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 shipping operator - after Carnival Corporation. As of 2009, RCCL controls 25% of the world's ship cruising 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, RCCL (Royal Caribbean International's parrent company) operates 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.
Since March 2018, RCCL offers one login for RCI and Celebrity Cruises websites and mobile apps. The new policy allows one account to be used for loyalty program benefits, bookings and reservations with both brands. The account security was also simplified and strengthened to ensure customers' personal data..
The following table shows RCCL's Q4 2017 financial results. For comparison, there are also shown the corporation's Q42016 respective numbers, as well as the results reported by its main competitors on the market - Carnival Corporation and NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd). Statistical data is for all brands (subsidiary companies) in their fleets.
|Breakdown||2017 Q4||2016 Q4||Carnival (2016)||NCLH (2016)|
|Total Revenue||USD 2 billion||USD 1,9 billion||USD 4 billion (USD 3,9 billion)||USD 1,25 billion (USD 1,1 billion)|
|Net Income||USD 288 million||USD 261 million||USD 546 million (USD 609 million)||USD 98 million (USD 72 million)|
|Net Income Per Passenger Day||USD 29||USD 26,42||USD 25,38 (USD 28,69)||USD 21 (USD 16,45)|
|Gross Revenue Per Passenger Day||USD 201,79||USD 193,21||USD 198 (USD 185,40)||USD 265,66 (USD 256,16)|
|Net Revenue Per Passenger Day||USD 161,21||USD 154,49||USD 162,58 (USD 152,47)||USD 206,18 (USD 196,17)|
|Operating Expense Per Passenger Day||USD 170,85||-||172,48||USD 227,99|
|Fuel Costs Year-over-Year||USD 10 million||-||USD 63 million||USD 8 million|
Royal Caribbean International (RCI)
Royal Caribbean is in top 3 best family cruise lines in the world, and owns some of the most popular liners 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.
A signature feature of RCI ships is the "Viking Crown Lounge", introduced in 1970 with RCI's first ship MS Song of Norway (scrapped in 2013 as "Formosa Queen"). As RCI ships grew in size, the lounge also grew. On the Vision-Class (ships 1995) its location was changed - from forward to midship-aft (near the smokestacks) alowing more space to be alocated for the new amenities and entertainment.
In 2014 and 2015, Royal Caribbean International introduced their brand new Dynamic Dining concept that replaced the Main Dining Room concept on Quantum-class ships.
- RCI vessels with Dynamic Dining don't 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 NCL Norwegian, 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 company had planned to extend its dynamic dining concept to Oasis-class ships. During 2014-2015 drydock refurbishments, decor 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, RCI 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.
RCI cruise ships classes
RCI's fleet has vessels in the following classses:
- Note: All vessels have Outdoor Movie Theater (poolside large LED screen for movies), Solarium (adults-only pool deck), Aqua Park, Rock Climbing Wall, FlowRider (surf simulator), 3D Cinema, Virtual Balcony Staterooms.
- "Oasis Class" ships (Oasis, Allure, Harmony, Symphony) feature Neighborhoods, AquaTheater, 3D Movies, Waterslides (Harmony, Symphony), Zip Line, 2 FlowRiders, 2 Climbing Walls, Carousel, Ice-Skating Rink, Loft Suites (2-deck cabins).
- "Icon Class" is a new design vessel with GT around 200K tons and passenger capacity 5000 (more details to be announced on later date).
- "Quantum Class"and "Quantum Ultra Class" ships (Quantum, Anthem, Ovation, Spectrum) feature North Star (top-deck, mobile observation capsule), RipCord (sky-diving simulator), Seaplex (large indoor sports complex), Two70 Lounge (3-deck high), Loft Suites, Music Hall (2-deck venue).
- "Freedom Class" (ships Freedom, Liberty, Independence) feature Ice-Skating Rink, Royal Promenade (indoor street).
- "Radiance Class" (ships Radiance, Brilliance, Serenade, Jewel) feature Glass Elevators, Gyroscopic Self-Leveling Pool Tables, Mini-Golf Course.
- "Vision Class" ships (Grandeur, Rhapsody, Enchantment, Vision) are fleet's oldest, excepting only the "Sovereign Class" ships Majesty and Empress.
The Voyager-class, Freedom-class and Oasis-class vessels have Royal Promenade. It is a centerline promenade in a multi-deck Atrium with pedestrian (shopping mall-like) area lined with restaurants and shops. At night, the Royal Promenade turns into entertainment venue hosting live parades and dance parties. Royal Promenade's upper levels are home to "Promenade Staterooms" (each with a large window overlooking the promenade below). Next aerial photo shows Voyager-class cruise ship (Adventure, Explorer, Mariner, Navigator, Voyager).
Next aerial photo shows an Oasis-class cruise ship (Allure, Oasis, Harmony, Symphony) as looked from above.
Next is shown a Quantum-class ship (Anthem, Quantum, Ovation) as looked from above.
Instead of Royal Promenade, Quantum-class ships have "Royal Esplanade" - 2-deck high shopping complex without any overlooking "Promenade 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. In 2016, RCI entered the "Guinness Book of World Records" in the category "Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship". The record was because of the "North Star" glass-walled observation capsule rising over 300 ft (91 m) above sea level and rotating upwards and over the ship's sides providing 360-degree views.
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.
CocoCay Island refurbishments and expansion 2018-2019
Since 2015, RCCL invests huge money in the corporation's private Bahamian island CocoCay. In March 2018, Royal Caribbean announced an USD 200 million project (named "Perfect Day Island Collection") for developing private land destinations in the regions of Caribbean, Asia and Australia. As part of this project, on CocoCay will be built unique water attractions.
- Thrill Waterpark attraction to be constructed, with 2 water towers (Daredevil’s Tower, Family Tower) with a total of 13 slides. The Daredevil’s Tower complex consists of North America's tallest waterslide (named Daredevil’s Peak, height 135 ft / 41 m), Dueling Demons (2 drop slides), Manta Raycers (2 high-speed slides), Screeching Serpent (fully vertical slide), Green Mamba (coiling slide), as well as Caribbean’s largest wave pool (Adventure Pool ) with obstacle course (lily pads), rock-climbing wall, . The Family Tower complex consists of all 6 waterslides, including 1 tubed (The Twister, capacity 2 persons sharing 1 raft), 1 zero-gravity (The Slingshot, capacity 4 persons) and 1 racing (Splash Speedway, with 4 lanes).
- Caribbean’s biggest freshwater swimming pool (named Oasis Lagoon) has a swim-up bar and water loungers.
- Caribbean's only Zip-line with water landing has length 1600 ft (488 m) and crisscrosses the island at heigths up to 50 ft (15 m).
- The Bahamas' highest vantage point (an attraction named "Up, Up and Away") is a helium balloon flying up to 450 ft (137 m) above ground.
- Three new beaches - Chill Island (with private cabanas and daybeds), South Beach (specifically designed for beachside activities - volleyball, basketball, soccer, paddle boards, glass-bottom seakayaks, zorbs (nflatable bumper bubble balls) and Coco Beach Club (exclusive beach providing premium island vacation experiences with overwater cabanas). Coco Beach Club cabana rentals are inclusive of 1 hammock, 1 waterslide and dedicated service by a cabana attendant. The complex also includes a freshwater infinity pool, its own full bar and an exclusive restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine specialties.
- Shipwreck Galleon (kids park) has 30 water cannons. The Sprayaway Geyser sprays water up to 82 ft (25 m) in the air. Both are part of Splashaway Bay. This is the enlarged version of the Royal Caribbean ships upgraded onboard aqua parks for kids, fitted with fountains, splash pools, sprinklers, geysers, cannons, whirlpools, slides, 2 drench buckets.
- Captain Jack’s is a new bar and dining venue - designed as rowboat, with waterfront views, serving beverages and fast-food items (including chicken wings and steak fries).
- Skipper’s Grill serves lunch fast-food (including sandwiches, burgers, tacos, salads).
- The beachside restaurant Chill Grill is CocoCay's largest. Also new is the food bar Snack Shack.
- Newly added amenities include wave runner and boat tours, snorkeling, private cabanas and daybeds for rental, several beach bars with upgraded menus.
In 2017-2018 was constructed a new pier (able to handle RCI's largest / Oasis-class liners), as well as basketball court, bocce ball court, bowling court, volleyball nets, large-size pool table.
In 2016 the private island was upgraded with new swim-up bar at Barefoot Beach, new cabanas, new island dock (for tenders), 35 beach bungalows (capacity 6 persons each) at Barefoot Beach.
In 2015, the island was upgraded with new trams (quieter and taller) and were added a new / shorter tram route and a new freshwater shower (at Barefoot Beach).
RCI "VOOM" Internet
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 (2018-2019 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.
RCI gratuities (2018-2019 cruises)
Daily gratuities are per person (pp):
- USD 14,50 pp (interior, oceanview, balcony staterooms, both adults and kids)
- USD 17,50 (suites)
- Daily gratuity is an automatic service charge added to the passenger's onboard account each day.
- Passengers can prepay gratuities.
- The amount of gratuities is split between the ship's staff - dining (wait and cooking), housekeeping staff, room stewards (cabin and suite attendants).
Lifeguards on 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.
(new) RCI "Next Cruise" (onboard booking)
In August 2017, Royal Caribbean changed "Next Cruise" (onboard cruise booking program). NextCruise allows passengers to book a future RCI itinerary while on the ship. The old program included booking with reduced deposits.
- Since August 2017, the deposit required for onboard booking is the same as the deposit required with shore bookings (ranging between USD 100-450 per stateroom, depending on itinerary length).
- Since December 2017, NextCruise shipboard booking customers are eligible to pay a reduced deposit (USD 100 pp) regardless of voyage length - but only if they book with non-refundable fare. Refundable fare bookings still require full deposit. This offer is available on all RCI cruises - excluding only China roundtrips. The USD 100 pp deposit is applicable when booking Interior Cabin up to Junior Suite.
- Grand Suite and above stateroom bookings require full deposit.
- Group bookings are also not eligible for the USD 100 pp deposit.
- In case that the non-refundable fare bookings are cancelled, "Future Cruise Credit" will not be issued.
Currently, the only benefit from onboard cruise booking is the future onboard credit (abbrev OBC), which is based on cabin type:
- 4-5 night itineraries - Inside and Oceanview cabins (USD 25 per cabin), Balcony Stateroom and Junior Suite (USD 50), Grand Suite and higher (USD 150)
- 6-9 night itineraries - Inside and Oceanview cabins (USD 50 per cabin), Balcony Stateroom and Junior Suite (USD 100), Grand Suite and higher (USD 300)
- 10-night and longer itineraries - Inside and Oceanview cabins (USD 100 per cabin), Balcony Stateroom and Junior Suite (USD 200), Grand Suite and higher (USD 500).
(new) RCI Cruise Cancellation Policy
Starting April 18, 2018, Royal Caribbean passengers who want to cancel an upcoming cruise without penalty have to do so farther out from the departure date than before. The new RCI cruise cancellation policy simplifies the penalty fee schedule by reducing the number of itinerary categories from 5 to 2: those of 1 to 4 nights and those 5 nights or longer.
- Under the old policy, travelers booked on 1 to 5 night long itineraries could cancel up to 60 days prior to deparrture without cancellation fee.
- The new RCI cancellation policy changes the cruise length / itinerary duration to 1 to 4 nights (including short holiday and mini-cruise deals) and requires cancellation at least 75 days before departure.
- Cruises 1 to 4 nights long canceled between 74 and 61 days out incur a fee of 50% of the total fare. Cruises canceled 60 to 31 days out incur a fee of 75% of the total fare and any cruise canceled within 30 days or less of departure is not refunded at all (100% cancellation fee).
- The second tier of cancellations includes any itineraries 5-night or longer, including cruisetours and holiday voyages. Under the old policy, cruises 6-nights or longer, holiday voyages 1 to 5 days, holiday voyages 6-night or longer, and cruisetours had separate cancellation penalty schedules. By the new policy, itineraries 5-night or longer must be canceled at least 90 days prior departure date in order to avoid cancellation fee. Previously, RCI customers could cancel 75 to 90 days before departure, depending on itinerary category.
- Cruises 5-night or longer canceled 89 to 75 days prior departure incur a penalty equal to 25% deposit paid. Cruises canceled 74 to 61 days incur penalties of 50% of the total fare. Cruises canceled 60 to 31 days incur penalties of 75% of the fare Cruises canceled within 30 days or less of departure is not refunded at all (100% cancellation fee).
The previous time when RCI updated company's cancellation policy was on March 7, 2016.
(new) RCI Shore Excusrions Cancellation Policy
On June 15, 2017, Royal Caribbean International implemented a new "Shore Excursions Cancellation Policy" fleetwide. The new policy transitions from 1 day / 24-hour prior to land tour departure date to a 48-hours prior to cruise port arrival date.
- Shore Excursions can be modified / changed or cancelled up to 2 days / 48 hours prior to cruise port arrival date without any penalty.
- Land Tours that involve travel by air / flights (international and domestic), trains, also special / themed events, overnight hotel stays and Private Journeys (customized tours) must be cancelled 30 days prior to cruise departure date to avoid cancellation fees / penalties.
- In the event a land tour is cancelled 48-hours prior to cruise port arrival date, a full refund is provided to the passenger’s onboard account.
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 Club's President and CEO. The website provides full tour information, including duration, activity level, languages, etc.
- Optional custom itinerary planning is also offered.
On select voyages RCI offers behind-the-scenes crew life tour with duration 2 hours. The "All Access Crew Life Tour" (priced USD 79 pp) can be booked via CruisePlanner and offers a glimpse of what it is like to work and live on the ship.
(new) RCI Non-Refundable Cruise Deposit Policy
Om July 1, 2017, RCI implemented fleetwide a new, nonrefundable cruise deposit program.
- An USD 100 "cruise change" fee per person (pp) is imposed to each booked reservation (under "non-refundable deposit fare") opting to change the originally selected vessel and/or departure date.
- Multiple adjustments to the vessel / departure date result in the assessment of USD 100 pp change fee for each qualifying change made to the booked reservation. RCI doesn't limit the number of changes.
- Outside of final payment, when a non-refundable cruise deposit cancellation occurs, booked passengers receive "Future Cruise Certificate" in the amount of the cruise deposit, minus the USD 100 pp change fee.
- Nonrefundable deposits are the only option for booking higher-grade cruise ship Suite, and also for all guaranteed cabin categories.
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.
(new) RCI photo packages prices
In late June 2017, Royal Caribbean added two photo packages available for online purchasing at "Cruise Planner".
- The photo packages include 2 options - all digital (unlimited photos are uploaded on an USB stick) and printed.
- The unlimited digital photo package costs USD 250.
- The 20-prints photo package costs USD 200.
- Before 2017, Royal Caribbean offered photo packages available for online purchasing on a separate website.
RCI "Cruise Compass" (onboard newsletter)
"Cruise Compass" is named the RCI's onboard newsletter delivered by cabin attendats each evening. This is a daily guide for news, onboard events and activities on the cruise ship scheduled for the the next day.
- The newsletter also provides valuable information regarding forecasted weather, bars with drink specials, itinerary ports of call and shore excursions info, themed events (parties, lectures, seminars, etc), sporting events.
- Some of the events are not repeated, other activities change daily.
- RCI doesn't publish "Cruise Compass" guides for upcoming cruises in advance.
- age 1 is an overview of what to expect the next day, including port, weather report, specials, highlighted events, dedicated "Important things to know today" section.
- Page 2 lists more onboard events, sales and special offers. The "Activity and Entertainment Highlights" section lists headlines of all evening show performances onboard,
- Page 3 lists all the ship's venues (bars, restaurants, food bars, lounges, Spa, Gym, etc) and their opening hours. Here is also the RCI's main dining room dress code. At the page's bottom is the "drink of the day" special - a discount-priced cocktail.
- Page 4 lists all the next day's activities broken down by time (morning, afternoon, evening) - all shipboard events, each has time, title and deck location. Each of the listed activities can be teared off.
- "Adventure Ocean" is another newsletter providing information of kids programming (small children and teens) scheduled on the cruise ship. Some of these events are also listed in the "Cruise Compass". "Adventure Ocean" newsletter has "Daily Planner" with kids and teen activities (broken up by ages).
- The "Royal iQ" app is available on some RCI ships and features a "Cruise Compass" digital copy. This mobile app allows adding specific events directly to your own digital calendar. Via the app, you can make reservations (spa, dining, etc) or add activities directly from the "Cruise Compass" to your own calendar. Your own daily schedule will be automatically updated. Unfortunately, the app works only on Quantum- and Oasis-class ships.
Itinerary of Royal Caribbean
RCI cruises 2018-2019 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 2018-2019, RCI has the largest ships and capacity in comparison to any other cruise line for Australia and New Zealand destinations. The company deploys 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 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 roundtrip 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. Grandeur operates out of Baltimore since 2013, replacing there the Enchantment ship.
Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries by ship
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.
|Ship Name||Homeports||Itineraries Changes|
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 sails to Bermuda during summer months and the Caribbean year-round on 5-, 7- and 9-night itineraries.
In 2017 autumn, Anthem of the Seas offers 9-night cruises to Canada and New England.
During 2019-2020 season Adventure of the Seas offers 6- to 8-night itineraries from Fort Lauderdale FL to Bahamas and Caribbean to destinations including Grand Cayman, St Thomas, San Juan. The ship also offers select 6-night itineraries to Canada New England during summer months, and longer 10- to 11-night fall foliage cruises from September.
operates on 7-day tineraries to Western Caribbean (Cozumel Mexico, Jamaica, Labadee Haiti) and Bahamas-Eastern Caribbean (Nassau, St Maarten, Jamaica, Puerto Rico).
Allure of the Seas will offer cruises from Florida in 2019 through 2020. All 4 Oasis Class vessels will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
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.
During 2019-2020 season Anthem of the Seas departs from Cape Liberty and offers 5- to 9-night summer cruises to Bermuda, Bahamas, and Caribbean. In the fall season, the ship offers 9-night itineraries to Canada New England.
In early February 2018, RCI's President and CEO confirmed that a Quantum Class ship will be homeported in Southampton UK for season 2020.
operates on round-trips out of Tampa to Western Caribbean (4-day Cozumel Mexico, 5-day Key West FL, Cozumel).
In the summer, the ship operates in Europe on Mediterranean round-trips out of Barcelona (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Adriatic Sea).
In 2017 Brilliance sails on a 12-night Western Mediterranean itinerary, with departure from Barcelona.
During 2017-2018 season Brilliance of the Seas joins 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.
Empress of the Seas cruises for May 9, 2018 - March 30, 2019 are changed to Majesty. In addition to the ship change, the June 25, 2018, August 6, 2018, September 3, 2018, September 17, 2018, and October 1, 2018 itineraries are modified.
operates on Bahama cruises to Nassau and Coco Cay (3-day and 4-day round-trips).
In 2018 Enchantment of the Seas joins Liberty of the Seas in Galveston TX, for roundtrip 4- and 5-night Caribbean itineraries (starting on June 23, 2018).
In a later announcement, Royal Caribbean revealed that Enchantment of the Seas moves to Port Canaveral for sailings between: May 4, 2018 - April 15, 2019. Guests on these cruises will be moved to the ship in the same class, Vision of the Seas. The following sailings on Enchantment of the Seas are cancelled: June 23, 2018 - March 13, 2019 and April 19, 2019.
In 2019-2020 season Enchantment of the Seas will sail 4- and 5-night itineraries from Galveston to various destinations in Mexico.
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 2017-2018 season the ship makes 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 continues 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.
In March 2019 Explorer of the Seas heads to the UK and in November 2019 to the Caribbean to start its following Australian season. On March 29, 2019 the ship leaves Sydney on a 46-night repositioning voyage through Asia, the Middle East and Europe, offered in 4 sectors. Explorer of the Seas is based in Southampton for almost 6 months in 2019, operating 2-night to 14-night itineraries to the Baltic, visiting Stockholm for the first time, Mediterranean and Canary Islands.
2019-2020: Explorer of the Seas returns to the United States with 5-night Western Caribbean and 9-night Southern Caribbean itineraries sailing from Miami FL.
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).
Freedom of the Seas heads 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).
During 2019-2020 season Freedom of the Seas will offer 7-night Southern Caribbean itineraries out of San Juan.
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 2018-2019-2020, 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.
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 itineraries in Europe out of Barcelona Spain (7-day itineraries to France and Italy).
Harmony of the Seas will offer cruises from Florida in 2019 through 2020. All 4 Oasis Class vessels will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
operates on short round-trips to Western Caribbean (Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico, Belize) and Eastern Caribbean (Labadee Haiti, Jamaica).
During summer, the ship operates in Europe on round-trips out of Southampton to Mediterranean and Canary Islands. In 2017 the ship sails out of Southampton, exploring the Mediterranean and Canary Islands, as well as Morocco. Independence also offers 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.
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).
In 2017, Jewel offers Mediterranean cruise departures from Rome on 7 and 9-night itineraries to Greece and Turkey, as well as 7-night Western Mediterranean voyages visiting Spain and France.
During 2017-2018 season Jewel of the Seas calls at Sain Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Barbados with departures from San Juan on week-long cruises.
Starting January 2019, the ship will be homeported in Miami. All pre-scheduled (January through April) 2019 cruises from Puerto Rico were cancelled. The homeport Miami cruise program includes 5-night Western Caribbean, and 9- and 10-night Southern Caribbean itineraries.
operates on 7-day round-trips to Eastern-Western Caribbean (Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico, Roatan Honduras, Grand Cayman, Jamaica).
During 2019-2020 season Liberty of the Seas will offer 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Galveston.
operates on Bahamas cruises out of Miami (3-day Nassau, 4-day Nassau and Coco Cay.
REPOSITIONING: In May 2016 the ship was relocated to Port Canaveral Florida for cruises to Bahamas (same itineraries).
Starting March 25, 2019, the ship operates Cuba cruises leaving roundtrip from Port Canaveral (Orlando, Florida.USA) to Havana.
Majesty of the Seas moves to Tampa for cruises between June 22, 2018 - April 29, 2019. The following sailings are cancelled: May 7, 2018 - June 18, 2018. Guests on the canceled voyages will have their vessel changed to Enchantment of the Seas.
Majesty of the Seas offers 4- and 5-night itineraries to Havana Cuba (day visits and overnights) leaving roundtrip from Tampa (in the period April-October 2018) and from Fort Lauderdale (November 2018 through March 2019).
operates on Asia cruise round-trips out of Singapore (to Thailand and Malaysia) and out of Shanghai (to South Korea and Japan). In 2018, the ship will be repositioned to homeport Miami via Suez Canal and Transatlantic segments. The relocation cruise is called "Global Odyssey” (Asia to Caribbean) combining 3 itineraries- Singapore to Dubai, Dubai to Barcelona, Barcelona to Miami.
In 2018, Mariner of the Seas will be homeported in Miami, Florida. The ship will be the first Voyager-class vessel to offer short-break Caribbean cruises. Before Miami, Mariner will undergo a 32-day refurbishment in Bahamas. Once back in service, the ship starts 3- and 4-night itineraries roundtrip from Miami (beginning June 21, 2018).
In 2019-2020 season Mariner of the Seas will offer sailings from Port Canaveral.
operates on round-trips to Bahamas-Western Caribbean (Nassau, Cozumel Mexico) and Southern Caribbean (Labadee haiti, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire).
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 cruises out of Southampton UK, to ports in 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.
In 2019-2020 season Navigator of the Seas will be based in the new Terminal A port in Miami.
operates on 7-day round-trips to Western Caribbean (Cozumel Mexico, Labadee haiti, Jamaica) and Bahamas-Eastern Caribbean (Nassau, St Thomas, St Maarten).
During 2019-2020 season Oasis of the Seas spends the summer in Europe for the first time since 2014, sailing from Barcelona. The ship offers 7-night itineraries, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Marseille, Florence, Rome and Naples.
Oasis of the Seas offers cruises from Florida in 2019 through 2020. Oasis will undergo a bow-to-stern refit before changing homeport to Terminal A at Miami for fall and winter seasons. All 4 Oasis Class vessels will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
operates on China round-trips to Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.
In December 2016, the ship was relocated to Sydney Australia for roundtrips to New Zealand, then back to Asia (Singapore). During 2017-2018 winter season Ovation operates Australia and New Zealand itineraries from homeport Sydney. The ship is homeported in Singapore for the summer season.
During 2018-2019 season Ovation of the Seas will return to Tianjin, China for a second season, exploring the best of Japan, including 2 new ports for the ship: Sasaebo and Shimonoseki.
Beginning November 2018 the ship will sail in Australian waters from Sydney for its 3rd and longest season in the country, offering 13 sailings.
In 2019, with the arrival of Ovation of the Seas for 2019 Alaska summer season, Royal Caribbean will debut one of its Quantum Class ships in Alaska. Ovation will reposition from Sydney to her summer homeport of Seattle. Ovation will offer 7-night itineraries to destinations like Juneau and Victoria, showcasing the natural treasures of Alaska. The ship will join Radiance of the Seas in Alaska.
new ship (scheduled launch 2020)
|new ship (scheduled launch 2019)|
operates on short round-trips out of China to South Korea and Japan.
During winter 2019,-2020 (November through April) the Quantum ship will be homeported in Singapore. The liner offers a total of 34 itineraries - to and from Penang Malaysia, Phuket Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam. This deployment increased the Royal Caribbean's passenger capacity in Singapore by 30%.
In early February 2018, RCI's President confirmed that a Quantum Class ship will be homeported in Southampton UK for season 2020.
operates on round-trips to Queensland, New Zealand and South Pacific Islands (Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu).
REPOSITIONING (Alaska-Australia 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 is focused on Australia and New Zealand itineraries.
For 2018-2019-2020 season Radiance operates 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. In Australia, Radiance (2018-2019) offers new "open-jaw itineraries" (10-night cruises) between Auckland and Melbourne or Sydney.
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).
The ship returned to Tampa in November 2017.
operates on round-trips to Southern Caribbean (BVI, St Kitts, Dominica, Antigua, St Maarten).
During summer, the ship operates in Europe (baltic Sea) on round-trips out of Demmark
In 2017-2018 Serenade of the Seas offers 10- and 11-night cruises to destinations including Ponce, Puerto Rico.
2019-2020: Serenade of the Seas sails out of Fort Lauderdale FL on Southern Caribbean cruises. Port visits include Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Puerto Limon. The ship also sails to Bermuda.
|Spectrum of the Seas||tba||
In early February 2018, RCI's President and CEO confirmed that a Quantum Class ship will be homeported in Southampton UK for season 2020.
Symphony of the Seas will offer cruises from Florida in 2019 through 2020. All 4 Oasis Class vessels will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
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 cruises in Northern Europe, with new itineraries 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 were canceled, as the ship had to shorten its 2017 European season to move to Cape Liberty.
During season 2018-2019 winter, Vision of the Seas will be home-ported in New Orleans (NOLA). Beginning December 15, 2018, the ship will offer 7-night itineraries to Western Caribbean (Yucatan Mexico) and Bahamas. Before the repositioning to NOLA, Vision of the Seas will offer two 16-night cruises through Panama Canal (between Miami and Los Angeles).
In a later announcement, Royal Caribbean revealed that Vision of the Seas moves to Galveston for 2018-2019 season. The following sailings are cancelled: March 9, 2019 - April 13, 2019.
2019-2020: Vision of the Seas doubles Panama Canal offerings prior to heading to San Juan for Caribbean adventure, including visits to a new destination for the cruise line, Punta Cana.
operates on round-trips to South Pacific Islands itineraries (Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu). In 2016, RCI started offerings for Indian cruisers with Voyager of the Seas sailing out of Singapore.
During season 2018-2019, the ship will be again homeported in Singapore operating on 3- to 7-night itineraries in Southeast Asia (including Thailand and Malaysia). Beginning April 30, 2018 Voyager of the Seas will offer a total of 77 sailings from Singapore, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, sailing across Southeast Asia.
Royal Caribbean Australia-Asia itineraries 2018-2019-2020
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).
- 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.
- 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):
- 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 2018-2019-2020 (UK, Mediterranean)
On June 2, 2016, RCI announced changing homeport Cape Liberty (Bayonne New Jersey / New York) ship deployment by replacing Rhapsody with Vision.
- On June 2, 2016, RCI announced that in April 2017 the Legend ship will be sold to Thomson (Marella Cruises). Its last RCI cruise was on March 13, 2017 (13-night Suez Canal from Dubai to Barcelona).
- In April 2017 Royal Caribbean unveiled plans for the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to sail from Asia-Pacific region in 2019. Set to be launched in spring 2019, the yet-to-be-named vessel will be the next evolution of the groundbreaking Quantum class and will join her sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. The announcement was made as RCI unveiled its full roster of 2018-2019 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries. With nearly a decade since Royal Caribbean's first cruise in China, the cruise line further bolsters its commitment to the market by dedicating a lineup of its most technologically advanced ships to the rapidly growing market. The new ship will specifically be designed for guests in the region, featuring even more cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.
- As part of the deployment plans for 2018-2019, Mariner of the Seas will reposition to a new home in Miami embarking on a "Global Odyssey" from Asia that features 3 long sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami. Voyager of the Seas will have her first full season in Singapore in 2018-2019, offering 3- to 7-night adventures throughout Southeast Asia with stops that include ports in Thailand and Malaysia. The new 2018-2019 deployment season presents additional highlights, including an expanded offering of open-jaw itineraries for adventure-seekers traveling down under with new 10-night itineraries between Auckland and Melbourne or Sydney on Radiance of the Seas. During the winter, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to Sydney for her longest season in Australia, reclaiming the title as the largest ship based in the region.
All RCI Europe cruises visiting Turkey were altered, as the company officially cancelled its scheduled visits to Turkish ports for seasons 2017-2018.
(new) Alaskan cruise tours 2018-2019 -2020
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 were a couple of 12-night exclusive Alaskan cruisetours. "Kantishna Select Wilderness and Wildlife" cruisetour reveals Denali’s wilderness with local experts. Guests go on a kayak, bike adventure at Eklutna Lake, travel by rail from Denali National Park to Fairbanks, and hike the Exit Glacier. The cruisetour includes 2 nights of exclusive accommodations at Kantishna backcountry lodge.
- "Katmai Bear Trek and Kantishna Fly Over" cruisetour provides the opportunity to see American brown bears hunting in their natural habitat in the Katmai Park and Preserve. Participants 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 are offered by RCI during season 2018-2019 season.
- 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 and Hubbard Glacier cruise (May 2018).
(NEW) Royal Caribbean's UK to Caribbean fly cruise packages 2018-2019
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.
In August 2017, RCCL launched a new fly-cruise booking platform encompassing roundtrip flights, cruises, transfers and port / hotel stays.
- The new booking technology (branded "AirWaves") serves the corporation's subsidiary companies Azamara, Celebrity and RCI. All "flight and cruise" packages are ATOL-protected, with RCCL acting as the principle.
- The AirWaves booking platform allows travel agents to book fly-cruise packages and displays various airlines with all their flight schedules. Formerly, agents had to use several sites to book such cruise package deals.
- AirWaves allows comparing flights from 30 UK and Ireland airports. It also offers access to over 2500 hotels worldwide (including many located close to the cruise ship departure ports) for pre-/post-cruise stays.
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 world's biggest passenger ships 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.
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 started in 2017. The first cruise was on April 19 (5-night Miami to Costa Maya and Havana).
- Royal Caribbean gave adventure-seekers unique chances to explore the "freedom island" destination Cuba with new cruise itineraries to Havana on Empress of the Seas. The newly refreshed ship had scheduled a total of 58 voyages (4- and 5-night itineraries) in the period January 2018 through March 2019, with more than half offering overnights in the capital city.
- Empress of the Seas returns to Tampa for summer 2018, with a series of 4- and 5-night itineraries, visiting Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Havana on most sailings. For the winter 2018-2019 season the ship will reposition to Port Everglades, continuing with short Caribbean adventures.
- On December 1, 2017, RCI added 2 new Cuban ports (Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos) included in 4- to 8-night long Caribbean itineraries on Empress of the Seas. The new 7-night "Best of Cuba" itinerary from Miami visits Cienfuegos, Havana and Nassau. The 5-night itinerary visits Key West Florida and Havana (overnight). The 8-night itinerary visits Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman Island and Labadee Haiti.
- Majesty of the Seas offers 4- and 5-night itineraries to Havana Cuba (day visits and overnights) leaving roundtrip from Tampa (in the period April-October 2018) and from Fort Lauderdale (November 2018 through March 2019).
In July 2017 Royal Caribbean unveiled a 2nd cruise ship that will visit Cuba, Majesty of the Seas out of Port Canaveral FL. Majesty will depart from Port Canaveral March 25, 2019 sailing on a 4-night voyage that will call at Havana.
The current list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba in 2017-2018-2019 includes:
- Carnival Paradise leaving from Tampa Florida - cheapest prices (from USD 480 pp) since June 2017
- MSC Cruises (ship MSC Opera, leaving from Havana)
- Holland America (ship Veendam) leaving from Fort Lauderdale since December 2017
- 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 Uk / Marella Cruises (ship Marella 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.
Royal Caribbean related cruise news
The U.S. Coast Guard called off search for a passenger who jumped overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship Friday afternoon, April 13. The 24...April 14, 2018
Nearly 150 demonstrators held up banners that read messages like ‘Horror of the Seas’ and ‘Stop Cruises Palma’ shortly after...April 11, 2018
Asia's largest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, will be based in Singapore for 6 months in 2019 in what will be the line's longest ever deployment...April 10, 2018
Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas, is set to claim the record of being the largest ship in the world after having her...April 9, 2018
Royal Caribbean informed passengers booked on an upcoming sailing aboard Radiance of the Seas their cruise had been cancelled due to needed...April 4, 2018
Royal Caribbean unveiled its Seasonal Caribbean and Northeast cruises. Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor Society members can start booking sailings...April 3, 2018
Royal Caribbean debuts cutting-edge productions in the air, under water, on ice and on stage onboard Symphony of the Seas. The new show &lsquo...April 2, 2018
Anti-tourism protesters in Palma de Mallorca are planning a protest when the largest cruise ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas docks in the port...April 1, 2018
Royal Caribbean on Friday morning, March 23, took delivery of the new world's largest cruise ship, 228,081 GT Symphony of the...March 24, 2018
Royal Caribbean on Friday morning, March 23, took delivery of the new world's largest cruise ship, 228,081 GT Symphony of the Seas from the STX...March 24, 2018
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