Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: December 9, 2018

By: Matt Hochberg

Happy December! We cannot believe that we are already one full week into the month – there is so much going on with holiday preparation and shopping and baking!

Royal Caribbean announced this week that it will end its parternship with DreamWorks.

Starting on all sailings departing on or after April 1, Royal Caribbean will cease to offer the DreamWorks experience on any of its ships.

All cruises that depart before April 1 will have the DreamWorks experience for the entirety of the cruise; programming will not cut off mid-cruise.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 279th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available and this week, we share what you need to know before going on a cruise from Terminal A in PortMiami.

Royal Caribbean's brand new cruise terminal in Miami is open, and Matt shares a guide for going from curb to ship in Terminal A.

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

Orlando Sentinel shared how an astronaught helped Royal Caribbean develop a show on Symphony of the Seas.

Seatrade Cruise News reports Royal Caribbean named a new member to its Board of Directors.

TravelBiz reported Royal Caribbean has won the title of favorite cruise line in India.

Photo tour of Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

The Grand Suite (Category GS) on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is a popular choice for guests who want to indulge in a suite experience. It offers a lot of living space, and the Sky Class benefits of the Royal Suite Class.

This photo tour is from stateroom 12254 on Symphony of the Seas during a November 2018 sailing.

The Grand Suite measures 371 square feet and has a balcony that is 105 square feet.

Grand Suite staterooms on Symphony of the Seas have a bedroom area with two twin beds that convert to a Royal King.

The full bathroom has a tub and two sinks. There is a living room with a sofa that converts to double bed.

The private balcony has a seating area and private dining.

Royal Caribbean updates app with support for Harmony and Liberty of the Seas and add new games

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean rolled out a new update to its smart phone app that adds support to two ships, plus new interactive games on Symphony of the Seas.

Version 1.13.0 was released today and it adds support for Harmony of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas. This brings the total to 12 ships in the fleet that can take advantage of the app.  Each ship has varying feature sets, as the app is still under development.


In addition, guests on Symphony of the Seas can download and play two new immersive games from the app: Duck Duck Bear and Splish Splash Soak. These games are activated when standing in front of designated signs on the Boardwalk.

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.

Friday Photos - December 7, 2018

By: Matt Hochberg

If it's Friday, that means we are sharing our reader's best Royal Caribbean photos in this week's Friday Photos showcase.  As always, we want to include as many of our readers photos as we can, so be sure to send us your best Royal Caribbean photos too!

Joe Moran (@JLMoran) starts us off with this photo of Freedom of the Seas docked in St. Kitts.

Next up is a fun photo of a tiny towel animal in Beth Bean's stateroom while on Oasis of the Seas.

Here is a photo of Harmony of the Seas in Labadee by Rebecc Thibert.

Shawn Crossley took a photo of Rose and Callum on the helipad of Voyager of the Seas while docked in Noumea, New Caledonia.

Wilson took a photo looking down the starboard side from the bridge of Navigator of the Seas.

We have another towel animal photo, this one by David Ep on Grandeur of the Seas.

Sandra Doss took this photo in Cozumel, with Liberty of the Seas behind her.

Do you have Royal Caribbean photos that you want to share?  We'd love to feature them so send them in by using our nifty submission form and maybe your photos will show up in next week's edition!

Royal Caribbean will cease DreamWorks programming on its ships in 2019

By: Matt Hochberg

It appears Royal Caribbean will cease offering DreamWorks programming on its ships for sailings that depart on or after April 1, 2019.

Royal Caribbean sent guests on select sailings an update about the ship's programming to inform them of the change. The cruise line reiterated their commitment to offering plenty of family programming to its guests.

All sailings that depart before April 1 will have the program for the entire sailing.  The only exception to this end date is the DreamWorks ice skating show onboard Allure of the Seas. Due to a previously scheduled cast rotation, the last Allure sailing featuring the DreamWorks show will be the March 17, 2019 sail date. After that sailing, Allure will feature a new ice show by Royal Caribbean Productions team.

There are nine Royal Caribbean ships that offer the DreamWorks Experience onboard, which include activities such as character meet and greets, Adventure Ocean programming, films and character breakfasts.

  • Allure of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas,
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

Royal Caribbean said the decision was made as part of its regular process of reviewing and refreshing their onboard offerings.

The DreamWorks ice skating show and DreamWorks AquaTheater show on Allure of the Seas will be replaced with family-friendly shows designed by Royal Caribbean Productions. The sail away party and Royal Promenade parade, on select ships, will be replaced with original parties and programming.

Symphony of the Seas was the first new Royal Caribbean ship since the partnership began with DreamWorks in June 2010 not to debut with the DreamWorks Experience onboard.  In lieu of the DreamWorks offerings, Royal Caribbean created its own brand of family entertainment activities to maintain its family programming options.

Royal Caribbean offering 30% off every guest with December offer

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering 30% off all guests with its WAVE December Offer.

30% off All Guests

Booking Window: December 5, 2018 – December 26, 2018
Sailing Window: All sailings departing on or after January 5, 2019.
Offer details: All guests 30% Off

Freedom Promo Code

Booking Window: December 5, 2018 – December 31, 2018
Sailing Window: Sailings between November 16, 2018 – April 30, 2019
Offer details: offers $50 savings
Promo Code: DEAL

Alaska Onboard Credit

Booking Window:December 5, 2018 – December 26, 2018
Sailing Window:All 2019
Offer details: Up to $300 to spend at sea

  • Cruise only: $50 OBC for Interior and Ocean View, $100 for Balconies and $150 for Suites
  • Cruise Tour: $100 OBC for Interior and Ocean View, $200 for Balconies and $300 for Suites

Eligible Products: Alaska sailings

Alaska Free Upgrades

Booking Window: December 5, 2018 – December 26, 2018
Sailing Window: All 2019
Offer details: Balconies at the price of Oceanviews
Eligible Products: Alaska sailings
Exclusions: Cruise Tours

30% Off All Guests is combinable with promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Promo Code driven offers, Free Upgrades, Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates. Promo Code driven offers are based on select ships and sail dates and must be applied at time of booking, limit one promo code per booking.

Offer available to residents of United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and select countries in the Caribbean. 

Top 10 Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas hidden secrets

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is an amazing cruise ship that offers guests so much to see and do onboard. It is one of the largest cruise ships in the world and with so much going on, we present our list of the best secrets that are easily to overlook on Symphony of the Seas.

Jogging deck ping pong tables

Photo by Twangster

The running track on deck 5 is somewhere you will find other guests getting some laps in walking or jogging around, but there is also a hidden location for a game of ping pong.

On each side of the forward deck, you will find two alcoves where you can enjoy the view of the ocean and even some lounge chairs.

One side of the deck has a shuffleboard court, and the other had ping pong tables. These alcoves are not only great spots to find seclusion, but they offer something to do with very likely no wait.

Aft chairs with a view

If you are looking for a quiet spot to watch the ocean, many guests are unaware of an area right below the first Aqua Theater suite balcony on deck seven.

Just behind the rock wall, you can find comfortable Adirondack chairs to sit in with the perfect view of the ocean.  Rarely will you find other guests here.

Best spot to view Flight

One of the signature shows on Symphony of the Seas is Flight, a musical tribute to mankind's endeavors to achieve flight and it is held in the Royal Theater.

Based on recommendations from the show's tech team as well as our own experience, the ideal spot to sit for this show is around the sixth or seventh row center.  The reason being is these seats will provide the perfect vantage point for the show's finale.

You can check-in with the mobile app

Royal Caribbean's new smart phone app provides a lot of new functionality, but did you know you can check-in via the app as well?

Just like the airlines, you can use the app to complete the online check-in.  Then, once at the beautiful Terminal A in PortMiami, you can breeze through the check-in process with your app in hand.  The app will contain your Set Sail pass and everything you need to get from curb to ship as fast as possible.

Find the stowaway piano player

When sailing on Symphony of the Seas, you have to take some time to find one of the best forms of entertainment Royal Caribbean offers that is not in a theater: the stowaway piano player.

This highly entertaining performer takes his piano on wheels and can perform nearly anywhere the ship. Most often, he can be found in elevators or the Boardwalk neighborhood.

You never can tell where or when he will be around, but if you spot him, be sure to take a few minutes to enjoy the show.

Embarkation day lunch spots

We love the Windjammer for the sheer variety of food offered, but on embarkation day it can get busy in there.  The good news is there are some excellent alternatives to consider that will be much less crowded.

Park Cafe, Playmakers, Johnny Rockers and El Loco Fresh are open on embarkation day for lunch and provide quick and easy meals to get your cruise started off right.  If you prefer a more relaxed first day meal, Chops Grille, Solarium Bistro and Jamie's Italian are also open for embarkation day lunch.

If you happen to be staying in a suite, Coastal Kitchen is also available for day one lunch and open to guests in a Grand Suite or above only.

Bridge wings

One of our favorite spots on any Oasis Class ship are the bridge wings. Located on deck 14, these viewing platforms extend out from the ship to provide the absolute best view of what is around.

To get to the wing viewing areas, go to the Solarium and proceed all the way forward

Book entertainment before you board

When sailing on an Oasis Class cruise ship, one of our best tips for guests is to pre-book their entertainment before going on Symphony.

Right after booking a cruise, Royal Caribbean allows guests to register their cruise on their My Cruises section of the Royal Caribbean web site and manage their reservation, with the option of booking dining, entertainment and other purchases prior to the cruise.  

The best reason to book certain activities, entertainment and dining in advance is to guarantee a spot for you and your family, as well as break up the total cost of the cruise.

There is limited capacity for shows, dining and other activities and Royal Caribbean tends to offer guests the option of reserving them prior to their cruise. 

By booking these activities early, you can ensure you have the time and day that you want all lined up.

See the Big Wonder in the Solarium at night

One of the most impressive pieces of art on Symphony of the Seas is the Big Wonder in the Solarium.

New York's SOFTlab's Big Wonder is an architecturally integrated work of art in the Solarium. Comprised of thousands of dichroic acrylic elements, containing over 3,800 facets and covering an area of 241 square meters, this monumental, one-of-a-kind installation expands perception and explores the concept of infinite space as an ever-changing occurence.

At night, this piece becomes even more of a must-see as it is lit up beautifully to provide some amazing photo opportunities.

Augmented reality art

Royal Caribbean loves to include interactive art on its ships, and you will find two distinct opportunities to explore sight and sound on Symphony of the Seas.

The "Sound Wonders" come alive with sound when you step into them.  These three interactive sound "havens" - Daniel Canogar's all embracing Sound Shell, Alejandro Marote's out-of-the-ordinary, meteorite-inspired sound chamber and dEmo's memorable Drier-Wig sculpture - invite you to activate, contemplate and appreciate one of life's most scintillating senses...sound.

On deck 12 forward, you will find art work require the user to turn on their Royal Caribbean app and then activate X-ray vision. The app allows the user to take a live virtual view around the bridge of Symphony of the Seas. This is a live video, and you can look as long as you would like.

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

Royal Caribbean announces plans to develop new Galveston cruise terminal

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston announced they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development and operation of a new cruise terminal.

The new terminal will cover approximately 200,000 square feet on ten acres of land in the southeast section of the Port known as Pier 10. Improvements to the pier bulkhead and apron will be made to safely accommodate the cruise line’s largest vessels. In addition, a staging and loading area, bus and taxi staging areas and substantial parking will be constructed. The new state-of-the-art facility is anticipated to open in Fall 2021.

“Over the last 15 years, Royal Caribbean has brought over 2.4 million guests to Galveston driving an economic impact of $65 million each year. The development of a new terminal is crucial to our continued growth and expansion of the brand in the region,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We look forward to continuing our outstanding relationship with the Port of Galveston and are excited about our plans for a state-of-the-art facility with a bold new design and technological advancements that will considerably enhance our guest experience.”

The long-term lease negotiations could lead to a 60-year transaction: a 20-year initial term and four 10-year options.

Royal Caribbean opens 2020-2021 Short Caribbean sailings for booking

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean opened up its 2020-2021 short Caribbean deployments for booking today to Crown and Anchor Society members, with the general public going on sale on December 6, 2018.

You can view each ship's sailings here:

The opening schedule for the 2020-2021 sailings is as follows:

  • Week of December 10, 2018: Caribbean (Phase I), Northeast, Canada & Bermuda
  • Week of December 17, 2018: Europe (Phase II)

Remaining 2020-2021 sailings will be announced in Spring 2019.

Video: Take a Tour of the Family Adventures on Symphony of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International’s new Symphony of the Seas is a “playground” for guests of all ages. From glow-in-dark laser tag, an escape room adventure and multistory waterslides, to the one-of-a-kind Ultimate Family Suite – featuring an in-suite slide, air hockey table and a private cinema – Symphony’s collection of bold, new thrills make this TIME magazine “World’s Greatest Places” winner the ultimate family vacation.