Royal Caribbean fleet
Review of Royal Caribbean
(RCI) Royal Caribbean International is a subsidiary company and largest brand of RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd) - Norwegian-American corporation, ranked world's second largest passenger shipping company (after Carnival Corporation). However, RCCL owns the world's biggest passenger ships. As of 2018, RCCL controls around 32% of the global ship cruising market (revenue) and 23% (passengers), with full ownership of 4 brands (RCI, Celebrity, Silversea, Azamara) plus 49% stake in Pullmantur (51% owned by Springwater Capital) and 50% stake in TUI Cruises (50% owned by TUI AG).
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd is based in Miami FL (USA) and incorporated in Liberia. The company was formed in 1997 when RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, established 1968) purchased Celebrity Cruises (established 1988). A decision was made to keep the two brands separate. As result, RCCL was re-branded Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and RCCL was founded as the parent company of RCI and Celebrity. RCCL headquarters address is "Royal Caribbean International, 1050 Royal Caribbean Way, Miami, FL, 33132-2096 USA".
Around 55% of RCI's total revenue comes from USA. Company's other major markets are Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
- Since March 2018, RCCL offers one login for RCI and Celebrity 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.
- Since May 2018, RCCL also uses fleetwide only cage-free eggs and gestation stall-free pork. By the year 2024, for all its USA-based ships, RCCL will purchase poultry only from GAP-certified producers and dealers. The corporation will require chickens to be slaughtered and processed in a manner that doesn't involve live dumping and shackling, thus eliminating conscious throat-slitting and scalding.
- Since June 2018, RCI ship bars serve cocktails with optional plastic straws (not by default) - a new policy aiming to reduce sea pollution. "Why no straws?" signs at onboard bars fleetwide now indicate that drink orders will not automatically receive a straw, but only upon request.
- (deposit program changes) Since November 2018, RCI customers booking non-refundable deposit cruise fares don't receive onboard credit (USD 100) per stateroom. Instead, they are promised the lowest pricing on the fare.
- RCCL's has a call-center in Springfield OR, operated since 2006. The customized office resembles a cruise ship. In 2014, the company employed there over 700 people. In Aug 2018 was announced that RCCL plans to outsource most of its Springfield jobs (~90%, excepting only sales employees) to company's call centers in Jamaica and Guatemala. This means that US sales agents will do the bookings, but when customers call back with issues they will be re-routed overseas.
- Since 2017, Royal Caribbean has joint ownership of Grand Bahama Shipyard (Freeport), where major drydock refurbishments and ship maintenance works take place.
- In March 2019, RCCL and ITM Group of Institutions (Mumbai India) signed a letter of intent with The Bahamas government for the purchase of Grand Lucayan (an all-inclusive resort) and redevelopment of the cruise port Freeport Harbor. The 2-year, USD 195 million project includes Grand Lucayan Resort's purchase (USD 65 million) plus USD 135 million for development works. The new (RCL-exclusive) cruise port is expected to bring to annually an additional 2 million cruisers to Grand Bahama island. The project includes the construction of a theme park and a new 5-star hotel. Grand Lucayan Resort suffered significant damages during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, and was forced to close 2/3 of its property.
- In April 2019, RCCL partnered with IDEMIA (fka Morpho) - Paris-based French company specializing in security and identity solutions. In 2017, Morpho merged with Oberthur Technologies. IDEMIA's services will help speeding up RCCL passenger disembarkation at select US homeports via company's MFACE (high-speed 3D facial recognition) technology. The list of homeports, for now, includes NYC (Cape Liberty NJ) and PortMiami, with more Florida homeports to me added by the end of 2019. MFACE compares disembarking passenger's facial identity with those of embarking passengers, also matching against US Customs and Border Protection provided TVS (Traveler Verification Service). Passenger's privacy is guaranteed as no photos are stored neither by RCCL, IDEMIA or US Customs after cruise's completion.
- On June 4, 2019, the USA banned travel to Cuba (effective immediately). On June 5, RCCL officially canceled all pre-scheduled for 2019 Cuban cruises. On both affected RCI liners (Majesty OTS and Empress OTS) all Cuban ports were substituted with alternative Caribbean ports. All affected customers were provided with the option to either remain on the revised cruise and receive 50% refund (in OBC) or cancel the booking with a full refund.
- On June 24, 2019, RCCL and ITM Group established the Miami-headquartered joint venture company "Holistica" that specializes in cruise port development projects worldwide. Holistica's first project was the USD 275 million Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport Bahamas. Developments by Holistica were also planned for Costa Maya (Mexico), Roatan Island (Honduras) and Kumamoto (Kyushu Island, Japan).
All RCCL-owned vessels are serviced by Wartsila (Helsinki Finland-based corporation, marine equipment manufacturer and maritime services provider). In 2018, RCCL and Wartsila extended their service agreement to 2028. Under the agreement, Wartsila optimizes machinery efficiency through improved Turbocharger maintenance, also provides OEM (original equipment manufacturer) spare parts, workshop services, technical assistance for the entire RCCL fleet. The deal covers a total of 196 marine diesel engines on 46 vessels. Most RCCL liners are equipped with Wartsila-developed monitoring technology sending real-time engine data to a land-based center for analysis.
In June-July 2018, RCCL acquired the brand Silversea Cruises. On June 14, 2018, RCCL and Manfredi Lefebvre D'Ovidio (Silversea's majority stock owner) announced an agreement for RCCL to acquire 66,7% equity stake in Silversea, at purchase price around USD 1 billion. At the time, Silversea was valued ~USD 2 billion. RCCL financed the deal (through debt) in October. In addition to the cash money, Lefebvre family received around 472,000 RCCL shares. With the addition of Silversea (4 expedition ships) and the newbuild Celebrity Flora (Galapagos), RCCL's expedition fleet in 2019 grew to approx 2,5% of corporation's combined fleet (compared to 0,5% in 2018). By combined expedition cruise berths, RCCL is ranked world's 4th largest operator - following Ponant, Hurtigruten and Lindblad Expeditions.
The following table shows statistical data about Royal Caribbean International's market share (as fleet and passenger capacity / ship-berth numbers) in comparison to other major cruise companies.
|Parent Company||Subsidiaries||Fleets (vessels per brand)||Passenger Capacity (berths per brand)|
|Carnival Corp||Holland America||15||25900|
|Carnival Corp||P&O UK||8||18600|
|Carnival Corp||P&O Australia||5||8200|
|Carnival Corp||TOTAL||103 ships||233,200 berths|
|RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd)||RCI (Royal Caribbean International)||26||84,700|
|RCCL||TOTAL||64 ships||141400 berths|
|NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd)||NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines)||16||46600|
|NCLH||TOTAL||26 ships||54400 berths|
|(other large brands)|
3- Star Cruises (GHK)
4- Dream Cruises (GHK)
6- Viking Ocean
On October 1, 2018, RCI announced that company's 50th birthday cruise (themed "50 Years Bold Birthday Cruise") will be held on Symphony OTS leaving roundtrip from Miami (November 2-9, 2019). The 7-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary (to St Maarten, San Juan Puerto Rico, CocoCay) will feature unique programming, special events, and surprise guest performers.
Royal Caribbean International (RCI)
Royal Caribbean is in the top 3 best family cruise lines and owns some of the most popular ships for young adults, kids, and teens. As a mass-market company, RCI is recommended mostly for young and middle-age, active and sports-oriented travelers.
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) allowing more space to be allocated 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 the 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 to rotate between dining venues but keep the same waiter, assistant waiter, and tablemates.
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 company also clarified that Harmony of the Seas would have both 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. "Cupcake Cupboard" is a ship bakery available on the newest and refurbished ships. It offers 30 delicious cupcakes. Select Royal Caribbean ships offer the Starbucks coffee at sea.
Company's new alcohol policy allows passengers to bring their own wine on board and consume it in cabins (for free) or for a corkage fee (additional charge) in public areas.
New ship names
On October 1, 2018, RCCL-Royal Caribbean trademarked the ship name "Metropolis of the Seas". On September 4, 2018, RCCL trademarked 3 ship names that could be used for newbuilds in the future. The USPTO-registered vessel names were "Eon of the Seas", "Gallant of the Seas", "Phenom of the Seas".
In January 2017 were trademarked the names "Valhalla of the Seas", "Sunrise of the Seas", "Icon of the Seas", Symphony of the Seas. On September 15, 2014, RCCL trademarked the shipnames Spectrum of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Emblem of the Seas, Joy of the Seas, Apex of the Seas. In 2015, RCCL abandoned the trademarks Emblem of the Seas, Passion of the Seas, Pulse of the Seas (on September 7) and the trademarks Apex of the Seas, Joy of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas (on September 14).
On February 18, 2019, RCI signed a shipbuilding agreement with Chantiers de l'Atlantique Shipyard (St Nazaire, France) for a 6th Oasis-class liner (planned delivery 2023-Fall). This will be shipyard's 23rd vessel built for RCCL. The new ship has GT 231,000 tons, LOA 362 m (1188 ft) and 2857 cabins (capacity 5714 passengers at double occupancy, max pax 6700).
On April 24, 2019, at Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard (in Saint-Nazaire France) started construction works on the 5th Oasis-Class vessel, which is planned to enter service in 2021. The steel-cutting ceremony was attended by Joseph Pineau (RCCL's Director Newbuid), Beatrice Siri (RCCL's Associate VP, Architectural Design and Outfitting), Jean-Yves Jaouen (shipyard's SVP Operations), Florence Mauduit (shipyard's Oasis Contract Director) and Laurent Castaing (shipyard's General Manager). New liner's itineraries and homeport are not announced yet. The current four Oasis-class liners are Caribbean-deployed and Florida-homeported.
RCI cruise ships classes
RCI's fleet has vessels in the following classes:
- 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 a later date).
- "Quantum Class" (Quantum, Anthem, Ovation) and "Quantum Ultra Class" ships (Spectrum, Odyssey) 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) is the 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 have "Promenade Staterooms" (each with a large window overlooking the promenade below). Next aerial photo shows a 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. In September 2018, RCCL trademarked the Oasis-Class ships smokestack area (located top-deck midship). The design features a crown-shaped bottom section with 2 slanted funnels above. In October 2018 was trademarked ship's oblong-shaped stern. The design features AquaTheater Suites (with balconies), Ultimate Abyss (2 cascading waterslides) and RCCL's logo. On December 18, 2018, RCCL trademarked the name "Fly Rider" - described as amusement park ride similar to a zip-line roller coaster ride.
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 world's largest passenger liners ever. Families cruising with infants and toddlers benefit from the "Royal Babies" and "Royal Tots" nursery programs. Kids club activities are also available by the "Adventure Ocean" program.
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 a 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 heights 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.
- Shipwreck Galleon ("Captain Jack's 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 aquapark. 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 a 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.
CocoCay has 3 new beaches:
- Chill Island Beach offers private cabanas and daybeds.
- South Beach is specifically designed for beachside activities - volleyball, basketball, soccer, paddle boards, glass-bottom sea kayaks, zorbs / inflatable bumper bubble balls. At South Beach are offered bungalows, daybeds, teepees (cone-shaped tents).
- Coco Beach Club is an exclusive beach with overwater cabanas providing premium island vacation experiences. Coco Beach cabana rentals are inclusive of 1 hammock, 1 waterslide, dedicated service (by an attendant). The complex also includes a freshwater infinity pool, full bar, an exclusive restaurant (serving Mediterranean cuisine specialties).
In May 2018, RCI announced plans to build permanent accommodations on CocoCay allowing Suite passengers to stay on the island overnight (or longer). The concept includes premium cabanas serving passengers on any of the RCI ships calling at CocoCay.
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 was 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 of 11 Mbps).
- Onboard Internet access is integrated 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 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 (smartphones, 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 an FCFS basis (a 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 (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 (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.
Ship's 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 "NextCruise" (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 a 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 a full deposit.
- Group bookings are also not eligible for the USD 100 pp deposit.
- In case that non-refundable fare bookings are canceled, "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).
In May 2019, RCI introduced the "Book Later" future cruise booking option available at ship's NextCruise Office, in addition to "Book Now" (booking a specific itinerary). Book Later allows future bookings up to 2 months thus providing more time to consider itineraries while retaining the shipboard booking discount/bonus. Book Later requires a non-refundable deposit of USD 200 per stateroom (US$100 per cabin if booking a specific itinerary) and gives up to USD 600 in OBC or instant savings. Book Later deals expire within 1 year (after creating the onboard reservation) and the deposits paid will be lost.
(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 departure without cancelation 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 price. 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 cruise tours 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 cruise tours 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 cancelation 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 price. 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 Excursions 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 canceled 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 canceled 30 days prior to cruise departure date to avoid cancellation fees/penalties.
- In the event a land tour is canceled 48-hours prior to cruise port arrival date, a full refund is provided to the passenger's onboard account.
At 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 a 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
On July 1, 2017, RCI implemented fleetwide a new, nonrefundable cruise deposit program.
- USD 100 "cruise change" fee per person (pp) is imposed on 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 pet/animal policy
In August 2018, RCI updated its "emotional support animals" policy by banning such animals fleetwide. Support/companion animals are not recognized by ADA. By definition, these are pets determined by a medical professional as providing benefit for handicapped people (cruise passengers with disabilities).
In an officially issued statement, RCI explained as the main reason for its policy change to differentiate support from service animals, the latter of which are trained and certified to actually help the disabled. Service animals traveling with physically / non-physically disabled passengers are still allowed on the ships. Pets are not allowed on RCI ships.
(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 a 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 attendants each evening. This is a daily guide for news, onboard events, and activities on the cruise ship scheduled for 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.
- "Adventure Ocean" is another newsletter providing information about 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.
RCI's shipboard "DreamWorks Experience" program
"DreamWorks Experience" was a family-themed program via a partnership between Royal Caribbean International and Amblin Partners (DreamWorks SKG's owner company). Universal Pictures is the distributor of the DreamWorks movie productions through its subsidiary company Touchstone Pictures.
RCI's DreamWorks programming featured 3D movies and DreamWorks characters meets-and-greets. It was introduced in June 2010 and terminated in March 2019. This new entertainment program was geared toward families and offered DreamWorks movie-themed activities on only 9 RCI ships (Allure, Oasis, Harmony, Anthem, Ovation, Quantum, Freedom, Liberty, Voyager). The list of such activities included:
- DreamWorks characters meetings and greetings (with photo ops). The list of characters included Po ("Kung Fu Panda" movie), Shrek, Fiona, Puss ("Shrek" series), Alex, Gloria, King Julien, penguins ("The Penguins of Madagascar" series, "All Hail King Julien" series).
- Character Breakfasts were offered (at surcharge pp) in the Main Dining Room restaurant.
- 3D DreamWorks movie screenings were available in the Royal Theater (Cinema Lounge), including first-run movies which premiered on the ship were on the same day they went at land-based theaters. Among the films were "Shrek", "Madagascar", "How to Train Your Dragon", "Kung Fu Panda".
- DreamWorks channel was part of the in-cabin TV programming.
- Themed activities and games (by ship's "Adventure Ocean" / complimentary youth program) included 3D animation workshops, story time, themed dance parties, character story-based adventure games, regular character visits to kids facilities, onboard parades, meet-and-greets with photo ops (throughout the ship).
- DreamWorks shows were available in Studio B (ice rink theater) and AquaTheater (Oasis ships).
The DreamWorks themed shows at Studio B and AquaTheater were replaced with new Royal Caribbean Productions. All cruises departing before April 1 (2019) had the DreamWorks program available for the entire voyage.
RCI's shipboard kids and teen programming
Also complimentary the company offers to kids and teenagers supervised activities at dedicated facilities and youth counselors on each vessel.
- For toddlers (2-3 yo) on each liner are provided at-fee nursery services (hourly charge) via highly experienced and professionally trained staff.
- RCI's children program (named "Adventure Ocean") covers ages 2-17 and features brand partnerships (with Fisher Price, Crayola), Family Disco Hour. dedicated areas and facilities, including toddlers only pools, computer rooms, video game arcades, separate kids- and teen-only clubs.
- On September 30, 2018, RCI discontinued fleetwide company's in-cabin babysitting service ("Sitters at Sea" program served by crew members, upon request). Service's only alternatives still available are the shipboard nursery (on some liners only, serving toddlers and kids up to 3 yo) and group sitting ("Late Night Party Zone" program for kids 3-11 yo, served by Adventure Ocean staff). The other two kids programs (Adventure Ocean, Royal Babies, and Tots) remained unchanged.
(NEW) RCI shipboard VIP passenger program
On two liners (Liberty OTS and Oasis OTS) is currently being tested a new VIP passenger access program (called "The Key"). Program's test period was November 2018 through March 2019. It has limited quantity and is available on select voyages.
The VIP package is available for purchasing only via CruisePlanner. Package's cost is USD 24,99 per person per day. However, all roommates ages 6 and older must purchase the package to receive its benefits (available via SeaPass cards and starting on embarkation day). "The Key" VIP package is inclusive of:
- Carry-on luggage service (max 2 bags pp) - drop off at Royal Theater, cabin delivery
- Lunch at Chops Grille (steakhouse) on embarkation day between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Dining reservations are not required.
- Daily private visits (reserved hours) at signature shipboard facilities - including FlowRider, Rock-Climbing Walls, Ice-Skating Rink. VIP seating at live shows must be reserved online (via CruisePlanner) prior departure.
- Priority tendering (ship-to-shore ferry) service at call ports without docking facilities.
- Complimentary VOOM Internet ("Surf and Stream" package for 1 device).
- Priority debarkation with exclusive a la carte breakfast (between 6:30-9:30 am).
(NEW) RoyalUp - cabin upgrade bidding
On November 28, 2018, RCI introduced fleetwide bid-based cabin upgrade program called "RoyalUp". Booked customers receive an email if their cruise is eligible. They can browse through available for booking higher-grade staterooms on that voyage. Then select their bidding price for a particular cabin upgrade and submit the bid.
RoyalUp upgrades are priced per person, for the entire voyage, based on twin share. Only the first and second passengers in the cabin are charged the extra - regardless room's grade and max occupancy. These upgrades are based on availability. Cabin location can't be specified.
Group bookings are also included but without a guarantee that all reservations will be upgraded. If all reservations are upgraded, RCI doesn't guarantee that all upgraded staterooms will be located close together.
Booked customers are allowed to bid multiple cabin categories. Travel agents are also allowed to bid for their clients. Upgrade bids are accepted until 2 days prior departure. Passengers with accepted RoyalUp biddings are notified via email. They are allowed also to modify or cancel the upgrade (until 2 days prior departure) if the offer is not been accepted by RCI and their credit card is not been charged.
Itinerary of Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean cruise itinerary changes
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.
In 2019, RCI has company's ever biggest Asian season, with 3 liners (Voyager, Quantum, Spectrum) and total 78 itineraries leaving roundtrip from Singapore. The deployment also served the planned drydocks in Singapore of Voyager OTS and Quantum OTS. Singapore as a port destination is among the most attractive to Chinese travelers due to the offered numerous short-breaks (around 80% of all voyages are 3-4-night itineraries) and affordable pre- or post-cruise hotel packages.
Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries by ship
Follows a review of Royal Caribbean itinerary program for 2019-2020 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).
During 2019-2020 season Adventure OTS 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-nights fall foliage cruises from September.
Adventure OTS is scheduled to return to Cape Liberty in 2020-2021, with various 5- and 9-night summer and fall itineraries to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, and New England.
Adventure OTS will be homeported in Texas for the first time in 2020, becoming the biggest vessel sailing short getaways out of Galveston, such as 4- and 5-night cruise vacations while visiting Cozumel and Costa Maya.
operates on 7-day itineraries to Western Caribbean (Cozumel Mexico, Jamaica, Labadee Haiti) and Bahamas-Eastern Caribbean (Nassau, St Maarten, Jamaica, Puerto Rico).
Allure OTS cruises from Florida in 2019 through 2020. All 4 Oasis Class vessels sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
In 2020, Allure sails from Fort Lauderdale FL to Barcelona on March 1, and afterward starts offering 7-night Western Mediterranean itineraries until she heads to Miami FL November 1, 2020.
operates on roundtrips 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, Martinique) and also to Bermuda during summer.
In 2019-2020, Anthem OTS departs from Cape Liberty (NYC) and offers 5- to 9-day summer cruises to Bermuda, Bahamas, and the Caribbean. In fall the ship offers 9-day itineraries to Canada New England.
In early-February 2018, RCI's President confirmed that a Quantum-Class ship will be homeported in Southampton UK for season 2020. In late-October was confirmed that the ship will be Anthem.
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).
2020-2021: Brilliance OTS cruises from Amsterdam, and offers Baltic and British Isles itineraries. Ship's 2020 European season culminates with a 15-night Arctic Crossing on the way back to Boston. Brilliance OTS sails 7- to 10-night voyages to Canada starting September 2020. After returning to her homeport of Tampa FL, Brilliance OTS is continuing with 4- and 5-night cruises to the Western Caribbean.
In 2019, Empress OTS operated 3- to 8-day itineraries to Cuba visiting Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos, in addition to Havana and CocoCay (on select itineraries). All departures are from PortMiami. The ship already offered 4- and 5-day Cuban itineraries with Havana overnights. Following the US ban on group travel to Cuba, all Cuban ports were replaced.
For season 2020 were added new itineraries from PortMiami that visit Spanish Town (Virgin Gorda Island, BVI) - new for RCI Caribbean destination. The new 6- to 8-day Eastern-Western Caribbean itineraries also visit ports in Bahamas (including CocoCay Island / on select voyages), Mexico and Belize.
operates on Bahama cruises to Nassau and Coco Cay (3-day and 4-day round-trips).
In 2019-2020 season Enchantment OTS sails 4- and 5-night itineraries from Galveston to various destinations in Mexico.
In 2020-2021, Enchantment OTS sails south for the winter and homeports in San Juan for the first time.
operates on South Pacific Islands itineraries (Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu) and also on Cruises to Nowhere (out of Sydney AU).
In March 2019, Explorer OTS 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 OTS 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 OTS returns to USA with 5-night Western Caribbean and 9-night Southern Caribbean itineraries sailing from Miami FL. The ship is back to Europe in 2020 with Greek Isles cruises out of Rome. Explorer also offers 12-night Holy Land itinerary.
2020-2021: After multimillion-dollar modernization and summer season in Europe, Explorer OTS sails back to Miami FL. Explorer calls at the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, as well as the line’s private destination in Labadee, within reach on 5- and 9-night voyages from Miami. Select itineraries visit the private Bahamas island Perfect Day at CocoCay.
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).
2020-2021: In 2020, San Juan is due to welcome the newly refurbished Freedom OTS. The ship returns for the 3rd consecutive year with year-round 7-night itineraries throughout Southern Caribbean, sailing to destinations like Philipsburg, Basseterre, St.Johns, Castries, St.Lucia and Bridgetown.
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 2019-2020, Grandeur OTS 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 Saint Maarten.
2020-2021: Grandeur OTS goes on offering 9-night itineraries to Canada-New England for fall foliage from ship's year-round homeport Baltimore. In the summer months, Grandeur offers 5- and 9-night Bermuda and Bahamas cruises, 9-night Southeast Coast USA and Bahamas, 12-night Southern Caribbean (winter).
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 OTS cruises from Florida in 2019 through 2020. All 4 Oasis Class vessels sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
2021-2021: Harmony OTS returns to Port Canaveral with 7-night itineraries to Eastern and Western Caribbean. The ship features visits to CocoCay.
operates short roundtrips to Western Caribbean (Costa Maya-Cozumel Mexico, Belize) and Eastern Caribbean (Labadee Haiti, Jamaica).
2020-2021: Independence OTS sails back to Fort Lauderdale FL in November 2020, with 4- and 5-night short-breaks to Nassau and Western Caribbean, plus select cruises to CocoCay.
In May 2019, RCI announced it had decided to redeploy Independence OTS from the UK in 2020, and instead keep it in Port Everglades FL to offer more voyages to Perfect Day at CocoCay.
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).
Starting January 2019, the ship is homeported in Miami. All pre-scheduled (January-April) 2019 cruises from Puerto Rico were canceled. Miami homeporting serves 5-night Western Caribbean, and 9-10-night Southern Caribbean itineraries.
In 2020, Jewel OTS sails a variety of itineraries, including a few trips from Barcelona prior to moving to Copenhagen for Russia, Scandinavia, and the fjords. The ship then returns to Barcelona for Greek Isles and Mediterranean voyages, including two Holy Land cruises.
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 OTS offers 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Galveston.
2020-2021: Liberty OTS continues sailing from Galveston to Western Caribbean ahead of her anticipated amplification early 2021.
operates on Bahamas cruises out of Miami (3-day Nassau, 4-day Nassau and Coco Cay.
Since March 25, 2019, the ship operated Cuba cruises roundtrip from Port Canaveral (Orlando, Florida USA).
In 2020 (January through April) Majesty OTS is homeported in New Orleans) to operate 4-day to 7-day long roundtrips to Bahamas (Nassau, CocoCay) and Western Caribbean/Mexico (Costa Maya, Cozumel).
operates on Asia cruise round-trips out of Singapore (to Thailand and Malaysia) and out of Shanghai (to South Korea and Japan).
In 2019-2020 season Mariner OTScruises out of 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 the Mediterranean Sea, Canary Islands and Baltic Sea (Norwegian Fjords).
In 2019-2020 season Navigator OTS is based at PortMiami's new Terminal A.
operates on 7-day round-trips to Western Caribbean (Cozumel Mexico, Labadee Haiti, Jamaica) and Bahamas-Eastern Caribbean (Nassau, St Thomas, St Maarten).
Oasis OTS offers cruises from Florida in 2019 through 2020. Oasis undergoes a bow-to-stern refit before changing homeport to Terminal A at Miami for fall and winter seasons. All 4 Oasis Class vessels sail 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
In summer 2019, the ship is homeported in Barcelona for Western Mediterranean roundtrips (first time since 2014). The 7-day itineraries visit Palma de Mallorca, Marseille, Florence, Civitavecchia-Rome and Naples.
In 2020 (May 6 through October 25), Oasis OTS will be homeported in NYC (Port Cape Liberty, Bayonne New Jersey), starting turnaround operations in May 2020. Through 2020 summer, the Oasis ship cruises on 7-day Florida-Bahamas itineraries, visiting Port Canaveral, Nassau, and CocoCay Island. For August 1 (2020) is scheduled a special 8-day itinerary also visiting Miami.
From NYC are also offered Canada New England cruises, starting on June 21 with a 6-day roundtrip to Portland ME, St John NB, and Halifax NS. The liner returns to Florida on November 4, 2020.
new ship (scheduled for 2020-Q3), to be homeported in the USA
operates on China roundtrips to Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.
In summer 2019, Ovation OTS is deployed in Alaska (the first Quantum-Class liner there) via repositioning from Sydney AU to Seattle WA (Alaskan homeport). The ship offers 7-day roundtrip itinerary to Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria (BC Canada). In Alaska, Ovation joins the fleet mate Radiance OTS.
(2020, May 7) 12-night from Honolulu, calling at Maui, Kailua Kona and Kilauea Volcano.
(2020-2021 Summer) 7-night Alaska itineraries from Seattle WA. The vessel gives vacationers the chance to catch Juneau's Northern Lights, relive Klondike Gold Rush in Skagway, and sail through Endicott Arm fjord, as well as stroll the streets of one of the Pacific Northwest's oldest cities in Victoria BC.
Following the scheduled for 2020 refurbishment, Radiance OTS will be homeported in Brisbane QLD (starting November 2020). Ovation OTS returns for a 5th season down under to offer 19 voyages from Sydney, ranging between 2-19 nights to destinations in the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand.
operates on short round-trips out of China to South Korea and Japan.
During winter 2019-2020 (November through April) the Quantum ship is 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 is to be homeported in Southampton UK for season 2020. In 2020, in Southampton is homeported Anthem OTS or Quantum OTS. In 2019, Ovation OTS was deployed to Alaska, replaced in China by Spectrum OTS.
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.
For 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 offers new "open-jaw itineraries" (10-night cruises) between Auckland and Melbourne or Sydney.
(2020, May 5) 10-night itinerary from Honolulu with ports of call including Maui, Kailua Kona, Hilo, Kauai.
(2020-2021 Summer) Radiance OTS is once again offering 7-night itineraries between Vancouver and Seward. The ship is due to sail on alternating Southbound and Northbound Alaska routes. Following a 3-year absence, Royal Caribbean returns to homeporting in Brisbane with Radiance OTS, which also offers 22 Brisbane itineraries, focusing on 7-11 night South Pacific voyages, plus 3 sampler cruises.
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 2020, Rhapsody OTS homeports in Venice, and sails primarily to Croatia and the Greek Isles.
2020-2021: Rhapsody OTS returns to her longtime homeport of Tampa FL in 2020 to offer Panama Canal escapes and arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage city of Colon and San Lorenzo castle in one 11-night trip. The regular 7-night itineraries of the ship call on Caribbean destinations like Belize, Mexico, and Grand Cayman.
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 Denmark
2019-2020: Serenade OTS cruises out of Fort Lauderdale FL on Southern Caribbean cruises. Port visits include Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Puerto Limon. The ship also sails to Bermuda.
(2020, May 4) 15-night Westbound Panama Canal cruise from Fort Lauderdale FL to Los Angeles CA: along the trip, guests can encounter the cultures of Central America visiting Cartagena, Colon, Puntarenas, Puerto Quetzal, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. On May 19, 2020, Serenade OTS heads to Vancouver BC to navigate Pacific Coast on a 7-night itinerary.
(2020-2021 Summer) For the first time since 2009, Serenade OTS heads west as she repositions from winter in the Southern Caribbean to Vancouver BC, making 2020 the first summer season of Royal Caribbean with 3 ships in Alaska. Serenade offers 7-night itineraries through the 500-mile shoreline that is the Inside Passage, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point.
Serenade OTS is due to sail from the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney for the first time from October 2020 through April 2021, offering a total of 21 Sydney voyages ranging between 5-19 nights to a range of destinations in the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand.
|Spectrum of the Seas|
From Shanghai, Spectrum OTS cruises on 4 roundtrip itineraries:
From Hong Kong, Spectrum OTS cruises on 3 roundtrip itineraries:
Symphony OTS cruises from Florida in 2019 through 2020. All 4 Oasis Class vessels sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
2020-2021: Symphony OTS returns to PortMiami, with 7-night itineraries to Eastern and Western Caribbean. The ship features visits to CocoCay.
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.
2019: Caribbean cruises from Galveston TX
2019-2020: Vision OTS 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.
2020-2021: In 2020, Vision OTS cruises in Mediterranean and visits Greek Isles and Venice prior to heading to Cape Liberty on September 5, 2020. The ship is due to offer a trio of 10- to 11-night itineraries between Bayonne-Quebec City with an overnight in the capital. Vision OTS is also sailing 10- and 11-night voyages from Fort Lauderdale FL to the Southern Caribbean. The vessel calls at St. Thomas, St. Kitts and Nevis, San Juan, St. Maarten and Antigua on the 10-night itineraries. The 11-night itineraries include an overnight in Oranjestad, Aruba.
operates on round-trips to South Pacific Islands itineraries (Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu).
Through June 2019, the ship is homeported in Singapore for 3- to 9-night itineraries in Southeast Asia (Thailand and Malaysia). The ship has scheduled all 90 roundtrips from Singapore, including:
Voyager OTS is back to Sydney in October 2020 to offer 22 itineraries, focusing on South Pacific cruises of between 9-13 nights, plus 3 sampler cruises.
The aircraft has confirmed scheduled launch in 2030. Construction of the "space and cruise ship" hybrid vessel is already underway.
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 allow 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 (besides 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, preferred 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 cruises to Cuba from Florida (Miami and Tampa)
- 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 returned 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 repositions 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 to visit Cuba, Majesty of the Seas out of Port Canaveral FL. Majesty departs from Port Canaveral March 25, 2019 sailing on a 4-night voyage that calls at Havana.
The current list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba 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 the USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.
IMPORTANT: On June 4, 2019, the US Government announced new regulations (economic sanctions) that ended group travel to Cuba, including via US-homeported cruise liners, effective immediately. The ban relates to "private and corporate aircraft, cruise ships, sailboats, fishing boats, and other similar aircraft and vessels". The US travel restrictions impacted hundreds of pre-scheduled cruise itineraries, which were adjusted to no longer stop in Cuban seaports.
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