Royal Caribbean International, known as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line until 1997, is one of the largest and most popular cruise lines in the world. Royal Caribbean was established in 1968 by three Norwegian shipping companies (Anders Wilhelmsen & Company, I.M. Skauge & Company, and Gotaas Larsen). Currently, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. owns Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Pullmantur, and CDF Croisières de France.
Song of Norway (the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship) entered service in 1970. In 1978, Song of Norway became the first cruise ship to ever be "stretched." Since then Royal Caribbean has become one of the top cruise lines in the world, truly leading the cruise industry in the latest innovations. They are constantly building larger and larger ships, and adding various never-before-done onboard amenities such as rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, surfing simulation machines, and their amazing Royal Promenades. As a result of all this effort, the Royal Caribbean cruise ships are some of the most modern and large in the world. This has led to a very strong following of their product, especially among family-focused cruisers. Royal Caribbean is always pushing the limits, driving the rest of the cruising industry to try to match their latest technological advancements.
The newest ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet is Quantum of the Seas, which debuted in November 2014. This state-of-the-art vessel is being touted as the world's first "smart ship." Highlights include RipCord by iFly® (the first at-sea skydiving experience), SeaPlex (with fun activities like bumper cars and a flying trapeze), North Star (a jewel-shaped, glass capsule, transporting guests on a spectacular journey more than 300 feet above the ocean), and the Broadway-hit Mamma Mia! Other newer ships for Royal Caribbean include the Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas (which debuted in 2009) and Allure of the Seas (2010). Both ships have an AquaTheater (a 600-guest amphitheater with high diving and fountain shows), as well as Central Park and Boardwalk neighborhoods (along with balcony staterooms with views of either Central Park or Boardwalk). At a whopping 220,900-tons, the Oasis-class ships are substantially larger than the already huge (160,000-ton) Freedom-class ships. In fact, they're the largest cruise ships in the world!
Royal Caribbean's dining format is called My Time Dining, available fleetwide since May 2009. It's different than a traditional assigned dining setup, as it allows you to select when you dine and who you dine with. With this dining setup you can choose to dine in the main dining room at any time between 6:00 pm and 9:30 pm on each night of your cruise. If you choose this setup you must pre-pay your gratuities prior to your cruise. Another policy, also in place since 2009, is that they charge $3.95 per order for room service orders placed between 12:00 am and 5:00 am (it is complimentary during all other hours).
A partnership with DreamWorks Animation has resulted in the integration of DreamWorks characters (from popular films such as Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, and Kung Fu Panda) on select Royal Caribbean cruise ships. This special program is already available on Allure of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas,and Freedom of the Seas. Events that will be available on these ships include a How to Train Your Dragon Ice Show, character meals, 3-D Movies, and much more!
Royal Caribbean's cruise ships travel to over 170 destinations worldwide, including hot spots such as the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Mexico, Australia, South America, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Asia...the list goes on! Royal Caribbean's ships leave from very popular ports including Los Angeles, Barcelona, Sydney, Cape Liberty, Port Canaveral (near Orlando), Seattle, Miami, and Galveston.
There is so much to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Many of their ships feature what is known as the Royal Promenade. This is a main street style area, where there are various bars, lounges, cafes, stores, live shows and performances. When there you'll really feel like you're in a city. Most Royal Caribbean ships feature a rock-climbing wall, a very popular day time activity. Many of the newer ships (such as the Voyager-, Freedom- and Oasis-class ships) have an ice-skating rink.
All of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships now feature both an assigned and open dining setup (as explained above). If you choose assigned dining, you can request to dine at around 6:15 pm (known as the main seating) or around 8:30 pm (known as the second seating). Besides the standard dining rooms, Royal Caribbean offers large buffet areas, 24-hour room service, and optional specialty restaurants onboard each ship. The specialty restaurants have a per person cover charge, but take the dining experience up a notch.
Because Royal Caribbean is one of the largest, and most well-known, cruise lines in the world, you'll find a wide range of travelers onboard their ships. In particular, Royal Caribbean attracts couples, families, and singles. Most of their guests are active people that are seeking a fun-filled vacation.
Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program is called the Crown & Anchor Society. All past passengers of Royal Caribbean are eligible to enroll in this program. View our Crown & Anchor Society page for more details about this program.