Saturday, July 7, 2012

Royal Caribbean Here I Come

Can you believe it!  Here I am a huge Princess Fan, have sailed with them for over ten years now, have done 30 cruises with them!  I had sailed four times with Carnival but found it wasn’t a good fit for us and really like what Princess offered.

Then of course Princess’ Loyalty Program kept us going back.  At first it was to get to Platinum, then Elite was our next goal.  And now that we are at that stage we really appreciate all that comes with that status:  free laundry, mini bar, priority tendering, afternoon tea in our cabin, wine tasting, wifi package, priority embarkation etc.  And now we are getting loyalty on board credits.  A few years ago we purchased 100 shares of Carnival in order to get a shareholder benefit of an on board credit every time we sail on a Carnival owned line. 

So why try another line you may ask?

I really never thought about sailing another line until Oasis came out, then Allure with Royal Caribbean.  I know I know the ships are huge – 225,000 tons big, but there was something that was drawing me to them.  Being a cruise addict I wanted to see what they were like, how can a ship handle that many passengers. 

The  first drawback is it only does 7 day cruises out of Fort Lauderdale one ship sails Eastern Caribbean, the other Western Caribbean.  We don’t normally do 7 day cruises, our usual cruise is two ten days, usually on the Emerald. 

The second drawback is my honey (Bernie) isn’t interested in sailing on another line at all, especially RCL, feeling it would be more of a party cruise he feels.  Too flashy he says, too crowded he says, too expensive is his last comment.  Which is true Oasis and Allure are more expensive per day than most other Caribbean cruises. 

So for a long time we just didn’t look at either ship as an option.  Until now.

Next year in January we are sailing again in the Caribbean on the Emerald.  Originally we thought about tacking on the 7 day cruise to our Emerald voyage in January but the dates just didn’t line up unless we spent a few days in Fort Lauderdale and the price was high too.  But we have a week’s vacation in December of this year and after checking the prices for that week I brought up the option again to Bernie.  What about going to Fort Lauderdale and sailing on the Oasis in December?  Price is starting at $749 for an inside, and yes I am okay with an inside as this is an “extra” trip and balcony cabins are just way to pricy to justify this trip. 

He said yes!  So I booked, and I am still in shock that I am going on Oasis to the Western Caribbean.  Our ports will be Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico.  I have been to Jamaica and Cozumel before but never Labadee.

Now I am asking advice from friends who have sailed RCL for advice and what the difference between Princess and RCL.

One thing I have realized right away is RCL is much more high tech, their website is much easier to go thru, my reservation is easy to access, and the ability to book restaurants, and dining times, and even purchase gifts (Princess makes you print out an order form and fax it in) ahead of time a bonus.  Closer to sail date we will be able to reserve our entertainment and excursions.  I like this option and find it will be okay for our short seven day voyage but also find it will also mean our holiday is much more structured and filled.  As usually our cruises are much more relaxed and carefree with decisions made that day for what we want to do, including dine time, shows and events.  Normally the only thing we have scheduled is a specialty restaurant made a few days ahead of time; however we have made reservations the day of too.

So I hope to sail with an open mind to not compare the two lines until the end and to enjoy the change and the extra voyage we will get in before the end of the year.


  1. We totally enjoy Princess & Celebrity yet we went on our first RCCL this past April on TA to Spain. We were very impressed with the Liberty of the Seas (a baby sister to the Allure & Oasis). The Promenade was a great "bonus" esp. when it was too cool to use the pool deck for activities. Definitely pre-book your shows as soon as that becomes avail. online. And any other activity offered; peak times are filled fast. The service was great; rooms comparable to Princess BUT they have the "standard" closets in the walkway & not by the bathroom as on Princess. Caution: every steak I had in the main Dining room was TERRIBLE & they forgot the ham in the Cordon Blue ( or ran out too soon). Other than that it was great-we'd definitely do RCCL again if the right combo of itinerary & price came along. We'd love to try either the Oasis or Allure on day too. They seem to be soooo much more still than the others for 7 nights. You did get a decent rate though. Have a great cruise. R & N

  2. Vickie, I crossed over to try Princess because I usually sail RCCL or Celebrity. RCCL's food seems to be getting worst each time that I sail. I've had meals on both Allure and Oasis and enjoyed the food. The entertainment is outstanding. I have not been impressed with the speciality dining on RCCL. There will be more people and things going on Allure and Oasis. I enjoyed Princess for the food, service and relaxation. The entertainment was not to my liking. I will sail with Princess again because I like the destinations, service, and being able to escape from the stress of too many people onboard.

  3. We did Oasis to Labadee on the first cruise after the earthquake in Haiti. It was nothing more than a beach with a zip line IMHO. Jamaica? Too many people wading the the waterfall. Cozumel. As interesting as walking into Cancun. The ship was interesting and the mid night town parade was noisy, especially since we were right there when it happened. Won't do it again.

  4. thanks anonymous... I am looking forward to sailing on the Oasis but I can say that I am still loyal to Princess. Already I can see numerous differences in the lines, this trip on Oasis seems to be more about keeping me entertained with all their activities and not so much about sailing on a ship. I am looking forward to trying it

  5. We've had some wonderful RCCI cruises on the Jewels, Brilliance and Adventure of the seas. I'd never go on a ship as big as the Independence etc, i just couldn't. There was no need to book any entertainment on these ships.

    We love the adult only glass roofed pool area (forgot name) on all these ships, like the sanctuary only free. Spent lots of time in their reading and chilling.

    The food and entertainment was always wonderful and service every bit as good as princess.

    I did miss having zumba but ice skating for exercise made a wonderful change, so much fun and never hard to get rink time.

    The itineraries were fabulous (canada and new england, dubai and the med). Formal nights and parties were great fun and we were so well looked after.

    I still think Princess has the edge but I think RCCI are a fantastic second choice and I'd never regret it.