Royal Caribbean cruises: 7 things to know before you book

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Royal Caribbean: 7 things to know before you book
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Are you thinking of sailing the seas sometime soon? There may be no time like the present. If you’ve looked to book a cruise online, you may have run across fares from Royal Caribbean. The company controls 22% of the worldwide cruise market.

Cruises continue to become a more and more popular way to travel. The global cruise industry in 2018 is estimated at nearly $46 billion, according to CruiseMarketWatch.com. Those figures represent a 17% increase from the previous year, and Royal Caribbean plays a big part in that.

Royal Caribbean: What to know before you go

Royal Caribbean cruise line was formed in 1968 as Royal Caribbean International by a trio of Norwegian shipping companies. It is based in Miami, Florida.

1. What U.S. ports does Royal Caribbean sail out of?

Royal Caribbean sets sail from more than 250 ports around the world. In the United States, the cruise line has
14 U.S. departure ports:
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Cape Liberty, New Jersey
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Galveston, Texas
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • New Orleans
  • Orlando (Port Canaveral)
  • San Diego, California
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Tampa, Florida

2. What other cruise lines are owned by Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean’s travel operations are well represented around the world. The company owns three global brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.
The cruise line also owns 50% of the German brand TUI Cruises, and is a 49% shareholder in the Spanish brand Pullmantur and controls 36% of the Chinese brand SkySea Cruises. All together, Royal Caribbean Cruises owns 50 ships with 12 more on the way as of June 30, 2018.

3. Are Royal Caribbean cruises all inclusive?

When you pay a cruise fare on Royal Caribbean, it is generally considered all-inclusive. There are however a number of amenities you can add for a fee. The cruise line offers add-ons for special occasions, like the Romance Package, and assorted Beverage Packages.

4. What is the average cost of a cruise?

So, how much does it cost to go on a cruise? On Royal Caribbean, a three- to five-day Caribbean cruise from Florida will generally cost about $180-$700 per person, according to CostHelper.com. Of course, that could go up substantially depending on upgrades and time of year.

5. What are the Royal Caribbean ship classes?

Royal Caribbean operates 25 ships as of May 2018, with five more on order, the company says in a news release. Their 2018-2019 fleet is made up of eight classes, including:
  • Oasis Class: Four ships, including Oasis of the Seas (the largest) and Symphony of the Seas (the newest; maiden voyage: April 2018). Amenities include an AquaTheater, Broadway musicals and a zip line.
  • Quantum Class: Four ships, including the Spectrum of the Seas (coming soon). Amenities include a music hall, loft suites and Seaplex.
  • Freedom Class: Three ships, including Liberty, Freedom and Independence of the Seas all have rock-climbing walls, an ice-skating rink and a British-style pub.
  • Voyager Class: Five ships, which include a sky pad, laser tag and an escape room.
  • Radiance Class: Four ships, which include a solarium with tropical foliage, outdoor movie screens and more.
  • Vision Class: Four ships, which include a solarium with retractable roof, a bungee trampoline and mini-golf course.
  • Majesty of the Seas: One ship, which includes sunlit glass-covered spaces, an outdoor movie screen and more.
  • Empress of the Seas: One ship, which includes sunlit glass-covered spaces, a solarium with tropical foliage and more.

6. How does Royal Caribbean rank among cruise lines?

According to ConsumersAdvocate.org, an editorial site that specializes in product reviews, Royal Caribbean came in fourth among top cruise lines for 2018. The full list is as follows:
Ranking 2018 Cruise Line
1 Carnival
2 Princess Cruises
3 Holland America Line
4 Royal Caribbean
5 Disney Cruise Line
6 Celebrity Cruises
7 Regent Seven Seas Cruises
8 Cunard

Because cruises can get expensive, here are three ways to sail for less on Royal Caribbean.

7. How to save money on Royal Caribbean cruises

  • Book early: As with most forms of travel, booking as early as you can will save you money because cruise line will raise prices as cabins fill up, so check those travel sites.  Booking in the less busy months — generally late summer and fall — will also save you some coin.
  • Cruise Planner: Go to Royalcaribbean.com/cruiseplanner and try the simple-to-use interface to plan your trip and save early. Booking packages via the planner will save you more than $10 a day when compared to booking on site.
  • Deals page: Royal Caribbean’s website also has a Deals Page, which always displays the latest sales. There’s also a Kids Sale Free page that lets you know about select packages that are kid-friendly and free for the little ones.
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Craig Johnson is a conscious money-saver who still reads paperback books and listens to vinyl. He likes to write about how technology is making things easier and more affordable — but also sometimes more dangerous — for the modern consumer. You can reach Craig at [email protected]
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