Family Cruise

Can Your Family Cruise Be Foolproof?

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 668 0

Travelling as a family can sometimes be a challenge. Finding a trip everyone will enjoy, with enough activities to keep the younger family members busy but with adult activities as well!  So can your family cruise really be foolproof? It sure can be when you follow these five steps for an unforgettable family cruise with Royal Caribbean.

Step 1: Start with a big ship.
There is a reason cruise lines keep building ever larger ships: They are exciting. Picture floating cities with distinct neighborhoods, sporting greenbelts, boardwalks, quiet cafés, late-night discos, round-the-clock casinos, water parks, and much more. With so much to do and see on board, the destinations are like an added bonus. And when it comes to cruising on an epic scale, Royal Caribbean stands out, with four of the largest cruise ships at sea and more in the works.

Step 2: Bring the whole family.
“Cruising is an ideal option for multigenerational travel,” says Deborah Director, a Boca Raton-based Virtuoso travel advisor, “and Royal Caribbean excels at meeting the varied needs of families traveling together.”

Sailing with tots and teens? No problem. Royal Caribbean offers younger guests an entertaining lineup of activities, from story time and dance parties to hands-on experiments in a science lab, painting, sculpture and crafts in an art studio, and hands-on fun in a DIY theater. While the kids are off having a blast, mom, dad, and grandparents can take a fitness class, unwind in the spa with a signature treatment, or enjoy a show. Come nighttime, let the babysitter tuck the kids in bed while the grown-ups enjoy date-night dining and thrills at the Vegas-style casino.

Step 3: Ratchet up the live entertainment.
Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line that offers Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals – think Mamma Mia!, Cats, Grease, and more. The line pushes the boundaries of what’s possible at sea with high-tech, immersive entertainment and cutting-edge productions on stage, in the air, underwater, and on ice. At Studio B, for example, world-class ice skaters spin and leap against a backdrop of stunning multimedia visuals and audio. In the Aqua Theater, divers sail off 30-foot platforms and perform aerial feats of derring-do before plunging with barely a splash into the deepest pool at sea.

Step 4: Throw in a private island.
Who hasn’t dreamed of escaping it all? Now you can, thanks to Royal Caribbean’s series of private island destinations around the world. The first in the collection is Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas, where you can partake in seven superlative-demanding experiences, including the tallest and most thrilling waterslide in North America, the highest viewpoint in the Bahamas – a helium balloon up to 450 feet in the air – and the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean. The exclusive Coco Beach Club, debuting in December 2019, will offer the first and only overwater cabanas in the Bahamas.

Step 5: Make it deluxe.
If ever there were a reason to upgrade, this is it. Royal Suite Class is designed for discerning travelers, such as grandparents accustomed to high-end cruising who want an experience their grandchildren will never forget. Think: floating five-star hotel with three ever-more-luxurious tiers. Star tier guests in Royal Suite Class enjoy priority boarding and departure (allowing you to avoid the crowds); spacious, spectacularly appointed accommodations with pillow-top mattresses and posh amenities such as L’Occitane bath products; VOOM, the fastest Internet at sea; preferred seating at select venues; and more. The best perk: a personal Royal Genie, certified by the British Butler Institute but with special powers to create one-of-a-kind experiences designed around you.

A backstage tour of your favorite Broadway show? Check. Catching the first wave of the day on the FlowRider? Yup. Exclusive access to the California-chic Coastal Kitchen restaurant? Absolutely. “It’s all included,” says Rockville, Maryland-based Virtuoso travel advisor Jeremy Hall. “Each generation of your family can rest easy and relax – which is what your cruise is supposed to be all about.”

 

 

This article is sponsored by Royal Caribbean International. All images courtesy of Royal Caribbean International. Original post can be found here https://blog.virtuoso.com/sponsored-post/five-foolproof-steps-for-an-unforgettable-family-cruise/

Oasis-Class Ship

Royal Caribbean Orders Sixth Oasis-Class Vessel

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 709 0

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) announced that it has entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique to order a sixth Oasis-class ship for delivery in the fall of 2023.

This new ship will join Royal Caribbean’s Fleet of these other Oasis Class Ships

Oasis of the Seas – built 2009
Allure of the Seas – built 2010
Harmony of the Seas – built 2016
Symphony of the Seas – built 2018
TBA Oasis Class ship – arriving 2021

 

“It is such a pleasure to announce the order of another Oasis-class ship,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This order is a reflection of the exceptional performance of this vessel class and the extraordinary partnership between Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.”

“This is the twenty-third cruise ship that RCL will be building at our shipyard, and we are especially proud of it,” said Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique. “The order reflects the confidence our customer puts on us, based on the exceptional quality of our long-term co-operation between the two companies and on our capacity to bring innovative solutions to meet our customer’s expectations.”

This order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of this year.

Symphony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean celebrates christening of Symphony of the Seas

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 789 0

Actors Alexa & Carlos PenaVega, with Son Ocean, Host Celebration at the Cruise Line’s New Terminal A

MIAMI, FLORIDA, 2018-Nov-19 — /Travel PR News/ — It’s official, Miami’s newest ship has come in. Royal Caribbean International celebrated the homecoming of the world’s largest cruise ship with the naming ceremony of Symphony of the Seas, the 25th ship in the global cruise line’s impressive fleet. Symphony was named by Royal Caribbean’s first-ever Godfamily, actors Alexa and Carlos PenaVega, who along with 23-month-old son Ocean, were on hand to christen the ship and bestow a blessing of safekeeping over her crew and guests. Having celebrated many happy occasions onboard the cruise line’s Oasis Class ships, the naming ceremony marks the avid Royal Caribbean fans’ biggest adventure yet with the cruise line.

With almost 1,000 guests in attendance, Symphony of the Seas was christened while dockside at the cruise line’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A at PortMiami, making for the largest naming ceremony in Royal Caribbean’s history. The customary event was infused with modern day elements – ranging from an electronic violinist who serenaded the crowd throughout the ceremony, to a stunning sail away performance by nearly 400 choreographed drones – and also incorporated a number of local Miami touches. Florida International University’s Marching Band kicked off the celebration, while students from Miami Southridge Senior High headlined the occasion on stage with a rousing drumline performance. Through Royal Caribbean’s partnership with the GRAMMY® Museum, Miami Southridge Senior High was one of 20 high schools within the Miami-Dade County Public School District that received a Royal Caribbean-funded grant through the GRAMMY Museum® Signature Schools program, which supports music education programs in underserved high schools.

Joining sister ship Allure of the Seas at Royal Caribbean’s state-of-the-art Terminal A, Symphony will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean with featured visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the global cruise line’s newly revealed private destination in The Bahamas. The 170,000-square-foot Terminal A, nicknamed the ‘Crown of Miami,’ is the most innovative cruise facility in the U.S. with an expected $500 million in revenue and addition of 4,000 jobs to Miami-Dade County. It is anticipated that Royal Caribbean will welcome at least 1.8 million guests at PortMiami, representing no less than 30 percent of the port’s projected traveler traffic. For more information about Symphony, visit RoyalCaribbean.com/SymphonyoftheSeas.

Symphony brings to life every family’s vacation dreams with a bold lineup of energy-filled, heart-pumping experiences. The new ship offers the chance to go head-to-head in a glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure, take the plunge down the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea towering 10 stories high – or soak up some sun after getting drenched on epic waterslides and FlowRider surf simulators. After a day at play, families can dine at a variety of venues that will keep taste buds tingling, including Hooked Seafood, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and El Loco Fresh for Mexican street-food fare, all before picking up the sweetest of treats at Sugar Beach. Adding to the excitement is the Ultimate Family Suite, a one-of-a-kind, two-story home away from home designed for both the young and young at heart, where families can enjoy a signature in-suite slide, private cinema, building block wall, Luckey Climber vertical maze for kids and whirlpool, among other premium services and amenities.

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 49-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean, including jaw-dropping entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. On board, guests are catered to with the cruise line’s world-renowned friendly and engaging service by every staff and crew member. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 15 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards.

Movie Premier

Royal Caribbean Hosts Largest Movie Premier At Sea

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Harmony of the Seas Makes Movie Debut in Netflix Original “Like Father” on August 3

MIAMI, Aug. 2, 2018 – Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas is making waves in Hollywood this summer with her starring role, alongside Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer and Seth Rogen, in the Netflix original “Like Father.” To celebrate, on Friday, Aug.3, the cruise line will host the largest movie premiere at sea by screening the dramedy across its Oasis Class ships – the world’s largest cruise ships: Symphony, Harmony, Allure and Oasis of the Seas – in the iconic AquaTheater, the onboard amphitheater boasting two movie screens. Leading up to the premiere, guests will be treated to a special event in the signature Boardwalk neighborhood, featuring a live DJ, face painting, delicious treats and beverage specials.

“Like Father” was filmed on board Harmony of the Seas and showcases the famed actors experiencing the robust lineup of thrilling activities and amenities for which Royal Caribbean is known, including Boleros, The Perfect Storm, FlowRider, Royal Promenade, Rising Tide Bar, and the line’s private island destination Labadee, Haiti, where they braved the longest overwater zip line. The movie, written, directed and produced by Lauren Miller Rogen, features Kristen Bell as a young advertising executive and workaholic, who was left at the altar and unexpectedly ends up on her Caribbean honeymoon cruise with her estranged father – Kelsey Grammer. After several adventures and much soul-searching, the two return with a renewed appreciation for family and life. The film launches globally on Netflix on August 3.

Harmony of the Seas is one of the world’s largest cruise ships with a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences found nowhere else on land or at sea. Harmony combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities, including imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, such as VOOM, the fastest internet at sea.

Royal Caribbean Mariner Royal Amplified

Royal Caribbean to Invest $900 Million in Modernizing Ships

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Royal Amplified will Dramatically Redefine the Future of Adventure

MIAMI, March 14, 2018 – Royal Caribbean International is amping up vacation adventures by reimagining its fleet with a $900 million investment. The Royal Amplified program spans 10 ships in four years, and touches every facet of the guest experience on a lineup of the world’s most highly regarded and award-winning ships, including Oasis and Allure of the Seas, as well as all Freedom and Voyager Class ships. The program is set to introduce a wide range of innovative features and bold new experiences that will further build on Royal Caribbean’s best-in-class global vacation offering.

In developing Royal Amplified, the global cruise line analyzed multiple years of guest satisfaction ratings, venue utilization data and crew interviews to focus the major investment on key features and experiences that matter most to travelers. Full details on each ship’s new amenities will be revealed on a continuous basis in the next three years.

“Royal Amplified is built on our passion for innovation, relentless attention to detail and commitment to always exceeding our guests’ expectations,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We sail with more than five million guests worldwide each year, and recognize the need to always innovate and stay ahead of the curve. We have designed this program to wow our loyal guests while also attracting the next generation of adventurers.”

Iconic Pools and Attractions
With Royal Amplified, outside decks will be reimagined for thrill seekers to discover everything they want under the sun and beneath the stars. From pools specifically designed for family fun and relaxing spa-like environments, to lively activities day and night, more specialized pool spaces will catering to diverse preferences. Upper decks will be amped up and evolved with exciting new attractions and first-of-its-kind thrills such as Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience along with waterslides, and waterparks.

Elevated Dining and Nightlife
Guests crave cornerstone cuisines, like Italian, seafood and Mexican, and Royal Caribbean will deliver on that with the introduction of more experiential dining concepts. Travelers also will see more of the cruise line’s recently unveiled experiences, including Hooked Seafood, Royal Caribbean’s New England-style restaurant; Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, and family-friendly El Loco Fresh with popular Mexican fare. Additional casual, grab-and-go eateries to keep guests fueled between their adventures will also make their debut.

What’s more, adventurers will have the opportunity to drink, clink and live it up in distinct new bars and nightlife spots that deliver on the three tenets of a great night out: unique drinks, delicious food and live entertainment. This makes for more multidimensional nightlife venues offering food, live music and craft cocktails, like The Bamboo Room, and a signature outdoor Caribbean Bar. Other new concepts include a world-class music hall, a go-to spot for karaoke, and a lounge-style nightclub that will take the nightlife to a whole new level.

Redefined Short Caribbean Getaways
Royal Caribbean believes that vacations should provide maximum levels of adventure no matter how long or short. With quick getaways becoming increasingly popular and necessary for today’s traveler, the cruise line will ensure that its 3- and 4-night cruises are just as exceptional as longer escapes. With the Royal Amplified focus on innovative attractions, iconic pools, distinct bars and dining, guests can enjoy an ample variety of options and features that will allow them to escape from their routine and redefine their weekends.

Royal Caribbean is not only amping up the adventure on its ships with the Royal Amplified program. The cruise line is also set to raise the bar in vacation adventures on land with the introduction of its Perfect Day Island Collection of unrivaled private island destinations around the world. The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, scheduled for completion in fall 2019, will offer the ultimate in thrill and chill with a number of distinct experiences and iconic features giving guests first-time experiences that will top any bucket list. Four Royal Caribbean ships in the Royal Amplified program, departing from New York, Maryland and Florida, will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, providing guests with a vacation like no other in the Caribbean.

 

A Look Ahead at Royal Amplified

Freedom Class – Independence of the Seas will be the first ship in the Royal Amplified program to reveal multimillion-dollar upgrades, including Sky Pad, Battle for Planet Z, a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides and a new Escape Room: The Observatorium challenge, where competitors can solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. Not to mention the addition of new dining venues, from Fish and Ships – a seaside seafood spot with freshly battered fish and chips and other guest favorites – to Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Izumi Hibachi and Sushi and Sugar Beach. Independence will offer 3- to 14-night sailings from Southampton, England beginning in May 2018, before she heads across the pond in Nov. 2018 to sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on 4- to 5-night Caribbean cruises. Freedom of the Seas will be up next, debuting new features in 2020, followed by Liberty of the Seas in 2021.

Voyager Class – In summer 2018, the transformation of Royal Caribbean’s short Caribbean cruises will begin with the $90 million amp-up of Mariner of the Seas. Mariner will redefine the quick getaway by giving guests the chance to take their weekends to new heights with the addition of new thrills, such as Sky Pad and laser tag; The Bamboo Room, a retro lounge with its tiki-chic décor; and the fun and vibrant Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. The program will continue in 2019 on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, which also will be redesigned to specifically cater to those who seek a quick getaway.

Oasis Class – Oasis of the Seas will be completely reimagined in fall 2019, ten years after her revolutionary debut. The ship will gain new thrills, pools, bars and culinary creations, as well as introduce new restaurants and onboard adventures found on the newest Oasis Class ship, Symphony of the Seas. These enhancements will cascade to Allure of the Seas in spring 2020, making every ship in the class more adventurous than ever.

 

 

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 49-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean, including jaw-dropping, state-of-the-art entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. Onboard, guests are catered to with the cruise line’s world-renowned friendly and engaging service by every staff and crew member. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 15 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.

 

The cruise line sails 24 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. Media can stay up-to-date by following @RoyalCaribPR on Twitter, and visiting RoyalCaribbeanPressCenter.com.

How to up your Instagram game

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 768 0

With today’s technology, gone are the days of snapping pictures of your trip, waiting with anticipation as your film is developed and then having friends & family over to view your slideshow or photo album. Today you can instantly share your vacation experience via social media.

Royal Caribbean is about to make it even easier for you to share moments from your vacation. They have proclaimed that their newest ship, Symphony of the Seas is the world’s most Instagrammable ship.  Royal Caribbean even has hired an Instagramer-in-Chief, Russ Francis.  Russ’s job is to help adventure-seekers at sea up their photo game and create truly enviable Instagram shots.

But how? Here are Top Instagram Tips from Russ Francis:

Take photos in a square frame – Instagram images appear as a square, so take your Instagram snaps in a square frame. This way, all of your picture will appear in the upload, and you won’t need to crop or zoom to ensure everything fits in.

Strong colours, shapes, lines and good lighting – To help your Instagram shot have the WOW factor; make sure it has strong colours and defined shapes and lines. If you’re struggling to make the lighting work and are flexible about timings then return to your shot at the ‘Golden Hour’, the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset, to capture something really shareable.

Use negative space – Negative space means the physical space that surrounds your image subject. Instagram photos that have the right mix of negative space and a tangible object can really stand out.

Reflections – Reflections are a quick and easy way to get an interesting and unusual effect on your Instagram picture. Water, mirrors and glass are three great surfaces to get you started

Use gridlines to balance your shot – Improve snaps by taking the photo outside of the Instagram app and using your phone’s gridlines function. Apply the ‘rule of thirds’ and ensure that compositional elements are placed along the nine lines and their intersections of the grid. Pros claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest than simply centering the subject.

Show some personality – Layering on words and stickers to an Instagram Story can add some fun and individuality to your extraordinary shots that usually encourages greater levels of engagement.

Use a great caption – These days, it isn’t just about the picture or videos. Captions play a big role in how many likes you get and how people engage with your Instagram content. Use emotive descriptions and humour to connect with your followers.

 
For more Instagram inspiration, Royal Caribbean’s Instagrammer-in-Chief can be found @russ_francis.

Oasis-Class Ship

Western Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean

Posted By : cruising/ 0 0

OASIS OF THE SEAS What a ship! So much to do, you actually need to create a schedule for yourself. Every night you get their “Compass” itinerary sheet for the next day. I found myself circling things I wanted to do so I wouldn’t miss out or forget. The kids club, Adventure Ocean was a hit. You could tell all the kids there loved it and didn’t miss not hanging out with their parents. We saw CATS on Broadway at the large theatre, the Ice Skating show was the best and we thoroughly enjoyed watching movies at the outdoor movie theatre in the evenings. I’m sure I have left a ton of things out, we did so much!

I had a BOARDWALK BALCONY Stateroom – 1 king bed, 2 night tables, loveseat. And to make it even better it had an interior view of the ship – we looked out over the Boardwalk – my son thought this was very cool, it was perfect. This is a great alternative to having an outside stateroom with a balcony. Only thing I would say is that it could be a bit noisy at times.

Ports: Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico, with 2 days at sea.

Labadee – this is Royal Caribbean’s private beach resort – this was the perfect way to spend a beach day without feeling like you were missing out on exploring an island. We did the venture out and do the dragon coaster thru the mountains for $26USD. Found out they charged someone else $10 so be careful not to get conned. The shopping market is run by the locals, a lot of them had the same product and we found that they were very pushy.

Jamaica – we did Jewel Runaway Bay Resort for the day. It had a great waterpark for kids and adults alike. The Jerk chicken was delicious!  I organized this myself, not through the cruise lines shore excursion option.

Cozumel – stayed on the ship that day, we had all been there previously so we felt it was a good opportunity to take advantage of all the ship has to offer while others were off exploring. I pampered myself at the spa and my son went to the kids club.

Food on the ship was fabulous. Breakfast and lunch were great in the Buffet, lots of options for everyone to choose from. We tried to eat at slightly off peak times just to cut down on waiting in lines.

Main dining had a nice variety every day but also had the standard/same menu every day so you knew there was always something you would enjoy – like the FRENCH ONION SOUP, it was DELICIOUS, I had it almost every day. The service there was so attentive and our server was amazing – we jokingly asked him if there was any curry and he said we have chicken curry, I will bring you a plate to all share. And everyday after that, he would bring out a plate of indian food for us to share. Such a nice touch and something he didn’t have to do for us!

We ate at 2 of the specialty restaurants. 150 on Central Park was fine dining and it was very difficult to make a decision on what to eat. Luckily there were a few of us so we were able have a taste of almost everything. The Lobster Gnocchi was perfect and my father had the Lamb Duo – I only got one bite it as he wasn’t interested in sharing after his first few mouthfuls.

We also had the opportunity to eat at the Mexican restaurant, Sabor, which is located on the boardwalk. It was pretty good – we all had the build your own tacos and we enjoyed the Guacamole with house-made tortilla chips and salsa.

Overall I was impressed with the service and staff – everyone was happy to help and would go out of their way to make sure we had a great time. The ship was very clean and well maintained. I was impressed with the stability of the ship as it was something I was a little concerned with, I barely ever felt it move. Generally I have been on All-Inclusive vacations so having to pay for a lot of the extras did take some getting used to but we were able to take advantage of a promotion when we booked that included the Soda Package for free – which was great to have. I would definitely look for that type of promotion again when booking as it adds a lot of value while onboard.

This was my first cruise and will NOT be my last. I had a wonderful experience and plan to cruise again and again! I would recommend this to family and friends who want to book a fun, active vacation.

 

 

Contributed by Meera La Rose
Vision Travel, a Direct Travel Company

Oasis-Class Ship

Western Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean

Posted By : cruising/ 0 0

OASIS OF THE SEAS What a ship! So much to do, you actually need to create a schedule for yourself. Every night you get their “Compass” itinerary sheet for the next day. I found myself circling things I wanted to do so I wouldn’t miss out or forget. The kids club, Adventure Ocean was a hit. You could tell all the kids there loved it and didn’t miss not hanging out with their parents. We saw CATS on Broadway at the large theatre, the Ice Skating show was the best and we thoroughly enjoyed watching movies at the outdoor movie theatre in the evenings. I’m sure I have left a ton of things out, we did so much!

I had a BOARDWALK BALCONY Stateroom – 1 king bed, 2 night tables, loveseat. And to make it even better it had an interior view of the ship – we looked out over the Boardwalk – my son thought this was very cool, it was perfect. This is a great alternative to having an outside stateroom with a balcony. Only thing I would say is that it could be a bit noisy at times.

Ports: Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico, with 2 days at sea.

Labadee – this is Royal Caribbean’s private beach resort – this was the perfect way to spend a beach day without feeling like you were missing out on exploring an island. We did the venture out and do the dragon coaster thru the mountains for $26USD. Found out they charged someone else $10 so be careful not to get conned. The shopping market is run by the locals, a lot of them had the same product and we found that they were very pushy.

Jamaica – we did Jewel Runaway Bay Resort for the day. It had a great waterpark for kids and adults alike. The Jerk chicken was delicious!  I organized this myself, not through the cruise lines shore excursion option.

Cozumel – stayed on the ship that day, we had all been there previously so we felt it was a good opportunity to take advantage of all the ship has to offer while others were off exploring. I pampered myself at the spa and my son went to the kids club.

Food on the ship was fabulous. Breakfast and lunch were great in the Buffet, lots of options for everyone to choose from. We tried to eat at slightly off peak times just to cut down on waiting in lines.

Main dining had a nice variety every day but also had the standard/same menu every day so you knew there was always something you would enjoy – like the FRENCH ONION SOUP, it was DELICIOUS, I had it almost every day. The service there was so attentive and our server was amazing – we jokingly asked him if there was any curry and he said we have chicken curry, I will bring you a plate to all share. And everyday after that, he would bring out a plate of indian food for us to share. Such a nice touch and something he didn’t have to do for us!

We ate at 2 of the specialty restaurants. 150 on Central Park was fine dining and it was very difficult to make a decision on what to eat. Luckily there were a few of us so we were able have a taste of almost everything. The Lobster Gnocchi was perfect and my father had the Lamb Duo – I only got one bite it as he wasn’t interested in sharing after his first few mouthfuls.

We also had the opportunity to eat at the Mexican restaurant, Sabor, which is located on the boardwalk. It was pretty good – we all had the build your own tacos and we enjoyed the Guacamole with house-made tortilla chips and salsa.

Overall I was impressed with the service and staff – everyone was happy to help and would go out of their way to make sure we had a great time. The ship was very clean and well maintained. I was impressed with the stability of the ship as it was something I was a little concerned with, I barely ever felt it move. Generally I have been on All-Inclusive vacations so having to pay for a lot of the extras did take some getting used to but we were able to take advantage of a promotion when we booked that included the Soda Package for free – which was great to have. I would definitely look for that type of promotion again when booking as it adds a lot of value while onboard.

This was my first cruise and will NOT be my last. I had a wonderful experience and plan to cruise again and again! I would recommend this to family and friends who want to book a fun, active vacation.

 

 

Photo c/o Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Mega Ship Experience on the Allure of the Seas

Posted By : Rene Schneeberger/ 0 0

With cruise ships getting bigger and bigger these days, many travelers wonder what that experience is truly like.  I had this same question and frankly some hesitation about sailing on a mega ship for years as I love to cruise on small intimate vessels between 250 and 1000 passengers.

However, in early January, I found a killer rate for a balcony cabin at $750 per person (normally these run for $1100 or more) and took the plunge by boarding Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class vessel Allure of the Seas for a 7-night exploration in Fort Lauderdale.  This review will take you through my week aboard.

As you can see from the picture I took in San Juan, the sheer size of the Allure of the Seas trumps everything in its sight.  Note the smallest vessel on the picture, Holland America Line’s Eurodam (2nd from the left) is itself not that small with 2104 passenger capacity. However, the Allure holds 3 times as many with 6488 passengers on my particular sailing.

Boarding/Disembarkation

It was a busy Sunday at Port Everglades with 7 vessels in port.  I was concerned at first that boarding would be a major effort.  However, I can attest to the fact that I have never boarded a ship faster. We went from curb side to cabin in 20 minutes – Absolutely amazing.  The entire experience reminded me of how Lufthansa boards 500 passengers on an Airbus 380 in 45 minutes while it takes as long or longer to get 120 passengers on a Boeing 737.  The lesson here is that “size matters” as it permits the use of better access infrastructure which Royal Caribbean purpose built at this port.

Similarly upon return, the ship crew is well versed in guiding guests to the gangway and off to customs.  We did the return journey in about 35 minutes from cabin to curb.

Amenities & Activities

One of the biggest advantages of a ship of this size is the space available for entertainment and activities.  Guests will notice right away that they are on a Mega ship the moment they step on board.  Large public spaces abound with expansive lounges, theaters and innovative activities to choose from.  My favorites were the Show lounge where I saw Mamma Mia and Blue Planet as well as the Aqua Theatre with the fantastic “Oceanaria” show. From a dining perspective, there are plenty of options as well, albeit several had long wait lines.  My personal tip is the Park Café on Central Park with fresh salads, sandwiches and paninis.   Favorite meal on board – Captain’s table which was a fantastic small, group experience with a $95 charge per person.  It is well worth the cost as it includes the 5 course gourmet meal and accompanying wine pairing.

Positives

With over 220,000 Gross Register Tons, this class of Mega-ships provides a smooth cruise experience even for folks worried about seasickness.  The ship just doesn’t move, even with decent waves, the motion is not noticeable.

Service and attention to detail by the crew was on par with smaller vessels and there is plenty of staff to serve large number of guests aboard.  Our stateroom a Category D2 Balcony on Deck 12, facing the ocean was very well laid out, had plenty of power outlets and the beds were very comfortable.  We toured a couple of Mini-suites which is the category I would pick on a future cruise.

Not a dull moment aboard either.  With flow riders (surf simulators), zip line, rock wall, ice rink, shows, games, movies, and so much more, there is always something happening aboard and the week just flew by. I used the walking/running track on deck 3 daily and I found it to be the perfect hide-away to enjoy ocean views on the handful of deck chairs in the very aft of the vessel.  Go check it out.

Challenges

To illustrate the biggest challenge, see the picture above.  Finding deck chairs on sea days was a frustrating experience to say the least.  There just are not enough spaces on deck for 6000+ people to lounge.  I have noticed the same issue on NCL’s Epic, Breakaway and Getaway where, to make matters even worse, the forward portion of the ship is taken up by the Haven – a Private Suites Club.  Another area of improvement for Royal Caribbean is the main dining room where during dinner service, noise levels are astronomical.  While the food was fine and the service attentive, don’t plan on a romantic dinner date or long conversations.  You would have to upgrade to Chops or Café 150 to have a tranquil dinner experience.  Mind you that these specialty dining venues cost from $35 per person and up – money well spent a couple of times during the voyage.

Tips:

  • Ask your travel advisor to book your show tickets in advance and know that you can see any show again on a stand-by basis. (Line up begins about 1 hour prior to the show).
  • Upgrade to Balcony or higher category for enjoyment and higher floors.  The lower levels are prone to noise from the 4 story boardwalk and all the activities going on.
  • Consider some of the “upgrade” restaurants and book them in advance (especially the Chef’s table)
  • This type of mega-ship is ideally suited for multi-gen family gatherings and for cruisers that want to experience the “latest & greatest”
  • Ask your travel advisor to plan custom shore-excursions (not booked with the cruise line) as a means to get away from the crowds and get personalized service – often at lower per person costs than the ship excursions

Final Reflections

After a week aboard, I was sad and at the same time glad to leave the vessel.  I am satisfied that I took the time to experience a Mega Ship with all its technical marvels, full-length Broadway shows and all the world-class entertainment.  Yet, my personal preference remain smaller, more intimate vessels of the 200 to 1100 category.  Peace and tranquility with plenty of personal space are more in line with my expectations than sharing lobbies, elevators and public spaces with crowds usually seen at malls.  It is a personal choice of course, and I heard many guests on board that were totally enamored with Allure and its sister ships.

These Resilient Ports Are Coming Back!

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 934 0

The Caribbean is our home — and we’re committed to the recovery of islands impacted by the recent hurricanes.

Royal Caribbean® leadership just returned from assessment visits to San Juan and St. Thomas, and have a visit scheduled for St. Maarten on Monday. After meeting with officials and residents, and surveying key visitor areas for ourselves, we are pleased to report that these destinations are looking forward to welcoming us back before the end of the year.

We were very impressed with the progress made and how these communities have come together to rebuild and re-open so that their daily lives and economy can get back to normal. Their commitment and resilience is evident everywhere you look. In the next two weeks, working in conjunction with the local governments, we will announce the specific dates of our return to each of the islands. We can’t wait for you to see for yourself the incredible progress these islands have made.

To learn more about Royal Caribbean’s relief efforts in the Caribbean,

visit our hurricane relief page.

Sincerely,

Royal Caribbean