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How to prevent seasickness on a cruise

In:
14 Sep 2022

One of the most common concerns of first-time cruisers is feeling seasick. No one wants to spend their vacation nauseous and miserable, so knowing a few tips and tricks to prevent seasickness is helpful before your cruise.

Women on pool deck

It is certainly possible to feel seasick on a cruise ship, especially if you’re sailing through a notoriously rough body of water, cruising on a smaller ship, or if you picked a cabin in the very front or aft of the ship.

The good news, however, is that seasickness is not nearly as common as you might think, and many passengers hardly notice the ship moving at all! 

Here are our top ways to prevent and relieve motion sickness on a cruise ship so you can enjoy your cruise vacation as much as possible.

In this guide:

What to know about seasickness on a cruise ship

What causes seasickness on a cruise?

Seasickness occurs when there are conflicts between your senses while in motion. When your eyes, ears, muscles, and joints send mixed signals to each other, your body can get confused. This disturbs the inner ear, where the body’s balance mechanism is found, causing you to feel dizzy and nauseous.

While on a cruise ship, it’s possible to feel seasick due to the ship moving through the sea while everything onboard appears to stay in one place.

Is seasickness common on cruise ships?

While it’s certainly possible to feel seasick on a cruise ship, it’s not very likely. Royal Caribbean’s ships are huge vessels, a far cry from a sailboat or kayak. In fact, you may nearly forget you’re on a ship at all once onboard!

Related: Things not to worry about on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Cruise lines do everything they can to reduce the motion felt by passengers. Modern cruise ships are constructed with stabilizers–fins that jet off the starboard and port sides of the ship–to help counteract the ocean’s movement so there is less turbulence felt onboard.

The ship’s captain will do everything possible to avoid high winds and rough seas, too, whether sailing quickly to outrun a storm, sailing in circles in one place, or changing the itinerary altogether. This helps ensure that your cruise will not encounter high seas whenever possible.

Related: How fast can a cruise ship go to outrun a storm?

What itineraries are most common for seasickness?

Cruising in protected waters can bring a lower possibility of feeling seasick compared to the open ocean. Transatlantic and transpacific cruises, as well as itineraries with extended time in the open ocean, can mean rougher seas.

If you’re prone to seasickness, consider choosing a port-intensive itinerary with little time spent in the open water. On a Greek Isles or Adriatic cruise, for example, you’ll spend nearly every day in port and time sailing will be on the (usually) calm, protected waters of the Aegean and Adriatic seas.

Related: Ultimate Greek Isles cruise guide

Certain bodies of water, including the Bay of Biscay above Spain and the Gulf of Alaska, are prone to strong currents and high winds, which can cause many passengers to feel seasick.

Additionally, cruising off-season can sometimes mean encountering less than favorable weather, which can lead to a higher chance of feeling seasick, such as late fall in Alaska or hurricane season in the Caribbean.

Related: When is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

Will I feel less motion on a newer, bigger cruise ship?

Newer ships have more advanced technology and stabilization systems, meaning that you should, theoretically, feel less motion on a bigger ship compared to a small cruise ship.

That being said, this is not always the case as there are many factors at play when it comes to seasickness (weather, ship’s location, stateroom location, etc.).

In fact, Matt from Royal Caribbean Blog felt seasick when sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, despite this ship being the largest cruise ship in the world!

Related: 12 differences between the big and small Royal Caribbean cruise ships

More often than not, though, choosing a larger ship instead of a smaller ship on the same itinerary should help prevent seasickness. If you’re worried about feeling seasick on a cruise and are choosing between Symphony of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas, for example, Symphony of the Seas would be the better option.

Top ways to prevent seasickness on a cruise

Motion sickness medication

One of the most foolproof ways to avoid feeling seasick on a cruise is to take motion sickness medication. Be sure to pack Dramamine or Bonine tablets with you for the cruise even if you don’t anticipate feeling sick. If these medications make you drowsy, consider purchasing the non-drowsy version of the medications.

If you forgot motion sickness medication, you can purchase tablets at a shop onboard or ask Guest Services if they have any free packets of motion sickness medication available.

You may also want to consider getting a prescription for a seasickness patch (scopolamine patch) before the cruise. These patches work by delivering scopolamine to your body slowly over the course of several days.

Watch the horizon

Looking out at the horizon can help maintain your sense of balance on the ship. If you’ve booked a balcony or outside view cabin, spend time looking at the horizon if you’re feeling nauseous.

If you have an inside cabin, head to a public space with windows onboard (somewhere midship is preferred) to have a view of the horizon as you sail through the choppy seas.

Additionally, many passengers find that sitting in the same direction of the cruise ship’s movement can help negate feelings of seasickness. Instead of sitting backwards or sideways when the ship is moving forward, find a chair facing forward. 

Eat ginger and green apples

Ginger is one of the best natural remedies for seasickness, as one of its active compounds, 6-gingerol, can help you feel less nauseous and dizzy.

Consider packing ginger tea bags, ginger candies, or ginger supplements with you in case you start to feel seasick. Ginger ale is available at bars and restaurants onboard, which can be an easy way to alleviate your seasickness.

Green apples are another natural way to combat seasickness, as the pectin found in the apples helps settle the stomach. Green apples can be found at most cafes and eateries onboard, including the Windjammer, Cafe Promenade, Park Cafe, and more.

Acupressure bands

Outside of medication, some cruisers find that wearing an acupressure band helps combat seasickness. These bands work by releasing pressure to stimulate the pressure point P-6 on your wrist, which can help to reduce nausea.

Pick a midship and lower cabin location

One of the best ways to combat seasickness is to book your cruise cabin in a midship location. Because ships tend to sway and move side to side in the water, a midship location can be the “equilibrium” point on the ship.

Related: What is the best location on a cruise ship?

Cabins on lower decks typically feel less movement than those on higher decks, so if you’re worried about seasickness, consider a cabin on decks 2-4 rather than 12-14!

While it’s still possible to feel movement in a midship location, you’ll definitely feel less motion than picking a cabin in the very front or very back of the ship.

Remember to eat

While you may not feel hungry on days with rough seas, it’s important to eat something small every few hours. Crackers, bread, soups, bananas, and other plain foods are recommended.

Avoid eating greasy, fatty, or spicy foods and dairy products, as these can increase stomach issues when you’re already not feeling well.

Lastly, don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid dehydration.

Avoid reading books and staring at screens

While reading a book may be an enjoyable pastime on your cruise vacation, it’s one of the worst things you can do when it comes to preventing seasickness.

Many cruisers find that reading (whether a physical book, e-reader, or phone) can increase feelings of seasickness and nausea.

While you likely won’t have an issue on days with calm seas, you’ll want to put the book away if your cruise ship is sailing through rough waters.

Planning a cruise? Start here:

10 tips to help you improve your cruise vacation

In:
13 Aug 2022

While I can't come up with a formula for the perfect cruise for every single person, I can suggest some easy ways to boost anyone's cruise experience.

Couple at the pool

In my experience, everyone has their own style to cruising. Some try to every single activity before lunch, and others don't wake up until lunch. That's the beauty of a cruise: you get to do what you want, when you want.

No matter how you prefer to chill, there are some easy ways to build on your cruise plans to make it an even better experience. 

Think of these strategies like spices in a food recipe: you don't need to add them, but the extra flavor might be a nice touch.

Add days before or after your cruise

Miami hotel

I think everyone should fly to their cruise at least a day ahead of time simply because of how flaky the airlines are with cancellations and delays, but there's an added benefit to flying in early.

Flying to your cruise the same day it begins is playing with fire, but coming in early (or staying after your cruise) allows you to pad your vacation time.

If you arrive a day or two early for your cruise, you get to have a more relaxed ramp up to getting onboard. You'll be able to explore the city your ship departs from, as well as adjust to a time zone change.

Hotel pool, Miami Beach, Miami, Florida

Staying a few days after your cruise helps soften the blow of the "post-cruise blues" and feel like your vacation isn't coming to a screeching halt.

If you can work remotely, spending a couple extra days working from the beach in Florida is a good compromise where you get a change of scenery without having to spend extra vacation days.

This strategy is especially helpful if you're on a short cruise, such as a weekend cruise, where you can take a quick cruise and expand that overall vacation feel.

Buy The Key

While I'm not a huge fan of the value proposition The Key offers, I do admit buying it is a simple means of hitting the "easy button" to cruising.

The premise of The Key is to offer anyone a way to buy into VIP treatments, such as an early check-in time at the terminal, reserved time at signature activities, and a welcome aboard lunch.

This article isn't about how to maximize value, so if you're looking for a means to splurge without breaking the bank, perhaps The Key has that benefit.

Read moreCounterpoint: why we love The Key

Get a sailaway massage

Massage at the spa

It's no secret that a massage at the Vitality Spa is a relaxing and enjoyable experience, but I think it's a great idea to get a massage on the first day right as the ship is departing.

Embarkation day is a busy day, and I've always found the first day to have that feeling of running errands, rather than relaxing. You want to get dining reservations, unpack all your clothes, book shows and a host of other important first-day activities.

Read more25 things you need to know for your first day on a cruise ship

Spa

By the time late afternoon rolls around, it's not unusual to start feeling like you're running out of energy a bit. This is the perfect time to schedule a spa appointment.

Usually, the price for a spa treatment on embarkation day is cheaper because everyone is busy doing other things.

Getting a massage right as your ship is departing could the perfect way to bring things down a notch and get that "I'm on vacation" feeling back in gear.

Ask your waiter for alternative menu options

Dining room menu

Whether you have a food allergy or are just a picky eater, there are other options not necessarily on the menu in the dining room.

Ask to speak to the head waiter and explain what you would like, even if it is not on the menu.

Politely talk to your wait staff about what options you have. In general, as long as they have the ingredients and you make the request in advance, they can absolutely accommodate a great variety of requests.

Dining room waiter

Be aware that some changes take extra time, so give the staff advanced notice. Usually 24 hours will suffice for special meals or foods. 

Read moreHow to request your favorite foods be prepared in the main dining room

Skip a shore excursion and stay onboard

Wonder of the Seas pool deck

While you likely booked a cruise because of the fun ports the ship is scheduled to visit, you might consider staying onboard the ship for one of the stops.

That isn't to say the ports of call your ship visits don't offer some really fun things to do. Rather, this is about a way to take advantage of a less busy ship.

If there's a port you have been to before, or you can't find a shore excursion that jumps out as a great choice, then you might be better off staying on the ship and enjoying the far less busy pool deck.

Mariner of the Seas pool deck

In the morning and afternoon while a cruise ship is docked in port, the pool deck is far less busy than almost any other time of the cruise. This means it's easy to get a seat by the pool, a seat in the hot tub, or your own personal space in the pool.

Being onboard when most others are off the ship is the closest feeling you'll get to having the cruise ship to yourself.

If you have kids, staying onboard not only allows them to enjoy the pool deck, but also get extra rides in on the ship's waterslides without a massive wait.

Learn about what your ship has to offer before you board

Regret is one of the most common pitfalls of a cruise, as people realize too late that they missed out on an activity, tour, or cool thing they wanted to check out.

Read moreWhat I wish I'd known before I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise

If you want to ensure you get to experience everything on your ship that appeals to you, then you're going to want to learn about your ship before you sail.

Royal Caribbean certainly advertises the signature activities on its ships, but there's far more to do than just a FlowRider or water slide. There are shows, trivia, lectures, entertainers and lots of really fun things you can do onboard and on shore.

It's to your advantage to learn about everything you can do to ensure you don't miss any of it.

An easy way to learn about things to do on your ship is to read a past Cruise Compass.

The Cruise Compass is a daily newspaper of activities, and Royal Caribbean doesn't change these plans much from sailing to sailing. So while a past Compass might not be a 100% representation of what you can expect, it's going to be close enough.

Read moreFirst time cruiser's guide to Royal Caribbean's Cruise Compass

Likewise, there might be a fun shore excursion you'd like to do and it might not be bookable through Royal Caribbean.

Read more5 quick and easy tips for finding a great shore excursion on your own

The more you are aware of your options, the less likely you'll be disappointed later after learning you could have done something else.

Plan to hit the pool on embarkation day

top deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Did you know the pool and water slides are open on the first day of your cruise?

Most people don't, or more to the point, most people don't have their bathing suits with them to enjoy the pool on the first day.

Pack your bathing suits in your carry-on bag and then change once you get on the ship to start off with a far less crowded pool deck day.

You'll find practically empty pools and water slides without much of a wait well into the afternoon.

Even when people get their luggage delivered to their room, by that point, it's time to get ready for dinner and that keeps the pools from being full.

Besides less people to contend with, hopping in the pool or jacuzzi is a great way to start your vacation with a more relaxed pace. Save the ship exploration for after dinner.

Bid for a cruise cabin upgrade

You don't need to spend more money to have a good time on a cruise, however, it certainly doesn't hurt either.

RoyalUp is Royal Caribbean's stateroom upgrade bidding program, where you can attempt to make an offer for a bigger cabin.

It's a blind bidding program, and that means you won't know what others bid, nor if there actually are any cabins available to upgrade to. But if you're lucky, you might be able to move up to a nicer cabin for less money than if you had booked it outright.

Balcony cabin on Mariner of the Seas

People cancel cruises all the time, even with just days to go before sailing. RoyalUp is a tool the cruise line uses to fill in those cabins.

There's nothing wrong with dreaming big, so if you don't mind rolling the proverbial dice on a cabin upgrade, give RoyalUp a shot.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean suites guide & review

Get two cabins instead of one for your family

Connecting rooms

Want to know my cruise best tip for a family? Get two cabins.

If you're cruising with kids, it can be advantageous to book two connecting (or adjacent) cabins instead of one large cabin for everyone to stay in.

Connecting rooms provides separation, so the kids can go to bed at a different time from you. During the day, they have their own space (and own television) to watch.

Bathroom door on Wonder of the Seas

Most importantly, getting two rooms means you'll get two full bathrooms. Families with teenagers will find this an amazing benefit.

It's also worth mentioning that two cabins doesn't mean expensive. Quite often, two smaller cabins can be the same price or cheaper than one large room or suite.

Read moreWhat's the best cruise ship cabin for my family?

Use porters at the end of the cruise

Porter

When it's time to get off the ship, do yourself (and your back) a favor and use the porters to get your luggage to your car.

I see too many people lugging their bags out of the cruise terminal (or even off the ship) as a way to save a couple of dollars.

Porters have no cost to use, but you're expected to tip them a dollar or two per bag for their services. 

In my opinion, it's well-worth it to have a porter take your bags and lessen the load.

In some ports, porters have their own line for getting through customs and that can save you time as well.

10 Things I learned on the Royal Caribbean cruise I just took

In:
02 Aug 2022

Though I consider myself to be a seasoned cruiser on Royal Caribbean ships, I still learned some new things to remember for upcoming sailings. 

Take a look at the top 10 things I learned while I was on the Mariner of the Seas this July. Knowing a few of these simple tricks can help you during your next cruise!

Importance of the Royal Caribbean app

Before 2020, I had never needed to use the Royal Caribbean app on my smartphone while I was on a cruise. We always had our compass given to us in our stateroom, a physical menu in the main dining room, and an in-person muster drill. Now, Royal Caribbean highly encourages you to download the app before your sailing so you can access all this information online.

I like most aspects of the app, but I missed being able to receive a compass every night in our stateroom. Same in the dining room - I like to look at a physical menu rather than scrolling on my phone.

Luckily, both of these can be easily resolved by asking your stateroom attendant for a physical compass and your waiter for a physical menu. 

I have no complaints about the muster drill, though. It was so much easier and faster to do it on your own following the steps on the app.

Food options

Windjammer food on a plate

While I was aware that Royal Caribbean ships have plenty of food options, I learned a few interesting facts for those that are vegan or gluten-free.

To accommodate a gluten-free diet, the main dining room takes your order the day before so they can prepare your meal for the next evening. The dining staff tries their hardest to accommodate these requests, and it seems as though they can make almost any meal work. 

Dining room menu

As I was scrolling through the app one evening, I noticed there was a vegan menu in addition to the regular main dining room menu. If you only have a normal menu, you can ask to see the vegan menu.

Read moreVegetarian and Vegan Guide to Royal Caribbean

I had previously been on the Mariner of the Seas earlier in 2022, and it had a build-your-own omelet station at the Windjammer. This time around, it was not there, which I was sad about. On the bright side, they still made various pre-made omelets to choose from, such as ham and cheese, vegetable, and cheese.

Diamond Drinks

For those that love sweet treats like I do, this next tip will be important to remember.

I wanted to learn the differences between Ben & Jerry’s milkshakes and Johnny Rockets’ milkshakes. While you have to pay for anything from Ben & Jerry’s, I did not have to at Johnny Rockets.

In the past, the milkshakes were not included as one of my Diamond drink vouchers, but it was this time! The worker explained to me since the milkshake is under the $13 drink limit, it qualifies like any other cocktail or mixed drink.

Another discovery I made was the coffee drinks at Cafe Promenade. I did not think these drinks were included either, so I waited until the end of the cruise to ask if they were included. Low and behold, they were as well! 

Check-in time matters

Since I booked this cruise pretty last minute, I had only a few options to pick from when it came to the arrival time. I had the option of either 1:30 or 2 p.m. I went with the 2 p.m. slot because I did not want to be rushed to leave my hotel. In the end, it didn't matter what time I picked, because the line was so long!

While I was waiting in line, I could hear people saying they had an arrival time of 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, etc. I was shocked to hear this, but I later learned that this sailing was at full capacity and wasn’t located at its normal launching terminal. Those two things combined made for a 1.5-hour wait just to check-in. 

After finally getting on the ship, I found out that those that had an early arrival time did not have a long wait like I did. If your travel allows, sign up for an early check-in time so you can avoid the crowds and start your vacation sooner!

Rideshare apps to and from port

Ride share

This was my first time using a rideshare app to get to and from the cruise. I was worried the price was going to be extremely expensive to drive 45 minutes (I was at the Orlando airport going to Port Canaveral), but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my options. 

Each way, Lyft was cheaper, so I used this app. (Uber was at least another $50-$100 more.) It was easy to find a ride to the ship, but it was more difficult to get one after the cruise. 

After getting off the ship, I immediately put in a request for a Lyft, and it notified me that it was busy and may take a long time to have a driver pick me up. I did not mind waiting, but I had to request a driver two times before someone picked me up. It did take about 45 minutes in total to order the ride and have them find me at the port.

In the future, it may be worthwhile to schedule a Lyft or Uber to pick you up. Or, you can take the airport shuttle instead.

Dinner theme nights

I remember on past cruises how there would only be formal nights and casual nights. Now, there seems to be a new theme every once in a while! From Caribbean to Tropical, cruisers are encouraged to fit the theme when dining in the main dining room.

A big change I saw was formal night now being called “Dress Your Best.” There was certainly a range of different attires - some people brought their gowns and tuxedos, while others wore dresses or a nice top with dress pants. I usually went with the latter and wore business casual, as did most cruisers.

Ask your stateroom attendant

In addition to requesting a physical compass, I learned of two other things you can request from your stateroom attendant.

After three nights of sleeping with a lumpy pillow and waking up with a sore neck, I asked my attendant for a new pillow. That night, he gave me a feather pillow, and it was so much better than the pillows we were originally given.

Also, since the showers only have a 2-1 body wash and shampoo, I asked my attendant for some conditioner. He certainly delivered because he gave me plenty to use for the rest of the cruise.

Helicopter pad access

When the sun would set in the evening, I wanted to find a great spot on the ship to admire the views. I tried deck four, but some nights I just could not see the sunset. 

I then saw some stairs that led up to the helicopter pad. It was a little difficult to find the access point, but just head towards the front of the ship on deck four, and you should see the stairs.

Once I was there, I saw other people had the same idea. It was truly an excellent place to view everything that was happening. This place would also be great to go when the ship sails in and out of port!

Walking path substitute

The Mariner of the Seas does have a walking path on deck 12, but it is hard to use because it is surrounded by chairs and people. 

Deck four is a good place to get your steps in because there is a path that goes almost the entire way around the ship. To go all the way around, you would need to cut through the sliding doors near the front of the ship and walk to the other side. More than half of this loop around the ship is shaded, so it is the perfect place to walk with little to no interruptions.

Solarium tip

I always love to relax in the Solarium, and many others do too. That makes it hard to find a spot during the day because it is a busy spot among cruisers. I found that a great time to enjoy the Solarium is around 8 p.m. or later. There was no one in the daybeds, so I was finally able to snag one! It was so quiet that I could hear the waves as I relaxed. 

Another important tip I learned: while there are hot tubs in the Solarium, they may be closed when you first arrive. However, there is always at least one hot tub open 24 hours a day, either in the Solarium or outside on the pool deck.

Flight attendant shares 20 tips to minimize air travel fiascos

In:
27 Jun 2022

Before you can get on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you may have to fly to your destination city and air travel is anything but simple these days.

Plane landing in Miami

Likely you've seen headlines about air travel chaos that is affecting airlines around the world. There were over 19,000 cancelled flights in the U.S. this past weekend alone.

Whether its bad weather, air traffic control, staffing issues or reduced security personnel, you should expect problems when flying this summer.

While these issues are problematic, it doesn't mean it's impossible to get to your cruise ship either. In fact, there are some good strategies for ensuring your movement between home and where your ship sails from encounters minimal issues.

Airport

An unnamed flight attendant penned a post on Facebook that has been shared thousands of times, and it lists 20 tips for dealing with air travel this summer.

I found many of these tips to be good pieces of travel advice, so in an effort to get the word out there, here are two air travel tips you should know about if you plan to fly to your cruise ship anytime soon.

Airplane landing

1.  If its less than 7 hours - drive!

I'm not kidding. There is nothing enjoyable about flying right now. On any airline. If you must fly, keep reading. 

Airplane taking off and landing

2. Download and use the app of the airline you are flying

You can do everything on it - get your boarding pass, track your bags, see your incoming plane, and change a flight. It sure beats waiting in the long line to talk to an agent! Trust me - Usually these apps will tell you a flight is cancelled before the crew even knows! 

British Airways airplane

3. Fly much earlier than you need to - a whole day early if its important!

This week I saw many people miss important things like weddings, funerals, cruises, international connections, and graduations. The tears were very real, for very real reasons, and there was nothing I could do! I

f you have to be somewhere, spend the extra money, go a day early. Have a glass of wine and stay in a hotel, enjoy your night not being stressed while everyone else misses their events. 

Read moreWhy you shouldn't fly to your cruise the same day it begins

Airplane wing view

4. Always fly the first flight in the morning

This way, you have all day to be rebooked if bad stuff happens. Yes, that means it might be a 3:00 alarm, but morning flights don't cancel nearly as often.

Raining in airplane

5. Summer is thunderstorm season

A single storm can shut down a whole airport. We can't fly through them. Storms usually build as the day gets later. Book early flights!

Airport with boarding pass

6. Schedule long layovers

Your 1 hour layover is not  enough anymore. 30 minutes, not a chance. 3 hours minimum.

Airplane on the ground

7. What you see on the news is an understatement.

We are short staffed and overworked. Not just pilots and flight attendants, but also ground crews.

Without ground crews there is no one to park the planes, drive jetways, get your bags on/off planes, or scan boarding passes. This causes many delays that snowball throughout the day. Sometimes hours.(Another reason morning flights are best!)  

Underbelly of airplane

8. When flight crews get delayed we time out

We can not fly longer than 16 hours. Its illegal. So it doesn't matter if you have a wedding to get to, when we are done we are done.

The way things are now, there are no back up crews, so when this happens your flight cancels.

Now you are starting to see why those morning flights are best!

Newark airport

9. Avoid connecting in Newark (Or any New York airport for that matter)

It is literal hell. You have a 50/50 chance your flight will cancel or missing your connection. They have been cancelling flights at their starting points just to keep the planes out, because there just aren't enough people to manage the planes, so the gates stay full.

Also the restaurants are expensive, it is not a great place to be stuck. 

Airplane in the clouds

10. Be nice

As stated above, we are overworked and tired. We will not help you if you are mean. No one cares that you are going to miss your cruise if you are mean.

So even if we can help, we will save our help for someone nice. Tensions are high. Our patience is gone. If you make us mad - you will not be flying on our planes. We will leave you behind without a second thought, and laugh about you later. 

Airplane at the gate

11. Being drunk on an airplane is a federal offense, so don't overdo it

If you drink too much at the bar waiting for your delayed flight you risk not being allowed to fly at all. We are too tired to deal with you when we have legitimate issues to deal with.

Airplane landing

12. Get trip insurance if you have a lot of money invested

I hate the whole idea of this, but I also hate the idea of losing money.  

Example: I was working a flight yesterday that waited over an hour for a gate. A family of 8 missed their flight to Rome. The only flight of the day. They were going to a cruise which they would now miss. They were all crying, there was nothing I could do. (Also a reason to fly a day early!)

Cabin on plane

13. Flights are full

If you buy the cheap seats you will not be able to sit with your family. It says so when you purchase your ticket!

Flight Attendants aren't there to rearrange the whole plane just so you can sit with your family because you tried to save $100 on a third party website. 

Passengers on a plane

14. The people that get bumped first

Speaking of third party websites and saving money..... Like I said flights are full.

If a flight is oversold, and no one volunteers to give up their seats, who do you think is the first to be bumped? You guessed it, the family that saved a few $$ by using sites like Expedia, Kayak, Hotwire etc. 

Clouds

15. Pack smart

Don't be "That guy." Don't hold up boarding because you have your extenders open till they are busting and you can't figure out how to make it fit in the overhead. Passengers are stressed too, they can be aggressive when boarding a delayed flight.

16. Practice good personal hygiene

Take showers, brush your teeth, leave the perfume off, don't eat stinky food (caesar salad and tuna fish I'm talking to you!), and bring headphones.

Trust me. These things sound basic, but add to stress on crowded planes. If you are stuck on the tarmac for 3 hours after a 4 hour flight, you will thank me for this. 

Airplane cabin

17. Bring a sweater if you tend to be cold

So tired of half naked girls asking me to turn the heat up. 

Airplane bathroom

18. That's not water on the bathroom floor

For the love of God wear shoes to the bathroom!

Airplane cabin

19. Don't tell a Flight Attendant they look tired

We are and we know. You may cause us to ugly cry right there in galley. 

Tampa airport

20. Happy Travels!

Things I've tried on Royal Caribbean that I won't do again

In:
04 Jun 2022

While I absolutely love cruising and traveling, we all know that sometimes things don’t go exactly as we planned. Sometimes we try things that just don’t live up to our expectations. Other times, we are wowed by something that we never had on our radar.

Symphony of the Seas pool deck

Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships are built to appeal to a wide demographic, so we aren’t necessarily meant to love everything a cruise ship has to offer. 

Traveling can also just be unpredictable - I’ve definitely had my fair share of travel woes over the years.

Take for instance the time my family flew all the way to Brazil to meet up with me on my Semester at Sea - just in time for the Brazilian embassy to go on strike and hold our passports hostage. I’ll also never forget the time I traveled 9 hours inland for a safari in Senegal only to see zero animals in the wild. 

With cruising back in full force, I’ve been reflecting on my Royal Caribbean cruising experience over the years. After 30 cruises, there are certainly things that I won’t be doing in the future after learning some valuable lessons. 

Here’s a list of everything that I tried on a Royal Caribbean cruise that I won’t do again.

Booking an excursion every day

Royal Caribbean excursion sign

In our early days of cruising, we would have an excursion planned for every single port day. After doing this a few times, we all decided that an excursion each day was simply too much. 

Most of the time, we had to get up earlier than we wanted to on vacation so we could have breakfast and get ready in time. We’d be in the sun all day doing whatever fun activity we had planned. By the time we got back to the ship, we would be exhausted!

Of course, having some excursions planned can really maximize time in port. Excursions definitely have a time and place.

I just don’t think we will be booking back-to-back excursions anymore. Not only is this very expensive to book multiple Royal Caribbean excursions, but it doesn’t allow for flexibility. Sometimes it’s nice to have a slow start to your morning and not have any plans set in stone. It’s good to have rest days, even if it means being on your own schedule. 

Having a stateroom at the very front of the ship

When I sailed to Hawaii with my family, we were offered an upgrade to a 2-bedroom suite onboard the cruise ship. We were so excited to have a huge room because we normally cruise in inside cabins.  

Our Hawaii stateroom was absolutely gorgeous. It had a separate bedroom for kids down a long curvy hallway. We also had our own bathroom, which was so nice. It felt like cruising in luxury!

But we learned immediately why no one had booked it. The hallway to our bedroom was so curvy because it wrapped around the very front of the ship. Maybe we just had bad luck with rough seas, but we were all sick every night that the ship was sailing. 

Odyssey of the Seas

We heard that the Pacific Ocean is often more rocky than the Atlantic or Mediterranean, so we really should have done some thinking about that before jumping on the upgrade offer.

I won’t be booking a cabin at the very front and top of the ship, regardless of how good of a deal it is! It isn’t worth it to be seasick every night, regardless of how beautiful the stateroom is. 

Not making dinner reservations

This seems to be a problem that’s getting progressively worse with cruising. On a recent Harmony of the Seas cruise, we didn’t make any reservations for dinner because we wanted to have some flexibility. We had booked My Time Dining, so we thought we could eat whenever we wanted.

That was clearly not the case. Apparently, everyone had booked dinner reservations prior to coming onboard. My Time Dining used to mean we could just show up and be seated whenever we wanted. Now, everyone makes reservations for My Time Dining and if you don’t have one, you’ll be waiting in line before getting seated.

We were panicked at first, as my dad prefers to eat earlier than most people. The hostess was able to get us a set table each night for the early dining time, which resolved our issue thankfully. 

But, we learned a valuable lesson! We won’t be winging it with reservations on future cruises, especially on Oasis class ships.

Taking a red eye flight the night before a cruise

We never fly into a port the same day as our cruise, but my husband and I found ourselves stuck with a red eye flight that landed in the early morning on our cruise departing. 

We were sailing right after Christmas on Jewel of the Seas from San Juan. We booked a direct flight from Minneapolis to San Juan that landed at 6 a.m. on the morning of the cruise. This flight was reasonably priced on Sun Country for $200, but every other airline was charging astronomical prices for non-direct flights. 

I was so stressed about the possibility of a delay that I had a hard time getting excited about the cruise. Even though it seemed like the best flight option, I was so worried about having a delay or cancellation that would prevent us from boarding our cruise. 

In the future, I will continue to spend extra if it means we can get into a port the day before the cruise. It’s not worth risking your cruise entirely, even if it saves a bit of money!

Wasting time at the spa giveaway

One time, we got roped into attending a spa giveaway in our early days of cruising. It was during the set sail party too, so we were hoping it would be worthwhile to miss the departure views of the ship sailing off. 

We should have known that nothing onboard is really free once you get on the cruise ship, as Royal Caribbean wants you to spend money onboard. 

My sister is notoriously lucky and won the "giveaway." We were all thrilled for her, clapping and cheering when they called her name. We were obviously thinking it was going to be a really nice prize.

Of course, it was far from a free spa treatment or service. The prize was something like, “Spend $300 and save $100 on a spa treatment if you book by Day 2.” This is probably a decent deal if you were already going to spend money at the spa, but we didn’t have any plans to spend money there in the first place. 

As such, we’ve never gone back to a spa giveaway on our Royal Caribbean cruises - or any other giveaway for that matter! We would rather spend our time on other activities that we enjoy more, like hot tubbing in the Solarium with a cocktail in hand.

Splurging on a spa treatment

Massage at the spa

Since we are on the topic of going to the spa, I won’t be returning for any spa treatment on future Royal Caribbean cruises. 

I know some people have great experiences with going to the spa and that’s a big part of their vacation. I am not really a spa person to begin with; I don’t get my nails or hair done often and rarely have massages. 

I had never had a spa treatment on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship before, but I was feeling proud that I had survived my husband’s deployment and wanted to treat myself to a massage. I had woken up with a sore neck after our ship hit some rough waters, so what better time to indulge!

Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 6 - Tracy's Arm Fjord | Royal Caribbean Blog

The treatment was $200, which is half of what the entire 7-night cruise cost. That was a tough pill to swallow, but I figured this was a special treat to myself and not something I do often.

Halfway through the hot stone massage, the masseuse told me I had a mass on my shoulder. I was confused and asked her if she meant that I had a knot, as this was the reason I came to the spa in the first place. 

She said no, it wasn’t a knot, and I needed to go to the doctor back home for a biopsy to be done on the mass. She even stated, “Early detection is good.”  

First time cruisers: Royal Caribbean's Vitality Spa | Royal Caribbean Blog

I was absolutely shocked and flabbergasted. I broke down in tears with the stress overwhelming me. I wondered how I was supposed to enjoy the rest of my vacation with this looming thought. 

She then asked if I wanted to schedule a consultation with the acupuncturist to help with my anxiety. I was so disheartened by the experience that I left in tears. I’m a naturally anxious person, so she probably couldn’t have said this to a worse person. 

Luckily, I spoke to the spa manager and she was deeply sorry about the issue. She offered me a full refund and assured me that this should have never happened. Of course, I just had bad luck that this happened. I am sure the masseuse had good intentions, but she isn’t a medical professional.

After this unfortunate experience, I won’t be treating myself to anything at the spa again though. 

Sliding down the waterslides

My last few cruises had brand new waterslides that I was excited to try out. Both times, we had to wait in short lines but I was excited to try them out. 

As I flung myself down the entrance of the slide, it seemed that I was barely putzing my way down the waterslide. I don’t know if that’s the intent of the slides and perhaps smaller cruisers have a more exhilarating time. 

I guess I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I won’t be spending my time trying the waterslides anymore. These are definitely aimed at kids, but are meant to be family friendly for cruisers of all ages. 

Even though I didn’t have to wait long, I would have been bummed if I had waited in a long line to have an underwhelming experience. 

Guide to weekend cruises: Tips for taking a 3-night Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
28 May 2022

Royal Caribbean offers a lot of amazing cruise experiences, including 3-night getaway cruises that offer the perfect escape. While weekend cruises have their own pros and cons, a day on a cruise ship is always better than a day on land!

Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of taking a 3-night Royal Caribbean cruise. Knowing which departure ports offer weekend cruises, which destinations you can visit, and how much to budget for will help determine which weekend cruise will be best for your mini-getaway.

In this guide:

Weekend cruise itineraries

Royal Caribbean offers cruises as long as 19+ nights and as short as 2 nights to destinations all over the world. Regardless of whether you book the longest cruise, a transpacific sailing visiting French Polynesia and New Zealand, or the shortest cruise to the Bahamas, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable cruise vacation.

How long are weekend cruises?

Most weekend cruises tend to be 3-nights, leaving port on Friday afternoon and returning early Monday morning. A 3-night cruise gives the perfect length for a true “weekend getaway,” allowing you to forget all the stress brought on by work or school and truly escape.

Occasionally you may find 2-night cruises over the weekend, which leave Friday afternoon and return Sunday morning, although these are much less common.

Weekend cruise departure ports

Most of Royal Caribbean’s regularly scheduled weekend cruises leave from the ports of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, or Los Angeles.

Due to the Passenger Vessel Services Act (otherwise known as the Jones Act), all foreign-flagged ships departing from the United States must include an itinerary stop in a country other than the United States.

This severely limits options for weekend cruises, as any US port offering 2 and 3-night cruises must be able to travel to and from a secondary country in a short amount of time. Cruises departing from New York (Cape Liberty), for example, often visit northeast Canada, but this tends to require a 4-night minimum travel time round-trip.

Therefore, you will see weekend cruises leaving from ports closest to other countries. In Royal Caribbean’s case, Florida ports have quick access to the Bahamas whereas Los Angeles is just a short distance from Mexico.

On some occasions you may find weekend cruises leaving from other ports around the world, such as Southampton, England and Haifa, Israel, although these tend to be more of a one-time cruise than a weekly itinerary choice.

Where can I visit on a weekend cruise?

Weekend cruises are fairly limited in the destinations they can visit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience an amazing day in port on a 3-night getaway.

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is the capital of New Providence Island and is one of the most commonly visited ports on any Royal Caribbean cruise. The city is filled with fun activities, from waterparks to historical sites and enjoying day passes at all-inclusive resorts.

While it’s possible to disembark the ship in Nassau and simply walk around, we highly recommend planning what you would like to do in Nassau in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on the island’s best offerings and beaches.

Read more: Best things to do in Nassau on a cruise

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Perfect Day at CocoCay is Royal Caribbean’s private destination in the Bahamas and is a favorite port among cruise fans. The island offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking to spend the day relaxing at Chill Beach, join the party at the swim-up bar, reserve a private, floating cabana, or slide down the tallest waterslide in North America.

While it’s not necessary to have a plan for your day at CocoCay, it’s a good idea to be familiar with what is offered on the island to ensure you can book any excursions or addons in advance.

Ensenada, Mexico

Ensenada is a port city on Mexico’s Pacific coast in the state of Baja California. If you’ve taken a cruise to other Mexican ports like Cozumel and Costa Maya, you’ll be surprised at how different the geography and coastline of Ensenada is compared to the Caribbean.

Whereas the Yucatan peninsula offers dense jungles, Mayan ruins, and calm beaches, Ensenada has a dry climate. A day in Ensenada is best spent enjoying Baja California’s nature, whether exploring the Calafia Valley Wine Country, riding an ATV on the coast, or hiking through El Salto Canyon.

Read more:  A day in Ensenada, Mexico while cruising on Navigator of the Seas

Other destinations

Royal Caribbean occasionally offers short cruises to more exotic destinations. Currently there are cruises to Cyprus, Le Havre (Paris), and Naples, Italy available to book! The vast majority of weekend cruises, however, tend to visit the same ports due to their proximity to the United States.

Will there be a sea day?

The majority of weekend cruises departing from Florida do not have a sea day, although you may occasionally run into an itinerary with one day at sea. Weekend cruises tend to be port-intensive, meaning they stop in a new port each day.

The exception is with cruises departing from the Port of Los Angeles on Navigator of the Seas. Weekend cruises on Navigator of the Seas have a full day at sea prior to a port day in Ensenada, Mexico. A sea day is perfect for trying the newly amplified ship’s upgraded features, including the longest waterslide at sea and The Lime & Coconut Bar.

If your weekend cruise itinerary does not include a sea day, that does not mean you have to disembark the ship in each port you visit. Many passengers opt to spend one of the port days onboard instead of in port so they can make the most of the cruise ship’s activities, dining, and amenities.

Which Royal Caribbean ships offer weekend cruises?

While all Royal Caribbean ships may offer a 3-night cruise here and there, there are several ships that almost exclusively run on the same schedule every week. These ships tend to offer 3-night cruises from Friday afternoon to Monday morning and 4-night cruises from Monday afternoon to Friday morning.

While most ships running weekend cruises are not the newest and largest in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, the majority of these ships have recently been amplified in the cruise line’s Royal Amplified program. Amplifications bring an impressive upgrade to Royal Caribbean ships, adding new onboard activities, stateroom options, and dining/lounge venues.

Freedom of the Seas, a Freedom Class ship, offers year-round 3-night weekend cruises departing from Miami, visiting both Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas. Freedom of the Seas was amplified in February 2020 and received a major upgrade, with additions including the Perfect Storm waterslides, a Caribbean resort-style pool deck, and the new Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen restaurant.

Liberty of the Seas is another Freedom Class cruise ship and she will offer 3-night cruises to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas starting in November 2022. Those booking a weekend getaway on Liberty of the Seas will depart from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Liberty of the Seas was revamped in 2016, which added the waterslides, Splashaway Bay kids aqua park, and the Sabor Mexican restaurant.

Independence of the Seas is the weekend getaway ship of choice for those who prefer to depart from Port Canaveral, Florida. She is a Freedom Class cruise ship offering 3-night cruises to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas. Passengers on Independence of the Seas can enjoy an escape room, water slides, and the Izumi hibachi restaurant.

Navigator of the Seas, a Voyager Class ship, is the only Royal Caribbean cruise ship permanently homeported at the Port of Los Angeles. She offers 3-night weekend cruises to Ensenada, Mexico. Navigator of the Seas was amplified in 2019 with a Caribbean resort-style pool deck, new tropical-themed bars like the Bamboo Room, an escape room, and more.

Allure of the Seas will begin offering 3-night weekend cruises in November 2023, making her the first Oasis Class ship to offer regularly scheduled weekend sailings. She will depart from Port Canaveral, Florida on Friday afternoons and visit both Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay before returning back to Florida on Monday morning.

Allure of the Seas makes a great weekend cruise option for those who love having a nearly endless amount of activities to choose from onboard, from zip lining to AquaTheater shows.

Mariner of the Seas, a Voyager Class ship, occasionally offers 3-night weekend cruises, although they are more sporadic and not offered year-round. When they are offered, she departs from Port Canaveral, Florida and visits Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas.

Like many other ships offering weekend cruises, Mariner of the Seas was recently amplified to include new activities, amenities, and dining options.

Which cruise ship should I pick for a weekend cruise?

Most of Royal Caribbean’s ships offering weekend cruises are extremely similar to each other. The Voyager and Freedom Class cruise ships offering 3-night cruises are almost identical in layout and onboard features. While some dining venues, bars, and water slides may differ, passengers should expect a relatively similar experience no matter which Voyager or Freedom Class ship they choose.

There are a few differences between them that should be noted, though:

  • Mariner of the Seas does not have a baby splash pad area, so this ship may not be the best choice for parents who have children in diapers
  • Navigator of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas offer different style waterslides than the others
  • There is an escape room available on Independence, Mariner, and Navigator of the Seas
  • Freedom Class ships are longer than Voyager Class ships, giving more space for a Splashaway Bay area for kids on the pool deck and more venues and stores inside the ship
  • Freedom of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas offer the revamped Adventure Ocean kids programming, which offers kids more flexibility in activities rather than a rigid activity schedule

Should I pick Allure of the Seas?

Allure of the Seas stands apart from the other cruise ships offering weekend sailings in that she is an Oasis Class ship. The Oasis Class ships are the largest in Royal Caribbean’s fleet and are famous for their Central Park neighborhood, open-air Boardwalk, countless dining venues, and unique onboard activities and entertainment.

A 3-night cruise on Allure of the Seas will almost certainly be the type of sailing where the ship is considered the destination. Whether dining outdoors in Central Park, watching impressive acrobatics and diving in the AquaTheater, or zip lining over the Boardwalk, it’s unlikely a weekend will be enough time to explore the entire ship!

One important distinction to note before booking a weekend cruise on Allure of the Seas is that she has a few differences compared to other Oasis Class cruise ships. While she was scheduled to be amplified in 2020, her amplification has been postponed. Therefore she does not have many features you will find on other ships offering weekend cruises, including water slides, an upgraded pool deck, and new restaurants and bars.

How much does a weekend cruise cost?

Weekend cruises offer a great value for a short getaway, as food, lodging, entertainment, and onboard activities are included in your cruise fare. When comparing the price of a hotel, dining at restaurants, and purchasing tickets to entertainment on land, a cruise tends to come at a much lower cost.

In general, a weekend cruise in the cheapest stateroom category (interior) will cost between $700 and $1000 total for 2 adults. The cost of a balcony stateroom will be slightly higher, usually falling somewhere between $1000 and $1450.

Weekend cruises can differ in price depending on the following factors:

  • How far in advance you book the cruise
  • What time of year you plan to cruise
  • Which stateroom you select
  • Whether you purchase cruise addons or shore excursions

Generally speaking, the further in advance you book a cruise, the cheaper your price will be. Booking a year in advance can usually net a better price than waiting until just a few weeks or months until the cruise.

This is not always the case, however, as there may sometimes be last-minute weekend cruise deals available. Last-minute deals should not be relied upon, though, and the last thing you want to happen is have a weekend cruise sell out before you can book it!

The time of year you sail can be one of the biggest factors in determining how much a weekend cruise will cost. Summer months and holidays can bring the highest prices due to demand, whereas the months of January, February, September (excluding Labor Day weekend), October, and November (excluding Thanksgiving) tend to be cheaper.

The category of stateroom you select can also make a big difference on the overall cost of a weekend cruise. Interior staterooms will almost always be the cheapest stateroom category available.

Interior rooms can actually make a fantastic stateroom choice for a weekend cruise. Not only will you save money, but with such a short cruise, it’s unlikely you will be spending much time at all in your stateroom anyway. There is so much to do onboard a Royal Caribbean weekend cruise that you might only be in your room to shower and sleep!

Cost of cruise addons and excursions

One of the biggest benefits to booking a weekend cruise is that booking a dining or beverage package comes with less of a “sticker shock” than on a longer sailing.

If a beverage package is priced at $75/day on a 7-night cruise, your total cost will be over $500 plus gratuities! If that same price is offered on a 3-night cruise, you’ll only be shelling out around $225 plus gratuities.

This can make purchasing a beverage package much more enticing. Plus, it’s unlikely you will get bored or tired of drinking on a short cruise. It’s common for many passengers to order fewer drinks as the days go on during a longer cruise, thus not getting the full value of their drink package. 3-nights is a more reasonable amount of time to enjoy unlimited tropical cocktails, beer, wine, coffee drinks, and fresh juices without feeling like you’ve been drinking too much!

Another great thing about the majority of Royal Caribbean’s weekend cruises is that they include a stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay. It’s extremely easy to spend an entire day at CocoCay without spending anything extra, as food, beaches, pools, hammocks, and more are included in your cruise fare. Drink packages work on the island, too, meaning you won’t have to budget anything extra for drinks.

For more information on what to do and what’s included at Perfect Day at CocoCay, check out our full tour on the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube channel:

Is a weekend cruise worth it? The pros and cons of a 3-night cruise

Pro: Relaxing getaway

A weekend cruise can offer a much-needed getaway for many passengers. Being able to leave any stress at home and visit multiple tropical destinations in a short amount of time is simply a wonderful way to spend a weekend.

Cruises tend to be much more relaxing than other weekend getaways as well. There’s no need to worry about constantly driving from place to place, paying high prices for food at every meal, and finding activities that are fun for both kids and adults. A cruise offers everything you need in one package.

Plus, many of the same benefits that you will receive from a longer cruise (excitement of going somewhere new, feeling pampered, etc.) you will also receive on a short sailing.

Pro: Less vacation time needed

A great benefit of a weekend cruise is that far less vacation time is needed compared to a 7-night cruise, especially if you live close to the departure port. By departing on Friday afternoon and returning Monday morning, it’s possible to take just one or two days off of work.

If you have few vacation hours or you’re saving them for a longer trip, a 3-night cruise offers the chance to have a mini-vacation without sacrificing your precious PTO time.

Pro: Ability to splurge

A shorter cruise can be a great time to splurge on things like drink packages, shore excursions, and specialty dining. Knowing you don’t have to budget for a full week’s vacation might make you more willing to pay for a few extras to enhance the cruise experience.

Spending $100 for a shore excursion in Nassau may not seem as bad when you don’t have 3 or 4 other ports to visit. Likewise, booking a specialty dinner at Chops, Izumi Hibachi, or Jamie’s Italian can be a nice way to “splurge” while still having a fantastic weekend getaway.

Con: higher cost per day

A major drawback to a weekend cruise is that the cost per day of a 3-night cruise is often more expensive than the cost per day of a longer cruise. To put this into perspective, I checked the prices of two cruises: a 3-night cruise on Freedom of the Seas and a 7-night cruise on Harmony of the Seas. Both sailings take place in September, just after the summer cruise season is over.

On the 3-night sailing on Freedom of the Seas, the cruise fare for 2 adults in a balcony stateroom is $1068. This makes the cost per day $356 per room, or $178 per person.

On the 7-night sailing on Harmony of the Seas, the cruise fare for 2 adults in a balcony stateroom is $1,960 total. This makes the cost per day $280 per room, or $140 per person.

While the cost per day ($178 versus $140) may not seem too drastic, it becomes much different once the cost of airfare and a pre-cruise hotel stay are added to the total cruise cost.

Let’s say you pay $300 roundtrip (per person) in airfare and $250 for a hotel the night before your cruise. This adds $850 to your total cruise cost.

The 3-night cruise now costs $1918, making the cost per day around $639 per room, or $319 per person. The 7-night cruise, on the other hand, now costs $2,810, making the cost per day $401 per room, or around $200 per person.

Con: It’s over before you know it

Booking a 3-night cruise sounds like a perfect idea… until it’s over! Weekend cruises go by very quickly, and they seem to be over just as you are getting acquainted with the ship and settling into “vacation mode”.

While a short cruise is still better than no cruise at all, you’ll likely wish you had at least one or two more days onboard.

Read more: Is it worth it to book a 3-night cruise?

Con: Limited ships offer weekend cruises

Most weekend cruises are on Voyager and Freedom Class cruise ships. While these are amazing ships full of new activities and amenities, you won’t often have the chance to sail on Royal Caribbean’s newest ships when cruising on the weekend.

While this problem will be slightly improved once Allure of the Seas begins offering weekend cruises, it’s unlikely that Royal Caribbean will offer regularly scheduled 3-night cruises on new ships like Wonder of the Seas or Odyssey of the Seas.

Pro and Con: Party atmosphere

Weekend cruises tend to come with a bigger party atmosphere when compared to longer sailings. Bachelor parties, wedding guests, and friend groups are common on shorter cruises… and they come onboard to party!

Whether this is a pro or con ultimately depends on your preferences. It does lead to an extremely lively atmosphere onboard, but if you’re looking for a quiet sailing, a weekend cruise may not be the best choice for you.

Have you ever been on a weekend cruise? What tips and tricks do you have for others planning 3-night Royal Caribbean cruises? Let us know in the comments!

How to beat the chair hogs on your cruise ship

In:
19 May 2022

If there's one thing that annoys everyone on a cruise ship, it's the people that reserve pool chairs for the entire day.

Commonly referred to as "chair hogs", it's an unfortunate occurrence on cruise ships (and to be fair, many hotels and resorts as well). Basically, some people will leave their belongings on one or more loungers near the pool, and then disappear for hours before every using them.

Technically there should be pool attendants that look for the issue and remove the belongings, but in practice it rarely occurs.

All is not lost if you want to get a chair by the pool on your Royal Caribbean cruise. While we could complain about the issue occurring in the first place, I think the more practical solution is give you a way to beat the problem.

Brilliance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Speaking of the problem, it behooves me to point out that if the chair hog issue bothers you as much as it bothers me, don't be a part of the problem either. Utilize the strategies in this post and then relinquish your chair when you're not using it as a way to set a better example.

Read more8 things some cruisers do that annoy everyone else

Here are six easy ways to get a spot by the pool, despite the chair hogs you may encounter.

Get up early

Royal Caribbean to add lifeguards to its cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

While chair hogs are a problem, they don't get all the pool chairs right away.  In my experience, if you get yourself up to the pool in the morning, you can usually get a chair.

How early? Before 10am is usually a good rule of thumb to be able to get a chair. Shorter weekend cruises tend to attract more people to the pool, but you definitely want to get an early breakfast and then stake out your claim by the pool.

While sleeping in is a wonderful feeling, it will put you behind the eight ball in terms of getting a seat if you roll up to the pool deck later in the morning.

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Michael's Day 4 - Falmouth | Royal Caribbean Blog

If getting up early is not going to happen (I'm looking at you Billy from CruiseHabit.com), then your next best option is to wait the chair hogs out.

As the afternoon progresses, people start to slowly leave the pool in order to prepare for dinner or their evening plans.  By 4pm, many chairs start to open up.

If your plan is to spend all day at the pool, then get up early for a chair. But if you just want a couple hours, you might see if you can sneak them in closer to dinner.

Rent a casita

Odyssey of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Some people prefer to throw money at the problem, and Royal Caribbean offers casita rentals.

Available on a few cruise ships, these casitas come with a flat fee for use during the day.

Casitas are available on the pool decks of:

The price will likely vary, but we've seen prices of $199 for the day on a sea day and $149 on a port day.

Wonder of the Seas Guide, itinerary, features, and more | Royal Caribbean Blog

Not only do you get two chairs to use, but the rental also includes towels, a cooler, storage for your belongings and a charging outlet.

You will also get two complimentary Welcome Drinks and four chilled waters with your reservation.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean charging to reserve pool deck casitas on Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

I'm sure there are some people not in love with the idea of spending money for pool chairs, but it is a sure-fire way to guarantee a spot for you on the pool deck.

Keep in mind the casitas on some ships are located on the upper pool deck, which means it is not on the same deck as the actual pool. You'll have to just walk down the stairs to the actual pool.

Hit the pool on port days

If waking up early and spending extra doesn't jive with you, then your next best bet is to hit the pool deck when your ship is docked in port.

On port days, many guests disembark the ship for their shore excursion and that means there is far less demand for the pool.

Port days will find the pool far less busy than on sea days, and that can be the perfect time to hit up the pool, as well as water slides or the FlowRider.

Royal Caribbean Blog - Unofficial blog about Royal Caribbean cruises

The downside to going to the pool on a port day is you are forgoing whatever activities you might be interested in while in port.  A good compromise is to do a tour in the morning, and then go to the pool after your excursion is complete.

Even after lunch, the pool deck usually doesn't get too busy on a port day.

Get a chair away from the pool

Empty Pool chairs

Let's say it's 1pm, you want to be outside and lay out in the sun on a sea day and renting a casita isn't in the cards. Now what?

There are usually lots of lounge chairs elsewhere on the pool decks, especially if you venture away from the pool.

Often there are unused chairs and loungers if you walk all the way forward or aft. I've found these chairs both in the sun and in the shade, depending on the location.

You won't be able to see the pool fun, but for many guests, it's just about being able to lay out and read a book, catch a nap, or enjoy the sun.

Look for a chair near the kid's pool

Royal Caribbean Blog - Unofficial blog about Royal Caribbean cruises

In my experience, chair hog's kryptonite is being near the kids area.

On ships that have Splashaway Bay or the H2O Zone, I've generally found more chairs available near these spots than the main pool.

Put on your noise cancelling headphones and enjoy the lounge chair you wanted, without nearly as much competition.

Book a suite

10 things to know about Sky Class suites on Royal Caribbean | Royal Caribbean Blog

On most ships, there is reserved seating for suite guests somewhere on the pool deck.

This reserved area usually has enough loungers throughout the day. Whether it's worth it to book a suite on Royal Caribbean or not, one consideration may be how much you may take advantage of the pool deck.

Odyssey Suite Sun Deck - Royal Caribbean Discussion - Royal Caribbean Blog

Keep in mind the suite sun deck is for guests in a Grand Suite or higher, so Junior Suites don't count.

If your idea of a great cruise is spending all day by the pool, booking a suite might be a good investment.

3 important cruise tips all those cancelled flights reminded us of this weekend

In:
04 Apr 2022

There are a handful of cruise tips that are so important, I feel everyone should follow them, and anyone who went on a cruise this weekend was likely reminded of how critical they are.

Odyssey of the Seas

Thanks to severe weather, technical issues, and air traffic control problems, it was a messy weekend for flying to Florida. 

Over 3,500 flights were cancelled this past weekend, including a lot on Sunday on JetBlue and Southwest.  JetBlue cancelled 25% of its schedule on Sunday, and 15% cancelled on Saturday. Southwest cancelled more than 500 flights on Saturday and almost 400 on Sunday due to the bad weather. Flights on American Airlines, Spirit, and Allegiant Airlines all saw their fair share of cancellations as well.

Regardless of your airline, Orlando and Miami International airports were the top two airports in the world by origin and destination to see flights cancelled and delayed on Sunday.

In light of all the recent delays and cancellations, this is a good opportunity to remind everyone of three core planning tips for your cruise that everyone should consider.

Don't fly to your cruise the same day it departs

In short, flying to your cruise ship the same day the ship embarks passengers is playing with fire.

You've spent a lot of time and money planning your perfect cruise vacation, so why let a cancelled flight or delay possibly jeopardize your plans?

Flying in the same day of your cruise leaves very few options if something like what happened this past weekend were to occur. Remember, this happened in early April, which is not even hurricane season.

Fort Lauderdale hotel aerial

The smart move is to fly in at least one day before your cruise is set to depart, and this includes anyone driving to their cruise ship.  

Coming in at least one day early gives you a buffer against any flight delays or cancellations impacting your ability to get onboard the ship.

Yes, this means paying for a hotel, but peace of mind is worth something, and losing money on your vacation because you didn't want to spend a little extra for a night at the Holiday Inn Express seems like a worthwhile expense.

As a nice side effect, coming into your city early also starts your vacation a little sooner!

Buy travel insurance

Travel insurance

The truth about any type of insurance is it's likely money spent for something you won't need, but if you do need it, it feels great having it.

Travel insurance covers a lot of costs if you were to find yourself in a scenario where your travel plans prohibited you from making the cruise.

As we move away from the Cruise with Confidence program and the ability to cancel at the very last minute, having a good travel insurance policy makes a lot of sense once again.

If your flight gets delayed or cancelled and you are unable to make the cruise, travel insurance pays you back for the cruise you missed, along with incidental costs along the way.

Depending on your age, residency, and exact plan you pick, the costs will vary, but figure on spending around $100-170 per person for travel insurance.

Ask your travel agent for suggestions, but here are a few popular travel insurance providers:

  • Allianz Global Assistance
  • AIG Travel Guard
  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection
  • TravelSafe Insurance

There are also a few travel insurance comparison websites out there, such as Insure My Trip or SquareMouth.

Use a good travel agent

There is no more frustrating endeavor right now than trying to call Royal Caribbean due to their extremely long hold times.

If a delay means your cruise plans are in trouble, the last thing you want to do is spend an hour or more on hold waiting for someone at Royal Caribbean to answer.  While I love cruising with Royal Caribbean, their phone centers have been inundated with calls recently, and that's lead to very long hold times.

The way around this problem is to book your cruise with a good travel agent.

Anyone can book a cruise, but a good travel agent is worth using every time for everything that occurs after booking.  

And no, a good travel agent should not cost you anything extra to use their services for booking and managing your cruise fare reservation.

In a situation where you are not going to make the cruise, or find yourself stuck in a connecting airport, a good travel agent can be a lifesaver in getting you answers and resolutions.  

While a good travel agent can't magically make your flight on time, they can save your sanity as you explore other options.

Read moreTop 5 things to look for in a good travel agent for your cruise vacation

10 tips that worked out for our RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com staffers in 2021

In:
21 Jan 2022

Here at RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com, we love to cruise, just like you. We book as many sailings as our work and spouses will tolerate, and are always on the hunt for the next tip that makes our sailing easier.

Getting back on a ship this past year has come with its own challenges, but thanks to a lot of trial and error, we find something that just works.

I asked our writers and moderators for which cruise tips they used in 2021 that really helped them out.  I wanted to know which cruise tips they found really helpful in their own experience.

1. Book shows as soon as you board

Mariner of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

One unexpected change since cruises returned is Royal Caribbean has not brought back the ability to pre-book entertainment via the Cruise Planner site.

As a result, writer Marcy Miyar was adamant it's important to book all of your shows as soon as you board, "The vaccinated ice shows seem to fill up especially quick so I like to get that done right away."

Top 25 free things you can do on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

You can easily do this by connecting to Royal Caribbean's wifi network once onboard the ship and pulling up the Royal Caribbean app.

Don't worry, you don't need an internet plan to use the app. Once you connect, you can click the option to just use the app, and it will allow you to book the shows.

Read moreA Royal Caribbean to-do list after you board a cruise ship

2. Use a good travel agent

Oasis of the Seas Live Blog Day 3 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Staying on top of all the policy changes, cancellations, and new options is no easy task. Working with a good travel agent is an easy way to make it all simpler.

Chantal McPhee is one of our writers from Canada.  While she was not able to sail yet, she found a travel agent invaluable, "I did not get to cruise in 2021 as I switched my Christmas cruise to May 2022."

"Having a good travel agent really pays off as she handled cancelling flights and hotels as well as dealing with Royal Caribbean. Saved me tons of time."

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Writer Allie Hubers also found tremendous value in using a good travel agent, "The last year, I have really grown to appreciate having a travel agent. It's a great resource that doesn't cost you (as a cruiser) anything additional."

Read moreTop things you didn't know travel agents can do for your cruise vacation

3. Specialty restaurants for lunch

Everything I ate on Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Marcy also shared a way to enjoy embarkation day more by slowing down with lunch.

"My favorite tip that I use on every cruise is to do a specialty restaurant for lunch on embarkation day."

"The crowds on embarkation day stress me out so to avoid the mayhem in the Windjammer, we always head straight to Playmakers when we board and have a nice, relaxing lunch to ease in to vacation mode."

4. Rumors and reality

Video: Top 12 cruise terms you should know | Royal Caribbean Blog

Chantal also shared there is a lot of speculation these days, so don't assume everything you read is necessarily true.

"Keep up with what's going on with cruising and protocols from trusted sources and not just internet gossip. It put things in perspective."

5. Learn about your cruise before you sail

Independence of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Writer Haley Mills thinks it's super important to research the ship before you sail so you know what to expect.

"Watch YouTube videos, TikTok, read blogs. It really helps to know the lay of the land before embarkation so I don't feel so overwhelmed."

Royal Caribbean announces Harmony of the Seas details | Royal Caribbean Blog

Haley also writes up a plan so she doesn't forget anything once she gets onboard, "I usually make an embarkation to do list, so we can get those little but necessary items out of the way.

"For example, scheduling specialty restaurants or any shows we want to see."

Listen: Podcast episode 256 - How to learn everything about your ship before you sail

6. Re-price often

What I wish I did differently on my first cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

There are great deals on cruises out there, and one of the best ways to ensure you have the best price is to re-price.

Video editor and writer Jenna DeLaurentis loves the enhanced Best Price Guarantee, which allows re-pricing of cruises up to 48 hours before the cruise departs, "My travel agent repriced my cruise on Mariner of the Seas several times before I set sail."

"By the time I boarded the ship, I had over $400 of onboard credit that I used to purchase specialty dining, drinks, and souvenirs throughout the cruise."

A look at Royal Caribbean's Grand Suites | Royal Caribbean Blog

Message board moderator Lovetocruise2002 added it's a good idea to not only track prices, but look for upgrade opportunities, "Keep checking the site if you are looking to upgrade especially with all the cancellations lately."

7. Get travel insurance

With the unknowns and last-minute changes, Allie thinks getting travel insurance is a must-do.

"Travel insurance is very important during the pandemic, although Royal really seems to have great policies in place that other cruise lines don't have."

8. Be generous to the crew members

If you've been on a cruise in 2021 or 2022, then you know how much harder the crew members have been working to make your vacation fun.

Between the added demand of filling in for fellow crew that have contracted Covid-19, and trying to make up for lost wages during the shutdown, it's clear the crew are doing everything they can to deliver on the promise of a great experience for guests while balancing their own sanity.

Jenna advocates taking care of the crew too, "Being generous about tipping the crew is a good one too maybe since there is limited capacity so they have less guests tipping onboard."

Read more8 cruise ship tips from a former employee

9. Be flexible

Don't expect Royal Caribbean to extend flexible cancellation terms again | Royal Caribbean Blog

A mantra of travel during the pandemic has been to go with a certain amount of flexibility and understanding given the realities of travel right now.

Allie said to go into a cruise vacation with the right mindset, "Be prepared for flexibility. I never dreamed of traveling to Alaska but the opportunity presented itself and we just wanted to cruise. Policies and itineraries change - you can't expect to board a cruise and it will be the same experience that you had pre-pandemic."

To that point, having contingency plans is not a bad idea either, according to Allie, "I think it's important to know your rights and have a plan in place when there's a change in travel plans, such as cancellations, testing positive onboard or beforehand, changing itineraries, refund vs FCC, etc."

Read moreWhy you need to be flexible if you want to go on a cruise right now

10. Do online check-in as early as possible

Royal Caribbean looking at major expansion in Miami | Royal Caribbean Blog

Want to get your vacation started as soon as possible? Then get a check-in time as soon as you can.

Jenna shared she always tries to check in for her cruise as early as possible to get an early boarding time.

Read more22 Do's and Don'ts for your Royal Caribbean cruise in 2022

22 Do's and Don'ts for your Royal Caribbean cruise in 2022

In:
10 Jan 2022

Going on a cruise in 2022 is not like going on a cruise before the global health crisis, so planning for one needs to be different as well.

The good news is that cruise ships are sailing, and there are a few important things you can do during this time to prepare for a 2022 cruise in spring, summer, winter or fall.

I wanted to share with you tips for being prepared, rather than tips for onboard the ship. Check out our awesome cruise tips & tricks if you want to know a few ways to enhance your cruise experience onboard.

Here are 22 tips you will need for planning any cruise vacation this year.

1. Never assume your plans are written in stone

If there's been one constant with cruises since they restarted, it is that no plans are ever a sure bet.

More than likely, a cruise you have booked in 2022 will probably happen, but itinerary changes are quite possible, and even a cancellation cannot be ruled out.

Where your cruise to is important, and I think most people focus on the ports of call, but when considering which ship to sail on, you might place a greater value on a ship that has the features, staterooms, and dining options that appeal to you most.

Statistically, there's a good chance your cruise will happen and the ports you have scheduled will occur. Remember, the media isn't reporting on all the ships that successfully stopped at each port, so it's easy to lose sight of the fact most ships and visits are occurring as scheduled.

2. Keep an eye on your final payment date

Royal Caribbean has been pushing back final payment dates for upcoming sailings, so don't assume your final payment date is a lock.

Certainly your travel agent should keep you informed if something changes, but so far Royal Caribbean has pushed back the final payment date to 30 days before sailing for cruises through May 2022.

That isn't to say you shouldn't make final payment date earlier than that, but if you're on the fence about going, you may have more time to decide.

3. Keep an eye on the other cruise lines

Carnival cancels June 2021 cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

The cruise industry is a tight-knit group, so it makes sense to see what Royal Caribbean's competitors are doing (and not doing) these days.

Whether it's extending or changing policies, or even cancelling cruises, there's value in looking at the entire industry for trends.

Personally, I put a higher weight on what Norwegian Cruise Line or Carnival Cruise Line does because they are closer to Royal Caribbean in their approach.

4. Always book refundable cruise fare

There is nothing wrong with booking a cruise for 2022 or 2023, but be sure to book refundable cruise fare.

It has never been so important to have flexible cancellation terms, so skip non-refundable cruise fare and go for refundable.

5. Get travel insurance

Travel Insurance 101 - Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

If it does look like your cruise might happen, now might be the best time to invest in a travel insurance plan.

Travel insurance is a smart investment for many people because it covers you when you go on your vacation and some calamity were to happen, but travel insurance is not a catch-all for vacation plan changes prior to the start of vacation.

Travel insurance is not all the same, so read the policy to be clear on what it covers. Make sure it covers cruise ships.

6. Download the Royal Caribbean App

Royal Caribbean app walkthrough and tips | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean's app went from "nice to have" in 2019 to "must-have" in 2022.

Even if you don't plan to use the app much while onboard, the app is incredibly easy and helpful for the check-in procedure.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean app walkthrough and tips

7. Check when online check-in will open

Royal Caribbean makes it easier to update cruise check-in information | Royal Caribbean Blog

If it's too early to check-in for your cruise, Royal Caribbean's app will let you know on which date it will become available.

In the app, it will list a date that check-in will open.  Make a reminder or calendar appointment so you can be among the first to get a check-in time.

And yes, you can still check in if you haven't paid in full yet.

8. Watch the Cruise with Confidence program

Royal Caribbean extends Cruise with Confidence program by one month | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean offers generous cancellation terms with its Cruise with Confidence program, but keep an eye on if/when it is set to expire or gets extended.

Cruise with Confidence is the option that allows you to cancel your cruise up to 48 hours before the sailing with no penalty.

Royal Caribbean has demonstrated thus far that as long as Covid remains a worldwide threat, they will keep Cruise with Confidence running.

Moreover, you should be well aware of Royal Caribbean's refund and cancellation policy.  If you change your mind, do you want cash back? Or is a credit okay with you.

9. Use a travel agent

Royal Caribbean Group promises $40 million interest free loans to support travel agents | Royal Caribbean Blog

It's still surprising to me how many people are hesitant to use a travel agent after all the cancellations and changes over the last two years, but I think not using a travel agent is doing yourself a great disservice.

Travel agents have been so incredibly helpful and with the changing policies and cruise cancellations, they are absolutely essential now. Get over the fact you cannot change the reservation yourself and use a good travel agent to save time and perhaps even money.

10. Don't be afraid to ask your travel agent for help

Richard Fain | Royal Caribbean Blog

In addition to using a travel agent to book a cruise, they are there to assist with other questions too.

No one has all the answers, but travel agents get looped in by Royal Caribbean with what is happening right now, and have a good view of the changing landscape of cruises.

If you end up punting on the cruise, travel agents can also book you at resorts around the world.

Read more10 mistakes travel agents see people make going on a cruise ship

11. Expect a better muster drill experience

What to expect with Royal Caribbean's new virtual safety drill | Royal Caribbean Blog

If there's one good thing to come out of the last two years, it's the simplified safety drill.

Royal Caribbean's new emuster allows travelers to review the information at their own time prior to setting sail, eliminating the need for the traditional large group assemblies. 

After reviewing safety information individually, guests complete the drill by visiting their assigned assembly station, where a crew member will verify that all steps have been completed and answer questions. Each of the steps will need to be completed prior to the ship’s departure, as required by international maritime law.

12. Don't rule out more cancelled cruises

World's largest cruise ship restarts sailings today | Royal Caribbean Blog

I thought we were past cruise cancellations, but Royal Caribbean had to cancel several cruises in 2022, so we're not quite out of the woods when it comes to that possibility.

Unlike in 2020, it looks like there will not be an industry shutdown.  Instead, strategic cancellations that coincide with health concerns on certain ships.

13. Look for good deals

Oasis of the Seas cruise preview - Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

Another silver lining to the current situation with higher case counts is that softer demand for cruises may mean an opportunity to get a better price for later this year, or even in 2023.

When there have been surges or waves in the past, prices for cruises tend to drop due to cancellations.

Photos: Oasis of the Seas departs New York Harbor for first time | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you want to roll the dice on booking something for later this year when theoretically the current wave is over, it might not be a bad way to snag a really good price.

Between booking a refundable fare and Royal Caribbean's flexible cancellation terms, you can always change your mind later if that new booking ends up not being a good idea.

14. Don't wait to renew your passport

9 Questions you should always ask on a Royal Caribbean cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

Passport renewals have been an up and down game of crazy long processing times, followed by improvement, and then back again.

If your passport is coming up for renewal anytime soon, you should get a head start on getting it renewed in anticipation of delays due to the current health crisis.

15. Expect (last minute) policy changes

CDC wants cruise lines to reconsider mask policies on cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

Another constant since Royal Caribbean restarted cruises in 2021 has been changes to its onboard protocols, and they can change at any point.

Something that has caught a lot of cruisers off-guard has been changes at the last minute to protocols.

Don't look at policy changes as inherently bad. Rather, if you are ready for them, it makes the impact far less stressful.

16. Stay aware of travel restrictions

How to get a health visa for your summer 2021 Royal Caribbean cruises | Royal Caribbean Blog

Stay on top of your state/province/country travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, especially for returning home after a trip.

Keep in mind when you see news about new testing requirements for a country your ship will visit, than often times those policies apply to tourists arriving via airplanes. Cruise ship travel is usually handled under different requirements.

17. Plan on spending more time relaxing than before

Everything about Royal Caribbean's Solarium | Royal Caribbean Blog

Just like all sectors of industry right now, Omicron is causing short-staffing situations on ships.

With less crew members available, there's the real possibility there will be less organized activities to do, especially the performance entertainment.

Mariner of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

It's a good idea to plan on spending more time at the pool, or on your balcony enjoying being on the water, rather than jumping from activity to activity.

Read moreMy best advice for going on a cruise ship in early 2022 during Omicron

18. Don't count on your kids going to Adventure Ocean every night

Top 14 best free things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

Pre-2020, I would drop my kids off at Adventure Ocean every evening, but the limited capacity there means it's not always possible.

Depending on how many passengers are on your ship, getting your kids in every evening may not be possible.

Rhapsody of the Seas Live Blog Day 1 - Embarkation Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

When you sign up the kids on the first day, ask about how many reservations you can make in advance. Then, ask when you pick up your kids if there's a way to make reservations for another night.

Packing some things for your kids to do while in the cabin is also a good idea. Coloring books, toys, mad libs, tablets, video games and more might be a way to save both of your sanities later.

19. Buy the at-home tests

Top 20 things to do before going on a cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

Assuming you don't have any unvaccinated kids, the at-home Covid-19 tests are the way to go for your pre-cruise test.

Another effect of the Omicron surge has been getting a test appointment at a pharmacy or other venue has become nearly impossible.  Buying the at-home tests is not only easier than getting an appointment elsewhere, it's also faster and simpler.

If you need to get your kids tested (unvaccinated cannot use the at-home tests), I would try to book an appointment as soon as possible.

For international travelers, there are testing facilities at the airport (book an appointment online).

Urgent care locations are also a good backup option, since they don't take advanced reservations and are walk-up. In Florida, lines for these have been extremely long, but you may get lucky.

Read moreI tried the at-home Covid-19 test that Royal Caribbean accepts

20. Don't take cruise rumors on social media as gospel

Social media is a great way to share information, but it can also be a source of bad information.

If you read a post on Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit that tells of a change or experience that is a surprise to you, don't always assume they're correct.

I've seen plenty of misinformed posts, even if they heard it from a crew member. Rumors spread faster than facts, so it may be a good idea to cross-check what you read with others on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards.

21. Book refundable airfare, hotels and excursions

Royal Caribbean announces new airfare reservation program called Air2Sea | Royal Caribbean Blog

Just like it's important to book refundable cruise fare so you can change your mind, it's equally important to have other aspects of your trip easily refundable.

Hotels are the easiest, since most rates are refundable up to a day or two before you arrive. Avoid the temptation to book non-refundable hotel fare in order to save a few dollars.

When it comes to airfare, look at the refund policies. Paying more for a refundable fare so you can change your mind later might be worth the higher cost.  Likewise, you might consider booking airfare through Royal Caribbean's Air2 Sea program to provide more flexible terms.

Most shore excursions, whether booked through Royal Caribbean or not, provide a refund if your ship is unable to visit.  Be sure to double check that policy before you book.

22. Be flexible

There are bound to be more changes coming in 2022, so it's important to be flexible with your plans.

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