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5 real-life places that inspired Royal Caribbean cruise ship design

06 Dec 2022
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's cruise ships travel the world, and some of the most well-known features found on these vessels were inspired by those same places.

Quantum of the Seas near New York

Cruise ship design will come from many sources, as the industry relies on its own research and trends from the hospitality industry. 

Over the years, Royal Caribbean has introduced new activities and things to do on its ships that came directly from places in the world.

Royal Caribbean's new drink menu

When Royal Caribbean restarted cruises in 2021, it revamped its fleetwide drink menu to pay homage to the Caribbean islands the line has relied on for decades.

The new menu is inspired by some of the signature Caribbean islands Royal Caribbean has traditionally visited, and as a way of honoring these destinations, a popular drink recipe was highlighted from each spot.

Linken D'​Souza, Global Vice President Culinary, Dining & Beverage, thinks these featured drinks not only provide a tasty cocktail, but a tip of the hat to these places, "It's like bringing a port of call to your experience onboard the ship. And maybe you have the cocktail on board and you get off from the island and you say, hey, I got to get one of those here to see how close they are."

Some of the new signature cocktails that Royal Caribbean highlighted include:

  • Goombay Smash (Bahamas)
  • Planter's Punch (Jamaica)
  • Papa Jac (Puerto Rico)
  • The Painkiller (British Virgin Islands)
  • Dark 'n Stormy (Bermuda)
  • Rum Puinch (Barbados)

The new drink menus are available on all the cruise ships in the fleet.

North Star

The observation pod on Royal Caribbean's Quantum Class ships is an idea born out of a well-known tourist attraction.

North Star is a 300-foot observational pod that provides guests 360-degress views of everything around them.

London Eye pod

The idea for North Star was inspired by the London Eye, but instead of placing it on a Ferris wheel, there is just one pod and it is attached to a giant robotic arm.

Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain said in an interview, "Quite frankly, the success of the London Eye had a lot to do with this."

The North Star pod is smaller than the the London Eye pods, but the goal is the same: provide great views. The concept of North Star is for cruise ship passengers to see the ship, the sea and the ports in perspective.


The Boardwalk neighborhood on Oasis Class ships is a fan-favorite area of the ship because of the pleasing aesthetics, fun activities and great views of the sea.

The Boardwalk neighborhood was inspired by both the seaside piers that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island.

Coney Island boardwlak

The focal point of the Boardwalk is the traditional, hand crafted carousel, which would be common on many boardwalks.

There are also hot dog stands, ice cream, and even a candy shop called, "Candy Beach" (get it?).

Portside BBQ

Have you tried Portside BBQ restaurant on Oasis of the Seas yet?

Royal Caribbean's first foray into barbecue food was planned to mirror the best options in the real world they could find, and that took the company to Texas.

Mr. D'Souza rented a minivan and tested 14 to 15 BBQ restaurants in Austin, Texas, before creating the BBQ offering on board the Oasis of the Seas.

In fact, after sampling barbecue around Texas, they tested the best choices back at Royal Caribbean's headquarters in the company parking lot for staff to get a sense of which performed best.

Viking Crown Lounge

The Viking Crown Lounge has long been one of the most iconic features of Royal Caribbean cruise ships, especially the early vessels.

Read moreWhat happened to Royal Caribbean's first cruise ships?

The Viking Crown Lounge was a feature first conjured up by the founder of Royal Caribbean, Edwin Stephan.

This area of the ship is known for its dramatic ocean views, perched as it is atop the one of the highest decks on the entire ship.

Mr. Stephan was inspired by the Seattle Space Needle and came up with the idea for the Viking Crown Lounge so that its ships could have a striking visual profile that stood out from competitors.

Built for the 1962 World's Fair, the Space Needle platform and restaurant was designed to evoke a flying saucer.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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