Cruise fans complaints flood social media regarding Royal Caribbean potentially charging for pizza on cruise ships

16 Aug 2023
Matt Hochberg

Don't mess with the pizza is the message Royal Caribbean cruise fans are saying loudly back to the cruise line.

Sorrento's Pizza on Harmony of the Seas

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean CEO says pizza will remain free

In the days since it became public that Royal Caribbean asked select customers what they think about paying extra for the pizza that is currently complimentary from Sorrento's pizza.

The question was part of a survey that wanted to get customer feedback about many aspects of the cruise experience, but this particular question struck a nerve with so many of our readers and viewers.

"Charge for pizza? If that happens I’m out, that’s the last straw," is what Scott North wrote after reading about the question, and his sentiment was shared among many other readers.

Email survey

The survey wanted to know if Royal Caribbean decided to charge for pizza, would people still pay for it and would it impact their choice in cruising with Royal Caribbean.

While nothing has actually changed in terms of the price of pizza on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the very notion of thinking of charging for something as basic as a slice of pizza on a cruise has so many readers up in arms.

Over 300 Facebook comments along with 600 YouTube comments illustrate a growing frustration with potentially higher prices to cruise.

The principle of the change

Utopia aerial

Most readers seem to be upset about the direction Royal Caribbean seems to be headed in, rather than actually paying extra for pizza.

"Charging for pizza?? This is starting to get out of hand," is what Andy Pope wrote and a lot of people seem to agree that they see the slippery slope of adding more costs to an already expensive cruise cost.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog YouTube viewer MikeyAtTheBar is also worried about what charging for pizza leads to, "Were they to start charging for Sorrento's and were it to be successful, what's next? How many other things could they start charging for? Shows? Water slides? Windjammer? MDR? It's a slippery slope."

Twitter user @Williamson_KB posted this meme as a way to poke fun at the idea of charging for pizza.

Cruise meme for charing

Dawn Thompson understands the bigger picture, but thinks the cut backs since cruising restarted in 2021 is getting out of hand, "I understand cruise ships lost a lot of money during Covid, but trying to make up all that money at once by putting an up charge on everything! They will lose their base and limit the amount of new customers and lose more!"

What Dawn is referring to is something a lot of readers pointed to as well in their comments. In 2023, Royal Caribbean introduced a new main dining room menu that reduced the amount of options on the menu and limited each passenger to one lobster.


They also changed cabin service for non-suites from twice a day to once a day, which came after increasing automatic crew member gratuities in 2022.

Andy Januse doesn't like the direction either, "I am Loyal to Royal but lately they way they are nickel and diming everyone to death is really leaving a sour taste in my mouth and might even make me consider switching lines altogether."

Looking at other lines

MSC World Europa

Many people that commented on the survey question questioned their choice in cruise line.

"I am a Diamond member and after September cruise I’ll be Diamond Plus.I have started for the first time in my life looking at other cruise lines like NCL, where some sales offer for free a lot of the things Royal Caribbean charges for," is what Theodore Jones wrote.  "Too much nickel and dimming and I’ll be out."

"I'll take my 3-5 cruises a year to another line. Enough of this silliness," wrote Matt Bender.

Marc Razz Sr. is also considering other options, "RCCL seems like the are pushing us loyal clients to try other companies. As MSC is attempting to make a splash in tristate area, this may be my final straw."

Highest cruise prices yet

Royal Caribbean logo on the side of the ship

Then there's the comments by Royal Caribbean Group executives to Wall Street that they want to raise prices even higher.

Royal Caribbean has always charged extra for certain add-ons, like drinks or shore excursions, but the possibility of charging for pizza comes at a time when the price for a cruise is already on the rise.

While Royal Caribbean Group is still saddled with billions of dollars of debt that it took out in the form of loans since 2020, it is slowly beginning to pay those loans back thanks to higher cruise fares.

Royal Caribbean ship at sea

In short, people in 2023 are paying more for their cruises than in 2019, which was the previous high water mark for cruise revenue.

The company disclosed cruise rates were up 17% in the second quarter compared to 2019.

Capacity overall was at 105% and net yields up 12.9% comparted to 2019 numbers.

Jason Liberty on TV

After releasing the earnings, Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty told CNBC he thinks prices will go even higher in talking about the value gap between a cruise and land vacation.

"In the earlier part of this year, that value gap was somewhere around 45%. And today, we've closed that value gap by about ten percentage points, so we still think there's a lot of runway that is still there to close," he said. 

"We always want to be as competitive as we possibly can be, but of course, we want that gap to be much smaller."

"We were able to close that gap to about 10-15 points pre-covid, we think there's a lot of opportunity for us to close that gap even further."

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 experts 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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