Royal Caribbean cruises to ports of call all around the world. Their ships range in size from the (relatively) small Empress of the Seas that carries just over 2,000 passengers, to the incredibly large Freedom family of ships, each of which can carry 3,634 voyagers. An as-yet-unnamed ship is currently being built that will carry an incredible 5,400 guests out to sea.
So where do all these people go? Well, that depends on the time of year. In the summer, many people want to cruise north. Alaska is one of the most popular destinations, and Royal Caribbean serves that area with four ships: the Radiance of the Seas, the Vision of the Seas, the Serenade of the Seas, and the Rhapsody of the Seas.
Departing from San Francisco, Seattle, or Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, these cruises are typically 7 nights, although Royal Caribbean offers 13- and 14-night cruises, as well. Ports of call include Hubbard Glacier, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, and the Inside Passage.
Three time zones away, the summer cruise north to New England and Canada is also popular. Departing from several destinations along the east coast, this cruise takes voyagers into and past Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, and New Brunswick before returning home.
Looking for something a little more exotic? Try leaving from Sydney, Australia on the Rhapsody of the Seas for a cruise that will take you around Australia and over to New Zealand before returning to Australia. These cruises sail during the northern hemisphere’s fall and winter seasons, which means it’s a glorious spring and summer “down under”. Now that’s how you shake off those winter blues!
But some people say cruising is about kicking back and watching the water go by. If that’s your style, consider Royal Caribbean’s transatlantic crossings. These typically take 12 to 15 nights and you’ll sail on one of several ships. In the shoulder seasons (spring and fall), you can find great bargains on these cruises by booking a “repositioning” cruise.
Many cruise ships sail northern routes in the summer and southern routes in the winter. In between they must be moved from one locale to another. This is called “repositioning” and it may involve big savings for you.
The sailing is one-way, of course. Once the ship gets to its new destination, it won’t be returning to the old locale for about six months. You need to be prepared to return home on your own, but the savings on these cruises can make buying a plane ticket a no-brainer.
Winter cruises are most popular to warmer climates, like Bermuda, Hawaii, and South America. Royal Caribbean sails its Splendour of the Seas to Sao Paulo, Brazil in winter and spring. These cruises last from 3 to 8 nights, although there is a longer, 14-night cruise that includes Brazil and the Panama Canal. All of these depart from Sao Paulo, Brazil, except for the 14-night cruise, which departs from Ft. Lauderdale.
Check travel web sites or contact a cruise specialist to stay on top of bargains being offered on Royal Caribbean cruises. There are often specials offered on short cruises, underbooked sailings, or off-season routes.
If you’re interested in shore excursions, package deals that include airfare (if required), cruise, transfers and several excursions may turn out to be cheaper than purchasing each thing separately. A Royal Caribbean cruise can include as much or as little as you like, so you can design the vacation that’s just right for you.