As part of my continuing travel education, I attended a breakfast seminar this morning put on by my local business development managers for Royal Caribbean and Azamara Club cruise lines. Wow! Do they ever pack a lot into 1 ½ hours. There is a lot of cool, new stuff happening with RCCL and I’m happy to be able to share it with you. I’m only going to hit the highlights.
If you are into cruising, you probably have heard of the new Oasis class ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. RCCL is doing Royal Enhancements on all of their ships, and so far have completed 3. They will be rolling this out onto the rest of the fleet over the next 3 years until all the ships have the most popular features. They even upgraded the Oasis of the Seas with the Dreamworks Experience which was previously only available on the Allure. Plus they added a 3D movie theater.
They have upgraded the Freedom of the Seas and the Liberty of the Seas with the following:
- Dreamworks Experience (this does not include as much as the Oasis & Allure, but still a fabulous experience for the kids.)
- 3D Theater with First Run movies.
- Outdoor, Poolside movies.
- The Cupcake Cupboard
- Vintages Wine Bar
- Royal Babies & Tots Nursery (for 6 mos. – 3 YO, babysitting for $8 per hour, 3 – 1 ratio kids/staff. You know you want a romantic evening without the kids!)
- Enhanced Wi-fi throughout the ship.
- Digital Wayfinder System (touchscreen system – type in your room # and find out the quickest way to get there. Find out what’s happening & where right now. What restaurants have no waits and much more!)
- Chefmakers Cooking Academy– classes such as Knife Skills, Small Bites & Cocktails, Quick & Easy Fish, Wine & Dine, Spa Cuisine, Kids with Kids Baking and more. (This is one of my favorite enhancements, right after the Digital Wayfinder)
The next ship to be done is the Radiance of the Seas. It will have many of these same features, but it will also have many new dining venues such as the Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse, Rita’s Cantina, Giovanni’s Table, Quill & Compass Pub and more. They will also have a Chef’s Table experience for a maximum of 14 guests where the chef will create a 5 course meal paired with wine. They’ve also added a few new cabins. Next will be the Splendour of the Seas – and then the rest of the fleet.
Azamara Club Cruises doesn’t have the dramatic ship upgrades that their sister Royal Caribbean does, but they WOW you with the experience. They offer unique itineraries offering cultural immersion and experiences; an informal, country-club atmosphere; fabulous regional cuisine and wines; more overnight stays; 45% of their port stays are until 8PM or later; 694 passengers to 408 crew members with 70% of the rooms having balconies; few children because there are no childrens programs, and more inclusions and amenities in the price such as:
- Gratuities (dining, bar & housekeeping)
- Bottled water, sodas and specialty coffee & tea.
- Select vintage red & white wine at lunch and dinner.
- Self service laundry
- Concierge service.
Suite guests get even more inclusions including Butler Service and Complimentary Specialty Dining. They have some incredible new itineraries for 2012, and some fabulous specials including discounts for booking air with their Choice Air program (same, or better, rates as you will find published on other sites); 50% off select shore excurisions; some great single occupancy discounts and more.
Azamara also offers great Golf Themed itineraries where they have paired with PerryGolf. You can play spectacular, challenging courses in countries such as Spain, Italy,France, Portugal, Wales and Ireland. They even have a cruise planned to coincide with the 2013 British Open. The Golf Package includes too much to list here, but some highlights.
- Green fees & Confirmed starting times (including cart and gratuities)
- Practice range & range balls where available
- All golf bag handling between ship & golf courses and onboard club storage in a secure location
- Full time Golf Manager throughout the voyage
- Cocktail parties, Golfer’s social events onboard, 2 special onboard dinners, and special events for non-golfing guests.
The package offers one price for golfers, and a reduced price for their guests who can still attend all the social events onboard.
Azamara also has cruises for Carnival and New Year’s Eve in Brazil, the Monte Carlo Grand Prix and more special events. They will take care of tickets and transportation for you for these events.
Royal Caribbean and Azamara Club Cruises really can take you to the world – Caribbean, Europe, Asia and more. Let’s get cruising!