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Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 28, 2016

28 Aug 2016
Matt Hochberg

Thanks for joining us for another weekly look at all of the Royal Caribbean news from this week.  The late-summer heat is still on, and we have plenty of Royal Caribbean news to share from this week.

A tropical storm in the Atlantic caused three Royal Caribbean ships to change itineraries in order to avoid being impacted by the storm.

Royal Caribbean announced changes for Freedom of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Empress of the Seas that resulted in some variations to the pre-set plans.

The changes for each ship were made to ensure the safety of every guest and crew member aboard.  There have been no futher itinerary updates announced for other ships.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 160th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we talk with travel expert Dan Moore about Harmony of the Seas.

Harmony of the Seas is generating a lot of attention with all of its amazing features and Dan Moore recently sailed on her while in the Mediterranean.  Dan shared with us his the favorite aspects of the ship, as well as his tips for a great time.

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.

Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds

If you are on a Royal Caribbean cruise and spot something cool, new or just fun, share a photo with us on Facebook or Twitter so we can add it to our Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds each Sunday!

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

My Travel Monkey shared a trip report from Independence of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean lists the reasons a balcony stateroom is the best choice for a room.

Cruise Hive is reporting 3 cruise ship passengers injured on an excursion.

Cruise Habit has a look at cruising during hurricane season.

Royal Caribbean shares a look at the Wayfinders on its ships.

Royal Caribbean's Boardwalk: Everything you need to know

26 Aug 2016
Matt Hochberg

One of the most endearing neighborhoods found on Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class cruise ships is the Boardwalk, which is reminiscent of the whimsical seaside resorts. Dedicated to family, fun and nostalgia, the Boardwalk neighborhood was inspired by both the seaside piers that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island.

The Boardwalk is one of seven seven distinct "neighborhoods" that help break up an Oasis class ship.  Located at the aft of the ship, the Boardwalk is a rather large area on the ship that offers lots of entertainment throughout the day and evening.

The area is well known for the dining and entertainment options, as well as view of the ocean.  Being at the rear of the ship, guests can catch a glimpse of the ocean, along with a show or something to eat. Boardwalk is an area for the entire family to enjoy together, whether young or just young at heart. The elements of the Boardwalk are a dynamic way to engage families in classic fun with a colorful original carousel as well as casual eateries, retail outlets and carnival games. 

There is plenty to see and do in the Boardwalk and here is a look at what you can look forward to on your next cruise.


Royal Caribbean offers some terrific dining options in the Boardwalk, including restaurants and bars.

These include

The various restaurants in the Boardwalk are inviting choices for lunch or dinner.  Johnny Rockets is open for breakfast (with no charge for breakfast), and as you stroll the Boardwalk, most of the options are perfect for dropping in for a bite to eat.  The Boardwalk features some of the best dining choices aboard any Royal Caribbean ship.


There are a number of staterooms that offer views of the Boardwalk neighborhood on Oasis-class ships, a feature that is unique to this class of cruise ship. 

On Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships, guests can reserve three types of staterooms that offer a view of the Boardwalk.

Boardwalk View Stateroom with Balcony

Balcony Boardwalk staterooms offer a sitting area (some with sofa bed), minibar and private balcony overlooking the amusements and exciting entertainment down on the Boardwalk.

Boardwalk balcony staterooms are 182 square feet in size, with a 52 square foot private balcony (on Oasis of the Seas, the balcony is 47 square feet).

These rooms are a very popular and attractively priced option. Depending on your stateroom location, there is the possibility of seeing the ocean and/or AquaTheater from the balcony.

Boardwalk View Stateroom

Similar to the Boardwalk View with Balcony rooms, the Boardwalk View rooms are like oceanview staterooms, but with a porthole instead of a balcony that overlooks the Boardwalk.  These rooms offer convenient access to the Boardwalk neighborhood.

The rooms are 187 square feet on Oasis of the Seas and 191 square feet on Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas in size. The rooms feature two twin beds that convert to Royal King, boardwalk view, sitting area, and a private bathroom.

Boardwalk View rooms will cost less than their balcony cousins, but still offer a way to see all the happenings on the Boardwalk.

AquaTheater Suite

One of the most luxurious stateroom options on Oasis-class ships are the AquaTheater suites, which offer the perfect vantage point for entertainment in the AquaTheater.  They also are immaculately furnished and feature private wrap-around balconies and more.

The appeal of these staterooms are the top-of-the-line experience, along with the fantastic views.  It goes without saying that a suite experience is the ultimate way to splurge and enjoy oneself on a cruise, and these AquaTheater suites are tough to beat.

AquaTheater suites range in size, but expect a room around 650-823 square feet in size, with a private balcony that is around 600-803 square feet in size.  Yes, this is a big room.


Like all areas of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Boardwalk offers many things to see and do as well.

The centerpiece of Boardwalk is a one-of-a-kind carousel. Handcrafted from poplar wood especially for Royal Caribbean, the full-sized, traditional carousel feature 18 figures suspended from stainless steel poles showcasing a time-honored menagerie of animals such as zebras, giraffes and lions, alongside a variety of hand-painted horses including a princess horse and a crowned frog prince.

The lead horse, customarily the fanciest horse of the carousel, is adorned with Royal Caribbean logos, while a single chariot serves as a stationary seat for two. The frame of the carousel has a red and golden yellow facade, turn-of-the-century artwork scenery panels, and LED lights that twinkle during the day and night.

Many shows will take place in the AquaTheater, which is a remarkable outdoor venue that features a backdrop of the ocean across the horizon. Guests will find a variety of shows during the day and a dazzling ocean front theater with water and light shows, and professional aquatic acrobatic and synchronized swimming performances by night. 

The AquaTheater is a distinct high diving, acrobatic performance space introduced by Royal Caribbean with the Oasis class of ships, that feature two 10-meter high platforms and the hydraulic-floored pool, the largest and deepest freshwater pool at sea, below will serve as podiums for high-diving, hair-raising aerobatics that AquaTheater audiences have come to love. With seating for 600 theatergoers, the AquaTheater features some of the very best entertainment found on any Royal Caribbean ship, and the diving shows are not to be missed. 

There are two rock climbing walls that flank the AquaTheater, with multiple climbing routes that offer the right kind of challenge for climbers of all levels.

The Boardwalk Arcade is another fun family option, where you can try your luck at ring toss, skeeball and other beloved carnival games.

Boardwalk Must-Dos

Of all the experiences available in the Boardwalk neighborhood, there are a few must-do activities we recommend all guests check out for themselves.

Take a ride on the Carousel

No cruise aboard an Oasis-class ship is complete without a ride (or three) on the Carousel.  Regardless of age, guests of all ages can enjoy the classic nature of this attraction.

Be sure to bring your camera, because there are bound to be terrific photo opportunities and ride during the evening and day to get completely different experiences.

AquaTheater shows

The evening AquaTheater diving and acrobatic shows are some of the best entertainment Royal Caribbean offers and should not be missed.  The shows are awe inspiring athletic and artistic masterpieces that features incredible diving performances.

There are three different shows featured in the evening across the Oasis-class ships.

  • Oasis of the Seas: Oasis of Dreams
  • Allure of the Seas: OceanAria
  • Harmony of the Seas: The Fine Line

Guacamole at Sabor

On three Oasis-class ships, Sabor is priced a la carte, and that means it is easy to drop in for arguably the best food on their menu, the guacamole.  

The guacamole at Sabor is authentic and incredibly tasty, and has been widely regarded by other Royal Caribbean fans as superior to most other guacamole they may have tried.  Enjoy a serving of guacamole and chips either in the restaurant or take it to go to enjoy elsewhere. Regardless, you will find the perfect snack on your cruise.

The Boardwalk is available on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

What do you enjoy about the Boardwalk? Share your thoughts in our comments!

Spotted: CocoCay Beach Bungalows at South Beach

25 Aug 2016
Matt Hochberg

Guests visiting Royal Caribbean's private destination of CocoCay have a new option for a little privacy and fun.  Beach Bungalows are now available on Royal Caribbean's web site to reserve.

Royal Caribbean built 35 of these beach bungalows in the South Beach area of the island. Each bungalow rental costs $225 and accommodates up to six guests.

Royal Caribbean describes these beach bungalows as a haven of tranquility, a type of "members-only" area. Each beach bungalow includes floating beach mats, water, and beach towels. Transportation to and from Beach Bungalows is via private Cocolimo shuttle transportation.

These new beach bungalows are in addition to the CocoCay cabanas available for rent that have been available for a number of years.

Royal Caribbean has been working on adding upgraded enhancements to CocoCay since July, and the South Beach area is seeing a lot of attention. In addition to the beach bungalows, there are new restrooms that have been added that are just a 5 minute walk from South Beach, as well as 650 new lounge chairs at South Beach.

Thanks to Shannon for alerting us to this news!

5 beverages not included in any Royal Caribbean drink package

24 Aug 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages include a lot of different drinks and in a great majority of drinks, but there are a handful of exceptions. These are few and far between, but it is important to be aware of what is not included prior to making the decision to purchase an unlimited beverage package.

These five drinks are not the only drinks not included in a drink package, but these are the ones most likely to be encountered.

1. Johnny Rockets milkshake

UPDATE: As of July 2018, the milkshakes at Johnny Rockets are included with the drink packages.

If you happen to dine at Johnny Rockets on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you will enjoy some really tasty burgers, fries and onion rings, but if you want to wash it down with a milkshake, you will have to pay extra for it.

The thick and frothy milk shakes that Johnny Rockets are well-known for how good they are, and guests on a drink package will have to pay extra for them.

If you are a Crown and Anchor Society member, all levels usually enjoy a buy one, get one free milkshake coupon that is preloaded on SeaPass cards.

2. Starbucks on Oasis-class ships

On Oasis-class cruise ships, the standalone Starbucks locations serve the same caffeinated beverages many folks enjoy on land, but Starbucks is not included in any drink package.

This can be confusing, since on other classes of Royal Caribbean ships, Starbucks beverages are brewed and included under certain drink packages, but the Starbucks locations on Oasis-class ships are considered standalone Starbucks locations and the drink packages are not covered.

Perhaps one of the new pre-paid coffee drink cards will be available on your cruise to get you plenty of Starbucks drinks to enjoy.

3. Room service

Room service is included in your cruise fare and it is hard to deny the great pleasure of enjoying food brought to your room or private balcony, but do not expect extra-cost beverages to be included with your drink package.

Sodas, beers or any other alcoholic or premium non-alcoholic beverage delivered to your room will come with an extra cost.

4. Minibar

Just like room service, the drinks that are waiting for you in your stateroom's minibar are not included in any drink package.

It can be tempting to grab something out of the minibar, but keep in mind anything taken from the minibar will be charged to your SeaPass card.

5. Very few beers

Royal Caribbean's all-you-can-drink alcohol packages include plenty of beers.  In fact, nearly all the beers available on your Royal Caribbean cruise are included in the drink packages but there are a few exceptions.

In general, the excluded beers come with a slightly higher cost because they are often in rather large size.  Chimay Blue 750ml is the one beer that is not included in the drink packages.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 21, 2016

21 Aug 2016
Matt Hochberg

Welcome to this week's edition of the Royal Caribbean post round-up, where we summarize all of the Royal Caribbean news and information from this week into one handy-dandy post!  There is plenty of great content to enjoy, so sit back, relax, and enjoy this week's round-up!

Royal Caribbean announced new Empress of the Seas sailings through the end of 2016, which are now available to book.

These new sailings extend through the end of December, and offer a variety of itineraries, including many longer sailings.

Guests can embark on Empress of the Seas sailings that range from 4- to 8-nights, and will visit ports all over the Caribbean.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this news is what was not announced, in that these new sailings signal there will be no Royal Caribbean sailings to Cuba this year.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 159th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we share a first-time Royal Caribbean cruiser's review of Allure of the Seas.

Trying Royal Caribbean for the first time is something a lot of people consider, and this week, James comes on the podcast to review his recent Allure of the Seas sailing.  James discusses what he and his family thought of Royal Caribbean and what their experiences were like onboard.

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.

Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds

If you are on a Royal Caribbean cruise and spot something cool, new or just fun, share a photo with us on Facebook or Twitter so we can add it to our Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds each Sunday!

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Planet Minecraft has a full 1:1 scale reproduction of Allure of the Seas. You're welcome, Internet.

Cruise Critic tried the zipline on Harmony of the Seas.

CNN Money looks at the Chinese cruise market that loves cruising.

CruiseHabit has a look at which cruise line is good for first timers.

Eat Sleep Cruise has a full review of the Puzzle Break on Anthem of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean UK has a list of 5 things to love about St. Lucia.

Royal Caribbean shares a look at its security chief.

The differences between Royal Caribbean's ships

16 Aug 2016
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has a fairly large fleet of ships, with 26 different elegant vessels that offer cruises around the world, and often those new to Royal Caribbean may be wondering what the differences are between them.  Understanding what each ship offers makes the decision of which ship to sail on an easier process.

Here is a guide to understanding the similarities and differences among Royal Caribbean's cruise ships and what each class of ship offers.

Royal Caribbean ship classes

Royal Caribbean defines its fleet of ships by the classes.  Think of this like the model of a car, where many ships have a common base among them, and that common base is the distinguishing factor from other classes of ships.  Each class of ships has a similar size, structure and signature offerings that separate themselves from the other classes of ships.  The ship classes are an easy way to group Royal Caribbean ships, and quickly know the basic differences.

Within each class of ships, there can be varying degrees of differences between "sister ships."  These differences vary, with some classes of ship having barely any noticeable differences to other ship classes having more noticeable features among the vessels.  The key concept to understand is that while each class of ships are a grouping, within that grouping there can be more subtle differences between the ships.  As an example, Liberty of the Seas offers water slides, whereas her sister ships of Freedom of the Seas and Independence of the Seas do not.  Royal Caribbean continuously works on and upgrades their ships, with regularly scheduled drydock sessions and these can result in new offerings onboard.

Today, Royal Caribbean has eight classes of ships in the fleet.

Oasis class

These are the largest cruise ships in the world, with seven distinct neighborhoods that help differentiate each area of the ship for easier navigation.  Oasis of the Seas launched in 2009, and was a revolutionary ship because of its overall size and offerings.  Oasis-class ships are known for the Central Park and Boardwalk neighborhoods, as well as the Aqua Theater and zip-line on the ship.   Because of the ship's enormous size, it offers pretty much everything Royal Caribbean is known for.

  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Wonder of the Seas

Quantum class

The newest class of cruise ships, the Quantum class ships are slightly smaller than the Oasis class, but have made their mark on the cruise industry by combining a large ship size with impressive tech. Quantum class ships have two main features that stand out, the North Star observation pod and Two70 theater.  Quantum class ships also feature a Royal Esplanade district, which offers dining, shopping and bars.  Being the newest class of ships, Quantum class ships offer the latest designs onboard and their integration of tech is unparalleled.

  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Odyssey of the Seas

Freedom class

The Freedom class ships are known for their size and offering a good mix of activities.  Freedom class ships were the largest in the world when they debuted, but have been dwarfed by newer ships in the last ten years. While no longer the biggest, they are still quite large and offer a lot.  Recent refurbishments have upgraded their offerings and they compare very well to their bigger sister ships.  Freedom class ships offer FlowRiders, a Royal Promenade and cantilevered hot tubs. In terms of value, Freedom class ships are in that "sweet spot" of offering many of the popular amenities Royal Caribbean is known for at a great price.

  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas

Voyager class

Voyager class ships were the first class of ships by Royal Caribbean to offer amenities we know come to expect onboard, such as ice skating, the Royal Promenade, miniature golf and more.  In the past few years, Royal Caribbean has refurbished many of the ships in this class to offer even more options for guests.  New restaurants, water slides, entertainment and FlowRiders have provided even more fun onboard.  Voyager class ships are very similar in build and look to Freedom class ships, but slightly smaller.

  • Voyager of the Seas
  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas

Radiance class

Royal Caribbean designed Radiance class ships to be able to go anywhere, while providing views of the ocean all over the ship.  Radiance class ships are about half the size of the classes of ships mentioned earlier in this post, but they still offer plenty to do onboard. Radiance class ships offer a rock-climbing wall, pools, lounges and sleek design.  Radiance class ships are popular with Royal Caribbean veterans for their elegant offerings and relaxing atmosphere.

  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Jewel of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas

​Vision class

Like the Radiance class, Vision class ships are on the smaller side and offer a great pool deck, casino, themed dining rooms.  Just like the Radiance class, recent refurbishments have brought many new restaurants and entertainment to these ships.  Combined with the great value of a Vision class ship, guess can enjoy cruises to nearly anywhere.

  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas

​Sovereign Class

The Sovereign class defined the term "mega ship," when they first debuted and over the years, Royal Caribbean has transferred some of the ships out of the fleet, with just Majesty of the Seas left. While she may be an older ship, she makes up for her age in offering great getaway cruises the Bahamas at low prices.  Do not judge these ships by their age alone, because they still offer a fun atmosphere onboard, with an impressive pool deck and dining choices.  Majesty of the Seas was refurbished in 2016 and many new family amenities were added.

  • Majesty of the Seas

Empress of the Seas

Royal Caribbean brought Empress of the Seas back into its fleet in 2016, to also offer 4- and 5-night getaway cruises to destinations in the Caribbean and Bahamas.  Like Majesty of the Seas, Empress is on the smaller side, but Royal Caribbean spent a considerable amount of time and money to upgrade her offerings and make her a compelling choice.  

What is important to know between the classes

When you compare ships to each other in order to pick one that will be the best fit for your vacation, there is a lot to consider.  Ship size is not the only factor, with many details contributing to the overall decision.  Every Royal Caribbean ship offers a lot to see and do, but if the main features are not of interest to you or the ship is missing something that you want, then it will not be a good fit.  Having a good understanding of the key factors between the ships will make the decision much easier.


All Royal Caribbean ships offer the award-winning Adventure Ocean program, which provides complimentary supervised programming for children between the ages of 3 and 17. Many families look to Adventure Ocean to be the center piece of their family's day, and cruising with children is at the heart of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience.

The important difference among Royal Caribbean's ships when it comes to kids is knowing that the larger (and newer) the ship, the more wide-ranging facilities and activities there are for kids.  With each new class of ship, Royal Caribbean has placed a larger emphasis on kids facilities and the newest ships certainly offer the most impressive experiences. 

Families should by no means avoid smaller ships.  There is plenty for kids to onboard, but it is important to know the scope of facilities and activities for children is considerably different between a Quantum class ship and a Radiance class ship.


A very noticeable difference between Royal Caribbean ships is the price.  In general, the price of a cruise on a given ship will go down as newer ships are introduced.  Royal Caribbean charges a premium for its newer ships, and the effect that pricing strategy has on its older ships is prices tend to go down over time.

I believe all of Royal Caribbean's ships offer a tremendous value, but the value of the not-as-new ships provide is hard to overlook.  The newest ships will usually come with a higher price tag, but depending on your desire for the latest and greatest, the price you pay will be affected by it.  Price should not be the sole factor in determining which ship you sail on, but we recognize that it is a powerful factor.


Not all Royal Caribbean ships can visit the same ports, and which area of the world you have in mind to visit may dictate largely which ships you will want to sail on.  It has been hotly debated over the years whether the ship or the destinations are the primary decision making factor, but it is difficult for anyone to overlook the ports a ship will visit because where your ship goes is a major part of the vacation.

Cruises to smaller ports, like Northern Europe, East Asia and the South Pacific may require smaller ships since the docking facilities there are not able to handle larger ships.  Some ports, like those in Alaska, have additional environmental regulations that limit the kind of cruise ships that can visit.

The more popular cruising destinations of the Caribbean and Mediterranean can handle much larger ships, and ports around the world are upgrading their port facilities to be able to handle larger ships.

Onboard offerings

I always share the story of a cruise I took on Brilliance of the Seas to help prove a point about the differences between ship classes.  I was lounging in the Solarium when a guest next to me started vocally complaining to his wife about the lack of things to do onboard.  Into his rant, he mentioned that compared to his recent Oasis of the Seas cruise, there was nothing to do onboard.

The takeaway from this experience is it is important to know what each ship offers (and does not offer) onboard in terms of activities, entertainment, dining and more. If you want a never ending array of "things to do," then lean towards taking a cruise on the larger ships.  If your idea of a good time is lounging by the pool and exploring the ports of call you visit, then any size ship will be fine. The key is knowing if there is a FlowRider, particular specialty restaurant or something else important to you onboard the ship you are considering.

Video: An Exclusive Look at Royal Caribbean's entertainment on Harmony of the Seas

16 Aug 2016
Matt Hochberg

From all-new stage productions to high-tech ice shows, amazing theme parties and breathtaking diving performances, Harmony of the Seas is taking entertainment to the next level. Guests can sing-along with Broadway favorite “Grease” in the Royal Theater or be part of the party with high-energy parades, live DJ performances and even a thrilling escape game, Puzzle Break: Escape the Rubicon!

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: August 14, 2016

14 Aug 2016
Matt Hochberg

Happy Sunday! We hope you’re having a great weekend! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and catch up on all the Royal Caribbean news from the week!

A change is coming to Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty benefits that will result in the dropping of a balcony discount on last-minute booked cruises.

The Crown & Anchor Society discount that Platinum and above level members enjoy will not be offered on cruises booked less than six months prior to the sail date, beginning on September 1, 2016.

Cruises booked six months or more from sail date will still be eligible for the balcony discount.

Royal Caribbean stated the change was made because a large majority of Crown & Anchor guests reserve outside of the 6 month window, and those that do book sooner often find it more beneficial to take advantage of other promotions that may not be combinable with the balcony discount.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 158th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we share a first-hand review of Empress of the Seas.

Empress of the Seas has recently returned to Royal Caribbean's fleet of ships, and our own Michael Poole had a chance to take a weekend cruise on her. Michael talks about what he liked about the cruise and who would love a cruise on Empress.

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.

Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds

If you are on a Royal Caribbean cruise and spot something cool, new or just fun, share a photo with us on Facebook or Twitter so we can add it to our Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds each Sunday!

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

On The Water has an interview with the actress that plays Jan in Grease on Harmony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean posted on YouTube a 360 degress ride video from the Ultimate Abyss.

Cruise Fever shared Grandeur of the Seas' perfect CDC health inspection report.

TTG Asia shared the results of a survey by Royal Caribbean that show most Singaporeans underestimate the value of a cruise.

TravelPulse shared a 4K video review of Harmony of the Seas.

First time cruisers: What clothing do I wear on my Royal Caribbean cruise?

13 Aug 2016
Matt Hochberg

What to wear on your Royal Caribbean cruise seems to be a question we get a lot because no one wants to do the wrong thing.  Cruising has changed a lot over the years, but some traditions of dress codes remain to this day.

Before you go on your Royal Caribbean cruise, here is a handy guide to help you understand what cruise clothing you should wear onboard.

Cruise clothing for embarkation day

The first day of your cruise is a bit of an odd day, with guests arriving onboard and getting acclimated to their new home.  Moreover, luggage deliveries to staterooms can take a bit of time, so not all guests have access to all of their belongings throughout the day.

Nearly all guests will arrive to their Royal Caribbean ship wearing something comfortable and relaxing.  Depending on the weather conditions at the embarkation port, you will find most guests with t-shirts, shorts/jeans, etc.

While Royal Caribbean offers guests the option to check their luggage and have it delivered later to their stateroom, you might consider retaining a day bag that has a change of clothes, swimsuit, work out clothes and anything else you might need between when you board the ship and when your luggage will actually be delivered.  This is especially important for kids, because the pools will be open on embarkation day, but swim suits packed away in checked luggage could lead to disappointment.

Cruise clothing during the day

During the morning and afternoon, there is no dress code and your itinerary will largely dictate what you should wear onboard.

Caribbean, Mediterranean and other warm-weather cruises will see a mix of t-shirts, shorts, blouses, bathing suits and whatever else is comfortable.  Since much of the activities and things to do onboard your ship are outdoors, a vast majority of guests will be dressed for a pool day, and swim suits and associated clothing are quite prevalent.

Cruises to cold weather destinations will see guests wearing heavier clothing, including jeans, sweaters, lounge wear and more. Depending on the season and destination, layering your clothes is common, where t-shirts are worn underneath sweaters to allow for greater flexibility with the changing temperatures.

If you are planning to visit the fitness center, be sure to bring extra shorts, t-shirts, socks and running shoes/sneakers to work out in.

The reality is, there are no guidelines about what you wear during the day on your Royal Caribbean cruise.  Restaurants retain some basic dress guidelines, including a casual dress code in specialty restaurants and the main dining room.  Quick service venues, such as the Windjammer, Cafe Promenade and other grab-and-go locations have just basic guidelines when it comes to dress code, such as shoes and a shirt.

Cruise clothing in the evening

During the dinner hours, Royal Caribbean does have a dress code for its main dining room.  The dress code is only for the dining room, and outside that venue, there is no special dress code .

When people hear dress codes, it causes a great deal of anxiety about what is and what is not allowed.  It is a complicated issue because "appropriate" attire for each dress code will depend on the interpretation of the rules.  Royal Caribbean tends to be a bit ambiguous about its dress code rules, especially when it comes to enforcing them. In practice, Royal Caribbean's dress code is more a guideline that can be used as an enforcement tool, but is not frequently administered to all guests.

There are three basic dress codes Royal Caribbean uses.  We will list each one, along with what Royal Caribbean lists as suggested dress for each one.

  • Casual: Sport shirts and slacks for men, sundresses or pants for women. Pants should have no holes, rips or tears.
  • Smart Casual: Jackets and ties for men, dresses or pantsuits for women.
  • Formal: Suits and ties or tuxedos for men (black tie is optional), cocktail dresses or pantsuit for women

Swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps and pool wear are not allowed in the main restaurants or specialty restaurants. T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops are acceptable for lunch.

Formal night

Despite the name, formal night is not nearly as fancy as you might think.  Formal night is certainly the most dressed up evening attire required on your Royal Caribbean cruise, but it is not as ornate as you might imagine.

Evening wear for formal night will vary, and you will see some guests wearing tuxedoes and gowns.  It is our opinion that most guests tend to dress a bit less fancy than that, with men wearing suits or sports coats and women wearing cocktail dresses.  Essentially, it is clothing that is a bit nicer than you might wear on other nights of the cruise.

Royal Caribbean does provide a tuxedo rental option, which can save on packing space.

If the idea of formal night really bothers you and you, the good news is you absolutely do not have to get dressed up on your Royal Caribbean cruise.  The formal night dress code is only for the main dining room and specialty restaurants, so anywhere else on the ship is fair game for shorts, flip flops and tank tops.  The Windjammer and other quick service venues will be open and without any formal wear.

Cruise clothing for kids

Children on a Royal Caribbean cruise will follow similar patterns to adults in terms of what they wear.  During the day onboard and onshore, it will be casual for kids, so nothing really important to worry about.  Just something they will be comfortable wearing.

In the evening, the dress code for children is the same for adults. There tends to be more leeway in terms of the degree of formality for children's clothing, but at the same time children are expected to be dressed up more than what they would wear during the daytime. The exception would be infants.

For boys, polo shirts and nice pants will suffice for most evenings and girls can wear dresses, skirts and sweaters.