You’ll most likely have heard of Royal Caribbean and their innovative cruise line that holds a youthful take on the cruising experience. They’ve produced spectacular ships that have been defying belief since the Song of Norway was launched in 1968 (any fact fans out there may be interested to know that they didn’t adopt the ‘of the Seas’ moniker for their ships until 1991).
Now travelling to over 240 destinations with up to 5,518 passengers at a time, they aim to push the limits of what is possible at sea, to give you not just a cruise but the holiday of a lifetime, every time. Not only one of the largest fleets at sea Royal Caribbean boasts the worlds largest cruise ship in their fleet, Symphony of the Seas!
Meet The Fleet
Known for bringing plenty of ‘firsts’ to the industry and boasting a fleet of twenty-nine ships with ten different classes to meet even the most demanding of holiday-goers needs, Royal Caribbean are the perfect cruise line for first-time cruisers. Below is a quick guide to the different classes, ranging from the largest ship Symphony of the Seas with a capacity of 5,518 guests to the Empress of the Seas carrying only 1,574 guests.
Oasis Class: Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas
Quantum Class: Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas
Freedom Class: Liberty of the Seas, Independence of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas
Voyager Class: Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas
Radiance Class: Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas
Vision Class: Grandeur of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas and Vision of the Seas
Sovereign Class: Majesty of the Seas
Empress Class: Empress of the Seas
Quantum Ultra Class: Odyssey of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas
Ocean Class: Wonder of the Seas
Is There A ‘typical’ Royal Caribbean Cruiser?
If you’re tired of the regular package holidays, if you love to travel or if you’re seeking adventure, extreme sports or just want a holiday with a difference – then Royal Caribbean have the cruise for you!
They are ideal for anyone, whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced cruiser, couple, group, family or solo traveller and they’ll deliver a modern, energetic and entertaining glimpse of the cruising world every time. You may not have considered cruising before but Royal Caribbean will convince you that it’s the perfect holiday to take and dispel any common misconceptions about cruising!
Royal Caribbean cruises don’t leave you feeling restricted on the ship as they give you the freedom to enjoy truly entertaining facilities. The trip is just as much about the on-board experience as it is about the ports that you visit (in fact lots of people never even get off in port at all if you can believe that- the ships are that good!)
The typical Royal Caribbean traveller is someone that loves to explore, get involved in activities and spend their holiday enjoying life to the max.
We know the stereotype of cruise style entertainment is to be sitting around playing bingo or listening to bad cabaret and whilst that’s never true, it’s especially not the case on Royal Caribbean as you can enjoy a vast variety of on-board activities! Their cruises are equivalent to four or five-star all-inclusive holidays on land yet for the same money you can get so much more!
Activities vary from ship to ship but all have something spectacular to offer. The newest ships offer the most advanced entertainment on the seas, with everything from an iFly sky diving simulator to The North Star. A jewel-shaped pod that ascends more than three hundred feet above sea level to give you an incredible 360-degree view of ship and sea.
If that’s not enough for you, other features include SeaPlex, the world’s largest active space at sea, which contains bumper cars, roller skating and even a circus school.
Have you ever sat on a cruise and thought it was missing a few trees?
Of course, you have but don’t worry because Royal Caribbean ships include Central Park – a tropical on-board ‘oasis’ with real trees, lush greenery and alfresco dining options. They also have an aqua theatre and amphitheatre at sea which seats seven hundred people to watch dazzling high dive water shows.
Other entertainment highlights include an ice skating rink or the Flow Rider surf simulator. If you really need a break from the kids, then take some time out in the adult-only Solarium which is present on every class apart from Sovereign.
Fancy a bit of razzle-dazzle? Then catch a West End show with a production of Chicago on Allure of the Seas or watch Hairspray on Oasis of the Seas or Grease on Harmony of the Seas.
For thrill-seekers, Royal Caribbean ships have it all for you. Ziplines, one of the largest waterslides at sea, trapeze school, the Sky Pad and Laser Tag just to name a few highlights. The SeaPlex also offers a variety of sports courts that you would expect to see and the H2O Zone water park is jam-packed with all manner of slides, jets and the iconic FlowRider surf simulator.
All classes of ships have both indoor and outdoor pools, a rock-climbing wall, a casino, nightclub, library and whirlpools. With good shopping facilities, promenade parades and outdoor movie theatres – you’ll almost need to plan your days to make sure you don’t miss anything out!
It’s not all go-go-go though! If you want to relax at the Vitality Spa, have a good workout at the gym or have a quiet swim in an adult-only pool – you can. There are many more ways to spend your time than you think on-board a Royal Caribbean so whichever ship you pick, you’ll be impressed!
If you’re worried about being away from the luxuries of land and are the type of person that can’t be away from Facebook or branded coffee then fear not, because you can still access Wi-Fi, eat sushi, drink Starbucks and even watch live sport on satellite TV.
Royal Caribbean can also cater for wheelchair access and oxygen tank or dialysis needs.
Royal Caribbean ships also have heaps of different helpful ‘smart’ features, including smart check-in, and smart concierge, so that you can make and change your restaurant reservations online. If that’s not enough to impress you then how about their smart experiences – which features a bionic bar with robot bartenders that mix cocktails that guests have ordered off an iPad!
There are also plenty of handy added extras available such as late checkout on departure day and a points system to save towards benefits every time you travel.
Gone are the days on a cruise when you had to be tied to one restaurant at a certain time every day if you didn’t want to be (at least with Royal Caribbean)! With this cruise line, there are a variety of dining options available for you…
Select My Time Dining to have the flexibility to choose what time you’ll dine in the main restaurant each evening. If you wanted the more traditional dining experience then you can still choose first or second dining times. Pre-paid drinks packages are also available to keep the cost of your holiday down – because those cocktails can really add up (at least they do when we’re on holiday!)
Another new Royal Caribbean innovation is Dynamic Dining introduced onboard Quantum of the Seas, which gives visitors a whopping choice of eighteen tantalising dining options, with everything from pub food to Jamie’s Italian.
The top end of these restaurants is Chef’s Table: an exclusive dining experience for sixteen guests hosted by an executive chef who will explain each dish and accompanying wine choice.
If you aren’t feeling that fancy then other favourites include Giovanni’s Table, which serves Italian, or the Solarium Bistro. If you want something more casual still, then try the Seafood Shack or try the Windjammer café which offers buffet-style dining with a wide range of choice.
Additional dining options also include the ever-popular Asian Fusion restaurant Izumi (on selected ships) and the Sabor Modern Mexican restaurant, which additionally has a lip-smacking range of tequilas, margaritas and Mexican beers.
If you have the munchies after late-night revelling then you can enjoy a slice of Pizza from Sorrento’s, which is open until Midnight. For a quick daytime snack, you can grab a doughnut from Boardwalk Donuts or you could indulge on a Ben and Jerry’s – available on the majority of ships!
Did you know? If you’re feeling worn out from all the excursions and activities then you could even just order some room service, which is available on any ship, 24 hours a day, free of charge (except between midnight and 5am when there’s a $3.95 charge for late-night orders)!
Royal Caribbean is perfect for families with its range of available services because luxury doesn’t have to mean adult only! Family dining options make sure everyone has something they like, with kids dinner favourite Johnny Rockets, an American style diner and Cupcake Cupboard, selling, you guessed it – Cupcakes!
If childcare is an issue, rest assured that Royal Caribbean have an award-winning youth and teen programme, Adventure Ocean, which caters to children from three months right through to seventeen years old. All childcare staff are all trained in childcare at university level and have at least three years’ experience of working with children. There are six different types of child care available:
Royal Babies & Tots: 6 months old to 36 months old
Adventure Aquanauts: 3 to 5 years old
Adventure Explorers: 6 to 8 years old
Adventure Voyagers: 9 to 11 years old
Teens: 12 to 14 years old
Teens: 15 to 17 years old
Children can enjoy day-care with workshops and facilities that are a blend of education and play, with workshops including Adventure Art, Science and Theatre. Teens make the most of their own exclusive lounge to hang out with their new friends and play video games.
Different kinds of accommodation are available to suit different families, with new, interconnecting staterooms available, to give families that extra bit of space. Royal Caribbean also understand that packing to travel with a baby can mean bulging suitcases of nappies and bottles, so now there is even a service, “Babies 2 Go” to order organic baby food, formula or nappies so you don’t have to take it all with you!
Gratuities are an extra something on cruises that you need to consider when planning your trip. The service gratuity onboard Royal Caribbean is an amount between $14-$17 per day depending on your accommodation.
An 18% gratuity is automatically added to all beverages, mini bar items, and spa & salon purchases. It is possible to pre-pay your gratuities before you go, which can help you budget your money in advance and can also make your experience more seamless.
Royal Caribbean isn’t as formal as other cruise lines and during the day the dress code is entirely relaxed. However, for evening activities and selected dining venues (it’s always best to check your ship’s dress code on Royal Caribbean’s website) you will need a selection of casual, smart casual and formal clothes.
Casual clothes count as polo shirts and trousers for men or sundresses, trousers, skirts and blouses for women. Smart casual would include a blazer/ jacket, tie or open shirt for men and would include dresses or trouser suits for women. Formal nights are not mandatory but they give everyone the chance to dress up in glamorous style! If you would like to attend them then you will need to wear a dinner jacket/ tuxedo or a cocktail dress.
Did you know? There is even a Barbie Experience available for girls aged four-eleven onboard. It includes mermaid dance lessons, a signature pink stateroom package (including goodies), a fashion designer workshop and a fashion show. So remember to pack some pink clothes for your kids!
Royal Caribbean go the extra mile to meet the needs of their customers and keep the whole family entertained. If you want action, adventure, and entirely new holiday experience, then Royal Caribbean is the cruise line for you!