Royal Caribbean's Private Beaches Make Second-Class Citizens of the Rest of Us

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 08/27/2018, 6:00 AM

Most passengers on a Caribbean cruise are by now aware of the “private beaches” and “private islands” that cruise lines operate for the purpose of keeping you from contact with local residents or businesses when your ship alights at a particular port.  This deliberate segregation has been tolerated by most of us because the artificial beaches or ports have been operated in such a way as to be r...

Royal Caribbean Increases the Daily Fee Used to Tip Staff

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/29/2017, 12:00 AM

For the third time in three years, Royal Caribbean Cruises is hiking up its "automatic gratuity"—the term for the service fee that lines recommend each passenger pays per day during a cruise. They make this recommendation by automatically adding the tip to your bill. To raise or lower the amount—or strike it altogether for those who prefer to tip housekeeping staff, restaurant servers, and other ...

In Spite of the President's Confusing Cuba Policy, Three Major Cruise Lines Persevere in Offering Brief and Superficial Visits

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 07/14/2017, 3:00 AM

Despite the President’s murky efforts to limit the right of Americans to travel to Cuba, the cruise industry's brightest leaders lay future plans to bring even more vacationers there....

Will He or Won't He? Trump Has Not Withdrawn His Threat to Forbid Travel to Cuba

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 12/14/2016, 10:30 PM

American cruise lines are preparing to enter the Cuban market with force, but will politics quash the budding potential for new jobs, new revenue, and new explorations?...

Gigantic Cruise Ships Need a Different Approach

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/19/2016, 11:15 PM

(photo: Royal Caribbean) The constant growth in the size of cruise ships—of which some now carry 6,000 passengers—has forced the cruise lines (and not simply the cruise passengers) to adopt a wholly different set of tactics and policies.  And sometimes, these new experiments in cruising have failed miserably—as Royal Caribbean Cruisline recently discovered.   When Royal Caribbean...

Rising Fees Ahoy! New Gotchas From the Cruise Industry

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 03/09/2016, 9:00 PM

It’s been a rough winter for the cruise industry. One of its most celebrated newer vessels was tossed around like a cork in a Jacuzzi by a major storm, and then had to return early on a cruise a month later due to threats of another serious gale. And in early March, a Texas man either fell or jumped from the deck of a Royal Caribbean vessel. With all of this happening, not many people not...

A La Carte Cruise Pricing To Become Even More A La Carte, At Least on Norwegian Cruise Lines

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 07/15/2015, 8:45 PM

Start boning up on your math. You're going to need those calculating skills to determine which cruise vacation will now have the overall highest costs. I reported last week that Celebrity Cruises was drastically changing its pricing structure for all sailings through spring of 2017. Today, Norwegian dropped a bombshell of its own. It will be charging by the item at some of its a la car...

Royal Caribbean's Newest Twist: RFID Bracelets Tracking Every Guest and Making Arrangements Quicker

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/29/2014, 8:00 PM

RFID bracelets are officially the mark of a mass-market vacation. Walt Disney World was the biggest player to introduce its MagicBands earlier this year. MagicBands help guests link to their tickets and reservations on rides and restaurants. There, the net effect is to require many guests to do hours of pre-research and strategic planning before arriving at the resort, which I think spoil...

It's Deal Season! These Cruises Are Less than $100 a night—Plus Some Summer Booking Promotions

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 07/10/2014, 6:00 PM

The Grand Princess. Credit: Princess Cruises   Every month, we ask our friends at to tell us about the best bargains in cruises at the moment. Here's what they suggested, where to book them, and what, in the opinion of the sellers, makes each one a steal.  We're heading into one of cruising's big bargain seasons in the Caribbean. Even though hurricanes only...

Nickel and Diming at Sea: Extra Charges for On-Board Entertainment

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/17/2014, 3:45 PM

There have been times I've felt that someone should be paying me for sitting through the shows that pass for entertainment onboard some cruise lines. That being said, cruise ship entertainment has been getting better in recent years (hurray for Blue Man Group!). But with this improvement, it seems, will come a price tag. Carnival Cruise Lines is already charging between $20 to $150 (f...

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