With Royal Caribbean’s six-month Down Under season in full swing, Australian cruisers are in for a treat with some of the world’s best megaresorts at sea.
Three of the Royal Caribbean International (RCI) fleet are cruising Australian waters this season: Quantum of the Seas homeporting in Brisbane, and Ovation of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas both homeporting in Sydney.
Royal Caribbean stands for everything BIG: from having six classes of ships, to pioneering amenities like virtual balconies and bigger-than-usual staterooms. State-of-the-art onboard activities, robot bartenders, and adventures on the tallest slide at sea are also part of the treat. Royal Caribbean is ready to convince cruise enthusiasts that their vessels offer almost everything a guest could ask for on a cruise ship.
For cruisers, here are some of the tips to consider in booking for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line:
On RCL ships
Royal Caribbean has six classes of ship, with a new one, Icon Class, coming in 2024.
Oasis Class features the largest ships in the world – Wonder of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas. Each ship can accommodate more than 6600 passengers.
In addition, RCI offers five Quantum Class ships and three Freedom Class vessels with each ship having a total passenger capacity of 4400 to 5600.
Royal Caribbean’s Voyage Class offers large ships capable of hosting up to 3600 guests. With all that extra cruising space, cruisers can indulge in a multitude of dining venues, activities and attractions that smaller vessels simply cannot match.
On the other hand, RCL has other ships in the Radiance and Vision classes. These offer guests smaller vessels that can go to places and offers itineraries that much bigger ships cannot navigate.
On RCL staterooms
Royal Caribbean offers an array of accommodation from a 45.4sqm Inside stateroom to a 466.3sqm two-level accommodation. Of course, prices vary per stateroom as well as the perks and amenities. Top RCI Suites may come with private butlers as part of the perks.
Since Royal Caribbean is a family-oriented cruise line, most of the staterooms are larger than the average stateroom of most cruise ships navigating the high seas.
Royal Caribbean ships generally have four types of accommodation:
- Interior – great value staterooms with no window.
- Oceanview – staterooms that feature a porthole or window where guests could have a view of the ocean from the room.
- Balcony – feature a private balcony for outdoor living.
- Suites – spacious staterooms with added amenities and perks.
Guests who love scenic views outside of their stateroom’s balconies may want to visit RCL ships’ deck plans to avoid booking for a stateroom with obstructed views.
Additionally, the rate of automatic gratuities is also based on accommodation.
On dining and culinary experience
In Royal Caribbean, dining options may vary from vessel to vessel. In addition, all RCL ships have complimentary meals from the Main Dining Room, the Windjammer Cafe and other dining venues.
Guests may also opt to try buy-out options in some of the Specialty Restaurants such as Chef’s Table, Izumi, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, Chops Grille, and Wonderland.
There are also some ships that have Starbucks cafes and Starbucks stands in it.
Additionally, guests must also be aware of the 18% gratuity that’s automatically added to all beverages, and mini-bar items.
On amenities and onboard activities
Royal Caribbean has an extensive list of activities and amenities in store for its passengers. From the pioneering onboard activities like the 12-metre-long FlowRider® surf simulator and RipCord® by iFLY® skydiving simulator to Broadway productions, guests enjoy an almost all-in cruise journey.
For guests trying the Quantum ships for the first time, the ship’s exterior is already an attention-getter because of the North Star pod, an elevated observation capsule where guests could have a view of the ocean from over 300 feet above sea level. It could also be a venue for events like weddings, but for a fee.
Families on board could also enjoy Bumper Cars at SeaPlex, all free. At night time, there are complimentary dance parties and clubs, and Broadway-inspired shows.
Additionally, there are ships in Royal Caribbean known for their innovative concepts such as the shows at Two70 Cafe, and the Bionic Bar where robots are the ones mixing drinks.
There are also fitness spots to be found on board like basketball, volleyball, and running areas. There is even a fitness centre that houses a gym with resistance and cardio equipment.
Royal Caribbean applies an automatic service charge of $18 per guest, per day for non-Suite staterooms. On the other hand, guests booked in Suites are individually charged $20.50 per day.
Additionally, an 18% gratuity is automatically added to all beverages, mini bar items, and 20% gratuity for spa and salon purchases.
The gratuity policy in Royal Caribbean applies to all individual passengers regardless of age and stateroom categories.
On ship’s wifi
Royal Caribbean’s VOOM is said to be the fastest Internet at sea. WiFi fee varies on the number of devices to be used and the type of package guests opt to purchase.
Moreover, guests may enjoy bigger discounts from onboard prices if they purchase VOOM ahead of the cruise.
On ship’s dress code
There are three suggested dress codes aboard Royal Caribbean depending on the occasion. For breakfast and lunch, guests may wear casual clothes like jeans, polos, sundresses, and blouses. In addition, all swimwears must be limited to the pool deck.
Another type is the smart casual where passengers may opt to dress to impress using collared shirts, skirts, blouses, pantsuits. Jackets, sports coats and blazers are also not an issue.
RCL ships can have 1-3 formal nights per voyage so there’s a need for guests to prepare formal wear like suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses or evening gowns.
Additionally, there is a prescribed dress code during evenings but only applies to guests entering the Main Dining.
On currency used
Royal Caribbean uses US dollars in all of its transactions. All of its ships are operating on a cashless system where all the guests’ purchases onboard are automatically directed to their onboard account. Guests are provided a SeaPass card to make charges.
On RCL loyalty program
Royal Caribbean has the Crown & Anchor Society point-based cruiser program which is a way to recognise their loyal customers. The program is divided into six tiers where the first (Gold) requires 3 points. Other tiers are Platinum (30 points), Emerald (55 points), Diamond (80 points), Diamond Plus (175 points), and the Pinnacle Club (700 points).
Additionally, guests earn one cruise point per day of sailing with Royal Caribbean. Double points are granted to guests under Suite accommodation.