Secrets, Tips and Tricks

Video: How to get free drinks on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
13Aug2019

Did you know Royal Caribbean regularly gives out free alcoholic beverages on their cruise? We have the top seven ways to score a free drink in our brand new video!

We are all trying to save a little bit of money and keep that bar bill down, so this week Matt shares seven tried-and-true methods of getting an alcoholic beverage on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Did you love this video? We have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What is your favorite way to get a free drink on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

Video: Royal Caribbean food secrets — Discounts, tips and more!

In:
25Jul2019

We love a little intrigue as much as the next person, but nothing beats finding out about a secret, right? Today, we are talking about dining on Royal Caribbean in our latest RoyalCaribbeanBlog video.

For instance, did you know you on Oasis Class ships you can enjoy breakfast at Johnny Rockets without any additional cost?

We also have ways to avoid lines at the Windjammer buffet stations, getting a discount on a specialty restaurant, where your drink packages work and a lot more.  Check out this video for our tips and tricks!

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What are your favorite Royal Caribbean dining secrets? Share them with us in the comments below!

Top 10 Perfect Day at CocoCay secrets and tricks

In:
23May2019

Royal Caribbean's private island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, has caught a lot of cruisers' attention with all of the great activities and things to do.

If you are planning your own visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay, then here are our top ten tips and tricks for visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay.

1. Your drink package works at Perfect Day at CocoCay

If you purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package for your cruise, you can use the drink package benefits while at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

This means if you have the Deluxe Beverage Package, you can enjoy unlimited alcoholic beverages, along with bottled water, sodas and more. Likewise, the Royal Refreshment and Soda Package benefits extend to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Just like on the ship, souvenir cups or drinks served in pineapples/coconuts are not included with your drink package benefits.  If you have the Deluxe Beverage Package, you can get a discount on the souvenir cup.  Or you can ask for the drink in a regular cup to pay no additional charge.

2. Your Voom package works at Perfect Day at CocoCay

If you have a Voom internet package, you will have internet connectivity at Perfect Day at CocoCay.  

WiFi coverage extends across the island, which means you can stay connected and share photos or videos with friends back home.  Heck, you can even post updates on our message boards!

3. Best times for shortest water slide lines

Thrill Waterpark is home to Perfect Day at CocoCay's incredible water slides, and as you might imagine, a lot of cruisers are going to want to try them all.  While lines for the slides are usually quite manageable, here are the best times to try the slides to have a minimal wait:

  • Before 11am
  • After 3pm

4. Secret menu item at Snack Shack

Snack Shack serves up some great food, but they also have a menu item that is not listed on the printed menu. If you ask nicely, you can get a chicken parmigiana sandwich that is essentially a cross between the crispy chicken sandwich, mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce.

5. Buy Thrill waterpark admission before the cruise to save money

If you want to go to Thrill Waterpark, you will absolutely spend less money if you pre-purchase it before your cruise.

Royal Caribbean sells its waterpark passes via the Cruise Planner site and regularly puts the tickets on sale.  If you want to save money (that is everyone), buy your tickets before you board the ship.

6. There is lots to do that costs nothing extra

There is a lot of attention for the activities on Perfect Day at CocoCay that costs extra, but there is a lot of fun things to do that costs absolutely nothing extra.

First and foremost, you can walk around Perfect Day at CocoCay without paying extra.  Just like any port of call, you can walk off the ship and explore on your own.

Here is a list of things that is included with your cruise fare when you visit Perfect Day at CocoCay:

  • Splashaway Bay
  • Captain Jill's Galleon
  • Skipper's Grill
  • Chill Grill
  • Snack Shack
  • Oasis Lagoon pool (Beach  chairs, umbrellas and towels)
  • Chill Island (Beach  chairs, umbrellas and towels)
  • South Beach (Beach  chairs, umbrellas and towels)
  • Sports Courts
  • Fitness Classes
  • Freshwater showers
  • Tram service
  • Beach access wheelchairs

7. Free tram service around the island

Keep an eye out for the complimentary trams that are found around Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Beginning when you walk down the pier, you will find tram service to take you down the pier to save some steps (you will have plenty at Thrill Waterpark).

Once on the island, there is complimentary tram service that can take you all corners of Perfect Day at CocoCay. 

As a bonus, many of the trams are solar powered!

8. If you want a quiet spot, go to Chill Island

If your idea of a fun day is quiet time getting away from it all, head to Chill Island.  Chill Island is accessible via the green pathway that is towards the left side when you walk onto Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Once at Chill Island, keep to the left side of the area for pristine ocean views that has no music or the sounds of people at the pool or water park.  Instead, you will find only the sound of the ocean waves.

9. DIY Ice cream sandwiches

You will find self-serve soft serve ice cream machines at Perfect Day, along with chocolate chip cookies.  See where I am going with this?

Grab two cookies, dispense ice cream between the two and combine for an awesome dessert.

10. Keep an eye out for chickens, iguanas and birds

This is a fun tidbit, but Perfect Day at CocoCay is home to more than just beautiful views.  If you walk enough of the island, it is not uncommon to see wild chickens roaming the grounds, along with iguanas that sometimes get close to the dining areas to see if any scraps of food rolled away.

Seagulls can also be found flying around, so be sure to keep an eye on your food.

Regardless of the animal, please do not feed any of them.

Did we miss any Perfect Day at CocoCay secrets? Share them in our comments!

Top 10 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas hidden secrets

In:
04Mar2019

Navigator of the Seas is a classic Royal Caribbean ship that offers as much for guests to see and do as it is a tremendous value.

In 2019, the cruise line invested $115 million in upgrades and, and we have compiled our list of the best secrets that can be overlooked on Navigator of the Seas.

1. Hidden room in Playmakers

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade is a great spot to enjoy pub food, drinks and even a sporting event on television, and if you and your crew are interested in a spot away from the rest of the crowd, check out the Owner’s Box VIP room.

Located to the far right of the bar area, the Owner’s Box VIP room is a first come, first served area that is perfect for friends to watch the game, enjoy drinks and feel like you have your own special spot of the bar.

2. You can visit the helipad

Whether you are looking for the perfect spot for sailaway, or just a great place to enjoy the view, Navigator of the Seas' helipad is the perfect location.

Located on the bow, guests can walk to the helicopter pad and enjoy the unobstructed views that you can only get from the helicopter pad. 

From the helicopter pad, guests can enjoy a near 360-degree view of what is surrounding Navigator of the Seas.

To access the helicopter pad, go outside on deck 5 and then walk forward, climb up a set of stairs and continue walking forward until you reach the helicopter pad.

3. Hidden door to the helipad

Speaking of the helipad, if you want to avoid the stairs that lead up to the front of the ship, there is a secret door that will get you right there.

Walk all the way forward on deck 5 and enter the Star Lounge.  In the daytime, it is usually empty.  Enter the lounge and take an immediate right, just past the DJ booth.

There's a set of unmarked doors that you can simply open up an you will be let out right next to the helipad.  

This is especially helpful if you have a stroller or are in a wheelchair and stairs are a problem.

4. Find the Stowaway Piano Player

One of the best not-so-well-known entertainment options that Royal Caribbean has recently added is the "stowaway" piano player.

The idea is there is a piano player with a far-out piano that will move around the ship and perform for guests but encouraging guests to not report him.  

The piano is no ordinary piano.  It has hidden compartments and functions and can dispense various things, such as lollipops for kids or appear to overheat because of "intense" piano playing.

This neat form of street theater will appear around the ship at different times during the cruise.

5. Balcony dividers can be removed

If you happen to have connecting balcony staterooms, most Voyager-class ships cannot have their balcony dividers removed.  However, on Navigator of the Seas that is not the case.

 If you're interested in opening up balcony dividers on Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas, the balconies are attached to the ships' hull and cannot be removed. But on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, the balcony dividers aren't attached and can be removed.

6. Enjoy the view from Cosmopolitan Club

It is really hard to beat the views of Navigator of the Seas' upper decks from the Cosmopolitan Club.

Located on deck 14 at the aft of the ship, the Cosmopolitan Club offers guests sweeping views of the upper decks and the ocean.  

To get to Cosmopolitan Club, you must use the aft elevators and go up to deck 14.

7. Try the blender bike

In front of the Lime and Coconut bar on deck 11 is a special blender bike, that allows guests to make mixed drinks with pedal power!

Ask the bar staff for your chance to sit on the blender bike and spin the pedals as fast as you can to mix a frozen concoction. It is fun and the reward comes when the drink is fully mixed!

8. Grab a casita

Throughout decks 11 and 12 are casitas along the pool deck that are available on a first come, first served basis.

These casitas have no additional cost, and are available for guests to enjoy at their leisure. They feature comfortable lounge chairs or day beds, and make for the perfect spot for your group to chill, nap or just relax between dips in the pool.

9. Ride the water slides on embarkation day

Perhaps no feature on Navigator of the Seas will be as popular on your sailing as the two water slides, the Blaster and Riptide.  If you want to beat the crowds, head to deck 13 aft as soon as you board.

The first day of the cruise is a busy day, and most guests do not have their bathing suits with them when they board. Bring your swimsuit in your carry on luggage (or wear it to the ship) and then head to the slides in the afternoon.

Most other guests onboard will not have their swim suits or even be aware the water slides are open.  It is the perfect time to get multiple rides in without little or no wait!  This is also a great strategy for the nearby FlowRider.

10. USB outlets at the bar

Did you know some of the popular bars on Navigator of the Seas offer convenient USB outlets for charging your devices while you hang out there?

We spotted USB outlets at the Lime & Coconut and Playmakers, which means all you have to do is remember to bring your charging cord and then plug in while you enjoy drinks, music or the company around you.  

Did we miss any Navigator of the Seas secrets? Share them in our comments!

Video: Royal Caribbean cruise money saving tips

In:
31Oct2018

Check out our Royal Caribbean Blog video, which is all about ways to save money on your Royal Caribbean cruise!

What's better than a Royal Caribbean cruise? A Royal Caribbean cruise with discounts! We are sharing some of our favorite ways to spend less and still enjoy a great cruise vacation.  From how to save on drinks and shore excursions, to who to book with to get the lowest price, we have quite a few strategies for keeping money in your pocket.

And if you love this video, there’s plenty more for you to enjoy over on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single episode!

5 Mariner of the Seas must-do tips

In:
17Oct2018

Mariner of the Seas has quickly become one of Royal Caribbean's most popular cruise ships, thanks to a $120 million refurbishment in 2018 that amped the ship up with new thrills, restaurants, staterooms and entertainment. 

There is a lot to love about this ship, and we are sharing out top must-do tips for going on a Mariner of the Seas cruise.

Don't miss the signature activities

A big component of the ship's refurbishment was to add new thrills and activities onboard the ship, and you have to make time to check them all out on your sailing.

We begin with the Sky Pad, a gravity-defying bungee trampoline experience amped up with virtual reality.  Royal Caribbean took the idea of a bungee trampoline, and infused it with a few different augmented reality options to offer guests a really fun experience.

The FlowRider surf simulator has become a staple of fun on many Royal Caribbean ships. and Mariner of the Seas now offers one as well. The 40-foot-long surf simulator allows guests to try their hand at surfing or boogie boarding.  Or you can take a seat in the bleachers and watch other guests give it a shot.

Families are sure to love the new Perfect Storm water slides on Mariner of the Seas. A thrilling pair of three-story-high racer water slides called Cyclone and Typhoon beckon to be ridden again and again and again.

Get a drink in the Bamboo Room

Lounges are not new to Royal Caribbean, but the cruise line hit a homerun with the Bamboo Room lounge.  It is the first in Royal Caribbean's fleet and offers a laidback Polynesian throwback vibe, featuring kitschy-cool craft cocktails like the Island Old Fashioned and Tiki Tea.

What makes the Bamboo Room so darn cool is the combination of decor, great menu, and fun times.  When you are looking for a spot to grab a few drinks, the Bamboo Room is a must-visit place.

Book a panoramic stateroom

If you are eyeing going on Mariner of the Seas, be sure to price out one of the newly added Panoramic staterooms. 

The Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom gives much more of a view than a traditional oceanview room, with a floor to ceiling wrap around panoramic window that is 76 inches high by 103-321 inches wide.  That is a big window.

As you might imagine, the reason to book a stateroom like this is for the amazing views without the balcony view price.  

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Royal Caribbean moved Mariner of the Seas back to the United States in 2018 to offer short 3- and 4-night sailings, and that means every cruise visits the cruise line's private destination of CocoCay.

Beginning May 2019, Mariner will sail to the new Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first destination in Royal Caribbean’s recently announced collection of private island experiences around the world. This means CocoCay will offer a new water park, pool, zipline, private enclaves, new dining opportunities and more.  Perfect Day at CocoCay is sure to be a hit with families, and Mariner of the Seas can take you there on every sailing.

Try a specialty restaurant (or two)

In addition to the new thrills added to Mariner of the Seas, the ship offers some terrific specialty dining venues that should not be missed.

One of our favorite specialty dining options on any ship is Izumi Hibachi and Sushi, which is Asian-inspired dining featuring hibachi, sushi and sashimi and more.  A hibachi meal is fun for the whole family, and offers authentic flavors, the freshest ingredients and impeccable presentation.

Jamie's Italian serves fresh, handmade and rustic Italian fare by Chef Jamie Oliver, one of Britain’s most famous chefs. Jamie's Italian was created by Jamie Oliver because of all the types of food to choose from, he loves Italian the most. In terms of this restaurant's theory, Jamie designed the menu to strip food down to its essence, working with simple, quality ingredients with no pretense or ego.

Chops Grille has become a staple of Royal Caribbean dining and it is a restaurant guests come back to time and time again because they really enjoy everything about the experience. Steak cooked to order, along with an array of complimentary side dishes and excellent appetizers make for a truly compelling choice for dinner any night of the cruise.

Your thoughts

What is your favorite thing about Mariner of the Seas?  Is it on our list or do you have something you think is worth the cruise fare alone? Tell us about in this blog post's comments!

Top 8 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas hidden secrets

In:
05Jul2018

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas offers sailings that span the globe and we have a few lesser-known tidbits about Explorer of the Seas that you may want to know about prior to getting onboard.

Hot tub in the spa

Walking around Explorer of the Seas' pool deck, you will find some great pool options including the ever popular hot tub.  Did you know there is a bonus hot tub in the Vitality Fitness Center that you can use anytime?

Located at the entrance of the Fitness Center is a rather large hot tub that is available for use by all guests. Not only is this hot tub larger than the ones on the pool deck, but it also is great if the weather outdoors is not exactly pool weather.

Complimentary sauna and steam rooms

Speaking of the Fitness Center, Explorer of the Seas also offers complimentary steam room and sauna room access.

Right across from the aforementioned hot tub is the Fitness Center changing rooms, which also have access to the steam and sauna rooms.  Feel free to use either venue during your cruise, as there is no additional cost to them on Explorer of the Seas.

Restrooms with a view

In places like Alaska, where the view outdoors never ceases to amaze, you may want a great view outdoors all the time.  On Explorer of the Seas, the men's and women's restroom on deck 11 aft offer not only the necessary facilities, but also a fantastic view outside.

A floor-to-ceiling window greets guests in the public restroom outside the Windjammer.

Peek-A-Boo bridge

One of the best features of Royal Caribbean's Voyager Class ships has to be is the Peek-A-Boo bridge feature, where guests can peer into the bridge of Explorer of the Seas almost any time.

The observation window allows guests to look down onto the bridge and observe what the officers are up to in their daily navigational duties.  

To reach the Peek-A-Boo bridge, head up to deck 11 and walk past the sliding doors that go forward of the Solarium and do not seem to lead anywhere.

From there, keep walking forward until you reach the front of the deck and you will see an area that provides a view of the bridge.

Find the ship's Godmother

It is not difficult to locate, but there is a small plaque notating Explorer of the Seas' Godmother, Three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Every Royal Caribbean cruise ship has a ceremonial Godmother, who is selected to christen a new cruise ship when it launches.  Joyner-Kersee, who became the first woman to score 7,000 points in the 1986 heptathlon, was the second Olympian to christen a Royal Caribbean ship, following figure skater Katarina Witt.

You can find a plaque dedicated to Ms. Joyner-Kersee on Deck 4 near the aft elevator bank.

Couch in Windjammer

If you are looking for arguably the most comfortable spot to enjoy the many bounties found in the Windjammer, try one of the tables that offers couch seating.

Towards the back of the Windjammer in the aft seating area, you will find a few tables that offer a couch on either side of the table. Don't dawdle, because these seats go quickly.

Main dining room design

While dining in the main dining room, be sure to check out the amazing art and design of the main dining room of Explorer of the Seas.

The stunning three-level formal dining room on Explorer of the Seas is linked by a grand staircase, dramatic fluted, gold-leaf columns, golden velvet curtains, and a domed ceiling with a gold sky burst rays. The Sapphire Dining Room features a gilded sunburst of gold and silver leaf that bathes the three-story dining room in a luxurious glow.

A series of intricate mosaics adorn the walls (covering an area of 663 sq. ft.) of the dining rooms. The murals, rendered in stone and glass mosaic, depict the constellations in the night skies present at the time of their global discoveries.

Helipad

Whether you are looking for the perfect spot for sail away, or just a great place to enjoy the view, Explorer of the Seas' helipad is the perfect location.

Located on the bow, guests can walk to the helicopter pad and enjoy the unobstructed views that you can only get from the helicopter pad. 

From the helicopter pad, guests can enjoy a near 360-degree view of what is surrounding Explorer of the Seas.

To access the helicopter pad, go outside on deck 5 and then walk forward, climb up a set of stairs and continue walking forward until you reach the helicopter pad.

Did we miss any Explorer of the Seas secrets? Share them in our comments!

8 things to love about Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas

In:
14May2018

Independence of the Seas is an impressive Royal Caribbean cruise ship that completed a massive refurbishment in 2018 to offer all new experiences and features onboard.

There is a lot to love about this ship, and we have eight important facts you should be aware of before your cruise on Independence of the Seas.

8. Largest hibachi at sea

Photo by Travis Kamiyama

Ever since Royal Caribbean added a teppanyaki style dining option to Izumi locations on Oasis Class ships, they have become extremely popular with guests.  As a result, Royal Caribbean opted to add the first Izumi location to a Freedom Class ship and offer the biggest hibachi in the entire fleet.

Izumi Japanese specialty restaurant has been among the fastest spreading restaurants across Royal Caribbean ships, and Independence of the Seas is now home to the twenty-first location.  It is not only the first Izumi location on a Freedom Class ship, but also the largest capacity for the popular hibachi side.

7. Water slides and water fun

Families are sure to love the addition of the Perfect Storm water slides and Splashaway Bay to Independence of the Seas. 

Independence of the Seas offers two racer slides, Cyclone and Typhoon, which offer guests an exhilarating ride down each slide for a wet and wild finish.

In addition, Splasahway Bay has replaced the H2O Zone to bring the next level of aquatic park fun for families.  Splashaway Bay features water slides, fountains, pools and a really large drench bucket.

6. Laser tag

At special laser tag sessions, Royal Caribbean transforms Studio B into a glow-in-the-dark arena that invites everyone to see if they can conquer the, "Battle for Planet Z".

Guests can don special laser tag vests, grab a laser tag gun and head into the arena for a fast-paced team-game that rewards the group that works well together and coordinates their efforts.  Just like laser tag on land, Battle for Planet Z is a high-energy race with bragging rights for the rest of the cruise on the line!

5. Grease

In 2016, Royal Caribbean added the Broadway musical, Grease, to Independence of the Seas and it is available to enjoy on your cruise with no additional cost.

This stage production of Grease was specially adapted by Royal Caribbean Productions and features all of your favorite songs, such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Born to Hand-Jive,” “Beauty School Dropout” and more.

The best news about Grease on Independence of the Seas, is that the show is included in the cost of your cruise fare, so you can enjoy a Broadway show while onboard for absolutely no additional cost.

4. Views from the helipad

Independence of the Seas has a large helipad at the bow of the ship, which is a great venue for guests to enjoy during most times.  The helipad is the perfect spot for sailaway, stargazing, enjoying a view of the ocean or just a spot to sit down on one of the benches and relax.

To access the helicopter pad, go outside on deck 4 and then walk forward, climb up a set of stairs and continue walking forward until you reach the helicopter pad.

If you want to go out to the helipad and avoid the flight of stairs out on deck 4, you can cut through Pyramid Lounge on deck 5 at the front of the ship. Walk in and you'll see a DJ booth on the right. Walk past that booth and you'll see a set of doors that look like they're crew only, but they're not. They lead right out to the entrance to the helipad. Only a short flight of stairs and you are there.

3. Cantilever hot tubs

Hot tub Jacuzzis are always a great way to relax and forget all of your worries, and on Independence of the Seas, there are cantilever hot tubs that offer as wonderful a view as they are comfortable.

The hot tubs on Independence of the Seas are 16-person, half-moon whirlpools that cantilever out 12 feet over the ship's side, to offer some incredible views of the ocean below.  And oh yea, they are super relaxing too.

2. FlowRider

One of the more popular features on Independence of the Seas is the FlowRider surf simulator on deck 13.

The FlowRider is a simulator that sends water a very high speed across a small area that mimics what it is like to surf on the ocean. Guests can try their hand at stand-up traditional surfing or boogie boarding.

The FlowRider is included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare, and you may try your hand at surfing as many times as you like. Just hop back in line and wait for a turn.

There is the opportunity to book private lessons for an additional cost.  At last check, private lessons cost $60 per person and lasts about an hour. Each lesson will have six to eight guests.

Private lessons can be booked onboard the ship and is sometimes available via the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner.

1. Sky Pad

Looking to try something completely different that offers thrills, high-tech and a humble brag worthy message to friends back home?  The Sky Pad on Independence of the Seas is perfect for you!

Royal Caribbean offers guests an opportunity to try a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience.  Guests have the option to put on a virtual reality headset, and then strap into a bungee trampoline experience.

Your favorite

What is your favorite thing about Independence of the Seas?  Is it on our list or do you have something you think is worth the cruise fare alone? Tell us about in this blog post's comments!

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