Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: October 28, 2018

By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! We are so happy that you stopped by and hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Grab a mug of your favorite hot beverage, sit back, and check out the latest in Royal Caribbean news.

Lots of our readers were talking about the confirmation that Anthem of the Seas will move to Southampton in 2020.

Royal Caribbean UK and Ireland managing director Ben Bouldin confimed the rumor after months of speculation that one of the Quantum Class ships would sail from the UK in 2020.

It remains to be seen which ship will replace Anthem of the Seas in Bayonne, New Jersey. 

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

First time cruisers on Royal Caribbean might be wondering what pitfalls to avoid, and so we shared some good advice on this week's podcast.

In this week's podcast episode, Matt invited podcast listeners to call in and share their own experiences of making mistakes onboard, as well as other miscalculations they may have seen.

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.

New RCB Video: Why book an inside room on a cruise

Have you subscribed to the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel? We share some great videos there regularly, all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise! This week, we are sharing our latest video — Why you should book an inside stateroom on a cruise — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

CNBC shared a talk with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain.

Travel Weekly profiled Richard Fain and shared how the cruise line is using wind power.

The Jersey Momma posted reviews, tips and advice for an Anthem of the Seas cruise.

Live blogging from Adventure of the Seas – Day 6 – Sea Day

By: Michael Poole

Today was our final day on board as we made our way back to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  I had planned on sleeping in this morning but I woke up and enjoyed sunrise from my balcony.  Since we fell back an hour in Grand Cayman, today we went forward an hour. 

I headed up to the pool deck at 9AM and I saw plenty of chairs open.  Due to the time change not many guests were up at the pool already.  Of course a few chair hogs made it out early, but wasn’t an issue. 

They were selling t-shirts at the pool deck for $10 to help something to do with the ocean; I think its sea turtles but not 100% sure.  After a few hours on the pool deck, Hillary wanted to take a nap, so off to the casino I went. 

On sea days they have $2 mimosas from 11AM-12PM, so why not!  I had two and enjoyed talking with new people at the bar.  If you want to grab one and leave, you can get two in one big glass for $4.  

This afternoon I explored around the ship. Tthey had the usual last day of the cruise T-shirt sales, 2 for $20.  I did notice a lot of new shirts I had never seen before, but passed on more cruise shirts. 

At some point I walked by guest services to see the longest line I’ve ever seen.  Maybe people trying to settle up on there on board account.  I always just leave a card on file and used the app to keep track of my on board spending.  Speaking of the app, it worked really well on this cruise.  We never looked at the cruise compass we had the whole week’s schedule day one in the app. 

After my much needed nap I went down to the Champagne bar for an evening cocktail or two.  The bar is always packed at 5PM with people having drinks before early dinner.  I would always wait until 5:30PM and it was completely empty. 

At some point I headed up to the diamond lounge to say good bye to some people I had enjoyed drinks with all week.  I felt like the only person not doing the back to back, in fact they have over 100 staying on board for the 8 night. 

I enjoyed some chicken wings in the lounge and that was my dinner for the night.  I really wasn’t that hungry and didn’t want to eat just to eat.  My friend Paul and I stayed at the pub for a few hours to end the cruise.  We both mentioned how we felt like the ship was finally coming to life tonight.  People were out in full force and enjoying the live music. 

Thoughts on Adventure of the Seas

I really enjoyed this cruise, though I wouldn’t put in as my favorite of all time.  We both thought the entertainment just wasn’t up to par.  The singers in the lounges were not that engaging with the guest.  Though these things don’t have to make or break the cruise, I’ve just experienced some stronger entertainers on other ships.  I also wouldn’t let this prevent me from going on Adventure again, because the entertainers are always coming and going. 

The crew was always fantastic, always smiling and willing to help.  The wait at the bars was few and far between; you could always grab a seat at the lounges.  Speaking of bars, my ending bill was $150 and that’s including a bottle of Kraken from the store tonight.  We really didn’t miss having the drink package with so many port days. 

The food on board Adventure was great; we really loved doing Chef’s table twice during the week.  We never made it to the main dining room, so can’t report anything there.  The windjammer always had a lot of options and we could also always get a seat. 

I hope you enjoyed this live blog on Adventure of the Seas; I sure had a lot of fun sharing over the week.  I’ll see you in January on Brilliance of the Seas!


Friday Photos - October 26, 2018

By: Matt Hochberg

Happy Friday to everyone! When the calendar hits Friday, that means we are sharing our readers favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos!  

Each week we invite our readers to send us their favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we showcase them all right here!

Tyler starts is off with this photo of the pool deck on Freedom of the Seas.

Caroline sent in this photo of Navigator of the Seas docked in Oslo, Norway.

I love a good sunset photo, and Michelle P. caught a beautiful one over Bar Harbor, Maine while on Anthem of the Seas.

Anne W. took this photo of Majesty of the Seas docked in Key West while on her way to a trolley tour.

Here is a photo of Mariner of the Seas departing Singapore, as seen by Ho Hsin Chun.

Here is a great view of the Ultimate Abyss. Photo by Ursula Good.

We have another beautiful photo to share, this one of Radiance of the Seas in Seward, Alaska. Photo by Kath Pfister.

We want to share your Royal Caribbean photos too! Send us your favorite, best, most awesome Royal Caribbean cruise photos by using this form and we will feature them in an upcoming Friday Photos blog post!

First look inside Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal in PortMiami

By: Matt Hochberg

The largest and most modern cruise facility in the world welcomed its first guests this morning as Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas docked at Terminal A in PortMiami earlier today.

Photo by James Van Fleet

Terminal A is a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise terminal that was built to be the home of Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas and her sister, Allure of the Seas.  The building was designed by England-based global architecture firm Broadway Malyan. 

As you come into the terminal, there are multiple escalators and stair cases in front of you with the large, golden propellor blades.

Photos by Frank Tift

The gold propellors weigh in at 15,000 lbs. and are 56 ft. tall.

Once at the top of the stairs, the general boarding area is to your right.

Photo by Frank Tift

Back at the bottom of the stairs, to the right is the entry to the suite/Pinnacle area.  An elevator takes you to the third floor, then you go through security before entering the Suite Lounge.

Photos by Frank Tift

As Mariner of the Seas arrived into port early this morning, Nancy Ritter shared these photos with us of the terminal beautifully lit up.

Photos by Nancy Ritter

In addition to housing two of the world’s largest ships, the new LEED certified facility, it has implemented new technologies and waiting areas to enhance the boarding experience of guests.

The 170,000-square-foot terminal is nicknamed the ‘Crown of Miami’ because of its distinct shape. The design evokes the points of the symbolic headgear when viewed from the water; the ‘M’ of Miami when viewed from the east or western approaches; and a sense of waves rising or ships passing when viewed from the terminal side. 

A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for November 2nd, 2018 that will formally open the the new terminal to the public. Symphony of the Seas arrives to Terminal A on November 9, 2018.

Royal Caribbean offering bonus onboard credit on cruises booked this weekend

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Daring Deals Sale offers guests 50% off the second guest, kids sail less, and up to $200 in onboard credit.

Royal Caribbean cruises booked between October 26-31, 2018 on all sailings departing on or after November 26, 2018. Offer excludes China departures.

Offer includes:

  • 60% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as first full-fare paying guest.
  • 30% off cruise fare for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualified guests.
  • Up to $200 onboard credit (OBC) when booking a non-refundable rate 6 months or more prior to cruise departure date and up to $100 OBC if booking a sailing less than 6 months prior to cruise departure date.
    • Sailings 5 nights and less:
      • $25 OBC for Interior and Ocean View
      • $50 OBC for Balcony
      • $75 OBC for Suite
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer:
      • $50 OBC for Interior and Ocean View
      • $75 OBC for Balcony
      • $100 OBC for Suite
    • Onboard credit excludes China departures.

BOGO and Deck the Holidays Deals are combinable with Daring Deals, NRBD OBC, promotional OBCs, NextCruise offers, Instant Savings, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits. Daring Deals is combinable with NRDB OBC, OBC, instant savings, NextCruise offers, restricted discounts (for example, Senior, Resident, Military) but not combinable with Shareholder benefits and Crown and Anchor discounts. All 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.

Live blogging from Adventure of the Seas – Day 5 – Cozumel, Mexico

By: Michael Poole

Today was our third and final port of call in Cozumel, Mexico.  We docked at 7:45AM and were in port until 5PM.  Cozumel is my most visited port stops, so I was just looking for a relaxing day on the beach. 

I booked Nachi Cocom online (third party) for $55 per person.  Unlike yesterday, you are required to get to and from on your own.  We took the morning easy and left the ship around 9AM.  They have taxis lined up and it’s a quick 10-15 minute ride over to Nachi.  I’m not sure of the very price it cost but its somewhere around $18, I always just hand them $20.  Now coming back I shared a ride with another couple to save $10, because it’s $20 for up to 4 passengers. 

When I arrived they let me know that Nachi didn’t have very many bookings today, only around 15 people for the day and they can hold up to 130 guests. I’ve been to Nachi around ten times and never seen a day like this where it was so empty.  We were walked over to our beach chairs and the beers started to arrive moments later. 

Most of the morning was relaxing in my chair of going for a quick swim in the ocean.  The cycle went on for three hours before we made it up to the pool area.  We made some new friends in the hot tub and tequila shots may have happened. 

I like to eat lunch up by the entrance with table and chairs.  However, if you want they will bring the food down to you on the beach.  We ordered shrimp and chicken fajitas, so we could try both.  I loved the shrimp and she loved the chicken, so it worked out perfect.  They also brought out some chips and guacamole, all I can say is we left none behind!

After lunch we stayed up in the pool / hot tub area the rest of the day.  I happen to look down at my watch and noticed it was 3:30PM and all on board was 4:30PM, so it was time to get moving. 

All around a perfect day at Nachi, very relaxing and the ocean water is beautiful.  The service was also outstanding today; I think it was a 1 to 1 ratio for employees to guest today. 

On board

Once we made it back on board I relaxed on my balcony for an hour.  I saw a large flow a guest walking down the pier around 4:50PM.  I suppose they were on a Royal tour for us to have waited for them. 

Tonight we ordered our free diamond photos for pick up tomorrow.  Some good advice around that is don’t wait until the last night, it’s a zoo.  On Adventure they have the touch screens and you must order the photo to be printed.  We were still able to apply our diamond coupon for a free photo at checkout. 

After the photo lounge we headed over to the casino to use our free spin to win.  Sad to report we didn’t even win a key chain.   I also made a nice donation to Royal Caribbean while we were in there. 

We didn’t have any plans for dinner tonight; we talked about doing Johnny Rockets but were too tired from Cozumel.  So off to the Windjammer we went.  Since it was around 8PM they were starting to shut things down on one side.  The food was fine for a quick dinner and I was able to grab a diamond beer at the back bar. 

After dinner we hung out in the pub for an hour listening to live music.  The pub entertainer isn’t the best I’ve ever had but it’s still fun.  I bought one kraken and diet for $8 with tip.  My new bar total is $120 for the cruise after 5 nights.  It so seems like the drink cards are going away, my last two cruises they haven’t been seen. 

Tomorrow is a sea day as we head back to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Stay tuned plenty more Adventure fun coming!

Save up to 30% off pre-cruise purchases with Royal Caribbean's Sale Before You Sail offer

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's new weekend sale on pre-cruise purchases begins today, with select pre-cruise purchases discounted up to 30% off onboard prices.

The Sale Before You Sail promotion runs between October 26, 2018 - October 29, 2018 and is valid on select sailings November 1, 2018 - April 15, 2019.

The offer is valid on certain shore excursions, drink packages and internet packages.

Royal Caribbean states guests can expect to see:

  • Beverage Packages: Up to 30% off onboard prices
    • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship
    • Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship
    • Refreshment Package: 30% off onboard prices
  • Shore Excursions: Save up to 25% on select tours on select sailings. Discount varies by ship.
  • Internet: up to 60% off on select sailings
    • Voom Surf + Stream Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship.
    • Voom Surf Voyage 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship.
  • Dining
    • 3 night Dining Package: Save 20% off. Available on select ships.

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site look for any available offers. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.

Royal Caribbean provides insight into roll out plans for new smart phone app

By: Matt Hochberg

Speaking to investors, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain provided guidance on the cruise line's plans for roll out of its new smart phone app across all brands.

"Today, I thought it would to show you just how aggressively we are rolling out these capabilities to our guests. I would emphasize that our guest capabilities represent just one dimension of the program, but it's a highly visible one."

"The guest app, in its current form, includes features such as accelerated check-in, the daily planner, onboard accounts, shore excursions, as well as the ability to book various items such as shore excursions, specialty restaurants and other onboard activities."

"You can see in the slide that we've highlighted three milestones that represent the way we make the app available to our guests. We call them, crawl, walk, run.

The first phase, crawl, refers to testing mode. In crawl, mode, the app is up and running, but we keep it very quiet so we can test it out with a small group of participants. When we are comfortable that the functionality has reached an acceptable level, we shift to the walk stage.

When we get to walk, we allow everyone who wishes to do so to use the app, but we don't aggressively push it. This is roughly equivalent to the beta stage of most apps. It gives us a chance to test it under real-life conditions, but only with a limited group of users.

Lastly, when we get to the run phase, we want as many guests engaged as possible. The app is then available to anyone and we vigorously publicize it, so that as many guests as possible use it. When we get to the run stage, the app has been thoroughly vetted and most of our guests use it and love it.

Our initial priority for the app capabilities has been on easing the process of boarding and disembarking. We've also prioritized other things that our guests most want. Next will come more bells and whistles, such as facial recognition, the ability to easily book your onboard activities before sailing, new chat capabilities, and an innovative digital stateroom key. Again, I want to repeat that this only refers to the capabilities our guests use. A lot of focus has also been on the capabilities on making our employees more efficient and more effective.

Now, one question I am sometimes asked is how we can scale this so quickly out to our fleet. The reason is that over the years, we have built and maintained our fleet to take maximum advantage of technology. As a result, we already have a lot of technology on the ships that can be used to provide some of these capabilities. We need to add more, but this gives a definite leg up."

Royal Caribbean Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty also spoke of the rapid pace the cruise line is taking to get these new technology initiatives online sooner than later, "We are very much trying to accelerate our Excalibur efforts to the point that we have certain capabilities come online a little bit quicker than we had expected them to."

Live blogging from Adventure of the Seas – Day 4 – Costa Maya

By: Michael Poole

Today was our second port of call in Costa Maya, Mexico.  We didn’t arrived until 11AM, so we had a nice relaxing morning on board.  We ended up just eating breakfast in the Diamond Lounge.  They had small items to snack on, which is fine for me but no bacon in the lounge. 

Adventure ended up docking at 10:30AM, so we were off the ship a little sooner than planned.  The departure process this morning was very easy, they had the line moving it was almost like the crew had done this before!

Prior to the cruise I booked an all-inclusive beach resort called Maya Chan.  The cost for this beach day was $59 per person. 

When you make the reservation you pay in full on line, which I liked having it “paid” for, meaning less cash needed.  The cover charge included open bar, open taco bar, transportation to and from, and beach chairs.  You just can’t beat that price; the only money I spent today was to tip when you leave. 

Getting to Maya Chan was an experience needless to say; they have a sign outside the gates down to the right to check-in.  They waited until we had 25-30 guests and called 3 taxi’s to take us. 

The ride to the beach is around a half hour and let me tell you that was quite an experience.  You travel on a dirt road for about half the time full of potholes, we were all laughing in the taxi, where are we going? 

Once you arrive they give you quick tour of the grounds and explain how the day is going to work.  I must say, everything was truly included even all the water toys!  Since we arrived around to the beach around noon we waited to have lunch later in the afternoon. 

I really liked the selection of beers they offered, and when I tell you they keep them coming they would swim out to you in the ocean to make sure you have a drink.  I liked how the beach was owned by a small family from Southern California, in fact I talked to the owner for a half hour at the bar. 

For lunch they have a taco bar, I waited until around 2PM to eat.  They had four different meats and endless toppings.  I thought the food was fantastic; the fish taco was my favorite.  It’s an open taco bar, so you can have as many as you want – aka Matt would be in trouble. 

If I had to give any negative feedback on Maya Chan it would be the seaweed.  They had a crew of 5-6 guys cleaning the beach the entire day, but it just kept coming.  The smell was a little strong at first when we arrived.  I would also recommend water shoes if you plan on getting in the water.

Since we had Chef’s Table at 6PM we needed to leave Maya Chan at a decent hour to get cleaned up.  They have someone coming around asking what time you want to leave, so they can schedule a taxi for you. Remember they pay for taxis too, so it was a seamless process. 

Evening on board

My only activity to report tonight was Chef’s Table.  We had so much fun the first night almost the same group booked again for tonight.  We did receive the 40% off discount tonight; otherwise I wouldn’t have gone again.  I also think $50 per person for a 6-course meal and wine when we don’t have a drink package is a great deal. 

The chef knew we were coming so he changed up the menu, so we could all have a different experience.  Once again we met in the Champagne Lounge at 6PM and our waiter greeted us with some champagne, but this time it was blue!

The food tonight was all about the chef trying knew things and some of them were really good.  We had a seafood soup that I loved, also lobster in a martini glass.  For the main course I had duck, they were also offering scallops.  Tonight they were pouring us more wine as we finished, now that’s more my style! 

Again the dinner was around 3 hours and full of laughing and making new friends.  I’m really happy we decided to go back, now that Hillary has experienced Chef’s Table I might be in trouble every cruise now. 

After dinner we were out of energy, between drinking all day on the beach and for hours at dinner my body had enough.  I think we were out by 10PM, but we were okay with that it was a really fun day.  We did miss the ice show tonight because of dinner, so I hope they have it again.  Today I didn’t purchase any drinks on board, so official bar tab for the day was $0.00, running total $110. 

Tomorrow we are in Cozumel, Mexico; if you read my live blogs in the past you can probably guess where I’m headed. 

Video: Why book an inside cabin for your Royal Caribbean cruise

By: Matt Hochberg

We have a brand new Royal Caribbean Blog video today, and we are listing the top reasons to book an inside cabin on your Royal Caribbean cruise!

Is it worth it to book an inside cabin on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Royal Caribbean's ships have plenty of inside cabins to offer and they tend to be the smallest and cheapest rooms, and yet plenty of people book them.  In fact, on most sailings the cruise line will fill every one.

Why would booking this type of cruise room be a good idea? We have a few good reasons why an inside cabin is a great choice.

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!