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Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: March 6, 2022

In:
06 Mar 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Welcome to March! We hope you are having a great weekend and are ready to sit back, relax and catch up with all the latest Royal Caribbean news!

Wonder of the Seas is finally here and welcoming passengers onboard!

Wonder of the Seas at sea aerial

The biggest cruise ship in the world departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Friday to start a 7-night cruise, and the ship's inaugural season.

The ship is packed with new features and activities, such as a new southern American restaurant, shows across its venues, redesigned pool deck, expansive suite area and more.

Matt is live blogging from Wonder of the Seas this week!

Royal Caribbean News

New RCB Video: Cruise mistakes I've made!

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 — Cruise mistakes I've made! — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 444th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available with a preview of Matt's Wonder of the Seas cruise.

Matt is sailing on Wonder of the Seas' first two sailings, and provides an overview of what he has planned and what he's excited to try 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.

Best things to do in Nassau on a cruise

 

While many cruises visit Nassau, Bahamas, it remains a bit of a tough port to plan on what to do.

Many cruise passengers skip Nassau altogether and stay on the ship, believing that there is nothing worth seeing, but that couldn't further from the truth.

Whether you’re looking for a beach day, hoping to try local foods, or learn about Bahamian history and culture, there are plenty of exciting activities to choose from in Nassau.

Food on a Royal Caribbean cruise

 

Have you been wondering how food works on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?

Buffets, restaurants, room service, and more await you on a cruise, so what's included and what costs extra? What is dinner like and what should you know about each of the types of restaurants?

Check out our in-depth guide to food on a Royal Caribbean cruise for insight into what to expect.

Wonder of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation

In:
05 Mar 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The day is finally here to see Wonder of the Seas for the first time!

I drove down to Fort Lauderdale the night before the cruise and stayed for the second time at the Hyatt House Fort Lauderdale Airport - South & Cruise Port. Great hotel with a large kitchenette at a reasonable price very close to the cruise port.

Before I could board Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean invited me to check out Royal Caribbean’s Entertainment Production Studio.

Located in North Miami at the Florida International University campus, this is where Royal Caribbean trains all if its performers, produces all of the costumes for its shows, and preps everything before it reaches a cruise ship.

I was not able to photograph inside the building, but the tour of the facility showed off just how massive an entertainment operation Royal Caribbean has across its ships.

We saw one cast learning the lines for Hairspray on Symphony of the Seas, and another cast ready to join Anthem of the Seas to perform We Will Rock You.

After our walkthrough, it was time to get to Wonder of the Seas!

Boarding was pretty simple and straightforward, and I was able to get onboard without any delay.

Walking onto Wonder of the Seas, it became evident very quickly that while this is the fifth Oasis Class ship, it is anything but a carbon copy of her sisters.

Royal Caribbean has enhanced, revamped, and in some cases, completely replaced certain venues.

While new cruise ships will always have a certain level of glitz that endears them to just about anyone off the bat, I noticed a few impressive changes that really separates the ship from her sisters.

As I mentioned in the preview blog post for this sailing, I was invited by Royal Caribbean to be their guest onboard.  As such, I had a few meetings to attend onboard the first day. Combined with my own desire to "see it all", I ran around the ship a lot on the first day.

I shared photos of my walkthrough of the major new changes and additions, but I wanted to talk about the areas that really stood out to me.

The revamped pool deck changes are fantastic, and I like how they've added stadium seating in the middle. 

I can appreciate the addition of a movie screen too, although it can sometimes get a little loud (to be fair, the holds true on other ships).

Thanks to some friends, I was able to walk through the new Suite Neighborhood and you can tell quickly this has been rethought completely.

Walking through the hallways of the Suite Neighborhood, it just feels like different.  If I was a suite guest, I could appreciate the sense that you're somewhere special.

And then there's the Suite Sundeck, which is sprawling and offers the right blend of shade and sun.  Compared to other suite decks that are usually all in the sun, there's a good amount of shade and seating that I think make this a home run.

The Wonder Playscape looks to be a fun area for kids, but I'll need to reserve judgement until my kids show up next week.

Speaking of kids, the best news as a parent is Adventure Ocean is back to "normal" in the sense of not limiting reservations.

I spoke with the staff, who told me the 6-12 year old group can handle around 120 kids and assuming they don't reach that number, can take as many kids as they can.  

The reason why they aren't doing limited capacity in Adventure Ocean is because Royal Caribbean joined the CDC's "highly vaccinated" program, which requires at least 95% of passengers be vaccinated.

One other area that really got revamped is the Windjammer. This is the largest Windjammer in the fleet, and it is indeed massive.

Wrapping around the entire back deck, the Windjammer offers a ton of seating and an equal amount of food stations. Plus, I love the aesthetics of the space.

For dinner, I went to the new Mason Jar restaurant.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but the food and drink at Mason Jar blew me away. Between the charred watermelon salad, Nashville hot chicken, chicken pot pie, and fried Oreos, I just couldn't get enough.

The specialty cocktails are also really good, especially the PB&J Old Fashioned. 

But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the country band at the Mason Jar, which perform at night and add a new dimension to the dining experience.

If you're at the bar, you get a full country band experience to sing and drink to, with some even dancing.  But if you're eating dinner, you're sufficiently far enough away to hear the music but not interrupt the dining experience.

I'm going back for brunch in a few days to sample that, and I suspect I'll be at the bar just for the music too.

It was a full first day onboard Wonder of the Seas, and I wrapped up my evening with some drinks at the pub on the Royal Promenade before calling it a night.

Tomorrow is a sea day.

Stray observations

There are 4200 passengers onboard this sailing.

I noticed the cabin attendant carts have a new look to them.

There are evidently 4 of these astronauts around the ship. So far, I've found two of them.

My shower (standard balcony room) has two shower heads, although I couldn't figure out how to make the top showerhead work.

Some inaugural cruise swag!

Near the bed is a functional lamp with USB plugs. I love this small addition!

First look around Wonder of the Seas

In:
04 Mar 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas begins her first sailing today, and this cruise ship is packed with so many things to see, do, and eat.

The biggest cruise ship in the world is also the fifth Oasis Class cruise ship, and departs Fort Lauderdale on Friday to begin a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean has built on the Oasis Class lineage, but also added new features and things to do that you won't find on any other cruise ship.

Enjoy this comprehensive look at the highlights of Wonder of the Seas.

Suite Neighborhood

Coastal Kitchen and the Suite Lounge

Suite Sun Deck 

Wonder Playscape

This area is best described as a combination of mini golf and jungle gym.

Boardwalk

Staterooms

The hallways and staterooms have a blue motif to them.

Around the ship

The elevators have a new button system that is better at explaining what's on each deck.

Fun art in Entertainment Place

Casino has sliding doors to help keep smoke in

Adventure Ocean

Thanks to the new protocols, there is no required advanced sign up for kids in Adventure Ocean. It's effectively the "old system", with a capacity of 120-130 children in the 6-12 year old group

The nursery (6 months to 36 months old) still requires advanced reservations.

AO Kids (6-12 years old)

AO Juniors (3-5 years olds)

Nursery (6-36 months)

Central Park

Pool deck

The pool deck has been completely redesigned with a new resort vibe to it.

Teen deck

The Vue

Windjammer

Wonder of the Seas has the largest Windjammer in the fleet.

The Mason Jar

A brand new restaurant that serves up Southern American cuisine.

 

Best things to do in Nassau on a cruise

In:
04 Mar 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Nassau is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, receiving around 3 million cruise passengers per year. And while Nassau is best known for crystal clear beaches and world-famous resorts, the port offers plenty of activities for all interests.

Unlike some ports, Nassau is a port day you want to prepare for before arriving. Many guests that try to “wing it” on their day in Nassau end up disappointed and unsure of the best way to spend their day.

Likewise, many cruise passengers skip Nassau altogether and stay on the ship, believing that there is nothing worth seeing or doing on the island. This assumption could not be more incorrect!

Whether you’re looking for a beach day, hoping to try local foods, or learn about Bahamian history and culture, there are plenty of exciting activities to choose from in Nassau.

Nassau’s best activities can be broken down into a few categories:

Beaches

Islands for a beach day

Day passes at resorts

Adventures on and in the water

Food & drink

History & museums

Walk around downtown Nassau

Beaches

New Providence Island, where Nassau is located, has plenty of beaches to choose from. Most beaches are free and open to the public, and some are located just a short walk from the cruise terminal. Here are some of the most popular and recommended beaches in Nassau:

  • Cabbage Beach is a free, public beach on the north side of Paradise Island. It is considered one of the best beaches in the Bahamas due to its soft sand and clean, clear blue waters. Chairs and umbrellas are available to rent from locals.
  • Cable Beach is another famous beach in Nassau, and is located in front of many major hotels and resorts.
  • Junkanoo Beach is the closest beach to the cruise terminal, and thus a popular spot for cruise passengers. Junkanoo Beach is not only convenient due to its proximity to the cruise ships, but it has restroom, shower, and changing facilities available. There are also several bars and restaurants located nearby.

  • Saunders Beach is located 2.5 miles away from the cruise terminal and is a quieter, calm beach ideal for families. Saunders Beach has restroom facilities and a playground available, although guests will have to bring their own towels or chairs to the beach, as rentals are not available. 
  • Love Beach is around 9 miles away from the cruise port, but offers a tranquil beach day away from the crowds. Chair rentals are available and the Nirvana Beach Bar is located on the beach, offering food and drinks.
  • Jaws Beach, which was the filming location for Jaws III, is further away from the other beaches mentioned above, but offers a beach day away from the hustle and bustle of the resorts and downtown area. Bringing snorkel gear to Jaws Beach is a must, as there are sculptures and Hollywood memorabilia located underwater. The beach is located next to Clifton Heritage Park, a protected area with trails, beaches, rocky shorelines, and picnic areas.

The beaches of Nassau offer varied amenities, so be sure to check what is offered or located nearby at each beach.

One common issue faced by those visiting public beaches is the lack of restroom facilities. Many beaches are lined with hotels and resorts, but their facilities are only available to guests. One way around this is to find a nearby restaurant or bar when you need a restroom.

Islands for a beach day

Pearl Island

Pearl Island is located eight miles east of Nassau. Guests will travel to Pearl Island via boat from the cruise port and spend the day relaxing on the island’s beaches, enjoying a traditional Bahamian lunch, walking around the island’s paths, and participating in water activities.

Transportation, lunch, kayaks, paddleboards, beach chairs, water mats and trampolines, showers, and bathroom facilities are included in the day pass for guests. Guests can also access the island’s lighthouse at no extra cost. The excursion usually costs around $100.

A snorkeling tour is also available for $15 extra and lockers can be rented for the day for $10. You can book a day pass to Pearl Island on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner or Pearl Island’s website.

Guests looking for a more exclusive experience at Pearl Island can reserve a VIP Cabana. Cabanas include sun chairs, an all-inclusive drink package, butler service, and lunch. The cabana also has a fully stocked cooler, complimentary towels, a power outlet, and ceiling fan.

In addition, guests have access to water maps, kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling, and a floating trampoline. Prices for the cabana usually run around $240/per adult, and online reservations are for a maximum of two guests, although larger parties may be accommodated.

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Island is another small island north of downtown Nassau. The boat ride from the cruise port to Blue Lagoon is included in the fare, which is usually around $85-100.

The island has several beaches, small lagoons, hammocks, beach chairs, umbrellas, and games. Water sports (kayaks, snorkeling gear, paddleboards, etc.) come at an additional cost.

Guests interested in seeing marine life can book excursions such as the “Dolphin Encounter and Beach Day” or “Sea Lion Encounter and Beach Day”. During these excursions, guests can get up close and personal with animals to observe them in their natural habitat.

Other tours available at Blue Lagoon Island include a segway and eco nature walking tour. Those looking for a VIP experience can choose to book the VIP Blue Lagoon Island Beach Day.

As a VIP guest on Blue Lagoon Island, guests will receive lunch as well as unlimited Bahama Mama cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. VIP guests will have a lounge chair in the adults-only VIP beach. Snorkeling equipment is included for VIP guests.

Lunch is included in the excursion to Blue Lagoon as well, where you can enjoy hamburgers, chicken, veggie burgers, Caribbean rice, and a salad bar.

Balmoral Island

Balmoral Island is located a thirty minute boat ride from the cruise port and offers a picture-perfect beach day to guests with clear water, beach chairs and umbrellas, and two fresh-water pools.

Paddleboards, kayaks, and snorkel gear are available to rent, and the island also offers nature tours with dolphins and stingrays. Tropical beach bars, food, and a Starbucks are available on the island for an extra cost.

Day passes at resorts

Several hotels and resorts in Nassau offer day passes, which allow cruise ship guests to access the resorts’ amenities for the day. Some day passes are all-inclusive, whereas others give guests a monetary voucher for food and drinks. Most day passes range from $70-125.

There are several hotels and resorts offering day passes in Nassau:

  • Margaritaville Beach Resort & Waterpark, a new resort with a private beach, two swimming pools, a waterpark, lazy river, hot tub, and pool bar. The resort is located a 15 minute walk from the cruise area. Spa services are available at an extra cost. This resort is not all-inclusive for day pass guests.
  • Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas, a resort located on the harbor side of Paradise Island. There is a small beach here, but the main attraction are the large pool areas. Other activities, including tennis, bicycles, and beach volleyball, are included in the day pass. The Warwick is all-inclusive, so all food and drinks are included.
  • Breezes Resort & Spa, a resort located on Cable Beach in Nassau, includes beach access, a swim-up bar, three freshwater pools, and a jacuzzi. Breezes is an all-inclusive day pass.
  • RIU Palace, an adults-only, all-inclusive resort on Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island. RIU Palace has a swim-up bar, reserved beach area, and two swimming pools. A hot & cold buffet and pool-side barbecue station are available for guests.

There are a few advantages to a day pass as opposed to going to a beach on your own. First, not all public beaches in Nassau have restrooms or cover if it starts raining. Second, if you take advantage of the all-inclusive food and drinks, plus the pool and beach access, day passes can be a good deal.

Atlantis Paradise Island

Many cruise passengers are eager to visit Atlantis Paradise Island, a resort with 3,805 rooms, a waterpark, shopping areas, casino, and a 154-acre waterscape. The waterscape includes lagoons, pools, and habitats for marine animals.

Amenities and activities at the resort are split into two categories: areas open to the general public and areas available only for guests or day pass visitors.

Free areas to visit at the Atlantis include the casino, indoor shopping areas, and several dining venues. You can also visit Marina Village, an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment space located around the Atlantis Marina, at no extra cost.

Those looking to experience the rest of the resort can purchase day passes. There are a few types of day passes available, some of which give access just to the beach whereas others have access to the beach and waterpark.

Those looking for an exhilarating day may want to reserve a day pass to the Aquaventure Oasis Waterpark at The Atlantis. This is a 141-acre waterpark with pools, waterslides, river rapids, and splash pads for kids. Waterpark guests also receive access to the Marine Habitat, a series of aquariums with over 50,000 aquatic animals.

Baha Mar

The Baha Mar is another luxury resort located on Paradise Island. Located on the resort is the 15-acre Baha Bay waterpark which offers a limited number of day passes.

Baha Bay includes 24 waterslides, a lazy river, FlowRider, infinity pool, wave pool, kids-only pool and slide area, and an outdoor casino. Day pass holders also have beach access.

General admission to Baha Bay is currently $160, while junior admission (guests under 48”) is $65.

Adventures on and in the water

Boat tours

Passengers looking to set sail and explore Nassau from the sea have plenty of options. Royal Caribbean offers tours such as the Discover Nassau Harbor Cruise, which brings guests on a scenic catamaran ride around Paradise Island as they learn about the history and culture of Nassau. A hybrid sea and land tour is also available, where guests start the tour on a catamaran and end with a land tour of downtown Nassau.

A kid-friendly boat tour is Blackbeard’s Pirate Revenge, which takes guests around Nassau in an 18th century pirate ship replica. The boat’s crew are dressed as pirates who tell pirate tales, share history, and provide an immersive experience for guests onboard.

Snorkeling and scuba diving

There are plenty of scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities in Nassau. Visitors to Nassau can choose to bring their own snorkel gear or book a snorkeling excursion through Royal Caribbean or an outside provider.

Royal Caribbean offers the Nassau Sail & Reef Snorkeling tour, which brings guests on a sailboat to coral reefs near Spruce Cay and Athol Island. The benefit of booking with a tour as opposed to snorkeling on your own is that you do not have to pack snorkeling gear with you for the cruise. However, if your itinerary visits several islands where you want to snorkel, it might be worth it to bring your own gear as opposed to booking excursions or gear rentals.

Scuba diving opportunities are also plentiful in Nassau. Stuart Cove is the main diving provider on New Providence Island. They offer Discover Scuba dives for first-time divers as well as dives for certified divers to the coral reels, shipwrecks, and walls around the island. Stuart Cove is also the diving provider for Royal Caribbean shore excursions.

Food & drink

Bahamian food tour

Photo by Tru Bahamian Food Tours

A huge aspect of discovering new cultures is trying new foods, and Nassau offers plenty of opportunities to do so.

Royal Caribbean offers the Island Food & Culinary Insight tour, which takes guests on an air-conditioned ride around Nassau to taste local food and drinks. The tour makes stops at Tasty Teas, the World Famous Fish Fry, Potters Cay Dock, and John Watling’s Distillery. Guests on this tour will have the opportunity to taste dishes like conch fritters, Bahamian teas, and fresh seafood.

There are tours offered by outside providers as well. One of the most popular providers is Tru Bahamian Food Tours, who offers a selection of tours geared toward discovering Bahamian cuisine.

The most popular tour is the Bites of Nassau Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour, during which guests stop at six tasting locations around downtown Nassau to taste local foods including steamed chicken, Caribbean rice, and rum cakes.

You can, of course, do a food tour on your own by walking or taking a taxi to the popular bars and restaurants in Nassau. 

A must-see spot to include on a food tour is the Fish Fry, a strip of restaurants and vendors specializing in seafood including conch, grilled shrimp, fried snapper, and lobster tails. The main fish fry in Nassau is conveniently located near the cruise port at Arawak Cay.

Visit the Rum Cake Factory

The Bahamas Rum Cake Factory was established in 2000 and has since been named the Official Rum Cake of the Bahamas. This is a popular spot to taste traditional Bahamian rum cake and buy a delicious souvenir for friends and family.

The factory is a short walk from the cruise port. Guests will be greeted with the strong smell of fresh cake (and rum). There is a small window inside so guests can see how rum cakes are made.

Free samples are available as well, so you can taste several flavors before choosing your favorite. Flavors include pineapple, chocolate, caramel, Irish cream, Kentucky honey bourbon, and the original rum cake with pecans.

This is a quick stop with most guests in and out in fifteen minutes.

Take a tour of John Watling's Distillery

John Watling’s Distillery is a distillery located on a historic estate founded in 1789. A free, short distillery tour with tastings is available.

Hand-crafted cocktails available include the Canchera Rum, which is made with amber rum, Bahamian honey, lemon juice, and club soda, and Skylarkin’, made with pale and coconut rum, coconut pulp, coconut water, and nutmeg.

History & museums

Downtown Nassau is home to several museums which can be a nice activity to do on days with poor weather or after you return to the cruise port from a shore excursion. These museums are all walkable from the cruise port, and most are relatively small, so visiting each museum will not take too much time.

Pirates of Nassau Museum

Nassau was at the heart of piracy from 1690 to 1720, when Nassau was taken over by English privateers who became lawless pirates. The Pirates of Nassau Museum allows guests of all ages to relive history, learn about piracy, and even step foot on a replica of a historic pirate ship.

Admission is $13.50 for adults and $6.75 for children 4-17.

Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation

A small yet informative museum, the Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation takes visitors through the story of Pompey, a slave who started a rebellion in 1830 in Steventon, Exuma.

The museum has a series of educational panels providing stories and descriptions of slavery in the Bahamas throughout history, and its impact on the culture and traditions seen in the Bahamas today. There is a small entrance fee to visit the museum.

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

Guests interested in Bahamian art and culture may want to visit the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. Culture, folklore, and history are demonstrated at the museum through local art. The museum has new exhibits fairly often as well.

The entrance fee is $10 for guests and free for children under 12.

Educulture Junkanoo Museum

Junkanoo is the most popular festival in the Bahamas. A colorful street parade with music, dance, and costumes, Junkanoo takes place on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day each year.

Guests wanting to learn more about Junkanoo can do so any day of the year at the Educulture Junkanoo Museum. The museum has costumes, traditional fabrics, music, and informational panels on display for guests to learn more about the festival’s history and influence in the Bahamas. There is a small fee to enter the museum.

The Heritage Museum of the Bahamas

The Heritage Museum of the Bahamas takes visitors on a journey from pre-historic times in the Bahamas to today. The museum has relics and artifacts on display, such as an extensive sample of items in a Bahamian grocery shop in 1900 to an exhibit of tools used during slavery.

A small fee is required to enter the museum and optional guided tours are available.

Walk around downtown Nassau

A free activity to do in port is walk around downtown Nassau. Royal Caribbean and outside providers offer historical walking tours of Nassau, although the sites are all easily accessible on your own. Plenty of Nassau’s most historic sites are located just a 5 or 10 minute walk from the cruise port.

Popular sites to visit include:

  • The Queen’s Staircase, a 66-step landmark carved out of limestone in 1793, providing a direct route from downtown Nassau to Fort Fincastle. The staircase was named after Queen Victoria. Located in a lush, limestone alley with a waterfall, the Queen’s Staircase is easily accessible from the cruise port.
  • Fort Fincastle, a historic fort built in 1793 to protect Nassau from pirates. A relatively small fort at 126 feet, Fort Fincastle is free to access, although entering the inside of the fort comes at a small fee. (The inside of the fort has been closed due to Covid-19, although that can change at any time).
  • Rawson Square, a public square lined with government buildings and home to activities and festivals throughout the year
  • The Straw Market, a large flea market selling souvenirs including handmade Bahamian straw products such as purses and hats, as well as cheaper, factory-made items like t-shirts and bracelets. Be sure to haggle on the price before buying anything at the Straw Market.

 

All about Radiance Class cruise ships

In:
03 Mar 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Class ships were built to sail around the entire world. They offer among the most diverse itineraries in the entire fleet, offering cruises to far-flung destinations including the Arctic Circle, Vanuatu, and Turkey, as well as more familiar destinations such as the Bahamas and Mexico.

The Radiance Class is on the smaller end of ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet and offers a more traditional cruise experience than what you may find on the newest and biggest ships.

However, the elegance, architecture, and traditional experience is what can make these ships so charming. Let’s take a closer look at what Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Class ships have to offer.

Radiance Class cruise ships

  • Radiance of the Seas is the first Radiance Class ship, and she primarily sails from Vancouver, Seward, and Sydney, offering cruises to Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Occasionally she offers transpacific and repositioning voyages.
  • Brilliance of the Seas is the second Radiance Class ship, and she sails from Tampa, Venice (Ravenna), Barcelona, and Rome, offering cruises to the Caribbean and Europe.
  • Serenade of the Seas is the third Radiance Class ship, and she primarily sails from Vancouver, Seward, and Sydney, offering cruises to Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Like Radiance, transpacific and repositioning voyages are sometimes offered.
  • Jewel of the Seas is the fourth Radiance Class ship, and she primarily sails from Miami, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, offering European and Caribbean cruises. Her wide range of itineraries bring guests to destinations including Greece, Turkey, the Arctic Circle.

The layout of Radiance Class ships differs from most classes of Royal Caribbean’s ships. Instead of a Royal Promenade or Royal Esplanade thoroughfare, Radiance Class ships have a Centrum.

The Centrum is a large, open area within the ship. A set of elevators runs up the Centrum, and shops, bars, cafes, and guest service amenities are found on the decks surrounding the elevators.

The Radiance Class first debuted with the maiden voyage of Radiance of the Seas in 2001. This makes the Radiance Class ships newer than the Voyager Class ships, but smaller in size.

The Radiance Class ships are all of a similar length, gross tonnage (GT), and capacity (at double capacity):

  • Radiance of the Seas: capacity of 2,466 guests, 962’ long, 90,090 GT
  • Brilliance of the Seas: capacity of 2,543 guests, 962’ long, 90,090 GT
  • Serenade of the Seas: capacity of 2,476 guests, 965’ long, 90,090 GT
  • Jewel of the Seas: capacity of 2,702 guests, 962’ long, 90,090 GT

Activities and things to do

Pool deck

The main pool deck on Radiance Class ships features one pool and two jacuzzis. There is ample seating area on the pool deck, too, as well as a pool bar. The Sky Bar is another bar located on the running deck above the main pool area, and the venue offers fantastic views of the pool and ocean.

The adults-only Solarium on Radiance Class has one pool and a jacuzzi. As Radiance Class ships were built to sail in all climates, they feature a retractable glass roof that allows the area to be either indoors or outdoors.

Adventure Beach is the pool area for kids onboard Radiance Class ships, and features a small waterslide, pool, and shallow splash area. Adventure Beach is conveniently located in the aft of the pool deck next to other family-friendly activities onboard.

Sports & kid-friendly activities

Radiance Class ships have a rock climbing wall, basketball/sports court, and a mini golf course. These activities are all complimentary for guests. Some activities may have set times listed in the Cruise Planner, so be sure to keep an eye on when activities are open.

There is an arcade on all Radiance Class ships. Radiance Class ships also all have Adventure Ocean, Royal Caribbean’s children’s programming.

Adventure Ocean is for children aged 6 months to 17 years, and kids are broken into age groups for programming. Teens 12-17 have their own hangout area onboard where they can socialize and meet new friends to hang out with throughout the cruise.

Thermal spa

Radiance Class ships have a thermal spa onboard, and guests can purchase passes to access it for the duration of the cruise. The thermal spa includes a steam room, infrared sauna, rainforest shower room, and hot stone chairs.

In addition to the thermal spa, regular spa and salon services as well as a fitness center are available.

Other activities

Like all Royal Caribbean ships, a variety of other activities are offered throughout the cruise. Activities on Radiance Class ships may include trivia, dance classes, live music, craft classes, language lessons, and theme nights.

Unique features of Radiance Class ships

Radiance Class ships were built with over three acres of glass. Because of this, the ocean is viewable from nearly any vantage point onboard. This is one of the favorite features of Radiance Class ships among cruisers.

Even the glass elevators on Radiance Class ships look out to the ocean, providing excellent views of the sea as you make your way up and down the ship.

Looking to watch a movie? Radiance Class ships are the only Royal Caribbean ships to have their own movie theater onboard. The cinema on Radiance Class ships show movies free of charge throughout the day.

Another unique feature only found on Radiance Class ships is the rotating bar located in the nightclub area of the Viking Crown Lounge. The circular bar area rotates 360 degrees so that you can enjoy spectacular views no matter which side of the bar you sit on. 

Entertainment and Venues on Radiance Class ships

The primary entertainment venue on Radiance Class ships is the theater. The main entertainment lineup on Radiance Class ships is as follows:

  • Radiance of the Seas: Piano Man and City of Dreams
  • Brilliance of the Seas: Tango Buenos Aires, Center Stage, and Now and Forever
  • Serenade of the Seas: Stage to Screen and Vibeology
  • Jewel of the Seas: Tango Buenos Aires, West End to Broadway, and City of Dreams

In addition to shows in the theater, each Radiance Class ship offers plenty of other entertainment options such as live music, comedians, vocalists, dance parties, game shows, and more.

Dining & Beverage

Radiance Class ships share the following dining and bar venues:

  • Windjammer Marketplace
  • Main Dining Room (name differs by ship)
  • Chef’s Table
  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Izumi 
  • Caffe Latte-tudes
  • Park Cafe (Solarium Cafe on Jewel of the Seas)
  • Schooner Bar
  • Solarium Bar
  • Pool bar
  • Sky Bar
  • Viking Crown Lounge
  • English-style pub (excluding Jewel of the Seas)
  • Vintages (excluding Radiance of the Seas)

In the aft of deck 6 of each Radiance Class ship is a series of lounge and pool table areas. They have different names on each ship (Zanzibar Lounge, The Congo Bar, Singapore Slings, Jakarta Lounge, etc.), but they all have the same concept.

This multipurpose venue has self-leveling pool tables, plenty of seating, bars, and a dance floor area used for live music and activities.

Outdoor dining

Radiance Class ships have a large outdoor seating area at the Windjammer. This is located in the very aft of the ships, and offers beautiful views while enjoying your meal with fresh air and a sea breeze.

Differences between the Radiance Class cruise ships

Radiance of the Seas has several more dining venues compared to other Radiance Class ships. First is Samba Grill, a specialty restaurant Brazilian steakhouse following the traditional rodizio dining experience. This is an all-you-can-eat experience where waiters go from table to table offering a variety of meats. In addition to meat, there is a buffet for sides and salads.

The Boardwalk Dog House is also available on Radiance of the Seas. Located on the pool deck, this complimentary venue serves options of hot dogs and sausages that guests can top with their favorite condiments.

Radiance of the Seas is the only Radiance Class ship without a Vintages onboard. Instead she has a champagne bar, where guests can taste a variety of champagnes and wines. The location has elegant decor and glass windows overlooking the ocean.

In lieu of the English-style pub found on most other Royal Caribbean ships, Jewel of the Seas has The Pit Stop. This is a sports bar featuring several television screens and sports-themed decor.

Jewel of the Seas is the only Radiance Class ship without a Royal Babies & Tots nursery onboard. She has Adventure Ocean facilities for ages 3-17, but no nursery option.

Unique itineraries of Radiance Class ships

A major advantage of sailing on a Radiance Class ship is that the itineraries tend to be much more diverse than what you will find on larger ships. Because of their size, Radiance Class ships are able to fit into more ports around the world, and also pass through the Panama Canal. 

Here are a few examples of the unique itineraries available on Radiance Class ships:

  • 7-night Southbound Alaska & Hubbard Cruise on Radiance of the Seas, visiting Seward, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Haines, Icy Point Straight, Ketchikan, and the Canadian Inside Passage, before ending in Vancouver. Land-based Cruise Tours are available in Alaska prior to the sailing.
  • 7-night Greek Isles Cruise on Brilliance of the Seas, visiting Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Santorini, Ephesus, Mykonos, and Athens
  • 10-night South Pacific Cruise on Radiance of the Seas, visiting Isle of Pines and Noumea in New Caledonia, Mystery Island and Port Vila in Vanuatu, and Lifou, Loyalty Islands
  • 9-night Norwegian Fjords Cruise on Jewel of the Seas, visiting the Norwegian ports of Olden, Flam, Geiranger, Alesund, and Kristiansand
  • 12-night Iceland & Scotland Cruise on Jewel of the Seas, visiting Akureyri and Reykjavik in Iceland as well as Shetland, Inverness, and Edinburgh in Scotland

In addition to these unique itineraries, Radiance Class ships also sail to more common ports in the Caribbean including Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee, among others.

Serenade of the Seas will be sailing around the world during Royal Caribbean’s first World Cruise, from December 2023 to September 2024. During the World Cruise, she will visit all 7 continents, 11 world wonders, and over 150 destinations in over 60 countries.

Who is the Radiance Class best for?

Radiance Class ships are a great fit for guests looking for a traditional cruise experience without all the bells and whistles found on the newest ships. There are a variety of complimentary and dining options to try, plenty of bars to choose from, and a range of entertainment throughout the cruise.

And while Radiance Class ships may not offer the latest activities for kids, such as bumper cars and the FlowRider, there is still plenty for kids to do onboard. From the rock climbing wall to Adventure Ocean and the sports court, kids will have many activities to try on a Radiance Class ship.

Solo travelers will especially benefit from the stateroom selections on Radiance Class ships. Each ship has 3 studio interior rooms available to book on any sailing. The benefit of sailing in a studio room is that your cruise fare will be much lower, as you do not have to pay a single supplement fee for staying in a normal room.

If you’re looking to try the biggest and most popular Royal Caribbean ships, the Radiance Class is not the best option for you. But if you’re looking for a relaxing, classic cruise experience, you will certainly find that on a Radiance Class ship.

Radiance Class Tips & Secrets

Be sure to try out the self-leveling pool tables on Radiance Class ships. They are the only pool tables that do this in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, so you won’t have to worry about your game messing up if the seas are rocky!

The Radiance Class offers plenty of balconies with views of the aft. These often sell out quickly, so be sure to book well in advance to get a cabin with one of these views.

The helicopter (helipad) is accessible for guests on Radiance Class ships. This is a fantastic spot to watch sailaway or view the unique destinations visited during your cruise. The Promenade Deck is also a relaxing spot onboard to take a walk, read a book, and enjoy the views.

More on the Radiance Class:

Royal Caribbean updates: Ukrainian crew, Pinnacle lounge access, & more

In:
03 Mar 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

While Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas is front and center at the moment, there's still other things happening in the world of Royal Caribbean that you should know about.

Independence of the Seas aerial view birds eye

Of course, if you want to read more about Wonder of the Seas, check out photos from around the ship!

In an effort to highlight some other changes and happenings, this blog post summarizes the changes from this week that may not have made big headlines.

If you ever have a news tip, feel free to email it to [email protected] for possible inclusion in a future update!

Lounge access is back for Pinnacles

The top cruisers in Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society loyalty program  got some good news this week.

Due to Royal Caribbean's participation in the CDC's "Highly Vaccinated" program, the cruise line can now reinstate access for Pinnacle Club guests to the Suite and Concierge Lounges across our fleet effective on sailings beginning after March 15. 

Should the number of guests surpass the desired capacity of these lounges, the ship will continue to provide a temporary Pinnacle Club lounge just for Pinnacle members.

US prevents Ukrainian and Russian crew members from getting off cruise ships

One consequence of the Russian invasion of The Ukraine has been seafarers from those countries are not allowed to disembark the ship in U.S. ports.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley explained that this new rule is not a cruise line policy, but instead a new policy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"All foreign crew are typically granted a visa and entered into the USA as seafarers and are processed and given a I95 form. Kind of like a permission slip to go ashore in USA ports.  

"Our latest information to be confirmed, is CBP (U.S. Government agency) has stopped shore leave and repatriation for all Ukrainian and Russian crew. This impacts all seafarers.  

"We are working with our Government relations team and industry to see if this can be relaxed.  They are free to come and go in all other non USA ports (so far)."

Save $50 with a promo code

A RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader spotted a new promo code that might save you a little bit of money on your next cruise.

While browsing Royal Caribbean's website, em.down.the.rabbit.hole saw a popup to sign up for $50 off their next cruise booking.

The voucher code appears to be only for Americans, but promo code "WELCOME" is good until it expires on March 8, 2022.

The fine print says it is $50 voucher for sailings 6 nights or greater and $25 off sailings 5 nights or fewer.

I can't promise it will work for you, but give it a try!

Inside Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship Wonder of the Seas

In:
02 Mar 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas is just days away from beginning her first sailing and we have our first look at some areas around the ship.

Wonder of the Seas night lit up

Wonder of the Seas is almost ready to begin regular service from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Wonder of the Seas is 236,857 gross tons and has 18 decks in total that can accommodate 5,734 guests at double occupancy.

Sneak peek around Wonder

The first sailing of Wonder of the Seas begins on Friday, but the excitement has already started with new photos from onboard.

Royal Caribbean released new photos from around Wonder of the Seas to showcase a few areas. Some of these photos were also shared by Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed.

First up is a look at the new, cantilevered Vue Bar.

Located in the Solarium, The Vue offers poolside drinks with panoramic ocean views.

The Suite Sun Deck is part of the eighth neighborhood, which is a private area reserved just for suite guests.

The private neighborhood includes a plunge pool and bar in the Suite Sun Deck and Coastal Kitchen exclusive restaurant.

Something else you'll only find in the Suite Neighborhood is a plunge pool.

The pool deck on Wonder of the Seas has been redesigned as well with a resort-style feel to it.

Guests will not only find a number of pools to swim in and lounge chairs to relax in, but also the Lime & Coconut bar, waterslides, and a Splashaway Bay aqua park for kids.

The pool deck on Wonder of the Seas will also feature the largest poolside movie screen on a Royal Caribbean ship.

Wonder of the Seas also has a new specialty restaurant that serves up American southern comfort food.

The Mason Jar offers staples and classics with a twist for brunch, dinner and the late night, including savory johnnycakes, crab beignets, 19 American whiskeys, spike floats and shakes, and other southern libations.

Wonder of the Seas will also be home to the largest Ultimate Family Suite yet for a family of 10. 

You'll find in this lavish suite an in-suite slide, cinema, and karaoke area, as well as a private balcony and whirlpool.

Read moreWhat is the most expensive suite on Royal Caribbean?

Something else brand new to any Royal Caribbean ship is the all-new Wonder Playscape, an underwater-themed, outdoor play area for families with kids.

This area includes multilevel slides, climbing walls, imaginative puzzles, an interactive mural that comes to life by touch and light shows.

Teens on board Wonder of the Seas have their own indoor and outdoor spaces, Social100 and The Patio.

Indoors, teens have the latest in music, games and movies at their fingertips; and on the outdoor patio, highlights include a private whirlpool, a menu of eight zero-proof cocktails and shakes, lawn games, as well as seating and nooks to hang out under the sun or stars.

The Ultimate Abyss will be onboard Wonder of the Seas, which is the tallest slide at sea.

Inaugural Wonder of the Seas season

Aft Wonder of the Seas

The inaugural Wonder of the Seas sailing will be March 4, 2022.

In May 2022, Wonder of the Seas will head to Europe, where she will offer 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona and Rome. Wonder of the Seas will visit Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Capri, Italy and replace Allure of the Seas in the region.

After her summer season, Wonder returns to Florida to offer year-round sailings in November 2022, when she sails from Port Canaveral. Destinations range from Perfect Day at CocoCay and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Cozumel, Mexico.

First look at Mason Jar southern restaurant menu

In:
02 Mar 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Wonder of the Seas will introduce a number of new amenities not found on any other Royal Caribbean cruise ship, including a new restaurant based on the food of the American south.

The Mason Jar is a new dining concept for Royal Caribbean, as it offers both brunch, dinner, and late-night meals.

The cruise line says it will be, "serving up southern staples and new twists on classics for brunch, dinner and the late night."

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Craig Duncan spotted the new menus.

Brunch menu

Something new for Royal Caribbean is a restaurant that offers brunch.

Brunch is served on select days from 10am to 2pm.

As you might expect, there are options that are fit for breakfast and lunch, including salmon-avocado toast, johnnycakes, chicken n' waffles and more.

You'll also find burgers, French toast, and a cinnamon roll to order.

For easier readability, here's a closer look:

In addition to the menu, brunch offers desserts and alcoholic beverages to consider.

The Mason Jar has a kids menu for children 12 and under to order from.

Dinner menu

The dinner menu is available every night between 5:00pm and  9:30pm, with the late night menu available on some nights from 9:30pm to 1:00am.

Just like the brunch menu, it has a variety of options to consider.

Here's a closer look at the dinner menu.

Here is the specialty beverages menu for dinner

And of course, dessert!

Last, but not least, here is the kids menu for dinner.

Mason Jar prices

Brunch costs $24.99 per adult.

Dinner costs $39.99 per adult.

Children between the age of 6-12 cost $10.99 per child.

Beverages cost extra.

Where is the Mason Jar?

You will find the Mason Jar on Deck 15 near the Windjammer on Wonder of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean cancels summer cruise ship visits to Russia

In:
02 Mar 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has joined the growing list of cruise lines that will skip scheduled visits to Russia due to the Ukraine invasion.

The invasion of the Ukraine has generated a great deal of animosity towards Russia. Many see financial hits against Russia as an easy way to voice their displeasure with the invasion.

Less than a week ago, Royal Caribbean said it had a back up plan in case going to Russia was out of the question.

On Tuesday, guests booked on Voyager of the Seas were informed their ship will not visit St. Petersburg, Russia.

"The safety of our guests and crew is always our top priority," Royal Caribbean said in an online statement.

"With the recent events, we have made the decision to cancel our visits to St. Petersburg, Russia on all Summer 2022 itineraries."

"We are continuously monitoring events taking place around the world, including the situation in Ukraine."

Instead of visiting Russia, some of Voyager of the Seas' sailings will go to Germany and Poland.

Others are going to Sweden.

Voyager of the Seas is scheduled to launch her first season in the Baltic Sea in 2022, becoming the first Voyager Class ship to do so.

Baltic cruises are a popular European cruise itinerary, but many cruise lines are amending their plans to avoid Russia.

Royal Caribbean supporting crew members during the war

Ukraine flag

In addition to bypassing Russia, Royal Caribbean is also offering support to its crew members from the region.

Royal Caribbean employs over 500 crew members from the Ukraine, and 200 crew members from Russia.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley posted on Monday the company is offering these crew members assistance getting them home or close to home if they wish to leave their ship.

Other cruise lines skipping Russia

Royal Caribbean has joined many other cruise lines in bypassing Russia this year.

Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and a host of other brands have all said they will skip visits to Russia.

Carnival Corporation tweeted, "In light of the recent attacks by Russia in Ukraine, Carnival Corporation brands will be modifying our itineraries in the coming week once alternative ports can be confirmed."

"We stand for peace."

Food on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
01 Mar 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

There is no question that dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise has become a major aspect of the cruise experience.  The food available onboard ranges from simple and classic to extravagant and contemporary.  In short, there are a lot of great dining choices available on Royal Caribbean.

With so many choices, often guests preparing for their cruise have many questions about what is included, which options are available and how it all works.  What follows is our guide to understanding better the basics of dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Complimentary food

Simply put, there is plenty of great food included in the cost of your Royal Caribbean cruise. One can easily go an entire cruise and enjoy nothing but food that has no additional cost from morning to night. After all, that is what the concept of a cruise has been for a long time.

Royal Caribbean ships have different names and venues for its dining options, but you will find some basic characteristics among them all to prepare you for what to expect.

Main Dining Room

The main dining room is the stalwart institution upon which cruise ship dining was established.  It has changed over the years, but the principles remain the same and the Main Dining Room available on all Royal Caribbean ships.

Guests may dine in the main dining room for dinner every night and breakfast every morning. Lunch is served in the main dining room on sea days only. The Main Dining Room is a large, sit-down restaurant with waiter service that is included in your cruise fare.

For dinner, Royal Caribbean offers a traditional set time with assigned seating, or an alternative first-come, first-served option (My Time Dining).  Both offer the same menu, which changes every night and in both cases, there is the possibility that you will be seated with other guests. Guests can contact their travel agent or Royal Caribbean prior to the cruise to ask to be assigned to a smaller table if they do not wish to sit with other guests.

Dinner is the most popular and common time to dine in the main dining room, when the main dining room offers appetizers, entrees and desserts to choose from. You may order as much (or as little) as you like and it's nearly all complimentary, with the exception of a few premium dishes that have an additional surcharge. Premium beverages, such as soda, alcohol and specialty coffee, are also not complimentary in the Main Dining Room but can be purchased individually or as part of a beverage package.

Breakfast and lunch is less formal than dinner, with guests seated as they arrive, with posted hours of when the dining room is open. In both cases, the meals are served to you at your table.  The breakfast menu does not change, but the lunch menu changes each day.

The main dining room has a dress code.  Dinner has a dress code that changes each day, while breakfast and lunch have a more casual dress code requirement. When guests hear the word, "dress code," that often causes a lot of concern about what to wear.  The reality is on most nights, guests can easily wear what would be defined as "resort casual," which can mean a sundress or skirt for women and a collared shirt and slacks for men.  "Nice" jeans are appropriate for both men and women too.  On formal nights, the suggested attire gets a bit fancier, with cocktail dresses or gowns for women and suits for men.

Windjammer Cafe

First time cruisers often imagine a large buffet when they think of eating on a cruise, and the Windjammer is the closest thing to that concept.  

The Windjammer Cafe is a buffet restaurant that is included in your cruise fare, which serves meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Most Windjammer locations are not open all the time, but have long enough hours to cover nearly all the times guests would like something to eat.

The Windjammer has lots of seating and even more food variety than anywhere else on the ship. You will find burgers, soups, sandwiches, ethnic dishes, salads, pastas, desserts, and much more every day. Guests will find the greatest variety of food at the Windjammer compared to any other dining location on the ship, complimentary or paid.

The buffet is not self-serve, so guests walk up to the buffet station and tell a crew member what to put on their plate. This helps ensure safety protocols and prevents the spread of germs. Guests can sit at a table to eat in the Windjammer, but are also free to take their food elsewhere on the ship, like the pool deck.  There are wait staff who will clear plates, clean tables and bring you drinks.  

Unlike the Main Dining Room, the dress code for the Windjammer is casual.

The Windjammer is a great alternative to any sit down restaurant, including the Main Dining Room. In fact, some guests opt to eat exclusively at the Windjammer for dinner instead of the Main Dining Room. After a long day in port or onboard, some guests do not want to get ready for a long sit down meal and prefer a quick, casual dining experience.

Quick service restaurants

The bulk of complimentary food on a Royal Caribbean cruise is available from quick service restaurants, which offer quick, grab-and-go food to guests.  Quick service restaurants offer sandwiches, burritos, snacks, pizza and everything between.  Each Royal Caribbean ship will offer a number of these locations around your ship, so you are never too far away.

There is usually limited seating available at these locations, but most guests get the food and then bring it somewhere else on the ship to eat, such as their stateroom or by the pool.  It is designed for guests that want something quick to eat on their way to somewhere else.

Complimentary quick service restaurants on Royal Caribbean include:

  • El Loco Fresh, a grab-and-go Mexican restaurant with burritos, quesadillas, nachos, beans, and rice
  • Mini Bites, offering burgers, fries, hot dogs, quesadillas, omelets, salads, and more
  • Doghouse, a hot dog and sausage stand with a variety of meats and toppings
  • Park Cafe, offering salads, soups, sandwiches, and breakfast on Oasis Class ships
  • Cafe at Two70, offering salads, soups, sandwiches, and breakfast on Quantum Class ships
  • Sorrento’s Pizza, a pizza slice restaurant with several types of pizzas and antipasti
  • Cafe Promenade, offering coffee as well as small pastries, sandwiches, and fruit

Some quick service restaurants come with an extra cost:

  • Fish & Ships, offering fish and chips as well as other quick bites like chicken tenders and a lobster roll
  • Johnny Rockets Express, offering hamburgers, sandwiches, fries, onion rings, and milkshakes

Room Service

Room service is available 24 hours per day on your Royal Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean charges a $7.95 per order fee for room service. Whether you order one item or ten items, a $7.95 fee per room service order will be levied.  There is a complimentary breakfast option, with menu items like muffins, bagels, oatmeal, and toast, that will not incur the $7.95 fee.

Just like room service at a hotel, you can call room service and place an order to have a crew member deliver the food to your room.  Royal Caribbean has also added a room service ordering option via the stateroom television, which simplifies the ordering process.

The room service menu does not change and is limited in scope.

Specialty dining

In addition to all the food included in your cruise fare are specialty dining options. Specialty dining restaurants carry an extra cost to dine there. The exact amount extra will vary from restaurant to restaurant, and ship to ship.  

In most cases, the specialty dining options offer a greater variety of food choices than what is available at complimentary dining locations. Royal Caribbean has designed its specialty restaurants around themes or cuisines (Italian, steakhouse, sushi, etc).

Royal Caribbean recommends making a reservation in advance for its specialty restaurants to ensure there is seating available, but there is usually walk-up availability (although there is a greater risk of waiting to be seated).  Unlike the Main Dining Room, you will not be seated with other guests with the exception of the Izumi Hibachi experience.

Specialty restaurants are priced in one of two manners: cover charge or à la carte pricing.  With a cover charge, there is one price for all the food on the menu (except for beverages).  There can also be a surcharge for ordering more than one entree, although this rule varies based on the specialty restaurant you happen to be dining at.  À la carte dining charges you just for what you order, and is similar to how food is billed at a conventional land-based restaurant.

Specialty dining can be booked prior to a cruise via Royal Caribbean's website or once onboard the cruise.  Reservations made online for a specialty restaurant with a cover charge will charge that amount at the time of booking.  Reservations made for specialty dining onboard your ship will not be charged to your SeaPass account until you dine at the restaurant.

Specialty restaurant venues on Royal Caribbean include the following:

  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, a Japanese restaurant with traditional teppanyaki and an extensive sushi menu
  • Chops Grill, Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, the newest Italian restaurant in Royal Caribbean’s fleet with a pizza and pasta menu along with dishes like chicken parmigiana
  • Giovanni’s Table, a traditional Italian restaurant offering items such as pasta carbonara and eggplant parmigiana
  • Jamie’s Italian, a modern take at Italian cuisine that features the famous meat and cheese plank along with homemade pasta
  • Wonderland, a molecular dining experience with an Alice and Wonderland theme
  • 150 Central Park, an elegant restaurant focusing on locally sourced ingredients

  • Samba Grill, a traditional, all-you-can-eat-meat Brazilian rodizio
  • Sabor, a Mexican restaurant with tacos, quesadillas, and small plates
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, which features classic bar food including nachos, sliders, fries, and chicken tenders
  • Johnny Rockets, offering classic American fare
  • Hooked Seafood, a seafood restaurant highlighting dishes and flavors from the Northeast, including clam chowder and oysters
  • The Mason Jar, a southern-inspired restaurant with fried chicken, lobster and crawfish gumbo, and brunch options
  • Portside BBQ, a barbecue restaurant with a variety of barbecued meats and comfort food side dishes
  • Chef’s Table, a six course meal where each course paired with a different type of wine

Specialty restaurant costs

The cost of specialty dining varies considerably and the same restaurant can have a different price depending on the ship. The price of a restaurant can also fluctuate from sailing to sailing.

Most specialty dining has a flat-fee surcharge, ranging from $10 (Johnny Rockets) or $38 (Jamie’s Italian) to $80 (Chef's Table).  Most specialty dining restaurant cover charges fall into the $20 to $45 range. Dining at a specialty restaurant for lunch can often be half the price of dinner while still providing the same menu.

The à la carte priced restaurants will have item prices ranging from just a few dollars up to around $20.

Some guests may wish to purchase a dining package before their cruise. By reserving an Ultimate Dining Package or 3-night Dining Package, guests can enjoy a variety of restaurants at a lower cost than purchasing meals at each restaurant individually.

Specialty restaurant hours

All Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants are open for dinner, with some open during breakfast and/or lunch.

Lunch meals at specialty restaurants usually are priced a bit lower and only on sea days.  Breakfast is quite rare to be offered at Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants aside from an included breakfast for Pinnacle members. Some specialty venues, like Johnny Rockets on Oasis Class ships, transform to offer breakfast for no additional fee.

For breakfast or lunch, advanced reservations are not usually available nor required.

Kids at specialty restaurants

Royal Caribbean welcomes children that are 12 years old or younger to its specialty restaurants (when accompanied by an adult) and even offers them special pricing.

Kids ages 6-12 can dine at specialty restaurants for a $10 cover charge. Kids 5 years old and under eat free.

In fact, some specialty restaurants have a special kids menu that offers kid-friendly favorites from the regular menu.  Children under the age of 5 will have a menu similar to the kids menu from the Main Dining Room.

Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, 150 Central Park, and Chef's Table do allow kids, but are best enjoyed by children 13 years or older.

Dietary restrictions and special requests

Royal Caribbean is very accommodating when it comes to guests with special dietary needs. The cruise line can handle a number of requests, such as food allergies, gluten free, Kosher, low-fat, and low-sodium.

Vegetarian meals (including Indian-style vegetarian) are available on all menus in the Dining Room and Windjammer Cafe every day. Guests do not need to make a special request for these meals.

Lactose-free milk, ensure, and kosher meals are available at no extra charge. All you have to do is notify Royal Caribbean at least 45 days prior to sailing (90 days for European/South American Itineraries).

A selection of non-dairy milks is available at coffee shops and at the Windjammer or Main Dining Room upon request.

For any and all dietary requests, contact your travel agent or Certified Vacation Planner and request that the remark be noted in your reservation details. If you made your reservation online at royalcaribbean.com, you may add your request to the "update personal information." section. You may also send an email request to [email protected].

Please include in the email the guests' names, booking number, ship name and sail date. E-mails will receive an automated response. 

More Royal Caribbean food info

This blog post is just the beginning of the many options, choices and tips about dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise.  Here are a few more resources that will help you better understand what to expect once onboard: