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Royal Caribbean Mediterranean cruises from $389*

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Royal Caribbean International Mediterranean Cruises

Step back in time when you visit sites like the Acropolis, Pompeii and the ruins of Ephesus with Royal Caribbean. These sites and more dot the landscape of the Mediterranean, acting as a living textbook on ancient times. Of course, the Mediterranean isn’t all about the old. Here you’ll find lively cultures filled with vibrant people making delicious foods, dancing and relaxing on inviting beaches.  It’s the best of both the modern world and the world of the past. Experience this region of the world on a Royal Caribbean cruise. 

Things to Do on a Mediterranean Cruise with Royal Caribbean

Some of Europe’s most glamorous cities combine with beautiful out-of-the-way ports in the Mediterranean. You can see major works of art, try local dishes and explore ancient ruins when you cruise to the Mediterranean with Royal Caribbean. Highlighted below are some of our favorite things to do when cruising the Mediterranean with Royal Caribbean:

Royal Caribbean Museum of Art in Barcelona, Spain

  • Barcelona and Picasso (Barcelona, Spain) Uncover two of Spain’s most renowned artists, Picasso and Gaudi, on this artistic excursion. You’ll start with a tour of the Picasso Museum. This legendary artist introduced the world to cubism and is considered one of the all-time greatest artists. Then you’ll drive around the city viewing the Sagrada Familia, a church designed by Gaudi that has been in continuous construction since 1882.  

Royal Caribbean rolling hills and fields of Croatian countryside

  • Dalmatian Coastline and Wine Tasting (Dubrovnik, Croatia) Visit the Dalmatian Coast where you’ll see how local olive oil is made in a horse driven mill. Here you’ll sample cheese, smoked ham and wine. Then you’ll visit the salt pans in the town of Ston which is known for its oysters. Lastly, visit Ponikve to try Peljesac wines.  

Royal Caribbean columns Temple of Olympian Zeus Athens Greece

  • Journey to Lindos (Rhodes, Greece) Drive through Rhodes to get to Lindos with its 4th century Temple of Athena Lindia. Here you’ll see lots of ruins from times gone by and enjoy spectacular views, especially if you climb to the top of the Acropolis.  

Royal Caribbean Mount Vesuvius above Pompeii, Italy

  • Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii (Naples, Italy) Explore the narrow and picturesque streets of Capri, a seaside resort town, before heading to Sorrento. Here you’ll delight in the cuisine of Italy before your final stop in Pompeii. The ruins of this town were covered in debris from a volcanic eruption in 79 AD, preserving this town for history.  

Royal Caribbean Bahai Gardens in Haifa, Israel

  • The Saffed Kabbalah Experience (Haifa, Israel) Learn about the rituals of Jewish mysticism called Kabbalah in Saffed where you’ll visit synagogues and meet artists who incorporate the Kabbalah into their work. You can also discover what your name means according to Kabbalah’s beliefs.  

Royal Caribbean Temple of Hadrian in Ephesus, Turkey

  • Ancient Ephesus (Kusadasi, Turkey) The ancient city of Ephesus is like an outdoor museum showing you what ancient life was like. This is where Mary, the mother of Jesus, once lived and where Marc Anthony and Cleopatra processed through. Here you’ll see amazing structures filled with history.  

Top 10 Royal Caribbean International Mediterranean Cruises

  • Voyager of the Seas 7 NIGHT WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE Departing From Barcelona, Spain (Jul 2024 - Sep 2025)
  • Voyager of the Seas 7 NIGHT GREEK ISLES CRUISE Departing From Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy (Jul 2024 - Sep 2025)
  • Anthem of the Seas 14 NIGHT MEDITERRANEAN CITIES Departing From Southampton, England (Jul 2024)
  • Voyager of the Seas 7 NIGHT GREECE & ADRIATIC CRUISE Departing From Piraeus (Athens), Greece (Jul 2024 - Sep 2024)
  • Anthem of the Seas 14 NIGHT MED BEACHES & CITIES Departing From Southampton, England (Aug 2024)
  • Odyssey of the Seas 9 NIGHT GREEK ISLES CRUISE Departing From Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy (Aug 2024 - Aug 2025)
  • Odyssey of the Seas 12 NIGHT GREECE, ITALY & TURKEY CRUISE Departing From Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy (Sep 2024 - Sep 2025)
  • Voyager of the Seas 7 NIGHT WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN Departing From Venice, Italy (Sep 2024)
  • Explorer of the Seas 10 NIGHT GREECE & ADRIATIC CRUISE Departing From Venice, Italy (Sep 2024)
  • Oasis of the Seas 3 NIGHT ITALY & SPAIN Departing From Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy (Sep 2024)

Royal Caribbean International Mediterranean Departure Ports

Learn more about your potential departure ports for a Mediterranean cruise with Royal Caribbean. Your Royal Caribbean Mediterranean cruise could embark from any of the following cities:

Barcelona, Spain

Discover imaginative architecture, impressive Spanish dishes and beautiful excursions into nature when you cruise to Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia.

Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy

A cruise to Civitavecchia is a chance for you to hop a quick train to Rome and explore the enormous history through ruins, galleries and The Vatican museums.

Piraeus (Athens), Greece

Learn about the Greek gods and the early philosophy of Socrates when you visit the incredible ruins left in Athens, Greece. At night, go out and take in the culture with the modern Athenians.

Southampton, England

The cruise port of Southampton features tons of diverse attractions that provide insight into England’s culture and storied past, including fortresses, gardens and national parks.

Venice, Italy

Experience the serene, romantic splendor of Venice, but don’t forget to check out its wonderful museums and neighborhoods located off the Grand Canal.

Photo Gallery for Royal Caribbean International Mediterranean Cruises

Flip through our photo gallery of Mediterranean cruising photos from Royal Caribbean. Best of all, this is merely a sample of the sights waiting for you on a Royal Caribbean Mediterranean cruise vacation.

Columns on the Temple of Olympian Zeus Athens

Columns on the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Flamenco Dancers in Cadiz, Spain Royal Caribbean

Flamenco Dancers in Cadiz, Spain

Rolling hills and fields of Croatia Royal Caribbea

Rolling hills & fields of the Croatian Countryside

Couple on a gondola in Venice, Italy

Couple on a gondola in Venice, Italy

Couple on a hill in Mykonos, Greece

Couple on a hill in Mykonos, Greece

Couple standing on cliffs in Capri

Couple standing on cliffs in Capri

St Peter

St Peter's Basilica in San Pietro, Italy

View of a canal in Venice, Italy

View of a canal in Venice, Italy

Columns on the Temple of Olympian Zeus Athens

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Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean

What To Know Before Going On A Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean

Mediterranean cruises are often an idyllic way to experience the marvels of Europe. Think of it as a European sampler; you get a tiny taste of each city before heading to your next destination. After hopping onboard  Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas,  we share the good, the bad, and the ugly of our  Mediterranean Cruise  with tons of great information for a first time cruiser.

The Grand Canal in Venice : Choosing a European Cruise

How To Choose The Perfect Cruise Line For Your Mediterranean Cruise 

There are various Mediterranean cruise itineraries, each focusing on different areas of the Mediterranean. Your perfect cruise depends on your budget and the cities and countries you want to see.

Budget is the most significant factor in determining which cruise line you will sail with. If traveling with children, look for a line offering a kid’s club and activities. From there, you will want to evaluate the itineraries, finding ports of call that interest your traveling party.

The Roman Forum

PRO TIP:   You spend less time onboard the ship on European cruises than on Caribbean cruises . Ships will dock early in the morning and then depart later in the evening, giving guests ample time to explore. Excursions are often 8-9 hours long, leaving you exhausted when you return to the ship.

After reviewing the many options, our family decided on  Royal Caribbean’s 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise , which hit Venice, Rome, Naples, Florence/Pisa, Cannes, and Barcelona.

Enchantment Of The Seas Review

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

Enchantment of the Seas has a cult following, as many cruise fanatics love that the  ship was cut in two  and expanded back in 2005. Enchantment of Seas is one of the smaller ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, which can accommodate around 2,700 passengers. The appeal of fewer people onboard is enticing compared to Royal Caribbean’s bigger ships like Odyssey of the Seas, which can accommodate 5,510 passengers.

A Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean

Don’t expect all the bells and whistles you find on other Royal Caribbean ships. On the contrary, the ship sailed right out of the 90s with light pink interiors, oak trim, and whimsical spaces with exotic decor.

This vessel will not have water slides, an ice-skating rink, and a central park but rather a splash area on the pool deck, a jumbo screen needing repair, and a rock climbing wall.

Dining Onboard The Enchantment Of The Seas

Countless dining options are available onboard the Enchantment of the Seas. However, I strongly advise enjoying the local culinary creations and cuisine from the countries you are visiting. Have pasta in Rome, get crepes in France and paella in Spain.  Remember, the best spots to snag local cuisine are often in the back alleys off the main tourist areas.

Dining onboard Enchantment of the Seas

Pro Tip:  You will choose your dining preference before sailing. For a European Cruise,  I recommend the anytime dining or a later dining time , as many excursions arrive back at the ship until after the first seating. That way, if you didn’t opt to eat at port, you can enjoy the fine dining offered onboard.

Dining Options

My Fair Lady Dining  is the main dining room onboard the ship. It is two-tiered, offering traditional and anytime seating.  Traditional dining  is when you dine on the same day every day and have the same servers, while anytime dining provides more flexibility. For  anytime dining , guests will have different servers and a possible wait during peak hours. Kids menus are available with classics such as mac-n-cheese, hamburgers, chicken tenders, and pizza.

For curious minds, my daughter insisted on bringing her bear Rose, to dinner with us one night. The staff made such a fuss over Rose she decided to come to all the meals and even dress up!

Excellent Staff onboard the Enchantment of the seas

Guests seeking a more laid-back dining approach can venture to  The Windjammer Cafe . Indulge in culinary creations from around the world, comfort foods, and delicious desserts at this popular buffet. The Windjammer is open for all three meals, but it can get overcrowded during peak hours for lunch and breakfast.

Breakfast at the Windjammer Cafe

We often opted for a continental breakfast in our stateroom since many excursions had an early departure time. Not wanting to battle the breakfast buffet, it was often more enjoyable to sip our coffee and nibble on our croissants while getting ready in the morning.

Late-night dining is limited to the  Park Cafe,  which stays open late, offering fresh-baked pizza, sandwiches, and light bites.

My Fair Lady Dining Room

Elevated dining options are available at  Chops Grille  or by reserving the  Captain’s Table  for the ultimate dining experience. During our cruise, we did not opt for either of these options as they were an extra cost. With so many great dining options included, we allocated our money to different experiences.

Top Things To Do Onboard Enchantment of The Seas

Everyone vacations differently, so a cruise is a great option when traveling with groups. Download the Royal Caribbean app  to see the daily activity schedule for the week.  Take a stab at the daily trivia, attend an art auction, or try a fitness class. Options are endless, but here are a few things we thought were great activities you want to take advantage of.

Live music in the Atrium on Enchantment of the Seas

Attend the  Champagne Art Auction  for a complimentary glass of champagne while having the option to bid on many of the lovely art pieces on display around the ship. Many of these pieces are beyond my budget, but I love watching the auction and seeing others win that prized work to add to their collection.

Rock Climbing At Night  is an event where guests can scale the famous rock wall under the stars at the back of the ship. The Rock Wall is open periodically throughout the day during good weather if you cannot climb at night.

Rock Wall onboard the Enchantment of the Seas

The Belly Flop Competition  is one of the funniest pool games I have seen on a cruise. Guests compete for the best belly flop, which is a hoot!

Don’t miss the  Sail Away Party with Balloon Drop  to kick start your cruise. Dance the evening away in the atrium with a fun balloon drop the kids will adore.

Top things to do on Enchantment of the Seas

Catch a show in the  Orpheum Theater . From magicians to musicals, there is always top-notch entertainment happening in the theater. Performances are twice a night to accommodate the dining schedules.

Orpheum Theater

Enchantment of The Seas Kids Club Review

To put it shortly, it was a letdown. I was expecting a Royal Caribbean Cruise to have a top-notch kids club, and the one on Enchantment of the Seas was not that. My six-year-old daughter requested not to attend the kids club because it was boring .

After our most recent  Disney Cruise , she fell in love with kids’ clubs, but sadly, not all kids’ clubs offer the same level of entertainment. She quickly realized that most of her time at this particular kids’ club was spent coloring, playing one specific game with a ball, and watching movies.

Walk into the “arcade” across the hall for an even bigger disappointment . There are more arcade games at a small-town bowling alley than here. The arcade room is barely big enough for six people to fit comfortably and holds 4-5 games max.

Splash area onboard Enchantment of the Seas

She only went to the kids club three times during our cruise, each time hoping it would improve. After the third strike, she didn’t want to try it anymore and gave up on it. More adult-focused activities were happening around the ship, so we often would take her to the pool, find live music, or hang out in our stateroom playing games.

Stateroom 7672 On Enchantment of Seas

Upgrading to a  Junior Suite  was an excellent option for more space to spread out, especially in the tight quarters of a cruise ship. However, I wish I had  examined the deck plans  more closely because our room was directly under the Spotlight Lounge. The Lounge had karaoke and music almost nightly till midnight. With it being so loud, you can practically sing along to all the songs.

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

Back in my youth, I would be down there belting it out with the best of them; however, with a child in tow, my late nights now consist of staying up till 9:00 pm. Bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper and go to bed early.

Junior Suite review on Enchantment of the Seas

As with all older ships, the staterooms are dated. The oak trim and furniture are worn, but the room is sparkling clean. The crew members do a fabulous job keeping your stateroom clean and tidy. All room service trays are removed, and they will help you with any requests.

One other downside to this particular stateroom was the balcony. While the balcony is huge, there is one major issue: the soot from the smoke stack falls directly onto it . The smokestack is towards the back of the ship; therefore, your balcony will be covered with black rain depending on how the wind blows.

An aft balcony offers incredible views along with soot from the smoke stack.

Portions of the balcony are covered, but it puts a damper on your experience, especially when you pay extra for a junior suite. As you know, I wasn’t about to let a little soot keep me from enjoying those gorgeous balcony views, but it is important to note for anyone looking at rooms in the aft portion of the ship.

A perk of the Junior Suite is that there is a bathtub, and you get an Expresso machine in your room!

Royal Caribbean’s 7-Night Western Mediterranean Cruise

  • Day 1-Ravenna-Venice
  •  Day 2-Koper-Slovenia
  •  Day 3-Sea Day
  •  Day 4-Naples-Italy
  •  Day 5-Civitavecchia- Rome, Italy
  •  Day 6-Livorno-Florence/Pisa
  •  Day 7-Cannes, France
  •  Day 8-Barcelona, Spain

Day 1- Getting To Your Ship

When looking at the cruise itinerary, it indicated that our cruise left from Venice. You will want to dig deeper to see which cruise terminal you sail from. Since Venice no longer allows large cruise ships to come down the Grand Canal, you may not be leaving from Venice proper but rather another cruise port hours away.

If your cruise is leaving from Ravenna, be sure to read this!

If your port is  Ravenna, it is three hours from the Airport in Venice Marco Polo . That means a few things:

  • You will need to schedule a transfer to get to the port. Royal Caribbean offers transfers, but you must book them in advance. They typically leave from the airport around 11 am-12:30 pm on the day of your cruise.
  •  If your plane arrives in Venice the day your cruise departs, you will not see Venice. Time will not be on your side to see the city and catch a three-hour transfer. Navigating the airport to historic Venice will take about an hour, and that is with a vapperato (private boat taxi).
  •  We arrived in Venice a few days early to see the city, then booked a vapperato back to the airport the morning of our cruise to catch the transfer.
  •  Consider taking the train from Venice to Ravenna or booking a private transfer if you need help getting on the transfer through Royal Caribbean.

If you want a beautiful hotel in Venice, consider the  Hilton Venice . While this hotel has many perks, including a gorgeous rooftop bar overlooking the Grand Canal, the most significant amenity is the complimentary water taxi across the Grand Canal to three popular spots. This eliminates the need to navigate public water taxis or hire a vapperato each time.

Take your gondola ride at dusk for a magical experience

Pro Tip: I recommend taking it at dusk if you plan a gondola ride. A whimsical magic falls over the canals as the setting sun sets the sky ablaze in colors.

Day 2- Koper, Slovenia

The Port of Koper drops travelers right into the heart of their old town without needing a transfer. The port is 300 meters from the main town square with its cathedral, cafes, restaurants, and tourist attractions. This unique port of call was offered on the 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean.

Postojna Caves in Slovenia

Each port of call offers a variety of shore excursions you can book through the ship or another travel company. Many tourists will even put together custom shore excursions.

Pro Tip:  We always recommend that you check with whatever company you are working with to ensure they will have you back on the ship in time. When planning your own, ensure you have a backup plan if something was to happen.

For Example: If visiting Croatia, you may opt to  explore the real Croatia by cruises  or take a self-guided walking tour of the city. 

We booked the Postojna Cave Tour , which was beautiful. The Postojna Caves are Europe’s largest caves, offering guests a train ride through the cave system with an hour-long walking tour. Wear long pants and bring a jacket as the caves get cold, regardless of the weather outside.

Day 3- At Sea

Day 4- naples, italy.

Mount Vesuvius looms as you pull into port, an eerie reminder of the tragedy that occurred at the legendary city of Pompeii hundreds of years ago. With the island of Capri in the distance and the lure of a day trip to stunning Positano, cruise passengers have the difficult decision about what sites they want to see during their brief stent in port.

Galleria Umberto I in Naples, Italy

Naples offers many iconic landmarks and awe-inspiring landscapes that are impossible to do in a day. Guests will often have to choose between exploring the sparkling Almafi Coast, seeing the ancient ruins of Pompeii, or taking in the sites of downtown Naples.

The cruise terminal puts guests into the heart of Naples. Downloading a self-guided walking tour to see the city on foot from the cruise terminal is easy. Many tours are available through the ship to see as many sites as possible, but the reality is you will get a taste of each one.

Tips for visiting Naples while on a cruise

It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to see as much as possible and then leave exhausted. Take it firsthand from me, who passed out in the streets of Naples from heat stroke trying to get in the final sites.

If you do the Almafi Coast, focus your time on Sorrento and Positano; if you are sailing to Capri, spend the whole day on the island; if you want to do Pompeii, plan on spending a few hours there, then hit a few sites in downtown Naples after your tour.

Day 5-Civitavecchia- Rome, Italy

One of the most important things to note about this port is that  it will take an hour and a half to get from Civitavecchia to Rome.  Therefore, looking at shore excursions, you will want to factor in a three-hour round-trip drive time. Many will make a note of it in the description.

Royal Caribbean's 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise

Here are a few tips for doing Rome in under 8 hours:

  • Consider doing the hop-on, hop-off bus tour . The tour will take you to all the major sites in the city.
  •  Purchase tickets or skip-the-line passes for any major attraction months in advance if not included in your tour. This includes the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Basilica.
  •  There is a train that will take travelers from Civitavecchia to Rome.
  •  If you miss your bus, expect to pay top dollar for a private taxi from Rome to the ship.
  •  Don’t forget the coins to throw into the  Trevi Fountain !
  •  Historic sites are always best seen with a tour guide. They bring out so many unique features and stories that would have been missed.
  •  The best restaurants are never around popular tourist attractions. You should not spend $22 for pasta in Rome. Often, if you walk a short distance from the hustle and bustle of the main streets, you will find phenomenal little eateries for a fraction of the cost.
  •  As will all major cities, watch out for pickpockets , and don’t let a stranger take your family photo. They could easily run off with your phone.
  •  While Rome is usually very busy, remember that the more ships in port will mean popular attractions will be even more crowded. Three ships in port could mean an additional 10,000 tourists visiting the city during the same hours you are. Try visiting lesser-known attractions such as the Temple of Hercules Victor and Tempio di Portuno.

Temple of Hercules Victor

Day 6-Livorno-Florence/Pisa

Livorno is an hour away from Florence and 45 minutes away from Pisa . Many shore excursions include visits to both Pisa and Florence, while others will whisk travelers off to the Tuscan countryside.

How to see Florence during a European Cruise

We opted for a budget-friendly transfer through  Viator  to take us to Florence, Pisa, and back to the ship. The guide on the bus offered an hour-long walking tour of Florence for $10 Euro per adult once we arrived, which was worth every penny.

A Few Tips For Visiting Florence/ Pisa

  • While the Leaning Tower Of Pisa is on many bucket lists, you will only want to spend some of your time at Pisa. The  “Square of Miracles ” contains the Pisa Cathedral, the baptistery, and the Leaning Tower, all surrounded by a sea of touristy shops and restaurants.
  •  Guests can go up in the Leaning Tower but must purchase tickets in advance.
  •  Purchase tickets or skip-the-line passes for any major attraction months in advance if not included in your tour. This includes the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, Florence Duomo, and other famous museums.
  • Visit the Officina Profumo, which has been in the perfume business since 1221!
  • Make a reservation at Osteria Pastella for an incredible meal! Get the Cacio e Pepe.
  •  Find one of Florence’s wine windows.
  •  As with most European cities, bring good walking shoes.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Day 7-Cannes, France

The jaw-dropping French Riviera is a desired port of call. The sun-drenched beaches paired with the majestic mountains are captivating. When the city is not abuzz with the Cannes Film Festival , travelers will find themselves strolling the historic Old Town, window shopping along the promenade, before posing on the red carpet at Cannes Palais des Festivals et des Congrè.

Incredible views of Cannes France

Cruise ships must use a tender to bring guests to shore, so ensure you allocate enough time to wait for a tender. Pre-planned shore excursions will utilize the tenders first; then, it will be open boarding for the rest of the guests.

One of the downsides of a Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean is that there are some ports you only get to spend a little bit of time in. For instance, all aboard was at 2 pm in Cannes. If only having one full day feels rushed, try only a few hours in a city.

Day 8-Barcelona, Spain

Our Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean came to an end in Barcelona . We opted to stay a few extra days to explore the city, which I highly recommend. Stay at the  Renaissance Barcelona Hotel . It is centrally located downtown near the major attractions, restaurants, and shops. The hotel was gorgeous, and the rooftop bar stole the show with sweeping views of the city, including the Sagrada Familia.

Barcelona tips for visiting after a cruise

We arranged a private transfer to take us from the ship to the hotel and the airport. Barcelona is a very walkable city, but to see some sites, such as Park Guell, you will likely want to take a taxi or do one of the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tours.

A Few Tips For Visiting Barcelona

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to secure tickets for all Gaudi’s sites . We were lucky to be able to book Park Guell and Casa Mila two days before arriving, but the Sagrada Familia was sold out.
  •  Tapas and pinchos, or “spikes,” are small bites that are a must in Spain.
  •  The Hop On/ Hop Off Bus is a great way to see the city. However, the loop is roughly 2 hours,, so plan your day accordingly if you have timed tickets.
  •  In Spain, dinner is a lighter meal, typically eaten between 9 and 10 pm during the week and even later on the weekend.

Don't wait until the last minute to secure tickets for all Gaudi's sites.

My Must Have Items For A European Cruise

Take advantage of these must-have items for your next European Cruise .

  • A  crossbody bag  with a zipper. These bags are going to be your first line of defense against pickpockets.
  •  If visiting during warm weather, investing in a   sun umbrella  is wise. In July, this was one item we used daily.
  •  Another must-have during summer months is a  portable misting fan .
  •   Liquid IV   is always a great item to keep with you, especially in the summer.
  •  Many churches require guests to have their shoulders and knees covered to enter. Bring a shawl or sweater.
  •  Bring a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers.
  •  One formal night outfit.
  •   Bring medications , such as Ibuprofen, Pepto, Benadryl, Sudafed, Imodium, etc. Many items on the ship may not be readily available to you or require you to see the ship’s medic to get them. I also recommend bringing a  first aid kit .

A Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean is one of the best cruises to see a lot Europe in a short amount of time. However, if you are traveling with young kids, you may want to take a closer look at Disney Cruise Lines. We had a great experience on Enchantment of The Seas but often wished that there was more to do for kids 5-10 years old.

We are already looking at our next Mediterranean Cruise, hoping to go to the Greek Islands or the Holy Land. Would we sail Royal Caribbean again? Absolutely!

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

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Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean

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Royal Caribbean

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Royal Caribbean fleet

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RCI (Royal Caribbean International) is a subsidiary company and largest brand of RCG (Royal Caribbean Group, fka RCCL-Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd). This Norwegian-American corporation is currently ranked the world's second-largest passenger shipping company (after Carnival Corporation /39% market share). However, RCG owns the world's biggest passenger ships . As of 2020, RCG controlled ~24% of the global ship cruising market (fleet passenger capacity), had full ownership of 4 brands (RCI, Celebrity , Silversea , Azamara ), 49% stake in Pullmantur (51% owned by Springwater Capital), 50% stake in TUI Cruises (50% owned by TUI AG), 19% stake in Wamos Air (fka Air Pullmantur).

Company History

RCG-Royal Caribbean Group (royalcaribbeangroup.com / renamed in 2020 from RCCL-"Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd") is based in Miami (Florida USA) and incorporated in Liberia. The company was formed in 1997 when RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruise Line/1968-established) purchased Celebrity Cruises (1988-established). A decision was made to keep the two brands separate. As result, RCCL was re-branded RCI-Royal Caribbean International (RoyalCaribbean.com) and RCCL was founded as the parent company of RCI and Celebrity.

Royal Caribbean Group's current management team is led by Jason Liberty (RCG's Chairman, President, and CEO since January 2022) and includes Palle Laursen (RCG's Executive VP), Naftali Holtz (RCG's CFO), RCI's Michael Bayley (President and CEO), Jim Berra (Chief Marketing Officer, Senior VP Marketing), Vicki Freed (Senior VP Sales), Michael Goldner (VP Revenue Management), Jessie Ortiz (VP Finance and Administration), Gregory Purdy (Senior VP Marine Operations), Nick Weir (Senior VP Entertainment), Sean Treacy (Senior VP Hotel Operations), Laura Hodges Bethge (Senior VP Product Development), Bert Hernandez (President of Royal Caribbean China). RCG's Managing Director for China and Asia is Zinan Liu.

RCI Royal Caribbean International logo - CruiseMapper

The name RCCL (initially "Royal Caribbean Cruise Line AS) was officially accepted in 1969 (on January 31st). Other suggested names for the company included "Pleasure Cruise Line" (PCL), "Holiday Cruise Line" (HCL), "Crown Cruise Line" (CCL), "Royal Caribbean Line" (RCL). RCCL's "crowned anchor" logo was designed by Morits Skaugen and accepted in March (1969).

Around 55% of RCI's total revenue comes from the USA. The brand's other major markets are Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. As of 2020, RCI ships visit a total of 322 call ports worldwide, offering 4500+ shore excursions through local tour companies.

Since 2017, Royal Caribbean has joint ownership of Grand Bahama Shipyard (Freeport) , where major drydock refurbishments and ship maintenance works take place.

Company changes 2024

In January, Jason Liberty was appointed as the Chairman of CLIA's Board of Directors (CLIA/Cruise Lines International Association). Also in January was RCG's ever-strongest booked position (as both pricing and volume/staterooms), with North America being the primary source market (~80%) and the Caribbean being RCI's most demanded region.

In March, RCI introduced fleetwide a third (Middle) dinner time, added in between the traditional two dining times in the MDRs/main restaurants (Early/5 pm or Late/8 pm). The exact Middle dinner time depends on ship/itinerary, starting sometime around 7 pm.

In late-March 2024, RCG announced plans for Royal Beach Club Cozumel . Scheduled for opening and inauguration in 2026, the exclusive destination will feature several beaches (including adults-only and suite guests-only), kids' playgrounds, freshwater pools, various drinking and dining venues, live music and entertainment.

In late-April, RCG signed a partnership with Hard Rock Cafe Inc (1971-founded chain of bar-restaurants, shops, casinos and museums) and Seminole Gaming Casinos to allow their customers to receive benefits (discounts and perks, accommodations, meals) at their land properties (casinos, hotels, cafes) as well as on RCG's ships. The partnership leveraged the companies' loyalty programs, benefiting the millions of RCG and Hard Rock-Seminole members enrolled in their loyalty programs (Unity by Hard Rock, RCI's Club Royale, and Celebrity's Blue Chip Club).

In May was appointed Angie Stephen as Senior VP of RCI.

In June RCG launched the Loyalty Status Match program allowing loyalty members from each brand (RCI’s Crown & Anchor Society, Celebrity’s Captain’s Club, and Silversea’s Venetian Society) to attain reciprocal tier status across all brands.

Company changes 2023

In January RCI opened a sales office in Limassol Cyprus and Spectrum OTS was reflagged from Bahamas to Cyprus.

Since January 2023, RCI's onboard messaging system is complimentary (provided free of charge fleetwide/via Royal App) regardless of cabin category and during the entire voyage. The service used to cost US$2 per day per device.

Since March 2023, RCI provides fleetwide once-per-day cabin housekeeping service to all staterooms in non-suite categories. The service is provided either in the morning or in the afternoon (at the passenger's discretion).

There are rumors that RCI may bring back the RFID bracelets (aka WOW bands) fleetwide. They were reintroduced in early 2023 (on all OASIS- and QUANTUM Class boats) at the cost of US$10 per bracelet. WOW bands are still provided complimentary to all passengers occupying Sky Class and Star Class suites.

RCI announced that starting in April, the Sky Pad Bungee Trampoline will be removed fleetwide, and the facility will be replaced with a new venue (tba).

In 2023, the music clubs "Jazz on 4" of all OASIS-class liners were converted into non-smoking Casino Rooms. Each Casino Royale Non-Smoking is fitted with 40-46x slot machines, 3x gambling tables (1x blackjack table, 2x 3-card poker tables), a kiosk and a cashier window.

On August 25th, RCI announced the exclusive partnership with Inter Miami CF (2018-established soccer club) to become its Official Vacation Partner. In July, Lionel Andres Messi (1987-born Argentine footballer) joined Inter Miami and the club won "2023 Leagues Cup" (an international tournament between MLS and Liga MX/held in Jul 21-Aug 19). 2023 Leagues Cup's 47 teams played at 29 stadiums (77 matches, 251 goals) and Messi was the top-scorer (with 10 goals).

Since October 2023, the Diamond Lounge has been renamed Crown Lounge (fleetwide).

On November 11th (2023), RCI's daily gratuities per person (automatically charged/both adults and kids) were increased to US$18 (Junior Suites and below categories) and US$20.50 (Grand Suite and above categories).

In November RCG appointed Diane Chiang as APAC (Asia-Pacific) Sales Director. She joined RCG in 2007 (as Business Analyst) and was later promoted to Revenue Manager.

In December RCI ended its partnership with Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings Inc (1978-founded company that manufactures premium ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet). On 13 RCI ships, the Ben & Jerry's ice cream shops (previously offering the Vermont brand) now offer in-house brand ice cream.

In December, it was rumored that RCG was negotiating to purchase Freeport's Xanadu Beach Hotel. The deal could include a land area of 40-50 acres (16-20  hectares/0,16-0,2 km2) in Freeport Harbour. The Xanadu Beach Hotel (1968-built, capacity 215 rooms) in 1972 was purchased by Howard Robard Hughes Jr (1905-1976) and also included an 80-berth yacht marina.

In 2023, RCI's 26 vessels served 6+ million travelers (~23% increase from 2022's 4,6M) and visited 252 call ports (230 in 2022). The most visited were Nassau (Bahamas) and Cozumel (Mexico), both received 3+ million tourists.

Company changes 2022

On September 7th (2022), RCI's daily gratuities per person were increased to US$16 (interior, oceanview, balcony staterooms/Junior Suites and below categories) and to US$18,50 (Grand Suite and above categories).

On August 30th, RCG signed a deal with SpaceX/Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (2002-founded by Elon Musk) for using Starlink's satellites to provide faster and low-latency Internet connections across the global fleet (Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity, and Silversea ships). Trials on the new Starlink Internet services were successfully conducted on Freedom OTS in June. Starlink Internet installations were scheduled to be completed fleetwide in 2023-Q1.

On June 15th, RCG signed with Eagle LNG Partners LLC (Eagle LNG) a contract for providing LNG (liquefied natural gas) and bunkering services to LNG-powered RCI liners, the first of which is Icon OTS. The gas supply is sourced from Eagle LNG's facilities in JAXPORT-Jacksonville Florida , shipped throughout the Caribbean and bunkered by Eagle LNG-owned newbuild vessels.

In March was launched the online booking service "Royal Caribbean Hotels" via partnership with Priceline (1997-founded online booking agency specializing in travel-related products/flights, hotels, cruises). The program (available only for residents of the USA, Canada, and Mexico) allows booking pre-/post-cruise hotel stays (in all RCI ports, including in Europe, Asia-Pacific. Caribbean-Americas) with exclusive discount rates and the guarantee that RCI will cover any hotel cancellation fees if the voyage is canceled or the itinerary modified.

Company changes 2021

RCG's 2021-Q3 report included Adjusted Net Loss USD 1,2B ($4,91 per share), liquidity ~$4,1B ($3,3B cash), 40 ships in operation (~65% fleet capacity), ~USD 2,8B in cruise deposits (of which ~1/3rd in FCCs/future credits).

In October was announced RCI's first " World Cruise " scheduled for Serenade OTS . The 274-night itinerary (Dec 10, 2023, thru Sept 10, 2024) is roundtrip from PortMiami and visits 150 ports/islands (57 new for RCI), 65 countries, 7 continents.

Since 2021, on all RCI ships passengers can use for US$ 2 per person per day a "guest-to-guest chat" feature (part of the Royal App) without purchasing Internet packages. The feature allows chatting between guests one-to-one, as well as group chats.

In September RCG signed with USVA (US Virgin Islands) an MoU for two future port developments - Crown Bay (St Thomas Island) and Frederiksted (St Croix Island). The agreement included increased calls to both islands and guaranteed by RCG minimum revenues.

In September RCG signed with TraceSafe a 2-year contract for "Tracelet" (trademarked by RCG in October 2020). These are wearable tracing bands used on RCG ships for identifying the close contacts of a COVID-positive passenger/crew. The technology was introduced on Quantum OTS when the boat restarted operations from Singapore.

On May 20th RCI patented "WATER-BASED PYROTECHNIC ILLUSION". The patent (number 20210146396) is about "systems and methods for firework water illusions" and includes a device with at least 1 rotating nozzle spraying water in a radial direction, with a system to illuminate the water and create an illusion of pyrotechnics.

RCG's 2020-Q4 financial report revealed US GAAP Net Loss of USD 5,8 billion (EUR 4,774B, or US$27,05 per share) and Adjusted Net Loss of USD 3,9 billion (EUR 3,21B, or US$18,31 per share). In 2020, RCG raised ~USD 9,3B (~EUR 7,655B) through bond issuances, loans, public common stocks) and as of Dec 31 had liquidity ~USD 4,4B (EUR 3,62B, including $3,7B in cash-cash equivalents plus $0,7B from a year loan).

In mid-February RCG established a USD 40 million fund for USA-based qualifying travel agencies. The program allows 3-year, interest-free loans (max US$250,000) via CruisingPower.com.

On January 19th RCG announced an agreement to sell the brand Azamara Cruises for USD 201 million (~EUR 165,8 M / ~GBP 147,6 M / carve-out transaction) to Sycamore Partners. Sycamore Partners acquired the entire brand and its 3 ships, plus all the associated intellectual property rights and goodwill. The all-cash transaction was closed on March 19, 2021. Azamara's CEO (Carol Cabezas) was appointed President. The deal was assisted by Perella Weinberg Partners (financial advisor for RCG), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (legal counsel for RCG) and Kirkland & Ellis (legal advice to Sycamore).

After selling 8 ships - 3x Pullmantur (Horizon, Monarch, Sovereign), 3x Azamara (Quest, Journey, Pursuit), 2x RCI (Empress, Monarch), RCG's global fleet capacity decreased by 12316 berths (5984+2138+4194).

Company changes 2020

In February RCG purchased land ("multiple real estate parcels") on Paradise Island's (Bahamas) western coast, at the cost of ~USD 54 million (~EUR 50 million). In mid-March 2020 was announced RCI's second private resort property (after Fort James in St Johns Antigua ) - Royal Beach Club Bahamas (at Paradise Island , close to Nassau ).

On March 23rd RCG loaned USD 2,2 billion (~EUR 2,03 B) with maturity in March 2021 and an optional extension for 364 more days (till March 2022). With the new financing, RCCL now has USD 3,6+ billion of liquidity (cash deposits plus undrawn credit facilities). The money was secured term-loaned from 3 US banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Corporation, Goldman Sachs Group) plus the French banking group BNP Paribas.

On July 30th RCG was officially renamed to "Royal Caribbean Group". The logo was also changed.

In late-July RCI introduced "Muster 2.0" (patented, Internet-based safety drill conducted via the eMuster mobile app). The patent was filed on September 12, 2019 (issued March 3, 2020).

Company changes 2019

In April RCG 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 speed up RCCL passenger disembarkation at select US homeports via the 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 privacy is guaranteed as no photos are stored either by RCCL, IDEMIA or US Customs after the cruise's completion.

On June 4th 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.

In late-July on Symphony OTS was introduced "Fast Track" - expedited boarding program offered in all call ports of the current itinerary. Fast Track is available for passengers in Star-Sky Class suites, Pinnacle members, "The Key" (pre-purchased daily package that includes lunch at Chops Grille, Jamie's or Giovanni's specialty restaurants), disabled passengers, and families with strollers.

In October 2019 were open for booking RCI's new "Spa Cabins" offered fleetwide in the ship classes Radiance-Voyager-Freedom-Quantum-Quantum Ultra-Oasis. The new Spa staterooms (available since 2021) offer as bonus amenities priority Spa reservations, 50% discounted Spa treatments (1 per cabin), daily room service (coffee/tea), BOSE Bluetooth speaker, tranquil artworks (on the walls), plush bedding, feather pillows, upgraded bathroom amenities (Jacuzzi showerhead, premium brand toiletries, luxury slippers and bathrobes), cushioned balcony furniture, Welcome Aboard gift (fresh fruits).

In November RCI signed a 5-year partnership deal (until 2024) with Singapore Tourism Board (under Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry) and Changi Airport Group (Singapore airport operations and management). This 3-party deal is for promoting fly-cruises to Singapore mainly (from China, India, Southeast Asia, USA) on Quantum OTS with expected ~623,000 international tourists spending ~USD 430+ million on flight+cruise packages. This is ~60% growth in comparison to the previous tripartite partnership (2015-2018) when in Singapore was homeported Mariner OTS.

In December RCI sighed with Port Galveston an agreement for building Cruise Terminal 3. The new (USD 100 million) facility is scheduled for inauguration in November 2021.

Company changes 2018

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. Account security was also simplified and strengthened to ensure customers' personal data.

Since May 2018 fleetwide are used 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/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's 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.

In June-July RCCL acquired 2/3 of the top-luxury brand Silversea . 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 ~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 ~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 the corporation's combined fleet (compared to 0,5% in 2018). By combined expedition cruise berths, RCCL is ranked the world's 4th largest operator - following Ponant , Hurtigruten and Lindblad . In July 2020, RCCL-Royal Caribbean Group purchased Silversea's remaining shares from Heritage Cruise Holding Ltd. The purchase was in the form of 5,2 million RCL shares (~2,5% of RCCL's total common stock).

(deposit program changes) Since November 2018, RCI customers booking non-refundable deposit fares don't receive onboard credit (US$100) per stateroom. Instead, they are promised the lowest pricing on the fare.

RCCL 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 August 2018 was announced that RCCL plans to outsource most of its Springfield jobs (~90%, excepting only sales employees) to the 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.

On October 1st RCI announced that the company's 50th birthday cruise (themed "50 Years Bold Birthday Cruise") will be held on Symphony OTS (November 2-9, 2019). The 7-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary from PortMiami visited St Maarten, San Juan Puerto Rico, CocoCay Bahamas, and featured unique programming, special events, surprise guest performers.

All RCG-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.

Royal Caribbean International (RCI)

Royal Caribbean is in the top 3 "best family cruise lines" (together with CCL-Carnival and DCL-Disney) and owns the world's largest and 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-aged, 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 (2013-scrapped as "Formosa Queen"). As RCI ships grew in size, this top-deck observation 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 new amenities and entertainment.

In 2014 and 2015, RCI introduced the Dynamic Dining concept that replaced the Main Dining Room concept on QUANTUM-class ships.

  • RCI vessels with Dynamic Dining don't have an MDR/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".
  • Suite passengers have access to "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 OTS 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 the Dynamic Dining to OASIS-class liners. During 2014-2015 drydock refurbishments , decor and signage were installed on the 3 levels of the MDRs of Allure OTS and Oasis OTS to prepare them to function as separate restaurants ("The Grande", "Silk", "American Icon Grill"), although the 3 levels continued operating as a single MDR. The suite-only restaurant Coastal Kitchen was also installed. However, on July 15, 2015, RCI announced that the dynamic dining concept would not be rolled out fleetwide.

Besides the multi-deck MDRs, RCI also features the "Chops Grille" (steakhouse(, "Windjammer Cafe" (Lido buffet restaurant), Johnny Rockets, Izumi (Japanese/Asian), poolside bars, 24-hour Room Service. "Cupcake Cupboard" is a ship bakery (available on the newest and refurbished ships) offering 30 gourmet cupcakes. Select RCI ships offer Starbucks Coffee at Sea.

RCI's new alcohol policy allows passengers to bring their own wine onboard and consume it in cabins (for free) or for a corkage fee (additional charge) in public areas.

(trademarks) New services, venues, trademarked ship names

Note: OTS="Of The Seas"

In January 2017 were trademarked (USPTO-registered) the ship names Valhalla OTS, Sunrise OTS, Icon OTS , Symphony OTS . On September 15, 2014, RCCL trademarked the ship names Spectrum OTS , Harmony OTS , Emblem OTS, Joy OTS, Apex OTS. In September 2015 were abandoned the trademarks Emblem OTS, Passion OTS, Pulse OTS, Apex OTS, Joy OTS, Spectrum OTS . Other currently trademarked by Royal Caribbean ship names include Gallant OTS, Phenom OTS, Valhalla OTS, Sunrise OTS.

In September 2018 were trademarked 3 ship names (could be used for future newbuilds) - Eon OTS, Gallant OTS, Phenom OTS. In October was trademarked Metropolis OTS.

In September 2018 was 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 the hull's oblong-shaped stern. The design features AquaTheater Suites (with balconies), Ultimate Abyss (2 cascading waterslides) and RCCL's logo. In December 2018 was trademarked the name "Fly Rider" (amusement park ride/similar to a zip-line roller coaster ride).

In October 2019, RCI partnered with Funky Buddha Brewery (Oakland Park FL) for an exclusive beer label available only on CocoCay Island. The private beer label ("Chilla Thrilla") was trademarked on July 8, 2019. The craft beer (5% ABV) is a tropical ale (with mango and guava) packaged in 12-oz cans and is offered in different labels themed after CocoCay's areas.

In April 2020, RCG filed a trademark application for "Seaface" - its own sanitary mask brand ("medical apparatus") intended for cruise ship services.

In October 2020 were trademarked the names of 4 new shipboard venues - Vue Bar, Cask & Clipper (pub restaurant?), Wonder Playscape (kids playground?), Cantina Fresca (Mexican food bar).

In January 2020 were trademarked 15x names for new services and shipboard venues - Go Green, Roosevelt's Table, Royal Dueling Pianos, Royal Suite Club, Cloud 17 (adults-only sundeck), Lou's Jazz Club, Playaway Park (kids), The Overlook, The Yard, The Lemon Post (bar), Absolute Zero (ice bar), Challenger's (bar), Surfside (bar), Salty Sip (bar), AquaDome (glass roof over the pool deck).

In March 2021 was trademarked the phrase "America's Cruise Line" (software-related).

In October 2021 were trademarked 3x shipboard BBQ restaurant names ("The Mason Jar", "Savannah's Table", "Palmetto Room"), as well as "RCTV" (in-cabin TV programming), "Cruise Compass" (daily onboard newspaper), "RCG" (abbrev) and "Royal Caribbean Group" (shipowner).

In November 2021 were trademarked 6x names for ship waterslides - "Perfect Storm", "Hurricane Hunter", "Category 6", "Pressure Drop", "Storm Surge", "Storm Chasers".

In December 2021 were trademarked 23x possible ship names (all with OTS) - Magnificence, Melody, Fantasia, Paradise, Vibrance, Splendor, Grace, Sanctuary, Illumination, Unity, Intrigue, Aria, Awe, Aura, Eternity, Eden, Euphoria, Bliss, Utopia , Marvel, Nirvana, Haven, Divine. Also was trademarked "Royal Beach Club" (Nassau).

In January 2022 was trademarked "Accessory Place" (retail shop services that include selling jewelry) and "Cruiseverse" (virtual cruise ship services).

In June 2022 were trademarked the ship names Hero OTS, Majesty OTS, Marquee OTS, Monarch OTS, Nova OTS, Splendor OTS, Star OTS , Sun OTS, Titan OTS.

In September 2022 was trademarked "Icon of Vacations".

RCI cruise ships classes

RCI's fleet has vessels in the following classes:

Note: All vessels have an 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 ~250K tons and passenger capacity 5600. The design is represented by 3x units ( Icon OTS , Apex OTS, Joy OTS) and features 8x neighborhoods and numerous fleet-firsts in technologies, venues, amenities, cabin types and categories.
  • "Quantum Class" (Quantum, Anthem, Ovation) and "Quantum Ultra Class" (Spectrum, Odyssey) feature North Star (top-deck, mobile observation capsule/costs $25 pp), RipCord by iFLY (sky-diving simulator/$55 pp), Seaplex (large indoor sports complex), Two70 Lounge (3-deck high), Loft Suites, Music Hall (2-deck venue).
  • "Freedom Class" (ships Freedom, Liberty, Independence) features Ice-Skating Rink, Royal Promenade (indoor street).
  • "Radiance Class" (ships Radiance, Brilliance, Serenade, Jewel) features 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 a pedestrian (shopping mall-like) area lined with restaurants and shops. At night, the Royal Promenade turns into an 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).

All RCI ships have an Escape Room (team-building, adventure gaming experiences/$20 pp), Flowriders (surfing simulator/private lessons cost $69-500), Gaming Arcades ($1-3 per game). Optional are the Behind the Scenes (ship tour/costs $49-129 pp), fitness classes ($12 pp), cooking classes ($35-70 pp).

The next aerial photo shows a VOYAGER-class ship (Adventure, Explorer, Mariner, Navigator, Voyager).

Royal Caribbean Voyager-class ship (Adventure, Explorer, Mariner, Navigator, Voyager)

On February 18, 2019, RCI signed a shipbuilding agreement with STX France (Chantiers de l'Atlantique Shipyard in St Nazaire ) for a 6th OASIS liner (yard's 23rd vessel built for RCG). The ship ( Utopia OTS ) has volume 236857 GT-tons, LOA 362 m (1188 ft) and 2834 cabins (capacity 5634-6788 passengers).

On April 24, 2019, STX France started construction works on the 5th OASIS unit (Wonder OTS/2022), and on July 1st, 2022, on the 6th unit (Utopia OTS/2024).

The next aerial photo shows an OASIS/OASIS PLUS-class ship as looked from above.

Royal Caribbean Oasis-class ship (Allure, Oasis, Harmony, Symphony, Wonder)

Instead of Royal Promenade, Quantum-class liners have "Royal Esplanade" - a 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. Sports facilities include Studio B/Ice-Skating Rink, Rock Climbing Wall, FlowRider/surfing simulator, a Multiple Sports Court, Walking/Jogging Track, Golf Simulator, ZIP-Line, H2O Zone (Waterpark with Waterslide), Adventure Beach. Only Quantum ships have Bumper Cars, Skydiving Simulator, North Star/rotational capsule.

Royal Caribbean Quantum-Ultra class ship (Odyssey, Spectrum)

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.

Next photo shows an ICON-class ship.

Royal Caribbean Icon-class ship

Families cruising with infants and toddlers benefit from RCI's nursery programs "Royal Babies" and "Royal Tots". Supervised children's club activities are available by RCI's children's program "Adventure Ocean".

CocoCay Island refurbishments 2018-2019 expansion

Since 2015, RCCL/RCG invests huge money in the corporation's private Bahamian island CocoCay .

In March 2018 was announced a USD 200-million project (named "Perfect Day Island Collection") for developing private land destinations in the regions of the Caribbean, Asia, and Australia-Oceania. As part of this project, on CocoCay will be built unique water attractions.

Thrill Waterpark attraction has 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.

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 (private cabanas, daybeds), South Beach (designed for beachside activities/volleyball, basketball, soccer, paddleboards, glass-bottom sea kayaks, zorbs, has bungalows, daybeds, teepees/cone-shaped tents) and Coco Beach Club (overwater cabanas/rentals are inclusive of 1 hammock, 1 waterslide, dedicated service by an attendant). The complex also has a freshwater infinity pool, full bar, restaurant.

In May 2018 were 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 (can handle RCI's largest boats), as well as a basketball court, bocce ball court, bowling court, volleyball nets, large-size pool table.

In 2016 CocoCay was upgraded with a 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).

(NEW) Lucaya Resort Bahamas

In March 2019, the joint venture company Holistica Ltd (RCCL and ITM Group / Mumbai India ) signed a letter of intent with The Bahamas government for the purchase of Grand Lucayan Resort (an all-inclusive resort complex) and redevelopment of the Bahamian 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 ~2 million additional tourists to Grand Bahama Island annually. The project includes the construction of a theme park and a 5-star hotel. Grand Lucayan Resort suffered significant damages during Hurricane Matthew (October 2016) and was forced to close 2/3 of its property.

On June 24, 2019, RCCL and ITM Group established the Miami-headquartered joint venture company "Holistica" which 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).

On March 2, 2020, RCCL officially announced Holistica's USD 300 million private cruise resort project "Lucaya Property". The investment includes redeveloping (expanding) the Freeport Cruise Terminal (to be renamed to "Harbour Village") and building a leisure complex with a large hotel (526 rooms), wellness facilities, shopping village, convention center (sized 40,000 ft2 / 3720 m2), theme park (with water slides, outdoor playgrounds, zip-lines).

Lucaya Property is approx 9 mi (15 km) west of Harbour Village (Freeport Cruise Terminal). At Harbour Village for tourists will be introduced new shopping and dining venues (bars, restaurants), live entertainment and nightlife programming, beach zones, new shore excursions, new transport infrastructure (serving ferries, buses, passenger vehicles). The Lucaya Property project is planned for completion in 2022-Q4.

RCI "VOOM" Internet

VOOM is the trademarked name of RCI's high-speed Internet service providing faster connectivity at sea, with almost the same Internet speeds as on land. The new satellite technology utilizes each 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 are connecting onboard (while the ship is in ports of call) or ashore (in restaurants, bars, etc).

In August 2022 RCG signed a deal with SpaceX (2002-founded by Elon Musk) for using Starlink's satellites to provide faster and low-latency Internet fleetwide (RCI, Celebrity, and Silversea). The project was completed in 2023-Q1.

New Internet packages cost (2023 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 CruisePlanner booking rates and include the 30% pre-cruise booking discount. Packages can be purchased onboard 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 (except 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 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 CruisePlanner) internet packages. Discounts are also offered for Royal Caribbean loyalty program members (Crown and Anchor Society) when the VOOM package is purchased onboard.

RCI's Cruise Planner packages & prices

Cruise Planner is an online booking system for adding/pre-purchasing shore excursions, specialty restaurants, beverage packages, internet packages, photo packages, gifts and gear, onboard activities (ship tour, special events), The Key (VIP access program), as well as making wellness reservations (massage and body therapies, treatments, teeth whitening, beauty services, fitness classes, personal training, etc).

Specialty restaurant dining packages currently offered by RCI include "Unlimited" (lunches, snacks, dinners), "3-Night" (3x dinners) and "Chops+1" (1x Chops Grille dinner plus 1x dinner at another restaurant).

Drink packages include Deluxe (all-inclusive), Refreshment (non-alcoholic) and Soda (unlimited refills with included a Coca-Cola souvenir cup).

The Key (VIP program offering exclusive onboard perks) must be purchased prior the voyage and is priced US$20-35 per person per day.

Arcade Gaming credit packages via CruisePlanner cost less ($20 vs $25, $40 vs $50, $80 vs $100).

Loyalty program (Crown and Anchor Society)

Through this program, regular customers accumulate points (booking 7-day and longer voyages) to become members and earn discounts and gifts.

Since January 2013, RCI's exclusive partnership with MGM Resorts International provides benefits to members of both companies' loyalty programs (Crown & Anchor Society/M life) and access and rewards at MGM Resorts' properties in the USA (casino gaming, hotel accommodations, dining, spa) and onboard RCI's liners. MGM Resorts' portfolio of resort brands includes properties in Las Vegas (Bellagio, MGM Grand, ARIA, Vdara, Mandalay Bay, Delano, The Mirage, Luxor, New York-New York, Excalibur, Park MGM, NoMad), Detroit (MGM Grand), Mississippi (Beau Rivage, Gold Strike Tunica ), Atlantic City NJ (Borgata), Oxon Hill MD (MGM National Harbor), Springfield MA (MGM Springfield).

GOLD Level (3-29 points)

Gold level members receive loyalty program-only benefits (Onboard Offers, Exclusive Rates, Desk for inquiries, member newsletter, exclusive email offers), priority notices (promo offers, new ships/itineraries), additional points (for bookings Suites and/or single cabins), various onboard discounts.

All above levels receive these perks by default.

These are exemplary discounts for Gold level members - up to 50% off wine-beer-soda by the glass/2x coupons per voyage, -25% Coffee Beverage/excluding Starbucks, -50% Johnny Rockets Milkshakes/2x coupons per voyage, -10% any VOOM-Internet Package, -10% Logoed Products/min purchase US$25, -10% any Spa Service/excluding Medi-Spa).

PLATINUM Level (30-54 points)

Platinum level members receive robes (onboard use only), Signature Lapel Pin, booking discounts (on Balcony cabins and Suites).

EMERALD Level (55-79 points)

Emerald level members receive Welcome Waters and Snacks (with Beverage Selection) and bigger booking discounts (on Balconies and Suites).

DIAMOND Level (80-174 points) perks

  • Discounts on booking Suites and Balconies - US$225 discount per cabin (7-day itinerary)
  • One day free VOOM internet access
  • Exclusive access to Diamond Lounge (complimentary brand coffees, continental breakfast, light lunch option/sandwiches-fruits-desserts, evening happy hour/appetizers)
  • 4x free drinks pp per day

DIAMOND PLUS Level (175-699) perks

  • Two days free VOOM internet access
  • 5x free drinks pp per day
  • 1x BOGO offer (dining at any specialty restaurant paying 1x cover charge and the second person dines for free) - except Izumi Restaurant (Japanese) and Chef's Table (VIP Dining Room).

After 340 points is offered lunch with an officer (in the MDR/main dining room), with a special menu (champagne and wine included).

Lifeguards on RCI 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's opening hours. All Royal Caribbean lifeguards are trained through the RCI'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 2017 (February-June). Next are listed all RCI boats and the itinerary dates (2017) when each implemented 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 shipboard lifeguards - following DCL-Disney (employing certified lifeguards since 2013) and followed by NCL-Norwegian (in 2017 summer) starting with NCL's 4 largest vessels and employing onboard lifeguards fleetwide by 2018.

Shipboard poolside activities (listed in the newsletter "Cruise Compass") vary, but some of the common ones include watching movies (on the LED screen), playing bingo, hosting fun competitions, games, classes (scuba, fitness, dance, yoga, etc).

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 fares. 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 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" booking option available at all ships' NextCruise Offices, 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.

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 a cancellation 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- night-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 nights 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 nights or longer, and cruise tours had separate cancellation penalty schedules. By the new policy, itineraries 5 nights or longer must be canceled at least 90 days before departure date to avoid the cancellation fee. Previously, RCI customers could cancel 75 to 90 days before departure, depending on itinerary category.
  • Cruises 5 nights or longer canceled 89 to 75 days before 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 its cancellation policy was on March 7, 2016.

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 before land tour departure date to 48 hours before cruise port arrival date.

  • Shore Excursions can be modified/changed or canceled up to 2 days / 48 hours before seaport 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 before cruise departure date to avoid cancellation fees/penalties.
  • In the event a land tour is canceled 48-hours before seaport 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 USD 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 a behind-the-scenes "crew life" tour with 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.

RCI fly-cruise packages are via the company's Air2Sea program.

Non-Refundable Cruise Deposit Policy

On July 1, 2017, RCI implemented fleetwide a new, non-refundable 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.
  • Non-refundable deposits are the only option for booking higher-grade Suites, 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.

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 benefits 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 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.

Photo packages prices

In late June 2017, RCI added two photo packages (available for online purchasing at CruisePlanner) both including two options - digital (unlimited photos are uploaded on a USB stick) and printed.

  • The unlimited digital photo package costs US$250.
  • The 50-prints/digitals photo package costs US$140.
  • The 20-prints/digitals photo package costs US$200.
  • The 10-prints/digitals photo package costs US$110.
  • The 5-prints/digitals photo package costs US$70.

Before 2017, RCI offered photo packages for online purchasing on a separate website.

Private photo sessions can be also booked.

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 All Access Tour (aka behind-the-scenes tour)

Like most mainstream brands, RCI offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship providing access to areas where passengers are otherwise not allowed to visit.

Conducted only on a sea day, the 2-hour "All Access Tour" is a walking tour of 6x areas - Galley/Kitchen, Navigation Bridge (the Wheelhouse and both bridge wings), Engines/control room, waste management (trash separation and disposal), laundry room (deck 1), food storage rooms, the Royal Theater (backstage). Participants are required to wear pants and closed-toed shoes, and are provided with earpieces to hear the tour guide's narration. The tour leader also often hands off the technical explanations to a crew working in the visited area for more detailed information on the facilities.

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 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, storytime, 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 its 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.

Shipboard VIP passenger program

Currently, RCI offers two VIP packages available for prepurchasing before boarding the ship - "The Key" and "Premier Pass".

VIP package The Key

On two liners (Liberty OTS and Oasis OTS) was tested the new VIP passenger access program "The Key". The program's test period was between November 2018 and March 2019. It was in limited quantity and available on select voyages.

The VIP package is available for purchase only via CruisePlanner. Currently, the package's cost is USD 25,99 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 or MDR (by 2 pm), cabin delivery
  • Welcome MDR lunch (Chops Grille/steakhouse menu) 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.
  • Early access at the cruise terminal, priority check-in (embarkation day) and tendering (ship-to-shore ferry) service at call ports without docking facilities.
  • Complimentary room service (during the entire voyage)
  • 25% discount on all shipboard dining purchases
  • Early access at the Theater's shows (reservations are required)
  • Complimentary VOOM Internet ("Surf and Stream" package for 1 device).
  • Priority debarkation with exclusive a la carte breakfast (between 6:30-9:30 am).

IMPORTANT: Currently, "The Key" package is not offered only on Majesty OTS , Quantum OTS and Voyager OTS . Priority check-in and boarding are not offered in Vancouver BC Canada and at Australian homeports.

VIP package "Premier Pass"

The "Premier Pass" package is for two passengers (sharing a stateroom) and includes the following perks:

  • Welcome Champagne (bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin)
  • Priority embarkation/tendering/debarkation
  • All Access Tour (2-hour walking tour of 6x areas)
  • Officer's lunch invitation (meal with an officer)
  • Captain's Cocktail Reception (toast and photo)
  • Exclusive food and wine pairing (with sommelier service and complimentary wine)
  • Unlimited Internet (for 2x devices)
  • Laundry service (1x bag per cabin)

The VIP package Premier Pass was introduced in March 2023.

Premier Pass costs US$89 (US$44,50 pp).

(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.

RCI's wedding packages and vow renewals

Call port/ashore or onboard cruise ship weddings and vow renewals are available by contacting RCI's weddings department a minimum 90 days before the itinerary's departure date. The company assigns dedicated coordinators for customizing the ceremonies and the reception events, as well as assisting with marriage licenses.

Standard wedding packages include priority services (dockside check-in and boarding), non-denominational officiant, pre-recorded music, 3-tier cake, chocolate-covered strawberries, a specialty restaurant dinner and in-bed breakfast (onboard), themed cabin decorations, 1-hour photo service, 1x champagne bottle (Moet & Chandon), keepsake wedding certificate (listing the ship/cruise port).

Wedding package add-ons may include beauty services (haircuts/styling, nails, barber), live music, DJ (private party), cocktail reception (at a VIP venue with bar service).

Wedding packages are priced between USD 2000-5600 (the couple plus 10-75 guests).

(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021

Due to the COVID pandemic, RCG suspended its global fleet's passenger shipping operations (RCI-Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity, Silversea) worldwide by canceling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 15, 2020, through early-July 2021.

Next are listed all RCI ships and their first departure dates/regions/homeports - ADVENTURE OTS (June 12, 2021/ Caribbean from Nassau Bahamas ), ALLURE OTS (Aug 8, 2021/Port Canaveral), ANTHEM OTS (July 7, 2021/Europe-UK from Southampton), BRILLIANCE OTS (Dec 16, 2021/Tampa), ENCHANTMENT OTS (Dec 23, 2021/Bahamas-Caribbean from Baltimore), EXPLORER OTS (Nov 7, 2021/Caribbean from San Juan Puerto Rico), FREEDOM OTS (July 2, 2021/Miami), GRANDEUR OTS (Dec 5, 2021/ Caribbean from Bridgetown Barbados ), HARMONY OTS (Aug 15, 2021/Mediterranean from Barcelona), INDEPENDENCE OTS (Aug 15, 2021/Galveston), JEWEL OTS (July 10, 2021/ Mediterranean from Limassol Cyprus ), LIBERTY OTS (Oct 3, 2021/Galveston), MARINER OTS (Aug 23, 2021/Port Canaveral), NAVIGATOR OTS (Nov 19, 2021/Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles), OASIS OTS (Sept 5, 2021/Florida-Bahamas from NYC), ODYSSEY OTS (July 31, 2021/Fort Lauderdale), OVATION OTS (Aug 13, 2021 and May 5, 2022 / Alaska from Seattle ), QUANTUM OTS (Dec 1, 2020/ cruises to nowhere from Singapore, and May 4, 2022/Alaska from Seattle), RADIANCE OTS (April 23, 2022/LA to Vancouver-Alaska), RHAPSODY OTS (May 23, 2022/Europe-Mediterranean from Rome), SERENADE OTS (July 19, 2021/ Alaska from Seattle ), SPECTRUM OTS (Oct 14, 2021/ cruises to nowhere from Hong Kong China), SYMPHONY OTS (Aug 14, 2021/Miami), VISION OTS (March 7, 2022/Fort Lauderdale), VOYAGER OTS (April 15, 2022/Europe), WONDER OTS (March 4, 2022/ Maiden Voyage /Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale).

  • ODYSSEY OTS was scheduled to start on June 2nd Eastern Mediterranean roundtrips from Haifa Israel. However, due to "unrest in Israel and the region", this Cyprus and Greece program was canceled in May.
  • VISION OTS was scheduled to start on June 26th Bahamas roundtrips from Bermuda (King's Wharf), but the program was canceled.
  • Royal Caribbean's Australia 2021-2022 winter program was canceled due to travel restriction uncertainties. Two ships were affected - QUANTUM OTS from Brisbane (planned restart October 30) and OVATION OTS from Sydney (planned restart December 13).
  • VOYAGER OTS had scheduled an Asian 2021 program with homeporting in Tianjin-Beijing (China to Japan, starting August 1) and in Singapore (starting November 4), but in July 2021 the program was canceled through April 2022.
  • In August 2021, RCI postponed the restarts of BRILLIANCE OTS (planned for Sept 4/Tampa), RADIANCE OTS (for Oct 15/Miami), and RHAPSODY OTS (for Dec 14/Tampa). The affected bookings were moved to similar out-of-Tampa voyages on SERENADE OTS.

All affected bookings received full refunds (100%), including on prepurchased through RCI cruise packages and services. With rebooking are offered 125% refunds in FCC (future cruise credit) to be used on itineraries that depart up to September 30, 2022. The FCC must be redeemed by December 31, 2021. Full cash refund or changing the FCC to a monetary refund (100%) must be done by March 31, 2021. Within 45 days (from the cancellation date), all taxes, port fees and pre-purchased (if any) packages/amenities are automatically refunded to the original form of payment.

RCI's Cancellation Policy (Cruise with Confidence) was extended to allow penalty-free cancellations up to 48 hours prior to departure (all itineraries) and receive an FCC. The policy was also enhanced with two new rebooking options - "Best Price Guarantee" (you can change the price and promo offers on the booking up to 48 hours prior to departure) and "Lift and Shift" (you can rebook the same itinerary departing within 1 month from the canceled date, with protected original price and promo offer and keeping the same cabin category).

In the period August-December 2021, all unvaccinated passengers (12 and older) on RCI cruises from Florida ports were required to have a valid insurance policy of a minimum US$25,000 pp (medical expense coverage) and US$50,000 pp (for onboard quarantine and COVID-related medevac). Before this new policy, RCI covered up to US$20,000 per person for Coronavirus-related costs. The money was for shipboard medical treatments and safe quarantine plus providing safe return-to-home travel arrangements. If a passenger tested COVID-positive while on the ship, RCI also provided a full monetary refund (100% of the cruise price) for the infected and his/her travel companions.

In mid-December 2020, RCI sold the ships Empress OTS (30-years-old) and Majesty OTS (28-years-old) were sold to an Asian company (undisclosed shipowner).

In Aug 2022, RCI announced that allows unused FCCs (future cruise credits left from a booking/remainder balance) to be redeemed as OBCs/onboard credits.

Itinerary of Royal Caribbean

RCI offers year-round roundtrip departures from Baltimore MD (South Locust Point Terminal) where is currently homeported Enchantment OTS. The ship cruises to ports in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Canada-New England. The fleetmate Grandeur OTS operated out of Baltimore between 2013-2020.

Comic-Con Cruise 2025

Serenade OTS is RCI's first ship to host a Comic-Con - an annual event by San Diego Comic-Con International (1970-inaugurated as "Golden State Comic Book Convention").

The special voyage (February 5-9, 2025, roundtrip from Tampa Florida ) is a full-ship charter by Entertainment Cruise Productions (Clayton Missouri-based company) specializing in themed voyages.

Royal Caribbean's Comic-Con cruise ship experience will feature various small group events (including Q&A sessions, trivia, fun contests), video gaming competitions, parties (dancing, karaoke, cosplay/costume play, DJs).

When the announcement was made (in July 2023) prices (per person) varied between US$990 (interior cabin) and US$5620 (Royal Suite) with double occupancy, while single occupancy was US$1240 (interior).

IMPORTANT/Itinerary changes 2024-2025 (Europe-Caribbean-Alaska-Australia)

RCI's Australia 2024-2025 season is based on the ships (homeports) - Quantum (Brisbane QLD) and Ovation (Sydney NSW).

RCI's Alaska 2025 program is based on 4 ships (Anthem, Quantum, Radiance, Serenade), mainly 7-day itineraries and homeporting in Seattle WA, Vancouver BC, and Seward AK. Quantum OTS visits destinations like Sitka, Skagway, Endicott Arm fjord, Dawes Glacier, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Victoria BC. Serenade OTS Inside Passage voyages visit Haines, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan. Radiance OTS operates between Seward and Vancouver and visits Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier.

In February 2024, RCI opened for booking Wonder OTS' short Caribbean voyages. Starting September 1st, 2025. the ship changes homeports (Port Canaveral to Miami) offering 3- and 4-night roundtrips out of PortMiami. Previously, (from Port Canaveral) were operated 7-day roundtrips.

Ultimate World Cruise 2023-2024 (Serenade OTS)

In October 2021, RCI announced the company's first World Cruise , which is also one of the world's longest.

The 274-night itinerary (themed "Ultimate World Cruise"/December 10, 2023, through September 10, 2024) is scheduled for Serenade OTS/wiki section .

The roundtrip from Miami visits 150 ports/islands (57 new for RCI) in 65 countries and on all 7 continents.

Shorter segments included:

  • (Dec 10 - Feb 11) "Round the Horn: Americas and Antarctica Expedition" itinerary visits 36 ports/islands, 3 continents, and destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Cape Horn, Antarctica, Rio de Janeiro (New Year's Eve overnight), Los Angeles (overnight).
  • (Feb 11 - May 9) "Wonders of Asia and the Pacific Expedition" itinerary visits 40 ports/islands, 3 continents, and destinations in North America (Hawaii), Oceania (French Polynesia), New Zealand, Australia, Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Japan).
  • (May 9 - July 10) "Middle East Treasures and Marvels of the Med Expedition" itinerary visits 44 ports, 3 continents, and destinations in Arabia (Dubai, Jordan), Africa (Egypt), Mediterranean (Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Spain), Adriatic (Croatia).
  • (July 10 - Sept 10) "Capitals of Culture" itinerary visits 40 ports, 3 continents and destinations in the Mediterranean (Spain, Morocco), Baltic (Russia/St Petersburg, Norway), with the Transatlantic crossing from Europe to the USA (via Iceland and NYC New York) ending in PortMiami.

Full-paid early bookings (made by January 6, 2023) received a 10% discount. Additional costs include taxes-fees-port charges (USD 4667 USD pp).

A Balcony stateroom cost USD 75,000 ($136 pp per day), the 4-passenger Royal Suite cost USD 760,000.

In April 2023, RCI opened for booking more shorter segments of the Ultimate World Cruise 2024:

  • 26-days (Dec 10, 2023 - Jan 5, 2024) "Ultimate Caribbean and South America" itinerary (Miami to Buenos Aires)
  • 18-days (Jan 5-23) "Ultimate South America and Antarctica" itinerary (Buenos Aires to Valparaiso-Santiago)
  • 19-days (Jan 23 - Feb 11) "Ultimate Central and South America" itinerary (Valparaiso-Santiago to Los Angeles)
  • 29-days (Feb 11 - Mar 11) "Ultimate Hawaii, Tahiti and Australia" itinerary (Los Angeles to Brisbane)Papeete Tahiti), New Zealand (Auckland, Russel-Bay of Islands) and NSW Australia (Sydney, Newcastle).
  • 16-days (Mar 11-27) "Ultimate Australia and Southeast Asia" itinerary (Brisbane to Hong Kong China)
  • 12-days (Mar 27 - Apr 8) "Ultimate China, Japan and South Korea" itinerary (Hong Kong to Tianjin-Beijing China)
  • 16-days (Apr 8-24) "Ultimate Japan, Vietnam and Singapore" itinerary (Beijing to Singapore)
  • 15-days (Apr 24 - May 9) "Ultimate India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia" itinerary (Singapore to Dubai)
  • 18-days (May 9-27) "Ultimate Jordan, Egypt and Israel" itinerary (Dubai to Piraeus-Athens Greece)
  • 11-days (May 27 - Jun 7) "Ultimate Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey" Black Sea itinerary (Piraeus-Athens to Istanbul)
  • 13-days (Jun 7-20) "Ultimate Greece, Turkey and Italy" itinerary (Istanbul to Ravenna-Venice)
  • 11-days (Jun 20 - Jul 1) "Ultimate Italy, Croatia and Malta" Adriatic Sea itinerary (Ravenna-Venice and Civitavecchia-Rome)
  • 9-days (Jul 1-10) "Ultimate Italy, France and Spain" itinerary (Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona)
  • 16-days (Jul 10-26) "Ultimate Spain, Morocco and France" itinerary (Barcelona to Southampton England UK)
  • 15-days (Jul 26 - Aug 10) "Ultimate Denmark, Germany and Sweden" Baltic Sea itinerary (Southampton to Copenhagen Denmark)
  • 9-days (Aug 10-19) "Ultimate Norwegian Fjords" itinerary (Copenhagen to Amsterdam Holland)
  • 22-days (Aug 19 - Sep 10) "Ultimate Iceland, Greenland and Caribbean" Transatlantic itinerary (Amsterdam to Miami)

RCI's World Voyage 2024 fares are inclusive of business class flights, land transportation, pre-cruise 5-star hotel overnight. Loyalty program's Platinum and above members (Emerald-Diamond-Diamond Plus-Pinnacle Club) receive as perks shore excursion package, Deluxe Beverage package, free Internet (VOOM Wi-Fi), free laundry service.

Panama Canal cruises 2024 (Rhapsody OTS)

For winter 2024, Rhapsody OTS has scheduled an RCI-first Caribbean and Latin America program based on 3x homeports - two in Panama ( Colon , and Panama City/Fuerte Amador ) and one in Colombia ( Cartagena ).

The 7-night roundtrips also visit Panama Canal and The Netherlands' ABC islands ( Aruba , Bonaire , Curacao ) in the Leeward Antilles. The Panama Canal itinerary (8x departures from Fuerte Amador) visits Cartagena, and Costa Rica's Puntarenas and Quepos .

Asia 2024-2025 ships and itineraries

In 2024-2025 (November-March) Anthem OTS is homeported in Singapore, replacing Spectrum OTS, which will be redeployed to China and homeported in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Starting in April 2024, Spectrum OTS from Shanghai offers roundtrips to Japanese ports, including Yokohama, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagasaki.

Starting in December 2024, Spectrum OTS has scheduled 8x roundtrips from Hong Kong (China) to ports in Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Anthem's ex-Singapore itineraries are 3-4-5-night roundtrips visiting Malaysia (Penang) and Thailand (Phuket). The new 8-night "Bali Getaway" itinerary visits Bali Indonesia's ports Celukan Bawang and Benoa Harbour, as well as Lombok Indonesia's port Lembar. Another new itinerary is the 10-night "Vietnam and Thailand" voyage that visits Vietnam's ports Nha Trang, Phu My-Saigon, and Chan May-Da Nang, and Thailand's port Laem Chabang-Bangkok (overnight stay).

UK-Europe 2024-2025 summer deployment

RIC's European summer 2024 schedule lists 8 ships and 11 homeports. The program features the European debut of Oasis OTS (5- to 17-night itineraries). Odyssey OTS and Anthem OTS return to Rome and Southampton, respectively.

Europe Summer 2024 highlights include:

  • Odyssey OTS sailing from Civitavecchia-Rome (for a 3rd year) offers 7- to 9-night Greek Isles voyages, as well as 12-night Holy Land cruises to Israel (Ashdod-Jerusalem), Cyprus (Limassol), Turkey (Kusadasi).
  • Oasis OTS from Rome and Barcelona offers Western Mediterranean 7-night voyages visiting France, Italy, and Spain.
  • Anthem OTS from Southampton offers 7-night roundtrips to the Norwegian Fjords, or to Atlantic Europe (Spain and France). 11- to 14-night ex-UK roundtrips visit also the Canaries.
  • For Serenade OTS is scheduled the "Ultimate World Cruise" (274-night itinerary) also available in 2 segments - from Dubai and Barcelona.
  • Explorer OTS sailing from Ravenna offers 7-night Med and Aegean itineraries visiting Chania (Crete), Argostoli (Greece), and Kotor (Montenegro).
  • Voyager OTS (from Rome, Barcelona, Ravenna, and Athens) offers 7-night voyages to the Western and Eastern Mediterranean/Aegean Sea (Greece, Israel, Egypt).
  • Jewel OTS (from Amsterdam) offers 11- to 17-night roundtrips to Iceland, UK-British Isles, Ireland, the Arctic Circle.

Enchantment OTS was to be deployed first in Australia (from Sydney) and in Alaska but was redeployed in Europe.

Europe 2025

RCI's 2025 European season (April-October) is based on 6 ships,

Independence OTS is homeported in Southampton and visits destinations in Iberia (Spain, Portugal) and Northern Europe/Baltic, Norway.

Allure OTS  is homeported in Barcelona and Civitavecchia-Rome for Western Mediterranean itineraries.

Brilliance OTS operates from Piraeus-Athens Greek Isles voyages until August 2025, when returns to Barcelona and Southampton.

Explorer OTS from  Ravenna Italy offers roundtrips to the Greek Isles and Adriatic Sea ports.

Odyssey OTS and Voyager OTS are both based in Civitavecchia and visit destinations in Italy, Greece, Turkey, and the Adriatic.

Australia 2024-2025-2026 summer deployment (2 ships)

RCI's 2024 Australian schedule listed 2 liners (Ovation OTS and Quantum OTS) homeported, respectively, in Sydney NSW and Brisbane QLD . Australia 2025-2026 season is also based on 2 ships (Anthem OTS and Voyager OTS).

Quantum OTS (from Brisbane) offers 3- to 13-night Queensland roundtrips to Airlie Beach and Cairns or discover the South Pacific by visiting Port Vila (Vanuatu) and Noumea (New Caledonia).

Ovation OTS (from Sydney) starts its 5th Australian season - with 20 voyages, including 9- to 11-night roundtrips to New Zealand (Bay of Islands, Milford Sound, Wellington), 3- to 9-night voyages around Australia (Adelaide, Eden, Hobart Tasmania), as well as sailings to the South Pacific islands.

RCI's Australia 2024-2025 season (October thru April) is again based on Ovation OTS and Quantum OTS and groups a total of 45 departures.

Quantum OTS (out of Brisbane) offers 12 different itineraries (7-8-nights) visiting Mystery Island ,  Port Vila (Vanuatu) , and  Noumea (New Caledonia) . Five sailings visit the Great Barrier Reef , while a 14-night voyage visits New Zealand.

Ovation OTS offers NZ and South Pacific voyages.

Both Australian ships also have scheduled 2-night and 3-night weekend getaways. Both are also deployed during summer 2025 in Alaska, and homeported in Seattle WA .

Caribbean and Bahamas 2024-2025-2026 fleet deployment

RCI's 2024-2025-2026 Caribbean schedule lists 8 ships and 20+ Caribbean destinations.

  • Wonder OTS from Port Canaveral offers 7-night Western-Eastern Caribbean voyages, while Harmony OTS from Galveston offers 6- to 8-night Western Caribbean with CocoCay. Starting September 1st, 2025. Wonder moves to Miami for short itineraries (3- and 4-night roundtrips).
  • In summer 2024, Symphony OTS offers 7-night Bahamas roundtrips out of NYC/Bayonne NJ, while Freedom OTS offers 7-8-night Western-Eastern-Southern Caribbean itineraries.
  • Liberty OTS from Bayonne/NYC offers 4-5-9-night roundtrips to Eastern Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada and New England.
  • Adventure OTS from Port Canaveral offers 6- and 8-night Southern-Eastern-Western Caribbean and Bahamas roundtrips.
  • Enchantment OTS from Tampa offers 7-night Western Caribbean plus select 7-night Bahamas itineraries.
  • Vision OTS from Baltimore sails 5- to 12-day roundtrips to Bermuda, Bermuda plus Bahamas, Florida+Bahamas, Southern Caribbean, and Canada-New England.

RCI's 3- to 6-night Caribbean cruises scheduled for 2025-2026 originate from six USA homeports (in Florida, California, and Texas). Utopia OTS and Wonder OTS are based in Port Canaveral/Orlando and Miami, respectively.

Navigator OTS and Quantum OTS are homeported in Los Angeles .

RCI's Caribbean fleet (Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Jewel, Liberty, Mariner) is based in Tampa FL , Port Canaveral, Miami, Fort Lauderdale FL , and Galveston TX .

Caribbean short breaks 2024-2025

RCI's Caribbean short break 2024-2025 itineraries are scheduled for 8 ships, including 1x OASIS-class (Allure OTS from Port Canaveral).

Year-Round 2024-2025 Short Getaways

Allure OTS (from Port Canaveral and PortMiami) is the first OASIS-class boat with year-round season of 3-4-night itineraries.

Independence OTS (from Miami) offers 5-night Western Caribbean plus CocoCay voyages, as well as 4-night Eastern Caribbean (with Labadee Haiti).

Mariner OTS (from Galveston Texas) offers 4-5-night roundtrips to Mexico (Cozumel+Costa Maya).

Navigator OTS (from Los Angeles California) offers 3-4-7-night voyages to Catalina Island, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Ensenada.

Seasonal 2024-2025 Short Cruises from Florida

Enchantment OTS (from Tampa Bay) offers 4-5-night Mexico (Cozumel+Costa Maya), and 7-night summer voyages (Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel, Costa Maya, CocoCay).

Grandeur OTS (from Tampa and Fort Lauderdale) offers 4-5-night Bahamas and Mexico (CocoCay, Cozumel) and during winter 5-night roundtrips to Labadee and Amber Cove Dominicana.

Liberty OTS (from Fort Lauderdale) offers 3-4-night roundtrips to Bahamas (CocoCay+Nassau).

Voyager OTS (from Port Canaveral) during winter offers 4-5-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages to CocoCay, Nassau, Cozumel, Amber Cove, Labadee.

RCI-Royal Caribbean itineraries by ship

Follows a review of the Royal Caribbean itinerary program scheduled itineraries. For sailing dates (departures, arrivals), ports of call times and RCI cruise prices per person follow the ship pages listed below.

Royal Caribbean's "Private Journeys" excursions

RCI passengers seeking personalized shore excursion experiences can take advantage of the company's "Private Journeys" program.

The USD 100 concierge service enables passengers to book port calls tailored to their interests, travel style and budget. Private Journeys (custom-made tours) allow access to 1 of 9 professional Destination Insiders who help planning every detail of the shore excursion before the cruise starts. Activities can include private yachting, cooking with Michelin-starred chefs, food tasting. The USD 100 fee for Private Journeys is applicable to excursion's final cost.

Private Journeys are offered as a 3rd excursion choice (besides independent and RCI-sponsored group tours). The new choice offers direct booking through RCI (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 operated Cuba cruises with the Miami -homeported (later in Tampa) Empress of the Seas . The first Cuban cruise was on April 19, 2017 (5-night Miami to Costa Maya and Havana).

The newly-refreshed Empress OTS 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 havana. Empress was homeported in Tampa for summer 2018, for 4- and 5-night itineraries to Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Havana (on most voyages). For the winter 2018-2019 season, the ship repositioned to Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale).

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 offered 4- and 5-night itineraries to Havana (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, RCI unveiled the company's 2nd ship to Cuba - Majesty OTS, homeported in Port Canaveral. Starting March 25, 2019, the liner offered a 4-night voyage calling at Havana.

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.

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, Cuba-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.

Royal Caribbean related cruise news

Meghan Trainor to serve as godmother to Royal Caribbean's newest ship Utopia of the Seas

Meghan Trainor to serve as godmother to Royal Caribbean's newest ship Utopia of the Seas

GRAMMY-winning singer-songwriter Meghan Elizabeth Trainor has been appointed the Godmother of RCI-Royal Caribbean’s newest ship - Utopia...

RCI-Royal Caribbean's ships change itineraries due to Hurricane Beryl

RCI-Royal Caribbean's ships change itineraries due to Hurricane Beryl

Several major cruise lines have adjusted their itineraries due to the impact of Hurricane Beryl. The Category 4 storm, currently moving through the...

Engine fire/power loss accident on Royal Caribbean's newest and largest ship Icon of the Seas

Engine fire/power loss accident on Royal Caribbean's newest and largest ship Icon of the Seas

On Tuesday, June 25, a fire was reported on RCI-Royal Caribbean International’s largest ship Icon of the Seas. According to Nathaniel...

Dominicana projects 3+ million cruise ship tourists by 2024

Dominicana projects 3+ million cruise ship tourists by 2024

Authorities project that Dominicana will surpass 3 million cruise passengers by 2024, driven by the expansion of port infrastructure to accommodate...

Galveston and MSC Cruises announce $140M terminal development

Galveston and MSC Cruises announce $140M terminal development

A recent announcement by Galveston Wharves and MSC Cruises (the world's third-largest cruise shipowner) marks a significant milestone in the...

Keel laid for Celebrity Cruises' 5th Edge-series vessel, Celebrity Xcel

Keel laid for Celebrity Cruises' 5th Edge-series vessel, Celebrity Xcel

The keel laying ceremony for Celebrity Cruises’ 5th Edge-series ship took place at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard (in Saint...

Utopia of the Seas delivered to RCI-Royal Caribbean

Utopia of the Seas delivered to RCI-Royal Caribbean

RCI-Royal Caribbean International has officially taken delivery of its newest vessel, Utopia of the Seas. The ceremonial event took place at the...

Silversea names Silver Ray (second NOVA Class ship)

Silversea names Silver Ray (second NOVA Class ship)

Silversea has officially named Silver Ray, the second vessel in its innovative NOVA Class, marking Bert Hernandez's first naming ceremony as the new...

Royal Caribbean and Carnival extend casino benefits to land-based players

Royal Caribbean and Carnival extend casino benefits to land-based players

Casino enthusiasts setting their sights on the open ocean can now reap loyalty rewards that extend well beyond the confines of their cruise vessels...

RCG-Royal Caribbean Group introduces industry-first Loyalty Status Match across all brands

RCG-Royal Caribbean Group introduces industry-first Loyalty Status Match across all brands

RCG-Royal Caribbean Group has announced a significant enhancement to its guest experience by introducing a Loyalty Status Match program across its 3...

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News & Insights

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Royal Caribbean (RCL) Up 27% in Six Months: Right Time to Buy?

July 08, 2024 — 11:33 am EDT

Written by Zacks Equity Research for Zacks  ->

Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. RCL have rallied 26.9% in the past six months compared with the Zacks Leisure and Recreation Services industry’s rise of 6.8%. The company continues to sail effortlessly, courtesy of its improvement in commercial operations, strategic reallocating of portfolio composition and new ship additions. RCL is also benefiting from a strong booking and pricing environment and strength in onboard spending. Despite disruptions at Eastern Mediterranean sailings, the stock outperformed its peers, including Carnival Corporation & plc CCL , Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. NCLH and OneSpaWorld Holdings Limited OSW . Royal Caribbean's strategic vision and execution capabilities position it well to continue delivering exceptional value to shareholders.

Zacks Investment Research

Factors Acting in Favor of Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean has been benefiting from solid booking volumes concerning all key itineraries. During first-quarter 2024, the company stated a rise in consumer spending onboard and pre-cruise purchases. It continues to be in a record-booked position, surpassing prior-year levels, courtesy of greater participation at higher prices. In first-quarter 2024, load factors were 107%. The company is highly optimistic about the demand and pricing landscape for 2024.

Considering the $1.9-trillion vacation market, the company is returning to the high-yielding China market with Spectrum of the Seas and adding Ovation of the Seas to Tianjin in 2025. The strategic move reinstates RCL's footprint in key global markets. The initiative enables it to attract high-quality demand from new customer segments.

Royal Caribbean's innovative and differentiated ships, such as the Icon of the Seas and the upcoming Utopia of the Seas and Silver Ray, are setting new standards in the industry. The new ships are witnessing strong demand and high guest satisfaction, boosting RCL’s financial performance. The company's private destinations, including the newly-announced Royal Beach Club in Cozumel and the groundbreaking Royal Beach Club Paradise Island in Nassau, make an initiative placed in the right direction.

Royal Caribbean is enhancing its commerce platform with new technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the experience across various distribution channels, build stronger customer loyalty and reduce guest acquisition costs. The company is investing in a modern digital travel platform to streamline travel planning, making it easier for guests to book vacations and expand wallet share. The company anticipates the initiatives to translate into higher onboard spend and increased revenues.

Estimates Moving Up

RCL expects its 2024 earnings per share (EPS) in the range of $10.70-$10.90, up from the prior projection of $9.50-$9.70. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for RCL’s 2024 and 2025 EPS has moved up 2.8% and 2.6%, respectively, in the past 60 days. The upward revision in earnings estimates indicates analysts’ increasing confidence in the stock.

Zacks Investment Research

Returns Higher Than the Industry

Royal Caribbean’s return on invested capital (ROIC) has outperformed the industry average in the trailing 12 months. ROIC of RCL was 14.61% compared with the industry average of 7.45%.   The company’s impressive ROIC is a testament to its effective capital allocation, strategic market positioning and operational efficiency. Given the increased focus on innovative growth, cost control and sustainable investments, it is well-positioned to maintain high returns on invested capital. Strength in ROIC underscores RCL’s financial health and value-creating potential.

Zacks Investment Research

RCL’s trailing 12-month return on equity is 51.5%, ahead of the industry average of 12.97%. Return on equity, a profitability measure, reflects how effectively a company is utilizing its shareholders’ funds in its operations to generate income.

Zacks Investment Research

With a forward 12-month price-to-earnings of 13.07X, which is well below the industry average of 16.6X, the stock presents a potentially attractive valuation for investors.

Zacks Investment Research

Technical indicators are supportive of RCL's performance. The stock is currently trading above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, indicating robust upward momentum and price stability.

Zacks Investment Research

Time to Stock Up

Royal Caribbean presents a compelling investment opportunity driven by strong operational performance, strategic market expansions, and innovative product offerings. The company's robust booking volumes, enhanced onboard spending and significant ROIC underscore its ability to capitalize on increasing travel demand. With a favorable valuation compared with industry peers and upwardly revised earnings projections, RCL is well-positioned to deliver sustained growth and shareholder value. We believe that the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock is an ideal candidate for investors' portfolio addition.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double"

From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all.

It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time.

This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

Carnival Corporation (CCL) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

Eastern Caribbean vs. Western Caribbean cruises: Which itinerary will I like more?

E astern Caribbean and Western Caribbean cruises might sound similar when you start researching them. Just about wherever you go, you'll enjoy sunny days, sandy shores, sparkling seas and balmy breezes. But the reality is that Caribbean islands' personalities can vary as widely as those of regions of the U.S.

Additionally, it's important to remember that Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean refer to cruise ship route types rather than literal descriptions of locations on a map.

So, which Caribbean itinerary is your best choice? Read on for our evaluation on how to make the right choice for your next cruise.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Embarkation ports

Typically, you sail to the Eastern Caribbean from ports in Florida — in most cases, Miami , Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral , the port on the coast near Orlando — as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a few Eastern Seaboard ports, such as New York City. For Western Caribbean sailings, you can depart from Florida ports, as well as Galveston, Texas; Mobile, Alabama; and New Orleans.

So, which embarkation port is best for you? There's no secret to it: whichever one you can get to the fastest and the cheapest.

That said, if you see an itinerary that embarks in the Caribbean, know that you'll get a little extra time in the islands in exchange for that longer flight. On the flip side, itineraries that embark in the Northeast require you to sail the oft-rough seas of the Atlantic to get down to those pale blue Caribbean waters. You will also need longer than a week to sail from more northern home ports to destinations beyond the Bahamas.

Itineraries

Weeklong, round-trip cruises are common in both parts of the Caribbean, but you can also find shorter and longer options.

Common ports in the Eastern Caribbean include both big, crowded, touristy options and some smaller, sleepier islands, which are typically only accessible by small ships or during shore excursions. Itineraries might include visits to Grand Turk, St. Maarten (the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin), the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix), the British Virgin Islands (Tortola, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda), Puerto Rico and ports in the Bahamas — including the cruise lines' private islands . Small vessels (and some larger vessels) might also call in Antigua, Anguilla and Dominica, as well as the tony island of St. Barts.

In the Western Caribbean, you might call on Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Honduras, Belize and Mexican ports such as Cozumel, Costa Maya and Progreso. Some of these ports — in the thick of a strong Caribbean cruise season — can be lined up with large cruise ships; for example, you can find as many as seven ships calling on Cozumel on a busy day.

Related: A beginners guide to picking a cruise line

Beaches and water sports

If your fantasy is stretching out in the sun and splashing in the surf, you'll want to pick your Caribbean itinerary carefully so you can live the dream. When it comes to beaches, the Eastern Caribbean islands have the Western ones beat in most cases, but you can find sandy shores on most Caribbean itineraries.

With just a short cab ride from the cruise port, you can escape the throngs and find a quiet, sandy strand to call your own. After a few hours in the sun, you'll agree it was worth the effort, especially in Grand Turk and the Virgin Islands.

When it comes to water sports, some of the easiest opportunities to paddleboard, sail, kayak and parasail are available on the cruise lines' private islands, mainly located in the Bahamas. At Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay , Holland America 's Half Moon Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line 's Harvest Caye and Great Stirrup Cay, Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee , and MSC Cruises' Ocean Cay , you'll find more opportunities to get out on the water than you could take advantage of in a day.

You can find visits to cruise line private islands on many weeklong or longer Eastern or Western Caribbean itineraries.

Related: Visiting a cruise line's private island? Don't make these 11 mistakes

Shore excursions

Where the Mexico ports of Cancun, Costa Maya and Progreso in the Western Caribbean shine is in historical sites, especially when it comes to the spectacular pre-Colombian Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza and Tulum. You can tour Mayan sites from Belize as well.

Equally impressive, though a totally different experience, is a day spent snorkeling or diving around the reefs off the Western Caribbean coasts of arid Grand Cayman (known for sea turtles and rays), Jamaica (known for underwater cliffs and unusually colorful coral) and Belize (where you might even get to see whale sharks).

That said, you'll have your pick of island tours, water-based activities and boat rides of all kinds on any itinerary you choose.

In both the Eastern and Western Caribbean, you'll find ports that are designed for shopping, with a mix of luxury boutiques and knickknack stores spread out around the cruise ship terminal.

In Nassau, Bahamas, the famous straw market sells everything from cheaply made souvenirs to local crafts, T-shirts and designer knockoffs. St. Thomas and Grand Cayman also offer a mix of jewelry shops and bric-a-brac, as well as duty-free liquor stores offering rum tastings.

If you luck into an itinerary with St. Barts on the roster, you'll find small French-Caribbean boutiques full of chic resortwear and elegant sandals, as well as rum made with Tahitian vanilla beans.

Bottom line

While every cruise line has its own personality and a type of traveler that would find it ideal, so does every itinerary. You'll want to choose your route carefully and research the individual islands to make sure you are picking not only a ship but also a sailing that plays to your preferences.

That said, our advice is that if you're a beach lover who is looking for peace amid the palm trees, the Eastern Caribbean is the way to go. Those who sunburn easily and are looking for other entertainment than just the joy of their toes in the sand — including history buffs and divers — should consider the Western Caribbean their ideal choice.

If you're looking for a fun-in-the-sun vacation, with a mix of active and relaxing days, you'll be happy no matter where your Caribbean cruise takes you.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • Top ways cruisers waste money
  • The ultimate guide to choosing a cruise ship cabin

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

British-Virgin-Islands_Walter-Bibikow

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

Caribbean cruise guide: Best itineraries, planning tips and things to do

Erica Silverstein

"All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray ..." When the weather turns cold, you could be California dreamin', but doesn't a Caribbean cruise sound so much more relaxing?

Many people would agree with me that a Caribbean cruise is the perfect antidote to the winter doldrums and work stress. Plus, it's a wonderful way to reconnect with friends and loved ones. The ship takes care of everything — transportation, accommodation, meals and entertainment — so you can skip much of the daily planning drama and simply enjoy your vacation and travel companions. Every day you wake up to warm weather, sunny skies (well, most of the time) and a new destination promising white sand beaches, fun activities and memories to be made.

The biggest decision you have to make is between a pina colada and a strawberry daiquiri.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Before you go, however, you have lots of choices to make: Which is the best cruise line? Which are the best Caribbean cruise ports for the activities you most enjoy? What time of year should you travel?

Don't let planning a rejuvenating vacation add more stress to your life. This Caribbean cruise guide gives you the lowdown on everything you need to know to plan the perfect island getaway.

Why cruise to the Caribbean?

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

Sun, sand and sea are what most travelers want when they book a cruise to the Caribbean. If you want to trade chilly weather at home for warm, sunny days spent relaxing on a beach or swimming in clear blue waters, a Caribbean cruise is an ideal vacation. Unlike a resort stay, your cruise will offer the chance to sample multiple beaches in various destinations, as well as the pool life on board the ship.

Many people choose Caribbean cruises because they're affordable getaways to tropical destinations. The sailings depart from several U.S. home ports — from Galveston, Texas, to Boston — so many Americans can drive to their departure ports and avoid paying for airfare.

Plus, cruise ships can change course to avoid bad weather, such as hurricanes, so you can salvage your beach vacation when a storm is headed toward a particular island by cruising to a different one. If you booked a land-based stay, you'd be forced to cancel — or hunker down and wait for the rain and winds to pass.

When do cruises go to the Caribbean?

Caribbean cruises sail year-round, so you can plan your trip for the winter holidays, spring break or summer vacation. However, more ships sail this region of the world in winter when other destinations (such as the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Canada and New England, and Bermuda) are too chilly for vacations at sea.

The luxury and upscale cruise lines especially tend to only base ships in the Caribbean during winter because their fleets are too small to base a ship there year-round — and their passengers want to explore bucket-list destinations around the world.

Related: The best time to cruise to the Caribbean

Best Caribbean itineraries

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

Cruise lines divide the Caribbean into three regions: Eastern, Western and Southern. Itineraries tend to concentrate on one area, but longer itineraries might include islands in two or all of the regions, as well as ports in the Bahamas and Florida.

Which itinerary is best for you will depend primarily on which port you want to depart from and how long of a vacation you can take. Once you see the options that fit your parameters, you'll want to consider how many port stops versus sea days an itinerary has and which specific islands you'll visit.

The best Caribbean itineraries for first-time cruisers are often the seven-night Eastern or seven-night Western Caribbean cruises out of Florida home ports, such as Miami , Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral (near Orlando).

Western Caribbean

You'll find two main types of Western Caribbean cruises, and both are fabulous introductions to Caribbean culture and attractions. The classic Western Caribbean itinerary visits Mexico (typically Cozumel or Costa Maya), Jamaica, Grand Cayman and a cruise line's private island, which is typically in the Bahamas.

However, some ships sail a Western Caribbean itinerary that's more focused on Central America, with stops in Mexico, Belize and Honduras. These itineraries are great for travelers who are interested in Mayan or Mexican culture in addition to beaches and water sports.

Western Caribbean itineraries are typically a week but can be as short as four nights (with just one stop in Mexico) or as long as 11 nights (though these might include stops in the Bahamas, too). You can find departures from ports all along the East Coast, the Gulf Coast and Florida.

Related: Planning a Western Caribbean cruise with kids? Budget for shore excursions

Eastern Caribbean

Another popular itinerary for first-timers is the Eastern Caribbean, with visits to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Grand Turk, the Dominican Republic and/or San Juan, Puerto Rico . Private island and Bahamas stops are common. Longer cruises or smaller-ship itineraries might stop elsewhere in the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands, St. Barts, Antigua or St. Kitts.

These itineraries are slightly more targeted toward beach time and water sports, with fewer options for historical or cultural attractions than their Western Caribbean counterparts.

As with the Western Caribbean, seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises are the most common itinerary length. The shortest options are four nights, typically visiting only Grand Turk or Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The longest, around 10 to 12 nights, will often include Southern Caribbean ports or start from more northerly home ports.

You can find departures from ports as far west as Galveston and as far north as Boston, but most true Eastern Caribbean cruises set sail from Florida or Puerto Rico.

Related: Eastern Caribbean vs. Western Caribbean cruises: Which itinerary will I like more?

Southern Caribbean

Southern Caribbean cruises tend to attract luxury travelers and repeat cruisers. That's because these islands are farther from U.S. shores, meaning you'll need to fly to an island to catch your cruise ship or need more than a week's vacation to get from Florida all the way south to ports in Aruba or St. Lucia and back. The islands themselves tend to be more exclusive, with fewer ships visiting on any given day.

Common destinations on Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries include Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Barbados, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique and Grenada. You'll find everything from gorgeous beaches and diving destinations to lush rainforests and flowing waterfalls.

The shortest Southern Caribbean cruises are five or six days and leave from places such as Barbados, San Juan and St. Thomas. You can find weeklong sailings from Florida, but more commonly, they're eight nights or longer.

The Bahamas and Florida

Yes, I know that the Bahamas is technically located in the Atlantic, but it's an easy mistake to think the balmy islands are found in the Caribbean. Besides, many cruises add stops in the Bahamas to a Caribbean cruise. The majority of the cruise line private islands are located in the Bahamas, and these appear regularly on all Caribbean itineraries. The Bahamian ports of Nassau and Freeport, and even Florida's Key West, often appear on Caribbean-centric cruises.

Why? They're close to the U.S., and cruise lines use these ports to break up the multiple days at sea needed to sail farther south into the Caribbean proper.

Related: Caribbean vs. Bahamas cruises: Which itinerary will I like better?

Best Caribbean cruise lines

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

You'll be hard-pressed to find a cruise line that does not sail to the Caribbean for at least a few months a year. The big ship lines will station multiple ships in this region year-round, with additional ships swinging by during the colder months.

If you consider the best Caribbean cruise lines to be the ones with the most ship and itinerary choices, look to the big-ship lines such as Carnival , Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line .

These lines offer a range of itinerary lengths, port combinations and departure cities from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast. Their biggest and newest ships are often deployed to the Caribbean, so you can find all the latest celebrity-backed restaurants, exhilarating top-deck attractions (like waterslides, climbing walls and roller coaster rides) and expanded cabin choices. These lines cater to all ages, including older couples and families with children.

Related: The best Caribbean cruise for every type of traveler

If you're looking for an adults-only option, Virgin Voyages caters to the young at heart with its edgy new ships. It offers five- to 11-night Caribbean cruises from Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Viking takes an entirely different approach to no-kids cruises, catering to mature travelers craving culture and educational vacations. It offers wintertime (October to March) Caribbean cruises, though many are paired with a Panama Canal crossing.

Luxury lovers should look at the smaller ships of the Crystal , Explora Journeys, Seabourn , Silversea , Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleets for opulent accommodations and fine dining while sailing the tropics. Oceania , Azamara and Windstar Cruises are less inclusive but still high-end.

For something a little different, try SeaDream Yacht Club for a super-small ship that feels like a private yacht, complete with an emphasis on alfresco recreation and dining. Star Clippers appeals to sailing enthusiasts with its masted ships, simple entertainment and emphasis on water sports.

Related: 5 best luxury Caribbean cruises for next winter's getaway

Things to do in the Caribbean

White sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters are the biggest attractions for most Caribbean cruisers. You'll be hard-pressed to find a Caribbean cruise port that does not offer beach access. Whether you enjoy a cruise line's private beach or a public beach lined with bars, or you opt to get a day pass to a resort or beach club, you can rarely go wrong with a beach day in the Caribbean.

Water sports are also quintessential Caribbean attractions. Cruisers can not only swim, snorkel and scuba dive, but they can also kayak, scuba, Jet Ski, sail and parasail. Sometimes, you can do these things right from whatever beach is your destination for the day. Otherwise, book a tour to the best spots or for a guided activity. Or, book a leisurely sunset sail or high-octane party cruise to get on the water, not necessarily in it.

Shopping is a popular diversion, from high-end French stores in Martinique and St. Barts to crafts markets and souvenir shops. Historical attractions range from forts erected to protect against pirates to Mayan temples. Cultural tours focus on local cuisine, wine and spirits, and dancing. (Yes, even you can learn to salsa.) Active travelers will find plenty of hiking, biking, zip lining and all-terrain-vehicle tours.

Related: Best Caribbean shore excursions

Best Caribbean cruise ports

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

A single cruise line might call at 20 to 30 different ports in the Caribbean. Although you might think they all look like stock photos of white sand beaches with palm trees and blue skies, each island has its own look, culture and vibe. I've sailed to a large number of those ports and would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. They all have their charms for different reasons.

The following Caribbean cruise ports are generally standouts, no matter your travel style.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean just offshore from Playa del Carmen and south of Cancun. It truly offers something for everyone. You can beeline to the beach, go scuba diving or snorkeling, or head to the mainland to see Mayan cultural sites like Tulum and Chichen Itza. Stick around town to find cheap drinks at Senor Frog's or shop for souvenirs.

Cruise ships call at a number of ports in Jamaica: Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Kingston and Falmouth. Many folks spend the day on the beach, often at one of the resorts, but climbing up Dunn's River Falls is a unique experience not to be missed. Cruisers seeking a thrill can find bobsled, zip line, river tubing and ATV tours. And, yes, reggae fans — there is a Bob Marley tour you can take.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan is both a popular departure port and a port of call on Eastern and Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries. Its Old Town and historic fort overlooking the water are top attractions, but cruisers have the opportunity to visit El Yunque National Forest (the only tropical rainforest on U.S. soil) or head to the beach.

Belize City, Belize

Travelers don't tend to spend much time in Belize City itself, but it's a great jumping-off point for all Belize has to offer. Visit the Altun Ha Mayan ruins, go river tubing and spelunking in caves, zip line through the jungle or go snorkeling or diving along Belize's famous barrier reef (the Northern Hemisphere's largest).

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

This island is known for its gorgeous Magens Bay beach. However, if you'd rather not share the beach with several ships' worth of cruisers, take the ferry to nearby St. John for the day and find a U.S. national park and a more chill beach experience. Take the kids to the Coral World Ocean Park, your sweetie on a catamaran sail or snorkel trip, and your adventurous friends on a helmet dive or BOSS underwater scooter adventure.

You'll recognize St. Lucia for its lush green twin peaks known as the Pitons. The island entices travelers with postcard-worthy beaches set against jungle scenery. It even has its own volcano with sulfur springs to visit. You can explore its rainforest via zip line or aerial tram, book a relaxing day at a beach or resort, or take to the sea for a catamaran, snorkel trip or fishing trip.

Beach, beach and more beach — Aruba is definitely a port to be in, on or near the water. It's one of the southernmost Caribbean islands, found just off the coast of Venezuela, and its location protects it from the summer and fall hurricanes that can hammer the islands to its north and east. Animal lovers might want to check out its ostrich farm — not something you usually find in a Caribbean cruise port.

Related: Best Caribbean cruise tips to help you make the most of your time aboard and ashore

When to book a Caribbean cruise

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

The best time to book a Caribbean cruise is clearly right now! Seriously, you can almost always find a deal on a Caribbean cruise if you're flexible enough with your travel dates and cabin types.

If you want to book a popular sail date (such as a Christmas and New Year's Eve sailing) or are looking for a cabin type that's in limited supply (connecting cabins or studio rooms for solo travelers), book as far in advance as you can, at least nine months out, if not longer. If you're retired and can drive to a port, you can likely find an inside cabin to book just a few weeks prior to sailing — at least during nonpeak travel times.

The first few months of the year, known as wave season in the cruise industry, is a time when cruise lines all offer some kind of booking promotion, and you can often find discounted fares or free booking perks on Caribbean cruises. Many cruise lines also run sales at the end of summer or during Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday, and Caribbean sailings are almost always included.

What to bring on a Caribbean cruise

Swimsuits and warm-weather clothing should top your Caribbean cruise packing list , but don't forget the sunscreen. The sun is stronger than you might expect in this part of the world, and you can easily burn during a long day at the beach if you don't apply and reapply plenty of sunscreen. Hats, sunglasses, moisture-wicking athletic clothing, and your favorite cover-ups and sundresses are all must-pack items.

I also recommend that all passengers bring a passport on their Caribbean sailing. If you're cruising round-trip from a U.S. port, a passport is not required by law — but it's a good idea to pack one in case of an unexpected medical emergency or mechanical problem that forces you to debark the ship in a foreign country.

Bottom line

Whether you're new to cruising or a hardy sailor, the Caribbean is the perfect place for a cruise vacation. If you've never been, any of the islands will delight. If you've sailed before, there's always some destination you've never visited or an activity you haven't tried.

When winter in your hometown drags on, or the stress of the workweek gets you down, a Caribbean cruise is often just what the doctor ordered to lift the weight of the world from your shoulders and let you escape to a tropical paradise for a few days.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • Top ways cruisers waste money
  • The ultimate guide to choosing a cruise ship cabin
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8 Night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day

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On the Rocks

Slice of Pizza at Hideaway Beach

Slice of Paradise

Girlfriends Enjoying their Cabana at Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Cabanas

Perfect Day Coco Cay Snack Shack

Island Dining

Perfect Day Coco Cay Captain Jacks

Captain Jack's®

Perfect Day Coco Cay Captain Jack Self Serving Beer Station

Skipper's Grill

El Loco Fresh Soft Taco with a Hint of Lime

Chill Grill

Perfect Day Coco Cay Snack Shack Chicken Sandwich

SNACK SHACK

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

THRILLS & CHILLS

Perfect Day Coco Cay South Beach Boy Snorkeling

UP, UP AND AWAY

Perfect Day Coco Cay Oasis Lagoon Aerial with Cabanas

OASIS LAGOON

Perfect Day Coco Cay South Beach Volleyball Friends

South Beach

Perfect Day Coco Cay Captain Jill Galleon Kids Splashing

CAPTAIN JILL’S GALLEON

Perfect Day Coco Cay Splashaway Bay Girl Slidiing

SPLASHAWAY BAY

Cove Beach at Perfect Day at Coco Cay

CHILL ISLAND

Day 3: cruising.

Young Woman Climbing

Typhoon℠ and Cyclone℠

The Perfect Storm Mariner of the Seas

Sports Court

Adventure Ocean Splashaway Bay

Ice Skating

Day 4: san juan, puerto rico.

Sunset View from Atop El Morro Fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico

CASTILLO DE SAN FELIPE DEL MORRO

Bautista Cathedral Closeup, San Juan, Puerto Rico

CATEDRAL DE SAN JUAN BAUTISTA

Puerto Rico Mofongo Shrimp

Day 5: St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Wave Crashing Against Rocks on a Sunny Day in Frederiksted Beach, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

GET YOUR RUM ON

Canon Fort Frederik, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

FORTIFIED FINDS

A View of Buck Island from Point Udall, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Island

A BETTER POINT OF VIEW

Canon Overlooking Harbor at Yellow Brick Fort Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

LOCAL CUISINE

Tropical Shirts, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Day 6: Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Sandy Blue Beach Sailboat, Philipsburg, St. Maarten

LOTERIE FARM

Cityscape at the Great Salt Pond, Philipsburg, St. Maarten

SIMPSON BAY LAGOON

Girl Horseback Riding with a View of the Ocean, Philipsburg, St. Maarten

MOUNT CONCORDIA

Boats by the Pier, Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Day 7 - 8: Cruising

Crusted scallops - Giovanni's Table

Café Promenade

Day 9: orlando, florida.

royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

IMAGES

  1. Eastern Mediterranean from Rome, 26 July 2020

    royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

  2. Eastern Mediterranean from Rome, 17 May 2020

    royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

  3. Eastern Mediterranean from Rome, 21 June 2020

    royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

  4. Eastern Mediterranean from Barcelona with Stay, 17 June 2021

    royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

  5. Royal Caribbean Cruise Itinerary 2024

    royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

  6. Holy Land Cruise

    royal caribbean eastern mediterranean cruise itinerary

VIDEO

  1. Embarkation and Sea day Odyssey of the Seas Part 3 Mediterranean Greek Island Cruise

  2. Caribbean Cruise Album

  3. Civitavecchia Odyssey of the Seas Part 2 Pre-Cruise Mediterranean Greek Island Cruise

  4. Top Destinations: Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

  5. Eastern Mediterranean cruise, Royal Caribbean, Brilliance of the seas

  6. Eastern Mediterranean cruise, Royal Caribbean, Santorini

COMMENTS

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  2. Mediterranean cruise guide: Best itineraries, planning tips and things

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    The 7 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise visits Barcelona, Spain; Palma De Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence / Pisa, Italy; Rome, Italy; Naples / Capri, Italy; Barcelona, Spain. Explore our cruise itineraries and choose from a variety of rooms depending on your needs and budget. Start planning your next cruise vacation by selecting a destination and departure port.

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  12. What To Know Before Going On A Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean

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  13. 25 BEST Eastern Mediterranean Cruises 2024 (Prices + Itineraries

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  16. Hurricane Beryl's path forces Royal Caribbean to change cruise ship

    Wonder of the Seas left from Port Canaveral, Florida on June 30th. Royal Caribbean has canceled the ship's stops at Roatan, Honduras, and Costa Maya, Mexico, according to a message board post.. The Oasis-Class vessel will now visit Perfect Day at CocoCay on July 1st and Cozumel, Mexico on July 3rd.

  17. 7 Night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day

    The 7 Night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day visits Miami, Florida; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas; Miami, Florida. Explore our cruise itineraries and choose from a variety of rooms depending on your needs and budget. Start planning your next cruise vacation by selecting a destination and departure port.

  18. Royal Caribbean (RCL) Up 27% in Six Months: Right Time to Buy?

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  22. 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise

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  24. Cruises from Rome to the Eastern Mediterranean

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  27. Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas Cruise Reviews

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