(February 15) – Royal Caribbean Group has announced today it has ordered a seventh Oasis-class ship for delivery in 2028.
The group has entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique, which has built the previous six Oasis-class vessels, to build the as-yet-unnamed ship.
The announcement comes as the line counts down to the launch of the sixth Oasis-class vessel, Utopia of the Seas, which is due to launch in July this year, and just a few weeks after the launch of its newest ship, Icon of the Seas.
“While we eagerly anticipate the debut of Royal Caribbean’s Utopia of the Seas this summer, we’re already dreaming up her sister ship and the next installation in the brand’s extremely popular Oasis Class,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. “Across our three brands, we are focused on continuously challenging ourselves to deliver the ultimate vacation experience.”
Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, said:
“These are exciting times for Royal Caribbean, and we have an incredible partner in Chantiers de l’Atlantique to bring to life the lucky seventh Oasis Class vessel of what is a remarkable class of ships.”
This order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed later this year.
– by Adam Coulter, Executive Editor
(February 7) -- As an official partner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 and 2025, Royal Caribbean has revealed details of four themed sailings for May 2024 to coincide with the event, which this year takes place in Malmo, Sweden, on May 11.
The Europe-based sailings will take place onboard Anthem of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas, featuring themed menus and cocktails and the live event broadcast in venues Two70, Studio B and Music Hall.
Royal Caribbean's vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa Ben Bouldin, said: "Millions of fans across the world watch the Eurovision Song Contest from home every year, and now these sailings give fans the chance to unite and celebrate the world’s largest live music event in a way they never have before while adventuring around Europe."
Join Royal Caribbean's Eurovision Grand Final Viewing Party on the following sailings:
Oasis of the Seas, departing May 5 from Barcelona on a seven-night Western Mediterranean sailing to Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Florence (La Spezia), Italy; and Provence (Marseille), France.
Odyssey of the Seas, departing May 5 from Civitavecchia, Italy on a 12-night Mediterranean voyage with calls to Mykonos, Greece; Pompeii, Italy; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey
Anthem of the Seas, departing May 10 from Southampton on a two-night voyage to Le Havre (for Paris)
Explorer of the Seas, departing May 11 from Ravenna, Italy, on a seven-night voyage to Italy, Greece and Croatia
by Kerry Spencer, Cruise Critic contributor
Thinking of getting a Royal Caribbean dining package for your next cruise? Soon you might have an additional reason to do so.
During a recent visit to Royal Caribbean’s headquarters in PortMiami, Cruise Critic learned that the cruise line is preparing to implement a change that will allow passengers who purchase a dining package to make reservations on specialty restaurants before their cruise.
Currently, cruisers who purchase a dining package can only make reservations for specialty restaurants once they get onboard their ship, which can create stress on embarkation day. Royal Caribbean offers two dining package options: a 3 restaurant dining package and an unlimited dining package.
There isn’t a set date yet for the implementation of this new reservation feature. But according to Jay Schneider, Royal Caribbean’s Senior Vice President and Chief Product Innovation Officer, the cruise line is aiming to have it up and running a few days soon after the launch of Icon of the Seas, whose debut is slated for Jan. 27.
Moreover, Schneider revealed that this functionality is currently being tested on board Wonder of the Seas. And the plan is to eventually roll it out across the fleet.
The upcoming change was well received among the Cruise Critic community, who have voiced that not being able to make reservations before a cruise has been a pain point.
“This is great news!” wrote pcur. “I don't have to also pay for specialty restaurant lunch on embarkation day, and then request a refund because I have the UDP (unlimited dining package). Also, I don't have to burden whomever is at that restaurant's podium to book all my reservations for the whole cruise.”
Other users mentioned that this feature makes the dining package more desirable.
“This is the incentive I need. I will book a 3- or 5- meal package, and reserve specialty dining on sea days,” said gmerick. “I hesitated until now due to the uncertainty and commotion of paying for an unspecified dining experience, then possibly finding no preferred restaurant availability once on board.
– by Jorge Oliver, Editor
Another change is much closer to implementation, as Royal Caribbean just announced an increase in its automatic gratuity rate that’s set to come into effect on Nov. 11.
Gratuities for passengers on standard cabins are increasing from $16 to $18 per person, per day, while the suite gratuity will rise from $18.50 to $20.50 per person, per day. Until Nov. 11, passengers who book a cruise will have the option to pre-pay their gratuities at the current rate.
According to Royal Caribbean, this daily gratuity is shared among the dining, bar & culinary services staff, cabin attendants and other hotel services teams.
The cruise line also applies an 18% gratuity that is automatically added to onboard purchases, including beverages, room service and spa services. This rate will remain unchanged after Nov. 11.
Royal Caribbean also announced its 2025 Alaska summer season, with four ships offering 7-night itineraries in the Last Frontier.
Anthem of the Seas leads the pack, marking the first time that the Quantum-class ship sails in Alaska. The ship will be homeported in Seattle, from where it embark on two different round-trip itineraries that will visit destinations like Sitka, Skagway, Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier, as well as the Canadian city of Victoria.
Anthem’s sister ship Quantum of the Seas will also sail round-trip itineraries from Seattle, while Serenade of the Seas will offer sailings out of Vancouver. Radiance-class flagship Radiance of the Seas rounds up Royal Caribbean’s 2025 offerings in Alaska, with itineraries departing from Vancouver and Seward.