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Best advice for first timer cruisers on a 7-night Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
15 Sep 2015

We love to broadcast live on YouTube and on one recent broadcast, we received a question about what is the best advice for someone going on their first 7-night cruise.

It got us thinking, because there is so much that goes into a Royal Caribbean cruise that we wanted to pick out the really important tips to share for someone about to take their first 7-night cruise.

Read the Cruise Compass

Each evening, your stateroom attendant will deliver to your stateroom the Cruise Compass, which is a daily guide to the news, events and activities that will be occuring on your ship the next day.

Royal Caribbean packs a lot of things to do into each day and you are best served by reading it each evening to be aware of what is happening onboard. 

The Cruise Compass is more than just knowing what time bingo is at.  It offers you insight into tomorrow's weather, which bars will have drink specials, shore excursion information and more.

Some events are not repeated while other activities can change daily, so it is in your best interest to track what is happening so you do not miss any of it.

Pack for two formal nights

A typical Royal Caribbean 7-night cruise will feature two formal nights, so be sure to pack accordingly.

Usually, the first formal night will be on the second night, whereas the second formal night can vary between the fifth or sixth nights of your cruise.

What is formal night? Formal night is an evening where the dress code at the main dining room is more upscale.  For men, this means collared shirts with nice pants (tie and jacket optional) and for ladies, it is a nice cocktail dress, dress or something else similar.

TRUTH ABOUT DRESS CODES

Keep in mind that formal night dress attire only applies to the main dining room and no where else on the ship.  

If you prefer not to dress up for formal night, there are other dining options onboard that you can go to.

Explore the ship early

Your seven night Royal Caribbean cruise will be over before you know it, so be sure to explore the ship properly early so you do not miss out on any of it.

These ships are really big and that means there is a lot to see and do onboard.  Do yourself a favor and explore the ship as much as you can in the first day or two of the cruise so you can easily navigate the ship as well as learn about what is offered onboard.

Embarkation day is always the best time for exploring your ship, so take advantage of your first day onboard by arriving to the ship early (before noon) and just walk around.

You will discover bars, restaurants, public spaces, cinemas and more that you will likely want to stop by later on in the cruise.

Most Royal Caribbean ships now offer interactive wayfinders, that allow you to navigate your way around the ship quite easily. Take advantage of them on each deck to more easily acclimate yourself to the ship.

Bonus tip: Speaking of early, be sure to arrive to your ship early on embarkation day.  Between 10am and 11am is a great time to beat the crowds and start your vacation sooner!

See the shows

Something Royal Caribbean really excels at is entertainment and on a 7-night cruise, there are lots of great shows to take in.

Ice skating shows, Broadway shows, featured productions, comedians and more are available to see and they are all included in your cruise fare.

Do yourself a favor and see the shows, even if you just go for a little bit to get a taste of what to expect.  They really are great spectacles and each show offers a little something different.

Onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise, you will find singing and dancing, comedians, magicians, acrobats and more.  

Royal Caribbean really does a great job with putting these shows together and the production values and acting are top notch in all of the shows.

Sign the kids up for Adventure Ocean on embarkation day

If you have children, be sure to stop by Adventure Ocean and sign them up for the complimentary kids program Royal Caribbean offers.

The Adventure Ocean program is designed to let kids explore, play and have fun and it really is a fun way to spend a week at sea.  

Kids will love it because it's a chance to meet and play with other kids their age and parents will enjoy the time to themselves.

If you wait until day two or later, everyone else will already be situated and your child may feel like a wallflower, especially if they are shy.

Adventure Ocean is included in your cruise fare, so stop by the Adventure Ocean room on embarkation day to check the facility out as well as get any questions answered.

Understand how unlimited beverage packages work

Royal Caribbean's unlimited alcohol and beverage packages have never been more popular and they can be a great way to lock in a single price for the duration of your cruise.

The key thing to remember about a 7-night cruise is that you want to make sure you will be able to leverage these drink packages on all 7-nights, otherwise the package may not make financial sense.

On 4-night cruises, the drink package value can be easily gotten but 7-nights is a longer time onboard and "drink fatigue" can set in.

Between having limited time to drink onboard during port days and the daily need to drink to "get your money's worth", we have talked to plenty of guests who would have been better off financially after a 7-night cruise by buying their drinks a la carte.

There is no simple answer for everyone, but our advice is to consider that you will be on your ship for 7-nights and whether you want to be drinking 5-6 drinks per day, every day.

Learn more

There is much more you can learn about a 7-night Royal Caribbean cruise and here are some additional resources to help you.

Sushi on Royal Caribbean: Everything you need to know

In:
04 Sep 2015

One of the most popular foods these days has to be sushi and on a Royal Caribbean cruise, guests can enjoy sushi throughout their cruise.

Sushi is a healthy and incredibly tasty meal that seems to becoming more and more popular.  Here is where you can get sushi on a Royal Caribbean cruise, how much it will cost and everything else important to know.

Izumi

When Royal Caribbean launched Oasis of the Seas back in 2009, the cruise line added a brand new specialty restaurant dedicated to sushi and Japanese cuisine, Izumi.

Izumi specialty restaurants have spread like wild fire to many other ships in the fleet and each Izumi restaurant offers guests popular sushi rolls, sashimi, hot rock (Ishiyaki) plates, sukiyaki and more.

For sushi lovers, Izumi is the place onboard Royal Caribbean to get sushi because of the quality and variety available.

The following Royal Caribbean ships have Izumi available onboard

Izumi is a specialty restaurant that charges a la carte for items on the menu.  There is no cover charge, and instead you are charged for what you order.

Izumi is open for dinner on every night and lunch on sea days.

Izumi Hibachi & Sushi

Royal Caribbean re-imagined Izumi in recent refurbishments for the Oasis class ships, that combines what you would typically find in Izumi on other ships with a hibachi experience.

In addition to the sushi rolls and sashimi offered at Izumi, guests can also order from a full teppanyaki menu.

The hibachi meals have a cover charge that includes the entree. Choices include Beef, Chicken, Lobster or Shrimp.

Each meal includes soup or salad, edamame app, fried rice or lo mein noodles, cooked veggies and dessert.

Essentially, the restaurant is divided in two sections: one section for sushi and the other section for the hibachi.

Sushi is priced exactly the same at Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, with sushi priced for each individual roll or piece.

Izumi Express

As of July 1, 2016, all Royal Caribbean ships also offer an Izumi Express option, where guests can purchase take-out sushi.

Izumi Express is a takeaway service that offers packaged sushi, ready to go, at a very discounted price.

Jade

On some Royal Caribbean ships, there is a section in the Windjammer called Jade, where guests can enjoy Asian food of all kinds.

In the evenings, Jade usually offers sushi rolls to guests that are complimentary.

The selection of sushi available at Jade is more limited than Izumi, with usually a half dozen hand rolls available at any given time. There is no nigiri sushi and none of it is made to order.

The chief benefit to Jade is that it is complimentary and available in the evening for dinner.  

Jade sushi was Royal Caribbean's first foray into sushi but has largely been replaced or superceded by Izumi.  

Jade is still available on a number of Royal Caribbean ships, mostly those ships that lack an Izumi.

Which sushi have you had on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Tell us in the comments!

Royal Caribbean adjusts unlimited drink packages pricing

In:
25 Aug 2015

Royal Caribbean has changed up how it advertises the cost of its unlimited alcohol packages and unlimited beverage packages.

Royal Caribbean is now including the 18% service charge into the daily cost of the package.  

Previously, Royal Caribbean would advertise a lower rate for the packages and then add the service charge upon purchase.

The new pricing for the unlimited alcohol packages is as follows

  • Select package: $42 per person, per day
  • Premium package: $57 per person, per day
  • Ultimate package: $67 per person, per day

SHOULD YOU BUY THE UNLIMITED ALCOHOL PACKAGES?

In addition, the new pricing is reflected in the Royal Replenish and Royal Refreshment packages as well.

  • Royal Refreshment (soda package)
    • $8 per adult, per day
    • $5.50 per child, per day
  • Royal Replenish package: $22 per person, per day

The new pricing allows the total cost of the package to be more transparent to guests and without the surprise of a service charge added on just prior to purchase.

Do you like that the service charge is now part of the daily price? Share your thoughts in the comments!

9 Royal Caribbean Cocktails You Need To Know About

In:
18 Aug 2015
By: 
Matt Hochberg

There is something about having a cocktail on your Royal Caribbean cruise vacation that just puts you into that perfect "now I am on vacation" mood.  Maybe it is the little umbrella or perhaps it is the combination of juice and liquor, but it is hard to go wrong with these delicious mixed drinks.

Over the last few cruises, we have engaged in some serious "research" by sampling a number of mixed drinks and frozen beverages on Royal Caribbean ships and came up with our list of ther drinks worth trying on your next cruise.

Sweet & Spice Margarita and the Sabor Grand Margarita from Sabor

The New Southern from American Icon Grill

Pineapple Special from Freedom of the Seas main pool area

Anything in the color changing mugs!

Labadoozie from Labadee

Mojito from Boleros

Pina Colada from Boleros

Wildberry Lava Flow from pool bar

Coco Loco from CocoCay

How much are these Royal Caribbean drinks?

If just looking at all these drinks makes you want to get onboard and book a cruise, you may also want to know how much these drinks are selling for.

Most of the drinks will cost about $12, not including any souvenir mugs and before gratuity. 

If your drink is the drink of the day, Royal Caribbean will knock 25% off the cost.

Many guests opt for an unlimited alcohol package so they can enjoy plenty of these drinks for a fixed cost.

What is your favorite Royal Caribbean drink? Tell us (and share a photo of it) in the comments below!

Top 10 Freedom of the Seas hidden secrets

In:
03 Aug 2015

One of Royal Caribbean's most popular cruise ships is Freedom of the Seas and we have searched all over this ship for the best hidden secrets that you might miss on this impressive ship.

10. Best spot for sailaway

If you want the best spot on Freedom of the Seas to watch as she pulls out of port, then it has to be the helicopter pad at the front of the ship.

Located on the bow, guests can walk to the helicopter pad and enjoy the unobstructed views that you can only get from the helicopter pad.  The perspective from this spot is hard to beat and many guests do not know it is possible to go here.

To access the helicopter pad, go outside on deck 4 and then walk forward, climb up a set of stairs and continue walking forward until you reach the helicopter pad.

9. Hidden door to the helipad

Speaking of the helipad, if you want to avoid the stairs that lead up to the front of the ship, there is a secret door that will get you right there.

Walk all the way forward on Deck 5 and enter the Star Lounge.  In the daytime, it is usually empty.  Enter the lounge and take an immediate right, just past the DJ booth.

There's a set of unmarkes doors that you can simply open up an you will be let out right next to the helipad.  

This is especially helpful if you have a stroller or are in a wheelchair and stairs are a problem.

8. Second best spot for sailaway

A good alternative spot for sailaway that is less windy than the helipad (and has no stairs) are the little observation areas on deck 11 near the Solarium.

Go up to deck 11 and walk all the way forward.  Once in the Solarium, adjacent to the doors that lead to the elevator lobby are glass doors you must open manually.  

Inside is a small "room", with windows that look outwards and even some chairs to sit in.  This can be a great, uncrowded spot to enjoy sailaway.

7. Enjoy the view from Olive or Twist

It is really hard to beat the views of Freedom of the Seas' upper decks from the Olive or Twist Lounge.

Located on deck 14 at the aft of the ship the Olive or Twist lounge offers guests sweeping views of the upper decks and the ocean.  

To get to Olive or Twist, you must use the aft elevators and go up to deck 14.

6. Get a taste of it all at FreedomFest

An event unique to Freedom of the Seas is something called FreedomFest, where the Royal Promenade offers guests a little of everything unique on Freedom of the Seas.

There will be food and drink stations available, as well as towel and napkin folding demonstrations, watermelon carving, photos with the ship's officers, and more.

It is basically like a "best of" from the week's events held in one spot. 

FreedomFest is held on the Royal Promenade and is usually done on one of the last sea days of your cruise.  Check the Cruise Compass for more information.

5. Sun yourself on the St. Tropez deck

If you want to get that perfect tan or just enjoy being outside without all the noise of the pool deck (or the crowds), head up the St. Tropez deck.

Walk up to deck 12 and then walk all the way forward.  You will see a large open area with some deck chairs that you can use to enjoy a mostly uncrowded sun bathing spot.

What is special about the St. Tropez deck is there tends to be not many guests here at all, leaving it rather tranquil.  

4. Best parade spot

The DreamWorks parade on Freedom of the Seas is a terrific opportunity to see and meet the popular stars from hit DreamWorks films.

If you want a good spot to enjoy the parade and ensure your kids have a good chance to be close to the characters, try in front of the Bull and Bear pub.

The pub has tables outside the pub that you can sit at in the time leading up to the parade and since other families do not consider a pub the first spot to bring kids to for a parade, it can remain overlooked.

Once the parade is about to begin, stand up from your seats and you will be up front for all the action.  In addition, the pub is located right in the middle of the parade route.

3. Find the coolest mixed drinks here

These days, Royal Caribbean offers its guests a lot of opportunities to buy alcoholic beverages but the best place to find the most interesting mixed drinks has to be up on the pool deck on the port side.

This one spot near the main pool consistently serves up more than just mixed drinks.  You will find the neatest souvenir mugs as well as interesting choices for drinks that we could never find anywhere else onboard.

On one day, they were making mixed drinks that you could drink out of a hollowed out pineapple, and other days had different light up or color changing mugs.

Look for a stand on deck 11 at the main pool, close to the Solarium.  The choices available change daily, so be sure to ask about what is coming up and when.

2. Ride the FlowRider on embarkation day

Guests cannot seem to get enough of the FlowRider surf simulator on Freedom of the Seas.  It is really fun to try and learn to surf without having to wait for that perfect wave but there always seems to be a line.

To beat the lines, go to the FlowRider on embarkation day.  Bring your swimsuit in your carryon luggage (or wear it to the ship) and then head to the FlowRider in the afternoon.  

Most other guests onboard will not have their swim suits or even be aware the FlowRider is open.  It is the perfect time to get multiple rides in without little or no wait!

1. Book the Ben & Jerry's Suite

Photo by David Fiske

If you want a stateroom with some real character, try the "Ben & Jerry's Sweet" Promenade stateroom.

Stateroom 6305 may not appear different on the deck plans, but it one of the most unusual staterooms available anywhere.

Located directly above the Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop on the Royal Promenade, the sweet has a view of the Royal Promenade blocked by the two cows that make up the ice cream shop's recognizable facade.

Inside the stateroom, you will find a cow motif, with cow-sheets, pillows, cow, cow's picture on the wall and much more.

Booking this stateroom also gets you coupons for free Ben & Jerry's ice cream as well as access to the Concierge Lounge (for passengers over 18 years), which are otherwise only available to passengers reserved for those who booked a suite.

Did we miss any Freedom of the Seas secrets? Share them in our comments!

Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on Royal Caribbean

In:
20 Jul 2015
By: 
Matt Hochberg

When you sail on your next Royal Caribbean ship, there is a good chance you will find Coca-Cola's amazing self-serve beverage dispensers known as the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.

The Freestyle machine offers guests 100+ flavors of various Coca-Cola products that you can mix together to create the perfect drink for you.  Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line to offer Freestyle machines.

In order to use the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, guests must purchase an all-inclusive beverage package or the Royal refreshment package and use their complimentary Coca-Cola souvenir cup. The Coca-Cola souvenir cup has a special chip in it which activates the machine.

The following Royal Caribbean ships have Coca-Cola Freestyle Machines

  • Adventure of the Seas 
  • Allure of the Seas 
  • Anthem of the Seas 
  • Enchantment of the Seas 
  • Explorer of the Seas 
  • Freedom of the Seas 
  • Grandeur of the Seas 
  • Harmony of the Seas 
  • Independence of the Seas 
  • Jewel of the Seas 
  • Mariner of the Seas 
  • Navigator of the Seas 
  • Oasis of the Seas 
  • Odyssey of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas 
  • Ovation of the Seas 
  • Rhapsody of the Seas 
  • Symphony of the Seas 
  • Wonder of the Seas

It seems that Freestyle machines are only available in the United States, Canada and limited availability in the UK and Europe and Royal Caribbean has added the machines to ships based mostly in the United States.

Using the Freestyle machines is pretty simple too, you pick a base flavor (like Coke or Fanta) and you can customize the drink with fruit flavors (Orange Coke or Orange Fanta, Lime Fanta, etc).  You can also stop a drink mid-pour by just releasing the dispense button and select another drink to mix two together. So if you want to mix Orange Fanta with Mello Yello Grape you can!

Some of the base flavors available to choose from are Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Fanta, Fanta Zero, Minute Maid Lemonade, Minute Maid Light, Dasani, Dasani Sensations, Powerade, Powerade Zero, Hi-C, Barq's, Diet Barq's and Seagram's Lemon Lime Seltzer. and more.

The special souvenir Coca-Cola cups that Royal Caribbean sells also has a time restriction, which prevents guests from getting refills until 10-15 minutes have passed since their last pour.  This time restriction is to prevent abuse of the Freestyle machine privileges.

Use of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines is available with a few unlimited drink packages:

  • Royal Refreshment package
    • $8.00 per day, per guest
  • Royal Replenish package
    • $22.42 per person, per day (includes service charge)
  • All of the Royal Caribbean unlimited alcohol packages
    • Unlimited alcohol packages begin at $42 per person, per day

Have you tried the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines on your Royal Caribbean cruise? Thinking about using them on your next cruise? Tell us about it in the comments!

Top five things to do after booking a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
29 Jun 2015

You have decided on the right Royal Caribbean cruise for you, made a deposit on your sailing and have your stateroom reserved just for you. What should you do next?

Planning a Royal Caribbean cruise can be a fun exercise in planning, as you discover there is a lot to do before you ever set foot on your ship.  

Once you have your cruise booked, here are five things you should look into as your next step and really jump into the pre-cruise excitement!

1. Select your dining preference

Dinner on a Royal Caribbean cruise has a few options to choose from, and you will want to make sure you pick the option you want.  Depending on your ship, there can be a few choices: traditional, My Time Dining or Dynamic Dining.

Traditional dining is where you have a set time each night of your cruise, where you will be seated at the same table in the main dining room and have the same wait staff and table mates.  This is the most common choice available and is also the most widely available option.  There are two times, early and late seating.

My Time Dining takes place in the Main Dining Room as well, but instead of a fixed time and table, you reserve times during the evening or show up and get the first available table.  My Time Dining allows for more flexibility in when you eat, but requires more planning to ensure you have a spot each night to dine at.

Dynamic Dining is the newest choice, and is available on Quantum class ships currently.  There is no Main Dining Room, but instead you have a choice among complimentary and specialty restaurants to book reservations at.  You can pick the same restaurant or as many as you want, with different waiters and times each evening.

To enroll in any of these options for your cruise, contact your travel agent or Royal Caribbean directly and request the one you want. There can be times where the choice you want is full, but you can request to be put on a wait list and in our experience, wait list requests usually are fulfilled.

2. Register your cruise on My Cruises

In order to gain access to all of Royal Caribbean's pre-cruise planning options online, you will want to register yourself on Royal Caribbean's web site and tie your reservation to your account.

If you have not done so already, create a My Cruises account on Royal Caribbean's web site. It's free and should take just a few minutes to complete.

Log into your account and then add an existing reservation to your My Cruises account.

Now, you will have access to every detail of your sailing, including shore excursions, beverage packages, entertainment, dining reservations and more.

3. Research your pre-cruise transportation

We recommend arriving to your cruise embarkation port at least one day early, to avoid transportation delays that can potentially cause you to miss your cruise.

For those that are flying on an airplane to your cruise, booking airfare in advance is a good idea.  It is also a good idea to research a hotel to stay at and lock in a price now before others do the same.

Depending on the port you are leaving from, there can be lots of hotels and resorts to choose from.  Use consumer review web sites to find which hotel will offer you the amenities you want for the price you can afford.  

It is easy to overlook your pre-cruise transportation and lodging and then have to pay more than you should later.

4. Review your travel documents

Before you can get onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise, you will need to provide local authorities the proper documentation to prove who you are, and you definitely do not want to arrive at the pier missing something important.

Research what proof of identification you may need for everyone in your party, such as birth certificates, drivers licenses and/or passports.  If you are traveling to another country for your cruise, look into if you will need to apply for a visa.

Processing times for documents like visas and passports can take weeks, if not months, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get any necessary documents ready for your sail date.

5. Research if you should purchase travel insurance

Insurance is one of things that you do not think of until you need it and then it is worth every penny.  The thing is, not everyone needs travel insurance but you should look into what travel insurance offers and if you are at an elevated risk and would benefit from it.

Royal Caribbean offers travel insurance, as well as many third party companies.  Read exactly what the insurance covers and the scenarios in which you can make a claim.  It is important to be aware that travel insurance does not cover every scenario, but issues such as personal illness, death of a family member, airline delays, lost baggage and more are common times when insurance will be of great benefit.

There is no easy way to determine who does and who does not need travel insurance, but you should at least consider the option now to safeguard yourself in the future.  

7 Royal Caribbean drink of the day recipes

In:
29 Jun 2015
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Enjoying a refreshing drink on your Royal Caribbean cruise is something many folks look forward to, but just because you are not on a cruise right now does not mean you cannot enjoy the same drinks at home!

Blog reader Paul Westbrook sent us recipes for the drink of the day for each day of his Freedom of the Seas cruise.

Each day of a cruise, Royal Caribbean selects one tasty cocktail to be the drink of the day, where the price of the drink is reduced a bit and featured all over the ship.

So get those blenders ready and enjoy these great drinks!

Tropical Sunset

Ingredients

  • .75 oz Smirnoff vodka
  • .75 oz peach scnapps
  • .75 oz Chambord black raspberry liqueur
  • 1.5 oz cranberry juice
  • 1.5 oz pineapple juice

Instructions

Shake and mix well.

Blue Caribbean

Ingredients

  • 1.25 oz Bacardi superior rum
  • .75 oz blue curacao
  • 3 oz pineapple juice

Instructions

Served on the rocks with a splash of sprite

Paradise Punch

Ingredients

  • .75 oz Bacardi rum
  • .75 oz cocounut rum
  • .5 oz peach snapps
  • 1.5 oz pineapple and cranberry juices

Instructions

Shake and serve on the rocks.

Strawberry Hill Mojito

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Bacardi superior rum
  • 1 oz mojito mix
  • 1 oz Island Oasis Strawberry

Instructions

Top with soda water

Tropical Lemondae

Ingredients

  • 1.25 oz Smirnoff vodka
  • .75 oz blue curacao

Instructions

Serve on the rocks

Mayan Mango Margarita

Ingredients

  • 1.25 oz Jose Cuervo gold tequila
  • 1.5 oz Island Oasis mango
  • .75 oz triple sec
  • Sweet & Sour mix

Instructions

Shake tequila and mago juice together and then add triple sec and sweet & sour mix.

Caribbean Tea

Ingredients

  • .5 oz Smirnoff vodka
  • .5 oz Bacardi superior rum
  • .5 oz gin
  • .5 oz sweet blue curacao
  • 2 oz sweet & sour mix

Instructions

Top with Sprite and serve on the rocks.

Johnny Rockets on Royal Caribbean ships

In:
22 Jun 2015

Many Royal Caribbean cruise ships offer guests the opportunity to dine at Johnny Rockets, a retro-inspired restaurant where you’ll feel like you stepped back in time to an era of sock hops, soda fountains and drive-in theaters.  

Johnny Rockets has been working with Royal Caribbean since 1999, when the first Johnny Rockets debuted on Voyager of the Seas. Since then, Johnny Rockets has spread to over a dozen cruise ships.

Atmosphere

When you step inside a Johnny Rockets, you will find a recreation of an American diner from the 1950's.  


Johnny Rockets on Freedom of the Seas

Walking into the diner, you will find booths with red vinyl seats opposite a long counter of white tile with chrome trim.  You will hear music from the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's that play continuously. 

The crew members working at Johnny Rockets look the part as well, with their paper hats and long white aprons.  

In fact, the crew members will stop what they are doing and jump into a line dance for certain songs.

Johnny Rockets on Quantum of the Seas

On the Quantum class ships, the set up is more open.  Instead of an enclosed restaurant, you will find an open air restaurant on the pool deck where you place your order at the counter and then wait for your food to be prepared and can eat it in the restaurant or take it elsewhere on the ship.

Cost

On most ships, Johnny Rockets comes with a cover charge of $6.95 per person that includes most food on the menu  You will be able to eat as much as you care to order.  Milk shakes and other beverages come with an extra cost.  

On the Quantum class cruise ships, Johnny Rockets does not have a cover charge and instead has an a la carte menu, where each item on the menu has an individual cost.

Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society members will often get a coupon to dine at Johnny Rockets, which is usually a free cover charge.

The basics

On ships that offer Johnny Rockets, when the restaurant is open, guests can go dine there at any time and will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis.

There is seating in booths, at the counter and also outside the restaurant (weather permitting). 

As you are seated, you will be handed a menu by your waiter and have a choice between hamburgers, melts, hot dogs, sandwiches, fries, onion rings and more.

Each table is given a side of onion rings and french fries to start with, before your main courses arrive.

Breakfast too

On Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, Johnny Rockets is open for breakfast and it's complimentary.

For breakfast, Johnny Rockets serves up fried or scrambled eggs, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, french toast, omelettes and more.

Juice, milk, coffee, tea and hot chocolate are included in the meal as well.

Ships with Johnny Rockets

  • Voyager of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas

Have you eaten at Johnny Rockets on a Royal Caribbean ship? Let us know in the comments!

Royal Caribbean’s My Time Dining: What you need to know

In:
04 Jun 2015
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has a flexible dinner option called My Time Dining that is perfect for someone that wants to be able to have dinner at different times of the evening.

freedom-main-dining-room

It's a simple program where you get to eat in the main dining room on your own schedule.  All of the mainstream cruise lines offer something like this, but Royal Caribbean has its own twist.

Here's what you need to know about My Time Dining.

What is My Time Dining?

Main dining room on Symphony of the Seas

Essentially, My Time Dining is a program where for dinner in the main dining room, you can select times to eat between the hours of 6:00 and 9:30 p.m.

It differs from traditional dinner, where you have the same time, table, and waiters every night of your cruise.

With My Time Dining, you can choose a different time each day, so you can fit dinner around the rest of your onshore and onboard plans. You can pre-book a time or show up and wait for an available table.

For example, you could have dinner at 8:30pm on the first night of the cruise and then have dinner at 6pm on the second night. Just like traditional dining times, you can skip the main dining room all together and eat at a specialty restaurant or the buffet.

There is a maximum of 10 guests per reservation.

Are the menus the same for My Time Dining as they are for traditional dinner?

MDR food

Yes, it's exactly the same menu for both traditional and My Time Dining.

How to opt-in for My Time Dining

Main dining room family

Booking My Time Dining is simple, you can select it as your dining option when making your cruise reservation or at any time prior to your cruise by contacting Royal Caribbean or your travel agent.

When selecting My Time Dining, you must pre-pay all gratuities in advance.

How to book a reservation

my-time-dining-cruise-planner

It is recommended that you make reservations in advance of your sailing if you prefer to dine at the most popular times, between 6:30pm and 8pm.

You can make reservations onboard your ship, although there will be less reservations available by that time and typically the crew members will try to steer you to keeping the same time each night.

In general, the larger the group, the less flexibility you have to modify your dining time.

If you don’t get the time you prefer initially, keep checking back to see if you can change your dining time.  Even during the cruise, time slots open up.

Read moreHow to book My Time Dining on Royal Caribbean

Onboard your cruise

Main dining room

On your Royal Caribbean ship, there is one deck of the main dining room dedicated to My Time Dining.  

You arrive at the main dining room at your reserved time to be seated.  You can optionally arrive without reservations, but you should be prepared to wait for a table. Often, this wait can be up to an hour.

If you are more than 5 minutes late, your table may be given away to a stand by group

Who is My Time Dining good for?

Couple in main dining room

Generally speaking, My Time Dining is great for those that think dinner before 6pm is too early and 8pm as too late. Additionally, My Time Dining is good for those that may want to change their time for dinner depending on their plans for the day.

The evening shows aboard the ship are more structured for those in early and late traditional seating.

The challenge is to try and book way ahead to get the limited number of slots available between 6:30pm and say 7:45pm.

Does My Time Dining "favor" small groups or large groups?

Main Dining Room

Smaller groups provide the greatest flexibility. There is usually just a few tables for 6 or more when you’re asking for a table for just your group.

As an example, on a cruise on Independence of the Seas last year, there was only one table for 10 guests, so there was not much wiggle room for changing times.

How important are reservations? 

Food in main dining room

Without reservations, how important reservations are depend on your table size.

If you are up to two guests, you may not have much of a wait to get a table.  Groups of 4 or more and you have to wait 30-60 minutes until a table is ready.

The crew members will give you a pager to let you know when your table is ready but going to dinner without My Time Reservations is a gamble in terms of how long you will be seated, especially if you are trying to eat during the prime hours of 6pm to 8pm.

Is it possible to get the same waiters every night with My Time Dining?

MDR on Navigator of the Seas

If you make reservations for the same time every night, it is more likely you will have the same wait staff.

You may request a certain waiter each night, although it may increase your wait time, even if you have a reserved time.

Altering your dinner time will increase the change substantially of getting a different pair of waiters in our experience.

Can I request a table for two people?

Table for two

Yes! That does not mean you will get a table for two, but the crew members will try their best to accommodate your request.

Just like at a restaurant at home, you may need to wait for a table for two to open up. 

Your best bet is to make reservations in advance, as those with a reservation already seem to get preferred treatment over people that show up and ask for a specific table.

If you want to have a table for two every night of your cruise, my advice is to ask the head waiter to assist.

Can I change to early or late dinner during my cruise if I don't like My Time Dining?

Main Dining

Possibly, but it all depends on availability. 

You could certainly book the same time every night of your cruise and effectively re-create the traditional dinner experience.  The "catch" is My Time Dinner starts later than early seating, so you would not be able to replicate quite as early a time window.

If you're not liking My Time Dining, the first thing to do is speak to the head waiter and address the problem.  In many cases, there could be a simpler solution that changing you to another type of dining.

A big thank you to Ken Slusser for assisting in writing this blog post!