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Royal Caribbean Cruises – Fun for All the Family!

Loyalty programmes are a wonderful way of rewarding customers for past business and, at the same time, keeping them up-to-date with news and fresh marketing initiatives such as cruise and stay options and last minutes cruises

Royal Caribbean has a loyalty programme called the Crown and Anchor, which passengers can join, even if they’ve only taken one cruise.

To take part in the Royal Caribbean loyalty programme, once you have taken a cruise, you simply enrol online ready to enjoy the benefits of being a Crown and Anchor member.

The following is a summary of the benefits of joining:

•    The quarterly Crown and Anchor magazine has news and information on special member cruises.
•    As a member, you will receive savings certificates for use at the on-board spas and bars.
•    When on board a ship, you can enjoy evenings just for members.
•    There are discounts for bring-a-friend promotions.
•    You will receive cruise points.  These are based on the number of nights you spend on board the ship.  Just like many airline loyalty programmes, there are tiers that give you more benefits for a greater number of nights on board.

Members of the Crown and Anchor can enjoy exclusive access to their own section on Royal Caribbean’s website, which offers personalised, member-only benefits, offers and promotions.

Royal Caribbean has a proud history of caring for its customers both before and after a cruise.  The Crown and Anchor loyalty programme is just one way of saying ‘thank you’ to its passengers for their business.

What Makes Caribbean Cruises Worth Taking?

Barbados, Havana, Montego Bay, the Cayman Islands… the names and locations of various exotic destinations for Caribbean cruises offer up some obvious clues why so many people opt for a cruise to the Caribbean. The Caribbean has long been a measure of luxury for many people. But you normally have to endure the stress of airports, long flights and many hours travel to get there.

With Caribbean cruises the journey is very different.  You can begin to relax as soon as you are on board. You will start to enjoy your holiday long before you reach your destination, and once you are there you are ready to explore without that jet lagged feeling.

When you take a Caribbean cruise you will be able to see more than just one location. Many cruises are available for seven or fourteen nights, with some going to eighteen nights or more as well. For instance a typical two week long cruise offered by Thomson Cruises takes you to various locations within the Caribbean, including Havana, Bridgetown, Kingston and Montego Bay.

In fact if you have always wanted to visit the Caribbean, a cruise is by far the best way to do it. You can explore all kinds of locations in the area without having to worry about getting from A to B. You will also benefit from enjoying the same accommodation throughout, without moving your luggage from place to place. What better way could there be to enjoy the delights of the Caribbean?

Cruise Holidays – a fun filled family holiday

How many of us have had holiday nightmares, when we’ve discovered, horribly too late, that the brochure’s white sanded beaches are actually a grubby, building site grey, the ‘marvellous, family-sized’ hotel pool would struggle to accommodate a few goldfish, and the ‘food included in the price’ deal turns out to be worse than that kebab van you’re strangely drawn to after a few beers? If you’re fed up with the hit and miss of resort vacations, give a little thought to cruise holidays.

You really don’t have to be wealthy and retired in order to take cruises. Big operators like P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Cruises and Costa Cruises have spent a great deal of effort diversifying the cruise experience to attract young travellers, young families and modest incomes. Their fleet vessels range from the cosy and small to the lavish and spectacular.

An older couple whose kids have safely flown the coup may prefer a smaller vessel, with the more personal and intimate atmosphere. But young adults and parents with young kids may want to try the bigger ships with their spectacular attractions – multiple pools, water skiing courses, water parks, rock climbing walls and ice rinks, to name but a few of the options some of the attractions to choose from. Check out the vessels (and the prices) on the company websites (look at Thomson Cruises and Princess Cruises, too). Whether you’re seeking Mediterranean cruises, Caribbean cruises, or mini-cruises; Far East cruises, Red Sea cruises or Baltic cruises, you’ll find excellent cruise deals all the year round. Even if you’re after that eleventh hour, last minute cruises.

Choosing your Caribbean Cruise

Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting the Caribbean? With so many place to visit how do you decide which one you will end up holidaying at? One solution would be to go on a Caribbean Cruise.

With so many ports of call you will have plenty to occupy your time, allowing you several hours or even full days in some cases at each destination. The itinerary will vary depending on which cruise company you travel with but most cruises take in the popular towns and cities of the Caribbean on islands such as St Kitts, St Lucia and Jamaica.

Apart from spending time on the beautiful beaches, you could also take advantage of some of the land based activities like horse riding and jeep safaris, or even take a dip in the sea and go scuba diving or snorkelling. Each island is unique so embarking on a Caribbean Cruise is the most ideal way to get a small taste of the varying cultures and traditions each has to offer.

You can even choose a cruise and stay holiday, where you cruise for part of the time and enjoy several days break in one place for the rest of the holiday.

Many companies are offering Caribbean cruises; Royal Caribbean Cruises and Thomson Cruises are just two of the most popular ones. On board entertainment will vary depending on which company you decide to cruise with but with such variety on offer there will be something to please everyone.

Highlights of the Western Caribbean Cruise Itinerary

Caribbean cruises are an important part of the rich cruise culture. Popular with first timers and veteran cruisers alike, the Caribbean cruise embodies all that is great about a cruise holiday.

The Western Caribbean cruise itinerary is one of the most popular, often departing from ports along the US Gulf Coast, and offering a great opportunity for a ‘cruise and stay’ style holiday taking in a number of diverse destinations.

The Western Caribbean cruise itinerary offers a real sense of variety on a relatively short haul cruise.  One of the first ports of call for cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Cruises serving this popular route, is Florida’s legendary Key West – the southernmost city in the US that was the adopted home of Ernest Hemingway.

Once out of American waters the ships head for the delights of the Dominican Republic, celebrated as the producer of some of the best cigars in the world.
Passengers will want to take advantage of shore excursions when calling at the Mexican ports of Cozumel or Playa Del Carmen, from where they can tour the country’s ancient Mayan ruins.

Of course, what Caribbean cruise would be complete without a call in Jamaica with its limestone caves and cascading waterfalls?

The Western Caribbean cruise itinerary offers a little something for everyone, and with longer sailing times between ports than its Eastern counterpart, it also affords opportunities to truly take advantage of the onboard experience.

Cruising as a Family

Cruises no longer carry with them the cliché of being only for newly-weds or the nearly dead. Cruise ships now cater for families and not only that; they are doing it in style.

Everything is taken care of on a cruise ship when you are a travelling as a family. Of course, you will have to go on cruise liners that are specifically designed for families and by that we mean the food is first-class and suitable all members of the family, there are a range of activities, leisure options, places to go and things to see.

When the time arrives to choose a ship for your cruise holiday, a basic rule of thumb is the bigger the ship the better. The larger cruise ships that cater for families are more likely to have clubs specifically for the children, with trained childcare professionals, services for babysitting, again all operated by trained professionals, so you know your little ones are safe, dining options that can be tweaked to suit your family perfectly and activities for the whole family to get involved with.

On cruise ships that cater for families, you will typically find such things as swimming pools, spas, for the parents of course, driving ranges for the sporty mum or dad and climbing walls for all ages to get active. Some ships even have full capacity movie theatres showing children’s films during the day and films for the more mature audience at night.

The majority of family orientated cruise ships are based in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. These areas allow the family to make the most of the gorgeous weather and the outside activities that take place on the ships.

Costa Cruises – luxury cruising at its best

One of the major cruise lines that offer the luxury of superior cruising holidays is Costa Cruises. Bearing the Italian flag, Costa Cruises with its 14 ships, operates across the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, South America, the Middle East, Northern Europe, and South East Asia.

The length of time they have been in business attests to the quality that they provide those who want to experience a cruise holiday. For 60 years now they have shown and are still showing expertise in the Italian way of luxury cruising. This should not come as a surprise since Costa Cruises is under the wing of Carnival Corporation PLC – a British-American-Panamanian corporation, which is the largest cruise operator in the world. Costa Cruises also boasts of its credentials having been “certified by RINA (Italian Shipping Register) with the B.E.S.T. 4, an integrated system of voluntary certification of corporate compliance with the highest standards governing social accountability.

Costa Cruises ships offer all the comfort and quality you’ll ever ask for from a cruise holiday. The line is also famous for its family-oriented service (they even have a Costa Kids Programme – activity sessions that will keep kids aged 3-17 entertained), friendly and accommodating staff, and sumptuous cuisine from around the globe.  You even have options of dining venue – al fresco, in your cabin, by the poolside, or at the midnight buffet – or having a formal dining experience at a Costa Cruise gala dinner.

What to Expect on Royal Caribbean Cruises

The Caribbean is a region that is comprised of the Caribbean Sea, various islands and beautiful coasts. This place is considered one of the most popular destinations for cruises. This is not a surprise since the area is filled with amazing resorts, perfect beaches and breathtaking views.

One way to experience the adventure of the Caribbean is to use the prominent cruise ship line, Royal Caribbean Cruises. It is one of the most innovative brands in the cruising industry. Its ships are big, bright and spacious enough for private balconies and open spaces. They offer a wide array of activities and events.

Passengers of Royal Caribbean Cruises can:

Interact and snorkel with stingrays in the Grand Caymans
Go mountain biking in Costa Rica
Climb one of Jamaica’s popular tourist destinations – Dunn’s River Falls
Dive 800 feet below the ocean’s surface and discover coral reefs off various beaches
Experience one of Royal Caribbean’s private destinations – Labadee

Since the Caribbean is a big place there are three routes that Royal Caribbean Cruises’ ships take:

Western Caribbean Cruises – expect to be oriented with the history and culture of many islands. The highlight of this route is the floating Aqua Park in Labadee.

Eastern Caribbean Cruises – take pleasure in the white sand beaches and sparkling waters of the islands. Guests can go parasailing to make the cruise more memorable. Passengers who take this route can also see picturesque mountains.

Southern Caribbean Cruises – experience a different kind of journey on this route because of the caves that passengers will see and enter. The places that passengers may visit are known to be unique and exotic. They can also enjoy pristine Magens Beach in St. Thomas.

Family Cruises – keeping everyone happy!

Time aboard a cruise ship can be a great way to spend some time with your family. A lot of cruise lines are offering tours that are appropriate for everyone in the family and are designed to keep the whole family happy during your stay. Should you decide to go on a cruise with the whole family, you should check the itinerary and the amenities that the cruise line has to offer. There are many cruise lines that have programmes designed for each member of the family. Unique amenities are often provided (although they may differ from one ship to another) – like nurseries, ice skating rinks, planetariums, and movie watching activities.

The cabins on family cruises are designed specially for every member of the family, many being child-friendly. It’s up to you decide which will suit the needs of everyone in your family.

It is important to check the minimum age required to sail if you’re travelling with a baby, because the minimum age differs from one ship to another. Disney allows 12-week old babies to sail, while Carnival sets the minimum age at four months old and Princess sets theirs at six months old. Choosing the right nursery is also one of your priorities – you’d only want the best for your baby, after all.

Kids aren’t forgotten either in family cruises. Children’s programmes are offered on board to make sure that the kids are having a great time while sea faring and in port. Some lines offer scavenger hunts, video game sessions, and arts and crafts projects, to name a few.

Teen nightclubs, spa services, and teen-only hot tubs are some of the amenities and services offered to families travelling with teens. Princess has even designed a special evening for teens with a dinner together in the main dining room.

With the right planning, everyone in the family can enjoy their time on board.

Activities to Keep You Entertained When Aboard a Cruise Ship

When you decide to go on a cruise you will be expecting to relax and unwind on your holiday for some of the time; that will be no problem. However, if you want to be more active while aboard your cruise ship there are many leisure activities you can become involved in to keep you entertained.

Cruise ships usually post or announce the events for the day and the coming days of the trip. Be sure to read or listen to the announcements about the onboard activities to give yourself the opportunity to select which you will participate in. If you truly are a ‘party-person’, don’t miss the many social gatherings that will be arranged throughout the duration of the cruise.

You will never get bored on a cruise ship because they have such varied forms of entertainment. If you’re a gambler you can chance your money at the casino. If you love music and theatre, you will enjoy the cabaret shows. If you’re a movie buff, you can enjoy the selection of movies provided on the cruise. There are also disco’s or clubs for people who love to dance. Furthermore, talent shows that require the willing and enthusiastic participation of the passengers are also organised on most cruise ships.

If you’re a sports buff and are afraid that you might lose your muscle tone after eating a lot of scrumptious meals onboard, do not fret! There’s a fitness and recreation area available on all cruise ships. Top quality gym facilities are available as well as equipment for games like ping-pong and shuffleboard. Plus, some cruises provide volleyball courts and rock-climbing walls for the fitter and more adventurous passengers.

If you get tired after engaging in any activity onboard, feel free to try the relaxing treatments offered in the spa – massage, facial, manicure and pedicure.  Hair styling is almost certain to be provided.

But do not worry if you are the quiet type and prefer to unwind alone. The libraries, Internet cafes and card games rooms are perfect for you.

No matter what activity or kind of leisure you seek, the activities on cruise holidays will keep you happily entertained throughout your trip.