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Royal Caribbean announced both the naming and start of construction on its newest class of ships, formerly known as Project Sunshine. Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas are a leap forward in both innovation and design, and this newest class is sure to WOW guests with unexpected innovations.
After a few weeks of rumors, Royal Caribbean officially announced two new all-inclusive beverage packages to all the ships in its fleet. The new packages are available on seven-night or longer sailings now and will be available on every sailing by early 2013.
The two new beverage packages, Classic and Premium, allow guests to pay one price at the beginning of their cruise and enjoy unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for the duration of the cruise.
Classic Beverage Package
Cost: $45 per guest, per day (includes service charge)
- house wines by the glass
- all non-alcoholic cocktails
- fountain soda
Premium Beverage Package
Cost: $55 per guest, per day (includes service charge)
- frozen drinks
- all cocktails including premium brands
- house wines by the glass
- all non-alcoholic cocktails
- fountain soda
Both beverage packages must be purchased on the first day of the cruise. Guests choosing either package also must purchase the package for guests 21 years old or older sailing in the same stateroom.
The two new packages are currently available on 13 ships and will be available on the remaining ships with seven-night or longer itineraries by early 2013.
Royal Caribbean executive vice president of operations, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, commented on the addition, “Royal Caribbean is in the midst of an extensive revitalization program that will leave no ship untouched and includes enhancing the variety of new dining and beverage options for our guests.The addition of these new beverage and culinary packages creates a seamless vacation experience for our guests, providing them with a greater selection of choices and delivering it to them at an incredible value and convenience.”
Tell us what you think!
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Royal Caribbean confirmed packages are being tested but added, “We do not have final details on which ships would receive the packages at this time or what those packages would look like.”
According to passengers aboard Allure of the Seas, the unlimited alcohol package is being offered currently for $55 per person plus 15% gratuity and both of the people in her cabin had to sign up for it.
Reports are the package includes all house wine, beers under $6.25, fountain sodas, well/call or premium brands of liquor and frozen drinks. It does not include room service, specialty coffee, minibar items, canned sodas, bottled water or bottled juices.
Another passenger reports that the unlimited internet usage package is available onboard Allure of the Seas for $149 a week.
Royal Caribbean confirmed Allure is testing such a package but wouldn’t offer additional details on which ships are part of the trial, which ships might eventually get the package or what the package will ultimately cost.
Reprinted from RoyalCaribbeanBlog
I’ve been on a lot of shore excursions on all gay cruises and mainstream cruises—some organized by the ship, and some organized on my own. Both have pros and cons.
Some pros and cons to excursions organized by the ship:
Pro: Someone else has already done the planning for you. Just pay and go.
- Pro: You are guaranteed to get back on the ship before it sails.
- Pro: If the excursion doesn’t live up to what is advertised by the ship, you may be able to negotiate for a refund or some other perk.
- Pro: You’ll likely be picked up immediately outside the ship, and dropped back off at the ship.
- Con: You’re likely paying a premium over what the actual tour cost would be if organized directly.
- Con: You’ll probably be part of a big, cumbersome group—perhaps with people who don’t move at the pace you like.
- Con: You’re fairly stuck with the itinerary.
Some pros and cons to organizing your own.
- Pro: You can totally customize your shore experience.
- Pro: If you’re traveling with several friends, you may be able to negotiate a group discount.
- Pro: You can set the pace.
- Pro: You can control who is on your tour–just you, or a group of friends. All gay travelers, or mixed. The choice is yours.
- Pro: The price will likely be lower than similar excursions organized by the ship.
- Con: If you don’t get back to the ship on time, it will sail without you.
- Con: There’s a slim possibility your guide won’t show up.
- Con: It will take a bit of time and research to find the right activity.
- Con: If doing something unguided, you run the risk of getting lost and wasting time.
- Con: If using a local guide or company and something goes wrong, you probably won’t have much recourse to get your money back or get things corrected.
All that said, here’s an example of my best-ever, self-organized shore excursion. It was a full day in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and included horse riding, a coffee plantation, zip lining (before they were ubiquitous), swimming in tropical pools under waterfalls, picnic lunch, and dinner.
At the time—2004
—the Royal Caribbean ship we were sailing didn’t offer a zip lining excursion, but I was aware of Costa Rica as the prime zipping destination in the world—really the place that pioneered the activity.
So, I started searching the Internet for zip line activities near Puntarenas. I found one particularly interesting, Finca Daniel. They specialize in tours for land-based visitors, and had experience in taking cruise ship employees for the day. So I contacted them and asked if they could take my partner and me—pick us up at the pier, and return us to the pier.
Then everything went crazy.
It was before MeetMeOnBoard.com existed, but through early social networking we got in contact with another gay couple who were on the same sailing. They were interested in the excursion. So I contacted Finca Daniel to ask if they could take two more people.
Well, long story short—once we were on the ship and started talking about our planned excursion, many people (gay and straight) wanted to go. So, I emailed Finca Daniel and they told me I could basically fill up their van—as many as 16 people.
So we filled up the van. Crazy, huh? From 2 people wanting a special experience…to 16 who wanted to share it.
Finca Daniel delivered an exceptional experience—they showed up on time, got us back on time (although with little time to spare), and everyone who went was 100% delighted and we were the envy of the ship. They gave me and my partner a small discount for arranging the group. Again, here’s the link to the experience.
Next time I’ll tell you about taking a minivan from the ship into Caracas, Venezuela…
Now: add your comments below about experiences planning your own shore experience. And did you know, MeetMeOnBoard.com can help you do it? Click for our Shore Excursions page.
I’m not toally sure what this means, but apparently cruisers are wanting more exotic destinations. Royal
Caribbean announced today that they are pulling their Mariner of the Seas off the Mexican Riviera, without much explanation, and moving it to European itineraries. They are offering a package to guests already booked on the Mariner‘s Mexico itineraries.
I’m rather perplexed by this move, and will do further research. What do you think?
________ROYAL CARIBBEAN ANNOUNCES NEW 2011-12 DEPLOYMENT FOR MARINER OF THE SEASMariner of the Seas to Augment Record-setting Europe Deployment in 2011MIAMI, April 22, 2010 – Royal Caribbean International today announced the redeployment of Mariner of the Seas, which will take effect in January 2011. Mariner of the Seas will offer a short South America season before debuting in the Mediterranean as Royal Caribbean’s record-setting 11th ship in the region for summer 2011. Mariner of the Seas will homeport at Rome (Civitavecchia) from March through October 2011, replacing Splendour of the Seas, which will now homeport in Venice, offering 10- and 11-night Greek Isles and Turkey itineraries for the season. Mariner of the Seas will then return to North America for the 2011-12 winter season, offering seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Galveston, Texas, replacing Voyager of the Seas. As a result, Voyager of the Seas will herald Royal Caribbean’s return to New Orleans in winter 2011-12, offering vacationers another Gulf Coast port to embark on a memorable seven-night Western Caribbean cruise.The Mexican Riviera has traditionally been an important market for Royal Caribbean International, with the Port of Los Angeles and Mexican local, state and federal government agencies, and their private sectors playing a supportive role as valued partners. While Royal Caribbean International looks forward to returning to the region in the future, Mariner of the Seas will sail its final round-trip Mexican Riviera itinerary from Los Angeles on January 9, 2011.Guests currently booked on Mariner of the Seas’ Mexican Riviera sailings from January 16, 2011, and onward will be contacted with the following offer. Until May 6, 2010, affected guests can opt for a full refund of any fares paid, or enjoy $200 onboard credit per stateroom ($400 per suite category stateroom) when they rebook their vacation, at the same fare or lower prevailing fare, on a Mariner of the Seas sailing before January 16, 2011, or on the same 2011 departure date aboard Voyager of the Seas, sailing from Galveston. Travel agents also will receive a $50 bonus commission for rebooking affected clients, whose names and deposits have been submitted, to these Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas sailings. More information is available at http://www.RoyalCaribbean.com/MarinerOfTheSeasRedeployment.On January 16, 2011, Mariner of the Seas will reposition from Los Angeles on a 16-night itinerary to Valparaiso, Chile, followed by a 14-night voyage that cruises the Straits of Magellan and Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America to Sao Paulo (Santos), Brazil. The ship will then offer a short Brazilian cruise season, before crossing the Atlantic to debut in Europe at its new seasonal homeport of Rome (Civitavecchia), where Mariner of the Seas will sail seven-night Western Mediterranean and 12-night Mediterranean Holy Land and Mediterranean Egypt itineraries. In November 2011, Mariner of the Seas will debut at Galveston to offer Texas vacationers two roundtrip seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries through April 2012. Mariner of the Seas’ new 2011 Europe and South America, and 2011-12 Western Caribbean itineraries, Splendour of the Seas’ new 2011 Europe itineraries, and Voyager of the Seas’ new 2011-12 Western Caribbean itineraries will be opened for booking in the near future.Guests aboard Mariner of the Seas’ new 2011 Holy Land itineraries can choose a variety of shore excursion options, at an additional charge, that visit some of the most sacred sites in Israel, including Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and many others. “Grand Overland” takes guests on the most comprehensive overview of this fascinating region with an overnight stay in Jerusalem. On the Egypt cruises, “Grand Egypt Tour” offers guests a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the awe-inspiring Pyramids and mysterious Sphinx at Cairo, and the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Guests also should not miss the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean and the iconic Library of Celsius on “Best of Ephesus.”
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I just read about another death on board the Atlantis cruise. This happened in Grand Cayman which we know isn’t the most gay friendly island in the Caribbean. You can read about it in the most recent Advocate Magazine.
I just read a very interesting article in the Miami Herald about the new Oasis of The Seas which recently arrived in Miami. It’s well worth the reading.
I noticed that MeetMeOnBoard has several members who will be cruising her in 2010. I’m anxious to get their reports.
News from Royal Caribbean:
While crossing the North Atlantic Ocean on its way to Port Everglades, Florida, Oasis of the Seas, now the largest cruise ship in the world, encountered strong winds and high seas. Due to the inclement weather, Oasis of the Seas is now scheduled to arrive at Port Everglades on the morning of November 13, 2009, two days later than originally scheduled. The late arrival will not impact any inaugural events, promotional activities or revenue sailings. You can follow Oasis’ journey on http://www.OasisoftheSeas.com.
Transatlantic Cruise from $22/day? They're out of their minds…and so are we if we don't grab such bargains!
Jeez…just when I thought the deals couldn’t get much better, here comes another Royal Caribbean itinerary at an incredibly deep discount. The ship is Vision of the Seas, transiting the Atlantic Ocean from Santo Domingo, DR, to Harwich, UK, departing April 19.
I’ve seen this itinerary discounted to US$299/person for an inside cabin (plus, undoubtedly some taxes and/or fees). It’s higher than that on RCI’s website (although not by much). Call your travel agent. Now.
THEN: be sure to list your cruise on your MeetMeOnBoard profile, like these guys who’ll be on board!
And let us know how your cruise turns out!
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