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Best Royal Caribbean itineraries with overnight ports

In:
05 Aug 2022

Have you ever docked in a port on your Royal Caribbean cruise and wished you had more time to explore the city?

Voyager of the Seas in Malaysia

One of the biggest drawbacks of cruising is not having enough time in each port; in fact, this is often cited as one of the top reasons that people choose not to cruise and opt for land-based vacations.

Of course, one of the perks of cruising is getting to see multiple cities and countries in one vacation. It’s so nice to step onboard your cruise ship and unpack your suitcase just one time. Before you know it, you’re waking up in a new place every morning.

On the other hand, your time in port is usually limited on a cruise - ranging anywhere from just 6-9 hours at each stop. Also, you have little to no flexibility about what time you arrive and depart the port because you are at the mercy of the cruise ship to get there on schedule.

Cruise ship docked in Miami

The best way you can spend more time ashore on a Royal Caribbean cruise is choosing an itinerary that features overnight ports. 

How does it work when a cruise ship stays overnight?

Anthem of the Seas at night docked

For some cities, when the sun goes down, the city comes to life! Cruisers have felt for a long time that they miss out on everything a city has to offer because the ship leaves too soon. 

Normally, cruise ships are chasing the sunset and heading out to sea in the evening. When the sun goes down, the ship is already sailing off to the next destination on the itinerary.

But when you have an overnight stop, you’ll get to spend multiple days exploring all the port has to offer while your ship stays docked throughout the night. 

With more flexibility offered in an overnight port stay, your excursion and exploring options become multiplied. Your cruise ship essentially acts as a floating hotel during an overnight port. The cruise ship will allow you to come and go throughout the day and night rather than having a strict all aboard time after just one day of being docked in the port.

With an overnight port, you can explore throughout the day, come back for a quick bite to eat, and then head back ashore to experience the city’s nightlife. Maybe you head to the rooftop bar to see the night skyline or you might prefer to have dinner at a local restaurant! 

Ultimately, overnight ports allow cruisers to be more fully immersed in the culture of a destination. These port stops can occur mid-voyage or even at the beginning/end of the itinerary. 

Best Royal Caribbean Overnight Ports

To offer more flexibility and time to explore ports over multiple days, Royal Caribbean has started to incorporate more overnight ports in its itineraries. The cruise line has also announced itineraries that feature late-night departures and multi-stay destinations.

By adding these itinerary options, this certainly appeals to cruisers who want to see everything a city has to offer over the course of multiple days.

Bermuda

One of the most common itineraries to offer an overnight port is in Bermuda. Because of Bermuda’s location, there aren’t many options for port stops other than sailing down the east coast of the U.S. or down south to the Caribbean.

Most itineraries feature at least one overnight in Bermuda but some even offer two overnights. With plenty of shopping and restaurants nearby, you can spend all day and night exploring this country.

Royal Caribbean offers 2022 and 2023 summer sailings (May to October) to Bermuda from Cape Liberty (New Jersey), Orlando (Florida) and Baltimore (Maryland). Some ships sailing to Bermuda include Enchantment of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.  

Lisbon, Portugal

Anthem of the Seas in Lisbon

Across the pond and nestled in the Portuguese hillside is the historic city of Lisbon. With little trams running through the cobblestoned streets, you can experience quintessential Europe with all of the architecture and culture of Lisbon. 

Because of Lisbon’s bustling nightlife, Royal Caribbean has incorporated overnight stays on some of its longer Mediterranean itineraries. An overnight stay in Lisbon means you can watch the sunset on a rooftop bar or enjoy a local Portuguese dinner in Lisbon. Even better, the cruise port is right in the city center so everything is close by!

Also, with Royal Caribbean’s itineraries offering two days in the city, you can even venture out to Sintra. This nearby city features UNESCO World Heritage Sites that include the Jeronimos Monastery and Quinta da Regaleira. It’s a real life fairytale!

Royal Caribbean has itineraries featuring overnight stays in Lisbon on Anthem of the Seas sailing from Southampton for summer 2022 and 2023. 

Iceland

Iceland

If the Arctic Circle is more of your vibe, you’ll find plenty of itineraries that feature overnight stops in Iceland. Most of the itineraries will feature an overnight in Reykjavik, which is the capital of Iceland. 

Having multiple days allows you to explore the city’s museums and churches while still having time to take a dip in the Blue Lagoon.

Royal Caribbean also has numerous itineraries that feature overnight port stops in Akureyri, Iceland. This tiny Icelandic town is situated at the end of the Eyjafjordur and features a quaint old town and plenty of hot springs.

Akureyri

Because Iceland is a smaller country with tons to explore, having overnight stays allows cruisers to get an in-depth experience of the Arctic Circle. 

Itineraries featuring overnights in Iceland can be found sailing on Jewel of the Seas from Amsterdam throughout the summer of 2022 and 2023. Transatlantic and Arctic Crossing itineraries are also available on Royal Caribbean, including a 17 night crossing in August 2023.

Israel

Haifa

One of the more culturally immersive Royal Caribbean Mediterranean itineraries features overnight ports in Israel. With up to 3 days in Israel, cruisers are able to see all of the wildly historical places in cities like Nazareth, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. 

With so many sites to see, most of which are located outside of the port city, it’s great to have multiple days to explore Israel while using your cruise ship as a home base each night. 

Haifa and Ashod are two of the most common cruise ports for Holy Land itineraries in Israel. These port cities give access to some of the most commonly visited biblical sites while also giving access to Tel Aviv and other cities in Israel. 

Royal Caribbean features Holy Land itineraries with overnights to Israel on Odyssey of the Seas through the summer of 2022 and 2023. 

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas Arch

You know all of your favorite celebrities are obsessed with Cabo - and for good reason! Cabo is an electrifying destination with plenty of nightlife located in Baja California.

With an overnight stay in Cabo, you can stay out all night partying in the night clubs, indulging in a margarita (or two), trying local Mexican cuisine or dancing the night away. During the day, you’ll have two full days to explore the town by foot and sea. 

Royal Caribbean offers 5-night cruises with overnight port stops in Cabo San Lucas in September 2022, March 2023 and April 2023 on Navigator of the Seas from Los Angeles, California. 

Thailand

Phuket

If Southeast Asia is on your bucket list, Thailand is a destination that can't be missed. I can speak from personal experience that visiting the Thai islands by cruise ship is a great way to immerse yourself in their culture. 

With an overnight stay in Phuket, you have so much flexibility to really explore the island, like visiting elephant sanctuaries, beautiful temples, and stunning beaches. 

Our second day in Phuket, we ventured out to Phang Nga Bay to see the floating village by boat. It was absolutely stunning to sail around the islands. 

Ao Phang Nga

One of the most dazzling cities in Asia is Bangkok, Thailand. The city has centuries-old temples coupled with brand new skyscrapers and rooftop bars. There’s no city like Bangkok; lucky for Royal Caribbean cruisers, most itineraries feature an overnight stay in this fascinating port city.

From street-food vendors to tuk tuk rickshaws that run the streets, you’ll have two full days on your itinerary to see everything the city has to offer. Don’t forget about all of the Thai temples, museums and Buddha statues. 

Look for overnight ports in Bangkok and Phuket on Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas, sailing from Singapore throughout 2022 and 2023. 

Penang, Malaysia 

Ovation of the Seas in Penang

Most Southeast Asian itineraries will feature a stop in Penang, Malaysia; if you’re lucky, your itinerary will feature an overnight stay in the northwestern Malaysian port city to give you even more time to immerse yourself in the culture. 

You’ll find the port of Penang is filled with a rich and diverse culture, mostly because of its location as a trading center among India, China, Britain and the Middle East. Plenty of local food stalls accompanies the many religious temples scattered throughout the town. 

Overnight stays in Penang can be found on Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas, sailing in January 2023 from Singapore. 

Port Vila, Vanuatu

Vanuatu

Those sailing in the South Pacific will appreciate Royal Caribbean adding overnight ports on some of its most popular itineraries. 

Port Vila is the energetic capital of Vanuatu, where you can spend 2 full days exploring the island. From the French-inspired city to waterfalls and heritage centers, you might wish you had even a second overnight!

Royal Caribbean offers overnight sailings to Port Vila on its South Pacific itineraries. Quantum of the Seas has multiple itineraries sailing from Brisbane, Australia throughout the winter of 2022 and 2023.

Hawaii

Visiting Hawaii on a Royal Caribbean cruise is one of the best ways to explore multiple islands. Even better, you can find itineraries with overnight ports to have ample time to squeeze in everything you want to do on the islands.

Royal Caribbean’s itineraries feature overnight port stays in Maui and Oahu, giving cruisers extra time to explore the island. With Maui having so much to offer - from hiking to luaus and surfing on the beach - you’ll be thankful to have all the time to explore ashore. 

Itineraries to Hawaii are typically during the transition seasons when cruise ships are transitioned to Australia from Alaska. Quantum of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, and Ovation of the Seas all have Hawaii itineraries featuring overnights in Hawaii. Sailings are October 2022/2023 and April 2022/2023. 

Honorable Mention: Late-Night Departures

Wonder of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - San Juan | Royal Caribbean Blog

Even if your cruise doesn’t feature an overnight port stop, you might get lucky and have some late-night port departures. While you won't have two full days in a city, you can still experience some of the nightlife with port stays that last up to 14 hours.

In this scenario, your cruise ship will depart the port around 9pm -10 pm instead of a more standard time like 6pm.  

One of the places you can find late departures is the Greek island of Santorini, known for its picturesque blue rooftops and white villas on the mountainside. But, Santorini is best known for its unparalleled sunsets from the town of Oia. 

Santorini sunset

Instead of having a typical departure time of 5 or 6pm, Royal Caribbean has some itineraries that feature late-night departures of 9pm or 10pm in Santorini so cruisers can see the incredible sunset. 

Rhapsody of the Seas features late-night departures from Haifa to Santorini in the fall of 2023. 

Another popular city that features late departures is Le Havre, France. This European port city is the closest place a cruise ship can dock to Paris, even though it’s still 2.5 hours each way to get to the city. 

Because of the distance to Paris, which is surely a top destination for cruisers, Royal Caribbean docks in Le Havre from 8am to 10pm. Having 14 hours in the port allows you to explore Paris during your cruise and catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.

Anthem of the Seas has late-night Le Havre departures on sailings throughout the summer and fall of both 2022 and 2023.  

Although one day is certainly not enough to see everything Paris and Santorini have to offer, Royal Caribbean’s late-night departures allow for more flexibility in port to experience the even more of what the cities and countries have to offer. 

Should you use a park and cruise hotel package instead of parking at the cruise port?

In:
22 Jun 2022

If you are driving to your cruise ship with your own vehicle, does it make more sense to book a "park and cruise" hotel package, where parking at the hotel is included with your hotel stay.

Hotel parking lot

One of my best pieces of cruise ship advice is to always come into your cruise departure city at least one day ahead of time to guard against travel delays. By flying or driving in a day early, you can assure yourself that any cancellations, blown tires, or re-routes don't impact your ability to make the cruise ship.

Many hotels offer an option where if you stay one night, you can book a park and cruise package that bundles your hotel room with a parking spot for up to a week. But do these packages save you money, and does it make sense to go with them?

I compared a handful of hotels in Port Canaveral, Miami, and Cape Liberty to see how lucrative these stay deals are, and what the pros and cons are for a park & cruise package.

Hotel analysis

Hotel in Cocoa Beach

I picked three random hotels from each of the three cities to compare how the parking packages stacked up against the parking rate at the cruise terminal.

For each room, I picked a king size bed that was refundable rate for two adults staying Sep 24 – Sun, Sep 25, 2022.

All prices are pre-tax and fees from the hotel and/or from the parking facility.

Port Canaveral, Florida

Radisson hotel in Cape Canaveral

3-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifference3-night cruise Port ParkingParking Savings
Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral1642215751-6
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral, FL2453106551-14
Best Western Cocoa Beach Hotel & Suites219.95243.95245127

7-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifferencePort ParkingParking Savings
Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral1642215711962
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral, FL2453106511954
Best Western Cocoa Beach Hotel & Suites219.95243.952411995

Miami

Partial view of colorful boat in Bayside Marketplace area

3-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifference3-night cruise Port ParkingParking Savings
DoubleTree Biscayne Bay252294427533
Hilton Miami Downtown191245547521
Holiday Inn Miami-International Airport143.4621975.5475-0.54

DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay Hotel Review | Royal Caribbean Blog

7-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifferencePort ParkingParking Savings
DoubleTree Biscayne Bay25229442175133
Hilton Miami Downtown19124554175121
Holiday Inn Miami-International Airport143.4621975.5417599.46

Cape Liberty/Newark

Newark airport

3-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifference3-night cruise Port ParkingParking Savings
Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport169229607515
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Newark Liberty International Airport16929913075-55
Residence Inn Newark Elizabeth259309507525

7-night cruise

HotelHotel RatePark/Stay RateDifferencePort ParkingParking Savings
Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport16922960175115
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Newark Liberty International Airport16929913017545
Residence Inn Newark Elizabeth25930950175125

X-factor: Shuttles

Hotel shuttle van

Beyond the dollars and sense of parking at a hotel or cruise port, you have to account for getting to the cruise terminal.

Some of the hotels specified a parking shuttle would be provided.  At least one hotel actually charged you differently if you needed a ride to the cruise terminal or not.

You'll need to check with the hotel if a shuttle is provided to the cruise terminal, and if there's any extra cost for the shuttle.

Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort Hotel Review | Royal Caribbean Blog

The other issue with a hotel shuttle is they run on a limited schedule. Depending on the hotel, the frequency in which they offer shuttle service can vary greatly. Plus, you may have to wait for a shuttle depending on how many other guests are there to get a ride too.

In this age of covid, another consideration is having to cram into a shuttle with other guests and your risk tolerance for possibly being exposed to covid in the shuttle. Theoretically everyone going to the terminal has taken a negative covid test already, but you never know with how easy covid is transmitted and the long incubation periods these days.

Convenience of parking at the cruise terminal

The best reason to park at the cruise terminal instead of a hotel is the convenience factor.

When you park at the cruise terminal, you can walk from your vehicle to the front door of the terminal without much fuss. Then, when the cruise is over, you can take your luggage right to your car and immediately depart. No shuttles required.

The convenience of having your car and being able to forgo waiting for shuttle service back to a hotel can make a world of difference depending on how many other people are trying to do the same thing, and traffic conditions.

Are other hotels cheaper?

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East Hotel Review | Royal Caribbean Blog

When you limit yourself to hotels that offer a parking option during your cruise, could you save money by staying at a different hotel that has a lower rate and equally as good, but without a parking package?

In each of these cities, there are multitudes of hotels you can choose from, and without a doubt, there are deals to be found.

When considering the cost of a parking park & cruise hotel, you not only have to look at the cost of a parking package versus the cruise terminal, but also how much money you may (or may not) save by staying at a less expensive hotel.

Should you book a park stay and cruise package?

Hotel with shuttle

Ultimately, the decision may boil down to personal preferences on how important it is to save a little bit of money.

If you are taking a short 3 or 4 night cruise, the savings offered by a park and stay package quite negligible, and in some cases a bad value.

The real cost savings with park and stay packages come with 7-night cruises, where you can save over $100 in total. 

If your cruise is longer than 7 nights, check with the hotel. Many of the hotels in this list only allowed for parking for 7 or 8 nights, and then would charge a daily fee beyond that.

In the end, you need to weigh the cost savings versus the convenience of parking at the cruise terminal. Depending on the hotel, there are a wide range of cost savings with a park and stay.

Don't blindly assume a parking package will save you money compared to parking at the terminal, and even if it does, you need to ponder if the money saved is worth your time.

Bar Harbor Survey Could Mean More Port-Specific Cruise Ship Restrictions

In:
28 Apr 2021

Another town is re-evaluating the role of cruise ships that visit its shores.

The town of Bar Harbor, Maine, is asking residents for their feedback on whether cruise restrictions need to be tighter, making it the latest port municipality to publicly evaluate the effect cruise tourism has on the local population.

According to News Center Maine, the port currently limits cruise travelers to 3,500 passengers per day in July and August and 5,500 per day during the rest of the year. But a recent survey is allowing local residents and business owners to weigh in directly with regard to whether those numbers need to be cut.

"I'm very interested to hear what a majority of our residents think and also to hear what the businesses think," said Town Councilor Gary Friedman, as reported by News Center Maine.

"Some believe that all businesses love cruise ships but that's just not true. Many of them don’t benefit and even feel that their businesses or hurt by the impacts of cruise visitation."

"... it's gotten overwhelming where it's impacting our quality of life here, as well as the businesses that cater to overnight guests," Friedman said.

It was not immediately clear when the survey would end or when the results would be shared.

Congestion is not a new issue for Bar Harbor, which sees about $1 million annually in revenue generated by the cruise industry. The town's official government website shows that a "Cruise Tourism & Traffic Congestion" study was conducted there in 2019 to analyze issues like parking shortages and the types of infrastructure needed to continue to welcome cruise passengers.

In 2020, Bar Harbor's town council voted to ban cruise ships for the entire year -- a move which was later found to have been unnecessary, thanks to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's no sail order and subsequent conditional sailing framework.

The port isn't expected to see any ships for the remainder of 2021, either.

As Bar Harbor reevaluates its cruise-related regulations, it becomes the latest port of call to question the effects of cruise ships and the large numbers of travelers they bring.

In recent years, Dubrovnik and Venice have placed limits on the size of cruise ships allowed to call and, as a result, they have also limited the number of cruise passengers permitted to visit at one time.

In November 2020, more than half of Key West voters leaned in favor of referendums allowing the local government to restrict cruise ship size and number of daily passengers.

That prompted two Florida state officials to introduce a bill that would undermine those policies. After passing in the Senate in April 2021, the bill died due to the state's likely inability to enforce it at a local level.

Juneau residents are also slated to vote on a referendum in October 2021 that could cut down on large cruise ships or limit the number of ships and passengers calling on any given day.

Cruise ports workers rally in support of cruise ships restarting sailings

In:
21 Oct 2020

Longshoremen, hotel workers, port officials and everyone affected by the effect of cruise lines shut down held a rally across different cruise ports on Wednesday in support of cruise lines being able to restart sailings again.

Cruise industry workers rallied in Florida and Texas to tell lawmakers to allow the cruise industry to restart.

Cruise lines have been shutdown since March due to the global health crisis, and are currently unable to restart cruises because of the U.S. Center for Disease Control's No Sail order that prevents passenger service in the United States.

Rallies were held in Port Canaveral, PortMiami and the Port of Galveston to protest the shutdown and the effect it has had on all the jobs.

Photos by the Port of Galveston

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) stated cruise activity in Florida supports over 150,000 local jobs, contributing $7.7 billion in wages and salaries to Floridians across a variety of local sectors and industries. 

U.S. Senator Rick Scott went on Fox News Radio to talk about the work he has been doing to try to convince the CDC to work with cruise lines on a way to restart the industry.

Senator Scott was clearly upset with the lack of any kind of progress with the CDC, "not being responsive. I don’t get it. It’s like a black hole."

Government, said Scott, should do as he did when he was Governor, and “tell people yes or no” and “make the regulations really clear.”

“Tell me no, that’s an answer,” Scott said.

Why the CDC has banned cruise ships

If you read the opening portion of the No Sail Order, it explains early on out why the CDC believes cruise ships should not operate.

"Cruise ships continue to be an unsafe environment with close quarters where the disease spreads easily and is not readily detected," is the direct rationale for why cruise ships may not sail.

In order to prove this, the Executive Summary cites CDC data on COVID-19 cases aboard cruise ships.

"Cumulative CDC data from March 1 through September 28, 2020, show a total of 3,689 confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COV1D-like illness cases on cruise ships and 41 deaths. These data have also revealed a total of 102 outbreaks on 124 different cruise ships, meaning more than 82% of ships within U.S. jurisdiction were affected by COVID-19 during this time frame. In addition, four cruise ships still have ongoing or resolving COV1D-19 outbreaks on board. Recent outbreaks on cruise ships overseas continue to demonstrate that reduced capacity alone has not diminished transmission."

In addition, the CDC cited small-scale cases of the virus on a few sailings that have restarted outside the United States.

All of this lead the CDC to believe cruise ships, "would likely spread the infection  into U.S. communities if passenger operations were to resume prematurely in the United States."

7 hints & updates from Royal Caribbean on what's next

In:
14 Oct 2020

Six Royal Caribbean executives answered questions from travel agents during a webinar on Wednesday that touched upon a number of changes, initiatives and plans for the future.

The potpourri of questions were on the topics of new ports, crew members, cruises restating and so much more, which provided some insight into questions many cruise fans have had for a while.

Some of these answers were hints, and others gave good indications of what to expect.

When will the 2022-2023 cruises be released?

Many cruise fans want to know when the new set of itineraries will be released for 2022 and 2023.

Royal Caribbean Director of Revenue Strategy, Brittany Briggs, said that typically new itineraries are released in November and December, and others in the spring.

"I don't expect that will be too much from that this year. So I would stay on the lookout for something and some communications next month on our opening."

When will the new cruise terminal in Galveston open?

We all know that the new cruise terminal in Galveston, Texas that will be able to accommodate an Oasis Class size cruise ship is delayed by a year, but is the terminal still on track for completion?

 Josh Carroll, Royal Caribbean's Vice President, Port Development, confirmed it will be opening in 2022.

"We were on target to have that terminal up and running in 2021, due to COVID that has been delayed and will now be opening the following year in 2022. So we're very excited to bring Oasis class to Galveston and that's on track."

When will Royal Caribbean cruise on the west coast of the United States?

Perhaps the longest running constant question among cruise fans is when will Royal Caribbean return to the west coast for cruises.

The exact question posed was about cruise ships visiting ports in Western Mexico, but the answer gave us a glimmer of hope that we might be closer to cruises returning to the west coast than we might have thought.

Mr. Carroll said the growth of cruises in Alaska will offer Royal Caribbean the opportunity to sail from the West Coast when the Alaska cruise season is complete, and it sounds like sooner than we think.

'We are always evaluating different homeport options, as you can see, we're growing dramatically in Alaska, which in Alaska is only a summer product. So we're looking at a number of different options for the winter."

"And we think that pretty soon we may have something exciting to announce."

Will Royal Caribbean add any new ports to visit in the Caribbean?

Many cruise fans are eager for new ports of call to visit to help spice up the choices, and it sounds like more itineraries are on the horizon.

Mr. Carroll said more ports are coming, including stops at Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic as part of the 2022-2023 deployment schedule for Oasis Class ships.

"You'll also see us start going to places more that we don't necessarily visit often today as we partner with those government and port operators to expand the infrastructure and guest experience capabilities,"  Mr. Carroll explained.

"I saw a question come through, for example, on Grand Turk, and we are looking in the Turks and Caicos and have some some opportunities there as well to be able to add those to our itineraries."

Will the Future Cruise Credit expiration dates be extended?

As of June 30, 2020, Royal Caribbean Group reported they had approximately $1.8 billion in customer deposits, which means there is a lot of future cruise credits floating around.

Every future cruise credit has an expiration date associated with it, and the question was asked if those FCCs would be extended.

Ms. Briggs said there are no plans right now to extend FCCs, "At this time we don't have any intention of extending the global suspension or Cruise with Confidence FCCs."

"However, any other FCC that's not related to those that have either already expired or they are expected to expire by the end of this year, we are extending those through March 31st of 2021."

"So you can book by March 31st 2021 for any sailing that is open through April of 2022."

How long to train returning crew members for cruises to restart?

With regards to cruises restarting, how long will it take to train crew members so that they can get up to speed on the new regulations and policies.

Mark Tamis, Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, said there are already crew members in the training phase, especially as it relates to cruises from Singapore on Quantum of the Seas.

Mr. Tamis explained how the digital training works, "We really digitize a lot of our training. So the crew, whether they're at home or on the ship in their own time, can get the training on their own handheld device."

"We have all these training modules that are being delivered to our crew right now. So they're already getting up to speed about how they'll be bringing to life all the new protocols."

What was the original name of Perfect Day at CocoCay?

This was not asked specifically, but Mr. Tamis mentioned while answering a call about the success of Perfect Day at CocoCay that the island makeover had a very different name.

"I joined the brand maybe a week after Michael [Bayley] did when he moved over from Celebrity, I think the first conversation we had was about, and this is inside baseball information, was originally called Adventure World."

Four ports that probably wont get bigger cruise ships in the future

In:
13 Jul 2020

Cruise fans love to dream of what new itineraries Royal Caribbean might announce next, and with that, opportunities to sail on different ships.  While Royal Caribbean has a large fleet of ships, not all of them can sail from every port.

Certain ports of call are hindered by structures and obstacles that effectively place a limit on the size of ships that can physically access these ports.

Here is a look at the major ports of call Royal Caribbean sails from regularly, and why you should not expect to see any larger cruise ships sailing from there anytime soon.

Baltimore

The Port of Baltimore is a popular embarkation port for the Northeast Corridor due to its proximity to the mid-Atlantic region, but Vision Class ships have been the ships to call the region home.

The reason you likely will not see any bigger ships from Baltimore is because of two bridges that block access to the port from the ocean, the Key Bridge (I-695) and the Bay Bridge (US 50/301).

One alternative is for cruises to sail from a nearby port not blocked by these bridges. Norfolk is one such port, and Royal Caribbean did operate cruises from here for a short time about 10 years ago.

Tampa

Much like Baltimore, the Port of Tampa is hindered by offering anything larger than a Radiance Class ship by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Mega cruise ships cannot fit beneath the Sunshine Skyway bridge. The Skyway can handle cruise ships that measure 180 feet from the top of the waterline. But the mega ships can sit as high as 225 feet above the waterline.

One option is to build a new Skyway bridge, or raise part of it, so that mega cruise ships could pass beneath it.

A recent study of the issue estimated that building a new Skyway would cost $2 billion. It also would take two years to tear down the current bridge and four years to build a new one.

The span could be raised, but at a cost of up to $1.5 billion that would leave it closed for years. That option creates a "high risk of instability," the report said.

Even if the bridge issue was resolved, Tampa Bay's shipping channels are too narrow and would have to be dredged, which is expensive, difficult and highly regulated.

The most likely solution is to build a new cruise port west of the Skyway so that the larger vessels won't have to travel under it. 

Sydney

Cruising in Australia has seen a boom in recent years, but Sydney is dealing with issues handling all these new ships.

Congestion at Sydney Harbour has forced Royal Caribbean to look for alternatives, since Royal Caribbean believes the cruise industry in Australia needs a cruise terminal east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in order to grow.

One solution was a new cruise port at Wollogong's Port Kembla Harbour. Another idea was a proposal for a cruise terminal at Yarra Bay, although that plan is been "put on hold with all industry and community engagement suspended".

Galveston

The Port of Galveston seemed like it was about to overcome its issues with being able to support a larger ship, but those plans have at the very least been delayed.

Currently, Galveston can handle a Freedom Class size ship, but anything larger is out of the question due to limitations of the cruise terminal and the harbor.

Royal Caribbean had committed to building a new cruise terminal and dredging the bay, but those plans have been postponed by at least a year.

Until this work is actually begins, the Port of Galveston cannot handle larger cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - What to do in your embarkation city before the cruise

In:
30 Oct 2019

Listen to the Show

Trying to figure out what to do in the city your ship leaves from in the day(s) before your cruise? Matt shares some good ideas in popular North American cruise departure cities on this week's episode!

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

On this episode:
Running time:

Royal Caribbean and Carnival sign deal to construct new cruise port in Saint Lucia

In:
22 Oct 2019

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Carnival Corporation & plc signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Saint Lucia to manage the current cruise pier and terminal facilities in Saint Lucia, and work together to construct and operate a new cruise port on southern part of island.

Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean and the government of Saint Lucia will establish a long-term concession agreement to formalize the terms and responsibilities for the joint venture to manage and operate the current cruise pier and terminal facilities at the Port of Castries.

Additionally, the joint venture will design, finance, construct and operate a new cruise port in Vieux Fort on the southern part of the island that will be able to accommodate the latest and most innovative ships in the cruise industry.

"The cruise market is the fastest growing sector of tourism and in the next decade cruising in the Caribbean region is anticipated to increase by 40%," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean. "We are excited to partner with the Government of Saint Lucia to ensure that the destination directly benefits from that growth, while giving more guests the opportunity to visit this unique gem in the Caribbean."

Under the new agreement, the joint venture would optimize the experience for guests visiting Saint Lucia while developing additional cruise infrastructure to support the industry's latest ships and promote the growth of cruise tourism on the island.

Royal Caribbean forms new joint venture to develop ports around the world

In:
24 Jun 2019

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today a new joint venture with ITM Group that seeks to develop cruise ports around the world.

The new company is called Holistica, and its goal is create an inclusive model for destination development that works holistically – thus the name – to meet the needs of coastal communities, local governments, and land, sea, and air travelers.

The first project for the new company is a $275 million development in Freeport, The Bahamas that is centered around the Grand Lucayan resort. The project includes ambitious plans for local ownership, employment, job training, community investment and sustainable construction practices.

In addition to the Freeport project, the companies said the new venture will own and operate destinations in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Kumamoto, Japan.

The partners have commenced a search for a CEO for the new company, which will be headquartered in Miami. 

"The continuing growth and rising popularity of cruise vacations make it clear that the sustainable development of coastal destinations, including the thoughtful evolution of existing ones, is in the travel industry's best interest," said Michael Bayley of RCL. "We have spent five decades learning what works and what doesn't, and we know the potential of strategic development to deliver extraordinary guest experiences and meet the needs of local communities."

Added Bayley: "Having more destinations, and developing them in a responsible manner, gives travelers greater vacation quality, and expands the landscape of available travel options as the tourism industry grows."

Port and dock update: February 7, 2019

In:
07 Feb 2019

We ran across a few quick updates on port news that have some impact on Royal Caribbean in the future.

St. Croix wants to handle Quantum Class ships

Caribbean Journal reports the US Virgin Islands Port Authority is exploring an opportunity to increase cruise passenger visits to the island of St Croix so that it could handle a Quantum Class ship.

According to the Port Authority, the plan would be to modify the Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility in Frederiksted to accommodate Quantum Class cruise ships.

The largest ships that currently berth in St Croix have a max capacity of up to 2,501 passengers.

Victoria port expansion impacted by lost steel

CTV Vancouver is reporting a multi-million dollar dolphin extension destined to upgrade Victoria's cruise ship terminal has been lost at sea.

The piles were meant to extend Pier B at Ogden Point by 55 metres and allow it to serve bigger cruise ships like the Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas, which has committed to stopping in Victoria beginning this May.

The B.C. Pilots Association and Royal Caribbean International carried out tests at Pier A on Friday and it has been decided that for this summer, the Ovation of the Seas will stop at Pier A.

The replacement steel is expected to arrive in late summer from China. The extension is slated to be completed in time for the 2020 cruise season. 

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