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'Royal Amplified' is $900m 'amp up' of 10 ships

Amped-up upper decks, top, and, at bottom, from left, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Mark Tamis announcing Royal Amplified and The Bamboo Room
Royal Caribbean International is going far beyond the $90m 'amp up' of Mariner of the Seas to add innovative features and bold experiences to 10 ships in its whopping new $900m 'Royal Amplified' program.

Great dining, great bars and nightlife, live music and outside deck thrills are core elements of the revitalizations that will start with ships on short Caribbean itineraries but extend to all Voyager- and Freedom-class ships and even to Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, announced Mark Tamis, SVP hotel operations. The work will stretch over four years.

Royal Caribbean broke the news at a major media event in Lower Manhattan Wednesday night.

Tamis said the plans spring from guest feedback, which is extensive.

'They want great dining. This is a core, key element, and not just dining but a great experience around it,' Tamis said, adding Royal Caribbean will make a hefty investment into its food.

Italian, seafood and Mexican are among their favorites, and Royal Caribbean will deliver on that with more experiential dining concepts. Travelers also will see more of the line’s recently unveiled venues, including Hooked Seafood, a New England-style restaurant; Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and family-friendly El Loco Fresh, serving popular Mexican fare. Additional casual, grab-and-go eateries will also make their debut.

With great bars and nightlife another priority, new spots will deliver with craft cocktails, delicious food and live entertainment. An example is The Bamboo Room, a retro lounge with tiki-chic décor.

To develop that, 'We traveled the world and tasted tiki bar cocktails,' Tamis said.

'Live music is key,' he added. That's why the Music Hall, which debuted on Quantum of the Seas, will be going across the fleet.

Other new concepts include a signature outdoor Caribbean bar, a karaoke spot and a lounge-style nightclub that will 'take the nightlife to a whole new level.'

Also with Royal Amplified, outside decks will be reimagined for thrill-seekers, with upper decks getting exciting new attractions such as Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience, along with waterslides and water parks.

Plus, more specialized pool spaces will cater to diverse preferences, from pools designed for family fun to relaxing, spa-like environments.

Royal Caribbean's short Caribbean/Bahamas product, so important to introducing millennials to cruising, will be the first to benefit from Royal Amplified, starting with Freedom-class ship Independence of the Seas.

It will be getting Sky Pad, Battle for Planet Z, a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides and a new Escape Room: The Observatorium challenge, where competitors can solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. New dining venues will range from Fish and Ships, a seaside seafood spot with freshly battered fish and chips and other favorites, to Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Izumi Hibachi and Sushi and Sugar Beach.

Independence will operate three- to 14-night sailings from Southampton beginning in May before repositioning to Port Everglades in November for four- to five-night Caribbean cruises. Freedom of the Seas will be up next, debuting new features in 2020, followed by Liberty of the Seas in 2021.

In summer 2018, the transformation of Royal Caribbean’s short Caribbean cruises will begin with the $90m work on Mariner of the Seas. Mariner will add thrills, such as Sky Pad and laser tag, The Bamboo Room and Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. The program will continue in 2019 on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, which also will be redesigned specifically for those who seek a quick getaway.

Turning to the Oasis class, Oasis of the Seas will be completely reimagined in fall 2019, a decade after its debut. The ship will gain new thrills, pools, bars and culinary creations, and introduce new restaurants and adventures found on the newest Oasis-class ship, Symphony of the Seas, debuting this month. These enhancements will cascade to Allure of the Seas in spring 2020.

Royal Amplified specifics for each ship will be revealed on a continuous basis in the next three years.

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