Royal Caribbean Cruises | 2013 Update

This morning I attended a seminar on Royal Caribbean Updates for 2013.  And there is actually some significant news to pass along.  Like it’s sister company Celebrity, Royal Caribbean is upgrading all it’s ships with the extras found in it’s latest ship.  For Celebrity, that’s to its Solstice Class ships.  And for Royal Caribbean it’s to it’s Oasis Class.

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel specializes in the Suite Life aboard Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises. Ask me about the details of suites and what amenities come along with that. A partial list is below.

More Speciality Restaurants | + discounted package when you prepay for multiple reservations. [So this is a win/win.  You the client get more choices, and RCI gets more revenue.]

More wi-fi

Culinary Upgrade | Gourmet & locally produced options to regular dining menu, managed by Michael Schwartz from South Beach. And new china.

New Dessert Menu |  includes Bailey’s Banana Creme Brule (OK, pack your bags!)

Dreamworks Partnership.  Enjoy fun family (and adult activity) activities with your favorite characters, like Shrek!

Barbie! Yes, you can purchase a Barbie package for your daughter!

Stuff to Do | Flowrider (surfing at sea); Ice Staking (very fun)

SUITES
When booking a Grand Suite or above with Josh Friedman Luxury Travel, enjoy the following exclusive perks and amenities

Fruit plate & Evian on boarding
Chocolate at turndown, every evening
Luxury spa bathrobes and slippers
Gilchrist & Soames toiletries
In-room coffee maker with Starbucks & tea with Tazo
Pillow menu with 4 options
Pressing service on first formal night
Luggage valet (ask for details)
Personalized port and shopping advice
Priority tender tickets (on select itineraries)
Priority departure arrangements
Invitation to the exclusive to the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception (4 or more nights)
Limited exclusive pool deck seating (ask for details)
Limited reserved seats for shows (ask for details)

 

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Virtuoso Travel’s Voyager Club.

Top Producer with & Knowledgeable Person for All Luxury Lines:
– Seabourn’s Pinnacle Club
– Cunard’s Commodore
– Regent Seven Seas Cruises
– Crystal Cruises
– Silversea

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency
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Read my review of Seabourn Sojourn
Read my review of Seabourn Spirit
Read my review of Silver Cloud
Read my review of Oceania’s Marina
Read all my ship reviews with photos

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status.

 If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

associated with travel experts, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 201 spear street, suite 1100,  san francisco, ca 94105 cst# 2080753-40

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Radiance of the Seas | A Visit

Radiance of the Seas

A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, in February 2009, I spent two days sailing on board Mariner of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s quite large ship that had just been moved to Los Angeles.  My experience on this ship was pleasantly surprising and I discussed it on a blog post at that time.

If you follow my postings, or know me, you know that my specialty is luxury cruising, i.e. Seabourn or Crystal. But as their ships are not suitable for an action packed , fun family vacation, another option is required – and I have to say that Royal Caribbean has done a great job of understanding this market.  Besides the rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, Johnny Rockets and other type of kid activities and venues, they also have places on the ship for each age group with supervised activities. And for teens, they have a private club which has a very grown up feel with music videos, a bar (Mountain Dew I suppose) andlounge area.  Not to mention a nearby video arcade. Royal Caribbean’s My Family Time Dining program also allows parents to begin their dinner with their kids, and then after 45 minutes the little ones are whisked away to their private adventures while mom and dad’s table is reset and their romantic evening ensues.

While the typical words “understated elegance” used to describe a small luxury ship wouldn’t apply here, RCI  desginers didn’t learn their trade designing Walmarts either. Both the Mariner of the Seas and the Radiance of Seas are contemporary, clean and, dare I say, sophisticated in look and feel.  My friends at SFMOMA might even be impressed. The Radiance uses lots of glass, light colors and wide open spaces.  There is almost nothing stuffy on the ship, save the library.  Check out my pictures and make your own decision.

Complimenting the look, the staff overall was very helpful and friendly – in my book the most important quality any service focused company must have.  They’re not trained to work in a Four Seasons, but the pride most employees put into their work was impressive. It was better during my afternoon and evening spent on board this time, though, than it was on the Mariner last year.

I’m  a Bay Area foodie and I’ll say that my dinner in the Radiance’s specialty restaurant Chops Grill was good. I’d give it a 4 out of 5.  I’m also a design guy and it’s rare that I can enjoy a meal in an unattractive place. It does something to my tastebuds.  At Chops, I really liked the purple velvet drapes, the sea view and the Scandinavian designed flat ware and dinnerware. Very snazzy.  Service was very friendly if not San Francisco polished, and I had a hard time understanding the waiter’s English.

For more information on Royal Caribbean family vacations, traditional luxury cruising and your complimentary membership in our Voyager Club, don’t hesitate to contact me.

For my complete set of photos from this trip and others, visit my photo home page.

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA and abroad, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler and management of study abroad groups. Business services include high-touch reservations, exclusive hotel and airline offers.  His relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful business or leisure trip.

For more information, to learn about our exclusive benefits, and to book, please contact Josh at 415.248.5079 or 800.553.4777. Associated with Casto, a member of the prestigious Virtuoso Travel network.  Be a big fish in our small pond.

Mariner of the Seas | A Visit

I wasn’t sure I was going to write about this ship as my focus, as you all know, is on luxury cruise lines. However, after being invited on board for their 2 day pre-West Coast inaugural sailing this weekend from L.A., I changed my mind. It occurred to me that many of you might just want to consider a cruise like this for a family get together, right here on the West Coast. The ship will be sailing Sundays for Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

There are a million things to do – for all generations of your family. No matter how old the grandchildren are, there’s a fully supervised program for them. For the parents, the night clubs are hopping and the gym and spa are state of the art. For the grandparents, the ice show was truly amazing, the comedian very funny and the card rooms and libraries nice and quiet. And for whomever is paying, the price is right -practically cheaper than staying home. Dining is a far cry from Regent or Seabourn, but for about $1,000 a week, it’s really hard to complain. The 3 story dining room is very nice and the service was typically very good. I’m not going into the excellent category, but occasionally I was surprised.

I’ve booked Royal Caribbean in the past primarily for university student groups (did you know I did those?) and have always had good results.

If you’ve traveled with your extended family, let me know how you enjoyed it. And if you’ve sailed with Royal Caribbean, I’d love your feedback through the comment section below.

I’m writing this from Palm Springs, and I’m headed back to the Bay Area tomorrow.

For my complete set of photos from this trip and others, visit my photo home page.

First published February, 2009.

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA and abroad, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler and management of study abroad groups. Business services include high-touch reservations, exclusive hotel and airline offers.  His relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful business or leisure trip.

For more information, to learn about our exclusive benefits, and to book, please contact Josh at 415.248.5079 or 800.553.4777. Associated with Casto, a member of the prestigious Virtuoso Travel network.  Be a big fish in our small pond.

mariner of the seas

mariner of the seas

 mariner of the seas