Royal Caribbean International, known as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line until 1997, is one of the largest and most popular cruise lines it 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, and Pullmantur.
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.
Recent exciting news from Royal Caribbean includes the debut of the second of its two Oasis-class cruise ships, Allure of the Seas. Allure of the Seas debuted in December of 2010, following the December 2009 debut of its sister ship (Oasis of the Seas). Like Oasis, Allure has an AquaTheater (including suites that have a large balcony within the AquaTheater), a Central Park and a Boardwalk (as well as 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!
Fairly new to the Royal Caribbean fleet is the convenient option of My Time Dining, available fleetwide as of May 2009. It's different than their 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. A new policy, in place since 2009, is that they will be charging $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 and Liberty of the Seas, and is coming to Oasis of the Seas at the end of February 2011 and Freedom of the Seas starting in March 2011. 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, Philadelphia, Cape Liberty, Port Canaveral (near Orlando), Seattle, Miami, and Galveston.
There is so much to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Most 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) feature 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.