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Why we love this cruise line
Royal Caribbean Cruises is one of the world’s leading cruise lines, offering all of its passengers the highest quality of service and excellent facilities. The ships themselves are renowned for their sleek and simplistic design, with subtle theming and décor to give a relaxing and comfortable feel. In 2012 the cruise line commanded an impressive 16.4% share of the total cruise market in terms of passenger numbers. One of the reasons why this figure is so high is because Royal Caribbean greatly appeals to first-time cruisers and repeat cruisers choose this line again and again because they know they can expect a high-quality cruising experience that is great value for money.
What is even more impressive is that the fleet’s 22 ships visit a total of 260 destinations all around the world, from Brazil and the Caribbean, to Russia and Australia, to name a few. Guests can explore these fascinating places at their own pace or can join one of the many different types of excursions, from action-packed water sports to cultural sightseeing tours and everything in between. All of these tours are organised, well-planned out and have the guests’ best interests in mind.
We love this cruise line because it offers guests so much more than a means of transport. All of the ships offer guests a plethora of activities and facilities to keep them busy and entertained, no matter what their tastes. What is great is that the quality of the ships matches the quality of the destinations on offer. On board facilities include a broad range of dining options, lively bars and lounges and plenty of family-oriented activities, including the popular Adventure Ocean club for younger ones. Guests are treated like royalty aboard all this line’s magnificent ships.
The number of activities onboard each Royal Caribbean is vast, so you can easily fill your days at sea. There are plenty of things on offer that you might not have tried before, so you’ve got nothing to lose by giving something new a try. If you’re on Oasis or Allure of the Seas, you can zoom down a zip wire 9 decks high above Central Park, a miniature version of the famous New York Central Park that features over 10,000 plants, as well as a number of boutiques and dining venues. Also available on these two ships is the Boardwalk, where you can ride on a carousel and shop for toys, beach wear, sweets and sportswear. Every ship in the fleet boasts a number of shops where you can buy souvenirs for yourself or gifts for loved ones at home.
If you fancy some quiet time, simply head to the library and check out a good book or two. For a wilder time, head to the H20 Zone waterpark where your kids will have a wild time splashing about and soaking each other with water guns and dodging the geysers. You can also play mini golf, practice your swing in the golf simulator and go ice skating. If you have never ice skated before, you can learn how to. You can also take dance lessons and learn new dance moves to show off on the dance floor. Whatever your tastes, you are bound to find plenty of activities to keep you occupied during your time onboard any ship in the fleet.
Bars & Clubs
Bars and clubs are aplenty on all Royal Caribbean ships to ensure guests can unwind and have a great evening after a long, strenuous day of enjoying their time at sea. Whatever your tastes, you will undoubtedly find a place to love, whether you prefer dancing in a nightclub till the early hours of the morning or simply relaxing with friends in a sophisticated lounge with a few cocktails. If you want to catch up with the latest sporting events over a round of drinks, head to the Sports Bar where the atmosphere is jovial and the drinks are constantly flowing. Lovers of Latin dancing can show off their moves on the dance floor in Bolero’s. Whether it’s enjoying live music, singing along to a live pianist, sampling a range of wines from all over the world or sipping on drinks and admiring sea views, there is something for everyone. One of the more unique offerings is the Rising Tide Bar, a unique drinking venue that slowly moves up and down between three decks. It saves you walking up a few flights of stairs at least.
Though the dining venues on offer from ship to ship, you will find a main dining room onboard every Royal Caribbean ship as well as numerous specialty restaurants and more casual eateries. In the main dining room you can choose either the Traditional Dining or My Time Dining options. Traditional Dining lets you pre-pick your dining time so when you go to the dining room you know your table will be ready for you. My Time Dining allows for more flexibility and lets you choose when you want to dine on the night, though early reservations are recommend to ensure you get the time you want. There’s also My Family Time Dining, an option which has children ages 3-11 served quickly then picked up by Adventure Ocean staff and taken to the youth center so the older ones can enjoy a more peaceful meal together.
Each ship features a number of high-quality specialty restaurants that offer more variety than the main dining room. If you fancy a formal dining experience, head to Chops Grille steakhouse for succulent steaks and delicious wines. You can attend the Chef’s Table event, which consists of a cocktail party before your meal, for which you’ll be seated in an exclusive and intimate venue to enjoy a specially prepared menu and excellent service. The most high-class dining experience onboard Royal Caribbean ships is 150 Central Park, an intimate dining experience where you sample a tasting menu lasting over 6 courses. Other options include Rita’s Cantina, where flavorful Mexican fare is on the menu, Samba Grill, a Brazilian steakhouse complete with waiting staff dressed in Brazilian attire and Portofino, where fine Italian food served. This restaurant also offers a murder mystery evening where you can enjoy delicious food as you try to solve the crime acted out by professional actors.
There are also plenty of casual dining venues on board each ship, from Ben & Jerry’s and Johnny Rockets to hotdog stands, cupcake shops, ice cream parlours, buffets and more. The Candy Beach shop is where you can buy loads of confectionary from decades past. The Seaview Café’s name says it all: you can gaze out over the sea as you enjoy classic bar and deli food. All casual dining options allow guests to relax, chill out and enjoy food that is just as good as in any other venue onboard.
All ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet offer a wealth of original entertainment produced by Royal Caribbean Productions. All shows are innovative, energetic and exciting. The cast who put on the shows come from all corners of the globe and are all exceptionally talented and strive to consistently deliver world-class performances.
Every single ship in the fleet features a comedy club and a theater, where Boradway-style productions happen every night. On Allure of the Seas, you can watch a stunning performance of Chicago, one of the world’s most popular musicals, whilst on Oasis of the Seas, you can watch a high-energy performance of Hairspray. Liberty of the Seas is home to an live stage show version of Saturday Night Fever, a musical classic. All other ships in the fleet put on shows that are just as exciting as these Broadway and West End favorites.
Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas feature the AquaTheater, a large outdoor venue where dazzling shows are put on every night featuring synchronised swimming, diving, acrobatics, lightshows and more. This world-first also has several hundred fountains, each of which is capable of shooting jets of water up to 20 meters high. The pool is the deepest saltwater pool at sea.
Some ships also have an ice rink where professional skaters put on enthralling ice shows that everyone in the family can enjoy. On some ships you will find a 3D Theater, where first-run movies from Dreamworks and other production companies are shown in full 3D, allowing for an immersive, eye-popping experience where everything on the screen feels like it’s coming to life.
Health & Fitness
All ships in the Royal Caribbean have plenty on offer to ensure guests can keep fit and relax whenever they wish to do so. Every ship has a jogging and running track, which offers amazing panoramic views, and a fully-equipped fitness center. In the fitness center you will find a wealth of state-of-the-art exercise equipment, along with a number of classes, including spinning and yoga. Booking in advance is recommended as classes are popular and tend to fill up early.
The spa is the place to go after a strenuous workout. Here you can unwind and enjoy a range of soothing treatments, including facials, massages, manicures and sea salt foot scrubs. You can also cool off in the steam room followed by a trip to the hair salon, where you can spruce yourself up for a formal night or have a makeover. The Vitality program aims to offers advice on how to improve your fitness and general wellbeing both onboard and once you’ve returned home. You will be given advice on fitness, general health, nutrition and stress so you have a better understanding of how to stay healthy.
Kids will have the time of their lives onboard any Royal Caribbean ship thanks to the award winning Adventure Ocean programme, which has something for kids of all ages, from babies to teenagers.
For kids aged 6-36 months, there are two different clubs: the Royal Tots & Babies has a parent or guardian accompany the child while they enjoy a range of activities; Nursery Babies and Tots is a nursery service that comes at an additional charge that is only available on Oasis of the Seas. Each of these clubs is split into two age groups: 6-17 months and 18-36 months. Children ages 3-5 can join the Aquanauts and do lots of fun things including face painting, theatre activities and storytelling. Those aged 6-8 will find activities such as arts and crafts, science experiments in the Explorers club. The Voyagers club is for kids aged 9-11 and has activities such as backstage tours, indoor sports and science experiments. Teens aged 12-14 and 15-17 can enjoy discos, sports, competitions, parties and quieter places to hang out and make new friends.
The Sitters at Sea programme is only available on certain ships. This allows the adults to have some time together while a sitter looks after the children either individually in their stateroom or in a larger group in the kids’ center.
The general policy is that guests must be 21 years of age or older in order to consume alcohol. However, this is reduced to 18 years of age for all cruises departing from ports in the following places: Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and South America. In this case, those 18 and over need not travel with a parent or legal guardian and are allowed to purchase beverage packages containing alcoholic drinks. Royal Caribbean retains the right to adjust the minimum age for drinking whenever necessary in accordance with a country’s local laws.
Guests are allowed to bring bottles of wine or champagne only onboard on embarkation day with a maximum of 2 bottles per stateroom to be consumed in the stateroom or in a bar or restaurant, for which a corkage fee of $25.00 will apply. If a guest is found to be trying to bring alcoholic drinks other than wine and champagne onboard, these will be confiscated and won’t be returned to the guest. Additionally, any containers, such as sports bottles and water bottles with alcohol in will be confiscated and not returned to guests. All alcoholic drinks bought at onboard shops and in ports of call will be safely stored on the ship and will be delivered to your stateroom on the final day of your cruise. Guests who supply alcohol to underage drinkers, drink too much, behave irresponsibly or attempt to hide drinks from staff members could face disembarkation or could be refused the right to board. Any alcohol confiscated from underage drinkers will not be returned to them.
Royal Caribbean Cruises considers all guests under 21 years of age to be minors, though in some circumstances those 17 years of age and under are considered minors. The Travelling with Minors was established to ensure that adults travelling with children have the authority and the legal right to travel with the children for the length of the cruise. In the case that a child needs medical attention, the child’s responsible adult will need to have the right to authorise the administration of any medical treatment.
If a child is travelling without a parent or a legal guardian, Royal Caribbean requires documentation to ensure that the child’s parent or legal guardian has given permission for the child’s accompanying adult to take the child on the cruise. Even if a child is only travelling with a member of their extended family, such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle, authorisation from the child’s parent or legal guardian is still required. If a child does not have the same surname as their parent or legal guardian, legal documentation is required to say that the child is indeed in the care of the accompanying parent or legal guardian. Suitable forms of documentation include adoption, birth, divorce or marriage certificates and documentation from local government authorities. These measures ensure that all children who aren’t travelling with their parents or a legal guardian travel with the authorisation and consent of their parents or a legal guardian.
If a guest over 21 years of age is travelling with someone who is 17 or younger by the first day of the cruise and they are not their parent or legal guardian, a legal letter confirming authority needs to be presented at check-in. This letter needs to be signed by the accompanying adult as well as the younger guest’s parent or legal guardian and has to give authority for the accompanying adult to take the younger guest on the cruise and supervise them throughout the duration of the cruise. It must also give the accompanying adult permission to allow medical treatment to the younger guest and sign activity waivers.
Staterooms will not be assigned to guests who are younger than 21 by the first day of the cruise unless an adult 21 years or older accompanies them in the same stateroom. However this does not apply if children are in a stateroom next door or directly opposite the stateroom occupied by their parent or legal guardian. Children in a stateroom next door to that of their parents are permitted to have one friend or family member stay with them.
Married couples aged 16 and above are permitted to stay in the stateroom without a guest over the age of 21 so long as documentation authenticating the marriage is provided.
Dress codes usually only apply in the evening, with three different types of dress code: casual, smart casual and formal.
For casual wear, it is suggested that men wear polo shirts and trousers, while women should wear sundresses or trousers and a top. Smart casual attire consists of jackets and shirts for men, and trouser suits or dresses for women. Formal attire consists of tuxedos or suits and ties for men, and cocktail dresses for women.
The following table shows how many nights are casual, smart casual and formal depending on the length of your cruise:
|Cruise length||Smart ||Casual ||Formal|
*Some European cruises that last 12 nights or longer may
have three formal nights instead of two
Usually the first and last nights your cruise will be casual dress evenings. The first formal evening is usually follows the first full day at sea. For those who don’t wish to dress up formally, casual dining is available in the Windjammer every night of your cruise except the final night. Other casual dining venues may also be available throughout your cruise.
Royal Caribbean’s policy on minimum age stipulates that children must be at least 6 months of age by the first day of the cruise. This age limit is raised to 12 months for all Hawaii, South American, transpacific and transatlantic cruises, as well as select others. Additionally any cruise that has three or more consecutive days at sea in its itinerary requires that all children be at least 12 months of age on the first day of the cruise. Anyone found travelling with an underage child will not be allowed and will not be given a refund or compensation from the cruise line because of this.
Pregnant women who would enter their 24th week of pregnancy at any point during their entire cruise will not be allowed to cruise. You will require a doctor’s letter stating how many weeks you will have been pregnant for by the end of the cruise and confirming that the pregnancy is not high-risk and that you are in good health. The doctor’s note can be faxed to the Special Services Team at +44 (0) 1932 820603.
Designated smoking areas vary from ship to ship so it is advisable to consult the daily Cruise Compass or ask at Guest Relations in order to confirm where the smoking areas are on your ship. Usually outdoor smoking is permitted only on one side of the ship. Smoking is also permitted on all private balconies that face the ocean, including the Loft Suite balconies on the Allure and Oasis of the Seas. Smoking is prohibited inside all staterooms, nor is it allowed on any private balconies that overlook Central Park or The Boardwalk on Allure and Oasis of the Seas.
Smoking is forbidden outright in all corridors, hallways, dining venues, theaters and food outlets on all ships, nor is it permitted in The Boardwalk, Central Park or The Jogging Track on Allure and Oasis of the Seas. Pipes and cigars may only be smoked in cigar lounges, though if a ship doesn’t have a cigar lounge, there will be a smoking area where you can smoke pipes and cigars.
Anyone caught smoking in staterooms or balconies overlooking Central Park and The Boardwalk will have a $250.00 fine billed to their SeaPass account. All smoking implements must be disposed of correctly and not thrown overboard. Smoking policies may change in adherence with the laws of the country the ship; all guests will be notified of such changes.
There are several different ways in which you can pay gratuities: the most convenient is pre-paid tips which can be arranged either by your travel agent or online prior to sailing. If you wish to pay on a day-to-day basis, a charge of $12 will be added to your SeaPass account for every day of your cruise, though this amount rises to $14.50 for those staying in Grand Suites or even more expensive rooms. Particular members of staff may be paid gratuities at the end of the cruise if they have delivered what you feel to be outstanding service. Alternately, if you do not feel satisfied with the service, you may speak to Guest Relations about adjusting the amount of gratuities you pay.
For bar and beverage services, as well as salon and spa services, a tip of 15% will still be added to your bill. You may tip other staff members when you feel it appropriate. As for tipping tour guide staff, the following rates are recommended:
Coach Driver: $2.50 per day per guest
Tour Director: $3.00 per day per guest
Train Carriage Host: $1.00 per day per guest
Waiting Staff: $2.50 per day per guest
Tips are entirely voluntary and are recommended so that you can show your gratitude for the level of service you have experienced while cruising with Royal Caribbean.
On the following ships Wi-fi is available throughout the whole ship and in all staterooms: Allure, Freedom, Independence, Liberty, Oasis, Radiance and Splendour. On all other ships, Wi-fi is available in several designated ‘hot spots’ located throughout each ship.
Any handheld device with Wi-fi connectivity or a laptop with a standard 802.11b Wireless card should connect to the ship’s Wi-fi system.
The pricing is as follows:
$35.00 for 60 minutes
$55.00 for 100 minutes
$75.00 for 150 minutes
$100.00 for 250 minutes
$150.00 for 500 minutes
Or guests can opt for a basic rate of $0.65 per minute. The pricing is the same in the Internet café, which can be found on every ship and provides 24hr Internet access.
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