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How does specialty dining work on Royal Caribbean?

01 Apr 2024

There's a choice on any Royal Caribbean cruise to eat the restaurants that are included or the restaurants that cost extra.

Couple at Empire Supper Club

From the Windjammer buffet to room service to Jamie’s Italian and Japanese cuisine at Izumi, there are flavors for every guest’s taste.

Complimentary restaurants are included in your cruise fare, but specialty venues come at an extra cost.

These alternative restaurants can come a la carte (meaning, charged per dish), or with a set entrance fee per person.


Specialty restaurants are often higher quality, and more elegant than the complimentary options. 

Royal Caribbean ships include popular choices such as Chops Grille, Jamie’s Italian, and Wonderland.

Whether you’re interested in an unlimited package or in trying a specific restaurant, our guide will provide everything you need to know about specialty dining on a Royal Caribbean ship.

What are specialty restaurants?

Tomahawk steak

Guests tend to like specialty restaurants because there is different cuisines offered.

If you value one particular type of food or want a certain sort of atmosphere, a specialty restaurant gives you a way to choose and focus on that energy for the length of your meal.

They’re also a great option for special occasions, such as birthdays or anniversaries.

Royal Caribbean’s specialty restaurants come in different shapes and sizes, with all sorts of cuisine.

Chef Travis at Izumi

The venues available vary by ship, but fleet-wide options include:

  • 150 Central Park
  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Giovanni’s Kitchen
  • Hooked Seafood
  • Izumi
  • Izumi Hibachi
  • Izumi in the Park
  • Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Johnny Rockets Express
  • Mason Jar
  • Chef’s Table
  • Sabor
  • Samba Grill
  • Sichuan Red
  • Fish and Ships
  • Playmakers
  • Wonderland
  • Empire Supper Club

To double-check which venues are free and which come at an extra cost, you can always take a look at your Cruise Compass or refer to the Royal Caribbean app.

Which restaurants are a la carte?

Playmakers on Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s specialty restaurants are either a la carte, meaning that each dish comes at an extra price, or they have a cover charge per person.

The a la carte restaurants on Royal Caribbean’s ships are Portside Barbeque, Izumi Sushi, Sichuan Red, Johnny Rockets, Fish and Ships, Basecamp, and Playmakers.

Other specialty restaurants charge each a fee to each person to enter, and once you do, all the dishes and desserts are included. 


The only items you may still have to pay extra for would be alcoholic or specialty drinks.

Read more: Royal Caribbean Drink Prices

Is specialty dining worth the extra cost?

Family eating at Chops Grille

If you consider every part of the dining experience—from dressing up to food to service—part of the cruise’s entertainment, specialty dining might be a good option for you.

If meals are a key part of enjoying your cruise, focusing on a few specialty restaurants is a great way to elevate your experience.

Buying a dining package makes for a smart method of saving money. 

Instead of dining at a certain number of specialty restaurants and paying the list price for each one, you save money by paying a set price for one package.

Because most specialty restaurants have a cover charge of about $35-60 per person, a dining package can save a lot of money!

A dining package is great for someone who wants to enjoy a lot of specialty dining restaurants during their cruise. On Royal Caribbean ships that have a lot of specialty restaurant choices (such as Oasis, Quantum, and Icon Class ships), splurging on a dining package also opens up your options.

How do dining packages work?


If you’re interested in trying popular specialty restaurants, you can purchase meals individually or use a dining package to streamline your experience.

These packages provide flexibility for guests to pay once, and then choose which venues they’d like to try.

This way, guests can enjoy multiple specialty restaurant meals at a discounted rate.

Read more: Royal Caribbean specialty dining packages guide

Icon of the Seas Empire Supper Club salad

You can even choose between multiple package configurations.

The options offered vary by ship, but usually these include:

  • 3 Night Dining Package
  • Chops Grille + 1 Package
  • Unlimited Dining Package

3 Night Dining Package


The 3-night package gives you access to three dinners at unique specialty restaurants. 

For this set cost, you can dine at three different venues. Guests can even use this package to dine at the same venue multiple times.

Chops + 1 package

Pretzel bread

The Chops + 1 package includes one meal at Chops Grille and an additional free meal at any specialty venue of your choice. 

You cannot use your second meal at Chops Grille; you must select a different restaurant.

Unlimited Dining Package

Unlimited dining package in Cruise Planner

For one price, the unlimited dining package gives you access to multiple specialty restaurants every night of your sailing.

It also includes lunches at specialty restaurants on sea days, 40% off bottles of wine under $100, and 20% off bottles of wine over $100.

You can use this package to dine at the same restaurant multiple times, but the Chef’s Table and other culinary activities are excluded from this package.

Subject to which ship they are sailing on, guests can use the unlimited dining package at the following restaurants:

  • 150 Central Park
  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Hooked Seafood
  • Izumi
  • Izumi Hibachi
  • Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Sabor
  • Samba Grill
  • Sichuan Red
  • Wonderland

While it is included in the package, there is an additional $10 charge per person for the Izumi Hibachi experience.

The price of each package varies depending on the sailing and ship.

Can I use my dining package at an a la carte restaurant?

A la carte restaurants that put a price on each menu item are still included in specialty dining packages.

Guests with a dining package usually get a $20 or $35 credit towards food at those restaurants per day.

This goes toward the cost of the food items and can be used once a day.

How do I make reservations?

Cruise Planner on an iPad

For individual meals at a specialty restaurant, you can reserve a time in advance on the Royal Caribbean website or mobile app, through the Cruise Planner

Royal Caribbean does not yet allow guests with a dining package to make reservations before the cruise.  However, the cruise line plans to change this in 2024.

In the meantime, you can make reservations as soon as you get onboard by going to any specialty restaurant and speaking with the staff there.

They will do their best to get you a spot at the day and time you prefer.

Can I make changes to my reservations?

If you’d like to make any changes to reservations onboard, you can speak to the hospitality staff onboard.

Again, this can be done by going to any specialty restaurant and speaking to the staff at the counter. 

But you can even call them directly from your stateroom phone for assistance.

Is there a dress code for specialty restaurants?

Chops Grille on Utopia render

Specialty restaurants have their own dress code, which is primarily "smart casual", although dress codes are loosely enforced.

However, the style of dress depends on which specialty restaurant you’re dining at.

At a more casual venue, such as Johnny Rockets or Playmakers, you could certainly wear simple clothing like jeans and a T-shirt.

But there are more formal, elegant venues, such as Izumi, Chops Grille, or the Empire Supper Club where it would be appropriate to dress more formally. In fact, Empire Supper Club requires men to wear a jacket.

Worst case scenario, if the staff turns you away, you only need to go back to your room and change before returning.

Looking for more information about Royal Caribbean dining?

How does Royal Caribbean dining work?

27 Mar 2024

Dining is essential to the Royal Caribbean cruise experience. 

Everyone needs to eat, and the cruise line is famous for some tasty meals.

Whether you’re enjoying a gourmet meal at a specialty restaurant, savoring a leisurely breakfast delivered to your stateroom, grabbing a quick bite between activities, or heading to formal dinner at the Main Dining Room, the dining experience is sure to delight.

Understanding the delectable dining options available will help you have an amazing cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship.

Food at Sabor

Cruisers—especially those trying Royal Caribbean for the first time—have plenty of questions about the dining process.

What’s free onboard? Will you need to make reservations?

We’ve created this guide to delve into all your questions about the process of dining on a cruise ship.

How does dining work on a cruise?

Major cruise lines include four types of dining on their ships: an onboard buffet, Main Dining Room, room service, and a selection of alternative restaurants.

The buffet

Windjammer buffet

First, the onboard buffet is a free, casual option where guests can serve their own plates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Royal Caribbean’s buffet is the Windjammer, and it is 100% free, included in your cruise fare.

The Windjammer will have several stations open with a variety of different cuisines.

Handwashing stations

It’s a great option for a casual meal and also affords a lot of different choices for those who are picky eaters or have dietary restrictions.

Read more: 12 reasons to eat at the buffet instead of the dining room on your cruise

The Main Dining Room


The Main Dining Room offers a more formal experience, where waiters serve from a set menu each day.

It is always open for dinner, but breakfast and lunch times vary depending on the day. Hours will be posted outside the dining room and in the Cruise Compass.

For dinner, the experience is divided into two scheduled options. When you book your cruise, you can choose either My Time dining or traditional dining.

odyssey of the seas main dining room

My Time dining gives you the flexibility to choose what time you eat each night. It typically runs between 6:00 and 9:30 P.M. and is first-come, first-served.

Traditional dining has a specific assigned mealtime and table. There is usually an early seating starting around 5:15 - 5:30 P.M. and a late seating around 7:30-8:00 P.M.

Room service

Room service

Room service is usually available around the clock, with a selection of both free meals and options that cost extra.

Most breakfast options are free, and you can order it by filling out the order form in your cabin and hanging it outside on your door knob. 

As long as you put your order in before you sleep, it will be delivered in the morning during your selected time window.

Expanded breakfast and all-day menus, as well as late-night orders, may come with an additional charge.

Alternative restaurants

Izumi hibachi on Mariner of the Seas

Lastly, every ship has a series of alternative restaurants that vary depending on the Class and ship.

The larger the ship, the more options are available.

These options range from complimentary snack spots, like the Café Promenade, to gourmet extra-cost restaurants, like Izumi Hibachi.

Read more: 7 reasons to eat at specialty restaurants instead of the Main Dining Room on your cruise

Is dining free on a cruise?

Giovannis food

Cruise ships have a wide range of free dining: the Windjammer buffet, the Main Dining Room, room service breakfast, and alternative restaurants like Sorrento’s Pizza, Solarium Bistro, and Park Café.

Complimentary restaurants are included in the cruise fare, no matter what time of day you choose to eat there.

Read more: What's included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare

Most ships also have a selection of extra-cost alternative restaurants, as well. Some have a la carte charges, while others have a set fee per person.

These are called specialty restaurants and include popular options like Chops Grille, Izumi Japanese Cuisine, and Jamie’s Italian.

If you’re not sure which restaurants are complimentary and which are specialty, you can take a look at your Cruise Compass or the Royal Caribbean Fact Sheet for that ship.

How do dining packages work?

If you’re interested in trying some of the popular specialty restaurants onboard a Royal Caribbean ship, you can purchase meals individually or buy a dining package.

You can purchase meals at any specialty restaurant on your Cruise Planner before the cruise, or onboard when you arrive.

You may pay a set fee per person, or a la carte (aka, per dish ordered).

Unlimited dining package in Cruise Planner

However, you can also streamline your experience by purchasing a dining package.

These packages come in various configurations, such as a 3-night dining package or an unlimited package.

This provides flexibility for guests to choose which restaurants they’d try, adjusting based on their preferences and budget.

The unlimited dining package allows you to dine at specialty restaurants every day of the cruise for one set fee.

Where do I make reservations?


You can book reservations in advance on the Royal Caribbean website or mobile app, through the Cruise Planner.

Here, you can efficiently browse options, check the price and availability, and secure your desired reservations with just a few clicks.

You can also make reservations when you get onboard, by going to the Main Dining Room or any extra-cost restaurant and speaking with staff there.

You can even call from the phone in your stateroom to request a reservation.

By reserving a spot in advance, guests can avoid long wait times and ensure they have their preferred time slot.

Are drinks free?

Two cocktails

What drinks are included in your cruise fare, and do any drinks cost extra?

Basic beverages, like tap water, tea, drip coffee, some juices, and lemonade are included in the price of your cruise.

Soda, bottled water, specialty coffee, smoothies, milkshakes, most juices, and alcoholic drinks cost extra.

Drink packages for sale

If you plan on drinking a lot of extra-cost drinks, there are also beverage package options.

Purchasing one can save you money in the long run.

Do I have to dress up for dinner?

Family in dining room

Cruises used to be sophisticated experiences where passengers dressed elegantly every day.

While a Royal Caribbean sailing is still a luxurious experience, you’re hardly required to dress up.

Voyages lasting one week or less will usually have one formal night in the Main Dining Room, where passengers can wear anything from a sundress or nice slacks with a button-down shirt, to ball gowns and tuxedos.

Other than that, resort casual attire is usually acceptable.

Generally, guests dress more formally in the evenings and at the Main Dining Room and specialty restaurants. At venues like the Windjammer and snack spots, guests dress pretty casually.

However, you must always wear a shirt, shoes, and a coverup over any swimsuits when dining.

Read more: What to wear on a cruise that works for all dress codes

What if I have dietary restrictions?

The culinary staff on Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships are careful and experienced when it comes to catering to special dietary requirements.

If you are on a diet, vegan or vegetarian, have food allergies, eat halal, keep kosher, or are gluten-free or lactose intolerant, you can let the cruise line know and chefs will work to make sure you have something to eat.

Read more: Eating gluten free on Royal Caribbean cruise ships


The important thing to remember when making a special meal request is to request as early as possible.

You can email [email protected] at least 45 days before your sailing (or 90 days before European/South American sailings and 100 days before Australia/Asia sailings). Include your name, booking number, ship name, and sail date alongside your special requests.

There is no extra charge for meals tailored to your diet.

Can I eat whenever I want?

Serving area

Food is usually available around the clock on cruise ships.

Even in the middle of the night, you can order room service at an extra charge, or try late-night snacks at various venues around the ship, such as Sorrento’s pizza.

Restaurants are usually scheduled so that at least one venue is open at any given time. You can always look at the Royal Caribbean app or your Cruise Compass to see what is available.

Pepperoni pizza

At the Windjammer and other complimentary venues, you can show up at any time.

For dinner at the Main Dining Room, you will be assigned to a specific time if you select traditional dining.

Most extra-cost specialty restaurants also require a reservation.

What happens to leftover food on cruise ships?

Food from The Grove

You may be wondering what happens to food waste on a cruise well.

Well, the hospitality staff and crew members in charge of provisions have developed the logistics so there is little waste.

Areas below deck store food in freezers, refrigerators, or at room temperature, ensuring that nothing spoils.

Any food ingredients left over from one sailing will simply be used on the next one.

Leftover prepared food gets disposed of through incineration, offloading at port (as either compost or fertilizer), or grinding it into a purified liquid that is released into the ocean.

Read more: How long does it take for a cruise ship to get ready for a new group of passengers? Here's what a hotel director has to say.

Utopia of the Seas restaurant and dining guide

08 Feb 2024

Utopia of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's sixth Oasis Class vessel, will offer guests more than 40 ways to drink and dine. 


From the brand-new immersive train car dining experience to brand favorites such as Sorrento's and Park Café, there's no shortage of options, both complimentary and specialty, to indulge in. 

Whether you are craving a quick hot dog or want to sit down and enjoy omakase at Izumi, there's something to appease all preferences and tastes. 

Here is your ultimate guide to all the food and beverage options on Utopia of the Seas

What restaurants are included & what costs extra?


When planning your cruise onboard Utopia, it's important to understand what restaurants are and are not included in the cost of your cruise fare. 

It is possible to not spend a penny extra on dining while onboard your 3- or 4-night cruise. However, there are some pretty amazing specialty options that you can't find on other ships in the fleet, such as Royal Railway - Utopia Station. 

Complimentary restaurants

🍴Main Dining Room

🍽️ The Spare Tire


🍽️ Boardwalk Dog House

🍴Park Café

🍽️ Windjammer

🍴Solarium Bistro

🍽️ El Loco Fresh

🍴Coastal Kitchen (suites only)

🍽️ Johnny Rockets (breakfast only)


🍽️ Cafe Promenadé

Specialty restaurants


🍴Royal Railway - Utopia Station

🍽️ Giovanni's Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar


🍽️ Izumi in the Park

🍴150 Central Park

🍽️ Chef's Table


🍽️ Playmaker's Sports Bar & Arcade

🍴Chops Grille

🍽️ Hooked Seafood

🍴The Mason Jar

🍽️ Johnny Rockets (lunch and dinner)

🍴Sugar Beach

New and redesigned venues on Utopia of the Seas


It wouldn't be the ultimate weekend getaway if Utopia was an exact replica of other Oasis Class ships, would it? 

Onboard, you'll find two venues that are exclusive to this ship, as well as some that are relatively new to the brand, such as Izumi in the Park. Some fan favorites got a refresh, too. 

Royal Railway - Utopia Station



Royal Railway is a one-of-a-kind dining experience that will combine adventure and food to techy travel. Before you begin your meal, you'll enjoy some pre-dinner drinks at the station platform. When the train "arrives," a whistle will blow, and you will board the dining car for a multisensory culinary adventure. 

While sailing through your ocean, you'll simultaneously be transported to different times and places, from America's Wild West to remote destinations across the globe. 

Read more: Royal Caribbean shares a glimpse of its first mixed reality restaurant concept

The Spare Tire


Food truck on Utopia of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has gotten its fair share of criticism regarding the lack of complimentary dining options. In recent years, they have striven to do better, and this is evident with the addition of The Spare Tire, a poolside food truck that'll serve pulled pork sandwiches, cheeseburger flatbreads, daily rotating desserts, and more. 

"There is a truckload of flavor to be explored," says the cruise line. 

Izumi in the Park



While not brand-new to Royal Caribbean ships, Utopia will be the only Oasis Class vessel to have Izumi in the Park onboard. 

Izumi in the Park is a to-go sushi window where you can grab sushi, hot gyoza, or soft-serve bubble cones for an extra charge. 

Each item is priced à la carte, meaning that you'll only pay for what you order, whereas The Mason Jar, for instance, charges everyone the same cover.




Similarly, Izumi itself isn't a new restaurant; however, it'll feature three different dining styles onboard Utopia: teppanyaki, sushi, and, for the first time, a private multicourse omakase-inspired dining room. 

With six teppanyaki tables, it'll be the largest Izumi in the fleet. 

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar



For the first time, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar will span two stories and feature a new outside terrace called "Gio's Terrazza" that overlooks the Boardwalk Neighborhood

Pesky Parrot Bar


The Pesky Parrot Bar will replace the Bionic Bar in the Royal Promenade. This Caribbean-themed bar will serve tropical drinks made with rum, tequila, and gin. 

Pesky Parrot

Returning favorites

Hooked Seafood


Hooked Seafood first launched on Symphony of the Seas back in 2018. Now, it can be found on numerous ships in the fleet, including Wonder, Icon, Navigator, and, of course, Utopia of the Seas. 

This specialty restaurant focuses on New England-style seafood dishes, such as Maine Lobster Rolls, Drunken Mussels, Maryland Drab Cakes, and more. 

El Loco Fresh and Cantina Fresca

COST: INCLUDED (El Loco Fresh) / NOT INCLUDED (Cantina Fresca)

El Loco Fresh is your go-to spot for fresh Mexican fare. This complimentary grab-and-go spot offers burritos, quesadillas, nachos, tacos, and a salsa station, so you can customize your dish to your liking. 

Next to El Loco Fresh is Cantina Fresca, a Mexican-themed bar known for its specialty margaritas, including the Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita, Mezcal Mule, and Cozumel Sunrise, as well as aguas frescas and a selection of Mexican beers. 

Chops Grille


Family eating at Chops Grille

Chops Grille is Royal Caribbean's signature specialty steakhouse that can be found on every ship in the fleet. 



Sorrento's has quickly become a staple onboard newer ships. This pizza joint caters to guests seeking a quick snack after a long day ashore, as well as those craving a late-night bite after catching a show. 

150 Central Park



While not as upscale as the brand-new Empire Supper Club on Icon of the Seas, 150 Central Park is perfect for guests seeking a sophisticated dining experience. 




Windjammer Marketplace is the cruise line’s signature complimentary buffet that's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day of your cruise. 

The Mason Jar


Mason Jar entrance

The Mason Jar is a specialty restaurant that highlights southern cuisine and is open for brunch and dinner. During brunch, you can order things like Meemaw’s Fried Chicken N’ Waffles, a Sweet-Tooth Cinnamon Roll, or Crispy Chicken Sandwich. 

Highlights on the dinner menu include Fried Green Tomatoes, Lobster N’ Crawfish Gumbo, Chicken Pot Pie, and St. Louis-Style Ribs. 

Don't forget to try the jalapeño cornbread! 

Coastal Kitchen 

COST: INCLUDED (suites only)

Coastal Kitchen first debuted on Quantum of the Seas in 2014. It has since then become a favorite for guests staying in suites. 

Those in Sky and Star Class suites will have all-day access, whereas those in Star rooms (i.e., Junior Suites) will only be able to dine here for dinner, subject to availability. 

Read more: Everything you need to know about Royal Caribbean's Royal Suite Class

Playmaker's Sports Bar & Arcade


Playmaker's is the beloved sports bar that serves à la carte food and hand-crafted beverages. There are a variety of menu options that range from $3.00 to $29.99, including nachos, onion wings, jalapeño poppers, fries, and wings. It's the perfect place to watch your favorite sports team on one of 68 televisions! 

Boardwalk Dog House



At the Boardwalk Dog House, you can customize your perfect hot dog at the toppings bar. They have various links, too, ranging from traditional beef to chicken and pork.

Read more: The top decadent Royal Caribbean snacks



Purchasing a cold brew or hand-crafted beverage at Starbucks on Utopia of the Seas will cost you extra, even if you have a Royal Caribbean drink package

Moreover, top-tier loyalty members cannot redeem their daily drink coupons here; they'll have to visit Cafe Promenadé.

Park Café


Park Café first launched on Oasis of the Seas and is home to the legendary Royal Kümmelweck roast beef sandwich. In addition to made-to-order salads, sandwiches, and desserts, you can also dine here for breakfast if you want to avoid the crowds at the Windjammer.  

Johnny Rockets

COST: INCLUDED (breakfast) / NOT INCLUDED (lunch and dinner)

Johnny Rockets is a retro diner-style restaurant where you’ll feel like you stepped back in time to an era of soda fountains and drive-in theaters. On Oasis Class ships, you can eat breakfast here for free, while lunch and dinner have a cover charge of $12.99 per guest. 

Solarium Bistro



As the name implies, the Solarium Bistro is located in the Solarium, Royal Caribbean's adult-only area. However, children are able to eat at the bistro. It serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is usually less busy than the Windjammer. 

Chef's Table


The Chef's Table is the ultimate culinary treat for foodies! You'll indulge in a multi-course meal, each of which is paired with the perfect wine. Every course is carefully chosen and is accompanied by a presentation from the chef and sommelier.

Main Dining Room


Main dining room family

Every Royal Caribbean ship has a Main Dining Room onboard that serves three-course meals each night of your cruise. It's open for breakfast and lunch, too. To see when it's open on your specific sailing, check the Royal Caribbean app. 

Read more: 21 Tips for the Best Cruise Ship Main Dining Room Experience




Sprinkles is where you can enjoy complimentary soft-serve ice cream throughout the day! Once you've selected your flavor, head over to the new toppings bar. 

Cafe Promenadé


Cafe Promenade

Cafe Promenadé is open 24 hours a day, so you can start your day with a cup of coffee and a fresh croissant and end it with a grab-and-go sandwich or dessert. 

They also have specialty coffees available for an extra charge. 

Sugar Beach



If you find yourself in the mood for something a little bit sweeter than a soft-serve cone, head over to Sugar Beach where you can purchase Royal Caribbean's in-house ice cream

Spotlight Karaoke


Spotlight Karaoke

Aspiring singers should check out Spotlight Karaoke. If you aren't much of a singer yourself, it's a fun place to listen to others! 




Boleros is a Latin-themed bar with live music that's found on numerous ships in the fleet.

Schooner Bar


Schooner Bar on Radiance of the Seas

Perhaps the most well-known bar is the Schooner Bar. This nautical-themed staple is found on all Royal Caribbean ships. 

Music Hall



Onboard Utopia, the Music Hall will be the prime spot to enjoy live bands, music performances, and DJs.

The Attic



Ready for a good laugh? Don't miss the fantastic comedy shows at The Attic while sipping on your favorite cocktail. 

Bell & Barley


Friends in a pub

Bell & Barley is Utopia's rendition of the classic English-style pub found on other ships.

Rising Tide Bar


Rising Tide

The Rising Tide Bar will transport you from the Royal Promenade on Deck 5 to Central Park on Deck 8, all while you sip on a drink! It's arguably the neatest form of transportation onboard, other than the Ultimate Abyss slide

Solarium Bar


The Solarium Bar is located within the Solarium, meaning that you won't find any children running around! It's perfect for parents looking for a quiet escape while their children have fun at Adventure Ocean

The Lime and Coconut



Royal Caribbean’s resort-style pool bar has a few signature drinks that you shouldn't forget to try: 

  • Lime & Coconut, made with Malibu coconut rum, coconut milk, coconut syrup, guava syrup, and lime juice 
  • Blue Wave, made with Tito’s vodka, blue curacao, and pineapple juice 
  • Caribbean Sunset, made with Aperol, sparkling wine, and a splash of soda

There are three different Lime & Coconut locations onboard Utopia, all of which are located on the pool deck.

Vue Bar


Vue Bar at night

The Vue first debuted on Wonder of the Seas and replaced what would have been a second cantilevered hot tub. It is the ideal spot to grab a drink while watching the ship sail away from Port Canaveral, Nassau, or Perfect Day at CocoCay

Trellis Bar



The Trellis Bar will be connected to Chops Grille in Central Park, rather than a standalone bar. 

Wipeout Bar



Located at the aft of the ship near the entrance to the Ultimate Abyss slide is the Wipeout Bar. 

7 foods not to eat on a cruise

27 Jan 2024

Cruise ships are a foodie’s heaven.

The foods offered can satisfy every craving, from late-night pizza to mouthwatering steaks, seafood, or even fresh salad.

But despite the variety of options, cruise lines aren’t exactly known for high-quality food.

While meals will still taste delicious, the ingredients won’t be the same quality you can expect from fine dining on land.

And there’s always the risk of disease or stomach discomfort while cruising. Many first-time cruisers complain of an upset stomach, or even nausea and vomiting.

The last thing you want is an unhappy stomach ruining your cruise vacation.

To ensure smooth sailing, stay mindful of the foods you do consume on your cruise.

Whether you have a sensitive stomach, want to eat healthier, or simply feel the need to be careful, stay wary of these 9 foods you should never eat on a cruise.

1. Old, congealed pizza

Pizza is one of the most popular offerings on Royal Caribbean cruises but keep an eye out for any older pieces.

If you happen upon a piece of pizza that looks cloudy, with congealed cheese, it’s probably been sitting out for a while.

Especially if it’s not a peak mealtime, and you’re looking for an afternoon or evening snack, this is normal.

You can always ask for a new pizza or head to a venue with more fresh ingredients. 

Sorrento’s pizza usually has fresh, warm slices, so just keep your eyes peeled!

2. Communal condiments 

Crew members at the Windjammer buffet always encourage guests to wash their hands before entering.

However, you have no way to confirm if absolutely everyone has scrubbed their hands with soap and warm water before grabbing food at the buffet.

When you see those large stations of communal condiments, just keep in mind that others have probably touched those stations.

Additionally, condiments are supposed to be refrigerated after they're opened. But you’ll notice that they are left out in the open for hours on cruise ships.

Some areas even have condiment stations outdoors, like on Perfect day at Cococay. 

Since the outdoor temperature can’t be controlled, the chances of pathogenic bacteria growing increases.

This can leave you vulnerable to getting food poisoning on your vacation.

For those reasons, be careful when it comes to grabbing condiments.

You may want to think twice before pumping ketchup on your burger and then grabbing it with your hands.

3. Tap water in port


In a tropical, outdoorsy environment like a cruise, staying hydrated is important. 

If you don’t drink water consistently, you might find yourself with a pulsing headache in the middle of an activity. 

Drinking water is always included in your base fare with Royal Caribbean. This doesn’t include plastic water bottles, but you can always bring a refillable water bottle along with you.

This ensures that you’re always carrying around healthy drinking water.

Tap water may not always be safe in certain port destinations, carrying the risk of waterborne illnesses. Some countries may not have clean drinking water, or they might just contain bacteria your body is unfamiliar with.

Always be mindful that you’re not drinking contaminated tap water! 

Drinking dirty water is a surefire way to quickly ruin your trip since you’ll probably have to stay close to the bathroom for some time.

Read more: Top Royal Caribbean dining hacks

4. Scrambled eggs at the Windjammer

Scrambled eggs are typically a great go-to for some morning protein.

On cruise ships, however, the buffet eggs tend to be a miss. It’s not uncommon for a cruise line to use powdered eggs, which have a squishy, water texture.

Even if the eggs are prepared fresh, they dry out quickly when kept under heat lamps.

Instead, try heading to the made-to-order section and getting an omelet.

You will be guaranteed fresh eggs that you can customize with spinach, cheese, and more.

5. Breakfast bacon

When it comes to breakfast at the Windjammer, there’s one other food item I always avoid: bacon.

I love good, smoky pieces of bacon for breakfast. But every time I’ve tried the bacon at the windjammer, it is lukewarm and impossibly greasy.

Every slice tastes like oily crayons and leaves a thick film on my plate.

Of course, taste is subjective to personal preferences. It could be that I find the meat too overcooked, and others might still enjoy it.

But it’s an objective fact that overly greasy bacon is lower quality and unhealthy in the long run.

To avoid ruining your appetite for the rest of the day, don’t try the bacon for breakfast. 

Stick to fruit, coffee, muffins, and other tasty morning offerings at the windjammer.

6. Don't overdo it with dinner rolls

Dinner rolls at the main dining room are a delicious bread appetizer. Don’t avoid them completely, but do approach the rolls with caution. 

If you eat too many, you won’t have room left for your remaining appetizer, entree, or dessert.

At a multiple-course meal like those served in the Main Dining Room, it’s key to pace yourself.

It’s tempting and easy to go overboard on a cruise with unlimited food options.

But be careful to monitor what you eat. Consider if you’re eating just because you can, or if you’re actually hungry.

Don’t overload your stomach just because the food looks tasty!

7. Alcohol on an empty stomach

I'd like to end with an encouragement that you do eat on your cruise. Take advantage of the many types of food you have available to you!

Additionally, you want to eat frequently enough that you won't be drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Drinking on an empty stomach will increase the effects of alcohol and increase the rate at which you could have an unsafe amount of alcohol in your system.

You’ll feel worse, and probably end up with a nasty hangover.

Ultimately, prioritize taking care of your health so that you can enjoy your vacation to its fullest.

Icon of the Seas restaurant and dining guide

15 Jan 2024

Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, has more dining venues onboard than any other ship in the fleet. 


From the brand-new Empire Supper Club to fan favorites such as Sorrento's and Chops Grille, there's no shortage of options, both complimentary and specialty, for guests to enjoy while sailing onboard this massive ship. 

Whether you want to grab a quick bite to eat at the cruise line's first-ever food hall, indulge in a decadent meal at the Celebration Table, or have a fun brunch at Pier 7 in Surfside, there's something to appease all tastes and preferences onboard Icon of the Seas!

Here is your ultimate guide to all the food and beverage options on this record-breaking cruise ship. 

What restaurants are included & what costs extra?

Top deck on Icon of the Seas

When planning your cruise onboard Icon, it's important to know what venues are and aren't included in the cost of your cruise fare. If you're planning on dining at Empire Supper Club, for instance, you don't want to wait until you are on the ship to learn that the experience costs $200 per person. 

Complimentary restaurants 


🍽️ Pearl Café (with a few exceptions)

🍴 Park Cafe 

🍽️ Windjammer Marketplace

🍴 Surfside Bites

🍽️ Surfside Eatery 

🍴 AquaDome Market

🍽️ Main Dining Room

🍴 Coastal Kitchen (for those staying in suites)

🍽️ The Grove (for those staying in suites)

🍴 Basecamp (with a few exceptions)

🍽️ Sorrento's 

🍴 El Loco Fresh

🍽️ Vitality Cafe (with a few exceptions)

🍴 Sprinkles

Specialty restaurants


🍽️ Empire Supper Club

🍴 Celebration Table 

🍽️ Chops Grille

🍴 Izumi Hibachi & Sushi

🍽️ Izumi in the Park

🍴 Hooked Seafood

🍽️ Playmaker's 

🍴 Pier 7

🍽️ Starbucks 

🍴 Giovanni's Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar

🍽️ Trellis Bar (bar bites)

🍴 Desserted

Royal Promenade


For the first time, Royal Caribbean placed a specialty dining venue in the initial designs of the Royal Promenade onboard Icon of the Seas. If you want to have a delicious Italian meal at Giovanni's, you won't be too far from the fun! 

Read more: Icon of the Seas Royal Promenade: What to expect

Pearl Café

Pearl Cafe

Cost: Included

The Pearl is an interactive, multi-sensory experience made with kinetic tiles that's meant to be the first WOW factor when you walk onboard. 

Adjacent to this one-of-a-kind structure is the Pearl Café, which is essentially the next generation of Cafe Promenade. 

While the majority of the grab-and-go food options are complimentary, there are some extra-cost items. You can, for instance, order a specialty coffee beverage. 

Pearl Cafe choices

Unlike the drinks prepared at Starbucks, you'll be able to use your Royal Caribbean drink package or Diamond vouchers at Pearl Café. 

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

Giovannis entrance area

Cost: Not included

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, which can be found in the Royal Promenade, will dish up some Old World classics, such as veal meatballs. 

Note, however, that this is a specialty venue, so you will have to pay to dine here. It's included in the cost of a Royal Caribbean dining package, though. 

Read more: How Royal Caribbean reimagined its signature Italian restaurant


Sorrento's on Icon

Cost: Included

It's not a proper Royal Caribbean cruise vacation if you don't have a slice of pizza (or two), right? 

Sorrento's caters to those seeking a quick snack after returning to the ship or a late-night bite after seeing an AquaTheater show. 

Onboard Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean reimagined Sorrento's to be better than ever before. In addition to changing specialty pizzas, you can also pair your slice with your favorite draft beer on tap! 

Read more: Sorrento's pizza on Royal Caribbean cruise ships

Point & Feather


Cost: Not included

Point & Feather is Icon's rendition of the classic English-style pub found on other ships. 

Here, you can order from a brand-new spirits menu or challenge a friend to a game of darts, all the while a talented musician is playing. 

1400 Lobby Bar


Cost: Not included

Royal Caribbean intends for 1400 Lobby Bar to be a focal point of the Royal Promenade. Not only is it adjacent to the escalators leading to the casino, but it also sets the stage for the jaw-dropping Pearl. 

Inspired by the history of shipbuilding, this will be the ideal place to meet up with your crew and enjoy a mix of daytime and evening sips that were developed with renowned mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, who has worked with James Beard Award-winning chefs, Bellagio, and more.

Read more: I tried the new cocktails coming to Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas with a Master Mixologist


Boleros on Icon of the Seas

Cost: Not included

Boleros is a Latin-themed bar with live music that's found on numerous ships in the fleet. It can be found on Deck 6 of the Royal Promenade, whereas 1400 Lobby Bar is on Deck 5. 

Schooner Bar

Schooner Bar

Cost: Not included

Schooner Bar is arguably the most well-known Royal Caribbean bar. Located across from Boleros, this nautical-themed bar is where pianists will set the tone for pre-dinner drinks and nightcaps. 

Dueling Pianos

Dueling Pianos

Cost: Not included

Speaking of pianos, Icon of the Seas is home to the cruise line's first-ever dedicated piano bar, where two pianists will take the stage and take requests from passengers. 

Each night of the cruise, there will be two 90-minute shows that you won't want to miss! 

Spotlight Karaoke


Cost: Not included

Aspiring singers will want to check out Spotlight Karaoke on Deck 5. You can either take the stage or rent out a private karaoke room to enjoy with your crew. 

The Attic


Cost: Not included

The Attic is where Icon guests can enjoy comedy shows that will have you laughing until you cry. There's also a bar here where you can order drinks during a show. 

Crown Lounge


Cost: Included

The Crown Lounge is located within the Royal Promenade at the forward end of Deck 6 near Dueling Pianos and the Attic. Only Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club members can utilize this private enclave. 

Whether you want to redeem one of your drink vouchers, enjoy some light snacks, or simply relax away from the crowds, the Crown Lounge is the go-to stop for top-tier members of Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society

Read more: 11 of our favorite under-the-radar Crown & Anchor perks



Cost: Not included

Who doesn't love a strong cold brew or specialty hand-crafted beverage? You won't have to go without your Starbucks fix when cruising on Icon of the Seas. 

Note, however, that these drinks are not included in any beverage packages, and top-tier loyalty members cannot use their daily drink vouchers at Starbucks; you will have to pay for each drink individually. 

Central Park


Like on Oasis Class ships, Central Park is a hub for specialty restaurants. Here, you'll find favorites like Chops Grille, as well as new restaurants that cannot be found on any other ship in the fleet, such as Empire Supper Club. 

Izumi Hibachi & Sushi


Cost: Not included

Royal Caribbean’s beloved Japanese specialty restaurant will be located in Central Park on Icon of the Seas, a first for the restaurant. 

There are two sides to Izumi — hibachi and sushi — and guests can enjoy either one in the charming atmosphere of Central Park. Note that if you book the Ultimate Dining Package, Izumi Hibachi has a $15 surcharge, which will be charged onboard. 

Read more: Should you book the Izumi pre-fixed sushi option?

Izumi in the Park


Cost: Not included

What if you don't want to sit down for a lengthy meal? No worries! Located in Icon of the Seas' Central Park Neighborhood, you will find Izumi in the Park, the cruise line's first-ever to-go sushi window, where you can grab sushi, hot gyoza, or soft-serve bubble cones for a refreshing afternoon sweet treat! 

Like the standard restaurant, this venue is not included in the cost of your cruise fare. Each item is priced à la carte, meaning that you'll only pay for what you order, whereas Chops Grille, for instance, charges everyone the same cover charge. 


The price for two sushi and a seaweed salad or edamame is $10, while pork gyoza dumplings, crispy chicken kara-age, and signature bubble cones all cost $8. 

Available sushi include salmon sashimi, tuna sashimi, salmon lovers roll, spicy tuna roll, salmon nigiri, and tuna nigiri. Finally, the five flavors of bubble cones are cookies & cream, rainbow mochi & macha, beach umbrella, chocolate thrill, and strawberry bliss. 

Chops Grille


Cost: Not included

Chops Grille, the cruise line’s signature specialty steakhouse, is found on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships, and Icon of the Seas is no exception. 

Just like on Oasis Class ships, Chops Grille is located in Central Park with both indoor and outdoor seating. Similarly, you will have to pay to dine here; it is not an included venue. 


What sets Chops Grille on Icon apart, though, is that you'll be able to hand-select your cut of meat thanks to the impressive butcher's display.

Park Cafe


Cost: Included

Park Cafe first launched on Oasis of the Seas. This complimentary venue is returning to Central Park onboard Icon. In fact, it's the only complimentary venue in Central Park. 

While you'll still be able to order the legendary Royal Kümmelweck roast beef sandwich, you can also expect to find new sandwiches and salads. 

Plus, Park Café onboard Icon of the Seas will be open later than on other ships in the fleet and offer dinner!

Empire Supper Club


Cost: Not included

One of, if not the most, expensive restaurant onboard Icon is Empire Supper Club. This eight-course meal, which will feature premium American cuisine like wagyu and caviar, will cost you $200 per person. There will also be a three-piece band playing a different song during each course. 

The venue was designed to be reminiscent of the 1930s in New York City and will have two seatings each night: 6:00pm and 8:30pm. 

If you purchased the Ultimate Dining Package, you will have to pay an extra $130 per person to eat at Empire Supper Club. 

Lou's Jazz N' Blues


Cost: Not included

Whether you want to take in the music from the outdoors while strolling amongst the thousands of real pants or pop in for a cocktail, Lou's Jazz N' Blues will fill Central Park will live performances of soulful classics and jazz-pop tunes.

Trellis Bar


Cost: Not included

Guests will find a larger Trellis Bar than those onboard Oasis Class ships. Plus, it'll feature a brand-new look and menu with pre-dinner appetizers that are available for an additional fee.  



Cost: Not included

Bubbles is a walk-up champagne bar that will serve champagne and champagne-based cocktails by the glass. It's located directly next to Park Cafe, so you can get a fresh mimosa before enjoying breakfast! 



Those familiar with Oasis Class ships might notice that there isn't a "Boardwalk" onboard Icon of the Seas. That's because the neighborhood was replaced with Surfside, which is where families can stay and play all day. 

With an aft pool, carousel, kids splash zone, arcade, and both complimentary and specialty dining venues, there's enough to keep everyone satisfied!

Read more: Icon of the Seas Surfside neighborhood: What to expect

Surfside Bites


Cost: Included

Surfside Bites is complimentary and features grab-and-go options. It's perfect for those looking for a snack or who do not want to waste their afternoon on a lengthy lunch! 

While the menu isn't extensive, you can find popcorn chicken, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, french fries, fruit, and even cinnamon sugar churros here!

Read more: Royal Caribbean is building the best cruise ship for young families on Icon of the Seas

Pier 7


Cost: Not included

Pier 7 is a brand-new specialty venue located within Surfside. The all-day brunch menu has items like mango lime shrimp tostadas, smoked salmon benedicts, fluffy buttermilk pancakes, and surf and turf tacos. 

Pier 7 is free for kids under 12, and everyone else pays a $14.99 cover charge that includes two items in any category.

Surfside Eatery


Cost: Included

Surfside will also feature its own buffet, so families will not have to worry about dragging their kids away from all the fun for too long to go to the Windjammer. 

Surfside Eatery, like the Windjammer, is included in the cost of your cruise fare. 

Note that you'll find a Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine outside of Surfside Eatery. If you're going to purchase a drink package, you can refill your cup here. 

The Lemon Post Bar


Cost: Not included

The Lemon Post Bar allows parents to enjoy their own tropical cocktails while children get to order from a menu of mocktails curated just for them, for an additional charge, of course. 

It's located close to Splashaway Bay and Baby Bay, so you're never far from a beverage! 

Playmaker's Sports Bar & Arcade

Burger at Playmakers

Cost: Not included

Located within Surfside on Deck 8, you will find the beloved sports bar Playmakers, which serves à la carte food and hand-crafted beverages. 

Whether you're craving nachos, wings, onion rings, or jalapeño poppers, you will find a range of options for $3.00 to $29.99. 



AquaDome is another neighborhood exclusive to Icon Class ships, including Star of the Seas, which is scheduled to launch in 2025. 

It's located on Decks 14 and 15 at the very front of the ship and is where you'll not only find numerous food and beverage options but also the first-ever enclosed AquaTheater and breathing ocean views. 

Read more: Icon of the Seas AquaDome: What to expect

The Overlook Bar


Cost: Not included

If you're seeking some of the best ocean views onboard Icon, you will want to make sure you visit The Overlook within the AquaDome Neighborhood, which is outfitted with impressive floor-to-ceiling windows. 

In addition to comfortable pods for relaxing and catching up with friends and family, you'll also find The Overlook Bar. 

Rye & Bean


Cost: Not included

Rye & Bean is perfect for those who might not be ready for a strong cocktail first thing in the morning.

That being said, Rye & Bean is the place to go for coffee-infused cocktails; however, you're able to order a classic cup of coffee, too. 

Hooked Seafood


Cost: Not included

Hooked Seafood is open for lunch and dinner. This specialty restaurant focuses on New England-style seafood and serves dishes such as Maryland Crab Cakes, Drunken Mussels, Maine Lobster Rolls, and more. 

Celebration Table


Cost: Not included

You can think of Celebration Table like an elevated Chef's Table. This fully rentable private dining room inside Hooked Seafood can seat up to twelve guests and is a premium specialty venue onboard Icon of the Seas. 

Rather than have a menu curated by the chef, you can choose from four different family-style prix fixe menus: American, Asian, Seafood, and Italian. You can personalize and upgrade the selections, too.

Read more: Beyond the Buffet: Exploring Royal Caribbean's unique onboard cuisine

AquaDome Market


Cost: Included

Icon of the Seas is home to the cruise line's first-ever food hall. Inside AquaDome Market, you'll find five different stalls, each highlighting a different cuisine or specific food:

  • Crème de la Crèpe (Crèpes)
  • GNGR (Asian)
  • Mac's (Mac and cheese)
  • Feta (Mediterranean)
  • Toast & Garden (Sandwiches and salads)

Even better? It's all included!

Vitality Cafe

Vitality Cafe on Icon

Cost: Included (with exceptions)

At Vitality Cafe, you will find some complimentary healthful options, such as housemade granola and fresh fruit, as well as specialty smoothies for an additional charge. 

Chill Island & Thrill Island

Hideaway pool

The top decks of Icon of the Seas are where you’ll find both Chill Island and Thrill Island. 

Royal Caribbean aims to include a variety of dining and bar venues on the pool and sports deck, so you don’t have to worry about leaving the pool to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a tropical beverage. 

El Loco Fresh and Cantina Fresca

Cost: Included (El Loco Fresh) / Not included (Cantina Fresca)

In between laps at the pool, you’ll want to head to El Loco Fresh on the pool deck for fresh Mexican fare.

This complimentary grab-and-go spot offers burritos, quesadillas, nachos, tacos, and a salsa station that is sure to satisfy any hungry passenger. 

Next to El Loco Fresh is Cantina Fresca, a Mexican-themed bar known for its specialty margaritas and aguas frescas. Specialty cocktails at Cantina Fresca include the Watermelon Margarita, Mezcal Mule, and Cozumel Sunrise.

Swim & Tonic

Swim and Tonic

Cost: Not included

Swim & Tonic is the cruise line's first swim-up bar with in-pool seating. In fact, they claim it's the largest swim-up bar at sea! 

No longer do you have to leave the pool to get a refreshing beverage while sailing through the Caribbean. 



Cost: Included

Sprinkles is located within Chill Island. This is where you can enjoy complimentary soft-serve ice cream throughout the day!

The Lime and Coconut

Cost: Not included

Royal Caribbean’s resort-style pool bar can be found in three different locations on Icon of the Seas, including the brand-new Cloud 17 area. 

The Lime & Coconut is known for a few signature drinks including:

  • Lime & Coconut, made with Malibu coconut rum, coconut milk, coconut syrup, guava syrup, and lime juice 
  • Blue Wave, made with Tito’s vodka, blue curacao, and pineapple juice 
  • Caribbean Sunset, made with Aperol, sparkling wine, and a splash of soda

Windjammer Marketplace


Cost: Included

It wouldn’t be a Royal Caribbean cruise without the Windjammer Marketplace, the cruise line’s signature complimentary buffet that's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day of your cruise. 

Onboard Icon, the Windjammer is located on Deck 15 and wraps around the entirety of the deck below Thrill Island in the aft of the ship. 



Cost: Included (with exceptions)

Basecamp offers a mix of both complimentary and extra-charge items, which include waffle chicken nuggets ($7), Wisconsin cheese curds ($6), crispy shrimp bao buns ($8), grilled chicken sandwiches ($9), and smash burgers ($11). 

Additionally, while beef hot dogs, warm pretzels, and tater tots are complimentary, you can add cheese, bacon, and green onions to any of the free options for an extra $2. 

Plus, you'll find a bar here. It's the perfect place to refuel while having fun at the Category 6 water park! 



Cost: Not included

The new Desserted Milkshake Bar allows passengers to choose from a lineup of milkshake concoctions, including spiked options for adults.

It's located directly across from the entrance to Category 6's slides. 

The Hideaway

The Hideaway neighborhood

The Hideaway is Royal Caribbean's adult-only neighborhood. Yes, that means you won't find a Solarium onboard. No worries, though; this area is only for those 18+!

From its conceptualization, The Hideaway was meant to have a Las Vegas pool party vibe. It has the first suspended infinity pool at sea, day beds (that you can rent for an additional cost), loungers, and an expansive bar area.

The Hideaway Bar

Hideaway Bar

Cost: Not included

The Hideaway Bar has a special menu where you can order specialty cocktails like the Castaway Spritz, Oh Mai Gawd, Coral Blush, and more. 

Since it's located within the adults-only neighborhood, you will not find any children here. Adults can order a tropical beverage before enjoying the infinity pool! 

Suite Neighborhood

Inside the Ultimate Family Townhouse

If you're staying in certain suites, you will gain access to The Grove Sun Deck and Coastal Kitchen. Both have complimentary dining options available exclusively to suite guests. 

Note that if you're staying in a Sea Class suite (i.e., Junior Suites and Sunset Junior Suites), you won't have access to the sun deck. Plus, you'll only be able to eat at Coastal Kitchen for dinner, subject to availability. 

To gain full access, you will want to book a Sky or Star Class suite. 

Read more: Icon of the Seas Suite Neighborhood: What to expect

Coastal Kitchen


Cost: Included (for suite guests)

Coastal Kitchen has been a staple restaurant for suite guests since its debut on Quantum of the Seas in 2014, and Icon of the Seas will be the first ship in the fleet to have a two-story Coastal Kitchen restaurant.

The Grove


Cost: Included (for suite guests)

During the day, Suite guests can grab a bite to eat at The Grove, a fast-casual Mediterranean venue located in the suite-only sun deck that features al fresco seating and a bar. 

This is complimentary to suite guests and surely beats leaving the comfort of the private enclave to eat at the Windjammer! 

Other food and beverage venues

Main Dining Room


Cost: Included 

Every Royal Caribbean ship has a Main Dining Room onboard. This is where you can indulge in three-course meals each night of your cruise for no extra charge. It serves breakfast and lunch throughout the voyage, too. 

If you're unsure when it is open, check the Royal Caribbean app. You may also request a physical copy of the ship's daily schedule from your cabin steward or Guest Services. 

Onboard Icon, the Main Dining Room spans three decks in the aft of the ship: Decks 3, 4, and 5. 

Read more: 21 Tips for the Best Cruise Ship Main Dining Room Experience

Casino Bar


Cost: Not included

There's a bar inside of Casino Royale that features sit-down slot machines. 

Music Hall

Music Hall

Cost: Not included

If you’re looking for a nightclub experience on Icon of the Seas, you can head to Music Hall. 

Located on Decks 3 and 4, this two-story venue features live bands and DJs in the evenings.

Dinner on Royal Caribbean: Early Dinner vs. Late Dinner

29 May 2023

When you book your Royal Caribbean cruise, you will be asked to select between three dining options: early, late, and my time dining. 

Main Dining Room

Whatever option you select will be when you dine in the Main Dining Room for the entire duration of your cruise, so it is important that you weigh the pros and cons to each traditional dining time and choose which is best for you and your travel party.

You can, of course, skip the Main Dining Room and go to a specialty restaurant or Windjammer. Even if that is your plan, you will be required to make a selection during the booking process. 

RelatedThe Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean's Unlimited Dining Package

Here is a comparison of early dinner and late dinner on Royal Caribbean cruises. 

What is the Main Dining Room?

Women eating in main dining room

The Main Dining Room is Royal Caribbean’s traditional sit-down restaurant that serves three-course meals every night of your cruise. It is also largest dining venue on any Royal Caribbean ship and spans multiple decks, even on the oldest ships. 

Each night, you will be presented with a menu that contains different appetizers, main courses, and desserts. The best part? You are not limited to one of anything, and everything is complimentary, aside from a few premium options listed at the bottom of the menu! If you want to try two appetizers and two desserts, you can order both. 

The dining times (i.e., early, late, and My Time) only apply to the dinner service, as breakfast is first come, first serve. You can also dine here for lunch but only on sea days. 

Menu at an angle

When it comes to the menus themselves, there will be a new one each evening that is centered around a specific theme, such as Mexican and Italian night. If your cruise if over 10-nights, you may see repeated menus. Those who are unsure of what to order will appreciate the chef's recommendations at the top of the menu. 

Related21 Tips for the Best Cruise Ship Main Dining Room Experience

Early seating

Waiter serving a family

The first seating in the Main Dining Room usually takes place around 5:30pm or 6:00pm; the exact time varies based on itinerary. With this seating, you will be able to free up your evenings for shows and other activities taking place around the ship, even if it is just listening to live music in the pub! 

The early seating usually appeals to families with children and those who like to retire early. With this seating, you can easily be in bed by 9:30pm, meaning that you will be well-rested for the next day. 

If you are worried that you will be hungry later on, you will be able to find late-night snacks available at select venues, such as Sorrento's and Cafe Promenade. 

Royal Caribbean main dining room

For passengers wanting to dine around fewer children, it is best to skip the early seating. Of course, you could be seated next to a larger family if you select the late seating; nothing is ever guaranteed! 

Likewise, if you are wanting to enjoy the evening entertainment, you may find yourself sleepy after indulging in a three-course meal, especially later in the cruise. Some may prefer to see the earlier shows and eat dinner later!

Finally, the early seating tends to overlap with sail away on the first night, meaning that you will have to skip the Main Dining Room or select a later time if you want to go on embarkation day and attend all of the sail away festivities. 

Note that this tends to be the most popular dining option, so if you want to dine during the first seating, make sure you book your cruise as early as possible! 

Related7 cruise ship main dining room rules to follow — Plus 1 to break

Late seating

Family in dining room

The late seating commences after the early seating has concluded, and the wait staff has been able to reset all of the tables, meaning that it usually begins around 8:00pm. For many, this might be too late to eat every night; however, there are some pros to selecting this dining time!

For starters, you will not feel rushed in the afternoon. You can spend more time by the pool or exploring the ports before returning to your cabin to get ready. Those with an early seating will need to ensure that their excursions end with enough time for them to freshen up for dinner, meaning that they could lose an hour or two extra in port! 

Late seatings also allow for more pre-dinner activities, whether that is a drink or early show. 

Food in main dining room

And often, the service is more relaxed, as the wait staff is not worried about setting up for another seating afterwards. 

Of course, one of the biggest cons is that you will be staying up late each evening for dinner. It is important that you take into consideration your sleep schedule. Will you want to do other things after eating? If so, will that impact your energy level the next day? You do not want to feel groggy during the day!

RelatedYour really dumb cruise ship dining questions answered

My Time Dining

Are you torn between early and late dining? You may want to consider My Time Dining, Royal Caribbean's flexible dining option that allows passengers to make reservations during specific hours for the Main Dining Room ahead of time or show up when they are ready to eat. 

This will allow you to eat at 6:00pm one day and 8:00pm the next, if you so wish. Otherwise, you can try to dine around the same time, say 7:30pm, each night of the cruise. It is meant to be an option that allows you to schedule dinner around the rest of your onshore and onboard plans.

My Time Dining, however, is not considered traditional dining. You will not have the same table mates and wait staff each night, as you are seated wherever there is an open table. Many cruisers enjoy getting to know their servers and having them learn their preferences, which is why traditional dining is still so popular! 

RelatedWhat you need to know about Royal Caribbean's My Time Dining

Early dinner vs. late dinner on Royal Caribbean: which is best for you?

Symphony of the Seas main dining room

The early seating is best for families with younger children or those who want to retire to their cabin earlier in the evening. Likewise, it is also the preferred seating for those who enjoy evening entertainment, as you will be finished with your meal by the time the ship is livening up! 

On the other hand, if you prioritize daytime activities, whether that be excursions or lounging by the pool with a cocktail in hand, you will enjoy having time in the evening to get ready, instead of having to cut the afternoon short.

This option will also enable you to attend sail away without compromising on the Main Dining Room experience on embarkation day. 

Main dining room

There is always My Time Dining, too, if you are unable to make up your mind. Just note that your overall dining experience will be a little bit different than if you selected a traditional seating-- you will neither be seated at the same table each evening nor have the same wait staff.

My Time Dining also requires you to plan ahead a little bit, as you could be faced with lengthy wait times if you fail to make reservations ahead of time!

Do not forget that you do not have to eat in the Main Dining Room every night, either. You can always forego the lengthy meal and head up for a quick bite at the Windjammer or opt to indulge in a more intimate specialty dining experience one night!

Both of these options, so long as you make your specialty reservation ahead of time, will provide you with more flexibility in regard to dining time. 

Royal Caribbean will offer swanky supper club and food hall on new Icon of the Seas when it launches

25 May 2023

When Icon of the Seas launches in 2024, she will have ten brand-new dining concepts onboard, with a total of twenty different venues to choose from.


That does not include bar-like places, such as Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and Desserted, as well as Trellis Bar, which is going to feature a menu of small bites. 

Eleven of them will be complimentary, while nine will incur an additional fee. Royal Caribbean has yet to release the pricing of the specialty restaurants. 

"The experiences had over great food are at the heart of so many shared memories that we could all use more of in our day-to-day," said Linked D'Souza, Vice President, Food and Beverage of Royal Caribbean International. 


"We've designed Icon of the Seas to offer every guest, no matter their tastes, age and mood or the occasion, a variety of ways they can easily make those moments their way every day while on vacation." 

Whether it is grabbing a quick bite to eat at the cruise line's first walk-up sushi window in Central Park, sitting down to indulge in an eight-course meal at Empire Supper Club, trying something new at the brand-new food hall, or splurging on brunch at Pier 7 in Surfside, there is something for everyone onboard Icon of the Seas!

Here is a breakdown of all the dining venues the record-breaking ship. 

Empire Supper Club


Empire Supper Club is one of the brand-new venues onboard Icon of the Seas. It is meant to be reminiscent of the 1930s in New York City. 

Each night, there will be two seating for guests to experience the extravagant eight course menu: 6:00pm and 8:30pm. 

The menu will feature premium American cuisine and offer selections such as caviar and wagyu. Plus, each course will be paired with a beverage. 

And for the first time ever, this will be Royal Caribbean's first dining experience that combines food and music. A three-piece band will be situated in the venue and play a different song during each of the eight courses. 

Celebration Table


Think of Celebration Table as an elevated Chef's Table. Note that the traditional Chef's Table will still be offered, too. 

It is going to be a fully rentable private dining room located inside of Hooked Seafood on Deck 15 that will be able to seat up to twelve passengers and feature floor-to-ceiling windows for some of the best ocean views on the ship. 

The menu will be prix fixe, meaning that all guests will enjoy the same offerings family style; however, there are four different menus to choose from: Italian, Asian, American, and Seafood. There will be an option to personalize and upgrade the selections, too. 

Chops Grille


While Chops Grille is a tried-and-true favorite, the specialty steakhouse will be a little different on Icon of the Seas.

For the first time, guests can choose their own cut of meat from the butcher's display, anything from high grade wagyu to bone-in steaks. Plus, the open window will let them watch the chefs cook their selected cut. 

Giovanni's Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar


Another favorite will be returning to Icon: Giovanni's Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar. The menu will highlight Old World classics, such as veal meatballs, and will be located in the Royal Promenade, marking the first time that Royal Caribbean will place a specialty restaurant here. 

RelatedHow Royal Caribbean reimagined its signature Italian restaurant

Hooked Seafood


Hooked Seafood is a relatively new specialty restaurant to the brand, and it will be onboard Icon of the Seas serving up delicious New England-style seafood. 

In terms of location, it will be directly underneath the AquaDome. 

RelatedRoyal Caribbean’s specialty dining packages guide

Pier 7


Pier 7 is the first family-oriented specialty restaurant that will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It will be located steps away from Playscape and the carousel in the Surfside Neighborhood

Here, you will find casual California cuisine, with options ranging from tacos, to a smoked salmon benedict, and even buttermilk pancakes. 

Izumi Hibachi and Sushi 


When you dine at Izumi on Icon of the Seas, you will find it to be more scenic than ever before, as it will be located in Central Park and feature al fresco seating, meaning that you can enjoy your favorite sushi in the open air under the stars. 

Plus, there will be more Teppanyaki than on any other ship in the fleet, with a total of six! In comparison, Wonder of the Seas only has three. 

Izumi in the Park


Those who would rather grab a quick bite before returning to all the fun will appreciate Izumi in the Park, which will be open from 11:30am to 10:30pm. You will not have to worry about making a reservation or getting dressed up to enjoy your favorite sushi rolls. 

This walk-up dining option will have signature rolls, nigiri, and Japanese sweet treats, all served in a portable box to take with you, available for an additional cost.

AquaDome Market


The AquaDome Market is Royal Caribbean's first food hall and will feature five different stands, all of which are complimentary and have their own look and menu: Feta Mediterranean, Mac's, Toast and Garden, GNGR, and Crème de la Crepe. 

Starting with Crème de la Crepe, this is where you will find both sweet and savory crepes. GNGR will serve Asian dishes, and Toast and Garden is for those looking for lighter fare, including salads and sandwiches. 


Mac's is the place for mac and cheese lovers, as this stand will remix the classic take on the dish with topping such as slow-roasted pulled pork, smoked gouda,  and BBQ sauce. 

Finally, Feta Mediterranean will serve fresh pitas and Mediterranean bowls, and you will find a bar with beer and wine, too. 

The AquaDone Market will serve breakfast starting at 7:00am for breakfast, lunch at 11:30am, and dinner in the evenings.  

Main Dining Room


The redesigned three-story Main Dining Room will feature a new menu each night that highlights a different cuisine.

You can also dine here for breakfast and lunch. 

RelatedFirst look at Royal Caribbean's new main dining room menus

Surfside Eatery


For families who do not want to venture out of Surfside to the Windjammer, there will be Surfside Eatery, an all-day dining option that functions as a buffet during breakfast and lunch before transitioning into a hybrid buffet/traditional sit-down venue at night. 

During the day, you will find fun kid-approved options, including pancakes that can be topped with chocolate chips, fruit, and more, as well as pasta with a variety of different sauces. 

At night, you will find more elevated options that put a contemporary twist on some childhood favorites! 

Surfside Bites


For those interested in grab-and-go fare, look no further than Surfside Bites. This quick service eatery will be open from 11:00am to 5:00pm. 

You will find options like burgers, popcorn chicken, cinnamon sugar donut holes, and, of course, soft serve! 



When Icon of the Seas makes her grand debut, she will have the Windjammer in the fleet. Plus, there will be two bars located inside!

Windjammer is Royal Caribbean's preeminent buffet option that can be found on every ship. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it is ideal for those looking for a laid back dining experience with a variety of different options. 

RelatedGuide to Royal Caribbean's Windjammer Cafe buffet



Basecamp will be located in the heart of Thrill Island and feature food windows with different complimentary options, as well as some premium selections that can be purchase á la carte. 

The bar will serve storm-inspired drinks, and if you find yourself on the starboard side of Thrill Island, you will not have to worry about walking back to the bar. There will be a bar cart, making it more convenient to enjoy your favorite cold beverages while on-the-go. 

Basecamp will be open from 11:00am to 10:00pm, with the bar opening at 9:00am for those who want to start the day with a mimosa!

Pearl Café


Say goodbye to Cafe Promenade! On Icon of the Seas, the popular 24-hour quick service venue is being replaced with Pearl Café. 

Do not worry, though-- you will still be able to enjoy a selection of complimentary sandwiches, ready-made salads, coffee, and more at any hour; it will also be open 24-hours. 

Pearl Café will have cozy nooks that offer specular ocean views, making it a great place to meet up with friends and family before dinner or catch up on your favorite book. 



At Sorrento's you can grab a slice of your favorite signature pizza, or indulge in a specialty one. You will have to act fast, though, as the flavor of the specialty pie will change every day! 

And for the first time, you can pair your pizza with your favorite draft beer on tap. 

Park Café


Like on Oasis Class ships, Park Café will be located in Central Park and serve breakfast and lunch. On Icon, however, Park Café will be open in the evening from 5:30pm to 10:00pm for late night bites. 

El Loco Fresh


Steps away from the Cove Pool is El Loco Fresh, the grab-and-go spot for Mexican food onboard. It will be open daily from 11:00am to 7:00pm. 

Coastal Kitchen


Coastal Kitchen is the complimentary dining room for suite guests. Star and Sky passengers are able to dine here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while Sea passengers can only eat here for dinner based on availability. 

The two-level restaurant will be able to seat 154 guests and offers views straight into the AquaDome! 

The Grove


Available only to Star and Sky suite guests, the Grove is an al fresco buffet that serves Mediterranean cuisine. It is smaller than Coastal Kitchen, with a capacity of 38 passengers. 

Your really dumb cruise ship dining questions answered

03 May 2023

Planning your first cruise? If so, you probably have a long list of questions about dining on a cruise ship. What food is included? Can you eat as much as you want? How many restaurants are on a cruise ship?

What seems like basic knowledge to frequent cruisers can cause confusion for first time cruisers. So much confusion, unsurprisingly, leads to a lot of questions about dining on a cruise ship.

Here at Royal Caribbean Blog, we hear the same questions about cruise ship dining over and over again. They’re not inherently “dumb” questions, but some first time cruisers may feel embarrassed to ask so many questions about dining onboard.

To make your first cruise experience stress-free, we’re answering 17 of your really dumb cruise ship dining questions.

What is the Main Dining Room on Royal Caribbean?

The Main Dining Room is the name of Royal Caribbean’s traditional sit-down restaurant. This is the largest dining venue on any Royal Caribbean ship—it spans multiple decks and serves thousands of passengers each day.

While dining in the Main Dining Room you’re presented with a menu with appetizers, main courses, and desserts. You can order as many items as you please, whether you want multiple appetizers or three slices of pie!

Related: 21 Tips for the Best Cruise Ship Main Dining Room Experience


Everything in the Main Dining Room is complimentary aside from a few extra cost items, which are listed at the bottom of the menu. These include lobster and steak from Chops Grille, Royal Caribbean's signature steakhouse.

The Main Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast and dinner are served every day whereas lunch is available on sea days only. The breakfast and lunch menu may be combined into a brunch menu on sea days.

What is the Windjammer on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

The Windjammer is the name of the main buffet on a Royal Caribbean cruise. This venue is where you’ll find the widest selection of food onboard, and it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. The Windjammer is included in your cruise fare.

All meals at the Windjammer should offer enough variety to satisfy all passengers. Breakfast offers both traditional American fare—pancakes, bagels, eggs, and hash browns—along with a selection of international cuisine like fried rice and Indian curry.

Related: Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Windjammer Cafe buffet

Dinner in the Windjammer has a theme each evening, although you’ll still find classic options like hamburgers, pizza, and pasta. One night may offer Caribbean cuisine like jerk chicken and plantains whereas another evening may feature Italian, Mexican, or Chinese dishes.

Are there limits to how much you can eat at the buffet?

There are no limits to how much you can eat at the buffet on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Feel free to indulge in eight slices of pizza, five desserts, and a plate of french fries… there’s no one stopping you!

You should, however, grab a new plate each time you visit the buffet station, as using the same plate multiple times is a health hazard.

What are specialty restaurants and how much do they cost?

Mason Jar restaurant

Specialty restaurants are restaurants that are not included in your cruise fare. Unlike the Main Dining Room or Windjammer, dining at these restaurants incurs an additional fee.

Dining at specialty restaurants is completely optional, but many passengers enjoy the cooking styles and selection of cuisine at these venues. Specialty restaurants offer everything from sushi and hibachi at Izumi to Italian pasta and pizza at Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen.

Related: What is the best Royal Caribbean specialty restaurant?

Compared to the complimentary venues onboard, specialty restaurants may offer a more intimate atmosphere as well, making them perfect for celebrating special occasions or a date night.

The cost of Royal Caribbean’s specialty restaurants varies from venue to venue, but you can expect to pay around $25 for lunch and $50-60 for dinner. More casual restaurants, such as Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, offer lower prices and are priced à la carte.

What food is free on Royal Caribbean?

The majority of food on a Royal Caribbean cruise is free—it’s easy to go an entire cruise without spending anything extra on food. With the exception of the Main Dining Room, the majority of complimentary food venues are quick grab and go spots.

Here is a complete list of complimentary food venues on Royal Caribbean:

  • Windjammer: Royal Caribbean’s main buffet
  • Mini Bites: grab and go casual fare (only on Harmony of the Seas)
  • El Loco Fresh: Mexican fare served buffet style
  • Dog House: hotdog stand
  • Splashaway Cafe: casual pool deck fare (only on Spectrum of the Seas)
  • Solarium Bistro: a more relaxed buffet compared to the Windjammer with Mediterranean cuisine served for dinner
  • Cafe Promenade: grab and go snacks served all day, such as muffins, sandwiches, and cookies
  • Sorrento’s Pizza: pizza slices served (almost) all day
  • Coastal Kitchen: complimentary restaurant only for suite guests on Quantum, Oasis, and Icon Class ships
  • The Cafe at Two70: grab and go soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, and snacks on Quantum Class ships
  • Park Cafe: grab and go soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, and snacks on Vision, Radiance, and Oasis Class ships
  • Vitality Cafe: health-focused snacks (protein shakes and smoothies cost extra)
  • Main Dining Room: Royal Caribbean’s traditional sit-down dining restaurant
  • Surfside Eatery: kid-friendly dining on Icon of the Seas
  • Fish & Ships: only select items are complimentary on Ovation of the Seas
  • Johnny Rockets: complimentary for breakfast only on Oasis Class ships

How do I know which restaurants are on my ship?

Every Royal Caribbean ship offers different food venues, with some restaurants overlapping on all ships and others only available on one or two ships in the fleet.

The easiest way to find out which food venues are on your Royal Caribbean cruise ship is to check the Royal Caribbean app. By downloading the Royal Caribbean app and linking your cruise reservation to your account, you can view the dining venues on your ship.

Related: Royal Caribbean app walkthrough and tips

To do so, click on the dining tab in the lower left corner of the app. From there, you can view every venue on your ship and whether or not they are included in your cruise fare.

You can also view the menu for most restaurants as well as operating hours.

Can I bring food on a cruise?

All guests are permitted to bring non-perishable food on a Royal Caribbean cruise. This includes packaged goods like cookies, chips, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, and candy, as well as pre-packed baby food.

You are not allowed to bring perishable food like fruits, vegetables, meat products, and homemade goods.

Related: What food or drinks you're allowed to bring on a Royal Caribbean cruise

There is more than enough food to keep you satisfied on a Royal Caribbean cruise, so we don’t usually recommend packing anything extra. That being said, parents with young kids may want to bring their child’s favorite snacks to have on hand in the room or on a shore excursion.

Can I look at the dining room menus in advance?

Menu at an angle

You can look at Royal Caribbean’s Main Dining Room menus in advance on the dining tab in the Royal Caribbean app.

As the dinner menu changes each evening, knowing what’s offered on a particular day can help you plan your vacation. If you’re planning to book a specialty restaurant, for example, you may want to book the restaurant on a day where the Main Dining Room menu isn’t as appealing to your tastes.

Related: I tried the new Royal Caribbean menus, and here's how I'd rank everything I ate

Traditional Dining vs My Time Dining: what’s the difference?

Dinner in the Main Dining Room comes with two options: traditional dining or My Time Dining.

Traditional dining is when you eat at the same time each evening at the same table and with the same waiters. This option is best for those who prefer a set dinner schedule and who don’t need flexibility with their dining time.

My Time Dining, on the other hand, allows you to dine at a time most convenient for your schedule. You can show up to the dining room and wait for an available table or make a reservation for the evening in advance. With My Time Dining, there’s no need to eat at a set time each night, although you will not have the same tables nor the same waiters throughout the cruise.

You will select your preferred dining style (traditional dining or My Time Dining) when you book your cruise.

Related: Royal Caribbean My Time Dining versus Traditional Dining

How do I make dining reservations?

Breakfast in mdr

Dining reservations are required for select venues on Royal Caribbean, including My Time Dining in the dining room and at specialty restaurants.

To make My Time Dining reservations, visit Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner to select a time for each evening. If you do not make reservations, you can always show up to the dining room at any time during dinner service, but you may have to wait in a line.

Specialty dining reservations can be reserved in the Cruise Planner as well.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner site

What time is dinner on Royal Caribbean?


Dinner times may vary slightly depending on your cruise itinerary, but it's typically held from around 5:30PM to 9PM on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

There are two traditional dining times, which are usually around 5:30PM and 8:30PM. Passengers can choose the time that works best for their dining preference (early or late seating).

My Time Dining opens later than traditional dining; it is open from around 6:45PM to 9PM each day.

How long does dinner last on Royal Caribbean?

You should expect dinner in the Main Dining Room to last between 75 minutes and 90 minutes, although it may be shorter or longer depending on your group size, number of dishes ordered, and speed of service.

Dinner at specialty restaurants lasts roughly the same amount of time as dinner in the Main Dining Room. Casual venues like the Windjammer offer much quicker service—it’s possible to be in and out in 15 minutes!

Do I have to sit with strangers at dinner on a cruise?

In the past, it was common to be seated with other passengers in the Main Dining Room. Due to space constraints, you could be assigned to a table with several other travel parties.

While this still happens today, you have much more flexibility when it comes to having your own table. Most of the time, you’ll be seated at your own private table. If you are assigned to a table with other passengers, simply request your own table and Royal Caribbean will accommodate you.

Some passengers still enjoy sitting with other travel parties in the Main Dining Room, though, as it allows them to connect with other guests during their sailing.

Is room service free on Royal Caribbean?

Room service is not free on a Royal Caribbean cruise, albeit with one exception.

Royal Caribbean’s room service menu incurs a $7.95 per order fee plus 18% gratuity. This means that, regardless of how much you order, you will be charged one set amount.

Related: Royal Caribbean room service guide & tips

Free room service is only offered on the continental breakfast menu, which serves cold items like yogurt, bagels, and muffins, but not pancakes, eggs, and bacon. You will not incur a fee for ordering continental breakfast, although tipping the crew member who delivers the food is recommended.

What is the dress code on Royal Caribbean?

Family in dining room

Royal Caribbean’s dress code is relatively casual, with formal wear only suggested on formal nights, which occur one to three times during your sailing depending on the cruise’s length.

You can dine at casual venues like the Windjammer and El Loco Fresh in swimsuit cover-ups, shorts, tank tops, and flip flops. Generally speaking, as long as you’re not wearing only a bathing suit, you’re in the clear.

For dinner in the dining room and at specialty restaurants, dressing smart casual is recommended. Think of smart casual as a nice pair of slacks, blouses, collared shirts, and dresses.

Royal Caribbean suggests wearing formal wear on formal night, including suits and ties, cocktail dresses, and evening gowns, but it’s not required. This suggestion is only for dinner in the Main Dining Room, meaning you can dress casual and dine in other venues that evening instead.

Related: What to wear on a cruise formal night

Plus, the dress code is not strictly enforced on formal night, so there’s no need to dress in a black-tie look. While we advise dressing nicely for formal night, you can wear the same semi-formal outfits on formal night as you would wear any other night in the dining room.

Can kids order from the adults menu? And can adults order from the kids menu?

Kids MDR menu

The Main Dining Room has both a standard menu and a kids menu, but passengers can order from whichever menu they prefer.

The kids menu is limited but offers a selection of kid-friendly favorites such as mac and cheese, pizza, and burgers. It stays the same throughout the entire cruise. The regular dinner menu, of course, has more diverse options and changes each day of the sailing.

Kids can order from the standard menu if they would like to try a wider range of food. Adults, on the contrary, are free to order from the kids menu if they don’t see anything they want on the regular menu.

How does Royal Caribbean handle dietary restrictions?

Royal Caribbean can accommodate most dietary restrictions onboard. 

The Main Dining Room menu specifies if a dish is vegan or has no sugar added. A vegan appetizer, main course, and dessert is offered each evening in the dining room along with several more vegetarian options. Vegans and vegetarians do not have to notify Royal Caribbean of their dietary needs in advance.

Those with other dietary restrictions, such as severe allergies, gluten-free, and Kosher, should send Royal Caribbean an email more than 45 days prior to their cruise. Notifying Royal Caribbean of your allergies will help ensure that your dietary needs are met.

You can email Royal Caribbean at [email protected]. In the email, include the guests’ names, booking number, ship name, and sail date.

Eating gluten free on Royal Caribbean cruise ships

06 Mar 2023

For those with allergies and special diets, eating gluten free away from home can be a challenge. A Royal Caribbean cruise offers a stress-free option for those that need a gluten free diet.

Mariner of the Seas dining room

There are many choices for anyone that is looking for options that fit into their restrictions.

In fact, Royal Caribbean can accommodate a host of dietary needs, such as Kosher, low-fat, low-sodium and gluten free.

If you're someone that needs to eat gluten free on a Royal Caribbean cruise, here's what you should know.

Lots of gluten free choices

Gluten Free corner

In speaking with gluten free cruisers, they often talk about the variety of choices available.

First and foremost, you need to inform the waiter at any restaurant you visit that you are eating gluten free so that they can provide you options. 

The biggest mistake someone can make is not saying anything and relegating themselves to what they can spot on the menu.

gluten free chicken

When you sit down at a restaurant, the waiter will usually ask first if anyone has any dietary needs or allergies.

Whether they ask you or not, always tell any waiter you are gluten free, just to be safe.

Past cruisers report there being lots of options and they will accommodate you to make sure you have a great experience.

Galey tour

Royal Caribbean ships have their own preparation area in the galley (ship's kitchen) away from the main production area to prepare meals for guests with allergies to avoid cross-contamination of meals.

In fact, the Food & Beverage staff attend recurring training programs regarding allergy protocols.

How to tell Royal Caribbean you need gluten free options

GF Bread in Windjammer

You don't have to inform Royal Caribbean in advance, but you can certainly do so prior to the cruise.

You can email [email protected] and/or call the cruise line at (866) 592-7225 to confirm your needs.

In the email, include the guests' names, booking number, ship name and sail date.

Gluten free spaghetti

Whether you inform them ahead of time or not, it's a good idea to ask to speak to the head waiter once onboard about your diet. The dining room staff are great about working with you.

In the Main Dining Room, the staff will bring you the following evening's menu and you let them know in advance what you’d like that works for your diet. They also have gluten free bread that can be prepared.

Breakfast GF

You can also make a request for breakfast the next day, such as pancakes or French Toast. They can also take lunch pre-orders as well.

Buffet dining with gluten free

GF options in Windjammer

The Windjammer buffet has great choices too if you're gluten free. 

There's an entire gluten free section in the Windjammer you can choose from, in addition to any dishes you may find elsewhere around the buffet. There are gluten free buns for burgers too.

Gluten free buffet selections

Don't be afraid to ask to speak to the chef in the Windjammer about what options you have beyond the designated section.

Specialty dining or Main Dining Room?

Meatball at Giovanni's Table

A common question is if someone with a gluten free diet is better off in the Main Dining Room or going to specialty restaurants.

In the Royal Caribbean Dining Facebook group, there's varying opinions on which is better, but neither are bad choices overall.

Steak from main dining room

Both will be able to cater to your needs, so there isn't one that is a better choice than the other.

If you eat at a specialty restaurant, be sure to inform them of your special need. 

One advantage of the Main Dining Room is you can specify your dietary needs on the first night, and the staff should be able to accommodate you going forward every day thereafter.

The good news is if you elect to try specialty dining, they can absolutely accommodate you.

Gluten free snacking

Gluten free pizza

You should know that you can still enjoy the complimentary pizza at Sorrento's (or Cafe Promenade/Park Cafe depending on your ship) if you're eating gluten free.

There is gluten free pizza available at Sorrento's upon request.

Gluten free food examples

All of this sounds great, but what does it look like and what can you expect exactly?

Here are photos of gluten free dishes other guests have shared from their Royal Caribbean cruises.

GF bread

Gluten free bread 

Gluten free calamari

Gluten free calamari 

Carne Asada

Carne Asada 

GF Bread at Chops Grill

Gluten free bread at Chops Grille


Giovanni's Italian Kitchen with gluten free pasta 

GF Chocolate torte

Chocolate torte

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake

Gluten free dining tips on Royal Caribbean

Don't book My Time Dining

Royal Caribbean advises guests with special dietary needs to book Traditional Dining instead of My Time Dining in the Main Dining Room.

They say this is to provide the guests with a dedicated serving staff for the cruise.

MDR Waiters

Introduce yourself to the dining staff

As stated earlier, once you get onboard the ship, you should visit the dining room to introduce yourself to the dining staff.

You can advice them of your different allergies and they can then inform the dining staff for their table.

Be patient

Food service can take a little longer due to food being prepared in a dedicated kitchen.

GF Snacks

Bring your own snacks

While you wont go hungry, it might be advantageous to have gluten free snacks in your cabin to munch on when you're in a pinch.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

List of desserts

It can be difficult to know what desserts can be made gluten free, but here's a list of suggestions from reader Peggy Weatherington.

She dined recently on Wonder of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas and compiled a list of options.

  • Lemon curd (No crust)
  • Tres Leches cake
  • Coconut cake
  • Royal Chocolate cake 
  • Blueberry Cobbler
  • Baked Alaska (you will not get the cake part)
  • White Chocolate Mousse (Main Dining Room lunch menu)
  • Crema Catalina (very similar to Crème Brûlée)
  • Apple Cobbler
  • Warm Chocolate cake

How to book My Time Dining on Royal Caribbean

28 Feb 2023

Once you have decided on the perfect ship and itinerary, you are ready to move forward with the cruise booking process. Prior to checking out, you will have to make a decision on dining style. 

When booking a Royal Caribbean cruise, you have two options for dining: My Time Dining and Traditional Dining

Royal Caribbean main dining room

With Traditional Dining, you will have the same reserved seating each night of your cruise, and there are two seatings to choose from: first (early) and second (late). The early seating is usually around 5:30pm, while the late seating is around 8:00pm. The exact times, however, will vary according to your cruise itinerary. 

Some guests do not plan on eating in the Main Dining Room each day or would rather do so at the time of their choosing. With My Time Dining, you can simply walk up to the host stand to be seated or make reservations in advance for your preferred time. 

If you have selected My Time Dining for your next Royal Caribbean Cruise vacation, here's everything you need to know about how to book My Time Dining and secure your nightly dining reservations. 

What is My Time Dining?

Symphony of the Seas main dining room

My Time Dining is great for guests who wish to experience a flexible dining schedule onboard their cruise. If, for instance, you plan on staying late in port one day but still wish to eat in the Main Dining Room, you could make a reservation for later in the evening, rather than miss out on the experience because you have early dining. 

My Time Dining usually begins around 6:00pm and lasts until 9:30pm, giving you a wide range of times to choose from. The actual times, however, will vary by sailing. You will be able to see the exact times that My Time Dining is offered each evening once you book your cruise. 

Unlike Traditional Dining, you will not be seated at the same table with the same wait staff if your choose My Time.

Rather, you will be seated wherever there is availability. You can, of course, request a specific table and waiter, but they may not be able to honor this. 

Note that this only applies to dinner in the Main Dining Room. If you are purchasing a dining package or plan on eating dinner in one of the other complimentary venues, you may not find yourself putting too much thought into what dining style you'd prefer. 

Breakfast in the Main Dining Room is first come, first serve, regardless on whether or not you selected My Time or Traditional Dining. 

How to book My Time Dining?

When booking your cruise vacation


When you are reserving your cruise, you will be given the option to select "Traditional Dining" or "My Time Dining."

You will not be able to make your choice until the last step in the booking process; all passenger names will have to be entered first! At the same time, you will be able to add prepaid gratuities and vacation protection, if you choose to do so.

Even if you initially booked Traditional Dining, you can call your travel agent or Royal Caribbean directly to change to My Time.

You can even switch from My Time Dining to Traditional if you booked before understanding the differences, but you might end up with late dining depending on when you make the change, as early tends to book up quickly.

If you want, you can even try to switch onboard. Note, however, that this means you may not be able to have as flexible of a dining experience as you might be hoping for, especially if prime reservations have been secured in advance by other guests.

You also will not be able to switch after the second day, so you'll want to visit Guest Services and/or the Main Dining Room when you embark-- Guests can only participate in one dining style per sailing. 

Making reservations via the Cruise Planner


As soon as you place the deposit for your cruise, you will gain access to the Cruise Planner. This is where you'll not only be able to make your My Time Dining reservations, but also where you can reserve shore excursions, drink packages, and more. 

When you log into the Cruise Planner, all you have to do is navigate to the "Dining" tab and scroll down until you see "My Time Dining."

It is usually at the very bottom below the dining packages, specialty restaurants, and other exclusive dining experiences. 

From there, you can go ahead and make a reservation for each night of your cruise. You will have to make each reservation individually and add them to your cart one-by-one.

Upon checkout, you will be charged $0.00, unless you are also purchasing other add-ons. 

Women eating in main dining room

If you need to change or cancel a reservation for any reason, you will have to go into the specific order and cancel each reservation separately before you are able to rebook. 

If you have multiple people in your stateroom or travel party, you can make multiple reservations each evening to accommodate everyone's preferences.

If, for example, two people would like to eat earlier around 6:30pm, you would make them their own reservation. The others could make a separate My Time Dining reservation for 8:15pm. 

Reservations are highly recommended, as the wait time can be long if you choose to eat during the prime dinner hours of 6:30-8:00pm.

If you arrive as soon as the Main Dining Rooms open, you will be able to be seated shortly. The longer you wait to arrive, however, the longer you will have to wait for an available table. 

Having to arrive early, though, defeats the purpose of being able to dine whenever you'd like. The best way to fully take advantage of the My Time Dining program is to make your reservations before you board the ship!

Once you have made your My Time Dining reservations, they will appear in your cruise calendar, both on Cruise Planner tab and Royal Caribbean's app.

Unlike Traditional Dining, My Time Dining is only marked as lasting for fifteen minutes. When planning your other evening activities, make sure that you allot yourself at least 75 minutes for your Main Dining Room experience. 


If your My Time Dining reservation is at 7:15pm, do not make any other reservations until 8:30pm or later. You can, however, always tell your waitstaff that you have other plans, and they will do their best to serve you as quickly as possible. 

When onboard

You can wait to make your My Time Dining reservations until you board your cruise ship. Just head over to the Main Dining Room to speak with a head waiter, and they will assist you! Due to availability, however, you may not have as many times to choose from. 

Another method is to just simply show up at the Main Dining Room each night when you are ready to eat. Depending on when you go, you may have to wait until there is an available table. During peak dinner times, you may have to wait as long as 45 minutes for a table. 

If you have a smaller party, you might find that you do not have to wait as long as larger parties. It truly depends, though. 

This is why we recommend making reservations for My Time Dining, whether that be in advance via the Cruise Planner or onboard by speaking with a head waiter.

Throughout the cruise, you may be able to change your My Time Dining reservations on the app or by calling the dining hotline from your stateroom's telephone, but it is dependent on availability. 

Should you book My Time Dining for your next cruise?

The flexibility of My Time Dining comes with responsibility. If you are choosing My Time Dining because you are not a fan of either set dining times, you will need to ensure that you make nightly reservations as soon as possible via the Cruise Planner. If not, you might be stuck eating even later than the second seating!

It is possible to snag dining times around 7:00pm every night, but this is a highly desirable dinner time. The closer you get to your cruise vacation, the fewer reservations you may find. 

Additionally, if you are traveling with a large party, you might find Traditional Dining to be easier. It is more difficult for the Main Dining Room to accommodate larger groups with My Time Dining, as there are fewer tables set for bigger parties.

Online, you can only book My Time Dining for up to eight guests. If you are traveling with more than eight people, My Time Dining might become a hassle. You may find that you are split up at different tables that are not located near each other. 

Finally, the evening shows are often scheduled around Traditional Dining times with early and late showings. If you are unable to book show times in advance via the Cruise Planner when you are making your My Time Dining reservations, you may end up booking a dinner time that clashes with one of the shows. 

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