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I visited three ports on my cruise, but this one was by far my favorite, and here’s why you should go there

04 Apr 2023
Matt Hochberg

There's plenty of stunning beaches in the Caribbean, but only St. John stands out as the most beautiful I've ever visited.

St. John in US Virgin Islands

For a lot of people, taking a Caribbean cruise is about escaping to picturesque coasts with white sand, light blue ocean water, and maybe even a drink in hand.

On my recent 7-night Wonder of the Seas cruise, we visited three ports and by far the most beautiful of them all was Honeymoon Beach in St. John.

While we had a great time at the beach in St. Kitts and Perfect Day at CocoCay, I was blown away by the splendor of St. John.  In fact, every time our cruise visits St. Thomas, I look for a shore excursion that can take me to St. John.

Before you make plans for your upcoming St. Thomas visit, here's why I loved every minute of my visit to St. John.

Getting there

Trunk Bay

St. John is just 6 miles from St. Thomas, which makes it a very close option between the two islands.

There are a few ways to get to St. John: ferry, Royal Caribbean excursion, or private boat.

Ferry Boat in USVI

In the past, I've tried each of the options and there are pros and cons to each method.  For this visit, we went with a private boat charter because we were going with two other families and we wanted to maximize our time.

Wonder of the Seas was docked in St. Thomas from 7am to 2:30pm, so there was a limited amount of time in port. As a result, I wanted to try to squeeze in as much time as possible, and it seemed a private tour would be our best bet.

Wonder of the Seas in St. John

I looked at a few third-party different tours but ultimately decided to book with Sonic Charters because they had a great fleet of boats you could rent for the day.

Private tours are always going to be more expensive than group tours, but given our party size (12 in total) and our time needs, a private excursion seemed like the best choice.

The boat met us at the St. Thomas marina, which is a very short walk from where Royal Caribbean docks at Crown Bay.  You just walk through the port area, through the parking lot, and then right to the marina.

Yacht rental

The boat's captain met us at the marina bar, and we boarded the boat right at 9am to get underway. Our crew consisted of him and Louise.

We departed the marina and headed east to St. John for the short transit.

Our rental included snacks on the way to St. John and back, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.


Snorkeling spot in St. John

Since it was our private tour, it was up to us what we wanted to do. I asked that we visit the beach and have snorkel time too.

Our rental included snorkel equipment for everyone, so nothing extra to pack.

We were taken to a small inlet near St. John that was a well-known for being a place where sea turtles could be found.

Because St. John's water is so clear, snorkeling is incredibly easy for viewing.

Blue water

We had about an hour of being in the water, and even if you weren't into snorkeling, you could hop into the ocean to enjoy the current.  

My kids had a great time looking for as many undersea creatures as they could spot.

Honeymoon Beach

Honeymoon Beach in St. John

While snorkeling is fun, what draws me to St. John in the first place are the amazing beaches.

The beaches in St. John are the epitome of what a Caribbean beach day is all about: white sand, crystal blue water, and warm temperatures.

There are a number of beaches you can visit at St. John, including Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay.  If you get the chance to visit St. John by land, I highly recommend spending the day here.

St. John beach

Since we were on a boat, Honeymoon Beach is the best choice because our boat can get close enough to shore that we can easily swim.

The soft white sand is perfect to plop down and enjoy the shallow blue surf that washes up.

Honeymoon beach

There's still snorkeling options here, as there is a patch of reef on the west side of the beach. Much of the reef is in fairly shallow water – making it an excellent choice to see fish, corals, turtles and rays up close.

Other destinations in St. John

Trunk Bay

Our day in St. John was a mere glimpse at what this incredible island has to offer.

If you happen to take a shore excursion that brings you on land, there are a few great spots to visit.

Cruz Bay

Cruz Bay is where your ferry will drop you off, and it's a small village that has restaurants and shops. You can easily walk around the wharf and streets nearby and take in the Caribbean architecture, along with excellent shopping.

Trunk Bay in St John

Trunk Bay is the most famous beach in St. John because of the picturesque quarter mile white sand beach. There's a snack bar, along with beach chair rental and restrooms.  Trunk Bay does, however, have an entrance fee (and it's the only St. John beach that has a fee).

Cinnamon Bay - St John

Cinnamon Bay is the longest beach you'll find in St. John and incredibly pristine. It's a great choice for families because of how shallow the shoreline is, and it tends to be less busy than Trunk Bay.

Why you should visit St. John on a shore excursion

Honeymoon Beach

If you take away nothing else from this blog post, it's that St. John has the most amazing beaches you need to visit.

To be fair, there are a lot of great beaches around the Caribbean, but the combination of water color and clarity, beach conditions, and complete lack of crowds make this the best beach day I've ever had.

Because it's so uncrowded and underdeveloped, it feels like you've arrived in a Bond villain paradise (before things take a turn for the worse in the movie). 

Francis Bay, St John

I'm usually more a pool guy than a beach guy, but I'll visit a beach in St. John every time.

The challenge is getting to St. John, as shore excursions are limited (especially if you go through Royal Caribbean).  

The good news is there are many ferry services to get you across, but it does require good planning to ensure you can get back and forth without hassles.

10 worst cruise fails by our readers

03 Apr 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

From forgetting underwear to leaving your passport at home, there’s an array of mishaps that can happen on any Royal Caribbean cruise, and we’re sharing our top cruiser fails with you.

We asked Royal Caribbean Blog fans on our message boards about the worst failures they have experienced on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Some responses were downright hilarious whereas others made us scratch our heads in disbelief.

Here are our top cruiser fails that you should try to avoid on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Not knowing about the “tunnel of wind”

Connecting rooms

When your balcony door and cabin door are open at the same time, it creates a strong wind tunnel that rushes through the cabin. User SweetPea was unaware of this occurrence while her ship was docked in Nassau, and it led to an embarrassing consequence!

“The Do Not Disturb sign had fallen off our door,” she said. “Our cabin steward had come in just as I, in my bathrobe, was opening the balcony door to chat with my husband, and I hadn’t heard the steward knock.

We were docked in Nassau at the time, directly across from, of all ships, the Disney Wonder, who I managed to flash full frontal as my bathrobe totally opened in the tunnel of wind!”

Lesson learned: Take caution when opening your cabin door if the balcony door is open to avoid unexpectedly flashing unprepared passengers.

Sunburns galore

One of the best parts of cruising is enjoying the tropical weather of the Caribbean, but don’t forget to use sunscreen!

User RockerDom31 was eager for a cruise vacation with his wife, and they spent embarkation day under the sun sipping cocktails. The one thing they forgot to use? Sunscreen.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t feel the consequence of this [not using sunscreen] until the following morning when we experienced some extremely painful showers. And with 3 sea days and the first port being Labadee, we had to live off the vending machine aloe for 4 days. I’m pretty sure we emptied the vending machine!”

Luckily, they were able to visit CVS once their ship docked in Puerto Rico and stock up on aloe, which was priced much lower than that on the ship.

Lesson learned: Always apply sunscreen on a cruise, and consider packing aloe if you’re prone to sunburns.

Health questionnaire mistake

Galveston terminal check-in agents

The day before your cruise, a health questionnaire opens on the Royal Caribbean app, and this questionnaire must be completed by each guest before boarding.

On the questionnaire, guests are asked if they have had any symptoms of illness within the previous 10 days, including nausea, fever, and difficulty breathing. It also includes a question about pregnancy, asking guests whether they will be over 23 weeks pregnant at the start of the cruise.

Answering “yes” to any of the questions on the questionnaire can result in denial of boarding, as Royal Caribbean cannot permit guests with covid symptoms onboard. In addition, pregnant women over 23 weeks are unable to sail on Royal Caribbean.

Symphony of the Seas sailing away

Unfortunately, responses cannot be edited once submitted, and this led to trouble for Royal Caribbean Blog message board user DoomSlayer.

“I accidentally answered that my daughter was pregnant (over 23 weeks) in the health section of check-in, which got an instant denial of boarding message for her. A phone call later and an explanation at the terminal fixed it all, but my daughter was worried they wouldn’t let her on.”

Lesson learned: Double check your answers to the health questionnaire before hitting submit!

Pier runners

We’ve all seen videos of frantic cruisers sprinting down the pier to reach their cruise ship before it leaves port. While entertaining to watch from the comfort of your balcony, it’s not a situation anyone wants to find themselves in while on a cruise.

Related: What happens if you miss your cruise ship?

Cruiser4Life explained how they were once pier runners during a port day in Key West, Florida.

“Our family has the largest plot in the Key West Cemetery, so we took a walk there after our excursion to freshen up the flowers there,” they mentioned. “We accidentally exited the wrong gate when we were done and got completely turned around heading back!”

Unfortunately, the cruise ship will not wait for you if you get lost on your way back to port, and Cruiser4Life's travel party found themselves rushing back to the ship.

Lesson learned: Always provide enough time to get back to your cruise ship before all aboard.

Flying the night before a European cruise

Houston Hobby airport

Most flights from North America to Europe depart in the evening and arrive in Europe the following morning. While we always recommend flying to your cruise port the day before your cruise begins, you should fly two days ahead of time before a European cruise.

Flying to Europe the night before a European cruise means you will arrive in your departure city just a few hours before the cruise begins, which leaves little to no space for travel delays.

Royal Caribbean Blog Message Board reader KDK told a story of how unforeseen weather delays impacted their European cruise experience.

“We flew out the night before our cruise to Europe. Horrible rain storms shut down all of the flights out of New Jersey. We missed the first two days of our cruise and had to pick it up at the next port, missing both the sail away and the first day at sea.”

Lesson learned: Fly to Europe 2 days before a European cruise begins.

Forgetting a passport


User loki007’s son drove from Daytona Beach to Fort Lauderdale before a Celebrity Apex cruise last December. He arrived at 10PM the night before embarkation day, but there was one major problem: he forgot his passport at home!

“He got back in his car for the 7 hour round trip to pick up the passport sitting on his kitchen counter,” loki007 explained.

It’s critical to ensure you have all necessary documents to board a Royal Caribbean cruise. We recommend a passport, but if you’re sailing on a cruise departing and returning to the same port in the United States, an official birth certificate and ID are also permitted.

Related: Do you need a passport for a cruise?

Lesson learned: Check (and double check) that you have your identification documents before leaving for a cruise. You can find the official list of permitted documents here.

Forgetting dress shoes

Several of our readers made the rookie mistake of forgetting to bring formal wear on a cruise.

User ChessE4 forgot to pack dress socks for his formal shoes, and he could not find any to purchase on the ship or in port! However, he was still one step ahead of user Srp431, who forgot dress shoes altogether!

“I had to wear tennis shoes during formal nights,” said Srp431. “My wife is still upset after all these years!”

Lesson learned: Remember to bring dress shoes so you aren’t forced to wear tennis shoes or flip flops to dinner!

Forgot to buy travel insurance

User She Sails Away overlooked purchasing travel insurance on a transatlantic cruise and it led to unnecessary stress and frustration later on.

“On day five of the transatlantic, I thought to myself ‘Wait… I never bought travel insurance.’ I figured it was too late and just hoped that I would not need it,” she explained.

On day six I needed it. I had all the signs of a detached retina and had to go to medical. We were looking at our very last stop on land the next day in Spain and then we would be at sea for a week. They arranged for me to go see a doctor in Spain the next day.

Medical center

If it turned out I had a detached retina, they would need to do emergency surgery right away, and I would need to stay off an airplane for two weeks.”

Related: Should you buy annual travel insurance plans?

Fortunately, She Sails Away did not have a detached retina, but it didn’t save her from the stress of worrying about medical costs in addition to spending two additional weeks in a hotel in Spain!

Lesson learned: Always purchase travel insurance before a cruise. You never know if you’ll need it, and it’s always better to have it.

Almost booked the wrong year for a cruise

Cozumel sign in port

From picking a ship, sail date, and cabin, booking a cruise entails making a lot of decisions in the reservation process. When planning a cruise, it’s important to double check you booked the correct sailing before hitting submit, and one of our message board readers almost made a huge mistake.

“I almost made a really big fail just yesterday while booking an Alaska cruise,” explained user deep1. “I had been looking at a few and they all kind of blended into a mish mash. I finally picked one and went to pull the trigger… right cruise, right month and day. Wrong year!”

Fortunately, he had been on hold with a booking agent when he realized the mistake and was able to change the year of the sailing right away.

Lesson learned: Thoroughly check to make sure you are booking the exact sailing you want before completing a reservation.

Confusing ship time and port time

Royal Caribbean excursion sign

One common confusion among first-time cruisers is navigating the difference between ship time and port time.

On many cruise itineraries, your ship will remain on the local time of your embarkation port throughout the sailing, even if the ports you visit are in a different time zone (+/- one hour).

This can get confusing when all aboard time is at 4:30PM, but it’s only 3:30PM in your port of call. On a recent cruise, the time difference confusion almost caused user RoseofTX to miss a shore excursion.

“I had put all of our booked excursions in our calendars on our phone. The one in Cozumel left at 11:00, so I let my wife sleep in before a casual stroll to the meeting point,” he mentioned. “I happen to look at the app and notice that the excursion is at 10:00 ship time (11:00 local!)”

The mishap with time zones caused RoseofTX’s travel party to rush to the excursion, and they were gratefully able to make it to the meeting point in time.

Lesson learned: Thoroughly check the Royal Caribbean app or your excursion ticket for information on which time to meet for your excursion.

Royal Beach Club at Paradise Island: What you should know before it opens

03 Apr 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

With multiple beaches, a swimming pool, and private cabanas, The Royal Beach Club is set to be an exciting new option for Royal Caribbean cruise passengers visiting Nassau, and we’re sharing everything you need to know about this exclusive beach day.

The Royal Beach Club is a new project by Royal Caribbean in partnership with The Bahamas. It’s located on Paradise Island—a narrow strip of land near the cruise port in Nassau—on a 17 acre property.

Although the project was originally announced in 2020, it was put on hold during the cruise industry shutdown. In March 2023, however, Royal Caribbean announced they will be moving forward with The Royal Beach Club with a 2025 opening date.

Here’s what you should know before it opens.

*Information on this article is subject to change based on new announcements by Royal Caribbean.

The Royal Beach Club is for Royal Caribbean passengers only, but comes at an extra cost.

Despite its close proximity to the Nassau cruise port, which hosts over 12 different cruise lines, The Royal Beach Club is exclusively for Royal Caribbean cruise passengers. This is with the exception of Bahamian residents along with their friends and family, who can enjoy the beach club's facilities at a reduced rate.

Unlike Royal Caribbean’s private destination of Perfect Day at CocoCay, however, access to The Royal Beach Club is not included in the cruise fare. Passengers will have to reserve a day pass at the beach club for an additional fee.

The entrance fee for The Royal Beach Club has not been announced, but the day pass will include beach club access, lunch, and the rental of a beach chair. It does not include alcohol and soda, cabanas, day beds, watersport activities, and local tours.

Day passes on the island will include four or five hours of access. Most port days in Nassau are around eight hours long, meaning The Royal Beach Club is a half-day experience.

The beach club is not on a private island, as Paradise Island is also shared with hotels and resorts like The Atlantis, Baha Mar, and Sandals Royal Bahamian. However, it is located in a more secluded area of Paradise Island on the far west side.

The beach club aims to create a world class beach experience, and four beaches are planned.

Based on initial concept art, it appears that The Royal Beach Club will have four beaches: Tranquility Beach, Hideaway Beach, Harbor Beach, and Sapphire Beach.

Two of the beaches—Tranquility Beach and Sapphire Beach—are along the northern side of Paradise Island facing the open ocean. The other two beaches—Hideaway Beach and Harbor Beach—appear to be facing the cruise port and thus should have calmer waters.

All beaches feature lounge chairs and umbrellas, and private cabanas are available to reserve for an extra cost. Little details on the cabanas have been shared, but they appear to feature private pool chairs in front of the cabana along with plush furnishings on the inside.

Like at Perfect Day at CocoCay, reserving a cabana for the day can be a nice way to splurge on added comfort and exclusivity while at The Royal Beach Club.

Related: Guide to CocoCay Cabanas

Three types of cabanas are listed in the concept art: VIP Cabanas, Beach Cabanas, and HideAway Bungalows, but the differences between the cabanas have not yet been announced. A few over-the-water cabanas appear in the concept art as well.

In addition to beaches, amenities at The Royal Beach Club include a spacious swimming pool and a watersports center.

Aside from beaches, passengers in search of a pool day are in luck at The Royal Beach Club. Concept art shows a large infinity edge pool, making it a perfect spot to cool down in the Bahamian sun.

The pool is long and narrow and features pool chairs and umbrellas along its perimeter. It also features in-pool beach beds, which appear to be padded and include pillows, a side table, and canopy for shade. Day beds have an additional cost.

There appears to be an adults-only pool as well, in addition to a kids splash pad and wading pool.

If lounging on a pool chair doesn’t sound thrilling enough, though, you can enjoy watersports activities for an extra cost. Activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, jet skiing, floating mat rentals, inflatable water slides, and parasailing.

Nature hikes and a volleyball court will also be offered at The Royal Beach Club.

Several food and drink venues will be located at The Royal Beach Club including a fan favorite from Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Food is included in the price of admission to The Royal Beach Club. Based on concept art, it appears there will be two food halls—one on each side of the beach club. Information on the food halls has not been announced, but it’s possible the food halls will be a buffet-style dining venue.

In addition to the food halls are three Snack Shack locations, which serve grab and go food including chicken sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, french fries, and mozzarella sticks. This venue is a favorite among cruise fans; three locations are also found at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Aside from dining, there is a wide selection of bars at The Royal Beach Club. You won’t have to travel far to find a tropical cocktail while on shore, as bars are scattered throughout every side of the beach club.

Bars include:

  • Hideaway Bar
  • Beach Bar
  • Tranquility Beach Bar
  • Vista Bluff Bar
  • Signature Bahamian Bar
  • Bunker Bar
  • Dunes Bar

Water taxis will transport passengers from their cruise ship to the Royal Beach Club.

It’s not possible to walk from your cruise ship to the Royal Beach Club. Passengers who book a day pass to the beach club must walk out of the port and onto Bay Street.

Once at the end of Bay Street (near the Straw Market), guests will find water taxis transporting them to and from the beach club.

There are two water taxi stops at The Royal Beach Club. The first is near Sapphire Beach and the second is near the west end of the pool.

The Royal Beach Club will have a capacity for up to 3,800 guests, and it features opportunities to learn about Bahamian culture.

Up to 3,800 Royal Caribbean cruise passengers can visit The Royal Beach Club at any given time.

Most of Royal Caribbean’s ships have a capacity of 3,000 to 6,000 passengers, and there are usually multiple ships in Nassau on any given day. This means that not all passengers can visit The Royal Beach Club every day, but it provides another excursion option in addition to the exciting tours found elsewhere in Nassau.

Related: Best things to do in Nassau on a cruise

While on shore, guests at The Royal Beach Club will have the opportunity to learn more about Bahamian culture in addition to time at the beach and pool.

Near Harbor Beach is an artisan market. Although details on the artisan market have not been announced, we can expect to see a handicraft and souvenir market run by local Bahamians.

Live music will be found around the island as well, in addition to Bahamian cuisine at the dining venues and island-style barbecues.

The beach club is a public-private partnership with the Bahamas and will provide a positive economic impact.

The Royal Beach Club is being constructed as a public-private partnership between Royal Caribbean and The Bahamas. Bahamians are invited to own up to 49% equity in the club, and local businesses can take part in managing the majority of the experience.

Hundreds of jobs will be created for local Bahamians with The Royal Beach Club, both during construction and operation. The $110+ million investment will hire over two hundred Bahamians during construction, and the economic impact over ten years is estimated to be around $1 billion.

An overall goal of the project is to continue growing the number of visitors to Nassau. Royal Caribbean Group estimates over 2.5 million guests will visit Nassau by 2030, many of whom will spend their day at The Royal Beach Club.

100 item Ultimate Cruise Packing List (Printable PDF)

02 Apr 2023
Chantal McPhee

Packing for a cruise is no simple task, regardless if you are a first-timer or veteran. The combination of various "what to wear" scenarios coupled with the inability to run to the store to buy something you need gives a lot of people pause when trying to figure out what to pack.

Packing for a cruise

There are so many fun things to do on a cruise in addition to all the great excursions. How to pack for everything? 

It's my experience that a really good cruise packing list helps a lot, because it can assist with being prepared for cruise line dress codes, what to wear on shore, evening wear, and everything you may need in your cabin too.

Planning ahead can be a great time-saver, as no one wants to use valuable vacation time doing detours while in port in a search for a forgotten item. Or missing out on a great activity, such as a galley tour, because you don't have closed toe shoes. 

After many years of cruising, here are the list of important things you should pack for any cruise ship vacation. I hope with this list, you can avoid common cruise packing mistakes and be ready for an amazing trip!


Before you start packing, it is always a good idea to make sure you have the right luggage. Royal Caribbean does not have a specific limit on the number of suitcases. For most, this will be guided by transportation options, especially flying, which has restrictions on both the size and weight of bags. 

When you arrive at the cruise terminal, you will hand your larger bags over to a porter, and they will be delivered to your cabin later on embarkation day. 

For that reason, you will need to bring a manageable carry-on bag, which should have room enough for important valuables, required documents, and anything else you need right away, such as flip flops and a bathing suit. 

If you are bringing on wine or champagne, this will also need to be packed in your carry-on. 

Daytime clothes and accessories

As with most trips, clothing is going to your primary focus and take up the bulk of your suitcase.

The total number of outfits that you are going to want to bring depends on the length and type of cruise. There are no self-service laundry facilities onboard but washing, pressing, and dry-cleaning services are offered (prices vary per item). It is best to plan clothes for the number of days plus a return home outfit. Two outfits per day is a good rule of thumb (day and night).

For casual daywear pack:

  • T-shirts and/or tank tops
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuits and appropriate cover up
  • Sundresses
  • Comfortable pair of flip flops and/or sandals
  • Jeans and pants
  • Active wear 
  • Clothes for onboard activities, such as the all-access ship tour, zip-lining, and rock climbing, which require closed-toe shoes
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Lanyard for SeaPass card

Evening clothes and accessories

Pile of belongings

For evening events, the dress code varies, but cruisers are less formal than they use to be. Many guests wear "smart casual" for formal night; Royal Caribbean's website explains the dress code to help with packing for evening wear.

  • "Smart Casual: Think of this as a step up from your typical dinner wear. Dress to impress with collared shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, or pantsuits. Jackets, sports coats, and blazers are snazzy and welcomed.
  • Formal: Make it a night out in your best black-tie look – suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses, or evening gowns, although I have to say less and less of this.
  • There are also fun theme nights, such as the White Party, 70s or 80s nights. They differ by ship, but a previous Cruise Compass will indicate what can be expected.
  • Nicer shoes (heels, flats, loafers, etc.)
  • Sleepwear
  • Jewelry

RelatedEverything you need to know about formal night on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Ports and excursions

Whether it is a beach day, bicycle tour, or snorkeling, there are a few things you should probably include for your port days.

It is always a good idea to keep valuables such as a phone and wallet safe when venturing out in ports. Cross-body bags with secure locks or a money belt are good options. It never hurts to stick an umbrella or rain ponchos in your bag in case any tropical showers pop up.

For general water/beach outings, consider packing:

  • Mask, goggles, and snorkel
  • Water shoes (where needed)
  • Life jackets/flotation devices (especially for children)
  • Waterproof phone carrier
  • Towel clips (the ship provides towels)
  • Beach bag
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Appropriate footwear 

Packing for Colder Climates

Cruising to colder climates, like Alaska, has become increasingly popular and requires different considerations for weather and activities.

The amount of rain and temperature can vary during an Alaskan cruise, so you should be prepared to keep warm and dry. Layered dressing is the way to go in this climate. Here are some suggestions:

  • Shirts and t-shirts for inner layers
  • Warm layers, such as fleece pullovers
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Suitable closed toe shoes
  • Boots for hiking where needed
  • Gloves, hat and scarf
  • Binoculars
  • Water-resistant backpack/cross-body bag for onshore
  • Insect repellant is especially important for Alaska
  • Hand warmer packs

Location specific requirements

The cruise planner will list important details for excursions. For example, in Rome, there is no access to the Vatican or St. Peter’s Basilica with exposed shoulders or knees. This applies to both men and women.

For those who love camouflage clothing, it is important to note that it is illegal in some Caribbean countries, such as Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Lucia, as it is reserved for military use. Some non-camo options should be included when packing.

Sunscreen is a must and cruisers should be aware that some destinations require reef-safe sunscreen to help protect the health of their coral reefs. These products don’t contain harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, octocrylene and octinoxate. Reef-safe sunscreens are readily available in popular drugstores and other retailers. Ports in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Aruba, and Hawaii are some of the locations that require these types of sunscreens.

Kid stuff

Traveling with younger kids can definitely add more to your packing list. Beyond the standard clothes suggested for adults, consider including:

  • Diapers – pack plenty of extra ones, including regular and swim
  • Baby wipes
  • Rash cream
  • Extra plastic bags for wet items
  • Extra clothes
  • Light blanket
  • Stroller
  • Car seat where necessary
  • Bottles/sippy cups
  • Baby food and formula
  • Beach toys
  • Activities like coloring, stickers, books, etc.
  • Inflatable bath tub to place in the shower for younger children

Also, make sure that you download any favorite shows and games on tablets or phones prior to boarding the ship!


When it comes to toiletries, the cruise line only provides soap and shampoo; many people prefer to bring their own. Here are some of the main things to consider bringing:

  • Shampoo and conditioner, and other hair products.
  • Skin care products
  • Makeup
  • Eye care – glass cleaners and contact solution
  • Dental – toothbrush and toothpaste (and floss for the 1% that actually do as their dentist tells them)
  • Curling / flat irons (cabins have blow dryers)
  • Shaving products
  • Brush, comb, elastics/ hair accessories
  • Deodorant
  • Nail products
  • Shoe rack to help with organization
  • Sewing kit

Tip - For some reason, travel sized products can be pricey despite their size. Reusable travel bottles are a good solution, especially if you don’t need a large quantity of product.

First Aid and Medications


While some items can be purchased onboard, it is a good idea to have a ready made first aid kit for easy access during the cruise. The last thing you want to do, is spend time running around in port to find something,

Unfortunately, some people suffer from sea sickness, but there are a number of well known remedies such as Gravol, wrist bands and patches.

Here are some common medications/ first aid items to pack:

  • Sea sickness remedies
  • Pain and allergy products
  • After-burn care (aloe), lip balm (SPF), and bug spray
  • Anti-itch cream/ hydrocortisone
  • First aid items such as band-aids and anti-bacterial ointment
  • Upset stomach medications
  • Cold medicine
  • Eye drops


The last bag to pack is your carry-on. Once the luggage is dropped off at the terminal, this should contain everything needed until the cabin is ready.

  • Money (small denominations for tips/ foreign currency), credit cards
  • Electronics – phone, tablet, earbuds, charger, camera
  • Required medication (at least 3 days extra worth)
  • Eyewear – glasses, sunglasses, contacts
  • Comfort items such as  gum/ mints/ snacks
  • Phone battery (can’t be packed)
  • Masks (where required)
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes
  • Covid 19 test kits if you plan on doing proctored tests
  • Pens

Although most people keep documents on their phone, I always feel better having hard copies as well just in case something happens to my phone. Documents to consider:

  • Boarding passes
  • Negative Covid-19 test results (if necessary)
  • Country specific entry requirements
  • Hotel reservations
  • Transportation details
  • Insurance details
  • A list of key numbers and reservations
  • SetSail passes
  • Luggage tags
  • Excursion details

Tip: Passports applications are taking longer right now, so do keep this in mind if you are traveling to a destination that requires one. It is important to check the expiry date as most countries require passports to be valid for at least 6 months.

Drinks and Beverages

Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring a specific quantity of drinks onboard. This can be a great money saver or is nice if you have a specific beverage you really love. 

According to Royal Caribbean, each guest can bring one 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne, as long as they are of legal drinking age

Guests can also bring non-alcoholic beverages up to 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom. Milk and distilled water brought on for infant, medical, or dietary use are permitted. 

Corkscrews will be provided for guests to enjoy their drinks in their stateroom, and if guests wish to enjoy their wine or champagne in our dining or bar venues, there will be a corkage fee applied.

Guests who purchase alcohol bottles onboard, in a port-of-call, or bring more than the two permitted bottles on boarding day, will have their items safely stored by the ship. These bottles will be returned on the last day onboard for enjoyment once home.


USB plugs in cabin

Royal Caribbean ships have standard plugs and most Caribbean ports have the same electrical outlets as those in the United States. However, for your pre-and post stay for international cruises, you may require adaptors and converters.

Adaptors are inexpensive to purchase but do vary by destination, so check what is required for your travels destination. 

In addition, some items may need a converter that, as the name implies, converts it to the proper voltage. This is more likely to be an issue for items like flat or curling irons. These can be much more expensive, so best to do your research ahead of time to determine what is needed.


Although there is plenty of food and drinks on the cruise, there are times when it is helpful to have a pre-packaged snack on hand. Protein and granola bars can be great options, as well as favorites like goldfish or cheerios that can calm down a tired toddler.

Other items to consider:

  • A night light, as cabins can be dark 
  • Reading material – some people love reading on a kindle or their tablet, but for those that don't remember to bring a book or magazine.
  • Flashlight
  • Straws
  • Towel clips to keep your towel from blowing away
  • Fan, but must be cordless (can plug into USB)
  • Multi-outlet USB Charger (non-surge)
  • Magnetic hooks 
  • Ziplock bags 
  • Water bottle
  • Wrinkle release spray
  • Watch 


This is a growing category that I have added to my packing list. With more and more apps and Covid protocols, and other health requirements, I have to give more thought to what I need to have on my phone for travel, what I consider e-packing.

Some people like to print out everything, which is a good strategy as well, but for some things, it is best to have an app. 

  • Royal Caribbean's App -- you will need this onboard, get information on activities, your schedule, book entertainment, etc.
  • Airline and transportation apps
  • Boarding passes
  • Vaccine proof
  • Negative Covid-19 results 
  • Any country specific entry codes, for example for Spain, you need to complete a health form and receive a QR code for entry
  • Excursion details/tickets
  • Country specific requirements like Canada’s ArriveCAN app, that much be completed prior to arrival

I also create a specific travel folder for all of my travel related emails, such as transportation details, and cruise planner purchases.

What to leave at home

There is a whole list of items that can’t be brought onboard, so it's best to know about this ahead of time and not waste space or risk losing them.

There is a detailed list of prohibited items on Royal Caribbean's website, and among many are items that heat up, which can cause a fire hazard on the ship. Anything that could interfere with the safe operation of the ship or the safe and secure environment of guests and crew are prohibited.

Here are some common items that the cruise line does not permit onboard:

  • Beer, hard liquor and spirits
  • Marijuana (even if medical products), CBD Oil / CBD Products
  • Irons and steamers
  • Kettle, coffee maker or hot plate
  • Candles
  • Any other device that produces heat
  • Baby Monitors
  • Extension cords
  • Perishable foods and meats
  • Hookahs and water hookah pipes
  • Weapons including pepper spray
  • Toy gun replicas
  • Hoverboards
  • HAM radios

Download the Printable Checklist

Want to have this entire list in an easy-to-print list?

You can click here to easily download out cruise packing list!

Royal Caribbean News Round-Up: April 2, 2023

02 Apr 2023
Matt Hochberg

They say April showers brings May flowers, but Sundays bring you a round-up of all of this week's Royal Caribbean news!

Royal Caribbean gave us our first look at new bars and nightlife options coming to Icon of the Seas.

Dueling Pianos concept art on Icon of the Seas

Among the 40 bars and lounges to enjoy on Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean will debut a few new venues, along with enhanced favorites.

In the list of 15 bars and nightlife venues revealed are first-to-fleet venues, such as dueling pianos, coffee-infused cocktails, and a new walkup champagne bar.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 493rd episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, which has a primer for someone planning their first cruise.

In this episode, Matt walks you through how to get started planning an awesome first Royal Caribbean cruise.

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: Changes and cuts at Royal Caribbean: Does it matter?

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 — Changes and cuts at Royal Caribbean: Does it matter? — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

15 Things To Do As Soon as You Get to Your Cruise Cabin

Inside cabin on Symphony of the Seas

When you first enter your stateroom, it's a good idea to check a few things before you settle in.

While these may be simple steps, it's important to get them done so that you can ensure your room is ready for a great cruise overall.

It's a good idea to do these things on embarkation day in case there are any issues that need to be addressed by crew members.

5 things I loved about Chill Island on Perfect Day at CocoCay

Beach at Chill Island

There are different parts of Perfect Day at CocoCay you can spend the day at, but Chill Island never seems to disappoint.

Maybe it's the nostalgia of the fact this used to be the original beach area prior to the island's expansion, or just the beautiful blue water all around you, but Chill Island has a certain appeal.

On my recent visit, I found these 5 reasons I love spending the day at Chill Island.

What the cheapest cabin on my Celebrity cruise was like

Interior Cabin

Allie sailed 4-nights in the cheapest inside cabin she could book to see what an inexpensive room is like on Celebrity.

Celebrity has a reputation for being a bit more upscale or posh than sister company Royal Caribbean, so does that include the inside cabin experience?

Here's what the cheapest cabin on Celebrity Silhouette looks like and what Allie thought of the stateroom.

See how Royal Caribbean ships stack up by size

01 Apr 2023
Matt Hochberg

With so many Royal Caribbean cruise ships in the fleet, it can be confusing to figure out how big each ship is by size.

Ship size isn't everything when it comes to picking the right ship for you, but how big a ship is remains one of the key metrics a lot of people pay attention to when it comes to comparing vessels.

Royal Caribbean is known for building big cruise ships. It's been their mantra since debuting the first "mega ships" in the late 1980s.

Since then, new cruise ships have rapidly grown in size.  New classes of cruise ship usually bring with them even larger ship sizes.

Wonder of the Seas

While the size of a cruise ship is not the end-all be-all statistic that defines a ship from another, it is certainly a metric many people pay attention to, especially from a marketing perspective.

So whether you have a passing interest in knowing how big each ship is in Royal Caribbean's fleet, or want to prove your friend wrong that you know which ship is the biggest, here is a look at all the Royal Caribbean cruise ships by size.

How do you measure how big a cruise ship is?

Cruise ships are measured by their gross tonnage, which can be a confusing metric to understand.

Gross tonnage is a nonlinear measure of a ship's overall internal volume.


Basically, this is a way to measure passenger vessels by volume and not weight. This is the standard way to measure how cruise ships compare to each other because of how designs can vary greatly.

Royal Caribbean ships by size

Royal Caribbean cruise ships by size

1. Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas render at sea

Gross Tonnage: 250,800 GRT

Length: 1,198 feet long

Passengers: 5,610 (double occupancy)

2. Wonder of the Seas

Royal Caribbean takes delivery of new world's largest cruise ship as it departs shipyard | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 236,857 GRT

Length: 1,188 feet long

Beam: 210 feet wide

Passengers: 5,734 (double occupancy)

3. Symphony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: April 8, 2018 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 228,081 GRT

Length: 1,188 feet long

Beam: 215.5 feet wide

Passengers: 5,518 (double occupancy)

4. Harmony of the Seas

Aerial photos of Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 226,963 GRT

Length: 1,188 feet long

Beam: 215.5 feet wide

Passengers: 5,479 (double occupancy)

5. Oasis of the Seas

Everything you wanted to know about Oasis of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 226,838 GT

Length: 1,187 feet long

Beam: 215 feet wide

Passengers: 5,602 (double occupancy)

6. Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas to begin her test cruise today | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 225,282 GRT

Length: 1,187 feet long

Beam: 215 feet wide

Passengers: 5,484 (double occupancy)

7. Spectrum of the Seas

Spectrum of the Seas joins Royal Caribbean's fleet following delivery ceremony | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 169,379 GRT

Length: 1,139 feet long

Beam: 135 feet wide

Passengers: 4,256 (double occupancy)

8. Odyssey of the Seas

Royal Caribbean CEO gives updates on return to service, loyalty benefits and more | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 169,300 GT

Length: 1,138 feet long

Beam: 135 feet wide

Passengers: 4,284 (double occupancy)

9. Ovation of the Seas

Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval to start test sailings on Ovation of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 168,666 GRT

Length: 1,138 feet long

Beam: 136 feet wide

Passengers: 4,180 (double occupancy)

10. Anthem of the Seas

Royal Caribbean becomes first cruise line to be named Gay Travel Approved | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 168,666 GRT

Length: 1,141 feet long

Beam: 136 feet wide

Passengers: 4,180 (double occupancy)

11. Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean cancels Quantum of the Seas cruises through March 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 168,666 GRT

Length: 1,141 feet long

Beam: 136 feet wide

Passengers: 4,180 (double occupancy)

12. Freedom of the Seas

Frequently asked questions about cruising on Freedom of the Seas from Florida | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 156,271 GT

Length: 1,111 feet long

Beam: 185 feet wide

Passengers: 3,926 (double occupancy)

13. Liberty of the Seas

Everything you wanted to know about Liberty of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 154,407 GRT

Length: 1,112 feet long

Beam: 185 feet wide

Passengers: 3,798 (double occupancy)

14. Independence of the Seas

Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval for Independence of the Seas to sail | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 154,407 GRT

Length: 1,112 feet long

Beam: 185 feet wide

Passengers: 3,858 (double occupancy)

15. Navigator of the Seas

Top 10 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas hidden secrets | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 139,999 GT

Length: 1,020 feet long

Beam: 161 feet wide

Passengers: 3,388 (double occupancy)

16. Mariner of the Seas

Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval for Mariner of the Seas to sail | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 139,863 GRT

Length: 1,020 feet long

Beam: 127 feet wide

Passengers: 3,344 (double occupancy)

17. Explorer of the Seas

Explorer of the Seas meets Voyager of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 137,308 GRT

Length: 1,020 feet long

Beam: 157.5 feet wide

Passengers: 3,286 (double occupancy)

18. Adventure of the Seas

Top 8 things you should know about going on a cruise in 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 137,276 GRT

Length: 1,020 feet long

Beam: 157 feet wide

Passengers: 3,114 (double occupancy)

19. Voyager of the Seas

Royal Caribbean changes Covid-19 vaccine requirements for cruise ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 137,276 GT

Length: 1,020 feet long

Beam: 157.5 feet wide

Passengers: 3,602 (double occupancy)

20. Radiance of the Seas

20 Radiance Class cruise ship tips and secrets | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 90,090 GRT

Length: 962 feet long

Beam: 106 feet wide

Passengers: 2,143  (double occupancy)

21. Brilliance of the Seas

Brilliance of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 90,090 GRT

Length: 962 feet long

Beam: 106 feet wide

Passengers: 2,142  (double occupancy)

22. Serenade of the Seas

Royal Caribbean is first cruise line to restart cruises from Tampa | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 90,090 GRT

Length: 965 feet long

Beam: 106 feet wide

Passengers: 2,143 (double occupancy)

23. Jewel of the Seas

Gross Tonnage: 90,090 GRT

Length: 962 feet long

Beam: 106 feet wide

Passengers: 2,191 (double occupancy)

24. Enchantment of the Seas

Enchantment of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 82,910 GRT

Length: 989 feet long

Beam: 105.6 feet wide

Passengers: 2,252 (double occupancy)

25. Rhapsody of the Seas

Rhapsody of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 78,491 GRT

Length: 915.35 feet long

Beam: 105.6 feet wide 

Passengers: 1,998 (double occupancy) 

26. Vision of the Seas

Royal Caribbean announces Vision of the Seas will sail from Bermuda | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 78,340 GT

Length: 915 feet long

Beam: 105.6 feet wide

Passengers: 2,050 (double occupancy)

27. Grandeur of the Seas

Grandeur of the Seas to leave Royal Caribbean fleet | Royal Caribbean Blog

Gross Tonnage: 73,817 GRT

Length: 916 feet long

Beam: 105.6 feet wide

Passengers: 1,992 (double occupancy)

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

31 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

A Royal Caribbean drink package offers the choice to enjoy an unlimited amount of drinks for a fixed daily price.

You might be wondering what you get with a drink package and if it's really worth it to spend all that money on one.

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.

15 Things To Do As Soon as You Get to Your Cruise Cabin

31 Mar 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

Seeing your cruise cabin for the first time is one of the most exciting parts of a Royal Caribbean cruise. Whether you’ve booked a tiny interior room or spacious suite, your cabin quickly becomes your home away from home on a cruise vacation.

When you enter your cruise cabin on embarkation day, however, there are a few things you should do as soon as possible, such as unpacking and putting away valuables.

While these mundane tasks may not seem like the best way to kick off a cruise vacation, getting your cabin organized right away means you can better enjoy your time onboard throughout the rest of your sailing.

From meeting your stateroom attendant to decorating your cabin door, here are 15 things to do as soon as you get to your cruise cabin.

Drop off your carry-on bag


Most cruisers drop their large suitcases off with the porters at the cruise terminal to avoid bringing heavy luggage onboard. However, you’ll want to use a carry-on bag—a backpack, carry-on suitcase, or purse—during the embarkation process.

In this carry-on you should keep your electronic devices, identification documents, and important necessities like medication. You want to carry all items you’ll need on the first day of your cruise with you in a carry-on bag, as your luggage may not arrive in front of your cabin door for several hours.

Related: The Ultimate Cruise Packing List

The downside of bringing a carry-on bag with you onboard, though, is that your cruise cabin may not be ready for several hours after your boarding time. Many passengers begin boarding at 11AM, for example, but their stateroom isn’t ready until 1:30PM.

This leads to an awkward wait time of lugging your carry-on bag with you around the ship. Therefore, once staterooms are ready, the first thing you should do is drop off your carry-on in your cabin and get rid of the extra weight.

Unpack your clothes


We always recommend unpacking your clothes on a cruise whether the sailing is three nights or fourteen nights. In a small cruise cabin, living out of your suitcase will leave your room feeling more cramped, as valuable space will be taken up by your luggage on the floor or couch.

Instead, unpack your clothes into your cruise cabin’s drawers and closets. Not only will your room feel more spacious, but unpacking helps you settle into your cabin, making it feel much more like home.

This is especially important if you have formal wear prone to wrinkles. Hanging these outfits in your closets immediately will lessen the time your clothing is squished in a suitcase!

Put away your suitcases

Luggage under bed

Speaking of suitcases, be sure to store your suitcases out of sight after unpacking. There is ample room in your cabin’s closets for suitcases, so there’s no need for them to be out in the open during your sailing.

You can also store luggage under your cabin’s bed. Cruise cabin beds have enough space underneath for most sizes of luggage, and this is one of the best ways to increase space in your room while keeping your suitcase hidden for the duration of your cruise.

Meet your stateroom attendant

Your stateroom attendant cleans your cabin once per day during a Royal Caribbean cruise, and we always advise passengers to meet their cabin attendant on embarkation day.

Meeting your stateroom attendant helps set a rapport with the crew member. You’ll usually see your stateroom attendant every day of the cruise as you pass through your cabin’s hallway, and a friendly introduction can go a long way in terms of service and helpfulness during your cruise.

Make special requests

If you have any special requests for your cruise cabin, we recommend letting your stateroom attendant know on the first day of your cruise. You can request things like extra pillows, extra towels, and having ice be restocked in your ice bucket each day.

If there are more than two people in your cabin, you might want to make requests regarding your sofa bed or pullman bed. Many stateroom attendants will convert the sofa bed back into a couch during daytime, for example, but if you would rather keep the bed down throughout the day, just let them know!

Inspect your stateroom

Once you arrive in your cabin, do a quick check to make sure everything is in working order. Check that the safe opens and closes correctly, that your mini fridge is cold, that your air conditioning is working properly, and that there are no issues opening and closing your doors and closets.

On one recent cruise, I noticed the closet door was off its track. Unable to open the closet, I made a quick call to maintenance and had the issue resolved within less than an hour.

On another occasion, I realized my virtual balcony wasn’t working. I neglected to call maintenance and spent the entire cruise with a broken television screen on my virtual balcony! Looking back, I wish I had called maintenance, as they likely could have fixed the issue quickly.

More often than not, everything will work perfectly in your cabin, but it’s still worth a check in case there are any issues.

Put drinks in the fridge

Emerald members and above in Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society receive water bottles in their cabin on embarkation day. Emerald and Diamond members receive two bottles of water per person whereas Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members receive three per person.

When you enter your stateroom, you’ll find these water bottles on your desk or dresser. Be sure to put these water bottles in the fridge to make sure they are cold later on.

Additionally, if you've brought any wine, soda, or other non-alcoholic drinks onboard, this is a great time to put these drinks in the fridge, too.

Confirm bed configuration

Your king-sized cruise cabin bed can be split into two twin beds on request, and one thing to do immediately after getting to your cruise cabin is confirm your bed configuration. If you’re traveling with kids or a friend, you might prefer the bed to be separated into two smaller beds.

Most of the time, your beds will not be separated upon arrival to your cruise cabin. If this is the case, you’ll have to contact your stateroom attendant or housekeeping to put in your request and they will separate the beds as quickly as possible.

Check your onboard offers

If you’re a member of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society, you will receive a paper on your cabin desk listing onboard offers for your sailing.

Depending on your loyalty status, onboard offers may include coupons for beer, wine, and soda, discounts on laundry, and free play in the casino.

Knowing which freebies and coupons are offered can save you money during a cruise, so take the time to browse your onboard offer sheet as soon as you get to your cruise cabin.

Look at the daily schedule


In addition to checking your onboard offers, take a view minutes to browse the daily schedule of activities in the Royal Caribbean app. While browsing, you can add activities and events to your calendar to ensure you don’t miss out on anything while onboard.

Related: 15 free things to try on your next cruise

Plus, you can use this time to reserve entertainment and activities before they book up, such as comedy shows, AquaTheater performances, and a ride on the North Star observational pod.

Doing this while in your stateroom means you can take a quick break from the hustle and bustle onboard to plan out your cruise in a quieter space.

Sign in to your wifi package

ebook reader

If you reserved a Royal Caribbean wifi package, we recommend signing in to your wifi account once you get to your stateroom. If you’ve never had a wifi package before, you can find login instructions on a helpful sheet that will be on your cabin’s desk.

If you encounter any problems or errors when logging in to your wifi account, you can ask for help at the VOOM internet desk or Guest Services.

Put away your valuables

As soon as you get to your cruise cabin, put any valuables away in the safe or drawers. We advise placing your passport in the safe, as this is the first place crew members will look for a passport on the off chance you miss the ship at a port of call.

Plus, keeping valuables in safe spaces helps make sure you won’t misplace any expensive or special items throughout the cruise.

Place magnets on the wall

One of our favorite cruise cabin hacks—especially if you’re sailing in an interior cabin—is to use magnetic hooks on your stateroom walls.

Royal Caribbean cruise cabins are magnetic, and magnetic hooks provide extra storage space for items like hats, purses, and jackets. Although newer cruise ship cabins have an impressive amount of storage space, older cruise ships may lack storage.

Related: I tried the best inside cruise ship cabin hacks to see how well they worked

Because of this, many cruisers like to bring magnetic hooks to hang miscellaneous accessories. Placing magnetic hooks on the wall when you get to your cruise cabin can keep your cabin organized throughout the sailing.

Decorate your cabin door

Like your cruise cabin walls, the door to your cabin is magnetic. To make cruising more fun, many passengers enjoy decorating their cruise cabin door with magnetic decorations.

If you walk down any hallway on a cruise ship, you’ll find fun decorations on the door, whether anniversary and birthday decor, tropical magnets like palm trees, or more specific decorations stating a family’s name and sail date.

Decorating your cruise cabin door as soon as you get to your cabin can be a fun way to make your cabin feel more like home. As another plus, it makes finding your cabin a lot easier when walking through the long hallways on your ship!

Do your muster drill

eMuster on phones

Lastly, once you get to your cruise ship cabin, make sure to complete the mandatory muster drill. Royal Caribbean’s eMuster drill is a safety drill that all guests must complete before a ship can set sail on embarkation day.

The drill consists of three parts. The first two, watching a lifejacket safety video and listening to the emergency horn, can be done via the Royal Caribbean app or on your stateroom’s television.

If you haven’t completed the first two steps by the time you get to your cruise cabin, be sure to complete them as soon as possible. After the first two steps, leave your stateroom to head to your muster station on the ship, which will be indicated on the Royal Caribbean app.

Once your muster drill is completed, you can continue to enjoy your Royal Caribbean vacation!

Royal Caribbean has quietly converted its jazz clubs into casinos

31 Mar 2023
Matt Hochberg

The next time you sail on a Royal Caribbean Oasis Class cruise ship, there's likely one change you may notice on deck 4.

Jazz on 4 changed to Golden Room

Since the start of the year, Royal Caribbean has quietly begun converting over its Jazz on 4 venues into a non-smoking casino room.

Jazz on 4 was a dedicated room for jazz music, where a band would perform most nights of the cruise. During the day time, Jazz on 4 would mostly remain unused, but it was sometimes used for private events as well.

There's been no formal announcement from the cruise line, but cruise fans were alerted to the change when the jazz club was closed on recent sailings.

On Oasis of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, Jazz on 4 has already been converted over to a casino room similar to the Golden Room first offered on Wonder of the Seas.

In the Royal Caribbean Club Royale Facebook group, Ed Thomas posted photos of the new space that opened on Oasis of the Seas this week.

He counted 40 slot machines, a blackjack table and a three-card poker table.

Over on Harmony of the Seas, the changeover occurred earlier this month. Johnny Travalor shared photos of the new space.

It's not clear yet if the change has or will happen on Allure or Symphony of the Seas, although Symphony of the Seas is in dry dock in Cadiz, Spain currently and the work could be occurring in conjunction with that effort.

When Wonder of the Seas launched in 2022, Royal Caribbean opted not to include Jazz on 4. Instead, it had The Golden Room, which is a non-smoking casino annex.  It was speculated this decision was based on the fact that Wonder of the Seas was originally intended for the Asian cruise market, where gambling is more popular than in North America and Europe.

When Royal Caribbean changed plans to keep Wonder of the Seas in the United States, they decided to keep the VIP room.

Cruise line executives at the launch of Wonder of the Seas admitted they weren't sure whether or not the concept will be a hit with Americans, but it seemed worth a try.

Non-smoking option

One big change guests may notice about this new spot is the lack of smoke.

The room is designated non-smoking, which is a big deal for Royal Caribbean. The cruise line has historically allowed smoking in the main casino.

The debate over allowing smoking in the casino has been contentious over the years, with many cruise ship passengers voicing their opinions on the matter and it's left Royal Caribbean in the middle.

At a question and answer session in June 2022, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley talked about the issue of allowing smoking. He 

admitted, "smoking in the casinos is a bit of a conundrum."

"The dilemma is that there are many people who do want to smoke in the casino. I know that's not a popular response, but it's it's the truth."

"I'm not judging anyone or anything, but there's a large group of people who do want to smoke in the casino."

He explained, "Every, I would say every couple of years, we do test this and we take one or two or three ships we ban smoking in the casino. And the result is less people go in the casino and that that's the reality of it."

Not the end of jazz on Royal Caribbean

Jazz music lovers should take solace in the fact the end of the Jazz on 4 venue does not correlate to an end to jazz music onboard Oasis Class ships.

Starting with Wonder of the Seas, the jazz performances were moved from Jazz on 4 to Central Park. On some nights, the jazz band also performs in Music Hall.

There are evening performances near Park Cafe, similar to the sets that would have occurred in the former venue.

A new jazz club on Icon

Lou’s Jazz ‘n Blues on Icon of the Seas

If their new ship is any indication, Royal Caribbean isn't done with jazz music quite yet.

One of the new nightlife spots recently announced for Icon of the Seas is Lou's Jazz 'n Blues, which will be located in Central Park.

Royal Caribbean thinks this venue will be the perfect place to enjoy live jazz performances at a table, or while strolling in the park.

Royal Caribbean designed first-of-its-kind cabins for its new cruise ship

30 Mar 2023
Elizabeth Wright

The Royal Caribbean brand has evolved to become more focused on multigenerational families in order to provide the ultimate family vacation. 

Icon of the Seas Stateroom

Onboard Icon of the Seas, there are more stateroom options than ever for larger families. In fact, when compared to Oasis Class ships, Icon will have about 55% more rooms able to accommodate three or more people. In other words, 80% of Icon of the Seas' cabins have been designed for larger families. 

Icon's 2,805 staterooms will be comprised of 28 different types of staterooms, including 14 brand-new categories.

Icon of the Seas Surfside Staterooms

"When I think about our accommodations, I think about how we approached the design of all of our new classes of ships," said Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO.

"We think about it in three different ways: One, traditional. Two, evolutionary. Three, revolutionary. Every single stateroom goes through a refresh of design: furnishings, technology, and really they're all new."

Related: Guide to Icon of the Seas cabins and suites

Researching, designing, and creating accommodations for everyone


It has taken Royal Caribbean over five years to design and build the staterooms onboard Icon of the Seas, and it all began with research. 

"We did a lot of guest research on the evolution of staterooms, as well as a lot of crew research," said Jennifer Goswami, Director, Product Development, Royal Caribbean International.


"The crews are absolutely the most valuable asset that Royal Caribbean has. They have told us that guests are bringing different types of things to maximize the usage of this space, so we've designed Icon's staterooms to maximize storage, really making sure that seven days feels comfortable"

According to Goswami, "Every detail of the room was carefully scrutinized. We went through how far the charger is, how close the soap is...every part of every stateroom on Icon really was intentionally built."

Icon of the Seas touch screen

Plus, guests will be able to control more aspects of their stateroom to make the space work best for them, from the blinds to raising and lowering the infinite balcony, from a touchscreen pad. 


The mockup process for Icon's staterooms was actually started in their home office; they are not built at the shipyard. About 25 cabins are built per day at a factory in Finland that is located about thirty minutes from the shipyard. Essentially, it is a high production factory line of staterooms!

New stateroom categories


In order to satisfy their guests' wants and needs, Royal Caribbean knew that Icon needed a combination of rooms that offered more space, choices, and views. Even if you are staying in an interior or ocean view cabin, you can expect a total refresh of the design; they are more modern and stylish than ever before. 

Not only do the layouts give guests more space, but most of them connect the room experience to the outdoors, whether that is the ocean, Surfside, or Central Park. 

Infinite balconies

Icon of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to feature infinite balcony cabins, which will offer a flexible 50 square feet or convertible indoor and outdoor space.

This means that the stateroom will be longer than other balcony cabins and offer guests more usable space, as it will lack the steel barrier that traditional balcony cabins require in order to separate the outdoor from the indoor space. 

"The fact that then you have the ability to sort of lower that infinite balcony and you feel that connection to the outside [is something] that we know our guests know and love form the balcony, but you're able to have that versatility of then making that an interior space," said Claudia Diaz-Gonzales, Associate Vice President, Product Development of Royal Caribbean International. 


In addition to infinite balconies, larger families may choose the family infinite balcony. This will include in-room games, a split bathroom, and even a bunk area for children that can be closed off with a curtain for privacy. Plus, each bunk has their own television!


The Surfside Suite also focuses on the connecting the family in a way that prioritizes privacy. The stateroom will have a separate nook for children that can be closed off at any point. Plus, it is easy for children to look below them and see the neighborhood that was specifically designed for them! 

Families who would like to splurge a little bit more but still have a view of Surfside might want to consider one of the brand-new Sunset Suites. 


"When it comes to our differentiators on suites on Icon, we have our Sunset the aft, and those [have] wraparound balconies. They have the connection to the ocean, [and] you have your sneak peak into Surfside. That is really all about the view," said Krissia Larios, Senior Design Associate, Architectural Design, Newbuilding Royal Caribbean Group.

Another new category of stateroom is directly related to a new feature onboard Icon: the AquaDome. 

icon-stateroom-concept AquaDome Suite

The AquaDome Suites were created because of the dome's placement. Guests in these staterooms will enjoy panoramic views from a window that is clocked by the AquaDome itself. 

And, of course, there is the Ultimate Family Townhouse. This three-story suite is the definition of the ultimate family experience onboard any Royal Caribbean ship. It will include an in-suite slide, movie theatre, and patio that allows for direct access to the Surfside Neighborhood. 

More than just new staterooms to look forward to


The upgraded and new staterooms onboard Icon of the Seas will let guests relax, rest, and recharge for all the fun elsewhere on the ship. 

With so much to do, including Thrill Island's record breaking Category 6 Waterpark, the family-focused Surfside Neighborhood, and brand-new bars and nightlife spots, you may rarely find yourself in your cabin! 

While Icon of the Seas is not scheduled to hit the seas until 2024, there is so much to look forward to on what will be the world's largest cruise ship. 

Her maiden voyage will commence on January 27, 2024 and depart from Miami, Florida, and guests will visit Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas