15 most commonly asked cruise questions we've been asked in 2022

13 Oct 2022
Jenna DeLaurentis

Planning a Royal Caribbean cruise can bring up endless questions. Which ship should I book? Should I buy a drink package? Which itinerary is best for my family?

Harmony of the Seas front part

While planning a cruise is almost as fun as the cruise itself, it can be challenging to figure out the right answers to these questions, especially for first time cruisers.

Here at Royal Caribbean Blog, we aim to make the cruise planning process as seamless as possible by providing our best tips & tricks for planning a cruise vacation.

One way we do this is through a live broadcast every Monday on the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube channel. During this broadcast, our viewers can ask any questions they have about all things Royal Caribbean.

While we always receive unique questions each week, there are many questions we are asked time and time again. Here are the most frequently asked questions we’ve received about Royal Caribbean cruises this year.

What should I do in Cozumel, Costa Maya, Nassau, etc.?

We’ve been asked countless times for our recommendations on the best things to do in popular cruise ports.

Whether visiting Nassau, Falmouth, Ensenada, or Rome, it’s important to do a little research ahead of your visit to ensure you find the best shore excursion to fit your interests.

We have several helpful guides highlighting ideas of what to do in popular cruise ports:

These guides should help you have a better understanding of what is offered in popular cruise ports.

Is the Coco Beach Club worth it?

Infinity pool

The Coco Beach Club is Royal Caribbean’s exclusive enclave at Perfect Day at CocoCay. It features a private infinity pool, beach access, lunch at the Coco Beach Club restaurant, and comfy seating areas. There are also two types of private cabanas to reserve at the beach club, including the highly coveted over-the-water cabanas.

Related: Coco Beach Club: cost, tips & review

The price of the Coco Beach Club can vary by sailing, but it has recently been priced around $160.99 per person.

What is “worth it” or not is highly subjective. Some guests may have no interest in spending $160.99 per person when there are free activities elsewhere on CocoCay. Others, however, may value the exclusivity of the Coco Beach Club and decide it’s worth it to treat themselves to a more luxurious day.

Consider your travel style and budget before reserving a day pass at the Coco Beach Club. What is “worth it” to one guest may not be worth it to another.

Which ship is best when cruising with kids?

Wonder of the Seas in Labadee

A Royal Caribbean cruise makes for an excellent family vacation. It will be difficult for kids to get bored with activities like water slides, arcades, carousels, rock climbing, and kids programming at their fingertips.

We’re often asked which Royal Caribbean cruise ship is best for kids. While all cruises will offer enough to keep kids busy, not all ships are created equally.

We usually recommend sailing on an Oasis, Quantum, or amplified Freedom or Voyager Class ship when cruising with kids. These ships offer the best of the best of Royal Caribbean’s kid-friendly activities, such as the FlowRider, bumper cars, and zip lines.

Bumper cars

Related: Here are the absolute best cruises for families

However, you’ll still find that kids can stay busy on even the smallest Royal Caribbean cruise ships. All ships have Adventure Ocean kids programming, a rock climbing wall, and child-friendly activities offered every day of the cruise. 

Should I upgrade my stateroom with RoyalUp?

Grand Suite on Liberty of the Seas

RoyalUp is Royal Caribbean’s bidding program for cruise ship cabins. It allows passengers to bid on higher category cabins before their cruise. If they win the bid, they’ll be assigned an upgraded stateroom.

Listeners ask us nearly every week on our YouTube live whether or not it’s worth it to upgrade their stateroom with RoyalUp.

More often than not, our answer is the same. If you want to upgrade your cabin, it’s best to contact your travel agent or Royal Caribbean directly. Check how much it would cost outright to upgrade your cabin, and determine if the price is reasonable for your vacation budget.

Related: Royal Caribbean’s RoyalUp guide, tips, and tricks

Aft balcony

The problem with RoyalUp is that cabin upgrades are not guaranteed. If you are 100% certain you would like to upgrade from a balcony to a suite, for example, it’s better to upgrade without an uncertain bid.

That being said, some cruisers enjoy the RoyalUp bidding process. It is possible to score a cabin upgrade for a lower cost than upgrading outside RoyalUp. As long as you understand that you may not win an upgrade, there’s no harm in placing a bid.

What does Royal Caribbean do for holidays?

If you’re cruising on a Royal Caribbean ship during a major holiday, you’ll find that there are many special events offered throughout the cruise.

Cruising during Thanksgiving and Christmas means the ship is decorated with festive decor, from inflatable turkeys and pumpkins to a Christmas tree in the Royal Promenade.

Related: How Royal Caribbean celebrates Christmas and New Years holidays on its cruise ships

Special activities are offered throughout the day, including gingerbread cookie decorating, holiday movie screenings, holiday crafts, and scavenger hunts.

In addition, there are special menus offered in the Main Dining Room for holiday dinners. You’ll find courses like honey baked ham, oven-roasted turkey, and chestnut truffle risotto on the menu.

You’ll also find special events on days like Halloween, New Year’s, and Super Bowl Sunday. Be sure to pack a costume for Halloween, and don’t miss the celebration in the Royal Promenade to ring in the New Year onboard your cruise!

How does the Unlimited Dining Package work?


There always seems to be confusion with the ins and outs of Royal Caribbean’s Unlimited Dining Package.

The Unlimited Dining Package is unlimited, meaning you can dine at as many specialty restaurant locations as you’d like onboard. This includes lunch, dinner, and snacks.

Reservations cannot be made in advance with the Unlimited Dining Package. Instead, guests must visit a specialty restaurant on embarkation day and make all dining reservations for the cruise.

Chops top view

You do not have to visit each specialty restaurant individually to make reservations. If you visit Jamie’s Italian to make a reservation, for example, you can make reservations for all other restaurants at the same time.

The only exception to this rule is with Izumi Hibachi. All hibachi reservations must be made by visiting Izumi once onboard. We recommend that you do this as soon as possible, as hibachi tables can fill up quickly.

Related: Royal Caribbean specialty dining packages guide

Burger at Playmakers

The Unlimited Dining Package covers both cover charge restaurants and à la carte options. Cover charge dining is offered at most venues, including Italian restaurants, Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, Wonderland, and Johnny Rockets. The cover charge is included in the dining package, and you won't have to consider the cost per item on the menu at these venues.

Izumi, Portside BBQ, and Playmakers are à la carte. At Izumi, each guest with a dining package receives a $35 food credit. Portside BBQ and Playmakers offer $20 in food credit per guest.

One exception to the Unlimited Dining Package is at Izumi Hibachi, where an additional $10 surcharge will be added to your bill once onboard.

Related: How to know if you should buy a Royal Caribbean dining package

Alaska cruise tips & tricks

Whale watching in Sitka, Alaska

Alaska cruises are some of Royal Caribbean’s most popular itineraries, and we receive countless questions from viewers planning an Alaska cruise.

Whether choosing an Alaska cruise itinerary, picking the best ship for Alaska, or planning which shore excursions to book in each port, there’s a lot to consider.

Luckily, we have plenty of helpful guides for planning the best Alaska cruise:

No matter which ship, itinerary, or time of year you sail to Alaska, you’re guaranteed to see stunning scenery, wildlife, and culture. Both small and big cruise ships sail to Alaska each year, so there’s really something for every type of traveler.

Should I wait until the price goes down on ______ before booking?

Frozen cocktail

Another common question we are asked is if it’s better to purchase a pre-cruise add-on right away or wait to see if the price drops.

Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner is where you’ll purchase cruise add-ons like drink packages, dining packages, shore excursions, and internet packages before a cruise.

Let’s say you visit the Cruise Planner website and see a shore excursion listed for $120 per person. It may be tempting to wait and see if the price lowers to $80-100 per person before booking.

This is never a good idea. Why? You’re always able to cancel a Cruise Planner purchase and rebook later on if you notice a price drop. You can cancel and rebook up to 48 hours before your cruise.

Therefore, if you know you want to purchase a cruise add-on, it’s best to purchase right away so the price doesn’t increase while you’re hoping it will decrease!

Should I wait to book my next cruise at Next Cruise?

Next Cruise is a cruise booking office found on every Royal Caribbean ship. It’s where passengers can book a future cruise while onboard their current cruise–and receive several perks for doing so.

If you book a cruise at Next Cruise, you’ll see deposits as low as $100 per person and receive up to $600 in onboard credit on your future cruise.

These perks can make it tempting to wait to book a future cruise until you’re onboard an upcoming sailing, but this is usually not the best idea.

Explorer of the Seas docked

Let’s say your Caribbean cruise is a month away and you’re waiting to book next summer’s Mediterranean cruise once onboard. In that month, the price of the Mediterranean cruise may increase by several hundred dollars, thus negating any “savings” you would receive by booking the cruise onboard.

Therefore, it’s best to book a cruise today instead of waiting weeks or months to book it at Next Cruise. If you’re onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise, however, and suddenly get the urge to book a future cruise, there’s no harm in booking the cruise at Next Cruise.

Do both people in the room have to get the Deluxe Beverage Package?

Vue Bar

Royal Caribbean’s Deluxe Beverage Package offers unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. However, Royal Caribbean states the following about the Deluxe Beverage Package policy:

The Deluxe Beverage Package policy requires all guests wishing to purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package to do so for ALL guests of legal drinking age in the same stateroom.

Related: Royal Caribbean Drink Package Info, Tips, Pros & Cons

This policy creates a problem for some guests when one person in the stateroom wishes to purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package but the other doesn’t consume alcohol.

In this scenario, call Royal Caribbean at 1-800-398-9819 to ask for an exemption on the second guest. In most cases, you will be required to purchase a Refreshment Package (non-alcoholic package) for that guest.

Should I be worried about hurricane season?

Hurricane aerial view

You’ve come across an amazing cruise deal, but you’re hesitant to book. Why? The itinerary sails right in the middle of hurricane season!

Many of those new to cruising are concerned about sailing during hurricane season. After all, the idea of sailing through a hurricane does not sound like the best way to spend vacation.

However, it’s important to dispel the myths regarding cruising during hurricane season.

Cruise ship in a storm

Royal Caribbean will not sail a cruise ship directly into the eye of a hurricane. Itinerary changes, postponed embarkation, or delayed disembarkation may be necessary in order to keep all passengers and crew safe.

Related: What it’s like on a cruise ship when there’s a hurricane

More often than not, you won’t run into any hurricanes when cruising during hurricane season. On the off chance that your cruise happens at the same time a hurricane is approaching the Caribbean, it’s important to remain flexible and realize that your itinerary may change.

What should I wear on formal night?

Many newbie cruisers are concerned with packing the right outfit for formal night.

Formal night is typically offered only once on 3, 4, and 5 night cruises, and twice on 6-10 night cruises. It only applies to dinner in the Main Dining Room.

Before you pack a tuxedo and ball gown, it’s important to realize that formal night is not nearly as glamorous as it once was. Many cruisers choose to wear a nice pair of slacks and a polo, a sundress, or a button-up shirt.

For more information on formal night, check out our guide on what to wear on a cruise formal night

Is a suite worth the extra cost?

Royal Suite

Many viewers have asked us if they should book one cruise with a suite or spread the money out and book two or more cruises in a lower category cabin.

Whether a suite is worth the extra cost is subjective. Some passengers love the extra space and perks that come with a suite, but others would prefer booking multiple cruises for the same cost as one cruise in a suite.

Related: Is a suite on Royal Caribbean worth it?

Junior Suite on Symphony of the Seas

If your budget is tight, we recommend booking multiple cruises in a regular category stateroom over just one cruise in a suite. You likely won’t spend much time in your room anyway while onboard, and more days on a cruise ship is always a perk!

However, if budget isn’t an issue and you’re looking to treat yourself, you may find that a suite is worth the extra cost. Priority boarding, extra cabin space, Suite Lounge and Sun Deck access, exclusive dining options, and concierge service can be well worth the extra cost for many cruisers.

Related: Royal Caribbean suites guide & review

What tips do you have for solo cruisers?

Studio cabin on Harmony

Sailing solo on a Royal Caribbean cruise may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s actually a lot more common than you might think.

We often receive questions from viewers asking about our advice for planning a solo Royal Caribbean cruise. Here are a few of our best tips:

Consider a studio cabin

A major drawback of cruising solo is paying a single supplement fee for a standard cruise cabin. This means you are charged extra for cruising with just one person in a stateroom. This charge makes up for the lost revenue that a second person would otherwise bring.

However, several Royal Caribbean ships offer solo staterooms that do not come with a single supplement fee. These staterooms are smaller than a standard cruise cabin but can easily lead to large savings on cruise fare.

Participate in group activities

Cruising solo does not mean you have to spend the whole cruise alone. Consider attending onboard activities like drink seminars, wine tastings, and sports tournaments to get to know your fellow passengers.

Related: What I learned from my first solo cruise

Join Facebook groups for your sailings

Prior to your cruise, consider joining a Facebook group for your sailing. Here you can connect with other passengers on your cruise and organize onboard meetups.

For more tips & tricks on cruising solo, check out our guide to solo cruises on Royal Caribbean.

Do I need a passport to cruise?

Planning a cruise but you don’t have a passport? Depending on your sailing, you may not need a passport.

If you’re a U.S. citizen on a cruise beginning and ending at the same port in the U.S., you do not need a passport. Instead, you can provide proof of citizenship via a government-issued birth certificate and laminated government-issued picture ID (such as a driver’s license).

Related: Do you need a passport for a cruise?

While there are some itineraries where passports are not required for U.S. citizens, we still recommend getting a passport before your cruise.

Not having a passport can lead to problems down the line, especially if you encounter any emergencies where you must fly back to the U.S. from a foreign country. Without a passport, you will need to travel to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in a foreign country and apply for a temporary visa to re-enter the United States.

This process is not quick and can be a huge headache. Therefore, we always recommend having a passport before your cruise.

Jenna DeLaurentis enjoys exploring new ports of call around the world on a cruise ship, learning about new cultures, discovering beautiful landscapes, and trying diverse cuisine. She loves to get active while at port, whether cycling through mountains in the Caribbean or scuba diving under the sea.

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