Cruise360 Day Four Recap

All this week, the Premier Custom Travel staff is attending our tenth Cruise360. You may have heard us mention this conference before or the host – CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association). Each evening, we’ll publish a blog post with a recap of all the happenings at the industry’s largest cruise conference. Today was our final day of activities and we spent the entire day on “virtual” ship inspections.


Odyssey is the second Quantum Ultra Class ship. A few fun facts:

  • Caribbean-inspired pool deck– Sporting a whole new look across two decks, Odyssey’s two open-air pools, four whirlpools and Splashaway Bay, anchored by a Quantum Ultra Class first – The Lime & Coconut bar – are designed for all travelers to enjoy the sun and stars in style.
  • SeaPlex – The next-generation of a longtime Quantum Class favorite, this SeaPlex is the largest indoor and outdoor activity center at sea, and debuts this venue’s first Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar and Teppanyaki – Two Royal Caribbean restaurants new to North America join the varied lineup of dining options on board. The fresh take on the cruise line’s signature trattoria is the first to introduce its new wine bar concept while the other serves up East Asian flavors in the traditional Japanese style for which its named.
  • Action-packed top deck – Returning guest-favorites include the gravity-defying SkyPad virtual reality bungee trampoline adventure, FlowRidersurf simulator, skydiving with RipCord by iFly, and the iconic North Star all-glass observation capsule that boasts 360-degree views from 300 feet above sea level.
  • One-of-a-kind entertainment – In typical Royal Caribbean fashion, Odyssey’s full-scale productions take top billing in teched-out venues such as the Royal Theater and Two70, where immersive technology, unparalleled special effects and world-leading performers and aerialists take the stage alongside six agile Roboscreensfor a multidimensional live show.
  • Odyssey sets sail today from Fort Lauderdale sailing 6 and 8 night cruises to the Western and Southern Caribbean.

    More ships are on the horizon for Royal Caribbean. Wonder of the Seas, a new Oasis-class ship, arrives next year. In 2023, the first in the Icon class, Icon of the Seas, will set sail. She will be followed by two more Icon class ships and the fleet’s sixth Oasis-class ship.


    In addition to a virtual tour of Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean gave us a bonus – a virtual tour of their private island, CocoCay.

    A few fun facts:

  • Ships dock at the island – no tendering
  • There are trams that can take you around the island if you don’t want to walk. They are accessible.
  • There are complimentary activities and some that have a surcharge.
  • The zip line is 1600 feet long.
  • Thrill Waterpark is one of the most popular features of the island, featuring the tallest waterslide in North America, the Caribbean’s largest wave pool, and a total of 13 waterslides. Thrill Waterpark does charge an admission fee.
  • Coco Beach Club is the island’s exclusive beach club with a maximum occupancy of 515 guests. It is NOT exclusive to suite guests but does require a day pass. Amenities include complimentary premium towels, beach umbrellas and chairs, daybeds around the pool deck, complimentary floating mats, dedicated tram service, a restaurant, and more.
  • Floating cabanas (20 total) are available for daily rental for up to 8 guests and include complimentary access to the Coco Beach Club
  • Beach cabanas have beachfront views and are available for daily rental as well
  • The Clubhouse & Restaurant is exclusive to Coco Beach Club guests
  • Oasis Lagoon is the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean and is complimentary
  • Up, Up and Away is a hot air balloon attraction that takes guests up to 450 feet in the air
  • Splashaway Bay is the water park for the younger kids
  • There are three Snack Shacks throughout the islands and we are told they have the best burgers and mozzarella sticks. All food is complimentary.
  • Captain Jack’s is the island’s a-la-carte restaurant and bar. They specialize in wings and fries with various sauces available for each
  • Chill Grill is another restaurant that is complimentary
  • Skippers Grill is another complimentary dining option with burgers, hot dogs, and more.
  • Chill Island Cabanas are the more secluded and quiet cabana option. There are 20 available for daily rental.
  • Oasis Lagoon Cabanas are another great option for a daily rental. Up to 8 guests and there are 12 of these.
  • Thrill Waterpark also has cabanas (12 in total) for daily rental.
  • South Beach also has 20 cabanas for rental, giving the island a lot of different cabanas for rent each day.
  • The island has several beach options with volleyball, basketball, cornhole, and much more
  • Both Wifi and beverage packages purchased for the ship work on CocoCay

    Silver Origin sailed her maiden voyage earlier this year in the Galapagos. In fact, Premier Custom Travel had customers onboard that first sailing.

    The ship was built for sustainability, with freshwater purification and advanced propulsion systems that leave the smallest possible carbon footprint. She has sweeping floor to ceiling windows throughout, glass horizon verandahs, and even private ocean-view showers.

    The ship has “Basecamp” – an innovative “knowledge lounge” and the highest number of Zodiacs per guest in the region. In fact, the ship never docks. All of the boarding and provisioning is done while the ship is at anchor. But even “at anchor” is a bit of a misnomer, as the ship uses its engines and thrusters to stay in place while not disturbing the area.

    An onboard interactive culinary program showcases all the flavors of Ecuador and the Galapagos. And of course, the service is sublime with Silver Origin being the only ship int her region to offer butler service in every suite.

    Here are some cool walk-through videos:

    One of the things that was emphasized was the “all-inclusive” aspect of this voyage. Whether you sail the Western or North Central Galapagos itinerary (both 7 nights long) or choose to do a back-to-back, the number you pay prior to leaving will be the actual cost of your vacation, whereas there is a “get on the ship” and “get off the ship” price on many larger ships.


    Virgin Voyages has two “lady ships” presently – Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady. Neither has sailed with paying customers yet due to the pandemic. They are also currently building a third ship – Resilient Lady. Scarlet Lady will sail beginning next week from the UK, with her US launch coming October 6th from Miami. Valiant Lady will begin sailing in March of 2022 in Europe. In the winter, she will transition to the US to sail longer sailings from Florida. Resilient Lady will begin sailings from Athens in August of 2022. Once her season in Athens is over, she will move to San Juan, Puerto Rico to sail southern Caribbean itineraries.

    Scarlet Lady holds 2770 passengers at full capacity, 1150 crew, and is 100% adults only. There are 1408 cabins and suites onboard the ship. The ship is what would be considered mid-size at 912 feet in length and 110,000 gross registered tons.

    Scarlet Lady has three different five night itineraries and one four night itinerary, all roundtrip from Miami. One interesting note – although the ship arrives back in Miami at 6:30am at the end of each sailing, check-out isn’t until 11am, allowing you to enjoy some extra time on the final morning onboard.

  • Mayan Sol – 5 nights – Ports include Costa Maya and The Beach Club at Bimini
  • Riviera Maya – 5 nights – Ports include Cozumel/Playa del Carmen and The Beach Club at Bimini
  • Dominican Daze – 5 nights – Ports include Puerto Plata and The Beach Club at Bimini
  • Fire & Sunset Soirees – 4 nights – Ports include Key West and The Beach Club at Bimini

  • The Beach Club at Bimini is Virgin Voyages’ private destination, with amazing amenities for guests including an evening bonfire celebration.

    The staterooms on Virgin ships have beds that convert from sofas to actual beds depending on the time of day, allowing the cabin to have more usable space when not in the nighttime configuration. There are 46 cabins that are designed for singles. Many cabins include roomy rains hoers, terrace hammocks, mood lighting, Red Flower shower products, large flat-screen TVs, and a “glam area” to look your best for the evening fun.

    There are 78 suites including 63 “RockStar” quarters and 15 “Mega-RockStar” staterooms. Some have record players with actual vinyl you can enjoy during your cruise. Suites have marble bathrooms and vanities, plus a full bar setup. Some have wrap-around or aft terraces, and some have “peek a boo” windows from the shower to the bedroom, allowing you to see the ocean from anywhere in the room. RockStar guests get an onboard RockStar Agent (like a concierge), premium Wifi, private transfers in the Mega-RockStar category, access to the private sundeck Richard’s Rooftop, and more. In the Mega category, some rooms have real guitars so you can rock out. MegaRockstars also get a continually stocked bar (others get one stocking), drinks included at Bimini, complimentary access to the spa thermal suites, and more.

    When it comes to food and drink, Virgin Voyages is charting a new course.

    There are no buffets, large dining halls, or assigned dining times. Instead, you eat when you want and where you want at one of several great dining options including six main restaurants designed by Michelin starred chefs.

  • The Wake – Steak and seafood restaurant
  • Razzle Dazzle – Vegetarian and vegan-forward food
  • Test Kitchen – A laboratory type kitchen where the menu has one word for each course (mushroom, egg, scallop, chocolate, etc.) and what arrives is a surprise based on that
  • Gunbae – Authentic Korean BBQ in a fun, festive atmosphere. The menu here has drinking games printed on the reverse.
  • Pink Agave – Upscale Mexican restaurant with a wide variety of Tequilas and a Mexico City culinary influence
  • The Dock & The Dockhouse – The Dock is the outdoor area, while the Dockhouse is indoors. Enjoy Mediterranean food and raise or lower the flag when you want more or have had enough.
  • Extra Virgin – The ship’s Italian restaurant with all pasta made fresh daily and served family style.
  • The Pizza Place – Pretty self explanatory.
  • Bento Baby, Well Bread, Pop Star, Let’s Taco ‘Bout It, Burger Bar, Hot Off the Press, Diner & Dash, Noodle Around, The Sweet Side, and The Daily Mix are part of The Galley – a food hall type concept.
  • Lick Me Till…Ice Cream – The cleverly named ice cream shop onboard
  • Grounds Club – The ship’s coffee bar
  • Draught Haus – The ship’s beer pub
  • Sip – Champagne lounge
  • The Loose Cannon – Modeled after the seaside bars of Brighton in the UK
  • On the Rocks – Craft cocktails made to your specifications
  • I.V. – Located directly across from the medical center, drinks are made via prescriptions from the bartenders
  • Ship Eats – Room service delivered with a Virgin twist. Delivery fee is $5 unless you order a drink, and then it’s included.
  • All food onboard is included with the exception of a few items on some menus that are considered upgrades. Basic “bevvies” are also included (basically non-alcoholic drinks). They do not offer drink packages but do have a way to pre-purchase a “Bar Tab” for $300 that gets you credit of $350 on the ship and more value for your money. You can buy multiple bar tabs if you wish. A typical beer is $5, many wines are under $10 a glass, and the average cocktail checks in around $9. All prices include the gratuities and there is nothing to sign.

    Wellness is a big part of the Virgin brand, with all classes included at the B Complex – their gym and wellness studio. At the top of the ship is The Runway, the red halo around the ship that is actually a jogging track that is only for that use and away from the public areas.

    The Redemption Spa has fantastic options for relaxation. The Tune Up offers mani/pedis, Dry Dock is the ship’s salon, and Stubble & Groom is the ship’s barbershop for men. There is also an outdoor “training camp” with various workout stations. There’s even a boxing ring.

    The Aquatic Club is the main pool area, the Athletic Club is on deck 15 at the rear of the ship, offering a 150 square foot catamaran net you can relax in high above the sea. The Perch is another relaxation area where sunrise and sunset yoga happens. Voyage Vinyl is the onboard record shop. Squid Ink is the onboard tattoo studio. The Booty Free Shop is the (you guessed it) duty free shop and part of High Street, the retail area. The Groupie is the ship’s karaoke lounge with several rooms for you and your friends to sing.

    For entertainment, there’s The Red Room, a convertible space that can transform into three different types of venues depending on the evening’s theme. All of the entertainment onboard is different. No Broadway-styled shows or lounge acts. Instead, much of the entertainment is pop-up or interactive.

    The Manor is the ship’s two-story nightclub, named after Richard Branson’s first music studio. There is a non-smoking casino onboard with just over 100 slot machines and over a dozen table games.

    There is no Cruise Director. Instead, there is The Happenings Cast. Each has a specific expertise and will appear around the ship at various events or parties. Phantom Folktales is entertainment that might appear randomly around the ship, performing live with music, magic, and more.

    On every sailing, there is the Scarlet Night. Details for this experience have not been revealed yet, but they guarantee they will “turn the ship red” and celebrate being on the ocean. Be sure to bring something red to wear for this special event.

    Set Sail the Virgin Way.


    While the conference technically continues Sunday and Monday with area sightseeing trips, we are leaving a bit early…but for a good reason. Tomorrow morning, we will head to Miami to board Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas for a two-night “simulated” cruise to Perfect Day at CocoCay. These “simulated” cruises are actual real cruises but with volunteers. They are designed to test the new protocols for the ship prior to bringing paying passengers onboard. We are excited to see the ship and help them get back to service. There will be daily blogs, photos, videos, and more.

    Until then, thank you for following our updates from Cruise 360. We’ll be back to do it all again next March.