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In-Depth Royal Caribbean Information
In-Depth Royal Caribbean Information
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 The Fleet:

 Onboard:

 Staterooms:

 Entertainment:

 Spa and Fitness:

 Children and Families:

 Private Island

Overview:
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was founded by three Norwegian shipping companies in 1968, with Song of Norway launching in 1970. This marked the beginning of one of the most innovative and successful cruise lines in the world, known today as Royal Caribbean International. Royal Caribbean's early ships became the prototype for many ships of the future; they prided themselves on introducing new shipboard features and were the first passenger cruise line to lengthen or "stretch" some of their earlier ships. Innovation continued when in 1986 Royal Caribbean leased coastal property (today called Labadee) in Haiti, to be used as a private destination for their guests. Two years later a second private destination, a small island in the Bahamas known as Little Stirrup Cay, was purchased and rechristened Coco Cay. The ensuing years brought new and larger ships, and the company went public in 1993. Currently the fleet is comprised of 21 ships sailing itineraries of 3 to 18 nights and cruising Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Dubai, the Bahamas and Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada and New England, as well as Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and Transatlantic. With their new campaign, "The Sea is Calling - Answer it Royally," Royal Caribbean continues to set industry standards and redefine contemporary cruising while retaining their commitment to providing the best vacation experience available to a widespread demographic.
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The Fleet:
Royal Caribbean ships range from mid-size Sovereign class Majesty of the Seas launched in 1992 (74,077 tons and passenger capacity of 2350) to the ground-breaking Oasis Class Oasis of the Seas launched in December 2009 and Allure of the Seas launched December 2010. Weighing 225,282 tons with passenger capacity of 5400, these innovative ships combined favorite signature features such as the rock-climbing wall, skating rink, and FlowRider Surf Simulator with a host of enhanced dining and entertainment options. Oasis Class ships also introduced new concepts such as a zip line, and themed neighborhoods, including Central Park complete with live trees, garden paths, al fresco dining, and the Boardwalk with full-size carousel.

Vision Class ships, specifically designed for worldwide cruising, began a new era for Royal Caribbean with the debut of the Legend of the Seas in 1995. Smaller than Sovereign Class ships at 69,130 tons with passenger capacity of 1804, the Legend was the most luxurious ship Royal Caribbean had ever built, featuring larger cabins, more public areas and space per passenger, and more open decks. The Legend introduced shipboard mini-golf and the adults-only indoor/outdoor pool area, the Solarium. Sister ship Splendour of the Seas launched in 1996, followed by near-sister ships Grandeur of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas. These ships ranged from 73,817 to 82,910 tons with passenger capacity of 1950 to 2252, and featured over 2 acres of glass.

Voyager of the Seas, first of the Voyager Class megaships, launched in 1999. Weighing 137,276 tons with passenger capacity of 3114 and complete with ice rink, rock wall and indoor promenade, the Voyager blew away every mega-ship that had come before and was the first ship to feel like a resort destination in itself. Sister ships Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and Mariner of the Seas debuted from 2000 to 2003, and the Voyager class became the defining mega-ship design of the early 21st century.

Royal Caribbean's elegant Radiance Class vessels, Radiance of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, and Jewel of the Seas, also launched in the early 2000's, were comparatively understated and more similar in style to the Vision Class ships. With an abundance of windows, open space, dining choices, balconies, and greater luxury overall, these ships carry 2110 to 2139 passengers and weigh 90,090 tons.

The Freedom Class of ships launched in 2006, beginning with Freedom of the Seas, followed by sister ships Liberty of the Seas in 2007 and Independence of the Seas in 2008. Enlarged, enhanced versions of the Voyager Class design, and weighing 157,407 tons with passenger capacity of 3634, these ships built on the already impressive array of Voyager Class amenities while introducing new features like the FlowRider surf simulator and H2O Zone Water Park.

The first Quantum class ship, Quantum of the Seas, is set to debut in fall of 2014, followed by sister ship Anthem of the Seas in spring of 2015. At 167,800 tons with passenger capacity of 4180, though smaller than the recent Oasis Class vessels, these new ships will be packed with a host of innovative features including indoor skydiving, bumper cars, circus arts training school, studios with balconies, and inside cabins with "virtual balconies." The ships will also offer the London Eye-inspired North Star, a 14-passenger jewel shaped glass pod attached to a boom on the top deck, that rises 300 feet above sea level, then rotates out over the side of the ship to provide 360-degree views.

Since 2011 Royal Caribbean has continued to add new dining, entertainment, and other groundbreaking Oasis-class features to their current fleet. The process is nearly complete, with Independence of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas expected to be finished in May 2013 and Vision of the Seas in October 2013.
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Onboard:
Onboard atmosphere is lively, fun, relaxed and sophisticated. Dining choices include not only traditional dining with fixed time, table, dinner companions and waitstaff, but the more flexible My Time Dining which allows one to dine when they wish. My Time Family Dining, in which kids enrolled in the Adventure Youth program are served right away and then picked up by the youth program staff, provides an opportunity for parents to stay behind and enjoy a more leisurely relaxed meal. Each ship also offers a variety of alternative dining venues from specialty restaurants like Chops Grille or Portofino to more casual options like the Windjammer Cafe, Johnny Rockets and Sorrento's Pizza. Royal Caribbean ships provide an extensive daily lineup of shipboard activities, along with an array of special features specific to the different ships and itineraries.

Ships are well designed and tastefully decorated, and because of the fleet's range of sizes and onboard atmospheres, there truly is a Royal Caribbean ship for everyone. Royal Caribbean passengers are mostly North American, many between the ages of 30 and 55 on the seven-night and shorter cruises. These cruises are also very popular with families, especially during school vacation periods when the ships will often be filled to capacity. The longer itineraries tend to attract people more 50s and up, and cruises departing from other areas such as the U.K., Mediterranean, Asia or Australia attract a good number of locals as well as many North Americans.
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Staterooms:
Staterooms range from standard inside and oceanview cabins to balcony cabins and a wide range of suites, including junior suites, family suites, and grand suites, to the ultra-luxurious Royal Suite complete with grand piano. On most ships, suite passengers also have access to a private concierge lounge. Oasis, Freedom and Voyager Class ships have unique balcony or window staterooms that overlook the Royal Promenade and all its activity. Royal Caribbean is introducing a new "virtual balcony" cabin category on the Quantum of the Seas, and on the Navigator of the Seas when it enters drydock in January 2014 for revitalization. Equipped with an 80-inch LED projection screen, the virtual balcony will display exterior port and ocean view images.

Royal Caribbean staterooms are attractively appointed, with comfortable twin beds that convert to a queen (additional sofa bed and/or bunk beds in cabins for three or four) private bath with shower, vanity, hair dryer, television, telephone, and safe, with many additional amenities depending upon cabin category.
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Entertainment:
Daytime activities on Royal Caribbean ships tend toward the active; all ships now have the rock-climbing wall, as well as large pool areas, great fitness facilities, and a running/jogging track. Many ships feature mini-golf and extensive outdoor sports areas including a basketball court. Oasis, Freedom and Voyager Class ships offer ice skating, and Oasis and Freedom Class ships feature surfing on the Flow Rider. Those seeking more low-key pursuits can pamper themselves at the Vitality Day Spa, relax in the luxurious adults-only Solarium, take a yoga or wine-tasting class, or choose from a host of other activities.

Evening amusements range from splashy Broadway style shows to Outdoor Poolside movies, as well as a host of lounges, bars, and a lively casino. Oasis, Freedom and Voyager class ships put on spectacular ice shows, and Oasis and Freedom class ships also feature parades and street performances in the Royal Promenade.
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Spa and Fitness:
Vitality at Sea Spa is the perfect place to soothe mind, body and spirit, offering an extensive menu of pampering treatments for men and women, from nail treatments and massage to body wraps, body therapy, Acupuncture, and a full service hair salon. State of the art fitness centers provide ocean views as well as a wide variety of fitness classes including Yoga, Pilates, Spinning, Sculpting and more. Classes may be an additional fee, but the fitness center is free and open all day.
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Children and Families:
Kids will find plenty to do with Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean Youth & Teen Program. All counselors hold a 4-year degree in education, recreation or a related major, with age-appropriate activities for Aquanauts ages 3-5, Explorers ages 6-8 and Voyagers ages 9-11. Teens 12-14 and 15-17 can enjoy Teens-Only lounge areas, theme parties and Teens-only Sports Court, among other activities.

The cruise line has also teamed up with Fisher Price and is in process of adding several options for the 6-month to 3-year-old set. Royal Babies and Royal Tots Playgroups provide 45-minute playgroups for parents with children in that agegroup; in Royal Babies & Tots Nursery the kids are cared for by trained professionals while enjoying specially designed programs (extra fee), and in My First Crayola Workshop, parents and children can enjoy storytime while creating their own works of art.

Dreamworks characters and events have made their way on to select ships through The Dreamworks Experience; and for the ultimate splurge for girls 4 to 11 there is The Barbie Premium Experience, featuring a host of Barbie-related activities and workshops (extra fee).
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Private Island
Royal Caribbean provides two "private island" destinations for their guests. CocoCay in the Bahamas is a 140-acre eco-certified paradise where passengers can enjoy everything from a barbecue and relaxing on the white-sand beach to more active pursuits like snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking or a host of other activities. Labadee, located on the north coast of Haiti, is surrounded by beautiful mountain slopes and exotic foliage. In addition to the pristine beach and lunchtime barbecue, Labadee also offers an Aqua Park, overwater zipline, waterslide and alpine coaster ride.
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