I’m enjoying a Disney vacation this week followed by a short cruise with 24 of my closest friends to celebrate my 40th birthday. I’ll try to blog a bit while I’m away, but to fill in the spaces, I hope you enjoy this Best of MJ on Travel post detailing the reasons why Royal Caribbean is my cruise line of choice.
In the second installment of posts about the top three search subjects here at MJ On Travel, I’d like to talk about the subject of cruising on Royal Caribbean. It should be no secret that I like to cruise. Since my first cruise in early 2004, Deandra and I have taken several more cruises, averaging a little over two per year. Royal Caribbean is our cruise line of choice, and in this post I’ll talk about a few reasons why.
Cruising is a fantastic value for your vacation dollar. Frankly, I think they’re an unbeatable value, and yes, I know your average all-inclusive resort covers your bar bill, unlike most cruises. One thing tilts the value meter in favor of cruising in my opinion, and that’s the fact that you are visiting several exciting new foreign locales in one trip, and only unpacking once. Try that at Sandals.
First off, I’ll admit here, that we have only cruised with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity (which is owned by Royal Caribbean). It’s not that we are afraid of new things, and truth be told, we’d love to try someone else, and will at some point. But until then, Royal Caribbean does a fantastic job of offering just enough incentive to its repeat customers to keep them (and us) coming back.
Crown & Anchor
Their past customer club, the Crown & Anchor Society offers a number of enticing benefits to encourage repeat business. You are eligible to join after completion of your first cruise, and the program work in some ways like elite qualification in a frequent flyer program. You start at the Gold Level and from there rise to Platinum, Diamond and Diamond Plus based on the number of cruise credits you earn. You earn one credit for each cruise, with the ability to earn an additional credit for certain cabin categories (suites) and for cruises of 12 nights or longer.
Some of the benefits include onboard discount booklets for use in venues as varied as the onboard gift shops to match play discounts in the casino. The higher your level in the Crown & Anchor program, the better the deals to be found in the booklet. As Crown & Anchor Diamond members we receive, among other things, priority check-in and access to the Concierge Lounge on ships that have them. The Concierge Lounge is one of our favorite benefits. Continental breakfast is served in the mornings and snacks and complimentary alcholic beverages are served in the evening hours. Additionally, the Concierge can assist you in making reservations at specialty restaurants on board, and generally help you with anything you need while on board without having to stand in line at the Guest Services desk. On the largest ships, the Concierge Lounge is exclusively for the use of suite guests and a separate Diamond Club lounge is availabe for Diamond and Diamond Plus Crown & Anchor members. You can review summaries of the benefits provided for each level here.
Admittedly, this is nothing but my opinion, but I believe that Royal Caribbean designs and builds some of the most beautiful and definitely the most innovative cruise ships at sea. If one look at the biggest cruise ship ever doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. Big may be beautiful, but we like the Radiance Class of ships best. These are beautiful ships designed with lots of glass, including glass elevators that face the sea. They are large enough to offer specialty restaurants, multiple amenities and more spacious staterooms, but are small enough to explore easily and are Royal Caribbean’s largest ships that are capable of transiting the Panama Canal. While our next cruise is on Liberty of the Seas, a Freedom Class ship and the world’s largest until Oasis sets sail, we love the slightly smaller but classy Radiance Class ships.
All of Royal Caribbean’s ships offer multiple activities such as rock climbing walls and fantastic workout facilities to keep you in shape while cruising. If you’re into spa visits, you won’t be disappointed on Royal Caribbean either.
Royal Caribbean has a trademarked name for its service, they call it Gold Anchor Service (sm). I just call it consistently good. Royal Caribbean can experience service problems just like any other organization, and we have encountered some staff that are better than others. But we have always had reasonably good service, whether in the dining room, our stateroom, or bar. If you are expecting airline style customer service onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise, you are in for a pleasant surprise. Almost 100 percent of the time, every Royal Caribbean employee we have encountered has been eager to please and helpful. Our most recent cruise, honeymooning on Grandeur of the Seas, was probably the best collection of service experiences we’ve had onboard any Royal Caribbean ship. And I promise to post a full review of this cruise very soon.
These are just a few reasons why we choose Royal Caribbean above other cruise lines. Royal Caribbean has been a pretty consistent search term for readers of this blog recently. I hope this introduction is helpful. I’m going to post a few links to other helpful cruise information below: