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Norovirus outbreak on board Grandeur of the Seas

Posted by RCI fans on April 6, 2014 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

A norovirus outbreak on board Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Approximately 6% of guests and crew have fallen ill on the Vision-class ship which departed on an 8-night cruise to the Bahamas from Baltimore, Maryland on 28th March. Passengers reported symptoms of vomitting and diarrhea, commonly associated with the norovirus.

In response to the outbreak, Royal Caribbean are taking several actions to prevent another outbreak on the ship including;

  • Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures.
  • Making announcements to notify onboard passengers of the outbreak.
  • Encourage case reporting, and hand hygiene.
  • Collecting stool specimens from ill passengers and crew.


Nominate 'RCI fans' in the 'Best Cruise Blogger' category

Posted by RCI fans on April 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The Cruise Awards 2014 celebrate and recognise the very best of the cruise industry. The awards are voted for by cruise passengers and holiday makers themselves and this year marks the fourth year of the Cruise Awards hosted by Cruise International!

Royal Caribbean Fans is dedicated to providing you with the latest news and reviews. We also write various blog pieces related to not only Royal Caribbean, but also the cruise industry in general. Therefore we would be delighted and very grateful if all our readers could vote for 'RCI fans' in the 'Best Cruise Blogger' category. Every single nomination counts. Thank you.


CATS to replace Hairspray on board Oasis of the Seas

Posted by RCI fans on April 5, 2014 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Royal Caribbean has announced that the musical CATS will feature on board Oasis of the Seas after her refurbishment in October 2014. Andrew Lloyd Weber's Broadway musical CATS, which is based on T.S. Eliot's “Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats,” was one of the longest running productions on Broadway and is the winner of numerous awards including seven Tonys, two Oliviers and a Grammy.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Really Useful Group to bring one of the world’s most beloved musicals to Oasis of the Seas,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “Adding CATS to our already amazing line up of Broadway musicals such as Hairspray, Chicago: The Musical, Saturday Night Fever and Mamma Mia exemplify our commitment to bringing top quality entertainment to our guests at no extra cost.”

CATS will replace the current musical onboard Oasis of the Seas, Hairspray, which has been performed since the ship first launched back in December 2009.

British Isles Blog: Day 10 - Dover

Posted by RCI fans on April 5, 2014 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

We arrived into the port of Dover at 8:30am. The weather was rather dull. Dover is not a very affluent town, despite its many marvellous and grand buildings. The cruise terminal occupies the old Dover Western train station, which closed in the 1990's. Walking through the grandeur of the former station was one of the most unique, yet eerie experiences of the trip.


A private shuttle service operates from the port to the town centre and castle. A return to the town costs £3, whilst a return to the castle costs £4. The town centre has a variety of chain stores and local businesses. I had a walk through the town looking in the shops, before a drink in Wetherspoons, using the free Wi-Fi. Back on board, I spent the remainder of the afternoon packing the suitcase ready for disembarkation the next day.


Tonight was our last evening meal on board. This evening, I had a beef consommé, chicken breast filled with ham and swiss cheese, and a heavenly chocolate éclair for dessert!


The final show of the cruise was 'We Will Rock You', a unique twist on Queen's hits. The show was ok, but it certainly was not the best we had seen over the 10 nights.


After the show, I headed to the Discovery Theatre at 9:45pm to catch the evening film, Disney's Frozen. It was a great film for all ages, with a fantastic soundtrack.


After the film, I headed back to the cabin, put the last items in the case, and placed the cases outside just before midnight.

British Isles Blog: Day 9 - Guernsey

Posted by RCI fans on April 4, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

After waking up earlier than usual at 8am, we headed for breakfast once again in the Lido Buffet. The weather looked very uninviting with fog and rain greeting us. I decided to wait until the rain eased off a little, but it was clear it would not be stopping any time soon. I decided to head ashore to St Peter Port.


The town has a unique mix of English and French architecture. The walk from the harbour jetty to the town centre is just a short walk and the main street features a variety of UK shops and local cafés. After spending as long as I possibly could staying dry in various shops, I headed back to the harbour, to catch the tender back to the ship.


By the time I arrived back on board, it was approaching 1pm, so we headed to the buffet for lunch. Delicious golden fish and chips were being served.


Tonight was formal night and the farewell 'Baked Alaska Parade'. It was a fantastic meal and our waiter, Phyo, demonstrated his amazing towel folding skills and produced two fabulous peacocks using a wine glass.


Tonight's show was called 'Around the World' and featured songs for all different countries and cultures, including Irish, Italian, Turkish and of course, British. It was a fantastic production and included some very tricky dance moves.


Tomorrow is our last day on board and we will be docked in Dover from 8:30am until 5pm, when we will set sail back for Hull.

British Isles Blog: Day 8 - Isles of Scilly

Posted by RCI fans on April 4, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

We did not wake up until twenty to ten this morning, which meant we would miss breakfast. Instead of getting a tender ticket, I decided to wait until demand for the tenders had decreased. There was a break in operation from 12 till 1, as a ferry would be arriving in the harbour. This made an ideal time to have lunch in the Severn Continents restaurant. I had some delicious mozzarella croquettes with plum tomato sauce. For the main course, I choose leg of chicken with mash, vegetables, and gravy. Dessert was strawberry ice-cream.


After lunch, demand for the tenders had decreased, so I jumped on the next tender and headed ashore. The ship was not using its own tender boats for this port of call, as the drop off area was unsuitable. There was no landing pontoon, just a series of steps that we moored alongside.


As the boat pulled away in the crystal blue waters, the mvDiscovery glistened in the sun. The image reminded me of the Caribbean and it certainly did not feel like we were just a few miles from the English coast.


Once on land, I walked around the quaint main street, before taking in the beautiful views of a bay filled with rock pools and wildlife.


After spending roughly an hour and a half ashore, I ventured back on a very full tender. Passengers seated at the rear of the boat were even treated to the sight of a dolphin swimming by.


As evening came, we had another fantastic dinner in the restaurant, before making our way to the Carousel show lounge, for the evening's show time – Bruce Thomson, a one-man band performing songs, magic and comedy.


After the show, an important announcement was made across the ship. A medical evacuation by helicopter would take place at the aft of deck 6. A passenger had fallen seriously ill during dinner, and guests were told not to venture onto open decks and that due to this, the Discovery Lounge would be closed. If guests were still seated in the restaurant or Carousel show lounge, they were advised to stay seated. The evacuation meant that the 'Give Us A Clue' game show, which was scheduled to be held in the Discovery Lounge, had to be moved into the show lounge. We decided to watch the show team play a game of charades, with two of our table companions Roz and Marlene. The helicopter approached the ship at 2120 and 10 minutes later, we were allowed access to the open decks and the Discovery Lounge.


Tomorrow, we will anchor at St Peter Port in Guernsey at 0730 and depart at 1700.

British Isles Blog: Day 7 - Dublin

Posted by RCI fans on April 2, 2014 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

After being woken up by our cabin attendant at 8am again, we headed down for breakfast, just as the ship was mooring into Dublin. We had pre-booked a sightseeing tour of the city through Cruising Excursions, so we disembarked the ship just after 10am. There was a long line of guests waiting for the free shuttle to take us into the city, thankfully the line quickly moved as each bus could hold 78 passengers.

After the 30 minute journey, passing The O2, Custom House and Trinity College, we arrived on Kildare Street, just around the corner from Nassau Street, where the nearest sightseeing tour stop is located.

The tour took approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes and covered the main sights to see in Dublin including Trinity College, Christchurch Cathedral, the famous Guinness Storehouse, Glasnevin Cemetery and Botanical Gardens, Croke Park Stadium and of course O'Connell Street. Our guide Anne, was very informative and explained all the sights and history as we drove past them. We even briefly witnessed a military funeral take place, whilst at Glasnevin Cemetery. The bus drove into the graveyard and was forced to park up as a procession of military vehicles following a casket draped under an Irish flag slowly passed by. Although there are now many visitors that come to view the cemetery every day, it was quite disrespectful to bring a bus into the graveyard, especially when a funeral is taking place. It couldn't have been nice for the family, with all these tourists taking photos from the large double-decker bus.

We decided to get off the tour at O'Connell Street to grab some lunch before we got back to the ship. The size of the street and the architecture is very impressive, especially the GPO building.

After lunch, we jumped on the closest city sightseeing bus, which would take us back to Nassau Street, where we boarded. City Sightseeing tickets can be used for unlimited trips for 2 days, so if you are spending a weekend in the city, it is a great way to get around and visit the sights as hop on and hop off.


We caught the bus back to the ship at 2pm. The last bus back to the ship was 1430, ready for sail away at 1545. Once we arrived back on board, it was just a short wait until afternoon tea. Today they served a delicious white chocolate mousse cake.

Later that evening, was a British themed dinner, serving beef sirloin with Yorkshire pudding and tasty gravy. For dessert, there was a fantastic honeycomb cake.

The show tonight was called Rock 'n' Roll Dreams and the production team performed all the 50's and 60's rock and roll classics.

Tomorrow, we will arrive at the charming St Mary's on the Isles of Scilly at 9am and depart at 6pm.

British Isles Blog: Day 6 - Belfast

Posted by RCI fans on April 1, 2014 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

We headed up to breakfast at twenty to ten. We were just approaching the beginning of the harbour as we sat down. Throughout our breakfast we had great views as we approached the city. The gigantic yellow Harland & Wolff cranes loom over the city skyline, giving a strong reminder of the city's ship building heritage. The ship docked close to where the doomed RMS Titanic was constructed. The former shipyard is now home to the new Titanic Belfast exhibition.

After breakfast and once we docked around 15 minutes later than scheduled, I hopped on the free shuttle into the city. The bus dropped us off right in the city centre opposite the magnificent City Hall.

I spent a couple of hours walked around the main shopping streets, looking in a few of the shops, including the Victoria Square shopping arcade. I had a quick break in a Starbucks, before heading back to the bus for the ship.

Now we have left Scotland, the weather seems to be improving. For the first time on the cruise, the sun appeared!

After arriving back on board at 3pm, it was just a short wait until afternoon tea. Today's selection was less appetising than previous days.

Today's dinner was a delicious French onion soup, tender beef with mash and vegetables and ice cream.

Tomorrow we'll be in Dublin, where we will be taking a sightseeing tour of the city.

Explorer of the Seas to homeport in Southampton for 2015

Posted by RCI fans on March 31, 2014 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas will sail its very first Europe season in summer 2015. The cruise line's Adventure of the Seas, which was originally announced to homeport at Southampton, U.K., is being exchanged for Explorer of the Seas, which will take over three- to 16-night, roundtrip itineraries from late-April through Sept. 2015.

Holidaymakers can choose among three- and eight-night Northern Europe itineraries, 11- to 16-night Mediterranean itineraries, or 10- to 14-night Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands itineraries. Adventure of the Seas will remain at San Juan, Puerto Rico, to sail seven-night Southern Caribbean cruises throughout the summer season.

Explorer of the Seas will complete an extensive, month-long drydock revitalisation before starting seasonal service and boast a wide range of new innovative features to offer guests an unforgettable onboard experience. Guests can test their surfing skills on our new Flowrider surf simulator, watch a film come to life in our magical 3-D Movie Theatre, sample cuisine from around the world in one of the many excellent onboard restaurants. There will also be all-new staterooms and luxurious suites, plus new virtual balconies that bring the outside into interior staterooms. Additional features will be unveiled at a later date.

Voyager-class Explorer of the Seas was amongst the first to pioneer many of the exclusive amenities onboard Royal Caribbean that remain unmatched by any other cruise line. The Voyager class of ships was the first to introduce the active cruise holiday and features the cruise line's iconic rock-climbing wall, a real ice-skating rink, a full-size basketball and sports court, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that runs nearly the length of the ship that is flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques and where spectacular parades and evening dance parties are held.

Explorer of the Seas will be joined in the U.K. by the industry's ground-breaking Quantum-class ship Anthem of the Seas at Southampton and Radiance-class Brilliance of the Seas at Harwich, England.

Explorer of the Seas will be going on sale as of 3rd April 2014.

British Isles Blog: Day 5 - Tobermory

Posted by RCI fans on March 30, 2014 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

“What's the story in Balamory, wouldn't you like to know!?” - Today we were in the picturesque village of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, better known as Balamory from the UK children's TV series. We anchored just outside the harbour in the bay, where the tender boats would shuttle us to the marina.


We awoke just in time to catch breakfast, after losing an hours sleep due to Daylight Saving Time. After breakfast, I then headed down to the Pursers Desk, to collect a 'tender ticket' to go ashore. I was letter E and within no time at all, my letter was called to board the tender. The short trip to the marina offered fantastic views of the ship up close as well as the surrounding landscape.


Once ashore, I walked along the main street, taking in all the fantastic views of the multi-coloured houses. After a brief stop to take photos of the ship at anchor, I headed back through the village and up one of the steepest hills I have ever walked in my life! However, the reward at the top was worth it. The hill gave fantastic views of the shops below and the ship out in the bay. After the descent, I then headed back on board the ship ready for a well deserved lunch.


After lunch, we relaxed in one of the on board lounges taking in the panoramic views as the ship rotated around its anchor.


Tonight's dinner was Italian themed. I had minestrone soup, a lovely giant slice of lasagne and chocolate profiteroles.


Tomorrow we will arrive in Belfast, Ireland.