Since the pandemic, Royal Caribbean has welcomed a lot of first-time cruisers to its ships. That’s something that’s likely to increase as the company welcomes its new flagship, Icon of the Seas to its fleet later this year.
That ship, which will be the largest in the world, has features never before seen on a cruise ship — including the biggest water park at sea — and the hype around will likely lure in even more new customers. Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get Free Report will also expand its potential audience as it moves Allure of the Seas to Port Canaveral to sail 3-4 itineraries.
Having an Oasis-class ship, the largest class in the fleet until Icon sets sail, will allow passengers to take a short cruise on one of the best ships in the cruise line’s fleet. You can’t possibly experience everything Allure of the Seas has to offer in even four days, so the company is essentially giving people a taste in order to get them to come back.
New cruisers — and even experienced ones — make mistakes both before their trip and while on the ship. Those problems can easily be avoided if you know what to look for.
Royal Caribbean ships have been sailing mostly at full capacity.
Image source: Daniel Kline/TheStreet
1. Make Some Purchases Before You Sail
Decide whether you want a drink package, a WiFi connection, shore excursions, and specialty dining before you board the ship. These are almost always cheaper when purchased before your cruise, but when it comes to one of these — the drink package — making your purchase is not the end of it.
Royal Caribbean uses demand-based pricing where only the company knows how it works. That’s not that big a deal if WiFi goes up or down by a few dollars per day, but it can be a big difference on the Deluxe Beverage Package (DBP), the cruise line’s all-you-can-drink plan that includes alcohol.
Prices for the DBP range from around $60 to $100 per day and they can change a lot for your sailing. Holidays, when the cruise line has sales, can often be the cheapest time to buy, but once you purchase, if you see a lower price, you can cancel and repurchase.
DON’T MISS: Is the Royal Caribbean Drink Package Worth It?
2. Check-In for Your Cruise as Soon as You Can
Buying your cruise ticket does not complete the process when it comes to actually getting on the ship. Your cruise will have a date when check-in opens — it’s noted in the Royal Caribbean app when you link to your reservation. Mark that date on your calendar and be ready to check in as soon as you can.
To do that, you will need passports for every member of your traveling party and you will have to take pictures of each person for ship security. If you complete your check-in, you get to select your boarding time. Early times fill up quickly and there are lots of reasons you want to get on the ship early.
First, if you get on sooner, your vacation is longer. But, more importantly, getting onboard early allows you to make specialty dining and show reservations (on ships that don’t let you do that before your cruise, which varies).
3. Bring Everything You Need
If you fly in for your cruise, plan on stopping at a CVS or someplace similar in order to buy toiletries you can’t bring on a plane. Royal Caribbean ships sell some things, but prices are high and what’s offered can be wildly inconsistent.
Your ship might sell shampoo, razors, and Pepto Bismol, but it might not and finding basic items in port depends heavily on where you are stopping. Royal Caribbean passengers staying in suites get a nice array of soap, shampoo, and conditioner. People staying in regular cabins get 3-in-1 shampoo/body wash/conditioner that’s not really great for any of those functions.
You can also buy clothing. water bottles, beach bags, and lots of other things onboard, but you want to be in a position to buy those items as souvenirs, not because you packed poorly.
Some things like shoes and bathing suits aren’t sold onboard, so you really want to make sure you don’t leave home without them.
A Few Other Tips for a Royal Caribbean Cruise
While those are the big mistakes people make, there are a few other things that are good to know:
Bring a cruise-safe power outlet with USB ports (not a surge protector, which is not allowed). Some ships have USB ports, but older ones do not, and more are always appreciated.Remember to put your phone in airplane mode. Whether you pay for WiFi or not, roaming charges will pile up if you forget to turn on airplane mode while at sea.Don’t eat all your meals in the buffet: Even if you don’t spring for specialty dining, the main dining room (MDR) is included and offers a new menu every night. Download the Royal Caribbean app before you sail: It’s basically essential now that the cruise line generally does not offer a printed version of the daily schedule.Drink a lot of water (even if you’re not drinking alcohol). If you’re sailing from a warm weather destination, the heat, plus the salt content in the food can dehydrate you quickly.Let things go. Yes, someone cut you in the pizza line or you got a bad seat for one of the shows, It happens and your trip will be better if you try to take it in stride.