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Cruise Critic names Royal Caribbean best cruise line for entertainment & suite life


Royal Caribbean came away with a few awards from the 11th annual Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards.

Royal Caribbean was the winner in the following categories:

Best Entertainment: Royal Caribbean International

"Royal Caribbean continues to entertain with original Broadway-style productions, parades and now, laser tag. State-of-the-art technology, including drones, has enhanced new shows in the skating rink as well as with amusements like Sky Pad, a bungee-trampoline experience that also employs virtual reality. And as always, you can still surf, slide and fly (by zipline or skydive simulator) onboard many of Royal Caribbean's ships."

Best Ship Refurbishment: Mariner of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

"Royal Caribbean invested $120 million into the refurbishment of Mariner of the Seas and the results are astounding. From the bright yellow globe at the top of the ship that houses the virtual reality trampoline experience Sky Pad to the addition of two restaurants, two bars, FlowRider surf simulators, the Perfect Storm water park and an escape room, Mariner's got plenty to keep you entertained."

Best Suites: Royal Caribbean International

"The lavishness of Royal Caribbean's top cabins as well as their inclusiveness and variety -- some ships offer up to a dozen suite categories -- can't be beat by any other mainstream cruise line. Just imagine, suites as deluxe as luxury penthouses. Royal Caribbean's got them. And this year, the line even introduced the Ultimate Family Suite, a visual marvel complete with a bedroom-to-living room slide."

9 things you should know about Royal Caribbean suites


Have you ever thought about making the jump up to a suite stateroom for your next Royal Caribbean cruise? Suites do come with a higher price tag, but they also have their own set of perks and benefits that may factor into that decision.

Here's a few things you should know when you start to consider if the increased price is "worth it".

Royal Caribbean has suite benefits exclusive for Oasis & Quantum Class ships

In 2016, Royal Caribbean began offering a completely different suite benefits program on its Oasis and Quantum class ships., known as the Royal Suite Class.

The Royal Suite Class is only offered on these ships, and it aims to expand upon the standard Royal Caribbean suite benefits (some of which are listed below).  Essentially, these ships offer expanded suite benefits and paying for a suite on these ships certainly gets you a lot more.  Of course, suites on these category of ships usually come with a higher price tag too.

The Royal Suite Class has the Sea Class, Sky Class and Star Class categories, and they deliver luxurious suites, as well as additional exclusive services and amenities, depending on the class you book. On the whole, Royal Suite Class accommodations are among the most spacious at sea, with some truly magnificent rooms you can book, such as the two-story Royal Loft Suites or Ultimate Family Suite.

These suites go far beyond your typical hotel digs, sporting private balconies—some with private Jacuzzis—expansive bathrooms, dining areas, kitchens, and even lofts. They also feature special “Royal Genies” ready to help customize your vacation every day—arranging private dining, reserving seats for every show, making reservations at the suites-only restaurant and more.

The Royal Suite Class experience includes the Ultimate Beverage Package; unlimited VOOM internet access; and luxe linens and bath products in select suites.

Special embarkation day perks

Getting onboard your Royal Caribbean ship is something everyone has to do but if you're a suite guest, Royal Caribbean makes the entire process a little easier.

Being in a suite means you will have dedicated port agents to help you check in.  Priority check in means less time waiting to get yourself checked in compared to everyone else on the ship.  

Then you get a special area just for you to wait, often with nicer furniture and perhaps some refreshments too.  Even before you board, you're already living the "good life" with those suite perks.

You will get a gold SeaPass card

All guests who staying in a suite will have a gold color SeaPass card, which helps Royal Caribbean easily know if you're a suite guest or not.

Besides that good feeling deep down of having a special card, the gold card allows staff immediately know you are a suite member.

So when you get to the theater or pool deck and there is special reserved seating for you, the crew member will direct you to it.

Note, if you are on an Oasis or Quantum Class ship, the Royal Suite Class SeaPass cards are different colors to indicate if you are in Sea Class, Sky Class or Star Class.

Concierge lounge access

On most Royal Caribbean ships (a concierge lounge is not available on Majesty of the Seas), there is a concierge lounge for suite level guests that offers you a private area to get away from the hustle and bustle of the ship.

One of the chief benefits of the concierge lounge is access to complimentary alcoholic drinks every evening, which include beers, wine by the glass and select liqueurs. There also au d'oeuvres served in the evening, along with snacks during the day and a light breakfast in the morning. A 24 hour coffee and espresso machine is also available to use in the Concierge Lounge.

Access to the lounge is available for your use 24 hours a day and is staffed with a dedicated Concierge, who will attend to your individual needs.  The staff can help you reserve specialty restaurants, shows or any assistance you need on the cruise.

There are some pretty sweet rooms

It's important to remember that your suite itself comes with a lot of neat features not found in other staterooms as well as a lot more space.

Royal Caribbean designed their suites to be quite desirable with furnishings you'd be surprised to find at sea.  Pianos, wet bars, jacuzzis, extra large balconies and more are typical with most suites.

Looking at photos of suites, you quickly realize why people pay a lot more for these special staterooms. They are exquisite and depending on how far up the suite ladder you go, the word "luxurious" really gets its definition. 

Special sun decks for suite level guests

On Quantum, Oasis, Voyager and Freedom class ships, you will find a private area of the pool deck for suite guests.  

The lounge chairs here are a little more comfortable than other chairs in the area and are reserved just for those staying in a suite, which means less competition to fight for a chair.  It makes getting a spot on the pool deck much easier and you also get a great vantage point of what's happening around the pool.

On Voyager and Freedom Class ships, the Suite area on the pool deck is comprised of reserved lounge chairs.  On Oasis and Quantum Class ships, there is a private area of the pool deck that includes lounge chairs, bar access and more.

Double Crown and Anchor Society points

One of the best benefits of staying in a suite is it helps catapult you up the Crown and Anchor Society ladder much quicker.

Each Royal Caribbean cruise you book in a suite gets you double the regular Crown and Anchor points.  That means instead of 7 points for a week-long cruise, you will now get 14 points.  If you stay in a suite by yourself, you will get triple Crown and Anchor points!

For anyone looking to accrue points fast and reap the benefits of Diamond status or above, staying in a suite can really help.

Complimentary pressing service on formal night

Photo by Jeff Goldberg

You pack all your clothes for your cruise and as hard as you may try, inevitably, when you unpack onboard your clothes are wrinkled or have creases in them.  If you're a suite guest, for formal night you don't have to worry about wrinkles or creases!

Suite guests get complimentary pressing service that will iron your clothes for you and return them so on formal night, you can look your finest.  This is a service that usually costs a few dollars per item, but it's one less thing you will have to worry about now.

Junior Suites do not have all the benefits of other suites

It is woth noting that Junior Suite staterooms may have the word "suite" in the name, but they are not considered a "full suite".  This means it does not get the full level of benefits outlined earlier in this post.

Junior Suite guests do get some nice benefits, such as:

  • Priority embarkation/disembarkation
  • Double Crown & Anchor Society points for each night
  • Walk-in closet
  • Enhanced toiletries
  • Full bathtub
  • Sea Class benefits  (Oasis and Quantum Class ships)
    • Coastal Kitchen access for dinner only
    • Luxury Pillowtop Mattress
    • L’Occitane Bathroom Amenities

Junior Suite guests do not have access to the Concierge Lounge, Concierge service or suites-only areas of the ship.

Video: Ultimate Family Suite Unveiled on Symphony of the Seas


Imagination brings the one-of-a-kind Ultimate Family Suite to life with swoon-worthy features, whimsical color schemes and a whole lot of awesome. The 1,346-square-foot interactive space is designed for both the young and the young at heart, providing a space for families to come together during their cruise vacation, while also offering enough room and amenities to relax during that special “me time.”

Spotlight: Cabanas on Allure of the Seas


We love to discover new changes aboard Royal Caribbean's cruise ships and today we have a look at the cabanas that were added to Allure of the Seas.

Photo by Rich Freudenberg

These cabanas are located on the Suite sun deck, up on deck 17.

The cabanas have no additional cost for guests to use them, but guests must be staying in a suite stateroom (Grand Suite or above) to get access to the cabanas.  

Photos by Photo by Rich Freudenberg

Cabanas are available on a first come, first served basis.

Royal Caribbean recently added a shower to the cabana area and according to the ship's Hotel Director, they are planning to add a Jacuzzi on the Suite Sun Deck to enhance the Royal Suite Program.

Would you like to spend the day in a cabana on the Suite Sun Deck? Let us know in the comments!

Royal Caribbean announces new Royal Suite Class program


Royal Caribbean announced the details of its revamped suite program entitled, Royal Suite Class.

The Royal Suite Class will be available only on Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Quantum class ships.

The new program offers guests that stay in a suite category stateroom a number of benefits across three new tiers within the Royal Suite Class.

Star Class

Indulge in our most expansive, richly appointed environments and the ultimate complement of inclusive amenities. You’ll feel like nothing less than royalty in these palatial suites.

Star Class includes the most comprehensive collection of amenities and services and the most expansive and richly appointed accommodations, such as Quantum-class’ two-deck high Royal Loft Suite, along with the Owner’s Loft Suite, Four Bedroom Family Suite, Grand Loft Suite, Sky Loft Suite and Two Bedroom AquaTheater Suite.

Suite benefits include

  • Daily gratuities covered
  • Ultimate beverage package
  • Specialty restaurants
  • Mini-bar
  • Unlimited Voom high speed-internet
  • Spa Thermal Room Access
  • Complimentary in-suite movies
  • Fitness classes
  • Specialty bottled water
  • Upgraded Bathroom Amenities by Hermes, Ferragamo and L'OCCITANE
  • Linens, towels and bath robes by Frette
  • Duxlana mattress
  • Luxury pillowtop mattress
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • In-suite handcrafted cocktail service
  • Personalized welcome gift
  • Specialty in-suite dining
  • Welcome amenity
  • Suite Restaurant
  • Suite Lounge

The Star Class also has Royal Genie Services, which include

  • 24/7 personal assistant
  • Individualized guest preferences
  • Dining & beverage requests
  • In-suite dining requests
  • Shoe shine service
  • Laundry service

Concierge services

  • Personal guest introduction
  • Priority restaurant reservations
  • VIP Theater seating and reservations
  • Access to signature activities
  • Access to Suite Sun Deck
  • Handle special requests
  • Pre-cruise communication
  • Escort guests on and off ship

Sky Class

Elevate your perspective with beautifully furnished spaces, a generous selection of inclusive amenities and one-touch personal service that all together feel like a breath of fresh air.

The Sky Class features a selection of inclusive amenities in beautifully furnished staterooms such as the AquaTheater Suite, Crown Loft Suite, Owner’s Suite, Royal Family Suite, Superior Grand Suite and Grand Suite.

Suite benefits include

  • Unlimited Voom high speed-internet
  • Spa Thermal Room Access
  • Specialty bottled water
  • Upgraded Bathroom Amenities by Hermes, Ferragamo and L'OCCITANE
  • Luxury pillowtop mattress
  • Specialty in-suite dining
  • Welcome amenity
  • Suite Restaurant
  • Suite Lounge

Concierge services

  • Priority restaurant reservations
  • VIP Theater seating and reservations
  • Access to signature activities
  • Access to Suite Sun Deck
  • Handle special requests
  • Pre-cruise communication

Sea Class

Find in these spacious suites premium touches like upgraded linens and specialty in-room amenities, and enjoy exclusive dining privileges at Coastal Kitchen

The Sea Class includes premium touches in spacious suites such as the Family Connected Junior Suite, Family Junior Suite, Spa Junior Suite and Junior Suite.

Suite benefits include

  • Specialty Bottled Water
  • Upgraded Bathroom Amenities by Hermes, Ferragamo and L'OCCITANE
  • Luxury pillowtop mattress
  • Suite restaurant (dinner only)

Guests may begin making reservations for the new Royal Suite Class starting on September 8, 2015, with sailings beginning May 2016.

The program will be available on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas.

The Iggy Azalea guide to taking a Royal Caribbean cruise


One of my favorite songs in the last few years was "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea (yes, I am a 15 year old trapped in an adult body) and besides being quite catchy, the song talks about how the singer is famous, stylish and confident.

So if you want to live the "Fancy" lifestyle on a Royal Caribbean cruise, here's what you need to know so the whole world asking how you does that.

First things first, the ship

If you think you can hold others down like you're givin' lessons in physics, then you are going to want to be on the right ship to prove it.

Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas is the newest in the fleet (as of the writing of this post) and it offers the latest and greatest of everything.  It's the perfect ship to get your swagger on super and have access to the latest in cruise ship tech, entertainment and dining.

You can drop it low and pick it up in the Music Hall, or maybe a little champagne spillin' during dinner at The Grande.

And since Anthem of the Seas is coming to New York City, where she will be based for the foreseeable future, it's the perfect spot to be in the fast lane.

Get your cup of Ace, cup of Goose and cup of Cris 

If you prefer to takin' all the liquor straight, then Royal Caribbean's Ultimate beverage package is perfect for you.

The Ultimate alcohol package offers virtually unlimited combinations of beer, wine, liquor, juices and more.  You won't have to get drunk on the mini bar with the Ultimate package, because you will have access to it all.

Stores to match

Anthem of the Seas features a number of boutique brand stores, such as Hublot, Bvlgari and more.

After all, you have your swagger on super and can't shop at no department.  In these stores, you can purchase somethin' worth a half a ticket  to have on your wrist.

Shopping here is classic, expensive and you don't get to touch (unless you buy it).

Put your name in bold in a Royal Loft Suite

The perfect stateroom for rooftop like you're bringing '88 back has to be the Royal Loft Suites.

These two deck suites are not just the perfect way to show you're so fancy, but also because it just has everything.

On the main level is an open living/dining room with dry bar and sofa.  There's also a separate media room with full bath and shower.

Outside, you will find a large private balcony with whirlpool and dining area.  

Upstairs on the second level is your master bedroom, private bath with soaking tup and a private balcony with dual whirlpool tub.

If you are staying in a Royal Loft Suite, it says you're so fancy.  But you already know.

Is Anthem of the Seas the perfect ship if you want to be fancy? Tell us in the comments below how you would make a Royal Caribbean cruise the realest

Royal Caribbean CEO confirms company working on special package for suite guests


Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley confirmed the company will release a new Suite Class package of amenities in 2016.

Travel Weekly is reporting Bayley made the announcement at a conference last week.  Details about the program are still being determined.

The announcement confirms an earlier report by Royal Caribbean senior vice president of sales Vicki Freed made about the new endeavor.

The program will likely be similar to sister-company Celebrity Cruises's Suite Class program, where guests in suites have access to tiered benefits. 

According to Travel Weekly, Bayley indicated Royal Caribbean's Suite Class is intended for the high-value customer.

A look at Royal Caribbean's suites


A great blogger Chris at has posted an in-depth look at the suites available on Royal Caribbean ships.  Like so many of us, we're enamored with the idea of luxury and who doesn't dream about staying in a lavish suite on their next cruise?  Because of the many suite configurations found throughout the fleet, Chris uses the Grand Suite aboard Freedom of the Seas as an example.

Grand Suites in Freedom of the Seas are 432 square feet in size. That's considerably larger than a standard balcony cabin on that ship which comes in at about 200 square feet. So right off the bat you have more space, accommodating up to five guests.

But it's not so much the extra space that matters with a Grand Suite as it is what comes with it.

The first stop on the luxury train is the restricted-access Concierge Lounge, exclusively for Suite guests and top-level members of the line's Crown and Anchor Society past-guest program. Inside this special area suite guests will find

  • A dedicated Concierge who is available to assist with anything they might require
  • Twenty-four-hour a day use of the Concierge Club Lounge
  • Continental breakfast every morning and open bar & hors d'oeuvres every evening available in the Concierge Club Lounge
  • Assistance with reservations for Portofino Italian restaurant & Chops Grille Steakhouse
  • Assistance with booking shore excursions, Salon or Spa treatments and Priority tickets for the ice skating show
  • Assistance with the arrangement of private parties, pre-ordering dinner wine and more

Chris has posted lots more detail about the suites along with some great photos in his blog entry this week.