Video: Spectrum of the Seas Azipod Installation

In:
23Oct2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Spectrum of the Seas is taking shape. Take a closer look at this engineering marvel as her azipods are installed at Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Designed specifically for the Chinese market, Spectrum of the Seas will be the largest and most expensive ship in Asia when she sails from Shanghai, China starting in June 2019.

Royal Caribbean enters TTG Travel Awards' Travel Hall of Fame

In:
23Oct2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean reached a new milestone with its induction into TTG Travel Awards’ Travel Hall of Fame.  After winning the “Best Cruise Operator” Award for 10 consecutive years, the cruise line was honored to be added to the Hall of Fame at the 29th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2018 ceremony in Bangkok this evening.

Angie Stephen, Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. who accepted the award said, “This is a very proud moment for Royal Caribbean that we wish to share with all our supporters. We are not resting on our laurels however, as we continue to live up to and deliver our award-winning cruise experience and service, by bringing our best ships such as Spectrum of the Seas to the region next year for our customers and agents.”

Royal Caribbean has consistently won the “Best Cruise Operator” Award for offering the best product, services and facilities. 

Live blogging from Adventure of the Seas – Day 2 – Sea Day

In:
23Oct2018
By: Michael Poole

Today was our first sea day, it’s really our first full day on board Adventure of the Seas.   We actually started the morning with a quick jog on the top deck.  With all that food last night at Chef’s Table we thought it would be a good idea to start the day burning some calories.  For those wondering it’s 8 laps for every mile. 

Last night we put the room service card outside our door for this morning for 9am.  We were back to the room by 8:30am, so what better way to kill time than open some Champagne.  I grabbed some orange juice from the windjammer after our workout and make some mimosas to enjoy out on our balcony. 

Our breakfast was nothing to get excited about since we went for the free options.  If you are looking for eggs and bacon they will charge you $7.95 for room service.  We ordered yogurt, fruit and bread that are included at no charge. 

We had some liquid sunshine moving in, so we took to the solarium hot tub.  It was a little after 10AM before we made it to the pool deck and we still saw plenty of pool chairs open.  Not a lot to report from other than relaxing bubbles in the hot tub. 

Around 11:45AM I decided we should go get some lunch.  Try to get an early lunch if you can the Windjammer can get very busy around 12:30-1:30PM.  We had no problem getting a table and service was also good offering us drinks.  I went with a little bit of everything, it’s “research” right?  The food was fine for lunch, nothing special but I did really enjoy the grilled fish.  

Afternoon on board

After lunch I saw the World’s Sexy Man contest happening on the pool deck.  This is when I noticed how busy the pool deck was.  My fiancé wanted to go swimming but the main pool was a little too busy.  So back to the solarium we went and guess what, it was even more packed!  Glad we got our swim time in early because I decided to call it a day on the pool deck.

Something about an afternoon beer I love at the pub on sea days.  I had two beers and enjoyed some time talking to my friend Paul on aboard.  We talked about how we love the cruising community and all the friends we have made over the years.

To report on paying for drinks without a drink package, yesterday we spent around $50.  Today we spent $34, so we are still under the $600 for the drink package.  Let’s see how we finish up. 

At some point this afternoon I wondered up to the helicopter-landing pad all the way forward.  It’s the first time I can remember going to the front without any wind.  The seas were as calm as they could be.  I joked; we should just lay out up here! 

Evening on board

Tonight was formal night, but by the looks of it I’d say it looked like smart casual.  Very few people were dressed up, mostly pants and a button down shirt without a tie.  Not a big deal as far as how you enjoy the cruise, but seems like formal is going away. 

Dinner tonight was in Giovanni’s Table at 7:30pm.  We had our friend Paul join us for dinner.  Hillary and I used our Diamond Plus Bogo coupon to cover the meal and it was $33 for the two of us.  Since it was formal night it was extremely busy, but I didn’t think our service suffered any from it. 

We ordered some pasta as a starter, why not you are on vacation.  Hillary ordered the cheese and meat plate, but they made it smaller since it was just for one.  Though it was big enough for our whole table to share.  The dinner was a lot of fun and we just laughed and enjoyed some good wine.   I would say Giovanni’s is my favorite restaurant in the fleet, you know it’s always going to be amazing. 

After dinner we headed up to the silent disco party at 11PM.  I didn’t take my camera with me, but it was a lot of fun. The room is totally silent but you are wearing headphones listening to music dancing.  We made it until midnight and called it a night. 

 

First look at Royal Caribbean smartphone app chat feature

In:
22Oct2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is actively working to roll out new features to its smartphone app that will eventually be available across the fleet.  In the meantime, they are testing a new chat feature between guests that is available only on Allure of the Seas.

Guests simply need to download the new Royal Caribbean app from the iTunes App store or the Google Play store.  The app and its use are completely free.

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.

To add another guest, you need to have their last name, birthday, and reservation number.  If you add someone that was not on a linked reservation by your travel agent, then they must add you as well as you adding them for privacy reasons. 

Messages will show as “Sent” and also “Delivered” to give you an idea if it was seen. To be delivered it seems like you need to have opened the Royal app.

At this time, there are no push notifications of messages at all. You have to open the Royal app and it will have a numbered badge on that chat bubble.

Thanks to Doug G. for sharing his experience with this app on Allure of the Seas!

The app is currently available on 10 Royal Caribbean ships, although the chat feature is only available on Allure of the Seas at this time.  

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has not shared any kind of timeline for when other ships will be added to the app, nor when a particular feature will become available for use.

Live blogging from Adventure of the Seas – Day 1 – Embarkation Day

In:
22Oct2018
By: Michael Poole

My long-awaited cruise has finally arrived; words can’t describe the day one excitement.  Of course, I woke up well before I wanted to, just lying in bed watching time tick-tock. 

Pre – Cruise

I mentioned I booked the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott.  I stayed at the location right beside the airport.  The hotel was fine for one night, but it was extremely dated, even a pink bathroom door.  Since I didn’t arrive until 11pm, I just needed a place to sleep but I don’t recommend this hotel for pre-cruise.  They have two very nice Hyatt’s right behind it around the same price point. 

The morning of the cruise we went to one of my favorite spots for breakfast called Roberts.  I was surprised to see we could walk only being 0.4miles away.  It’s nothing fancy, but great food and not very expensive. 

After breakfast we showered up and headed to Publix to get our wine to carry on board.  Royal Caribbean let’s you bring two 750ml of wine per cabin on board. Since we don’t have a drink package I knew I wanted to take advantage of carrying some on. 

From our hotel to Publix and the cruise terminal in our Uber XL was $30.  We didn’t need an XL but I wanted more space and it worked out we got a very nice luxury SUV.  If we did a standard Uber X it would have been around $18. 

Boarding

We arrived to the ship around 11:15am, I know according to Matt we were two hours late!  Since Allure of the Seas was in port today, Adventure was down terminal 29.  It’s rather old but really no issues to report.  When we pulled up they had porters in the parking lot ready to take our bags. 

Since we arrived a little later than normal they were already boarding.  We used our set sail pass to board the ship; our sea pass cards were in the cabin.  I wish I had used the app to check in, so I could have reported how that went vs set sail. 

On board

Once on board we headed down the Champagne bar for our first drinks of the cruise.  I can report that they didn’t have any Stella at this bar, but oh well.  We met some new friends right away and enjoyed a few drinks.  Once thing I’ve noticed is most of the crew just started their contract.  It was little confusing for a few minor things like using Crown and Anchor BOGO coupon with setsail pass. 

I wanted to make reservations for dinner and found the tables set up on the Promenade deck.  They were offering 40% off Chef’s Table and who could say no to that?  We also schedule dinner tomorrow night at Giovanni’s Table with our good friend Paul Crow. 

Cabin

A few minutes before 1PM our cabins were open.  I booked a deck 6 ocean balcony right by the aft stairs.  But I think I’ve learned a lesson the balcony cabin’s on deck 6 on Adventure don’t have the glass to see through.  Not a big deal, but if you are going to spend a lot of time on the balcony I recommend deck 7 or higher.  We are in cabin 6332. 

I found our bags right down the hall and we got unpacked right away.  That’s a good tip; once you get in the cabin if you usually just walk down the hall you will see all the luggage.  I like to be unpacked right away to start my fun on board.

Afternoon on board

Since we were all unpacked we wanted to take advantage of the pools being so empty on day one.  The pools were very cold, I’m thinking since Adventure just came down from Canada.  We didn’t stay more than an hour but it was relaxing and I was officially in cruise mode!

We had the muster drill at 4:30PM, I was lucky enough to get the dining room as my location.  They still have guest stand on the outside decks I just randomly got the dining room.  It was very fast and only read out in English; sometimes the dual languages can slow it down. 

Chef’s Table

Dinner tonight was at Chef’s Table, this is $85 per person that includes wine pairing over a five-course meal.  I recommend you book this on board and not in the cruise planner for discounts.  They were offering 40% off for guest going night one, so I couldn’t turn that down.  The table had 16 guest and one 1 couple booked online and paid $85pp. 

We had an invite in our cabin to meet down at the Champagne bar at 6:15PM.  We started the meal with a glass of champagne meeting our tablemates.  Around 6:45PM you head to the table, which on Adventure is in the dining room. 

The meal itself started out kind of slow as far as conversation.  Funny how a few glasses of wine really gets the group going.  They talked about the wine tasting matching the food flavors.  Just going off the food itself the meal was top notch, far better than Chops Grill. 

We had scallops, tomato soup, lobster, filet, and cake – all with a wine pairing.  Not that this matters too much, but they weren’t refilling wine pours if you really liked one, it was just one glass of each.  The main course came out with Caymus wine, which is my favorite! 

 

The meal last a little over 3 hours when you count the pre-champagne meet up.  They were offering guest to come back during the cruise for a different menu, so who knows we might return. 

 

After dinner we made our donation to Royal Caribbean in the casino.  We manage to make it until 11pm but called it a night.  Day 1 is also so action packed so we ended up calling it a night.  It was a really fun day, tomorrow will be much slower pace with a day at sea! Feel free to comment below with any questions about Adventure.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: October 21, 2018

In:
21Oct2018
By: Matt Hochberg

The fall temperatures may be dropping, but the Royal Caribbean news from this week is as hot as ever, and we have it all summarized for you in this week's round up!

Sit back, and catch-up on all of the Royal Caribbean news and happenings form this week.

Many guests noticed a new option when booking a cruise via the Royal Caribbean website where a new monthly payment option was added.

In addition to the traditional billing method, Royal Caribbean now allows guests to make monthly payments towards a cruise via a third party service.

The montly payment option is financed through a third-party service known as UpLift, in which a first payment is due at booking and subsequent payments taken each month thereafter.  An annual percentage rate (APR) is also tacked onto the total cost for the financing service.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

Packing for a Royal Caribbean cruise presents is own challenges, including deciding what to carry on the ship versus have delivered to your stateroom later.

In this week's Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast, Matt lists what he thinks are the most important items to carry-on the ship.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

PR Week shared the news of Royal Caribbean UK & Ireland hiring a new head of PR & Social.

Eyewitness News reports 500 Royal Caribbean jobs are open to Bahamians.

Cruise Critic shared tips for sailing on a China based cruise ship.

Yahoo! posted the results of CN Traveler reader voting for best cruise lines in 2018.

USA Today listed 30 cruise ship attractions that will "blow your mind".

Cruise Habit recorded a podcast all about specialty dining on cruise ships.

Mariner of the Seas to return to new PortMiami cruise terminal

In:
20Oct2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has begun notifying guests sailing on upcoming Mariner of the Seas sailings that their cruise will make use of the brand new cruise terminal the cruise has built in PortMiami.

Terminal A is a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise terminal and the October 26, 2018 Mariner of the Seas sailing will make use of the port when she returns to Miami. The cruise will begin from Terminal G, but return to Terminal A.

Thanks to Nancy Ritter for sharing this screenshot.

The terminal will feature stunning architecture, a new boarding experience, and an impressive gold propellor that is 15,000 lbs. and 56 ft. tall. Terminal A was designed to accommodate the passengers of two of the world’s largest ships, the new Symphony of the Seas and her sister, Allure of the Seas. 

Guests sailing on other Mariner of the Seas sailings received emails informing them that they too will be cruising to and from the new terminal.

Thanks to Frank for providing this email

A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for November 2nd, 2018 that will formally open the the new terminal to the public.

Friday Photos - October 19, 2018

In:
19Oct2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Every Friday, we show off the Royal Caribbean photos that our readers have sent us in a special blog post.  Each week, we invite our readers to send us their favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we post them right here.

Without further adieu, let's jump right into this week's batch of photos!

We start with this photo by Roger Salzmann of Rhapsody of the Seas in Santorini.

Check out this beautiful photo of sunrise on Harmony of the Seas, taken by Mike Sperduto.

Next is a photo of Anthem of the Seas in Labadee. Photo by Michael Kho.

Allyson Yoshida took this photo from on top of Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau, Alaska while sailing on Radiance of the Seas.

Here is a photo of sister ships docked next to each other by Henry Greenfield.

Rob Young took this photo of Freedom of the Seas docked in St. Thomas.

David Morris took this photo of night view of Central Park while on Symphony of the Seas.

Would you like to submit your Royal Caribbean photos for a future Friday Photos post? Use this form to send them to us and we will feature them very soon!

Spectrum of the Seas has received her two azipods

In:
19Oct2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship, Spectrum of the Seas, had her primary means of propulsion delivered to the shipyard recently.

Spectrum of the Seas received her two azipods. The azipods are used to propel and safety maneuver the ship on the high seas.

Spectrum of the Seas under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The ship is scheduled to be delivered in April 2019.

Royal Caribbean schedules third quarter 2018 earnings call

In:
19Oct2018
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will hold a conference call on October 25, 2018, at 10am to discuss its third quarter 2018 financial results.

The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations web site, www.rclinvestor.com. To listen to the call by phone, please dial (877) 663-9606 in the US and Canada. International phone calls should be made to (706) 758-4628. There is no passcode or meeting number.

A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.

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