Aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International

Family-focused mega-ships offer a bit of everything for all ages

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Royal Caribbean International is known for introducing a number of features never before seen at sea. Their newest ship, “Quantum of the Seas”—which debuts in 2014—will not only have the first skydiving experience at sea but will also sail with one of the strongest satellite connections, allowing passengers much more powerful internet access (when not in port) than ever before.

Royal Caribbean has received a number of awards in recent years, including:

  • Travel Weekly Readers Choice Award for “Best Cruise Line Overall” (11 consecutive years)
  • Travel + Leisure Award for “Top Family Large-ship Cruise Line” (2013)
  • MeetMeOnBoard.com CRUIZIE Awards* for Best Onboard Shows and Entertainment for LGBT Passengers (2014) and Best Onboard Gyms for LGBT Passengers (2013/2014)
  • Out Traveler’s Best of Travel Award for “Best Cruise Line” (2013)
Shrek invades the gift shop

Shrek invades the gift shop

Tolerance and Diversity:

According to representatives, Royal Caribbean staff and crew are trained on an ongoing basis in LGBT sensitivity training, zero tolerance and sexual harassment training, and cultural diversity. All of the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Brands (RCL, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and two small European specialty cruise lines) are listed in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index as part of the distinguished corporate commitment of leaders/major businesses in Corporate America. They have an HRC Corporate Equality Index Rating of 80 (out of 100) for 2014.

Noteworthy Attractions/Programs:

Before I book a vacation, I always make sure there will be enough options to keep the kids entertained. There appears to be plenty on Royal Caribbean ships. Their Adventure Ocean Youth Program offers activities for kids ages 3-17, from science explorations and “Adventure Theater” to dancing and creating major art projects. Their partnership with Dreamworks is also appealing as it gives the kids the opportunity to interact with characters from the Shrek and Madagascar movies (select ships). For little ones and their parents, they offer playgroups with interactive sessions for 6 to 36-month-olds, developed by experts at Fisher-Price. Once my daughter is old enough (a teenager… gasp!), she’ll be thrilled to participate in the teen-only hangouts and visit the teen spa. Of course, many RC ships include adventure activities for the whole family, such as the FlowRider® surf simulator, rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink, carousels, and zip lines.

If you have a child with autism, don’t dismay. Royal Caribbean’s “Autism Friendly Certification” was awarded for their efforts to ensure their products and services are accessible for inclusion and participation by the autism and developmental disability community.

Creativity on board

Creativity on board

Sailing Regions:

Royal Caribbean sails to nearly 70 countries on six continents. Their most popular regions are the Caribbean and Europe, the former being most popular region and where they first started service in 1970 with the Song of Norway, the first cruise ship purpose-built for Caribbean waters. During the upcoming winter season, there will be 17 Royal Caribbean cruise ships sailing in the Caribbean and, in 2015 six RC ships will be sailing in Europe.

Visit the Royal Caribbean website for more details on sailings and itineraries.

* MeetMeOnBoard.com is a website and forum that connects gay cruise travelers.

 

Have you sailed on with Royal Caribbean? If so, what is a positive experience? Please share your stories in the Comments section below.

 
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