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 Internet "VOOM"
VOOM is the name of the RCI's new high-speed internet service provides passengers with the pleasure to enjoy at sea faster connectivity, with almost the same high-speed Internet connections they are used to while on land. The new satellite technology utilizes each RCI cruise ship specifically.
Voom Internet has latency 120 ms, ping ~300 ms, download speed ~4,6 Mbps, upload speed ~5,2 Mbps. Voom allows fast streaming of music and movies (incl YouTube, Netflix), uploading multiple (incl big-sized) pictures, also video chatting (FaceTime, Skype, conference calls), checking email, web surfing, stable and fast VPN connections. The onboard system is based on the 802.11b wireless connection (theoretical bandwidth peak 11 Mbps).
- Onboard Internet access is intergrated to the stateroom number and the personal onboard account. Following the log-on to the ship's wireless network "Royal WiFi", there is an option for creating an Internet account where the passenger can sign up for a particular Internet plan or to pay by the minute. The charge is always applied to the cabin (onboard) account.
- While using the Voom Internet package, passengers can switch between various mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, laptops). However, the number of devices connected at the same time is limited by the Internet plan.
- The cruise ship also has several Internet workstations available for all passengers on FCFS basis (first-come, first-served).
- Among the cheaper alternatives to the Voom internet are connecting onboard (while the ship is in ports of call) or ashore (in restaurants, bars, etc).
New Internet packages cost (2017 prices)
RCI's ship internet offering was revamped from only one plan into different per day packages with pricing based on the number of included devices. Two new packages are currently available for booking:
- Note: All below listed unlimited Internet package prices are "Cruise Planner" booking rates and include the 30% pre-cruise booking discount. Packages can be purchased on board and also pre-purchased (before the cruise) via RCI's "Cruise Planner" booking system.
- "Voom Surf Voyage" is the "light package" providing high-speed Internet for general web browsing, e-mails and social media platforms (excepting video streaming). The "Voom Surf Voyage" Internet package cost (per day) depends on the number of mobile devices using it. Voom Surf pricing is as follows: $13 (1 device), $12 (2 devices), $10 (4 devices) and $20 (Single Day Pass per device / per day).
- "Voom Surf + Stream" is the "real deal", offering unlimited Internet activities, including the high-speed video streaming (music, movies, video chatting, texting, VoIP apps /Internet phone calls). The "Voom Surf + Stream" Internet package cost (per day) also depends on the number of mobile devices included. Voom Surf + Stream pricing is as follows: $18 (1 device), $16 (2 devices), $14 (4 devices) and $28 (Single Day Pass per device / per day).
- Occasionally, Royal Caribbean offers Voom package discounts for passengers with pre-purchased online (via Cruise Planner) internet packages. Discounts are also offered for Royal Caribbean loyalty program members (Crown and Anchor Society) when the Voom package is purchased onboard.
Lifeguards on all Royal Caribbean ships
Since 2017, all RCI ships have onboard licensed lifeguards by the line's "water safety program", implemented fleetwide. By the new program, water safety signs are placed throughout the ship.
The onboard lifeguards, are dressed in special uniforms (in bright red and white) and stationed at every swimming pool, including the Solarium (adults-only retreat) during the complex' opening hours. All Royal Caribbean lifeguards are trained through the company's partnership with StarGuard Elite (Florida-based lifeguard training center.
- The water safety program includes a 15-min presentation (on embarkation day). The instruction is for by both kids and parents, and held during Adventure Ocean's open house session.
- Swim vests for all kids (aged 4-12) are readily available. Additional signage is added around swimming pool areas and in all cabins to encourage parents to use them.
- Kids under 12 require a parent or guardian to be present when swimming in any of the cruise ship's pools.
RCI's water safety program was rolled out fleetwide in the period February-June 2017. Follows the list of all RCI ships and the cruise itinerary dates when each ship will implement the new lifeguard service:
- Oasis (February 26-March 5)
- Harmony (March 7-11)
- Independence (March 11-16)
- Anthem (March 11-14)
- Liberty (March 12-19)
- Freedom (March 22-29)
- Allure (March 23-26)
- Brilliance (March 24-30)
- Quantum (March 26-31)
- Ovation (March 29-April 3)
- Navigator (March 31-April 5)
- Serenade (March 31-April 7)
- Jewel (March 31-April 4)
- Rhapsody (April 5-8)
- Majesty (April 21-24)
- Empress (April 24-29)
- Adventure (April 26-29)
- Enchantment (May 8-12)
- Grandeur (May 13-18)
- Explorer (May 15-26)
- Mariner (May 26-June 4)
- Radiance (May 28-June 6)
- Voyager (June 5-12)
- Vision (June 15-27)
The news made RCI the 2nd major cruise company with lifeguards onboard its ships - following Disney (employing certified lifeguards since 2013) and followed by NCL (in 2017 summer) starting with the line's 4 largest vessels and employing onboard lifeguards fleetwide by 2018.
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.
In late February 2017, the RCCL corporation imposed a fee of USD 65 pp in case of leaving the cruise early (whatever the reason might be). Passengers who refuse to pay face the prospect of being banned from RCCL cruise ships FOREVER.
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.
CURIOUS NEWS: On January 21, 2017, RCCL filed for trademark ownership 3 cruise ship names - "Sympony of the Seas", "Sunrise of the Seas", and "Valhalla of the Seas". Another (trademarked in 2016 and still unused) name is "Icon of the Seas".
Royal Caribbean cruise itinerary changes
For season summer 2017-2018, RCI will have the largest ships and capacity in comparison to any other cruise line for Australia and New Zealand destinations. The company will deploy there the ships Explorer, Ovation, Radiance and Voyager, for a total of 66 itineraries ranging in length from 2- to 23 days. Between September 2017 and April 2018, these ships will visit 46 different ports of call in the South Pacific (incl Australia, New Zealand), also in Asia and North America. Scheduled departures are out of Auckland NZ, Fremantle-Perth AU, Sydney AU, Singapore and USA (Honolulu Hawaii and Seattle WA).
RCI extended its round-trip departures from Baltimore MD (South Locust Point terminal) through June 2020. Here is homeported the Grandeur ship offering year-round cruises to Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda and Canada New England. The ship operates out of Baltimore since 2013, replacing there the Enchantment ship.
Royal Caribbean Australia-Asia itineraries 2017-2018
On January 24, 2017 was officially announced RCI's opening cruise itinerary schedule by destination (ship deployments around the world).
- March 6 - Europe (Mediterranean), Caribbean and Bahamas (year-round itineraries)
- March 13 - Alaska
- March 20 - Europe (UK and Baltic)
- March 27- Caribbean (seasonal itineraries)
- April 3 - Australia and Asia (Singapore)
- April 24 - Asia (China)
These ship deployment schedules give an idea of when particular (regional) itineraries will become available. Follows the CruiseMapper's review of the Royal Caribbean itinerary program highlights for season 2017-2018 by ship.
Ovation of the Seas (November 2017 - February 2018):
- 14-day repositioning (Singapore to Sydney, November 23 2017)
- 10-day New Zealand (with Milford Sounds)
- 12-day New Zealand (December 17, 2017 Christmas) and 12-day New Zealand (December 29, 2017 New Year)
- 9-day New Zealand (January 10 and 19, 2018)
- 8-day Tasmania (January 27, 2018, with Hobart and Adelaide overnight )
- 14-day New Zealand (February 4, 2018, with Milford Sounds)
- NEWS: In June 2016, during the ship's maiden call in Singapore, RCI representatives announced the ship will be homeported for its 2017 season in Singapore. Adding the large-sized Ovation to Voyager (May 2017) and Mariner (October 2017) increases the line's passenger capacity in Southeast Asia by 30% over 2016.
Explorer of the Seas (South Pacific Islands, 3- to 23 days). With the Explorer (replacing Radiance in 2018), Royal Caribbean continues operations along the South Coast of New South Wales (NSW). RCI ship will visit for the first time Port Kembla (Wollongong) as port of call on a 7-day Tasmania cruise (March 12, 2018).
- 22-day repositioning from Seattle to Sydney via Hawaii (October 6, 2017)
- Three 11-day cruises to Fiji (including for Christmas and New Year 2017)
- 7-8-9-10-12-day South Pacific (January 2018)
- 3-day Cruise to Nowhere from Sydney (February 9, 2018)
- 7-day Tasmania (March 12, 2018, Wollongong maiden call, Hobart, Melbourne)
- 23-day repositioning from Sydney to Seattle (April 22, 2018) with Suva Fiji (overnight) and Hawaii (Lahaina, Honolulu).
Radiance of the Seas (2017-2018 departures from Sydney, Fremantle-Perth and Auckland) - 8- to 18-days to Queensland, Tasmania, around Australia, New Zealand.
- 18-day repositioning from Honolulu Hawaii to Sydney (September 19, 2017 (with New Zealand)
- 16-day Around Australia cruise from Sydney to Fremantle (top end), 17-day South Australia and New Zealand or combined (back-to-back) 33-day full circumnavigation cruise
- 9-day Tasmania from Sydney (December 13, 2017, with Hobart, Melbourne and Adelaide (overnight )
- 8-day Sydney to Queensland cruise (March 29, 2018, with Newcastle, Whitsundays, Brisbane)
- 14-day Sydney to Auckland (January 3, 2017) with New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga)
- 14-day New Zealand from Auckland to Sydney
- 12-day New Zealand (Christmas and New Year , departure December 22, 2017) 11-13-14-day New Zealand cruises also visiting Milford Sounds
- 17-day repositioning from Sydney to Honolulu Hawaii (April 17, 2018) with French Polynesia
Voyager of the Seas (South Pacific Islands, October 2017 - April 2018):
- 10-day repositioning from Singapore to Fremantle (October 18, 2017)
- 16-day Around Australia and New Zealand cruise (Fremantle to Sydney, October 28, 2017)
- 8-day Queensland cruise from Sydney (November 13, 2017) with Brisbane, Willis Island, Whitsundays
- Two 14-day South Pacific Islands (with Fiji, including New Year’s Eve 2017 - departure December 30)
- Six 10-day South Pacific Islands (including Christmas 2017 departure December 20)
- Three 9-day itineraries to New Caledonia and Vanuatu
- 7-8-9-day South Pacific Islands, plus one 11-day to Fiji (April 11)
- Sampler (Cruises to Nowhere from Sydney) - 2-day (December 1, 2017) and 3-day (February 2, 2018)
- 14-day repositioning from Sydney to Singapore (April 16, 2018)
With Legend of the Seas deployment in Europe (2017), Royal Caribbean will not offer Brisbane departures as the bigger RCI ships can't dock at the Portside terminal. The company will not offer cruises out of Brisbane until the new terminal (east of Gateway Bridges) is constructed.
Royal Caribbean Europe itineraries 2017-2018
On June 2, 2016, RCI announced changing the home-port Cape Liberty (Bayonne New Jersey / New York) ship deployment by replacing Rhapsody with Vision.
- In May-October, 2017, Rhapsody will operate in Europe (Mediterranean) on 7-night round trips from Venice Italy. Follows Transatlantic repositioning to Tampa Florida for Caribbean cruises (starting on November 19, 2017).
- On August 22, 2017, Vision offers a 16-night Transatlantic crossing (Copenhagen to Cape Liberty) visiting ports in Denmark, Norway, UK (Scotland), Iceland. The Vision's Cape Liberty cruise season starts on September 7, 2017, with a 13-night Fall Foliage cruise USA to Canada (Quebec City). The itinerary will be also offered on September 20 and October 1 and 11 (replacing the previously scheduled Rhapsody cruises) and includes ports in Massachusetts, Maine, Nova Scotia.
- All Royal Caribbean cruises in Europe on Vision of the Seas (2017 August 22 through November 17) will be canceled. All booked on the affected itineraries will be provided with a full refund, the option to re-book on another RCI ship plus onboard credit (used on the re-booked cruises). All customers with purchased through Royal Caribbean airfare will be also fully refunded. Those purchasing their own flights will be refunded for the airline change fee only. Travel agency commissions will be protected for all paid in full cruises.
- On June 2, 2016, RCI announced that in April 2017 the Legend ship will be sold to Thomson Cruises. Its last RCI cruise will be on March 13, 2017 (13-night Suez Canal from Dubai to Barcelona). All scheduled cruises (February 20, 2017 onward) are canceled. The list of cancelled itineraries includes the entire summer 2017 Mediterranean season (departures from Venice Italy), some Brisbane Australia departures plus the scheduled relocation cruises from Australia to Europe (departures from Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai). The new repositioning itineraries are on February 20 (11-night Brisbane to Singapore), March 3 (10-night Singapore to Dubai) and March 12 (13-night Dubai to Barcelona). All booked on the affected itineraries will receive a full refund, the option to re-book on another RCI ship plus onboard credit (used on the re-booked cruises). All customers with purchased through Royal Caribbean airfare will be also fully refunded. Those purchasing their own flights will be refunded for the airline change fee only. Travel agency commissions will be protected for all paid in full cruises.
- On July 6, 2016 the Royal Caribbean UK company announced a promotion offer with free flights in 2017 on selected itineraries with departures from ports in Europe and the UK. The offer includes free airfare for first and second passenger in the cabin (additional passengers pay full airfare at booking), The Free Flights promo is only applicable to bookings made in 2016 (between July 5 and September 5) on selected 6-night or longer itineraries in 2017 leaving from selected airport gateways in the UK and Ireland. The promotion also includes free airport-cruise port transfers and free Southampton port parking (on departures from UK pors only). Flights are economy class, and inclusive of Gov taxes and standard transfers (direct flights not guaranteed). Guarantee cabin bookings are not included. The list of "Free Flights" Royal Caribbean ships in Europe includes Brilliance, Freedom, Independence, Jewel, Rhapsody, Navigator, Serenade and Vision.
NEWS: All RCI Europe cruises visiting Turkey were altered, as the company officially cancelled its scheduled visits to Turkish ports for season 2017. The changes affected the following ships:
- Brilliance of the Seas - port replaced with Mykonos Greece.
- Jewel of the Seas - port replaced with Rhodes Greece.
- Rhapsody of the Seas - port replaced with Kotor Montenegro; Chania Crete, and Mykonos Greece.
- Passengers with purchased Royal Caribbean Shore Excursion in Kusadasi Turkey received a full refund.
Royal Caribbean cruises to Cuba from Florida (Miami and Tampa)
Royal Caribbean operates Cuba cruises with round-trip departures from Miami and Tampa on the ship Empress of the Seas. Itineraries start in 2017. The first cruise is on April 19 (5-night Miami to Costa Maya and Havana). Two more 2017 itineraries to Cuba were posted for booking in December 2016 - April 30 (7-night Tampa to Cozumel, Belize City, Havana) and May 20 (7-night Tampa to Key West FL, Havana, Cozumel).
The current list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba in 2017-2018 includes:
- Carnival-fathom (ship MV Adonia, leaving from Miami Florida)
- MSC Cruises (ship MSC Opera, leaving from Havana)
- Oceania Cruises (ships Marina and Regatta) starting in 2017, Cuba circumnavigation, stops in Cienfuegos and Havana, also part of some Panama Canal transition itineraries.
- NCL (ship Norwegian Sky, 4-day itineraries with Havana overnights - starting May 2017.
- Azamara Cruises (ship on Azamara Quest from Miami)
- Thomson Cruises (ship Thomson Dream) 7-day, leaving roundtrip from Jamaica (Montego Bay) to Havana
- Compagnie du Ponant (yacht Le Ponant, leaving from Miami Florida)
- Pearl Seas Cruises (ship Pearl Mist, leaving from Fort Lauderdale Florida)
- Lindblad Expeditions (chartered sailing ship MS Panorama II, leaving from Havana)
- Celestyal Cruises (ship Celestyal Crystal, leaving from Havana and Montego Bay Jamaica)
- Grand Circle Cruise Line (ship MV Clio / ex Tere Moana) one-way from Miami to Havana, or the reverse from Havana to Miami (embarkation/disembarkation in port Cienfuegos).
- International Expeditions (leaving from Havana, charter flights out of Miami)
- Victory Cruise Lines - MS Victory I (former MS Saint Laurent) - fly-cruises from Miami to Havana (home-port Cienfuegos /departures)
- Note: According to the current Cuban law, US citizens of Cuban origin (born in Cuba) are not allowed to visit the island country (including on cruise ships). Regardless of their US citizenship status, Cuban-born Americans were denied booking on cruise itineraries visiting ports in Cuba. However, the situation changed in April 2016, after Carnival Corporation negotiated with the Cuban government for allowing ships with Cuban-born passengers, as such US citizens are allowed to visit the country on USA-Cuba charter flights. The Carnival-fathom line started Miami to Cuba cruises in May 2016.
- Alaska Airlines offers regular nonstop flights to Havana from Los Angeles (California USA). An 80-min ling JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale (Florida) to Havana costs less than USD 100. Previously, air travel from USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.
Follows a review of Royal Caribbean itinerary program for 2017-2018-2019 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. For 2018-2019 season Explorer of the Seas will continue to sail 7-night itineraries from Seattle, with stops in Victoria BC, Juneau and the Inside Passage. To these sailings can be added the new Alaska cruise tour itineraries designed to appeal to couples and families, extending the holiday length to up to 13 nights.
- 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. In May 2018, RCI Freedom will be repositioned from Fort Lauderdale Florida to Puerto Rico. Between May 2018 and March 2019, the ship will be homeported in San Juan for roundtrip departures. In Puerto Rico Freedom will replace RCI Adventure, which will be repositioned to NYC (Cape Liberty NJ).
- 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.
- 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. Royal Caribbean International will homeport its billion-dollar smartship in Singapore in 2017 for a season.
- Passion Of The Seas - new ship (scheduled launch 2020)
- Pulse Of The Seas - new ship (scheduled launch 2019)
- 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. For 2018-2019 season Radiance of the Seas will sail 7-night and 9-night itineraries between Seward and Vancouver. To these sailings can be added the new Alaska cruise tour itineraries designed to appeal to couples and families, extending the holiday length to up to 13 nights.
- 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 not operate out of Cape Liberty Cruise Port (Bayonne, New Jersey) in 2017, together with Anthem of the Seas, as previously announced. As a result of the switch, the previously scheduled sailings of Rhapsody of the Seas from Cape Liberty have been canceled. The vessel will still boast a full schedule of roundtrip cruises from Tampa in fall 2016 and winter 2017 as planned, but after that Rhapsody will reposition to Venice, Italy (rather than Cape Liberty) for her summer season of Mediterranean cruises, beginning May 2017 through October. The ship will return to Tampa in November 2017.
- 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. In June 2016 Royal Caribbean changed its deployment plans for NYC-area port, Cape Liberty. Instead of Rhapsody of the Seas, the cruise line will homeport Vision of the Seas at Bayonne, New Jersey. Vision of the Seas voyages will be canceled, as the ship will have to shorten its 2017 European season to move to Cape Liberty. Vision will offer 4 fall foliage sailings out of Cape Liberty starting September 2017, after completing her 16-night Transatlantic crossing to New Jersey from Copenhagen. The New England/Canada cruises, which will depart Cape Liberty September 20, October 1 and 11 will replace previously planned sailings of Rhapsody. The canceled cruises include those departing out of Venice from August 22 through November 17, 2017.
- In early August 2016, RCI added more Western Caribbean Vision Of The Seas itineraries leaving from Galveston TX (4- and 5-night Mexico cruises to Cozumel and Costa Maya), with bookings expanded through April 2018.
- 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 March 2017, RCCL corporation launched its own land tour travel website - GoBe.com. The website is non-cruise travel related and allows international travelers to book tours and excursions in 97 countries and 896 cities worldwide. As of 2017, tour prices (per person) ranged from UISD 14 (Cape Town bus tour) to USD 3,785 (Rome helicopter tour). The new website is managed by Larry Pimentel (RCCL's Chief Destination Officer, also Azamara Cruises' President and CEO. The website provides full tour information, including duration, activity level, languages, etc. Optional custom itinerary planning is also offered.
(new) Alaskan cruise tours 2017-2018-2019
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 Alaskan 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.
- 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.
A total of 10 new Alaskan cruise tours will be offered by RCI during season 2018-2019 season. Bookings were opened on March 16, 2017.
- The itineraries are on Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas, operating on 7- and 9-night itineraries.
- Explorer of the Seas continues with 7-night cruises from Seattle, with stops in Victoria BC, Juneau and Inside Passage.
- Radiance of the Seas sails 7-night and 9-night cruises between Alaska and Canada (Seward - Vancouver).
- To these cruise itineraries can be added the new "cruise tour" (land and sea) itineraries designed for couples and families and extending up to 13 nights. These include Fjord and Tundra national Parks Explorer (premium tours in Kenali Fjords and Denali), plus 2 nights in Fairbanks. There is also "Family Tundra Express" cruise tour and an 1-night add-on to Denali.
- Alaska cruise tour prices started at USD 750 PP (double occupancy inside cabin) on Northbound Alaska & Hubbard Glacier cruise (May 2018).
(NEW) Royal Caribbean's UK to Caribbean fly cruise packages 2017-2018
Starting September 2017, RCI offers "flight and cruise" packages which are price-inclusive of Virgin Atlantic flights to Orlando (Florida USA) from England (London Gatwick and Manchester airports). Also included are private transfers and hotel stays near Orlando's International Drive resort area.
- The new Royal Caribbean fly-cruise package deals include a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary (on the ship Oasis of the Seas leaving from Port Canaveral) with ports of call Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica and Cozumel Mexico.
- The basic flight-cruise package includes direct return flights, all transfers and an overnight hotel stay (before the cruise). The standard package's cost starts from GBP 1197 per person (based on double occupancy cruise cabin rates).
- Both USA and UK cruise passengers can start their cruising vacation early, as RCI offers an 8-night Orlando hotel stay before boarding the Oasis ship.
- One package includes USA-UK return flights, 8-night Orlando hotel stay (city is famous for its numerous theme park attractions) plus 7-night Western Caribbean cruise to Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico. The package starts at GBP 1,599 pp. The same package with Eastern Caribbean ports of call (to St Maarten, Puerto Rico and Haiti) is priced from GBP 1,699 pp.
- These new RCI package holidays are available for the period September 2017 through May 2018.
Royal Caribbean's "Private Journeys" excursions
RCI passengers seeking for personalized shore excursion experiences can take advantage of the company's "Private Journeys" program.
- The USD 100 concierge-style service enables guests to book port calls tailored to their interests, travel style and budget. Private Journeys tours allows access to 1 of 9 professional Destination Insiders, who can help plan every detail of the shore excursion before the cruise sets sail. Activities can include private yacht sailing along the Italian or French Riviera, cooking alongside Michelin-starred chefs, or get a taste of Alaska at a crab feast in a remote fjord. The USD 100 fee for Private Journeys is applicable to excursion's final cost.
- Private Journeys are offered as a 3rd shore excursion choice (beside independent and RCI sponsored group tours). This new choice offers direct booking through RCI. It allows passengers to customize every aspect and detail of their port of call stop. Private Journeys can be booked ONLY via Royal Caribbean, Booked passengers have to provide Private Journeys' staff with their idea / basics of what they want (duration, prefered places, activities, meals, etc). Then they work with local (professional) tour guides to design the excursion. The contact with Private Journeys is by email or phone.
- "Private Journeys" RCI tour deals guarantee: priority disembarkation, sure return to the cruise ship (if the tour runs late, the ship waits for you), convenient access to private tour vehicles, quality of service (reputable / insured operators in direct contact with the RCI cruise ship's personnel).
Royal Caribbean Asia cruise itinerary changes
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.
- 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 Kong, Shanghai 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.
In an official statement (March 9, 2017) RCCL announced all scheduled South Korean cruise ports will be removed from the company's China based itineraries "due to recent developments regarding the situation in South Korea".
- The RCCL's notice included as itinerary changes (on all cruises leaving from ports in China) the South Korean ports Busan, Jeju and Seoul will be replaced with ports in Japan.
- The move made Royal Caribbean the first major cruise company to ban cruises to South Korean ports.
- The decision was made following the rising tension between China and Korea over Seoul's deployment in South Korea of the US Army missile defense system THAAD ("Terminal High Altitude Area Defense") on South Korean territory. This is an anti-ballistic missile system designed to intercept and shoot down medium-range and long-range missiles. Beijing's anger was over a joint South Korea-USA plan to set up THAAD missile system in the country. Officially, the missile system is against North Korean nuclear missiles. According to Beijing, this far-reaching radar system targets China.
- Between 2011-2016, over 8 million Chinese touristed South Korea, which is nearly half of the country's foreign visitors.
- On March 11, 2017, Costa Serena docked at Jeju City South Korea in the afternoon. However, all passengers (over 3,400) refused to disembark, while at the cruise terminal, customs officers, tour guides and around 80 buses were waiting for them.
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