The Virtual Balcony: Royal Caribbean’s way of making the interior room more appealing.

I am not a fan of the interior rooms on cruise ships.  Out of the many cruises I have been on,  I have only stayed in one interior room.  The main reason I don’t care for them is because I like to wake up to see the natural sunlight shining around the drawn curtains.  It helps me to wake up.  I could probably sleep the cruise away if I was in an interior room and I didn’t set an alarm to wake myself up.  I once had someone give me some good advice for getting an interior room but still getting some natural light (sort of).  They said before you go to sleep set the TV on the ship’s outside view channel and mute it.  Because it is a constant, real-time view, usually out the front of the ship, it will be dark at night and get lighter as the sun rises.  I thought that was a genius idea!

Royal Caribbean Virtual Balcony Room

Royal Caribbean Virtual Balcony Room

Well, Royal Caribbean apparently found it to be a genius idea as well because in 2014 they began offering interior rooms with a virtual balcony.  When they refurbished Navigator of the Seas they incorporated the concept in a select number of interior rooms and Quantum of the Seas set to launch in November will have a virtual balcony in all the interior cabins, 373 to be exact.  Voyager, Adventure, and Explorer of the Seas are slated next to receive the upgrade.

The concept is basically the same as what I described above, but on a much more high-tech level.  An 80-inch, High-Definition display will be framed to look like a real balcony that will stretch nearly from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall depending on the room.  What will be viewed on that display is a real-time view of one of the ship’s cameras giving the room’s occupants a virtual view of the ocean on sea days and the surrounding port on port days.  How fantastic is that?!?!  To make this amenity even more realistic, actual sounds of the sea in real-time will be piped in to enhance the authenticity.  (There will be volume control)  A-mazing!!!

Another interesting feature the virtual balconies will include is a banister to offer a feeling of safety.  Apparently, the display is so HD that it was making people feel like they could fall right into the ocean! There was a lot of details that the creators of these virtual balconies had to deal with that frankly, I got bored reading about, including how to keep people from feeling seasick.  But basically, there are a lot of really smart, tech-savvy people working on this project to bring it to all of us cruise lovers and make the interior room more appealing.

Now Royal Caribbean is not the first cruise line to come up with this virtual-view concept.  When Disney launched the Disney Dream in January 2011, many of the interior rooms boasted a virtual porthole.  The virtual portholes display a real-time ocean view on a 42-inch monitor and once in a while a popular Disney character peeps in.

Of course, it all boils down to price.  I found that on average for a 7-night Caribbean cruise a virtual balcony room was about $100 per person more expensive than an interior room.  Interestingly, I found the virtual balcony room to be the same or slightly higher in price for the lowest category ocean view room.  Honestly, I think if I was paying the same price I would rather have a window with an actual view, but I have not had a chance to see a virtual balcony yet so my opinion might change once I have.

So tell me, what do you think of this virtual balcony concept?  Would you like to stay in a virtual balcony room?  For more information on booking a cruise in one of these rooms please visit www.alovefortravel.com or email me at tmay@alovefortravel.com.

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Carnival Victory: 6-year-old boy drowns in pool.

Carnival Victory in Hudson River.

Carnival Victory in Hudson River. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is always a tragedy when such a young life is taken so suddenly, but it seems even more tragic when that life is taken by something that could have easily been prevented.   The 6-year-old boy who drowned on the Carnival Victory last weekend was said to have been swimming with his older brother in the pool.  There are also reports of a parent being present at the pool at the time of the drowning.

It appears that the mainstream media is quick to jump on the band wagon of blaming Carnival Corporation for the incident because they don’t post lifeguards at their pools.  I’d like to add here that there are no cruise lines to my knowledge that post lifeguards at their pools. There are signs posted, however, that warn of swimming at your own risk and that parental supervision is advised.  (Unfortunately, in this time of frivolous and unnecessary lawsuits, we have to have signs reminding us to watch our kids and that swimming can potentially be dangerous.)

Now I’m sure you’re thinking right now that I think it’s the parents fault for not watching their kids closely enough; however, I am not placing blame on anyone, especially Carnival Corporation.  I wasn’t there, and I don’t know what the parents were doing at the time, but as the mother of two very active boys I know they can get away from me pretty quickly if I don’t stay on top of them.  Accidents can happen very quickly, and that’s just what it is: an accident.

I also know from personal experience that young kids are not always supervised at the pools.  We were on a Disney cruise and my son was punched by another boy who then ran and jumped in the pool to get away from my husband who was coming after him.  When my husband got him out of the pool and went around the pool area looking for his parents, he could not find any claiming to be his.  The boy said his parents were not there and didn’t know where they were.  When we reported it to the pool supervisor, he tried calling the boy’s room and had to leave a message for them to call him back regarding their son.  The call was never returned.

Unfortunately, this is just another incident that is going hurt the Carnival Corporation because the mainstream media is only going to focus on the fact that they didn’t have lifeguards.  My purpose for writing this post is to say that we have to stop being a society that is continually looking to blame someone else.  We are always wanting to point the finger at someone else instead of examining ourselves because we refuse to take responsibility.

How about we just focus on the fact that a little boy is gone, and his family will have to forever mourn his loss.  Let’s stop worrying about whose fault it is.

A Love For Travel is, in no way affiliated with Carnival Corporation. 

CNN Article:  Florida boy drowns on Carnival Cruise.

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