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11 reasons to get as early a check-in time as possible for your cruise

20 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

As your Royal Caribbean cruise approaches, there is one important step you shouldn’t overlook: selecting an early check-in time.

Oasis of the Seas in Port Canaveral

45 days prior to your cruise, you can check in to your sailing via Royal Caribbean’s website or the Royal Caribbean app. During the online check-in process, you'll upload identification documents, provide credit card information, and, most importantly, select a check-in time.

Your check-in time is the time at which you can enter the cruise terminal on embarkation day. The earliest check-in time is around 10:30AM and the latest in mid afternoon, and we always recommend reserving the earliest time available.

The earlier you get onboard your cruise, the more quickly you can start the vacation you’ve been dreaming about for so long. Beyond just starting your vacation earlier, though, are a range of other benefits you can experience by boarding earlier than most other passengers.

Here are the top 11 reasons to get as early a check-in time as possible for your cruise.

Fewer crowds at the cruise terminal

Allure of the Seas in Galveston cruise terminal

One of the best reasons to get an early check-in time is to avoid crowds at the cruise terminal. The embarkation process is fairly straightforward, but it entails going through several lines before you can board your ship.

First you’ll enter a line outside the terminal for other passengers with your same check-in time. Then, as you enter the terminal, you’ll enter a line to have your documentation checked. Finally, you’ll enter a line to go through security.

Waiting in line is not anyone’s idea of a fun vacation, so make sure to get an early check-in time to be among the first in the cruise terminal.

Best parking spots at the port

Top of the terminal

If you have an early check-in time, you’ll be among the first to arrive at the cruise terminal. Even though 1,000 other passengers may have your same check-in time, there will be far less competition for a great parking spot compared to later in the day.

If your check-in time isn’t until 1PM and you plan to park your car in the lot, you’ll be stuck with the worst spots. Getting an early check-in time means you can snag the coveted spots near the entrance of the closest garage to the terminal.

Avoid parking garage delays

Terminal 3 in Port Canveral

It’s an all too common scenario: you’re ready to park your car but are stuck in a long, slow moving line of traffic. No one likes being stuck in traffic at any time, but especially when you’re ready to board your cruise!

Depending on your cruise ship, between three thousand and seven thousand people will board the ship on the same day. Managing thousands of people is never easy, and this can lead to crowds not only in the cruise terminal, but also in the parking garage.

Avoid delays to park your car by selecting an early check-in time. If you’re lucky, you’ll be among the first to park your car, which will surely be quicker than later in the afternoon.

Start your vacation sooner

Pool deck fun for kids

Who doesn’t want to start their vacation as soon as possible? Having an early check-in time for a Royal Caribbean cruise means you can get your vacation started earlier than other passengers.

The earlier you check-in and board your ship, the faster you can explore your ship, order your first cocktail by the pool, and hang out in a jacuzzi. With the earliest check-in times, it’s feasible to be onboard before 11:30AM, allowing you to make the most of your first day onboard.

Passengers with late check-in times—think 1:30 or 2PM—will feel a lot more rushed on embarkation day. After they get onboard and eat a quick lunch, they’ll have to rush to their eMuster safety drill station and get ready for dinner.

Why rush when you can relax? Reserve an early check-in time to kick your vacation off the right way.

Best selection of dining times

Royal Caribbean’s dining packages can offer a great value on specialty restaurants, but they come with one major disadvantage: you can’t make dining reservations until you board the ship.

This means you may be limited on dining times and restaurant availability compared to those who paid full price for each restaurant by booking their reservations without a dining package. And since dining packages are extremely popular, many other passengers will be rushing to make dining reservations on embarkation day.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Unlimited Dining Package

Popular dining times—from 6 to 7:30PM—can book up quickly. One way to snag the best dining times is by getting onboard early and immediately heading to a specialty restaurant. Luckily, you can make reservations for all specialty restaurants at a single location, so there’s no need to visit every single restaurant to book your dining time.

Note: The exception is with Izumi Hibachi. If you plan to make hibachi reservations, be sure to head to Izumi once onboard.

Beyond specialty dining, though, you can be among the first to head to the Main Dining Room to confirm or request reservations. If you have any questions about your dining time or would like to request a new table, you can do so before other passengers arrive.

Shorter lines for the buffet

Nothing screams “first day of a cruise” quite like rushing to the Windjammer for embarkation day lunch. Royal Caribbean’s buffet gets extremely busy on embarkation day as thousands of hungry passengers search for a quick lunch to start their vacation.

One of the best advantages to having an early check-in time is getting onboard before most other passengers, and this also means getting to the Windjammer more quickly. If you’re one of the first to board your cruise ship, you’ll encounter fewer lines and crowds at the buffet, making the start to your vacation much less hectic!

Related: Where can I eat on the first day of my Royal Caribbean cruise?

Alternatively, you could choose to dine elsewhere instead of the buffet. Other restaurants are open on embarkation day, from specialty dining venues like Chops Grille to quick grab and go spots like Park Cafe. While the Windjammer is convenient, it can be uncomfortably busy on the first day of your cruise.

Register kids at Adventure Ocean more quickly


Cruising with kids? If you plan to drop your kids off at Adventure Ocean, you can register them for the program on embarkation day.

Adventure Ocean, Royal Caribbean’s children's programming, is complimentary for ages 3-17, but all children must be registered. The best time to register kids for Adventure Ocean is on embarkation day, and registration opens around 12:30PM.

Related: 50 best cruising with kids tips & secrets

Registration only takes a few minutes, but you’ll want to avoid the lines you might find later in the afternoon. The earlier you register your kids at Adventure Ocean, the less you have to worry about, and the sooner you can start trying fun activities onboard.

Try activities before everyone else

Speaking of fun activities, the sooner you get onboard, the sooner you can try signature activities like the FlowRider, rock climbing wall, Skypad, and waterslides.

Not all passengers know that these activities are open as soon as you board the ship, leading to far fewer lines and wait times.

If you’re eager to try the zip line, head to the sports deck right after lunch. Unlike on a busy sea day, you might be one of the only passengers in line, allowing you to fly across the zip line several times in a row with no wait!

Be sure to confirm activity times in the Royal Caribbean app’s daily schedule to make sure the activity you’re interested in is open. We also recommend wearing tennis shoes on embarkation day if you plan to participate in sports activities.

Reserve entertainment and activities before other passengers

There are certain activities and production shows that must be reserved in advance, and spots can fill up quickly. Comedy shows, the escape room, and the North Star observation pod are all examples of activities that require a reservation.

Luckily, you can pre book some entertainment and activities ahead of time on Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner website. Broadway shows, for example, can be reserved at no extra cost starting 30 days before your cruise. We recommend doing this to ensure you can reserve the best day and time that work for you.

Some activities, though, can only be reserved once onboard. If you’re sailing on a Quantum Class ship and want to try RipCord by iFLY, the ship’s indoor skydiving simulator, you’ll need a reservation. While you can reserve the paid option of this activity before your cruise (a 2 minute flight), the complimentary option (a 1 minute flight) is only available to book onboard.

Related: 15 free things to try on your next cruise

The limited amount of complimentary flights will fill up more quickly than you think, so having an early check-in time gives you a head start on reserving these activities.

Be the first at the pool

Crowded pool decks are a common sight on a cruise ship, but not on embarkation day. If you want to avoid crowds, pack your swimsuit in your carry-on bag and head to the pool right after you get onboard.

Embarkation day is perhaps the most empty you’ll see a cruise ship pool during your entire vacation. With so much happening on the first day, from exploring the ship to unpacking, many cruisers wait to use the pool until later in their cruise.

Related: 25 things you need to know for the first day on a cruise ship

Plus, most passengers don’t think to bring a bathing suit in their carry-on bag. If they dropped off their luggage with the porters at the cruise terminal, they’ll be swimsuit-less for the majority of embarkation day.

Even so, you can still encounter crowds at the pool on embarkation day, especially if you’re on a short weekend cruise. Having an early check-in time means you can eat lunch and change into your bathing suit before most other passengers have boarded the ship!

Hotel check-out

Many passengers stay at a hotel the night before their cruise begins, especially if they fly to the cruise port. Most hotels require you to check out around 11AM, which coincides perfectly with the earliest check-in times for a Royal Caribbean cruise.

If you need to check out of your hotel at 11AM but your check-in time at the terminal isn’t until 2PM, this could lead to several hours waiting around with your luggage.

Getting the earliest check-in time possible means you can wake up, have breakfast, and head to the cruise terminal as soon as you check out of your hotel.

Celebrity Cruises Captain's Club loyalty program info, tips & secrets

20 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Booking a Celebrity Cruise? Be sure to join the Captain’s Club—the cruise line’s loyalty program—which provides exclusive perks and events to loyal cruisers.

Although there are dozens of cruise lines to choose from, many people prefer staying loyal to one brand. Staying loyal to one cruise line allows you to rack up loyalty points more quickly, leading to not only money-saving rewards, but an enhanced onboard experience.

One of the best aspects of Celebrity Cruises’ loyalty program is the reciprocity with Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society. You can easily match your status between the two brands. This means that, even if you’ve never sailed with Celebrity before, you may be eligible for one of the top tiers in their loyalty program as a Crown & Anchor Society member.

Everything from onboard discounts to free cruises are rewarded to Captain’s Club members, and we’re sharing everything you need to know about the program.

How do I earn Captain’s Club points?

You earn points in Celebrity’s Captain’s Club based on the stateroom you book and number of nights you sail. Because of this structure, the speed at which you move up tiers in the loyalty program can differ greatly from one passenger to the next.

Here is how many points you will earn per night on Celebrity Cruises:

  • Inside or ocean view: 2 points per night
  • Veranda: 3 points per night
  • Concierge Class and AquaClass: 5 points per night
  • Sky Suites and Aqua Sky Suite: 8 points per night
  • Celebrity, Signature, Royal, and Sunset Suites: 12 points per night
  • Penthouse, Reflection, and Edge Villa: 18 points per night
  • Iconic Suite: 24 points per night

Staying in the Iconic Suite—the cruise line’s most luxurious suite—earns a whopping 12x more points than an inside or ocean view cabin. Of course, earning more points per night comes at a higher price point.

At 12 points per night, the Iconic Suite can cost over $30,000 per person on a 7-night cruise! You can find deals on inside cabins, on the other hand, for under $600 per person.

Power Up Points with Celebrity Cruises

Don’t have a cruise booked? You can still earn Captain’s Club points with Celebrity through their Power Up Points program.

Power Up Points are points that can be earned online and converted to Captain’s Club points at a 10:1 ratio. For every ten Power Up Points you earn, you’ll receive 1 Captain’s Club point.

You can earn Power Up Points through participating in online activities like surveys and social media content. Completing an online survey may be worth 20 Power Up Points, for example, so 2 Captain’s Club points will be automatically added to your loyalty account.

To sign up for Celebrity’s Power Up Points program, you can enroll on Celebrity’s website.

Captain’s Club Tier Overview

There are six tiers to the Captain’s Club loyalty program, each of which offers increasingly more coveted benefits:

  • Preview (0 Club Points)
  • Classic (2-149 Club Points)
  • Select (150-200 Club Points)
  • Elite (300-749 Club Points)
  • Elite Plus (750-2,999 Club Points)
  • Zenith (3,000+ Club Points)

The first level, Preview, is for first-time cruisers on Celebrity. Beyond access to the Captain’s Club newsletter, loyalty desk access, and eligibility for Captain’s Club promotions when booking onboard, this tier does not offer any other benefits.

It acts as a starting point for those cruising for the first time with the goal of encouraging these guests to continue cruising with Celebrity.

More benefits are included in the Classic tier. Starting at 2 Club Points, all cruisers will be at this level after their first Celebrity cruise. Benefits include:

  • Special Captain’s Club Welcome Celebration Night
  • Access to exclusive events on specialty sailings
  • One pre-cruise category upgrade up to AquaClass
  • 10% discount on wifi packages
  • 25% discount on digital or print photo package
  • $100 off The Studio photo packages
  • 10% discount on a drink package or premium drink package
  • 10% discount at The Spa
  • 10% discount off one-time use laundry services
  • 10% off any bottle of wine
  • 5% discount on small group discovery shore excursions
  • 5% discount on Hollywood Hot Glass
  • Complimentary scoop of gelato
  • Complimentary specialty coffee when dining in a specialty restaurant

Select is the next tier up from the Classic level. The Select level brings additional discounts and freebies, but it doesn’t offer the exclusive benefits you’ll see as you move further up the Captain’s Club.

Nonetheless, in addition to the benefits of the Classic tier, you’ll receive:

  • Captain’s Club Wine Tasting
  • Captain’s Club Backstage Tour
  • 15% off any bottle of wine
  • 25% off wifi packages
  • 30% off digital or print photo packages
  • $150 off The Studio photo package
  • Two complimentary pressed laundry items
  • One discounted bag of laundry for cruises 12 nights or longer

If you always cruise in inside or ocean view rooms, it will take around eleven 7-night cruises to reach the Select tier. Staying in standard veranda rooms drops this to just seven cruises, whereas cruising in a Sky Suite would have you reaching the Select tier after just three cruises.

Elite Tiers in Celebrity’s Captain’s Club

Preview, Classic, and Select are the three lower tiers in the Captain’s Club. Once you reach 300 Club Points, you join the Elite tier and start to see many more benefits.

Celebrity has two elite tiers: Elite and Elite Plus. If you only booked 7-night cruises, reaching the Elite tier would require:

  • 22 cruises in an interior room
  • 15 cruises in a veranda
  • 9 cruises in Concierge Class or AquaClass
  • 6 cruises in a Sky Suite or Aqua Sky Suite
  • 4 cruises in a Celebrity, Signature, Royal, or Sunset Suite
  • 3 cruises in a Penthouse, Reflection, and Edge Villa
  • 2 cruises in an Iconic Suite

Exclusive access

Elite members and above in the Captain’s Club are invited to two daily events: the Coffee Lounge and Elite Cocktail Hour.

Each morning for two hours, a private continental breakfast is held in either the Tuscan Restaurant or Tuscan Grille specialty restaurant. Although the breakfast does not have as much variety as the Oceanview Cafe or main dining room, it offers a quieter breakfast option. As a plus, smoothies, mimosas, and other boozy breakfast drinks are complimentary!

Additionally, a cocktail hour is held each evening from 5-7PM, excluding embarkation day. The cocktail hour is not held in a specific venue; instead, guests can order drinks from the cocktail hour menu at most bars and lounges across the ship.

Elite members and above also have complimentary access to the Persian Garden on one port day. The Persian Garden is a thermal suite—available only on Millennium and Solstice Class ships—that features steam rooms, saunas, and hot stone loungers.

Private events

Elite members have access to additional private events compared to those in lower tiers, such as Music + Mixology, which features exclusive cocktail offerings and a live band. The Senior Officer Party is offered as well, where Elite members and higher can mingle with senior officers onboard their cruise ship.

As another plus, those sailing on the Celebrity Apex or Celebrity Beyond can participate in Create & Pour, a paint and sip event led by one of the ship’s artists. If you’re looking to let your creative side shine during a Celebrity cruise, this can definitely be a fun event.

Additional benefits

In addition to the exclusive events and benefits found in the Preview, Classic, and Select tiers are several other perks for Elite members.

If your cruise itinerary includes tender ports, Elite members get priority tender access, which can be a nice benefit when you’re hoping to get on shore as early as possible.

Other benefits include a complimentary dry clean item, one complimentary bag of laundry, and a private shipboard departure lounge.

Discounts increase with the Elite tier as well:

  • 20% off any bottle of wine
  • 15% discount on drink package or premium drink package
  • 30% discount on wifi package and 90 minutes of premium wifi
  • 40% off digital or print photo packages
  • $200 off The Studio photo package

Elite Plus

The next tier up from Elite is Elite Plus, which you will reach with 750 Captain’s Club points. In comparison from the jump from Select to Elite, there are not nearly as many additional perks given upon reaching Elite Plus status.

One new event Elite Plus members receive access to is the Spa Wellness event. This event includes enjoying sailaway on the Spa Veranda, a guided meditation, and an overview of wellness treatments and mini massages.

Additionally, Elite Plus members receive several increased discounts:

  • 15% off specialty dining cover charge
  • 20% off regular drink package
  • 35% discount on wifi and 240 minutes of premium wifi
  • $250 off The Studio photo package
  • Two complimentary bags of laundry

Zenith: The Ultimate Tier

The highest tier in Celebrity’s Captain’s Club is Zenith, which you can reach with an impressive 3,000 Club Points.

To put this into perspective, reaching Zenith would require spending 1,500 nights on a Celebrity cruise in an inside room! While this number goes down a bit when staying in a veranda (1,000 nights) and Sky Suite (375), there is no denying that you have to cruise a lot to reach Zenith.

Unsurprisingly, the top tier of the Captain’s Club delivers impressive benefits, including:

  • Complimentary unlimited premium wifi package
  • Complimentary laundry
  • Complimentary premium drink package
  • 50% discount on digital or print photo package
  • $300 off The Studio photo packages
  • 25% off specialty dining cover charge
  • 20% discount at The Spa
  • Priority seating in the theater
  • Access to Concierge Lunch in the Main Dining Room
  • Upgraded bath amenities
  • Charitable donation on your behalf made by Captain’s Club
  • Complimentary 7-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise upon reaching Zenith
  • Complimentary 7-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise at 6,000 points, and every 3,000 points thereafter

Loyalty matching with other cruise lines

Allure of the Seas docked

Celebrity’s Captains Club has reciprocity with Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society. The status matching between these two brands means you can match your Captain’s Club tier level to the Crown & Anchor Society and vice versa.

Status matching does not extend to the highest tier levels for each cruise line. Pinnacle members with Royal Caribbean, for example, will not become Zenith members of the Captain’s Club. Elite is the highest level to which you can match your Royal Caribbean status.

Select members in the Captain’s Club will be matched to Platinum in the Crown & Anchor Society. Elite, Elite Plus, and Zenith members will be matched to Diamond status in the Crown & Anchor Society.

Captain’s Club Partnerships

Celebrity Beyond

Celebrity Cruises has partnerships with entertainment, hotel, and retail companies throughout the United States. These partnerships provide additional benefits to Captain's Club members, from free upgrades at resorts to discounted production shows.

Celebrity Cruises Night Out

Members of the Captain’s Club have access to discounts at a variety of Broadway shows, production shows, and sporting events across the United States. Depending on the show, you can save between 10-40% off standard ticket prices.

Some offers even include a $25 dining credit to be used at STK Steakhouse at their locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver.

Upcoming shows can be viewed at the Celebrity Cruises Nights Out page here.


Celebrity has a partnership with MGM Resorts and offers a tier matching program. This leads to great benefits at many MGM Resorts locations, which includes waived resort fees, free room upgrades, priority check-in at resort properties, complimentary valet parking, and more.

Preview members are matched to MGM’s Sapphire tier whereas Classic members are matched to the Pearl tier. These tiers don’t give as many benefits as higher tiers in the program, but you can still see benefits like discounts on entertainment and car rentals.

Select, Elite, Elite Plus, and Zenith are matched to MGM’s Gold tier, and this is where most of the benefits kick in.

Hertz Rental Car

Celebrity’s partnership with Hertz gives additional benefits to Captain’s Club members. Depending on your tier level with Celebrity, you will receive a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards membership in addition to weekly rental discounts and free upgrades.

As a Captain’s Club member, you get up to 20% off any purchase from and its brands, including:

  • Harry & David
  • Cheryl’s Cookies
  • Simply Chocolate
  • The Popcorn Factory

Captain’s Club questions

Do Captain’s Club points ever expire?

Captain’s Club points will never expire as long as you have an active account in the loyalty program. Unlike most airline loyalty programs, you won’t have to worry about reaching a certain level of cruising each year to keep your benefits.

How many points do I need for a free cruise on Celebrity?

To earn a free cruise through Celebrity Cruises' Captain’s Club, you must reach the Zenith tier at 3,000 points. Once you reach Zenith, you can book a complimentary 7-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise. Zenith members are given a veranda stateroom for this free sailing, although they must pay taxes and fees.

You can receive additional free cruises with Celebrity Cruises after every 3,000 Club Points you earn. At 6,000 points, for example, you receive a complimentary 7-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise, but this time in an AquaClass stateroom.

You would continue receiving complimentary cruises when you hit 9,000 points, 12,000 points, 15,000 points, etc.

Can I link my account to a spouse or partner?

You can link your Captain’s Club account to a spouse or partner, and both members will take the tier level of the spouse/partner with more points.

However, points are still earned by each member individually, so if the accounts are separated, the members will only have access to the points they earned individually.

What is the Captain’s Club phone number?

If you have additional questions about the Captain’s Club, or need to inquire about points that have not yet posted to your account, you can call Celebrity cruises.

  • United States and Canada: 1-844-418-8624
  • United Kingdom: 0844 481 7505 (costs 7p per minute)
  • Ireland: 1800 932 662 (costs 7p per minute)

Planning a Celebrity cruise? Start here:

2023 Royal Caribbean Drink Package Info, Tips, Pros & Cons

19 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

A Royal Caribbean beverage package offers the choice to enjoy an unlimited amount of drinks for a fixed daily price. This post offers tips for saving money with these drink packages and our reviews of the various plans.  

We will get to what each version of Royal Caribbean's Beverage Packages include and whether the Royal Caribbean Drink Package is worth the money below.  Our tips and opinions are based on our first-hand experiences with the drink packages, and the current versions for this year.  

Before we get to the dollars and cents, let us cover some basics. 

What is a Royal Caribbean drink package?

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Royal Caribbean's drink packages are a fixed daily cost plan offered on all Royal Caribbean ships so guests can budget their beverage costs in advance and (potentially) save money.  The various plans provide guests with unlimited drinks that can be used at any bar or restaurant on Royal Caribbean ships (and private destinations).  

Bamboo Bar with people drinking

The drink package benefits are available on the guest's SeaPass card, which any waiter or bartender can verify they have the package.

Royal Caribbean guests wishing to purchase a drink package can do so either prior to their cruise via the Cruise Planner web site or once onboard their ship. Once purchased, you must pay for the package for the duration of your cruise.  If purchased during your cruise, guests will pay for the remaining nights of their cruise.

Let’s get more into the nitty-gritty of the 2023 Royal Caribbean drink package…

Coco Loco drinks

The drink packages can be redeemed at pretty much any restaurant or bar on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship or private destination.  There are only two places a drink package cannot be used: room service and stateroom mini-bars.

Frequent users of Royal Caribbean's drink packages become pretty adept at getting more bang for their buck on the packages, but with some advance planning, first-time Royal Caribbean cruisers can also make the most of the packages.

From time to time, Royal Caribbean may offer a drink package discount. These discounts are offered selectively and can vary in terms of how much the discount is and for which sailings they are eligible.  Nearly all discounts we have seen are offered prior to the cruise on the Cruise Planner web site.

Bamboo Lounge drink

Will these sales save you money? These discounts have the potential to add to the potential value a guest can get from a drink package, but remember any discount does not necessarily make the value proposition a drink package offers a "slam dunk" deal.

That is probably enough background on Royal Caribbean's drink packages.  You likely still have some more questions, and we will dig into them below and get them answered.  For a simple system, it can be surprisingly complex, do not feel bad if it takes some reading before you fully understand how the drink package works and whether it is a good for for your party.

Will a drink package save me money?

Drink package table

Before even booking a drink package, you should determine roughly how many drinks per day you think you can and will drink over the course of your cruise.  For some folks, 5-6 drinks per day is easy, while others may think that is a lot every day of a cruise.

There's no question that a Royal Caribbean drink package can save you money if you can drink enough to make it worthwhile. Some people don't care so much about "breaking even" on their purchase, because they just like the fact they pay one price and all their beers, cocktails and other beverages are included.

It really boils down to your habits on a cruise and how much you think you might drink. 

2023 Royal Caribbean Beverage Package Overview

Royal Caribbean offers a few drink packages to consider.  Each package provides guests with an unlimited allotment of servings of the specific beverages their package includes.

None of the packages include mini bar items, Evian water, canned sodas, bottled juice and souvenir glassware, specialty beers as listed on bar menus, or super premium category beverages.

Refreshment Package

Royal Caribbean Refreshment Package

This drink package pretty much includes all beverages onboard that do not contain any booze.  It is popular with older children and those that like having juices, coffee and teas.

For each guests that purchases this package, it includes

  • Premium coffees and teas
  • Bottled still and sparking water
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Mocktails
  • Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola Souvenir Cup included

The price per night of the Refreshment Package is $29.00 per guest (excluding gratuity).

Classic Soda Package

Coke cup

The Classic Soda package is what was once called by many guests, "the soda card".  It is unlimited soda and quite popular with kids.  

For each guests that purchases this package, it incudes

  • Fountain Soda and refills in any venue
  • Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola Souvenir Cup included

The price per night of the Classic Soda Package is $12.99 per guest (excluding gratuity).


Deluxe Beverage Package

Royal Caribbean Drink Package Information and Planning Tips | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean offers just one unlimited alcohol package, the Deluxe Beverage package.

It offers "the best of both worlds," with access to nearly the entire stock of beverages with or without liquor. Enjoy virtually unlimited combinations on everything from cocktails with top-shelf spirits to premium teas and every beverage in between.

For each guests that purchases this package, it includes

  • Cocktails, spirits, liqueurs
  • Beer
  • Wine (by the glass)
  • Mocktails
  • Premium coffees & teas
  • Fountain sodas / Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola souvenir cup included
  • Bottled still and sparkling water
  • Fresh squeezed juices
  • 40% discount on wines under $100. Wines above $100 will receive a 20% discount.

The Deluxe Beverage Package includes drinks with liquor up to $14 in value.  Drinks that are served in a souvenir cup/glass/mug and/or drinks served inside fruit (i.e. pineapples) are not included with the drink package, however a portion of the drink price is subsidized by the beverage package.

The best reasons to get a Royal Caribbean drink package on your cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

The price per night of the Deluxe Beverage package varies from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing. Royal Caribbean seems to employ a variable pricing model that considers time of year, ship class and other factors in offering the price of the drink package.

Due to the varying prices across the fleet, we hesitate to publish any kind of pricing here. If purchased prior to your cruise on the Cruise Planner site, the Deluxe Beverage package often costs between $48 - $79 per guest, per night (excluding gratuity). The price will be higher if purchased onboard, usually between $63 - $89.00  per guest, per night.

One significant recent change to the Deluxe Beverage package is all Royal Caribbean passengers 21 years of age and older (18 years in Australia and the U.K) are  required to purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package if at least one other person in their cabin has one.

If the other adult(s) in the same stateroom do not wish to purchase a Deluxe Beverage Package, you can call Royal Caribbean and ask for an exemption.  Usually, Royal Caribbean will allow the other adult(s) to purchase a less-expensive drink package, such as the Refreshment Package.

Coffee Card

If all you want are lattes, espresso, or something stronger than regular coffee, then perhaps Royal Caribbean's Café Select Coffee Card is the right choice for you.

Unlike the other drink packages, the coffee card is not unlimited.  Instead, you get a physical card that will be punched every time you use the card.  Each card is good for 15 punches.

For every brewed coffee you order, the barista will punch a hole in the card to note how many of the drinks you've ordered.

Where to eat breakfast on Harmony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

You can use the coffee card at Royal Caribbean coffee locations, such as Cafe Promenade or Cafe Latte-tudes. It does not work at freestanding Starbucks kiosks.

Royal Caribbean usually prices the coffee card at $31 per card.

Another difference from the other drink packages is you are allowed to share the coffee card benefits with another guest.

Is there a limit on Royal Caribbean drink packages?

There is no limit on a Royal Caribbean drink package in terms of how many drinks a guest may consume in a day or throughout the cruise.

The only limit on a drink package is that you may only order one drink per order, per drink package.

If multiple people are ordering a drink with a drink package, the bartender or waiter may take each guests' SeaPass card to place the order.

There are a few other drink package rules that you should be aware of as well.

Is it worth getting the drink package on Royal Caribbean? - Pros and Cons

We have used Royal Caribbean's drink packages on a number of occasions and we have also paid out of pocket for our drinks on even more cruises.  The drink package has an equal number of fans and critics.  We tend to fall somewhere in the middle, disagreeing with both extremes. We think the drink package has its pros and its cons, so let us take a look at some of them!

Savings - You can save money with a drink package (versus paying for each drink a la carte), but you have to be a certain kind of drinker and not waste the daily package benefits.  If you are someone that enjoys having many drinks every day, it can definitely save you money with a Royal Caribbean drink package.  This requires anyone that buys the package to be willing and able to enjoy a good half-dozen drinks every day of their cruise.  

There is no question a drink package has an excellent value proposition associated with it, but you need to be able to drink enough to "break even" on the package versus buying the drinks on your own.  If you knew you would not be drinking enough every day of your cruise to break even, why would you over pay for a package?

With that said, prices for Royal Caribbean drinks have been on the rise over the last few years. Cocktails are regularly priced at around $10-13 per drink, which means bar tabs can quickly get expensive. And with so many tantalizing choices on each bar menu, the temptation to grab a drink is always present.

The drink package benefits will save the most money for folks that drink a lot during the day and spread their drinking out throughout the course of their day and night.  

Is the drink package worth it on Royal Caribbean? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Amount of Drinks - One common regret we hear about drink packages is a phenomenon known as "drink fatigue," where guests drink more than they really would ordinarily order and they end up ordering drinks for the sake of ordering drinks.  When using a drink package, I always struggle with the question of, "Am I ordering a drink because I want one or because I have a drink package?"  There have been plenty of times with a drink package, I know I am ordering a drink because I have the package and the show, activity or event I am attending offers drinks, so why not get a drink.

If you are on a short cruise and are looking to have a good time, the drink package can make a lot more sense, since there are less days to use the package benefits.  Likewise, shorter cruises have a tendency to have more of a party atmosphere than longer cruises.  

It is important to keep in mind what your goal is when ordering a drink package.  Are you going to be spending much of your time by the pool or are you someone that will be doing other activities where drinking may not always be an option.  

Convenience - Many guests swear by the convenience of Royal Caribbean's drink packages.  It makes enjoying drinks simple, with no-fuss involved.  There is no worrying about how much the drink costs and if you should get it or something cheaper.  Heck, there is not even the concern about if you can afford to get a drink or not.  

It is a fair point and among the most commonly cited reasons people love the drink packages.  We love the convenience of the drink package too, especially to have the freedom of trying new drinks without fear of ordering something we do not like and being "stuck" with it.  Or relegating ourselves to drink the same old drinks because we know we like them.

The thing is, the number one reason to buy a drink package is to save money, otherwise why would it exist.  Royal Caribbean would not roll out something that offers no savings and expect people to pay for it, right?  With that in mind, while convenience is important, we believe the cost savings still supersedes whatever convenience the drink package offers.

How much is the drink package on Royal Caribbean? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Budgeting - This is probably the most contentious point.  In addition to being convenient, a lot of its fans advocate the unlimited drink packages help them stay on a budget and avoid thinking about money on a vacation.

On the surface, this makes sense because you can buy a drink package before your cruise and break up the cost of the cruise, or opt to purchase it onboard and cap your drinking spending.  In either scenario, it goes to making your total cost more predictable.  It reminds us of cell phone plans and why so many people prefer unlimited data plans rather than fixed-data plans.  Simpler to have one cost that covers everything, than worry about "going over."

There is a point to be made about pre-purchasing a drink package months before your cruise, paying it off then and then later going on your cruise and not dealing with a bill at the end of your cruise that makes you cringe (or worse).  It does not mean you will actually save any money, as you still need to drink enough each day of your cruise to make a drink package worthwhile.  Otherwise, you overpaid earlier than usual.

The whole notion of not having to worry about receipts, gratuity or how much a drink costs holds less water for us.  Sure, it is nice to have, but far from essential.  If someone told me I could save more money by doing some simple math every day, you bet I would bring my calculator onboard.  There are a lot of fun things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and the more money I can save, the more fun stuff I can afford.

Royal Caribbean revamps its unlimited drink package offerings | Royal Caribbean Blog

Sticker Shock - Even if you are not on a tight budget, drink prices on a Royal Caribbean cruise can be somewhat shocking. There might be the most amazing drink on the menu, but you cannot bring yourself to spend $14 (or more) on it because that sounds too expensive for just one drink.

It is debatable how much any drink should cost.  Go to a concert or theme park, and you will find prices for drinks that make Royal Caribbean's pricing strategy look pedestrian.  

On the other hand, your local restaurants may serve up drinks for a fraction of the cost of what you will find at Boleros. Having the drink package does help ease your mind about paying $14 for that cucumber martini.

Everything you need to know about the Bionic Bar on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

It is important to note that you are not always forced into paying full prices for drinks.  Every day there will be a "drink of the day," where one drink is discounted about 20%. 

You can usually find other drink specials throughout your cruise.  In addition, guests that are members of Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society are eligible to receive discounted and complimentary drinks during the cruise.  Diamond and above members get complimentary drinks every evening, which can be a big money saver.  

Moreover, guests are allowed to bring up to two bottles of wine per stateroom on their Royal Caribbean cruise.  All of this contributes to bringing down the cost of drinks on a cruise, especially if you forgo a drink package and pay a la carte for your drinks.

How do I get the best deal on a Royal Caribbean drink package?


The best way to get a deal on a Royal Caribbean drink package is to buy one as early as you can and then re-price when there are price drops.

The price of a drink package can change many times before the cruise begins and this is because of various sales offered.  Typically, there's a pre-cruise sale every few weeks, although the total cost of the drink package may not actually change

Regardless, it's possible for there to be a price drop and in that case, you can cancel and rebook the drink package with no penalty via the Cruise Planner website.

By booking a drink package early you lock in the price and guard against a price increase, but can still take advantage of a price decrease.

Trying to "time" a lower price is a mistake because sometimes the price goes up and never goes back down.

Drink Package Frequently Asked Questions

Are Royal Caribbean drink packages per person or per room?

Percentages off during a cruise planner sale

Each drink package purchased is per guest, and may only be used by the person buying it.

This means a drink package cannot be shared by more than one person.

How to buy a Royal Caribbean drink package?

What to think about before buying a Royal Caribbean drink package | Royal Caribbean Blog

The easiest way is to purchase it via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.  

You can buy the drink package at any time up to 48 hours before your ship sails.  Buying a drink package in advance is the best strategy to save money, because it will cost more onboard the ship.

Alternatively, guests from the U.S. or Canada can buy the drink package by calling (800) 398-9819.

Read moreHow to purchase Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages

Does a Royal Caribbean drink package include gratuity?


When you buy any drink package, you will see a line item charge for a "service charge."  This includes the gratuities for any beverages you order.

How to cancel a Royal Caribbean drink package?

Log into Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner for your sailing, and then click on your initials at the top right corner.

Then click Order History. Find your drink package and click View Details, followed by Cancel.

Where can I use my drink package?

Any bar, restaurant, or lounge will accept your drink package benefits. This includes the Windjammer, main dining room, and specialty restaurants.

The drink packages also work at Perfect Day at CocoCay or Labadee.

The only places you cannot use your drink package are with room service, minibar or Starbucks.

What happens if you don't buy a drink package on Royal Caribbean?

If you elect not to buy a drink package, then any beverages that cost extra will be charged to your SeaPass account on an a la carte basis.

Keep in mind you'll not only be charged for the drink, but also the 18% gratuity automatically added. This gratuity is compulsory and cannot be taken off.


Overall, whether a Royal Caribbean beverage package is right for you is a highly personal decision, based on a lot of variables.  There is no flat "yes" or "no" answer to determining if a drink package makes sense for everyone, but hopefully the considerations in this post can help with your decision.  

Before purchasing any drink package, be sure to do your homework and do the math of how much you have to drink, every day of your cruise for it to make sense.

First-time cruisers will hopefully find this post as a good jumping off point for further reading on the drink packages.  The drink packages can make sense for some people and others no sense at all.  It is foolish to assume any drink package is a good or bad value without first considering how you cruise.

How to make the drink packages on Royal Caribbean work for you | Royal Caribbean Blog

Keep in mind that you can always purchase a drink package even after your cruise begins, if you find yourself drinking more than you thought.  Royal Caribbean advertises that its drink packages can be purchased at any point in a cruise, provided there are at least four days left in the cruise.

The key is to know how you like to cruise and which pros and cons of the drink package are more important to you.  At worst, you are going to overpay for a drink package or for drinks on your own.  In either case, you will still likely have a great vacation experience.

Your thoughts

What is your experience with Royal Caribbean's beverage package? Thinking about using it? I would love to hear your thoughts about a Royal Caribbean beverage package, and how it works (or does not work) for you, in the comments! If you have questions, ask them there, too.

Royal Caribbean News Round-Up: March 19, 2023

19 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

This was a busy week with Royal Caribbean news, and we have a summary of all of the news from this week to make certain you did not miss any of it.

One Royal Caribbean offer was indeed too good to be true.

Premier Pass logo

After accidently posting a new VIP pass for sale on its site, the cruise line informed anyone that bought it that their purchase would be cancelled and money paid refunded.

The Premier Pass was on sale for about a day or so before the mistake was spotted.

Royal Caribbean delays Mariner of the Seas return

The scheduled dry dock work on Mariner of the Seas will require more time than Royal Caribbean anticipated.

Guests booked on the first sailing back received an email that the April 1, 2023 sailing has been cancelled.

Mariner of the Seas is currently in Cadiz, Spain undergoing dry dock for routine maintenance.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 491st episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, all about Royal Caribbean's plans for a beach club in Nassau.

Royal Caribbean will open a beach club in Nassau, Bahamas and here's what Matt thinks of what we know so far.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

New RCB Video: 9 Common misconceptions about a Royal Caribbean cruise

Have you subscribed to the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel? We share some great videos there regularly, all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise! This week, we are sharing our latest video — 9 Common misconceptions about a Royal Caribbean cruise — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean adding “Wizard of Oz” musical to Icon of the Seas

Wizard of Oz musical poster

We now know which musical will be featured on Icon of the Seas when she launches next year.

Nick Weir, Senior Vice President of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean International, posted on Twitter an announcement that The Wizard of Oz will be the show for Icon.

Royal Caribbean says the Wizard of Oz production is not the 2011 musical adaption by Andrew Lloyd Weber.

How does a cheap Celebrity cruise compare to Royal Caribbean?

Celebrity Silhouette

What's it like to go on Celebrity Cruises for a cheap cruise versus Royal Caribbean?

Both cruise lines are owned by the same company, but the experiences do vary somewhat.

Allie tried a cheap 4-night cruise on Celebrity Silhouette and compared it to her cheap cruise on Mariner of the Seas.

What cruisers wish they knew before going on their first cruise

Hindsight is always 20/20, including going on a cruise ship.

We asked people on the internet for what they know now that they wish they knew before trying their first cruise.

From beating the chair hogs to asserting dominance in the elevator, here are our favorite answers.

Is it a boat vs ship? What's the difference?

18 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Referring to a cruise ship as a boat is one of the biggest faux pas when it comes to cruising. We’ve all heard a first-time cruiser exclaim “Look how big that boat is!” without realizing that they should be calling it a ship.

Cruise ships are massive vessels that can weigh over 200,000 tons—the polar opposite of a small sailboat or canoe—but what is the difference between a boat and a ship?

Generally speaking, a boat refers to a small vessel whereas a ship refers to a large vessel. This may seem obvious, but it’s the easiest way to classify a boat versus a ship. A common way to compare the two is that a boat can be carried on a ship, but a ship cannot be carried on a boat.

Promenade deck

However, the exact definition of a boat versus a ship cannot be determined by just size. At what size does a boat become a ship? Does having a certain number of engines turn a boat into a ship? Or does the body of water a vessel travels through determine if it is a boat or ship?

Unfortunately, there’s no standard, internationally-accepted definition of a boat versus a ship. Nonetheless, there are a few ways in which you can usually tell the difference between a boat and a ship.

Size of a boat versus a ship

The most obvious difference between a boat and a ship is size—boats are smaller than ships. Depending on the source, a water going vessel could be considered a ship when it is over 100 feet in length, although by some definitions it must be even longer.

Length is not the only factor that determines whether it is a ship or boat, though. Some definitions require a vessel to weigh over 500 tons to be considered a ship. For reference, the average sailboat weighs a little over four tons while the smallest Royal Caribbean ship has a gross tonnage of nearly 80,000!

Ships also have the potential to transport boats. The largest cruise ships, for example, carry around twenty lifeboats, but you'll never see a lifeboat carrying a ship (hence why it’s a lifeboat and not a lifeship).

Powering a boat versus a ship

Powering a ship is a complex operation. Ships have much more complex technology onboard, with modern navigation systems and operational equipment.

Allure of the Seas—one of Royal Caribbean’s biggest ships—has six engines that provide 13,500 horsepower, making the 225,282 ton vessel sail smoothly through the seas. In addition to engines are tunnel thrusters, stabilizers, gas turbines, wastewater treatment systems, and large galleys.

Boats, on the other hand, don’t require such complex mechanics. Small boats, such as canoes and kayaks, can be powered by a single paddle, whereas sailboats move with the wind. You certainly won’t see a Royal Caribbean ship powered by wind!

Boats can also be powered by motors, but they aren’t nearly as powerful as the engines you’ll find on a ship.

Crew, passengers, and cargo

Powering a ship requires much more technology compared to a boat. Most Royal Caribbean cruise ships have over 1,000 crew members working onboard, and most of them are not even involved in the technical operation of the ship.

Sure, you have crew working in the engine room, but there are chefs, stateroom attendants, entertainers, and musicians onboard as well, something you won’t find on most boats.

Other ships, such as cargo ships, may only have 20 to 30 crew members onboard. This is still much more than you’ll find on most boats, especially those built for only two or three people. Even most luxury yachts, which are considered large for boat standards, almost always have a crew under 15 people.

Some people classify a ship as a vessel that has a permanent crew whether the ship is in use or not. A boat may only be manned when it’s in use (i.e. traveling on the water instead of docked).

Furthermore, ships often carry passengers to travel long distances from one place to another. While small boats like water taxis may also carry passengers, it’s typically only for a short distance and there aren’t private cabins for each passenger onboard.

Another way to distinguish between a boat and a ship is in the ship’s cargo. Today’s largest container ships can hold nearly 25,000 containers, with the average somewhere around 15,000. A boat could never compete with the cargo capacity of a cargo ship, with each container weighing over 5,000 pounds when empty!

Boats don’t usually carry cargo, unless it’s a small fishing boat carrying the day’s catch.

Where they sail

Ships and boats typically sail in different bodies of water. Ships usually sail in the ocean, traveling far distances to carry cargo or passengers. You won’t find a ship traveling in a small lake or river, but you will find ships traversing the world’s oceans from one continent to another.

Examples of ships include cruise ships, container ships, tankers, offshore vessels, naval ships, and large ferries.

Boats most commonly sail in smaller bodies of water, including ponds, lakes, and rivers. Most boats only travel close to the coast, as they aren’t designed to travel long distances across the open ocean.

Examples of boats include small ferries, water taxis, towing vessels, sailboats, kayaks, and canoes.

What about sailboats and submarines?

It’s common to classify a boat as a vessel that does not travel long distances in the ocean, but what about a sailboat?

Most sailboats are considered to be boats instead of ships. They are significantly smaller than vessels like cargo ships and cruise ships, hold fewer passengers and crew, and are usually used for short-term travel near the coast.

However, there is a difference between a sailboat and a sailing ship. Sailing ships are larger vessels with at least three masts, and with square sails on each mast. These ships were the standard vessels used for ocean travel during the Age of Discovery in the 15th century.

Yet submarines, which should be considered ships, are considered boats. This is due to the history of submarines. Early submarines were carried on ships, so they were classified as boats. As submarines became bigger and bigger over time, the name stuck, and they are still called boats today.

The bottom line

If you’re looking for a concrete definition of a ship versus a boat, you won’t find one. More often than not, it’s easy to distinguish between the two by comparing the size of the vessel, its mechanics, and the body of water the vessel travels through.

As you can see, there are many exceptions, such as with submarines and large sailing ships. If there’s one thing we know for certain, however, it’s that you should never call a cruise ship a boat!

Tipping on a cruise ship: what you should and shouldn't do

17 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

An important part of planning a Royal Caribbean cruise is knowing what is and is not included in your cruise fare. While your cruise fare includes accommodation, food, and activities, it does not include gratuities for crew members.

Many first-time cruisers are confused about how tipping works on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Who do you need to tip onboard? Should you carry cash or tip on your SeaPass card? Do you need to tip on shore excursions?

Luckily, it’s easy to understand the ins and outs of tipping on a cruise ship. From prepaying gratuities to carrying small bills, here’s what you should and should not do when tipping on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

You SHOULD know what gratuities cover

Junior Suite on Symphony of the Seas

Each passenger on a Royal Caribbean cruise pays a daily gratuity to cover the services of hard working crew members onboard. These gratuities are shared among the dining, bar, and culinary teams, stateroom attendants, and the hotel service team.

Royal Caribbean crew members work extremely hard throughout their multi-month contracts, and gratuities are a way to reward them for providing amazing service.

Wine being poured

Because they are charged on a daily basis, you do not have to worry about tipping each crew member yourself. Many passengers, however, still like to leave extra tips for their stateroom attendant and dining room waiters at the end of the cruise.

An envelope will be delivered to your stateroom for any extra (optional) tips. You can pick up more envelopes at Guest Services if there are additional crew members you would like to tip.

You SHOULD know how much gratuities cost per day

Inside cabin on Liberty of the Seas

Gratuities on a Royal Caribbean cruise are priced per day, but the amount owed depends on your stateroom category.

Guests in non-suite staterooms (including Junior Suites) pay $16 USD per person, per day for gratuities. Those in Grand Suites and above pay $18.50 USD per person, per day.

Therefore, for a 7-night cruise, you will pay $112 per person for gratuities in a standard cabin and $129.50 per person in a suite. It’s important to account for gratuities when budgeting for a Royal Caribbean cruise. When sailing with a family of four on a 7-night cruise, gratuities can add nearly $500 on top of your cruise fare.

Grand Suite on Liberty of the Seas

Depending on where you book your cruise, gratuities may already be included in the price of your cruise fare. Australians booking cruises from Australia, for example, will not incur gratuities on top of their cruise fare, but the cruise fare reflects the price with gratuities added.

You SHOULD pay gratuities in advance

There are two options when it comes to paying gratuities on a Royal Caribbean cruise: prepaying gratuities or waiting to pay them once onboard.

Prepaying gratuities means you can include the current daily gratuity rate in your cost of the cruise when booking. When paying for your cruise, the daily gratuity will be added into the overall cost, and you will not owe any gratuities once the cruise begins.

If you elect not to pay gratuities in advance, a daily charge will appear on your SeaPass account every day of the cruise. If you are on a 3-night cruise, for example, and don’t pay gratuities in advance, you will see a $16 (or $18.50) charge on your account each day of the sailing.

Related: Should you prepay gratuities for a Royal Caribbean cruise?

We almost always recommend prepaying gratuities before your cruise begins. This allows you to pay off your cruise balance early, so that by the time you get onboard, you won’t have to worry about extra charges.

Paying in advance also locks in the current gratuity rate in case it were to increase. It’s not uncommon for cruise lines to increase daily gratuity by $1 or $2 every few years. If you prepay gratuities and the price increases before your cruise, you won’t have to pay the new daily rate.

You can prepay gratuities at any time up to 48 hours before your sail date. If you booked with a travel agent, contact your travel agent and they can add gratuities to your booking. If you booked with Royal Caribbean directly, your best bet is to call or access your account online to prepay gratuities.

You SHOULD bring small bills

Bringing small bills is recommended on a cruise, as it allows you to tip crew members easily throughout the sailing. Having $1 and $5 bills handy is helpful when you want to give a bartender a small tip with your drink or tip a porter for handling your baggage on embarkation day.

If you don’t have small bills, you can ask Guest Services to break down larger bills. Simply bring a $20, $50, or $100 bill to Guest Services and they will be happy to give you change.

How much cash should you bring on a cruise? Ultimately, it depends on your travel style. Most payments on your cruise vacation will be completely digital, so most passengers only use cash onboard to give additional tips to crew members.

Related: How much cash should you bring on a cruise?

You SHOULDN’T remove gratuities once onboard

Technically, you can visit Guest Services once onboard your cruise ship and opt to remove gratuities from your account. Some passengers like to do this in order to give tips to crew members directly whenever they see fit.

While this may seem like a good idea in theory, it comes with one major drawback.

It’s unlikely you will meet every crew member onboard who would otherwise receive a percentage of gratuities. Although details on how gratuities are allocated are not shared with the public, it’s likely Royal Caribbean has a pool of gratuities that is split amongst the crew members.

By giving tips to crew members individually, you may be taking potential gratuities away from other hard working crew members you don’t meet in person.

It’s totally fine to give extra tips to crew members who go above and beyond during your sailing, but we recommend doing this in addition to the automatic gratuities.

You SHOULDN’T forget cash on shore excursions

It’s customary to tip your shore excursion tour leader, driver, and guides, so don’t forget to bring cash with you in port. Most passengers tip their guides between $5-10, but there is no right or wrong amount to tip on a shore excursion.

Aside from tipping, you should bring cash on shore excursions to purchase extras like souvenirs, drinks, and snacks. We recommend bringing around $100-200 USD with you in port each day.

You SHOULD expect an 18% gratuity on certain purchases

Massage at the spa

Certain onboard purchases are subject to an 18% gratuity on top of the listed price, including beverages, mini bar items, and spa and salon purchases.

In addition, when you reserve specialty restaurants, dining packages, drink packages, and spa services on Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner website, the gratuity will be added upon checkout.

Because gratuity is already included in the price of these purchases onboard, it’s not necessary to tip extra. However, many passengers still like to tip a few dollars with a drink or specialty restaurant dinner to show their appreciation.

Royal Caribbean adding “Wizard of Oz” musical to Icon of the Seas

17 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

Dorothy, the tin man, scarecrow, and cowardly lion are all headed to the high seas. 

Wizard of Oz musical poster

Based on audition information posted by Royal Caribbean Entertainment, it looks like "The Wizard of Oz" musical will be the featured production show on the next new cruise ship for Royal Caribbean, Icon of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean has not formally announced the entertainment for Icon of the Seas, but the Royal Caribbean Entertainment clearly states it is looking for performers to audition for The Wizard of Oz on Icon of the Seas.

One posting wrote, "Principals (Featured Singers) hired for WIZARD OF OZ (3-4 performances weekly) will also perform in an original Royal Caribbean Signature Production onboard the ICON of the Seas (3-4 performances weekly). Candidates must be available and willing to travel internationally aboard our ships."

In addition to the audition information, Nick Weir, Senior Vice President of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean International, posted on Twitter an announcement that The Wizard of Oz will be the show for Icon.

It's likely the show will be performed in Icon's main theater, as opposed to different venue.

About the musical

Scene from Wizard of Oz

Royal Caribbean says the Wizard of Oz production is not the 2011 musical adaption by Andrew Lloyd Weber.

This will be the Royal Caribbean Productions version of the classic.

Coming in 2024

Icon of the Seas aerial at night concept art

Icon of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship, and first of its kind.

The first in the Icon Class will launch in January 2024, and will have a gross tonnage of 250,800, making her the largest cruise ship in the world by gross tonnage.

The ship will be homeported from Miami and offer week-long Caribbean cruises.

How does a cheap Celebrity cruise compare to Royal Caribbean?

16 Mar 2023
Allie Hubers

I just finished sailing onboard Celebrity Cruises for the first time - and I absolutely loved it. 

As a very loyal cruiser with Royal Caribbean, I’ve always been intrigued by Celebrity Cruises. Both owned by Royal Caribbean Group, Celebrity seemed like the cooler and older sister to Royal Caribbean. 

From my research, Celebrity Cruises offered a more grown-up approach to cruising while still being fun and trendy. The cruise line is more destination-focused than Royal Caribbean and aims to provide an accessible approach to luxury for adults. 

While researching spring break cruises, I was shocked to find a relatively cheap cruise onboard Celebrity Silhouette. This cheap sailing was 4-night weekend sailing to Key West and Nassau, with one sea day to explore the ship. 

This cheap cruise was $846 for two people and even included $100 onboard credit. I couldn’t say no to this deal for a more upscale cruise line and easily convinced my sister to join me. We enjoyed a spring break cruise last year on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, so we were eager to compare the experiences on our first Celebrity cruise. 

Here’s how our cheap Celebrity cruise compares to Royal Caribbean. 

When it comes to trying a new cruise line, I think it’s very important to have realistic expectations.

I’m always eager to try a new cruise line, as I firmly believe there is a cruise line out there for everyone. Each cruise line has its own unique style and onboard experience. 

Since I grew up cruising on Royal Caribbean with my family, this has always been an obvious choice when I go to book a cruise. I’ve had wonderful experiences with Royal Caribbean throughout my life. Not to mention, their Crown & Anchor loyalty perks easily persuade me to keep coming back and their cruises are reasonably priced. 

Because Celebrity Cruises is owned by the same company as Royal Caribbean, this cruise line has enticed me more than others. As I’ve gotten older, Celebrity Cruises has appealed to me more because it caters to the adult experience. My husband and I have no children (unless you count our dogs), so it feels like Celebrity is a good fit for this stage in our lives. 

As someone who is very destination-driven when booking cruises, Celebrity’s itineraries to incredible destinations like Antarctica, India and Egypt, are pretty irresistible!

For my first Celebrity cruise, my expectations were heavily influenced by my parents, who just returned from their very first Celebrity cruise together last month. On an 11-night sailing to the Panama Canal on Celebrity Edge, my parents (age 62) said they really enjoyed their experience, but they felt young onboard their cruise!

They warned my sister and I that we might be youngest people onboard our cruise; my sister is 25 years old and I just turned 28 last month.  Our parents said we might even get bored by some of the entertainment since they found most of the performances featured music from their era. 

With this in mind, my sister and I were prepared for a more laid-back and relaxing spring break experience onboard. In all honesty, we can have fun on any cruise ship so we were more excited than anything just to see what Celebrity had to offer. 

Although Celebrity caters more to adults, I was very curious to see what type of demographics would be onboard this cheap spring break sailing.

Anyone who cruises often will tell you that spring break cruises will inherently have more families and kids onboard - but would that hold true for a more upscale, less kid-friendly cruise line?

Much to my surprise, we initially saw quite a few families onboard. I had always envisioned that a Celebrity Cruise would be mostly adults, and my sister and I were prepared to be on the younger side of the demographics.

I knew Celebrity offered childcare, youth programs and teen clubs, but I was under the impression that kids were allowed onboard, but the Celebrity Cruise experience is not catered towards them. 

Without water slides, splash pads, trampolines and zip lines, there really isn’t much for kids to do for fun activities onboard a Celebrity cruise ship when compared to Royal Caribbean.

Bumper cars, rock walls, and FlowRiders are replaced with craft bars, plushy loungers with ocean views and and an open lawn with real grass on Celebrity. 

This is where my expectations were totally wrong. While Celebrity Cruises is adult-focused, it is not exclusively adults-only.

During our 4-night spring break sailing, we saw many families and tons of kids onboard from the start. 

The first people we met in the elevator had two small children - and they said this was their very first cruise! I was shocked that a family with young kids wouldn’t choose to sail on Royal Caribbean instead, which arguably has way more to do for children on almost every ship in its fleet. 

Personally, I would recommend Royal Caribbean to any family looking to take their first cruise, as their cruise ships have much more to do for children of all ages. I had wonderful experiences as a kid on Royal Caribbean growing up. 

The first night at dinner, we were seated at a table for two in the main dining room. A family of ten sat directly next to us with kids as little as five. The table on our other side had a very fussy toddler - every single night of the cruise.  

Dinner involved many screams from the kids we were surrounded by. I never thought I’d be hearing an entire table sing Baby Shark on a Celebrity Cruise nor did I think we would hear screaming toddlers during our dinner. My sister and I laughed as we recalled our parents saying we would be the youngest people onboard!

I truly didn’t expect these demographics on our cheap Celebrity cruise - and my sister and I were far from the youngest onboard. 

Given the cheap price of the cruise and the subsequent timing with spring break, this definitely attracted more families than expected. I noted that Celebrity does not offer these 4-night sailings year round and only features these itineraries during the winter and spring break. 

More than likely, our spring break cruise attracted more families and kids than a normal Celebrity cruise. Luckily, we only found the kids to be a little bit distracting of our experience in the main dining room. 

I wish the tables around us had taken advantage of Celebrity’s childcare options so everyone in our area of the main dining room could enjoy a distraction-free meal. 

My sister and I really enjoyed the more laid-back and chill vibes onboard Celebrity Silhouette.

Celebrity Silhouette had plenty of activities happening throughout the ship, but overall we really enjoyed the laidback, chill vibes onboard. My sister and I aren’t big partiers or major drinkers, so this cruise style was the perfect fit for us. 

We were impressed by all of the thoughtfully designed spots onboard Celebrity Silhouette to relax and chill. The Solarium had big plushy loungers with towels perfectly folded; we spent almost every day in the Solarium relaxing. 

Throughout the ship, you could find daybeds and large loungers to sit in. I didn’t feel like there was a problem with chair hogs and the staff seemed pretty attentive with enforcing the 30-minute policy. 

Last year on Mariner of the Seas during our spring break cruise, we struggled to find chairs near the pool. And you could forget about snagging a coveted daybed in the Solarium! This was never the case of Celebrity Silhouette. We were always able to find chairs and even the luxurious seating was available throughout the cruise. 

We enjoyed sunset cocktails at Sunset Bar, which was arguably our favorite place onboard. Sunset Bar has a European flair with tons of cool spots to chill. We listened to live music as the ship sailed off into the sunset from Nassau. 

The Lawn Club, which features real grass, was another lovely spot on Celebrity Silhouette. If we were looking to enjoy open-air or peace and quiet, we could always rely on The Lawn Club. The nearby Lawn Club Grill would have been a cool place to have dinner one night, but a 4-night cruise simply isn’t long enough to enjoy everything. 

I joked that the grass looked a bit like my own yard while my husband was gone on his last deployment with a few patchy spots, although I don’t have the excuse of keep grass alive on a moving cruise ship. 

The food and service onboard Celebrity Silhouette felt top-notch, regardless of the type of sailing we were on. 

Even though this sailing was just a 4-night spring break itinerary, we still felt like Celebrity brought top-notch service and food, leaving us really impressed. 

During other spring break cruises I’ve taken, these sailings have always felt a bit more chaotic. I think a party crowd can lead to more chaotic cruise experience in general, especially when cruise ships are sailing at full-capacity, which is typically during spring break. 

Last year, our sailing on Mariner of the Seas was super packed and we noted that food and service took a small hit because of it. This didn’t dampen our experience of course, but it was certainly something we noted.

We felt that the food served throughout Celebrity Silhouette, whether that was breakfast in the Oceanview Cafe buffet, dinner in the main dining room, or grabbing a snack at the legendary Cafe al Bacio, everything tasted delicious and high-quality. 

I never felt like our ship was overly crowded and the crew members did not appear to be overwhelmed. Celebrity Silhouette felt appropriately staffed, which has not always been the case in a post-pandemic sailing. 

Celebrity Silhouette had stellar entertainment onboard that perfectly fit our demographics.

In the evening after dinner, we listened to fabulous live music while sipping on martinis from the Martini Bar. The bartenders are known for all the tricks they can do with the martini glasses and shakers. 

We noted that Celebrity Silhouette had wonderful live musicians and seemed to perform music that everyone would enjoy. 

The headliner shows were fabulous onboard as well, including the main production show Cosmopolitan. We sang along to all of the music, which ranged from Rihanna to Eminem. I laughed aloud when the performers quoted an iconic line from The Devil Wears Prada, “By all means, move at a glacial pace, you know how that thrills me”.

I belted out the words to Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and become unexpectedly emotional during the closing song of On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons, which always reminds me of my semester abroad experience. 

Everyone loved the performance. I thought some audience members might personally know a few of the performers with how they were dancing and cheering for everyone. It was a really fun atmosphere. 

Late into the evening, Celebrity Silhouette hosted headphone disco and full-moon parties on the top deck. 

Two of the evenings, my sister and I went to the top deck of the cruise ship to check out the big parties happening late into the night. The headphone disco was packed with people dancing around all of the pools as the DJ bumped tunes. 

The second party was a full-moon party, which featured one of our favorite bands onboard playing live music. Nothing was rowdy or wild by any means, but everyone was having a fabulous time dancing under the stars as Celebrity Silhouette sailed through seas that resembled sheets as glass. 

As the nights came to a close, we found solace in our spacious inside cabin.

To cash in on our cheap deal, we ended up booking an inside guarantee cabin for this sailing on Celebrity Silhouette. We were shocked by how spacious and modern our inside cabin was compared to any inside cabin we’ve had on Royal Caribbean. 

One evening, we even returned to a beautiful, fresh rose from our wonderful stateroom attendant. We found our inside cabin to be functional and stylish. The beds, which we ended up separating, were very comfortable as well. 

Unfortunately, we were located at the very front of the ship, directly next to a ‘Crew Only’ door. I was worried about the ship's motion since this cabin was pretty far forward on the ship, but I really should have been worried about noise.  

Being this close to a mysterious ‘Crew Only’ door meant we were woken up at 5:30 each morning by a slew of different thumps and clinks. A little white noise and earplugs helped with this, although I definitely didn’t sleep as well as I had hoped. 

We loved our first Celebrity cruise and already can’t wait to plan another one. 

Our quick 4-night sailing was just a taste of what Celebrity Cruise has to offer and we really loved what we experienced onboard Celebrity Silhouette!

At the end of the day, 4-nights really isn’t enough to get a full-picture of a cruise line. Each sailing can be different depending on when you sail, where your itinerary is going and how long your sailing is. Longer sailings normally attract more retirees because they don’t have to worry about being away from work while shorter cruises tend to cater to a younger demographic. 

I was still surprised to see as many families and kids onboard as we did. I did anticipate a more lively atmosphere because it was a short weekend cruise during spring break, but I was shocked by the number of kids onboard. 

I have a feeling this was an anomaly experience given the timing of our cruise and the price of the sailing, but I am eager to see what a different Celebrity cruise would be like! I loved having a more adult-focused cruising experience with a flair of luxury. 

Royal Caribbean cancels first Mariner of the Seas sailing after scheduled drydock

15 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will need a little more time to finish scheduled work on Mariner of the Seas.

Mariner of the Seas in dry dock for her 2018 amplification

Mariner of the Seas is currently in Cadiz, Spain undergoing dry dock for routine maintenance.

Guests booked on the first sailing back received an email today that the April 1, 2023 sailing has been cancelled.

"Mariner of the Seas is currently undergoing dry dock for routine maintenance and exciting, which will require some extra time for these upgrades to be completed."

"Regrettably, this means our April 1st, 2023 cruise has been cancelled. We know this news is disappointing and apologize for the impact to your clients' cruise."

It's not unheard of for a cruise following a ship's dry dock to be cancelled because of extra time needed at the dry dock.  While not common, it does happen from time to time.

Explorer of the Seas recently completed her dry dock work at the same ship yard last month and had no issues returning to service as scheduled.

Guests that were booked on that sailing have two choices:

Re-book any Royal Caribbean International sailing and receive a Future Cruise Credit.

Royal Caribbean will waive any non-refundable deposit change fees to change ship or sail date.

A Future Cruise Credit worth 50% of the original cruise fare paid to book a new cruise and sail by April 1st, 2024.

Reimbursement of up to $200 for non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees incurred (such as a flight, train ticket, or rental car).

Cancel and refund.

A full refund of any paid portion of their cruise fare (including non-refundable deposits) and any pre-paid amenities to the original form of payment within 14 business days. 

A Future Cruise Credit worth 50% of the original cruise fare paid to book a new cruise and sail by April 1st, 2024.

Reimbursement of up to $200 for non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees incurred (such as a flight, train ticket, or rental car).

What work is being done to Mariner of the Seas?

Mariner of the Seas is getting maintenance work done, and Royal Caribbean has not announced any changes to the ship.

Cruise ships go in for work about every 5 years, and it's an opportunity to keep them operating efficiently, as well as clean up and enhance public areas.

When dry docks do not entail major upgrades, such as the Royal Amplification program, the cruise line tends not to announce or highlight the work being done since it's not especially newsworthy.

Mariner of the Seas' Cruise Director, Marc Walker, shared photos of the work being done on Mariner of the Seas on his Facebook page.

Much of the work seems aesthetic in nature, focusing on public decks, pools, and venues.

The ship is also getting work done below the waterline, which includes repainting the hull and propellor maintenance.

One other minor note is the minor hull damage from when a ship accidently drifted into Mariner while in Freeport, Bahamas will be repaired.

Mariner's first sailing back now should be April 6, 2023.

What other cruisers wish they knew before going on their first cruise

15 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Planning a cruise as a first-timer can be overwhelming, whether you're trying to pick the right cruise ship or book shore excursions. Fortunately, the internet is full of veteran cruisers eager to share their best tips for a successful cruise vacation.

We often hear many first-time cruisers sharing remarks and regrets about their cruise experience, from wishing they packed fewer items to wishing they did more research prior to their cruise.

Even after having a wonderful cruise experience, it’s common to wish you did or experienced things differently during your sailing, and these regrets are particularly common for first-time cruisers who are brand new to the Royal Caribbean experience.

To better help you plan a Royal Caribbean cruise, we asked veteran cruisers on Reddit what they wish they knew before going on their first cruise. From beating the chair hogs to asserting dominance in the elevator, here are our favorite answers.

People will try to get ON the elevator before you get off

One common pet peeve of many cruisers is the elevator etiquette (or lack thereof) you might encounter on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Waiting for elevators is a necessary evil on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and more often than not, the elevators are more crowded than any of us would prefer.

Reddit user LevarGotMeStoney explained how, when the elevator stops at your destination, many people will try to enter the elevator before letting you leave. The solution? Assert dominance.

“Be ready for this. Assert dominance,” LevarGotMeStoney advised. “Assume a 3 point stance like a lineman and when the doors ding, tackle anything on the other side.”

While we don’t recommend tackling other passengers on a cruise ship, it’s helpful to quickly exit the elevator before you get stuck inside!

Just use the stairs

Piano Stairs

User Sonakstyle has perhaps the best solution to avoiding trouble in the elevators: just use the stairs!

Using the stairs on a Royal Caribbean ship can often get you to your destination more quickly than the elevators, especially if you’re just going up or down a few decks. Not only that, but it provides an excellent workout, which can be especially beneficial after indulging in three course meals each day of your cruise!

Related: Why you should skip the elevator on your cruise

While we’re not suggesting climbing ten flights of stairs from your cabin to the pool deck, taking the stairs up or down a couple decks brings more advantages than disadvantages.

Wake up early to take advantage of a quiet ship

Liberty of the Seas pool deck

User Rubyfisch mentioned how early morning on the ship can be a magical time.

“Watch the sunrise from the deck,” they explained. “Walk around the empty ship coming to life. Take a free stretching class. Go to the Windjammer when it’s quiet and still. Grab a fancy coffee before the line gets too long.”

We agree with Rubyfisch in that the morning is one of the best times to enjoy your cruise ship. Many passengers prefer sleeping in on a cruise—it is vacation, after all—and this makes early morning on a cruise ship the quietest time of the day.

Of course, this rule holds true for sea days more than port days. Early morning on port days tend to be more chaotic due to passengers waking up eager to eat breakfast and disembark the ship for shore excursions.

Bring something magnetic to put on the outside of your cabin door

Cruise ship cabin walls and doors are magnetic, and Redditor Artandelfie advised bringing something magnetic to put on the outside of your cabin door. This will easily distinguish your cabin from others in the hallway, making it easier to find your room throughout the cruise.

This trend is popular in the cruising industry, and you can buy customized magnets on craft websites like Etsy. Customized magnets can include your family name, ship name, or be themed for a birthday or anniversary celebration.

It can be a lot of fun to decorate your cruise cabin door, and many families like to get their kids involved with picking and designing magnets. From nautical-themed decor to sea creatures, you can choose from countless colorful designs.

As another plus, it’s a lot easier to find your decorated cruise cabin door after a few too many drinks at the Schooner Bar!

Do research before booking

Symphony of the Seas

Redditor Rockaway2018 explained how the most obvious tip for cruisers is to research their sailing before booking.

“The amount of people on cruises that say they didn’t know swim diapers weren’t allowed in the pool, they didn’t know the MDR existed, they didn’t know soda/alcohol weren’t included, didn’t know there weren’t waterslides, etc. makes my head hurt!” Rockaway 2018 mentioned.

Knowing basic rules and information about your cruise ship and cruise line is extremely helpful. Not only can you avoid making unnecessary mistakes like packing prohibited items, but you can purchase extras like drink packages before your cruise begins for a better price.

Before boarding a Royal Caribbean cruise, make sure to have a basic idea of what’s included, what activities are offered on your cruise ship, and which excursions are most recommended in your ports of call.

These tips and tricks can help you plan:

…but don’t do too much research

Water slides

While doing some research before your cruise is helpful, try not to do too much research.

Redditor Mgt-d said how he did too much research before his cruise, and his extensive research made it less exciting once he was onboard.

“I knew what to expect from activities, restaurants, and bars, so I wasn’t as inquisitive once there,” he explained. “If I went on another cruise, I would do a quick search on room locations and included food locations and then leave everything else to discover onboard.”

Of course, one cruiser’s travel style may differ from another’s. Some passengers prefer to plan every day, hour, and second of their vacation whereas others like to go with the flow.

In general, we recommend doing at least a little research before your cruise vacation begins. This ensures you have time to book pre-cruise add-ons, understand which amenities are offered on your ship, and reserve onboard activities and entertainment in advance.

Avoid the buffet on the first day

Mariner of the Seas Windjammer

Redditor Cdash4321 mentioned one of our favorite tips for a Royal Caribbean cruise: avoid the buffet on the first day.

The Windjammer buffet is a staple of any Royal Caribbean cruise. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Windjammer offers the widest variety of food found anywhere onboard. From pancakes in the morning to a burger for lunch and tacos for dinner, it’s no question that the Windjammer will offer a quick, casual, and delicious dining experience.

That being said, we advise avoiding the Windjammer on the first day of your cruise. As thousands of passengers board your cruise ship on embarkation day, the majority head to the buffet. As a result, it can get extremely crowded, and no one wants to start their vacation navigating around tons of other hungry guests.

Related: Where can I eat lunch on the first day of my cruise?

In addition to the Windjammer, there are several other options for lunch on embarkation day. Complimentary venues such as El Loco Fresh, Boardwalk Dog House, and Park Cafe offer quick grab and go options with far fewer crowds.

You may also choose to reserve lunch at a specialty restaurant. While this option costs extra, lunch prices are reasonable at specialty restaurants—around $20 to $25 per person—and the peaceful atmosphere of a specialty venue instead of the buffet can be well worth the cost.

Bring a lot of $1 bills for tips

Crew member smiling at the bar

Tubbis9001 gave great advice for any first-time cruiser: bring a lot of $1 bills.

“Most tips are included, sure. But a dollar for the luggage porters here, a dollar for your shore excursion bus driver there, it makes things easier,” Tubbis9001 explained.

Related: How much cash should you bring on a cruise?

Gratuities are automatically added to the price of a Royal Caribbean cruise, at $16 per person, per day for those in standard rooms and $18.50 per person, per day in Grand Suites and above. However, it’s customary (albeit optional) to tip crew members and other service providers extra during your cruise.

Having small bills on hand is helpful when you want to give a few dollars to porters, shore excursion guides, bartenders, waiters, and other staff onboard. $1 and $5 bills will be the most useful, and if you don’t have small bills, you can always break up a larger bill by going to Guest Services once onboard.

Pick the show or activity you want to do most and do it ASAP

AquaTheater show on Wonder of the Seas

User Elsie78 gave helpful advice for any cruiser. If there’s something onboard you’re eager to try, whether climbing the rock climbing wall or watching a Broadway show, do it as soon as possible.

Most activities, including entertainment productions, are held multiple times during a cruise. Because of this, many passengers wait to try activities or make show reservations until later in the cruise.

If there’s something you really want to experience onboard, though, we recommend doing it during the first few days of your cruise. Cruising is unpredictable, and you never know if unexpected scenarios like bad weather or illness will prevent you from doing an activity onboard.

Related: 15 free things to try on your next cruise

AquaTheater show on Wonder of the Seas

A great example of this is with Royal Caribbean’s AquaTheater shows. Even though the AquaTheater shows are often performed several days throughout the cruise, we recommend booking the first show available.

Why? These shows are dependent on weather and sea conditions. If it’s too windy, cold, or rainy, the performance might be canceled. If this happens on the first show of the cruise, you have plenty of other chances to catch the show before your cruise is over. If you wait to watch the performance until the last day and it gets canceled, though, you’re out of luck!

It’s okay to remove someone’s towel and sit down on a beach chair

The most controversial answer we received on Reddit was from Melodic_Oil_2486 who shared that you should feel comfortable removing someone’s towel on a chair to sit there yourself. Some Redditors agreed with the comment, but others weren’t so sure it’s the right thing to do.

Chair hogs—people who reserve a pool chair and don’t return until hours later—are a major problem on a cruise vacation. There are only a select number of chairs in prime spots on the pool deck, and it’s frustrating to see towels sitting on empty chairs for hours at a time.

Related: How to beat the chair hogs on your cruise ship

We don’t totally agree that you should move someone’s personal belongings from a beach or pool chair. You can, however, express concerns to a crew member, and they may take the belongings from the chair and place them in a pickup area.

Watch a ship tour on YouTube

Reditor Koolaid_Jef gave the advice to watch a tour of your cruise ship on YouTube before you set sail, and this is one of the best ways to learn more about your cruise before embarkation day.

YouTube is full of detailed ship tours on every Royal Caribbean ship. These tours provide a walkthrough tour of your cruise ship while explaining helpful information about the dining venues, entertainment, and other amenities found onboard.

If there’s just one thing you do during the cruise research process, make sure it’s watching a tour of your ship. We have fifteen full ship tours on the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube channel, each of which provides visuals of the ship and detailed commentary about everything to expect.

Bring a European power outlet

Cruise cabins, especially on older ships, have limited outlet space, and it can be challenging to charge all of your devices onboard. Reddit user Melvendestrange gave helpful advice for cruisers: take advantage of both the European (Type C) and North American (Type A) outlets in your cabin.

If you’re from North America, bring your standard chargers, but also bring an outlet adapter for the European Type C outlets in your cabin. If you’re from Europe, bring the opposite so you can utilize the Type A outlets in the cabin.

In addition to adapters, we also recommend bringing a USB outlet hub. This allows you to plug more chargers into the same outlet, which is helpful when cruising with a lot of electronics.

The coolest part of a cruise is meeting people

Lime and Coconut

User Jumpinjamminjacks finds the coolest part of a cruise to be meeting other people onboard.

“Most people on the ship are friendly,” they said. “Although there are a lot of people, you will keep seeing people. Smile and say hi; most people are trying to relax and have a good time.”

Related: How to meet people on a cruise ship

We agree that meeting other passengers is always an interesting aspect of a Royal Caribbean cruise. Cruisers come from around the world—from Florida to Japan—and it’s easy to strike up a conversation with other passengers.

You can join Facebook groups and forums for your upcoming sailing to meet other passengers before the cruise begins, or you can wait to meet other passengers once onboard.

Whether you chat with passengers at an onboard activity or on a shore excursion, you’ll be surprised by just how easy it is to make new friends on a cruise.