Alt Text!

Radiance of the Seas

Radiance of the Seas in dry dock for upgrades


Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas entered dry dock last week in British Columbia, Canada where it will receive upgrades before reentering service in Australia after it is done with the work on June 10.

Royal Caribbean's managing director in Australia Gavin Smith thinks the upgrades will be a nice addition, “Radiance of the Seas is already the best ship to be based in the region – the newest, largest and most innovative – but what we’re doing is taking an already great ship and transforming her into a truly spectacular ship. And best of all – Australians will be amongst the first in the world to enjoy the enhancements."

The changes being made to Radiance of the Seas include

  • Six single cabins will be added and, if successful, they will also be featured on other ships in the fleet
  • Addition of outdoor poolside movie screen
  • Seven new dining options
    • Samba Grill (Brazillian steakhouse)
    • Rita’s Cantina (Mexican)
    • Giovanni’s Table (Italian)
    • Park Café (Deli)
    • Izumi (Sushi)
    • Boardwalk Dog House (Hot dogs)
    • Chef’s Table (High end restaurant)
    • Quill & Compass (Bar)
  • Addition of Diamond Lounge and Concierge Lounge for Crown & Anchor Society members
  • Wi-fi will be "enhanced
  • Interactive televisions added to staterooms allowing passengers to book shore tours, order room service or check their SeaPass balance
  • Addition of Royal Babies & Tots Nursery

Photo of the Day: Radiance of the Seas in Acapulco



Photo by Acapulco News

Royal Caribbean cruises to Alaska in 2012 announed


Itineraries for Royal Caribbean cruises to Alaska in 2012 were announced yesterday of 10 to 18 nights.

Cruises include sailings aboard Radiance of the Seas that sail north and south between Vancouver and Seward as well as Rhapsody of the Seas offering round trip cruises out of Seattle, Washington.

Royal Caribbean also announced 20 new land tours including a 12 night offer for families that include a trip to Fox Island and excursions to the Anchorage Museum and Imaginarium.  There are also six-night Canadian Rocky Mountain cruise tours that include an overnight train journey.

Adam Armstrong, commercial manager, Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia loves the new Alaska itineraries, “Not only do we have great cruise itineraries on offer, but they can also be packaged with land tours in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. We call them ‘cruisetours’ and they offer something for everyone – fun, adventure or relaxation – plus once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see the region’s dramatic cliffs, Alpine glaciers, unique marine life and expansive wilderness.”

Other interesting offerings include

  • An 18-night Ultimate Cruisetour couples the Canadian Rockies pre-cruise with a five-night post-cruise escorted Alaska land tour
  • A six night Canadian Rockies cruisetour that combines Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Vancouver and Victoria with an overnight train journey aboard VIA Rail and accommodations throughout at world-renowned Fairmont hotels.

Freedom of the Seas completes Oasis class upgrades


Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas has completed a series of upgrades it received at the Grand Bahama Shipyard.  Freedom will return to service this week with a slew of new changes to the ship.

Freedom of the Seas received these upgrades while in drydock

  • Royal Babies and Tots Nursery
  • Large 18.5-foot video screen overlooking family pool area
  • LCD wayfinder system
  • Cupcake Cupboard restaurant
  • Vintages lounge will be redone
  • DreamWorks Experience
  • 3D movie screen
  • Imaginocean! puppet show
  • outdoor LED video walls

The upgrades, part of Royal Caribbean's Royal Advantage program, invested $70 million in ship upgrades to help keep Freedom and other Royal Caribbean ships more appealing to consumers with newer and bigger ships coming online.

Royal Caribbean vice president of hotel operations Lisa Bauer thinks the upgrades to Freedom of the Seas will make a difference based on what they've seen for Liberty of the Seas, “The outdoor video screen installed aboard Liberty of the Seas in January has already been so well received that we have decided to deploy it aboard all the ships scheduled to undergo the Royal Advantage revitalization in 2011."

As of today, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas have finished their upgrades with Radiance of the Seas set to be changed in May and Splendour of the Seas in October.

Video of the Day: Royal Caribbean ship upgrades


Royal Caribbean finalizing Australia plans for 2012/2013


Royal Caribbean is close to finalizing plans to send three of its cruise ships back to Australia for the 2012/2013 cruise season.   Royal Caribbean managing director for Australia, Gavin Smith, said he is certain that Royal Caribbean will have three ships in Australia.

The decision was easy to make after strong bookings for the 2011/2012 seas have made Rhapsody of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Celebrity Century quite popular.  It's expected that all three ships will return for the following season to build upon its success down under, so far.

Smith said adding more ships to the area this year has created challenges, but nothing Royal Caribbean cannot handle, “The pressure is maintaining strong forward booking patterns to give the company confidence that they can continue this level of deployment. The continued success of our deployment and our pricing gains us confidence with the parent company. They are continuing to support our operation with the required level of investment. Without question we will have three ships in Australia in 2012/13 and have made the port bookings."

Smith expects to have the plans for Australia in 2012/2013 finalized by March.

Single cabins coming to Royal Caribbean ships


Royal Caribbean is going to try out adding cabins for solo travelers in the spring of this year on Radiance of the Seas, according to a report by USA Today.

Radiance of the Seas will add three windowless "inside" stateroom cabins specifically for guests who are traveling alone.  To accommodate this change, Radiance of the Seas will enter dry dock in late May, have the new cabins installed and depart in early June. She will then spend the coming summer sailing in Alaska.

Single cabins are a new fad in some cruise lines and until now, Royal Caribbean did not have any.  The reason for this is because the the cruise business model revolves around cabins designed for two or more people.

Frommer's names Allure of the Seas best ship of 2011


Frommer's travel guide has named Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas as one of the Best Cruise Ships of 2011.  Judges cited Allure and her sister Oasis of the Seas as, "undoubtedly the best entertainment ship at sea, with truly exceptional programming for both adults and kids."

Judges were impressed by many aspects of the Oasis class ships, especially the innovations Royal Caribbean introduced on these vessels, "The biggest innovation is the vessels' split superstructures, with the top eight decks bisected lengthwise by a long canyon that contains an open-air garden and a boardwalk-like entertainment zone. Besides letting light and air into the center of the ship, this makes the whole vessel feel more 3D -- like you're walking the streets of a high-rise city, not shuffling blindly from one horizontal deck to another."

The list of ships only surveyed ships in the Western Hemisphere, so ships in Europe and Asia were not included.

In addition to taking the top honors, a few other Royal Caribbean ships made the "notables" list.  Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, and Jewel of the Seas were all mentioned for scoring highly. 

Judges enjoyed the Radiance class of Royal Caribbean ships because. "These four sisters combine sleek, seagoing exteriors with nautically themed interiors and acres of windows."

Illness strikes Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas


Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas was delayed on January 3rd after an outbreak of illness struck the ship, causing 150 passengers to become sick.

Royal Caribbean reports a gastro-intestinal illness marked by diarrhea and vomiting affected some passengers, including three crew members.  Royal Caribbean took measures to ensure the ship was ready for its next voyage by remaining in port five hours longer than normal to undergo a ship-wide cleaning.

The cruise terminal was also sanitized and the ship is scheduled to depart on another cruise Saturday night.

During the voyage, crew took precautions to prevent the spread of the virus such as banning menus and silverware from meals.

Royal Caribbean making progress in Australia


Royal Caribbean is reporting travel agents and consumers in Australia have become more familiar with the Royal Caribbean brand in recent time, but there are still challenges ahead as the cruise line looks to gain an even larger share of the cruise market down under.

Royal Caribbean Cruises managing director, Gavin Smith, said the increased capacity planned over the next 12 months, including the return of Celebrity Cruises and the debut of Radiance of the Seas, will coincide with Royal Caribbean putting on more field sales staff to drive its message home to agents.

Just how far has Royal Caribbean come?  One year ago, there were about 40,000 beds available but today that number is closer to 100,000 beds to sell.

Helping increase the inventory is Radiance of the Seas, which features 50% of its cabins having a balcony, which is important to the Australian cruise market.  Gavin Smith cites that Americans and British cruisers that go to Australia demand the balconies.