Royal Caribbean moves cruise ships to Gulf Coast

And baby makes three.  Three ships, that is.  Royal Caribbean is bringing two mega-ships and one smaller ship to the  Gulf Coast.  Today, Mariner of the Seas arrives in Galveston, Texas.  Next week, her sister ship, Voyager of the Seas, will slip into her new berth in New Orleans while at the same time, the “baby” Jewel of the Seas,  will arrive at Tampa, Florida.

All three ships will cruise to the Caribbean and Mexico throughout this winter season until April 2012.  All three port cities are within a day’s drive for hundreds and thousands of cruise vacationers, making a cruise vacation easy to get to and much more affordable without the cost of airfare. 

Royal Caribbean Mini Golf Course aboard Voyager of the Seas Photo credit: Sherry Laskin
Royal Caribbean Mini Golf Course aboard Voyager of the Seas Photo credit: Sherry Laskin

The Voyager of the Seas is the largest ship to homeport in New Orleans and was the first Royal Caribbean ship to introduce the popular rock climbing wall, ice skating rink and the “I can’t believe I’m on a ship” indoor Promenade.  The Mariner of the Seas has the same onboard innovations as the Voyager of the Seas and both can carry 3,114 passengers.  A favorite ship among many loyal past passengers of Royal Caribbean, the Jewel of the Seas is smaller in size and passenger capacity (2,501 guests) and is known for the brilliant use of glass, brass and natural lighting throughout the ship.

To celebrate the arrival of the Voyager of the Seas, the largest ship to call New Orleans its home, there will be a special performance by award-winning country music artist, Martina McBride.  Only Royal Caribbean’s dedicated Crown and Anchor Society members will be treated to this exclusive concert on November 19, 2011.

“Royal Caribbean is thrilled to be back in the Gulf Coast to offer exciting and convenient winter getaways at an incredible value,” said Betsy O’Rourke, senior vice president of Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. No matter which itinerary to the beautiful Caribbean vacationers choose, they can expect to be wowed by our innovative ships and Gold Anchor Service, which together delivers the Royal Advantage.”

So many choices….here is the info:

  • New Orleans – Voyager of the Seas sails seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries, visiting Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Falmouth, Jamaica. The first of the Voyager-class of ships that introduced active cruise vacationing, Voyager of the Seas features the cruise line’s exclusive and innovative onboard amenities, such as its iconic rock-climbing wall, the Studio B ice-skating rink, nine-hole mini-golf course, an in-line skating track, a full-size basketball court, and the Royal Promenade, a boulevard of boutiques, restaurants and lounges and bars. Cruise fares start at $499per guest, double occupancy.
  • Galveston – Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas also offers seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries starting at $549per guest, double occupancy, visiting Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Falmouth, Jamaica.  Mariner of the Seas’ guests sailing from Galveston also will enjoy the same innovative onboard amenities as Voyager of the Seas.
  • Tampa – Vacationers have a wide selection of short vacation options with Jewel of the Seas, which offers four and five-night Western Caribbean itineraries to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, starting at $329 per guest, double occupancy.  A sleek and sunlit cruise ship, Jewel of the Seas is appointed with a 10-story grand Centrum, ocean-view glass elevators offering vistas of the idyllic Caribbean Sea, and self-leveling billiard tables.

With a selection of four, five or seven night cruises to the warm and sunny Caribbean or Mexico, there is really a ship, schedule and itinerary for just about everyone.  I might suggest arriving into the port city one or two nights before your cruise.  Some hotels offer free parking and free shuttle service to/from the port if you stay overnight before your cruise.   All three cities offer a breath-taking sailaway experience as each ship slowly meanders out into the Gulf of Mexico.

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