other tours are enough to satisfy someone who has reached peak serenity.

Ideally, your itinerary includes a visit to both islands. There are a handful of these sailings, and they can be a great vacation choice.

The Ultimate Cruise Packing List

In:
02 Jun 2022

Fresh off a 7 day cruise, with a few pre-cruise vacation days, I still have packing lists top of mind. Overall, I did a reasonably good job preparing for our 11 day journey, with a little room to spare in my suitcase for souvenirs, but there are a couple of things I could have included.

Packing for a cruise

There are so many fun things to do on a cruise in addition to all the great excursions. How to pack for everything? This post will provide a detailed list of what to pack, along with some helpful tips.

Planning ahead can be a great time-saver, as no one wants to use valuable vacation time doing detours while in port in a search for a forgotten item. Or missing out on a great activity, such as a galley tour, because you don't have closed toe shoes. 

Here are some of my best packing strategies and suggestions for your cruise:

Luggage

Before you start packing, it is always a good idea to make sure you have the right luggage. Royal Caribbean does not have a specific limit on the number of suitcases. For most, this will be guided by transportation options, especially flying, which has restrictions on both the size and weight of bags.

For ease of travel, I like a good, 4 wheel rolling suitcase, along with a travel style knapsack. I prefer a hard case, after an unfortunate experience with my soft-covered suitcase being out in the rain too long. Everything was completely soaked inside.

When cruising, it can be a couple of hours before you receive your suitcases, so consider carry-ons that you can easily manage with all your necessities until your cabin is ready. Your carry-on should have room enough for important valuables, required documents, and anything else you need right away, such as flip flops and a bathing suit.

Packing strategies

Suitcase open for packing

I have a couple of primary considerations, my packing philosophies if you will, that I use to help make sure I pack what I need for my vacation,  Clothes and shoes must be multi-purpose, looking at everything head to toe. There is nothing that goes in my suitcase that will be worn only once.

It is essential to pick fabrics that travel well and can easily be rolled (my favorite packing technique). I swear linen just wrinkles from looking at it, so it is a definite no for me. Also, keep in mind you can’t bring irons or steamers onboard, as they are considered a fire hazard.

Some people like packing cubes, and I have tried them in the past but was not overly impressed  by them. A couple of years ago, I did convert to rolling most of my clothes, which decreases seams and maximizes space.

Daytime clothes and accessories

How many outfits to pack? That depends on the length and type of cruise. There are no self-service laundry facilities onboard but washing, pressing, and dry-cleaning services are offered (prices vary per item). It is best to plan clothes for the number of days plus a return home outfit. Two outfits per day is a good rule of thumb (day and night).

Pack clothes that are appropriate for the climate. For the warm Caribbean sun, consider garments to keep you cool and comfortable at the pool. I monitor the weather several weeks ahead of time, looking at average temperatures and projected rainfall amounts.

For general daywear pack:

  • Clothes for lounging and the pool such as tees and tank tops, shorts, sundresses, swimwear, and cover ups
  • Comfortable pair of flip flops and sandals
  • Jeans and pants
  • Active wear including running /walking shoes
  • Clothes for onboard activities, such as the all-access ship tour, zip-lining, and rock climbing which require closed-toe shoes.
  • For chillier spots like the ice rink, include pants and a sweater
  • Don’t forget socks!
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat or visor
  • Lanyard for SeaPass

Tip: Magnetic hooks can be helpful in organizing clothes while onboard.

Evening clothes and accessories

Pile of belongings

For evening events, the dress code varies, but cruisers are less formal than they use to be. Many guests wear "Smart Casual" for formal night; Royal Caribbean's website explains the dress code to help with packing for evening wear.

  • "Smart Casual: Think of this as a step up from your typical dinner wear. Dress to impress with collared shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, or pantsuits. Jackets, sports coats, and blazers are snazzy and welcomed.
  • Formal: Make it a night out in your best black-tie look – suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses, or evening gowns, although I have to say less and less of this.
  • There are also fun theme nights, such as the White Party, 70s or 80s nights. They differ by ship, but a previous Cruise Compass will indicate what can be expected.
  • Again, think about shoe selection. Neutrals or metallics go a long way as they match with so much.
  • Sleepwear for when your fun evening comes to an end

Jewelry

It is a good idea to keep jewelry to a minimum, the less flashy the better. I don’t want to worry about losing a piece of jewelry while swimming or attract unnecessary attention in ports.

Personally, I don’t even bring fancy costume jewelry as some of it is so real looking and again, I don’t want to attract unwanted attention.

Waterproof items are also a plus, so consider them if you plan on doing anything that can get you wet like swimming and boating.

Ports and excursions

Whether it’s a beach day, bicycle tour, or snorkeling, there are a few things you should probably include for your port days.

It's always a good idea to keep valuables such as a phone and wallet safe when venturing out in ports. Cross-body bags with secure locks or a money belt are good options. It never hurts to stick an umbrella or rain ponchos in your bag in case any tropical showers pop up.

For general water/ beach outings, consider:

  • Mask, goggles and snorkel
  • Water shoes (where needed)
  • Life jackets /flotation devices (especially for children)
  • Waterproof phone carrier
  • Towel clips (the ship provides towels)
  • Beach bag
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen and lip balm

Bring good, comfortable shoes for walking and what is considered appropriate for the activity. Some people like goggles or bandanas for ATV tours, which can be dusty.

Colder Climate Packing

Cruising to colder climates, like Alaska, has become increasingly popular, and requires different considerations for weather and activities.

The amount of rain and temperature can vary during an Alaskan cruise, so you should be prepared to keep warm and dry. Layered dressing is the way to go in this climate. Here are some suggestions:

  • Shirts and t-shirts for inner layers
  • Warm layers, such as fleece pullovers
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Suitable closed toe shoes
  • Boots for hiking where needed
  • Gloves, hat and scarf
  • Binoculars
  • Water-resistant backpack/cross-body bag for onshore
  • Insect repellant is especially important for Alaska

Tip – Hand warmer packs are helpful to keep hands nice and cozy on a cold day.

Location specific requirements

The cruise planner will list important details for excursions. For example, in Rome, there is no access to the Vatican or St. Peter’s Basilica with exposed shoulders or knees (common for churches in the region). This applies to both men and women.

For those who love camouflage clothing, it is important to note that it is illegal in some Caribbean countries, such as Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Lucia as it is reserved for military use. Some non-camo options should be included when packing.

Sunscreen is a must and cruisers should be aware that some destinations require reef-safe sunscreen to help protect the health of their coral reefs. These products don’t contain harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, octocrylene and octinoxate. Reef-safe sunscreens are readily available in popular drugstores and other retailers. Ports in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Aruba and Hawaii are some of the locations that require these types of sunscreens.

Kid stuff

Traveling with younger kids can definitely add more to your packing list. Beyond the standard clothes suggested for adults, consider including:

  • Diapers – pack plenty of extra ones, including regular and swim
  • Baby wipes
  • Rash cream
  • Extra plastic bags for wet items
  • Extra clothes
  • Light blanket
  • Stroller
  • Car seat where necessary
  • Bottles/sippy cups
  • Baby food and formula
  • Activities like coloring, stickers, books, etc.
  • Download favorite shows and games on tablets

Kids love sand toys, which are a great part of any beach day. Collapsible silicone toys are a fantastic option for saving space in lieu of traditional bulky toys.

Many parents prefer a bath for young children and bring small blow-up bathtubs that can be placed in the shower during a cruise.

Toiletries

Most of us use several products throughout the day, from our morning routine to bedtime regime. This can translate into a fair number of things to bring along. When I start the packing process, I walk through everything I do to get ready and make brief notes.

The cruise line provides soap and shampoo, but many people prefer to bring their own. Here are some of the main things to consider:

  • Shampoo and conditioner, and other hair products.
  • Skin care products
  • Makeup
  • Eye care – glass cleaners and contact solution
  • Dental – toothbrush and toothpaste (and floss for the 1% that actually do as their dentist tells them)
  • Curling / flat irons (cabins have blow dryers)
  • Shaving products
  • Brush, comb, elastics/ hair accessories
  • Deodorant
  • Nail products

Many travelers find an over the door shoe rack and magnetic hooks helpful in organizing toiletries. Many people also suggest a small sewing kit as well. 

Tip - For some reason, travel sized products can be pricey despite their size. Reusable travel bottles are a good solution, especially if you don’t need a large quantity of product..

First Aid and Medications

 

While some items can be purchased onboard, it is a good idea to have a ready made first aid kit for easy access during the cruise. The last thing you want to do, is spend time running around in port to find something,

Unfortunately, some people suffer from sea sickness, but there are a number of well known remedies such as Gravol, wrist bands and patches. Don't assume that there will be an adequate supply on the ship. Best to pick them up at the local drugstore pre-cruise; a pharmacist can assist with determining what is best for you.

Here are some common medications/ first aid items to pack:

  • Sea sickness remedies
  • Pain and allergy products
  • After-burn care (aloe), lip balm (SPF), and bug spray
  • Anti-itch cream/ hydrocortisone
  • First aid items such as band-aids and anti-bacterial ointment
  • Upset stomach medications
  • Cold medicine
  • Eye drops

Valuables / Carry-on

The last bag to pack is your carry-on. Once the luggage is dropped off at the terminal, this should contain everything needed until the cabin is ready.

Cruisers will need all their required travel documents such as personal identification -  passports, and driver’s license.  Also:

  • Money (small denominations for tips/ foreign currency), credit cards
  • Electronics – phone, tablet, earbuds, charger, camera
  • Required medication (at least 3 days extra worth)
  • Eyewear – glasses, sunglasses, contacts
  • Comfort items such as  gum/ mints/ snacks
  • Phone battery (can’t be packed)
  • Masks (where required)
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes
  • Covid 19 test kits if you plan on doing proctored tests
  • Pens

Although most people keep documents on their phone, I always feel better having hard copies as well just in case something happens to my phone. Documents to consider:

  • Boarding passes
  • Negative Covid-19  test results  
  • Country specific entry requirements
  • Hotel reservations
  • Transportation details
  • Insurance details
  • A list of key numbers and reservations
  • SetSail passes
  • Luggage tags
  • Excursion details
  • Tip:  Passports applications are taking longer right now, so do keep this in mind if you are traveling to a destination that requires one. It is important to check the expiry date as some countries require passports to be valid for at least 6 months.

Drinks and Beverages

Royal Caribbean allows its guests to bring a specific quantity of drinks onboard. This can be a great money saver or is nice if you have a specific beverage you really love. These must be carried on and cannot be packed in your suitcases.

According to Royal Caribbean, each stateroom (not guest) can bring:

  • Two 750 ml bottles of wine or champagne, as long as one guest is of legal drinking age.
  • Guests can also bring non-alcoholic beverages up to 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom.
  • Milk and distilled water brought on for infant, medical, or dietary use are permitted. 

Corkscrews will be provided for guests to enjoy their drinks in their stateroom, and if guests wish to enjoy their wine or champagne in our dining or bar venues, there will be a corkage fee applied.

Guests who purchase alcohol bottles onboard, in a port-of-call, or bring more than the two permitted bottles on boarding day, will have their items safely stored by the ship. These bottles will be returned on the last day onboard for enjoyment once home.

Outlets

USB plugs in cabin

Royal Caribbean ships have standard plugs and most Caribbean ports have the same electrical outlets as those in the United States. However, for your pre-and post stay for international cruises, you may require adaptors and converters.

Adaptors are inexpensive to purchase but do vary by destination, so check what is required for your travels destination. 

In addition, some items may need a converter that, as the name implies, converts it to the proper voltage. This is more likely to be an issue for items like flat or curling irons. These can be much more expensive, so best to do your research ahead of time to determine what is needed.

Miscellaneous

Although there is plenty of food and drinks on the cruise, there are times when it is helpful to have a pre-packaged snack on hand. Protein and granola bars can be great options, as well as favorites like goldfish or cheerios that can calm down a tired toddler.

A water bottle is a definite plus, and an item I wish I had brought along on my most recent cruise. There were plenty of places to fill up, and with the hot weather, this would have been well used.

If you are worried about water-borne illnesses or bacteria, water bottles from companies such as LARQ and Lifestraw will clean the water, getting rid of E.coli and bacteria. Helpful if you are unsure how safe the drinking water is.

Other items to consider:

  • A night light, as cabins can be dark
  • Reading material – some people love reading on a kindle or their tablet, but for those that don't remember to bring a book or magazine.
  • Flashlight
  • Straws
  • Towel clips to keep your towel from blowing away
  • Fan, but must be cordless (can plug into USB)
  • Multi-outlet USB Charger (non-surge)

Tip – Ziplock bags are invaluable. I suggest bringing a couple of different sizes, they can be used for shoes, dirty clothes, organization etc.

E-Packing

This is a growing category that I have added to my packing list. With more and more apps and Covid protocols, and other health requirements, I have to give more thought to what I need to have on my phone for travel, what I consider e-packing.

Some people like to print out everything, which is a good strategy as well, but for some things, it is best to have an app. 

  • Royal Caribbean App you will need this onboard, to get information on activities, your schedule, book entertainment etc.
  • Airline and transportation apps
  • Boarding Passes
  • Vaccine proof
  • Negative Covid-19 results 
  • Any country specific entry codes, for example for Spain, you need to complete a health form and receive a QR code for entry
  • Excursion details/ tickets
  • Country specific requirements like Canada’s ArriveCAN app, that much be completed prior to arrival

 

I also create a specific travel folder for all of my travel related emails, such as transportation details, and cruise planner purchases.

What to leave at home

There is a whole list of items that can’t be brought onboard, so it's best to know about this ahead of time and not waste space or risk losing them.

There is a detailed list of prohibited items on Royal Caribbean's website, and among many are items that heat up, which can cause a fire hazard on the ship. Anything that could interfere with the safe operation of the ship or the safe and secure environment of guests and crew are prohibited.

Here are some common items that the cruise line does not permit onboard:

  • Beer, hard liquor and spirits
  • Marijuana (even if medical products), CBD Oil / CBD Products
  • Irons and steamers
  • Kettle, coffee maker or hot plate
  • Candles
  • Any other device that produces heat
  • Baby Monitors
  • Extension cords
  • Perishable foods and meats
  • Hookahs and water hookah pipes
  • Weapons including pepper spray
  • Toy gun replicas
  • Hoverboards
  • HAM radios

Royal Caribbean cruises in June 2022: What to expect

In:
23 May 2022

June is the official start of the summer cruise season, which means warm temperatures on pretty much every Royal Caribbean ship you can sail on (outside of Alaska).

Side of Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Have a cruise planned in June? This should provide you the important information for navigating a cruise this month.

June is when summer cruises get into full swing in Europe and Alaska. This means all the ships are in position to offer a full assortment of cruises this month.

Depending on where you live, school begins to let out for summer break during the month of June. This means as the month progresses, so do the crowds and demand for sailings.

Amalfi Coast

If you're looking to get a deal on a cruise, your best is to look for a last-minute cruise deal for early June. Of course, that may be easier said than done, as available cabins may be limited.

Ships sailing in June 2022

This month will see every single Royal Caribbean ship back in service again, as Rhapsody of the Seas restarted operations on May 23.

  • Freedom of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Anthem of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey until she moves to Southampton
  • Allure of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Symphony of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Independence of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Harmony of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Mariner of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Liberty of the Seas from Galveston, Texas
  • Adventure of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey
  • Explorer of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Navigator of the Seas from Los Angeles, California
  • Spectrum of the Seas from Singapore
  • Grandeur of the Seas from Galveston, Texas
  • Enchantment of the Seas from Baltimore, Maryland
  • Radiance of the Seas from Vancouver, Canada or Seward, Alaska
  • Serenade of the Seas from Vancouver, Canada
  • Voyager of the Seas from Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Quantum of the Seas from Seattle, Washington
  • Ovation of the Seas from Seattle, Washington
  • Oasis of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey
  • Brilliance of the Seas from Rome, Italy
  • Wonder of the Seas from Barcelona and Rome
  • Odyssey of the Seas from from Rome, Italy
  • Vision of the Seas from Barcelona, Spain
  • Rhapsody of the Seas from Rome, Italy
  • Jewel of the Seas from Amsterdam, Netherlands

Royal Caribbean's ships will be operating out of three primary markets: Alaska, Europe, and Caribbean.

Read moreComparing the Royal Caribbean ships sailing in Alaska 2022

Summer is actually a off-peak time for cruises to the Caribbean. You will find far less ships sailing to the Caribbean because many vessels have been redeployed to Europe and Alaska. It's also as hot as it gets in the Caribbean during the summer.

The advantage of a summer cruise to the Caribbean is there are less ships overall to contend with, making for favorable conditions in the ports you will visit since there will be less passengers in port.

Health protocols for June 2022 cruises

Royal Caribbean's Covid-19 protocols are fairly consistent across the board, although there can be a few variations for certain European departures.

All Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing.

Boosters are not required, except for some European sailings require anyone that hasn't had their last shot more than 270 days ago to get a booster.

Royal Caribbean does not require kids younger than 12 to be vaccinated.

Masks are optional for vaccinated guests & recommended for unvaccinated children while onboard. Masks are no longer required at Adventure Ocean for kids 2 years and up, they are recommended for unvaccinated kids.

Masks are also now optional while in the cruise terminal before or after your cruise, unless mandated by local authorities.

Guests under 2 years old do not need to wear a mask.

Covid test

Vaccinated guests must show a negative COVID-19 test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than 2 days before boarding day. 

Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR test (not antigen) taken no more than 3 days before boarding day. This test cannot be taken on boarding day for unvaccinated kids.

Guests under 2 years of age do not need to complete a pre-cruise test. 

June weather on a cruise

Couple walking in Italy

June temperatures in the Caribbean typically range from about 78 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit in the day and 70 to 80 at night. 

Expect water temperatures around 81 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

This means hot and humid conditions for a Caribbean cruise with very warm ocean temperatures as well.

Officially, the hurricane season begins on June first, but tropical storms don't usually get going until later in the season.

Read moreWhat to know about cruising during hurricane season in the Caribbean

Kayaking in Palma de Mallorca

Let's move over to Europe, where you will find the sunniest month of the cruise season. June is a fabulous time to take a Mediterranean cruise because of the warm, but not yet hot, temperatures that come later in the summer. On top of that, there are less crowds in June compared to next month.

June is also the time of year when the Mediterranean Sea is finally warm enough to swim, with an average water temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Read moreWhat is the best time to cruise the Mediterranean?

copenhagen denmark rosenborg

If your European cruise goes to Northern Europe, expect high temperatures in the low 60s, and night time temperatures in the low 50s.

Downtown Ketchikan

In Alaska, expect the least rain of the year. This is the perfect month for outdoor shore excursions, such as hiking.

Read moreBest things to do on an Alaska cruise

The average temperature for an Alaska cruise are lows in the upper 40s and highs in the mid-60s Fahrenheit. Towards the end of June, you benefit from additional daylight, with up to 18 hours of sunlight.

You're going to need layers for this sort of weather, so it's important to pack for your Alaska cruise effectively.

More information

15 reasons to book a cruise on Oasis of the Seas

In:
09 May 2022

Oasis of the Seas was a game-changing ship when she first debuted in 2009, and she is still considered one of Royal Caribbean’s most popular cruise ships. Not only is Oasis of the Seas one of the largest cruise ships in the world and jam-packed with nearly endless activities, but she was amplified in 2019 to add even more dining options, activities, and amenities for guests to enjoy.

When choosing between one cruise ship or another, it’s important to know what makes each ship stand apart from the others. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why you should book a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

Portside BBQ

Oasis of the Seas is the only Royal Caribbean ship with Portside BBQ, which serves authentic, slow-cooked barbecue including St. Louis-style spare ribs, hand-pulled pork, BBQ half-chicken, and Texas beef brisket. Comfort food is in abundance at Portside BBQ, with sides including mac & cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, and fries. Don’t forget to end your meal with the Chocolate Brookie, a half-brownie, half-chocolate chip cookie dessert that is sure to impress.

Portside BBQ is open for lunch on Oasis of the Seas and comes at an extra cost, with combos of 2 to 3 cuts, 2 sides, and 1 dessert ranging from $12.50 to $15.40. Special drinks are available at Portside BBQ as well which are not found elsewhere onboard, including freshly brewed sweet tea and the Portside Spiked Palmer.

Live music can be enjoyed from Portside BBQ, with a country guitarist performing throughout the afternoon.

Related: Portside BBQ restaurant review on Oasis of the Seas

Onboard activities

As an Oasis Class ship, Oasis of the Seas has many of Royal Caribbean’s latest and greatest amenities and features that appeal to guests of all ages. Complimentary onboard activities include:

  • The Ultimate Abyss, a dry slide taking guests from the sports deck to the Boardwalk
  • Rock climbing on two 40+ foot walls
  • FlowRider surf simulator
  • Ziplining across the Boardwalk
  • Ice skating
  • The Perfect Storm water slides
  • Battle for Planet Z laser tag
  • Karaoke
  • Trivia

Mission Control: Apollo 18

If you’re looking for a unique cruise ship activity, consider trying the Puzzle Break Center, or escape room, on Oasis of the Seas.

The escape room onboard is Mission Control: Apollo 18, where guests can work in a team to figure out puzzles and clues to “escape” the room in time. Several Royal Caribbean ships have an escape room, but they all have a different theme, meaning if you tried the escape room on a different ship, the challenge on Oasis of the Seas will be different.

Mission Control: Apollo 18 takes place on a “spacecraft” that passengers must successfully launch to the moon. Six launching stations are located in the escape room, each of which has three separate tasks. 

This activity comes at an extra cost of $20 per person and lasts approximately one hour. Any guest 12 years of age or older is welcome to try the escape room.

Solarium sun deck

If you head all the way to the front of the Solarium on deck 15, you’ll find a spacious outdoor sundeck that makes for a perfect place to spend a sea day (just make sure you apply sunscreen!).

On most other Oasis Class ships, guests will find Solarium bridge wings that extend over the side of the ship in the front of the Solarium. While these provide an excellent view and place to watch the sunset and sailaway, there is no room to sunbathe.

Guests on Oasis of the Seas will therefore love the large, adults-only sundeck that is not only relaxing, but offers some of the best views found onboard.

Small Wonders

Oasis of the Seas is dotted with 42 "small wonders," a collection of artwork displayed in tiny portholes through a periscope that can only be described as cute.

By peering through the telescope, a tiny piece of 3D artwork appears. Each small wonder has its own image inside, so a scavenger hunt around the ship to find them all makes for a fun activity to do onboard.

If you cannot find them all, Guest Services will provide you with a list of where to find all the small wonders on the ship.

Related: Top 10 Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas hidden secrets

Central Park

Like all Oasis Class cruise ships, Oasis of the Seas has a split-design with the Central Park and Boardwalk neighborhoods in the middle. This design creates the ship’s unique neighborhoods, which give diverse atmospheres onboard Oasis of the Seas.

Central Park is one of the most beloved areas on an Oasis Class ship due to its peaceful atmosphere, where many passengers forget they are on a ship at all as they relax among the neighborhood’s trees, bushes, and flowers. Comfy seating is in abundance in Central Park, allowing guests to listen to live piano music, have a drink at Trellis Bar, play chess, or read a book.

Specialty dining venues are found in Central Park as well, where guests can enjoy an upscale meal at 150 Central Park, traditional Italian cuisine at Giovanni’s Table, or classic steakhouse dishes at Chops Grille. Retail stores, the complimentary Park Cafe, Vintages wine bar, and the Central Park library are located in Central Park as well.

High-energy entertainment

There is no shortage of entertainment options on Oasis of the Seas. In fact, you’ll find it difficult to not find something to entertain you throughout the day. Live music, signature production shows, comedians, game shows, and more take place every day onboard.

The main entertainment venues onboard are the AquaTheater, Studio B ice rink, and Royal Theater.

Aqua80, an AquaTheater show on Oasis of the Seas, is a favorite among cruisers. Combining the best music of the 1980s with acrobatics, diving, slacklining, dancing, and aerial tricks, Aqua80 is a high-energy, upbeat performance to see onboard.

Those looking for Broadway entertainment can see Cats: The Musical in the Royal Theater, a 90-minute performance telling the story of the Jellicle cats and their decision of who will ascend to the Heaviside layer.

For escapades on ice, check out Frozen In Time in Studio B, which brings stories of Hans Christian Anderson to life through elaborate set design, costuming, and amazing tricks on the ice.

Cruises from the northeast

If you live in the northeast and are hoping to sail on an Oasis Class ship without having to fly to Florida, Oasis of the Seas makes a great option. She primarily sails 7-night Caribbean cruises, which run from May through October and visit Port Canaveral, Perfect Day at CocoCay, and Nassau.

The convenience of being able to drive to the Cape Liberty cruise port instead of flying to Florida makes choosing a cruise on Oasis of the Seas an easy decision for many cruisers.

Related: Guide to cruises from New York

Visit Canada on an Oasis Class ship

Most cruises on Oasis of the Seas visit the sunny, warm waters of the Caribbean. A limited number of itineraries, however, visit Canada's northeast ports of Halifax and Saint John. These sailings depart from Cape Liberty, New Jersey.

While in Canada, guests can enjoy walking through the historic, waterfront ports, going whale watching, visiting the Maritime Museum in Halifax, and feast on fresh seafood.

Cruises to Canada tend to be 4-5 night cruises instead of 7-nights, giving passengers a chance to try out an Oasis Class cruise ship even if they cannot take a whole week off.

Vitality Cafe

Health-conscious cruisers will love the food and drink options found at Vitality Cafe, located within the spa on Oasis of the Seas.

Vitality Cafe focuses on healthier food and drinks, offering a menu of fresh-squeezed juices, protein shakes, smoothies, and small bites like granola bars and fruit cups.

Smoothies and shakes are fully customizable, so you're able to choose from the selection of ingredients to create the drink you prefer.

Beverages at Vitality Cafe come at an extra cost but are included in Royal Caribbean's beverage packages, with the exception of protein powder. Food is complimentary.

Caribbean-style pool deck

One of the biggest improvements made to Oasis of the Seas during her amplification was the Caribbean-style pool deck enhancement.

Royal Caribbean has been designing its newest cruise ships with a Caribbean resort-style pool deck design, featuring colorful seating and decor. They also feature the Lime & Coconut Bar, which serves some of the best tropical drinks onboard.

Booking a cruise on Oasis of the Seas means you can enjoy the ship's Caribbean pool deck, which will bring the perfect tropical vibe to your cruise vacation.

Diverse dining options

Oasis of the Seas has a plethora of complimentary and specialty dining options open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whether a s'mores cookie skillet at Playmakers,  risotto at Giovanni’s Table, or burrito at El Loco Fresh, it’s nearly impossible to get hungry while cruising on Oasis of the Seas.

The following complimentary dining options can be found onboard:

  • Main Dining Room
  • Windjammer
  • Solarium Bistro
  • Coastal Kitchen (suite guests only)
  • Park Cafe
  • Vitality Cafe
  • Cafe Promenade
  • Sorrento’s
  • Boardwalk Dog House
  • El Loco Fresh

For those who want to enhance their dining experience by dining at specialty restaurants, the following options are available:

  • 150 Central Park
  • Chef’s Table
  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Izumi
  • Johnny Rockets (complimentary for breakfast)
  • Playmakers
  • Portside BBQ
  • Vintages Wine Bar (tapas)
  • Starbucks

Oasis of the Seas is an excellent ship to try out a Royal Caribbean dining package due to the sheer amount of restaurants to choose from. For more information on the pros and cons of a Royal Caribbean dining package, check out our YouTube video:

Bars and nightlife

Just like restaurants, there are plenty of bars and nightlife venues to enjoy on Oasis of the Seas. 

Those who like salsa dancing will love spending the evening at Boleros, where you’ll find not only live Latin music, but the best mojitos onboard!

If you prefer a nightclub experience, head of to Blaze Comedy Club or Music Hall, where you'll find DJs and live bands playing late into the night.

If a nightclub sounds too intense for your liking, relax at Jazz on 4 or Schooner Bar for live jazz and piano music that will help you wind down after a busy day onboard.

Needless to say, there is plenty to choose from when it comes to evening activities on Oasis of the Seas.

Central Park and Balcony Staterooms

Oasis of the Seas has an abundance of stateroom options that can fit any cruise budget. Everything from the most basic interior staterooms to lavish suites can be booked on Oasis of the Seas.

Something that sets Oasis Class ships like Oasis of the Seas apart are the neighborhood balcony rooms. The Central Park and Boardwalk neighborhoods each have their own set of balcony staterooms that overlook the neighborhood.

Central Park rooms tend to be more tranquil, allowing guests to be surrounded by plants and trees and listen to live music in the evenings from their balcony. No ocean view is available from these staterooms.

Boardwalk rooms, on the other hand, are in a more dynamic environment, home to the sights and sounds of the sports bar, arcade, carousel, and AquaTheater. These rooms provide a partial view of the ocean.

Boardwalk neighborhood

Another reason to book a cruise on Oasis of the Seas is to discover the ship’s Boardwalk neighborhood, which takes guests back in time to the seaside piers of New England.

Whether riding the colorful carousel, filling up a bag with candy at Sugar Beach, eating classic American cuisine at Johnny Rockets, or ending the day with a drink at Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, the Boardwalk is a fun place to explore onboard during both day and night.

Here's where you can get a Covid test in South Florida before your cruise

In:
06 May 2022

Have a cruise in Miami or Fort Lauderdale and need to find a place to get a covid test before you sail?

Prior to any Royal Caribbean cruise, every passenger must obtain a negative Covid test. While this policy has been in place since the restart of the cruise industry in June 2021, it is still a common cause for concern among many cruise passengers who are anxious about whether or not they can easily find a Covid test in their area.

Some cities in the US may have ample testing options whereas others may have more limited options. Additionally, as many passengers must fly to their cruise departure port one day ahead of their cruise, this gives them less time to secure a test in their area. This is especially true for those passengers arriving on international flights to the United States, as the Covid test they must take for entry into the US may be expired by the time they must board their cruise.

Therefore, some passengers may opt to book a Covid test appointment in their cruise departure port upon arrival as opposed to finding a test in their local area. Prior to my cruise last week on Freedom of the Seas, I wanted to try out a local Covid testing site in South Florida to see what options are available for those hoping for an easy way to secure a Covid test.

Fort Lauderdale hotel aerial

When searching for local Covid testing, TentTest.com was recommended to me, which offers rapid Covid-19 antigen testing with results in 15 minutes. They had a wide range of testing time slots available, all the way from 6AM to 10PM. This was a welcome change from the limited hours I had experienced in the past when testing at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.

I booked my Covid test appointment one week in advance, although the site also offers same-day appointments on the off chance that you are unable to book in advance.

Location

Tent Test is located around 4 miles from both Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades. The address of the testing location is 718 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.

The testing location is convenient for anyone flying or driving to Fort Lauderdale, and it is located just a few blocks from popular hotels that many passengers book the night before their cruise, including Hyatt House Fort Lauderdale and Holiday Inn Express Ft. Lauderdale Cruise-Airport.

While it may not be the most convenient option for those flying into and cruising out of Miami, its proximity to the Fort Lauderdale cruise port is favorable.

Testing experience

I took an Lyft to the Tent Test site, but I was running late due to traffic and a slightly delayed disembarkation from my cruise on Oasis of the Seas. Nervous that I would miss the test, I called Tent Test and explained the situation. Luckily they were extremely understanding and allowed me to push my test back a half hour without any issue.

It was easy to spot the correct building as I arrived due to Covid testing signage on both the windows and curbside. The testing proctor, Ed, opened the door as he saw me approaching and welcomed me inside.

I was seated in a comfy waiting area inside the testing site. As I was the only person being tested in the time frame I selected, my testing process was extremely quick and efficient.

Normally those being tested would be moved from the waiting area to a private room, but as there was no one else in the building I was able to be tested in the waiting area. The proctor briefly explained what the test would entail and conducted the nasal swab.

While some tests, such as the Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Card Home Test, are a self-swab test, the proctor swabs your nose for you at Tent Test. I usually prefer self-swab, especially after an extra painful PCR Covid test I received in Egypt last year, but to my surprise my test at Tent Test ended up being the least-painful Covid test I have done yet!

After a simple swab right at the entrance of both nostrils, the proctor took the test to their lab area and I waited fifteen minutes for my result.

I was given a paper hard copy of my negative test results, which were complete with everything Royal Caribbean requires to board the ship: your name, test type, lab’s address, CLIA number, date of test, and your negative result. I had no issues presenting my negative test results from Tent Test at the cruise terminal in Miami.

Testing price

The standard Covid testing price for one person at Tent Test is $65 per rapid antigen test. Discounts may be available in larger groups. Additionally, Tent Test providers can also arrange to visit you directly at your hotel or house. For pricing and more information on these options, it’s best to give Tent Test a call ahead of time at (561)-888-0637.

While the test is not free like you will encounter at places like Walgreens and CVS, I felt it came at a fair price compared to many other testing options. Covid testing at Miami International Airport, for example, ranges from $79 to $179. In addition, while Royal Caribbean offers limited testing directly at the cruise terminal, costs start at $99 per person.

Tent Test also makes a great backup Covid test option in case something goes wrong with your primary testing method. Before one of my cruises, for example, I drove to Walgreens for a rapid NAAT test only to find out the pharmacy had unexpectedly closed early and there was no one to proctor my Covid test. Luckily I was able to reschedule for the next day, but if I had to travel that same day I would have been out of luck for a Covid test.

In addition, while the at-home Covid tests are extremely popular options for passengers, occasionally the test results are found invalid or the test kits are missing an item. Having Tent Test as a backup option can be extremely helpful.

Overall, I would recommend Test Test as an option for those who must secure a Covid test in South Florida before or after their cruise. The entire process was simple and just about as enjoyable as a Covid test can be. My testing proctor Ed was very friendly as well, which made me feel welcome and comfortable at the testing site.

What are the current testing requirements for Royal Caribbean cruises?

While Covid testing requirements are subject to change, here are the current pre-cruise testing requirements for cruises out of the United States:

  • Vaccinated guests must show a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than 2 days before boarding day (PCR or antigen)
  • Unvaccinated kids aged 2-11 must show a negative PCR test taken no more than 3 days before boarding day
  • Unvaccinated kids’ pre-cruise test cannot be taken on boarding day (as they will receive an additional test at the terminal)

What to do on a rainy day on your cruise

In:
29 Apr 2022

As much as everyone on a cruise hopes for endless days of sun, a slight breeze, and warm temperatures, the truth is that sometimes you will encounter unfavorable weather conditions onboard or in port.

Royal Caribbean works hard to forecast weather conditions in advance and deviate course whenever necessary, but it’s not always possible to avoid rainy conditions. If your cruise ship encounters rain, though, don’t fret!

There are countless ways to spend a rainy day onboard, and here are some of our favorites.

Relax in the Solarium

Royal Caribbean ships, aside from those in the Voyager and Freedom Classes, have a covered Solarium for guests aged 16 and older. On chilly, rainy, or windy days, relaxing in the Solarium provides an escape from the weather outdoors while still allowing you to enjoy time by the pool or jacuzzi.

Related: Everything about Royal Caribbean’s Solarium

Additionally, if you are sailing on a Quantum Class ship (with the exception of Odyssey of the Seas), take advantage of the indoor pool, which is available for all ages. While the pools will be closed if the ship encounters any severe weather like lightning, they will generally remain open during normal rainy days.

Read a book

A classic cruise activity for a rainy day is to find a quiet corner onboard and read a book. Despite the fact that cruise ships are packed with entertainment, activities, music, and lounges, there are always places onboard to get away from the crowds.

Related: Chill spots to get away from the crowd on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship
Here are some of the best places to read a book on a rainy day:

  • Two70 (Quantum Class ships)
  • “Hidden” seating on the running track (Oasis Class ships)
  • Star Lounge (Voyager and Freedom Class ships)
  • Library or card room
  • Vintages wine bar

If you’re looking for book recommendations, check out our lists of the best reads to bring on your cruise:

See a show

If your rainy day is on a sea day, check the ship’s entertainment schedule to see if there are any matinee performances in venues like the Royal Theater, Two70, or Studio B.

Spending an hour or two in a show is a great way to pass time on a rainy day while being entertained in the process. Plus, by seeing the show in the afternoon instead of in the evening, your evening schedule is opened up for other activities onboard.

Listen to live music

If you encounter a rainy day on your cruise, take a look at the Cruise Compass to see what live music is available throughout the day. From live Spanish guitar at Boleros to jazz in the Royal Promenade, listening to live music can be a cozy, relaxing way to spend your time as the rain passes through.

Grab a drink

Relaxing with a drink in hand is always a fun way to spend time on a cruise, but can be especially nice during a rainy day. There are many places indoors on a cruise ship to grab a drink, plenty of which have large windows looking toward the ocean.

Here are some of the best bars or venues to relax in while waiting for the sun to come back out:

  • Viking Crown Lounge (Vision, Radiance, Voyager, and Freedom Class)
  • Two70 (Quantum Class)
  • Schooner Bar

Related: A look at Royal Caribbean's new fleetwide drink menu

Depending on the ship, you may find covered seating at outdoor bars. The North Star Bar on Quantum Class ships, for example, has a covered seating area at the bar where you can watch the ocean and enjoy the sea breeze while remaining covered.

Go to trivia

Trivia is a fun activity on any Royal Caribbean cruise, but can make an excellent option on a rainy day. There are numerous trivia categories available, from geography to Harry Potter and sports.

Trivia usually only lasts around 30 or 45 minutes and is located indoors, making it a quick activity to do while rain passes through. Plus, you have the opportunity to put your knowledge to the test and maybe even win a prize!

Take a class

While browsing your cruise’s daily schedule in the Royal Caribbean app, you’ll likely see a few unique classes that you might otherwise skip over in favor of relaxing by the pool. A rainy day, however, can be an excellent time to try some of these classes.

Classes may include:

  • Scrapbooking
  • Card making class
  • Italian/Spanish/Portuguese language class
  • Zumba class
  • Morning stretch
  • Seminars

Hang out at the sports bar

Royal Caribbean’s classic sports bar, Playmakers, makes a fantastic hangout spot on a rainy day, where you can cheer on your favorite team while enjoying classic bar food like burgers, wings, and french fries.

The amount of televisions in Playmakers means there is no shortage of games and sports to watch, which you can enjoy while playing bar games like shuffleboard, pool, and Pac-Man.

Related: Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade review

Royal Caribbean ships without Playmakers will usually have a venue available for watching sports, such as in the pub, but there are generally only one or two small TVs there.

Hang out at the SeaPlex

Quantum Class cruise ships may be the best Royal Caribbean ships to sail on through inclement weather, as they were built to sail in all weather conditions while still offering the latest and greatest amenities and activities onboard.

The SeaPlex is a wonderful place to go with kids on a rainy day, as they can get their energy out while running around the sports court, playing basketball, soccer, or going head-to-head with other passengers in bumper cars.

Enjoy a sit-down meal

Whereas dinner on a cruise ship is usually a more formal, sit-down event, most guests tend to favor a casual, quick lunch onboard. Whether grabbing a burrito at El Loco Fresh or heading to the Windjammer, eating lunch on a cruise is often something to do quickly in-between activities.

Related: Food on a Royal Caribbean cruise

On rainy days, though, consider dining in the Main Dining Room or at a specialty restaurant for lunch. Having a sit-down meal will help pass the time on a rainy day while enjoying a relaxing, multi-course meal.

Go to the arcade (or casino)

All Royal Caribbean ships have an arcade, but it’s not only for kids! From skee-ball to air hockey, there are plenty of games to keep you occupied on a rainy day. The arcade comes at an extra cost, with most games costing between $0.75 and $2.50.

Alternatively, if you would like the chance to win money, head to the casino to pass a few hours on a rainy day.

Book a treatment at the spa

If you look at the weather forecast on your cruise and see a day with unfavorable weather, don’t hesitate to book a treatment at the Vitality Spa. After all, not much is more relaxing than a massage.

If you don’t want to spend extra money on a spa treatment, check if your cruise ship has a complimentary sauna and steam room. Select Royal Caribbean ships (excluding Quantum and Oasis Class ships) have free-of-charge saunas available in the fitness center locker rooms.

If your ship has a thermal suite, you can purchase a pass that allows you to use the facilities at any time, which include a rainforest shower, hot stone loungers, and sauna.

Related: Thermal Suite on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas

Indoor signature activities

While many of Royal Caribbean’s signature activities are located outdoors, such as rock climbing, ziplining, and the FlowRider, there are several indoor activities to enjoy on a rainy day. Depending on the ship, these activities can be enjoyed rain or shine:

  • RipCord by iFLY
  • Puzzle Break Center (escape room)
  • Zone Zero
  • Ice skating
  • Laser tag

Check the Cruise Compass to see which activities are offered. Some, like the escape room, RipCord by iFLY, and Zone Zero, require reservations.

See a movie

Whether on land or at sea, watching a movie is a nice way to pass time on a rainy or cold day. While all Royal Caribbean ships have an outdoor movie screen, there are often indoor movies played as well in venues like the Royal Theater.

In fact, Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Class ships have their own indoor movie theater which plays a variety of movies throughout the day!

Related: All about Radiance Class cruise ships

To see if any movies are playing on your cruise, check out the Cruise Compass or the Royal Caribbean app. Movies are free-of-charge, but get to the theater or cinema early to ensure you get the best seat!

Royal Caribbean cruises in May 2022: What to expect

In:
27 Apr 2022

Taking a Royal Caribbean cruise in May opens the beginning of the summer cruise season.

Symphony of the Seas in PortMiami aerial

If you have a cruise planned in May, this article is aimed at giving you a preview of what to expect for sailing this month, as well as helpful tips.

With spring break over, May is generally a slower month in terms of demand (with the exception of Memorial Day Weekend) because school is in session, and most families either just took vacation over spring break, or are about to take vacation next month when school is out.

It's also the month when Royal Caribbean's European cruise season begins in earnest with all the ship that will sail from the region in place to start service.

The Memorial Day holiday in the United States can see a bit more demand for cruises, although primarily for weekend cruises.

Certainly there is less demand for cruises in the first three weeks of May.

Ships sailing in May 2022

Oasis of the Seas in New York with Statue of Liberty
  • Freedom of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Anthem of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey until she moves to Southampton
  • Odyssey of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Allure of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Symphony of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Independence of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Harmony of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Mariner of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida
  • Liberty of the Seas from Galveston, Texas
  • Adventure of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey
  • Explorer of the Seas from Miami, Florida
  • Navigator of the Seas from Los Angeles, California
  • Spectrum of the Seas from Singapore
  • Grandeur of the Seas from Galveston, Texas
  • Enchantment of the Seas from Baltimore, Maryland
  • Radiance of the Seas from Vancouver, Canada or Seward, Alaska
  • Serenade of the Seas from Vancouver, Canada
  • Voyager of the Seas from Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Quantum of the Seas from Seattle, Washington beginning May 4, 2022
  • Ovation of the Seas from Seattle, Washington beginning May 5, 2022
  • Oasis of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, beginning May 8, 2022
  • Brilliance of the Seas from Rome, Italy beginning May 9, 2022
  • Wonder of the Seas from Barcelona and Rome beginning May 12, 2022
  • Vision of the Seas from Barcelona, Spain beginning May 13, 2022
  • Rhapsody of the Seas from Rome, Italy beginning May 23, 2022
  • Jewel of the Seas from Amsterdam, Netherlands beginning May 27, 2022
Rhapsody of the Seas at sea

Most importantly, the last Royal Caribbean cruise ship to restart sailings since the pandemic will happen when Rhapsody of the Seas returns.

Rhapsody will offer 7-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles itineraries, sailing from Rome.

This is an important milestone for Royal Caribbean in its bid to recover from the pandemic.

The Alaska cruise season will also fully start up in the month of May. Royal Caribbean will have four cruise ships sailing to Alaska in 2022.

Read moreComparing the Royal Caribbean ships sailing in Alaska 2022

Health protocols for May 2022 cruises

Symphony of the Seas sailing away

Depending on where you sail from, the health protocols related to Covid-19 can vary somewhat.  The good news is the core protocols across the fleet are the same, with a few variations here and there.

All Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing.

Boosters are not required, except for some European sailings require anyone that hasn't had their last shot more than 270 days ago to get a booster.

Royal Caribbean does not require kids younger than 12 to be vaccinated.

Freedom of the Seas aerial at Nassau

A new change this month centers around masking. Masks are optional for vaccinated guests & recommended for unvaccinated children while onboard. Masks are no longer required at Adventure Ocean for kids 2 years and up, they are recommended for unvaccinated kids.

Masks are also now optional while in the cruise terminal before or after your cruise, unless mandated by local authorities.

Guests under 2 years old do not need to wear a mask.

Covid testing requirements are nearly all the same, with the exception of some European countries.

Vaccinated guests must show a negative COVID-19 test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than 2 days before boarding day. 

Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR test (not antigen) taken no more than 3 days before boarding day. This test cannot be taken on boarding day for unvaccinated kids.

Guests under 2 years of age do not need to complete a pre-cruise test. 

May weather on a cruise

Mediterranean

It's going to get warmer in May in the Caribbean, so expect high temperatures to reach the high 80s and low temperatures not getting below the 70s.

In terms of rainfall, the wet season will resume in some areas. You will see lots of passing showers in places like San Juan, Puerto Rico or Antigua.

Over in Europe, the sun will be shining in the Mediterranean without the larger crowds that will come later this summer. May is the best time for a Greek Isles cruise because there is very little rain combined with temperatures in the high 60s and 70s.

The one downside of May in the Mediterranean is sea temperatures tend to be still chilly. If you want warm ocean temperatures in May, the Caribbean is the place for you.

Read moreWhat is the best time to cruise the Mediterranean?

If you're cruising to Alaska in May, expect less rain than normal. May is one of the driest months of the season, with just a 25% chance of rain. 

The average high in southeast Alaska is 54 degrees and the average low is 39 degrees.

Read moreWhen is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

Catalina

Sailings to the Mexican Riviera, expect more rain in the forecast. The months of May to October are the wettest months of the year (same for Eastern Mexico).

The eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30. 

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