Fast Friends: RCI Launches Party Program

Partnership with Cruise Critic site helps shipmates mingle online before and after setting sail

By: David Peterkofsky

Clients who want to get a leg up on the social aspect of their upcoming Royal Caribbean International cruises have a new, high-tech way of meeting other passengers prior to their departures: Royal Caribbean has teamed with Cruise Critic to create an online “meeting place” for passengers slated to travel on upcoming sailings.

The Royal Caribbean/ Cruise Critic Party program lets cruisers-to-be meet their future shipmates by posting messages on the Cruise Critic site (

The passengers then meet on board, at an informal gathering set up by Royal Caribbean.

The cruise line, which will arrange the Cruise Critic parties for any sailing of seven nights or longer, views the new service as one that adds value for Royal Caribbean passengers.

“Our ship staff noticed groups of guests getting together and having a great time with friends they’d made online before the cruise,” said Daniel Hanrahan, senior vice president of marketing and sales. “By partnering with Cruise Critic, we are able to offer that opportunity to more of our guests and further enhance their cruise experience.”

Royal Caribbean said word of the new service like just about anything on the Web has spread quickly. At press time, some 4,500 people registered on the Web site to participate in the Royal Caribbean/Cruise Critic Parties, and that happened before RCI officially announced the program. As many as 200 passengers signed up for a single sailing.

Clients who have completed the booking process can register online for a party by going to the Royal Caribbean site (www.royal and clicking on the Info and Extras link on the left-hand side of the page. A link for Royal Caribbean Cruise Critic Parties can be found in the yellow Additional Services box, and travelers can enter their reservation ID numbers there to register for parties.

Registered travelers can follow links to the RCI message boards on the Cruise Critic site to start meeting fellow cruisers and share travel tips before their sailings.

When at least 25 passengers sign up on a particular cruise the entire group will be invited to meet onboard at a Cruise Critic party set up by the line. Registration for the party closes two weeks before the departure date, and Royal Caribbean sends out an e-mail to confirmed party guests as a reminder of the event. On the day of departure, clients receive printed invitations in their cabins with the date, time and location of the party.