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Spotted: Daily charge for Royal Caribbean text chat on Quantum of the Seas

In:
Category: 
19Dec2020

Royal Caribbean has always operated its cruises a little bit differently in Asia, and we can add chat to the list.

A guest who was aboard a Quantum of the Seas cruise from Singapore noticed Royal Caribbean is now charging a daily fee for its chat feature.

The app is free to download and use its core functionality, but the chat feature seems to be an add-on.

Sail n Snow shared a photo from Royal Caribbean's app advertising guests can add-on the text chat feature for $1.99 per day, per guest.

It is also worth noting Royal Caribbean has charged for activities and things to do on Asia sailings that are not charged for in North America or Europe, such as North Star or Ripcord by iFly.

The text chat feature on Royal Caribbean's old app, Royal iQ had a daily charge associated with it.

Royal Caribbean's chat feature was still in development prior to the cruise line shutting down due to the global health crisis, and at the time was complimentary on the two ships it was being tested on: Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas.

On Apple's App Store and Google Play store, the app description lists chat as a feature, with the note that "fee applies".

Other cruise lines offer a chat feature in their apps, with some charging for the feature and others including at no additional cost.

  • Carnival: $5 per user for duration of cruise
  • Disney Cruise Line: Free
  • NCL: $9.95 (includes phone and voicemail capability)
  • MSC: Free
  • Princess: Free

When Royal Caribbean resumes sailings, the app's role will be more important than ever. The cruise line recently notified guests that the app is required to be downloaded prior to sailing.

New functionality has been added to the app to facilitate social distancing and add more touchfree functionality.

Royal Caribbean says its app is required when cruises restart

In:
Category: 
07Dec2020

It looks like Royal Caribbean's mobile app has gone from utility to must-have.

Guests who go to Royal Caribbean's website to complete online check-in are now seeing a large banner informing them, "You are required to download the mobile app prior to sailing."

With Royal Caribbean preparing to restart cruise operations, dependency on the smart phone app has never been greater because so many new features are being incorporated onto it.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog has confirmed that there will be assistance available for guests who do not have a smartphone or device, so you will not be denied boarding if you do not have the app.

Ever since Royal Caribbean debuted its app, the cruise line has added more functionality and made it a larger part of the overall experience.

With new features and capabilities coming to Royal Caribbean's app as a result of ensuring health and safety are the top priority. This includes a variety of new changes:

  • Enforced check-in times at the cruise terminal
  • Muster 2.0 enhanced safety drill
  • Digital Key and stateroom controls
  • Guest to guest chat feature
  • Wellness check and health questionnaires 

You can download the Royal Caribbean app from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

It is important to note that you do not need to purchase internet access in order to use the app features in the app. In fact, you can use the app on a tablet or other non-cellular device.

On the first cruises back on Quantum of the Seas in Singapore, guests have been informed the app is required of all guests before the ship sails.

In Singapore, guests who do not show up on time for their check-in may experience a delay in waiting, "Your check-in appointment is dedicated to your screening, so arriving earlier will have you turned away until your time."

For guests that do not elect to get the app, they are missing out on the ability to make onboard plans and avoid crowds, track their own expenses and better plan their day.

The app will be how you conduct the onboard safety drill. This must be done before the ship sails and is required of all guests.  It can be completed through your stateroom television as an alternative to the app.

The app will also be how you make reservations for all dining, shore excursion, activity, and entertainment.

Royal Caribbean believes the app is just as much about convenience as it is providing contactless means to conduct daily cruise life activities.

Phones on a cruise?

The role of smart devices on a cruise has been a long-standing debate among cruise fans.

While most guests own smart devices, the question of if they prefer to use them or not on a cruise is a point of contention for some.

There are some cruisers who prefer to disconnect and leave their smart devices off while on a cruise because of a preference for simplicity.

kontraxed posted on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards he always puts his phone away when he gets onboard, "Normally, the first thing I do when I get on a cruise ship is turn off my cell phone and put it in the safe...For me, that's bliss! "

Many other guests keep their phones with them and use them either sparingly, or avoid work-related functitons while on vacation.

Royal Caribbean app updated with easier ways to get to popular features

In:
Category: 
24Nov2020

Royal Caribbean released a new update to its smartphone app that enhances the look, while adding new features for when cruises restart again.

Version 1.26.1 has been pushed out to users, and it includes a number of enhancements.

The most notable change is the home screen design, which makes popular features easily accessible, including check-in, boarding passes, dining and more.

The check-in process has been simplified and cleaned up as well, with the option for guests to select an arrival time, along with wellness screenings and pre-cruise health questions.

The addition of wellness check and health questionnaires is one of many changes Royal Caribbean is making in order to prepare for cruises to return in a world still dealing with the global health crisis.

On Quantum of the Seas cruises from Singapore, check-in times will be much more important so that the check-in/wellness screenings can be conducted efficiently.

Guests sailing on Quantum of the Seas have been informed their check-in appointment is dedicated for their screening, and arriving earlier will have them turned away until the designated time.

The Royal Caribbean app also has the guest safety briefing video added to it, which is part of the Muster 2.0 enhancement where guests will conduct the muster drill on their own, instead of as a group.

Royal Caribbean has developed and patented something it called eMuster™, and it gives guests the essential information in the app and your stateroom TV, allowing you to complete the briefing on your own time.

After going through the Muster 2.0 process in the app or stateroom TV,  you will just need to visit your assigned assembly station—a designated check-in location—before the ship sets sail, so a crew member can verify all the steps are completed. 

Read more6 really interesting facts about Royal Caribbean's new cruise safety drill

The app store also says guests will be able to view menus on their ship with the help of QR codes.

You can download the Royal Caribbean app from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean adds virtual safety drill to mobile app

In:
06Nov2020

Royal Caribbean released a new update to its app that introduces the highly anticipated Muster 2.0 virtual safety drill feature.

Version 1.26.0 has been released to the Apple App Store, which adds two core features that will be critical for guests on cruise ships that need to foster social distancing.

The app update comes just weeks before Royal Caribbean is set to restart cruises in Singapore on Quantum of the Seas.

While there are no firm plans yet announced for when cruises might restart in the United States, test sailings could start as early as December.

Virtual safety drill

Earlier this summer, Royal Caribbean announced a new patented approach to use its smart phone app to conduct the safety drill onboard.

The Muster 2.0 feature has been added to the app, which Royal Caribbean describes as a "completely re-imagined onboard guest safety briefing".

The app features information and sends notifications to make sure you complete the briefing prior to the ship sailing. 

Travelers will be able 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 will 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.

One on the cruise ship, guests have a set time (indicated by a timer in the app) during which muster drill must be completed by all of the passengers and, in response, a message is transmitted to each mobile device that the muster drill has commenced.

Read more6 really interesting facts about Royal Caribbean's new cruise safety drill

Excursion tickets

Another shift to digital comes in the form of shore excursion tickets are now available in the app.

Traditionally, Royal Caribbean would distribute paper tickets to guests for their excursions that were purchased through the cruise line.

With the app, guests can now avoid having paper tickets and rely on the app to provide that information to tour operators.

The app's version history notes that the digital excursion tickets replace "the need for paper tickets when possible", which sounds like paper tickets could still be utilized in some scenarios.

Thanks to Iuliana Scott for giving us a heads up on this news.

Is Royal Caribbean's chat feature coming to more ships?

In:
Category: 
14Oct2020

A guest to guest chat feature has been the most highly anticipated feature in Royal Caribbean's app, and some cruisers think perhaps we are on the precipice of chat rolling out.

A number of RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have shared screenshots from their Royal Caribbean app for upcoming cruises that have the chat feature enabled.

Royal Caribbean's chat option was in development before the cruise industry shutdown in early March, and was only available on Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas in beta testing.

The chat icon has recently appeared on guests with cruises booked on Freedom of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas.

Thanks to Christian Monn, Brian McNichols and Luke Wallace for screenshots

Prior to the shutdown, Royal Caribbean confirmed it was targeting the third or fourth quarter of 2020 to roll out chat to all of its cruise ships.

There is no cost to use Royal Caribbean's app while onboard and you do not need an internet package to use the app either.

Will chat roll out to all ships?

While Royal Caribbean has acknowledged the chat feature is "the number one feature" guests are asking for, it is unclear if it really is ready on more ships or simply the app accidently showing the feature as active.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Royal Caribbean Group said the prolonged cruise shutdown has forced them to cut spending in a number of areas, including tech.

"In addition, we have reduced our planned capital spending through 2021, which may negatively impact our execution of planned growth strategies, particularly as it relates to investments in our ships, technology, and our expansion of land-based developments."

How does chat work?

The texting feature in Royal Caribbean's app works very similar to other texting apps you may have used in other apps.

Royal Caribbean's chat offers one-to-one guest chat, along with group chats.

Once onboard the ship and logged onto Royal Caribbean's Wi-Fi  network (no internet package required to use the app), other guests will show up as offline or online but are only online if they have the app opened and to the “chat” window.

If your travel agent linked your reservation before sailing with a friend or family the will automatically show up in your list of contacts. You also have the option of adding other guests.

The one feature the team was working on getting just right was the notification feature so that if you were not actively using the Royal Caribbean app, you would be notified of an incoming message.

Royal Caribbean's app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean deck plans get bright new design on at least one ship

In:
Category: 
09Sep2020

Royal Caribbean has introduced an updated look to its deck plans in its app on at least one Royal Caribbean ship.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Daniela T. shared screenshots of the updated deck plan designs that include a lot more color and depth to the look.

Old deck plan design from Mariner of the Seas

New deck plan design on Navigator of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's deck plans have traditionally been more utilitarian than eye-catching, but this new design seems to indicate a new direction for the deck plans that combines form and functionality.

As of right now, it looks like just Navigator of the Seas' deck plans have been updated in the app, but other ships could be updated later on with the new look as well.

 

The new maps should automatically appear for anyone with an upcoming Navigator of the Seas sailing. Keep in mind that if your cruise is not scheduled in the next few months, you may not be able to access it yet via the app.

You can download the Royal Caribbean app from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean will use its mobile app to keep guests safe when cruises resume

In:
08Sep2020

When cruises restart, Royal Caribbean's app will play its largest role yet in becoming the focal point for a healthy return to cruising.

Royal Caribbean Group announced on Tuesday it intends to leverage its mobile app for paving a way for a safe return to cruising.

Royal Caribbean's app already offered a variety of features and capabilities, but will grow to include more functionality including:

  • Muster 2.0 – one of the least-loved, but most important, parts of a cruise vacation – the safety drill – is transformed from a process designed for large groups of people into a faster, more personal “one-to-few” approach that guests can complete at their own time.
  • Scheduled arrival time – staggered arrival times for guests help eliminate crowds by managing the ebb-and-flow in parking lots, drop-off areas and terminals to allow for physical distancing from car to stateroom.
  • Expedited boarding – by completing check-in with the app, scanning passport information and uploading a ‘selfie’ security photo, guests can generate a mobile boarding pass and qualify for an expedited boarding process. Debuted in 2018, the innovative, digital experience minimizes check-in and security lines at ports, allowing guests to get on board seamlessly and safely in minutes.

  • Digital key – guests can unlock staterooms with their smartphones by downloading a digital key, available in just a few taps for select ships and staterooms.
  • Stateroom automation – using their smartphone, guests have the ability to control elements inside their stateroom, such as the TV, lighting, window shades and temperature, limiting touchpoints while achieving higher levels of stateroom customization.
  • Onboard account – guests can view onboard charges and credits in real time from anywhere on the ship without waiting in line or on hold.
  • Daily planning – onboard activities, entertainment shows, dining and shore excursions are viewable and open for reservations all through the guest mobile app.

Royal Caribbean expects more advancements to be added to the app, including some changes that will take place "behind the scenes".

The mobile app is leveraged by ships across many Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara ships.

In a statement to the press, Royal Caribbean Group believes the app is one piece of the overall strategy in keeping guests healthy and safe, "These innovations will further demonstrate the Group’s commitment to exceeding guests’ expectations as well as their standards for health and safety on a cruise."

Royal Caribbean launches new mobile game based on Adventure Ocean

In:
Category: 
23Jul2020

Royal Caribbean launched a new app for kids based on a game kids could play onboard its cruise ships in Adventure Ocean.

The Treasure of Barnacle Briggs is a new game available on Apple's App Store that offers kids an interactive quest and is free to download.

The concept was originally created for Adventure Ocean on Royal Caribbean's cruise ships by a company named Firstborn, and it launched as part of the Royal Amplifications of Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.

The game is an adaptation of what kids would find on the ships, and gives kids the choice of four mysterious islands that together present immersive, imaginative stories and adventures that your family can play through together. 

Firstborn technical director, Drew Dahlman, describes the game, "The benefit of the narrative is we’re building a whole universe that really brings players in."

Each of the mystical islands features its own set of challenges that takes the user on a journey to retrieve coveted keys that will unlock Barnacle Briggs’ hidden treasure. 

The game features stunning visuals, this interactive quest brings players a mind-bending maze, a formidable foe, tricky turns on tracks that test reaction time and a wild ride down slippery slopes.

Whether kids, parents or Diamond Plus guests play the game, they will find a game inspired by classic video games that put your reaction time and precision to the test.

  • On Maze Island, players must dodge boulders in a twisting labyrinth
  • On Gold Mine Island you must leap across gaps in the track
  • On Blizzard Island you can maneuver a toboggan through every peak and valley in a race down the slopes

On top of it all, Royal Caribbean included a mischievous animal adversary based on feedback from kids.  On Octopus Island, you will find an eight-legged foe who throws barrels, crates and sticky starfish that players must avoid by tapping their quick reflexes.

The interactive digital experience was first a success at sea. “When we saw how well the games were received on board Oasis of the Seas—people were congregating around the large screens at Adventure Ocean to check it out—we knew we needed to introduce Barnacle Briggs to the world in some way,” said Lauren Berman, senior manager for product development at Royal Caribbean.

You can download the game from Apple's App Store.

Freedom of the Seas added to Royal Caribbean app

In:
28Feb2020

Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Freedom of the Seas.

Freedom now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

The Royal Caribbean App: Everything you should know

In:
Category: 
22Feb2020

The Royal Caribbean app simplifies a great deal of the cruise check-in, planning and onboard experience. Since the app debuted, it has been tasked with integrating technology to make the guest experience easier.

Prior to your cruise, you will want to install and set up the Royal Caribbean app to get your cruise off to a great start.  

Is there a Royal Caribbean app?

Royal Caribbean offers an app for free to its guests that is available from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

It can be used on an iPhone, iPad and a variety of Android devices.

You should download the app prior to your cruise, although Royal Caribbean does allow guests to download the app onboard the ship as well.

What does the Royal Caribbean app do?

The app can be used aboard Royal Caribbean's ships without a Voom WiFi package, and includes a variety of features.

Features are ship specific, which means some ships offer more things you can do with the app than others.

 

Here is a list of features, which vary from ship to ship, as the app moves toward coverage across the fleet:

  • Sign into your account to view your booked cruises (must be at least 13 years old to have a guest account)
  • Check into your cruise
  • Link reservations with other guests so you can plan and make reservations together once onboard
  • Learn about our activity, entertainment, and dining venues including menus
  • Access your loyalty information

After connecting to WiFi, you can:

Does Royal Caribbean have a texting app?

Royal Caribbean is testing a chat feature that is only currently available on Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

The chat feature offers one-to-one guest chat, along with group chats.

There is no cost to use Royal Caribbean's app while onboard and you do not need an internet package to use the app either.

Eventually, Royal Caribbean plans to roll out the chat feature to all ships, but there is no official timeline or published date when it will become available. The rumored estimate for chat to roll out to the fleet is the second half of 2020.

What ships does the Royal Caribbean app work on?

The list of Royal Caribbean ships that are supported is growing, with different features available on different ships.

Here’s a list of ships where the app is available:

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Empress of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

If your ship is not yet on this list, Royal Caribbean is actively working towards getting it added.  Ship refurbishments have become a reliable expectation of when new ships get added to the ship.

How to get Expedited Arrival with the app

Royal Caribbean offers in select ports an Expedited Arrival feature that greatly speeds up the cruise check-in process.

Expedited Arrival is currently available when embarking the following ships at these terminals:

PortMiami (Terminal A)

  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas

Port Everglades (Terminal 18)

  • Allure of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas

Port Canaveral (CT1)

  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas

To get Expedited Arrival, there are three basic steps:

1. Create a guest account with Royal Caribbean before the cruise.

2. Download the Royal Caribbean app from either the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.

3. Begin check-in and make sure you do a few steps:

a. Fill out all the questions in the short form provided.
b. Scan your passport with the app (do not manually enter the passport information).
c. Take a security selfie photo. Make sure you do not have a hat on or sunglasses, and have as muted a background as possible.

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