Royal Caribbean

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Royal Caribbean fleet

Review of Royal Caribbean

The Royal Caribbean International company is a subsidiary line and a feature brand name of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) – a Norwegian-American company, and the world’s second largest cruise passenger ships operator, after Carnival Corporation. As of 2009, RCCL controls 25% of the world cruise market.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is based in Miami, Florida and incorporated in Liberia. The company was formed in 1997 when RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruise Line), established in 1968, and Celebrity Cruises, established in 1988, was then purchased. A decision was made to keep the two brands separate. As a result, RCCL was re-branded Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. was founded as the new parent company of RCI and Celebrity.

Today, the Royal Caribbean (RCCL parrent company) operates 42 of the world’s biggest passenger ships, under 5 different fully owned brands. The list with Royal Caribbean International’s sister lines includes Celebrity, Pullmantur, Azamara, and CDF (Croisieres de France), plus a 50% stake in TUI Cruises. RCCL headquarters adress is in Miami: Royal Caribbean International, 1050 Royal Caribbean Way, Miami, FL, 33132-2096 USA.

Royal Caribbean is in top 3 best family cruises lines in the world, and owns some of the most popular ships for young adults, kids, and teens. The best of the mass-market lines is recommended mostly for young and middle-age, active and sports-oriented travelers. The high class new cruise ships (called “floating towns” for a reason) have larger staterooms, and endless choices of activities, with the best ideas for family fun cruises.

In 2014 and 2015, Royal Caribbean International introduced their brand new Dynamic Dining concept that replaced the Main Dining Room on Quantum-class ships. RCI vessels with Dynamic Dining do not have a main dining room. Instead, they feature complimentary table service restaurants, each with its own theme and menu: "The Grande", "American Icon Grill", "Chic" and "Silk". Guests staying in suites have access to the "Coastal Kitchen" complimentary restaurant. Similar to the Freestyle concept on Norwegian Cruise Line, passengers make reservations for their restaurant choice for each night in advance. Each venue maintains the same staff and menu throughout the cruise. Anthem of the Seas has a "Dynamic Dining Classic" option, allowing guests rotate between dining venues but keep the same waiter, assistant waiter and tablemates, from night to night.

The line had planned to extend its dynamic dining concept to Oasis-class ships. During 2014 and 2015 drydock refurbishment, décor and signage was installed on the 3 levels of the main dining rooms of Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas to prepare them to function as separate "The Grande", "Silk" and "American Icon Grill" restaurants, although the 3 levels continued operating as a single dining room. "Coastal Kitchen" was also installed for suite guests only. However, on 15 July 2015, Royal Caribbean International announced that the dynamic dining concept would not be rolled out on Oasis-class ships or any other vessel classes not specifically designed for it. The line also clarified that upcoming Harmony of the Seas would debut with traditional and "My Time Dining" options.

Besides the Main Dining Rooms, RCI also features the "Chops Grille" steakhouse, "Windjammer Cafe" buffet restaurant, “Johnny Rockets”, Asian "Izumi", Poolside Bars and 24-hour Room Service. The “Cupcake Cupboard” is an onboard bakery available on the newest and refurbished ships. It offers 30 delicious cupcakes. Select Royal Caribbean ships offer the Starbucks coffee at sea.

The new alcohol policy of the line allows passengers to bring their own wine on board and consume it in the cabin for free, or for a corkage fee (an additional charge) in public areas.

The Voyager-, Freedom-, and Oasis-class ships boast the Royal Promenade. It is a centerline promenade in a multi-deck atrium with pedestrian mall featuring restaurants and shops. At night, the promenades are turned into entertainment venues, hosting parades and dance parties. Royal Promenade's upper levels are home to "Promenade Staterooms" with a window overlooking the promenade. The Quantum class doesn't feature a Royal Promenade. Instead, it features a 2-deck "Royal Esplanade" shopping area which doesn't provide any overlooking cabins.

Royal Caribbean ships offer a wide list of onboard facilities, the main of which include Grand-style productions Theatre, Live Comedy Club, Disco/Nightclub, Casino Royale, Library. Feature sports facilities include Studio B Ice-Skating Rink, Rock Climbing Wall, Flow Rider surfing simulator, Multiple Sports Court, Walking/Jogging track, Golf Simulator, ZIP-line, H2O Zone Waterpark with Waterslide, Adventure Beach, and on Quantum ships only Bumper Cars, Skydiving Simulator, North Star rotational capsule.

Adults on RCCL cruises can enjoy adults-only relaxation areas and spas. Teens can do rock climbing or try the 12 m (40-ft) surfing “simulation” and zip-lining across ship's top deck on the world’s largest cruise ships ever. Families cruising with infants and toddlers will benefit from the “Royal Babies” and “Royal Tots” programs. Kids club activities are also available by the Adventure Ocean kids programme. The DreamWorks programming is another exclusiveness with the 3D DreamWorks Theater and all the characters meets and greets.

Royal Caribbean Cancellation Policy

Starting March 7, 2016 Royal Caribbean passengers who want to cancel an upcoming sailing without penalty will have to do so farther out from the sailing date than before. The new cancellation policy of the line simplifies the penalty fee schedule by reducing the number of sailing categories from 5 to 2: those of 1 to 4 nights and those 5 nights or longer.

Under the old policy, travelers booked on voyages of 1 to 5 nights could cancel up to 60 days prior to sailing without cancellation fee. The new Royal Caribbean policy changes the cruise length to 1 to 4 nights (including short holiday sailings) and requires cancellation at least 75 days before departure. Cruises of 1 to 4 nights canceled between 74 and 57 days out incur a fee equal to the deposit paid; cruises canceled 56 to 29 days out incur a fee of 50% of the total fare, while those canceled 28 to 15 days out incur a fee of 75% of the total fare and any cruise canceled within 2 weeks of sailing is not refunded at all.

In the new policy, the second tier of cancellations includes any voyages of 5 nights or longer, including cruise tours and holiday sailings. Under the old policy, cruises of 6 nights or longer, holiday sailings of 1 to 5 days, holiday sailings of 6 nights or longer, and cruise tours, had separate cancellation penalty schedules. The sailings of 5 nights or longer must be canceled 90 days prior to the departure date in order to avoid the cancellation fee; previously cruisers could cancel from 75 to 90 days before sailing, depending on the category of sailing. Cruises of 5 nights or longer canceled 89 to 57 days prior to sailing incur a penalty equal to the deposit paid; those canceled 56 to 29 days or 28 to 15 days out incur penalties of 50% and 75% of the total fare, respectively. As with the shorter cruises, any sailing canceled within 2 weeks out are not eligible for refund.

The new policy is applied to all new bookings made on or after March 7, 2016.

Itinerary of Royal Caribbean

RCI cruises 2016-2017 Caribbean itineraries will be operated with 15 ships departing from 9 USA cruise ports (home-ports) to visit all 39 Caribbean Sea ports of call.

Follows a review of Royal Caribbean itinerary program for 2016-2017-2018 scheduled itineraries. For sailing dates (departures, arrivals), ports of call times and RCI cruise prices per person follow the ship pages listed below.

  • Adventure Of The Seas (home-ports San Juan Puerto Rico, Bridgetown Barbados) operates on round-trips to Eastern Caribbean (St Croix, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St Thomas, Dominica, Martinique) and Southern Caribbean (Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada, Curacao, Bonaire). In 2017 Anthem will sail to Bermuda during summer months and the Caribbean year-round on 5-, 7- and 9-night itineraries. In 2017 autumn, Anthem of the Seas will offer 9-night cruises to Canada and New England.
  • Allure Of The Seas (home-port Fort Lauderdale /Port Everglades Florida) operates on i7-day tineraries to Western Caribbean (Cozumel Mexico, Jamaica, Labadee Haiti) and bahamas-Eastern Caribbean (Nassau, St Maarten, Jamaica, Puerto Rico).
  • Anthem Of The Seas (home-port Cape Liberty-Bayonne NJ /New York) operates on round-trips to Florida-Bahamas (Port Canaveral, Coco Cay, Nassau), Eastern Caribbean (Puerto Rico, St Thomas, St Maarten, St Kitts), Western Caribbean (Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico, Labadee Haiti, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Roatan Honduras), Southern Caribbean (Barbados, Martenique) and also to Bermuda during summer.
  • Brilliance Of The Seas (home-ports Tampa Florida, Barcelona Spain) operates on round-trips out of Tampa to Western Caribbean (4-day Cozumel Mexico, 5-day Key West FL, Cozumel). REPOSITIONING (Transatlantic): In the summer, the ship operates in Europe on Mediterranean round-trips out of Barcelona (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Adriatic Sea). In 2017 Brilliance will sail on a 12-night Western Mediterranean itinerary, with departure from Barcelona. During 2017-2018 season Brilliance of the Seas will join fleetmate Rhapsody of the Seas in Tampa, with Brilliance offering 4- and 5-night sailings to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Key West, and Rhapsody sailing 7-night cruises.
  • Enchantment Of The Seas (home-port Port Canaveral FL) operates on Bahama cruises to Nassau and Coco Cay (3-day and 4-day round-trips). In 2017 Enchantment of the Seas cruises from PortMiami.
  • Explorer Of The Seas (home-ports Sydney Australia, Seattle WA) operates on South Pacific Islands itineraries (Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu) and also on Cruises to Nowhere (out of Sydney AU). REPOSITIONING: (through Hawaii and Vancouver BC) During summer, the ship operates on Alaskan cruises out of Seattle (2017 Alaska round-trip cruises from Seattle). During 2017-2018 season the ship will make a couple of overnight calls at Suva on repositioning cruises at the commencement of season and her return to Seattle in 2018.
  • Freedom Of The Seas (home-port Fort Lauderdale / Port Everglades Florida) operates on 7-day round-trips to Eastern Caribbean (Labadee Haiti, Puerto Rico, St Maarten, St Kitts) and Western Caribbean (Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan). In 2017 the ship will offer 7-night Western Mediterranean sailings from Barcelona. Freedom of the Seas will head to the eastern and western Caribbean in 2017-2018 on 6- and 8-night routes.
  • Grandeur Of The Seas (home-port Baltimore MD) operates on round-trips to Bermuda and to Bermuda and Nassau Bahamas (during summer). Also sails to Florida-Eastern Caribbean (Miami, Nassau, Freeport, Coco Cay), to Florida-Bahamas (Port Canaveral, Nassau, Coco Cay) and to Southern Caribbean (Barbados, Antigua, St Lucia). In 2017-2018 Grandeur of the Seas continues sailing out of Baltimore year-round on various itineraries, including a new 9-night program to CocoCay and Nassau in the Bahamas, Bermuda (5 nights), fall foliage cruises to Canada and New England (9 nights), and southern Caribbean (also 9 nights), to destinations like Saint Thomas, Saint Kitts and Sain Maarten.
  • Harmony of the Seas (home-port Fort Lauderdale / Port Everglades Florida) operates on 7-day round-trips to Western Caribbean (Cozumel Mexico, Jamaica, Labadee Haiti) and Bahamas-Eastern Caribbean (Thomas, St Thomas, St Maarten). The ship offers inaugural season sailings in Europe out of Barcelona Spain (7-day itineraries to France and Italy).
  • Independence Of The Seas (home-ports Fort Lauderdale / Port Everglades Florida, Southampton UK) operates on short round-trips to Western Caribbean (Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico, Belize) and Eastern Caribbean (Labadee Haiti, Jamaica). REPOSITIONING (Transatlantic): During summer, the ship operates in Europe on round-trips out of Southampton to Mediterranean and Canary Islands. In 2017 the ship will sail out of Southampton, exploring the Mediterranean and Canary Islands, as well as Morocco. Independence will also offer a new Northern Europe cruise, including a visit to Rotterdam. Ship's 2017-2018 program includes 4-and 5-night sailings from Port Everglades to Cozumel, Costa Maya, Labadee and Falmouth.
  • Jewel Of The Seas (home-ports San Juan Puerto Rico, Bridgetown Barbados) operates on round-trips to Eastern and Southern Caribbean (St Thomas, St Kitts, St. Maarten, Dominica, Aruba, Curacao, St Lucia, Antigua). REPOSITIONING (Transatlantic): During summer, the ship operates in Europe on round-trips out of Rome (Civitavecchia) to Greece and Greek Islands, Turkey, Italy (Sicily). From May through October 2016, Jewel of the Seas will be the only ship in her category sailing round-trip from Rome, Italy on Eastern Mediterranean itineraries. In 2017, Jewel will feature departures from Rome on 7 and 9-night cruises to Greece and Turkey, as well as 7-night Western Mediterranean voyages visiting Spain and France. During 2017-2018 season Jewel of the Seas will call at Sain Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Barbados with departures from San Juan on week-long cruises.
  • Legend Of The Seas (home-port Brisbane Australia) operates on round-trips to South Pacific Islands (New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji). REPOSITIONING (Australia-Asia): In April 2017, the ship will be relocated to Asia (Hon Kong, home-port and itinerary information pending). In 2017 Legend will also sail on 6 and 7-night Mediterranean voyages from Venice.
  • Liberty Of The Seas (home-port Galveston Texas) operates on 7-day round-trips to Eastern-Western Caribbean (Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico, Roatan Honduras, Grand Cayman, Jamaica).
  • Majesty Of The Seas (home-ports in Florida - Miami, Port Canaveral) operates on Bahamas cruises out of Miami (3-day Nassau, 4-day Nassau and Coco Cay. REPOSITIONING: In May 2016 the ship will be relocated to Port Canaveral Florida for cruises to Bahamas (same itineraries).
  • Mariner Of The Seas (home-ports Singapore, Shanghai China) operates on Asia cruise round-trips out of Singapore (to Thailand and Malaysia) and out of Shanghai (to South Korea and Japan).
  • Navigator Of The Seas (home-ports Miami, Fort Lauderdale /Port Everglades Florida, Southampton UK) operates on round-trips to Bahamas-Western Caribbean (Nassau, Cozumel Mexico) and Southern Caribbean (Labadee haiti, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire). REPOSITIONING (Transatlantic): During summer, the ship operates in Europe on round-trips out of Southampton to Mediterranean Sea, Canary Islands and Baltic Sea (Norwegian Fjords. In 2017 the ship will sail out of Southampton, exploring the Mediterranean and Canary Islands, as well as Morocco. Navigator's 2017-2018 program features 5-night cruises and 9-night cruises from Miami to southern Caribbean destinations like Bonaire and Aruba.
  • Oasis Of The Seas (home-port Fort Lauderdale /Port Everglades Florida) operates on 7-day round-trips to Western Caribbean (Cozumel Mexico, Labadee haiti, Jamaica) and Bahamas-Eastern Caribbean (Nassau, St Thomas, St Maarten).
  • Ovation Of The Seas (home-ports Tianjin / Beijing China, Sydney Australia) operates on China round-trips to Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. In February 2016 British vacationers were given another opportunity to experience the latest adventure playground of Royal Caribbean International, Ovation of the Seas in April. A new, 3-night inaugural voyage sails from Southampton on April 14, roundtrip to the Netherlands, as another chance to holiday on the new Quantum Class ship where passengers can also take in the sites of Rotterdam. This debut cruise is in addition to the other European sailings, including a 5-night France and Belgium (April 17-22) and a 7-night France and Spain (April 22-29) before setting off on a 52-day Global Odyssey tour to Tianjin, China - Ovation's homeport. REPOSITIONING (Asia-Australia): In December 2016, the ship will be relocated to Sydney Australia for a few round-trips to New Zealand, then back to Asia (Singapore (itinerary information pending). In 2017 Oasis of the Seas will be based at Port Canaveral. The ship will sail on 7-night eastern Caribbean itinerary calling at ports including Nassau. During 2017-2018 season Ovation of the Seas will focus on Australia and New Zealand voyages.
  • Quantum Of The Seas (home-port Shanghai China) operates on short round-trips out of China to South Korea and Japan.
  • Radiance Of The Seas (home-ports Sydney Australia, Auckland NZ, Vancouver BC Canada) operates on round-trips to Queensland, New Zealand and South Pacific Islands (Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu). REPOSITIONING (through Hawaii): The ship is relocated for the summer Alaskan cruise season from Australia to Canada (and reverse) through Hawaii. 2017 Alaska cruises between Vancouver and Seward. During 2017-2018 season Radiance of the Seas will focus on Australia and New Zealand voyages.
  • Rhapsody Of The Seas (home-ports Santos Brazil, Venice Italy, Tampa Florida) operates on round-trips in South America (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay), Mediterranea itineraries in Europe (out of Venice during summer - Greece, Turkey, Adriatic Sea) and out of Tampa to Western Caribbean (Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico, Belize, Roatan Honduras, Grand Cayman). In 2017 Radiance of the Seas will run new 7-night cruises in Alaska. The ship will operate out of Cape Liberty Cruise Port (Bayonne, New Jersey) in 2017, together with Anthem of the Seas. Rhapsody will offer 7-night voyages to the Bahamas throughout 2017 summer and will return to her seasonal Tampa trips for winter 2017-2018.
  • Serenade Of The Seas (home-ports Fort Lauderdale / Port Everglades FL, Copenhagen Denmark, Stockholm Sweden) operates on round-trips to Southern Caribbean (BVI, St Kitts, Dominica, Antigua, St Maarten). REPOSITIONING (Transatlantic): During summer, the ship operates in Europe (baltic Sea) on round-trips out of Demmark and Sweden to Norwegian Fjords and Scandinavia and Russia. In 2017 Serenade will explore Northern Europe. In 2017-2018 Serenade of the Seas will offer 10- and 11-night cruises to destinations including Ponce, Puerto Rico.
  • Splendour Of The Seas (the ship was sold to Thomson Cruises - since April 2016 operates as Thomson Dicovery).
  • Vision Of The Seas (home-ports Venice Italy, Dubai UAE) operates on Mediterranean round-trips out of Venice (to Greece and Turkey). REPOSITIONING (Suez Canal): During winter, the ship operates in Asia on Red Sea round-trips out of Dubai. In 2017 Vision of the Seas will explore Northern Europe, with new cruises from Amsterdam.
  • Voyager Of The Seas (home-port Sydney Australia) operates on round-trips to South Pacific Islands itineraries (Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu). In 2016, Tirun, the exclusive Representative in India of Royal Caribbean Cruises, is enhancing its offerings for Indian cruisers with Voyager of the Seas sailing out of Singapore

In the end of February 2016, Royal Caribbean opened bookings for 2017 Alaska voyages with a free upgrade offer. Radiance of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas will sail 7-night itineraries, with Radiance sailing between Vancouver and Seward, and Explorer offering round-trip cruises from Seattle.

New in 2017 are a couple of 12-night exclusive cruise-tours. Kantishna Select Wilderness & Wildlife cruise-tour reveals Denali’s wilderness with local experts. Guests will go on a kayak, bike adventure at Eklutna Lake, travel by rail from Denali National Park and Preserve to Fairbanks, and hike the Exit Glacier. The cruise-tour includes 2 nights of exclusive accommodations at Kantishna backcountry lodge.

Royal Caribbean Alaska cruises

Katmai Bear Trek & Kantishna Fly Over cruise-tour provides the opportunity to see American brown bears hunting in their natural habitat in the Katmai Park and Preserve. Participants will have 2 nights in Denali/Anchorage, before/after the cruise.

Alaska excursions include the opportunity to whale-watch in Stephen's Passage from Juneau or ride a 1,320ft zip line at Icy Strait Point. There is a floatplane adventure in Misty Fjords wildnerness out of Ketchikan and, from Skagway, cruisers can visit Musher's Camp for a lesson in dog sledding or take a 4x4 trek through Tongass National Rainforest. Attractions at Victoria include the 100-year-old Butchart Gardens, which is a National Historic Site.

Royal Caribbean plans to introduce one of the biggest passenger ships in the world on a route to and from Japan in 2018. The Oasis-class ship will have a gross tonnage of around 220,000 tons and is capable of carrying 5,400 passengers. Royal Caribbean has yet to decide where the mega ship will call in Japan. Currently, no port in Japan can accept such a big vessel. The line is sounding out various cruise ports, including that of Yatsushiro (Kumamoto Prefecture, western Japan) on willingness to make upgrades.

Royal Caribbean Oasis class

Partly due to Japan's easing up on visa regulations, the number of Asians who cruise to Japan is increasing. Royal Caribbean currently owns 2 Oasis-class ships and is taking delivery of two more - one in 2016 (Harmony Of The Seas) and the other in 2018. The company plans to deploy one vessel to a hub in Asia (Hong KongShanghai or Singapore) and use it on a route that serves Japan. The number of foreign tourists who arrive in Japan on cruise vessels operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises is expected to uprise 160% to 800,000 in 2017 from 2015, according to the company.

Royal Caribbean passengers who seek for personalized shore excursions all around the globe can take advantage of the Private Journeys program of the line. The $100 concierge-style service enables guests to book port calls tailored to their interests, travel style and budget. Private Journeys gives cruisers access to 1 of 9 Destination Insiders, who can help plan every detail of the shore excursion before the cruise sets sail. Activities can include sailing the French or Italian Riviera on a private yacht, cooking alongside Michelin-starred chefs, or get a taste of Alaska at a crab feast in a remote fjord. The $100 fee for Private Journeys is applicable to excursion's final cost. 

Royal Caribbean related cruise news