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Royal Caribbean room service guide & tips

09 May 2022

Every Royal Caribbean cruise offers a 24-hour room service menu, where you can get breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert delivered to your cabin. Extremely convenient, room service is something many cruisers come to appreciate, especially those who love to enjoy a private meal on their balcony.

Understanding the ins and outs of Royal Caribbean’s room service offerings and policies is good to know before your cruise begins.

Let’s dive in to our guide and tips for ordering room service on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

How much does Royal Caribbean room service cost?

Royal Caribbean room service (aside from complimentary continental breakfast) comes at a cost of $7.95 USD per order, per room. This is a fixed-cost, so you will pay the same fee whether ordering one dish for one person in a cabin or ten separate items for four people in a cabin.

An 18% gratuity is added on top of the $7.95 fee for a total cost of around $9.40.

In addition, while tipping is not required, it’s customary to give a small cash tip ($1-5) to the crew member delivering room service to your room.

When and how can I order room service?

Room service breakfast is from 6AM - 11AM each day of the cruise except disembarkation day. All other room service is available from 11AM to 6AM.

Ordering room service from the breakfast menu can be ordered through Royal Caribbean’s door hanger menus or by calling room service from your stateroom’s telephone.

The door hanger menu is a breakfast menu where you put a checkmark next to which items you would like to order, the quantity of each item, and the time you would like breakfast delivered. After selecting your order, hang the menu on the outside of your stateroom door. Menus should be placed on your stateroom door no later than 3AM on the morning you would like room service breakfast.

When you arrive in your stateroom on the first day of the cruise, you should find a stack of breakfast room service menus in the cabin’s drawer or desk. If you do not see any, ask your stateroom attendant to deliver the menus to your room.

The door hanger menu only exists for breakfast, so all other room service orders should be placed over the phone.

Read moreFood on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Does Royal Caribbean have free room service?

Royal Caribbean’s continental breakfast menu is complimentary, and while the menu is limited, this can be a great perk for passengers onboard.

The continental breakfast menu offers the following, although is subject to change from sailing to sailing:

  • Toast (wheat, white, gluten-free)
  • Plain bagel
  • English muffin
  • Donuts (glazed, chocolate)
  • Baked pastries (Croissant, blueberry muffin, assorted pastries)
  • Assorted jams & spread (strawberry jam, honey, cream cheese, butter, etc.)
  • Cereals (Special K, Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Raisin Bran, granola, oatmeal, grits)
  • Fruits (apples, oranges, bananas, fruit plate)
  • Yogurts (plan, fruit)

Continental breakfast beverages include juices (apple and orange), caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, tea (black, green, and herbal), and milk (regular, chocolate, fat free, lactose free, and half & half).

Continental breakfast is the only free room service option available on Royal Caribbean for most guests. However, those passengers in Grand Suites and above (any suite except a Junior Suite) have 24-hour complimentary room service available.

American breakfast menu

Outside of continental breakfast is an American breakfast menu which comes with the standard $7.95 room service cover charge. Items from the American breakfast menu can be ordered in conjunction with the continental breakfast menu.

The American breakfast menu features more cooked-to-order meals:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Scrambled egg whites
  • Scrambled egg beaters
  • Omelets (plain, ham, and cheese)
  • Fried eggs (sunny-side up, over medium, over easy, over hard)
  • Buttermilk pancakes (plain or blueberry)
  • Hash browns
  • Bacon
  • Pork sausage
  • Chicken sausage

All day room service menu

Aside from breakfast, all-day room service is available from 11AM - 6AM, and features a variety of lunch and dinner options as well as dessert. Whether for an afternoon snack, dinner, or late-night meal, you’re sure to find something that interests you on the room service menu.

Here is a sample of what may be included on the room service menu, although this is subject to change:

  • Soups (chicken noodle and tomato)
  • Salads (cobb, Greek, caesar)
  • Chicken tenders
  • The Royal Burger
  • Grilled cheese
  • Hot dog
  • Philly cheesesteak
  • Rigatoni Bolognese
  • Grilled salmon
  • Grilled quesadilla
  • Cheese or pepperoni pizza
  • Fried chicken wings
  • PB&J
  • Sides (French fries, side salad, potato chips)
  • New York cheesecake
  • Chocolate cake with caramel sauce
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Fresh seasonal fruit plate

Why should I order room service?

First and foremost, room service is extremely convenient. It may seem crazy to order meals directly to your cabin when there are so many dining options elsewhere onboard, but the ease of having a meal in your stateroom without having to get ready to go anywhere can be a favorable option.

Additionally, room service breakfast can be especially nice on port days when you have an excursion booked that starts early in the morning, especially if you have kids to get ready for the tour. Being able to eat breakfast in your room as you get ready for the day can be a lot easier than bringing the whole family to somewhere like the Windjammer for a rushed breakfast.

Room service can also be a great option if you have a balcony, as you can enjoy a private meal on the balcony with wonderful ocean views. Balconies include a small table as well, making it easy to enjoy a meal there.

Are drinks included with room service?

Drinks are not included with room service, even if you have a beverage package. The American breakfast menu, for example, has a mimosa and Bloody Mary available, but these will be priced at current bar pricing (plus gratuity).

If you have a beverage package, you’re usually better off walking to a bar onboard and bringing a drink back to your room than ordering drinks from room service.

That being said, you are still able to order drinks to your room even if they come at an extra cost.

Royal Caribbean opens My Time Dining back up to unvaccinated cruise ship passengers

03 May 2022

Another Covid-19 protocols has been relaxed.

Main dining room table

Royal Caribbean announced a change to its flexible dinner choice that would allow families with unvaccinated children to dine there once again.

In an email to travel agents, Royal Caribbean said unvaccinated guests seated with their traveling party are able to dine in My Time Dining once again.

Prior to this change, Royal Caribbean had restricted My Time Dining to vaccinated passengers only.

Here is the exact verbiage in the policy change.

"As we work through our health and safety protocols your clients can expect onboard, we wanted to share an update with you all. If unvaccinated guests remain seated with only his/her traveling party, we are pleased to share that My Time Dining is available to them."

This allows families with unvaccinated children to have the choice to eat at My Time Dining for dinner.

Read moreMy Time Dining versus Traditional Dining

Currently, Covid-19 vaccination is recommended, but not required, for children age 11 and under.

Up until now, the Main Dining Room, which spans multiple decks, designated areas for parents and unvaccinated kids, and areas for vaccinated parties only. My Time Dining was not available to parties that include unvaccinated guests.

One of many relaxed protocols

Royal Caribbean has slowly rolled back a number of health protocols on its ships following the passing of the Omicron variant and the cruise line's decision to enter into the CDC U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highly vaccinated program.

Having nearly everyone vaccinated against Covid onboard, Royal Caribbean has been able to remove or lessen certain Covid-19 protocols that were once universal across the cruise industry.

Face masks are no longer required at all indoors on Royal Caribbean ships for vaccinated guests, including in Adventure Ocean.

Masks were also made optional recently in the cruise ship terminals during embarkation or disembarkation, unless where local regulations require it.

Royal Caribbean has also done away with is separate areas for vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers. 

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Top 5 restaurants on Royal Caribbean

21 Apr 2022

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Royal Caribbean confirms self-service buffet on cruise ships are back

04 Apr 2022

It's official, you'll be able to serve yourself at the buffet on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship again.

Windjammer food on a plate

Royal Caribbean confirmed to RoyalCaribbeanBlog that beginning with cruises that departed on or after April 2, 2022, guests can serve themselves instead of crew members doing so at the buffet locations.

The statement added that while guests can serve themselves, the cruise line will still offer single-serve foods that do not require passengers to handle any serving utensils.

"On cruises departing on or after April 2, 2022, Royal Caribbean International will bring back self-service dining in guest-favorite venues on board, including the Windjammer Marketplace, Solarium Bistro, and at private destinations."

"Grab-and-go dishes and single serving portions will continue as a permanent offering – they have become popular options, and keeping them is among the top requests from our guests."

Photos by Matt Rearick on Symphony of the Seas

It looked like Royal Caribbean had made the change almost two weeks earlier when select cruise ships start seeing self-service resume in the Windjammer, but Royal Caribbean said that was a one-off test.

They've now decided to go with the self-service buffet.

Having crew members serve passengers instead of guests was one of the early changes cruise lines made during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to limit the spread from person to person.

Crew members handled the serving tongs or serving spoons and would place the food on the guest's plate.

The buffet serving change is one of many changes Royal Caribbean has made following the cruise line joining the CDC's voluntary Covid-19 monitoring program and electing to join the "highly vaccinated" program.

Drink stations were already changed to self-service earlier this year, where passengers could grab coffee, water, and juice.

While Royal Caribbean has changed to self-service just now, other cruise lines had already done so prior to this.

Carnival Cruise Line had self-service buffets back in July 2021.

Disney Cruise Line said that as of April 1, their ships would resume self-service buffets.

CDC food service requirements

Windjammer table

In checking the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operations manual for cruise ships sailing in the U.S., the rules for how food can be served has changed to be up to the cruise line.

According to the CDC, "food and beverage stations may be operated as self-service at the cruise operator’s discretion."

Vegetarian and Vegan Guide to Royal Caribbean | Royal Caribbean Blog

Cruise lines must encourage distancing through physical guides to direct the flow of passengers, provide signage for social distancing, and provide an appropriate number of staff to monitor distancing.

In addition, cruise lines must provide hand sanitizer at the entrances to food and beverage stations, ensure adequate supply of high-touch materials (serving spoons, tongs, etc.) to minimize sharing of the utensil by many guests, limit seat capacity at the buffet, and install physical barriers where it is difficult for guests to maintain a proper physical distance.

Spotted: Cruise ship passengers serving themselves in buffet again

22 Mar 2022

Since the restart of the cruise industry in June 2021, Royal Caribbean crew members have been serving guests at all buffets onboard its cruise ships. Cruisers on some Royal Caribbean ships this week have reported guests are now serving themselves at the buffet.

Photo credit to Lin Pojeta

The move from a self-service to full-service buffet was one of Royal Caribbean’s health protocols introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19 onboard. In the past, passengers would grab tongs or serving spoons and serve themselves at the buffet, but the new protocol meant that only Royal Caribbean crew members would serve food to guests.

This protocol was present at all buffets onboard, whether at the Windjammer Marketplace or smaller buffets like Solarium Bistro, and was one of the changes Royal Caribbean made that many passengers appreciated the most.

In the previous month or two, however, Royal Caribbean’s buffet service protocols have been getting noticeably more relaxed. Drinks like coffee, water, and juice, which were once served by a crew member, moved to self-service stations earlier this year. In addition, I noticed select food items, like bagels and pita bread, moved to self-service at Solarium Bistro on a recent Wonder of the Seas cruise.

While most ships are still having crew members serve guests at the buffet, a handful of ships changed to self-service for guests.

In a Facebook group for Pinnacle members in the Crown & Anchor Society, several cruisers posted about the return to a self-service buffet. Passengers onboard Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Freedom of the Seas mentioned their sailing has returned to self-service, with crew members no longer serving guests at buffets.

Photo credit to Lin Pojeta

Currently, the move does not appear to be fleet-wide, as a guest on Grandeur of the Seas this week noted her ship was still operating a full-service buffet. 

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean crew members continue to serve guests at Windjammer across the fleet. While there was self-service on some ships today, crew will be serving guests tomorrow again in Windjammer.

A change in direction

The transition back to self-service buffet is a change in direction from what cruise line executives said a few months ago.

In September 2021, Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain mentioned he thinks crew members serving guests at buffets is a better approach altogether, in addition to protecting the health of guests onboard.

“On board, the buffet, where it’s now being served to you instead of you picking up the tongs yourself. And I suspect that for us, that will be a permanent feature, because independent of health reasons, it’s just better.”

Mr. Fain also mentioned that when the crew members serve guests at buffets, the food ends up being fresher due to the fact that a crew member is able to realize the container is empty right away and grab a fresh one.

Aside from the health benefits of only a few crew members touching buffet tongs and serving spoons as opposed to hundreds of guests, there are a few more advantages to note.

Many guests feel there is less food waste created when crew members serve guests at the buffet, as they are more likely to give a reasonable portion size compared to guests filling their plate.

And while perhaps moving to self-service may not have an impact on Covid-19 transmission onboard, many guests still feel a self-service model is less sanitary than a full-service model, despite the fact that guests must wash their hands upon arrival to the buffet.

Photo credit to Lin Pojeta

CDC requirements

Royal Caribbean may have made the change back to a self-service buffet in response to the Center for Disease Control’s latest requirements for cruise ships.

In the Operations Manual for cruise ships operating in U.S. waters, the CDC states that “food and beverage stations may be operated as self-service at the cruise operator’s discretion”.

The move to a self-service station is subject to a few requirements listed by the CDC, the majority of which involve promoting physical distancing at the buffet. Cruise lines must encourage distancing through physical guides to direct the flow of passengers, provide signage for social distancing, and provide an appropriate number of staff to monitor distancing.

In addition, cruise lines must provide hand sanitizer at the entrances to food and beverage stations, ensure adequate supply of high-touch materials (serving spoons, tongs, etc.) to minimize sharing of the utensil by many guests, limit seat capacity at the buffet, and install physical barriers where it is difficult for guests to maintain a proper physical distance.

Royal Caribbean appears to be following the CDC’s guidelines to allow for a self-service buffet, even if this is a move not welcomed by all cruisers.

Moving back to a self-service buffet has been a highly contested topic for Royal Caribbean cruisers since the restart of the cruise industry. Those in favor of crew serving guests have mentioned the increased cleanliness and lack of food waste as major reasons why they would like to keep a full-service buffet.

Photo credit to Lin Pojeta

Those in favor of a self-service buffet, on the other hand, enjoy being able to serve themselves exactly how much they would like of each item without having to go through a crew member to do so.

Royal Caribbean’s health protocols are constantly shifting, so only time will tell whether the buffet fully transitions back to self-service or not. As of now, the change only seems to be on select ships but not fleetwide.

How do you feel about a self-service vs full-service buffet? Would you like to see Royal Caribbean crew members continue to serve guests at buffets onboard? Let us know in the comments below.

Vegetarian and Vegan Guide to Royal Caribbean

02 Feb 2022

How does dining on a cruise ship work if you are vegetarians or vegan?

If you take a look at cruise ship marketing, odds are you will see an abundance of food. Cruise ships are known for their dining options, and for good measure. The cuisine on cruise ships is diverse and extra tasty. Whether you choose to eat at complimentary venues like the Main Dining Room or at specialty dining like Chops Grille, you will never run out of things to eat.

Those with dietary restrictions may be nervous about finding food they can eat on the ship. Will there be any vegan and vegetarian options? Will they have to survive on protein bars brought from home?

There’s no need to worry, as Royal Caribbean aims to provide plenty of dining options for vegetarian and vegan guests. With so many restaurants and dining options, though, it can be a bit confusing to keep them all straight. This list will help you pick the dining venues that are the most vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

Vegetarian and vegan options at complimentary dining

The Buffet

The Windjammer Marketplace is Royal Caribbean’s signature buffet onboard. The buffet has an abundance of cuisines available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options at the Windjammer for every meal. Whether pasta with marinara, a salad, fresh fruit, oatmeal, soup, or avocado toast, you’ll certainly be able to find something to eat. Plant-based milks are also available on request for cereal and coffee.

One of the best options at the Windjammer are the live cooking stations, where you choose what you would like and a crew member will cook right in front of you. My favorite has been the stir fry station, where you can choose a variety of vegetables and a spice level to be cooked with either rice or noodles.

Another popular vegetarian option at the Windjammer is the Indian food. More often than not there is a vegetarian curry option available at every meal, such as chana masala, paneer masala, or dal. Served with rice and pita, this is a go-to protein-rich option for vegetarians.

The only problem with the Windjammer is that vegan and vegetarian options are rarely labeled. In my experience, I end up asking the crew member if something has meat or not. As a flexible pescatarian this works fine for me, but for stricter vegetarians or vegans this is not totally ideal, as the crew member may not be aware of every ingredient in the dish.

On my most recent sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas, though, there was an entire vegetarian and vegan section, which included Thai curries, quinoa salads, sautéed vegetables, and even vegan desserts. However, I have not seen this on other ships.

Main Dining Room

The Main Dining Room is one of the best places onboard for vegetarians and vegans to dine with ease. Royal Caribbean has implemented a special vegan menu each night in the Main Dining Room. This makes it extremely easy for vegans to find a dish that works for them. There are usually two appetizers, one soup, two entrees, and one dessert to choose from on the vegan menu.

The best place to see the day’s vegan menu offerings is on the Royal Caribbean app, as they usually will not be listed on the paper menu. Here were the vegan menu options during a recent 7-night cruise on Harmony of the Seas:

Day 1:

Appetizer: Spring Onion “Falafel”

Soup: Butternut Squash

Entrees: Edamame-stuffed Portobello Eggplant & Pan-roasted Green Asparagus 

Dessert: Tahini Banana Soft Serve

Day 2:

Appetizers: Corn Fritters & Romesco Oat Spread

Soup: Caramelized Parsnip & Coconut Soup

Entrees: Penne Pasta & Grilled Eggplant

Dessert: No-bake Lemon Tart

Day 3:

Appetizers: Zucchini Fritters & Avocado and Melon Salad

Soup: Cherry Tomato Gazpacho

Entrees: Vegan Risotto & Crunchy Tofu Tacos

Dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookie

Day 4:

Appetizers: Raw Vegetable Salad & Rice Paper Rolls

Soup: Tomato Soup

Entrees: Vegetable Pakoras & Orzo Pasta Stew

Dessert: Wild Berry Bar

Day 5:

Appetizers: Green Bean Croquette & Vegetable Tempura

Soup: Creamed Broccoli Soup

Entrees: Butternut Squash Curry & Vegan Eggplant Burger

Dessert: Vegan Crème Brulée

Day 6:

Appetizers: Grilled Avocado & Polenta Fries

Soup: Potato Soup

Entrees: Vegan Carbonara & Fried Rice

Dessert: Peanut Butter Caramel Rice Crisps

Day 7:

Appetizers: Ciabatta Salad & Grilled Peach and Panzanella Salad

Soup: Tortilla Soup

Entrees: No-egg Omelet & Vegan Spaghetti “Bolognese”

Dessert: Toffee “Cheesecake”

While there is no separate vegan menu available for breakfast and lunch in the Main Dining Room, requests can be made to cater to your dietary needs. Vegetarian options are available on the menu for both breakfast and lunch. Vegetarian Indian food is also often available on request.

Park Cafe & Cafe at Two70

Park Cafe (Oasis-class ships) and Cafe at Two70 (Quantum-class ships) are two complimentary dining locations open for breakfast and lunch. They have similar food options and concepts.

One of the tastiest options available at these two venues is the Create Your Own Salad station. With several options of lettuce, vegetables, legumes, starches, and dressings, you can create a salad any way you like.

My go-to salad at Park Cafe is a bed of romaine and spring mix topped with bell peppers, kidney beans, Israeli couscous, corn, carrots, croutons, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Soups and sandwiches are also available and, in my experience, there has usually been a vegetarian soup and sandwich option each day for lunch. The soup is not labeled vegan, so you would have to ask a crew member whether it is vegan or not.

For breakfast at these two venues you can choose from oatmeal, a bagel station, breakfast sandwiches, wraps, and pastries.

Solarium Bistro

Photo by an average Vegetarian, Billy of

Available on Quantum and Oasis-class ships, Solarium Bistro is a complimentary venue offering dishes with a Mediterranean flare. Solarium Bistro is open for breakfast with a similar selection of food you can find elsewhere on the ship, but the main meal is at dinnertime.

Vegetarians and vegans will enjoy the wide array of appetizers available at Solarium Bistro for dinner. From greek salad to hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, pita, moussaka, grilled vegetables, arugula salad, and barley salad, there is no shortage of flavorful Mediterranean cuisine at Solarium Bistro.

Appetizers are served buffet-style, so guests are able to try as much as they desire. Desserts are also available and include baklava, torta de mele, and chocolate nocciola.


Sorrento’s Pizza is a surprisingly easy place to eat vegetarian or vegan. Not only does Sorrento’s offer a variety of cold plates, such as grilled vegetables and olives, but you can actually order a custom pizza all for yourself with or without cheese and topped with vegetables. To order a custom pizza, simply talk to a crew member at Sorrento’s and they will begin making the pizza for you.

El Loco Fresh

El Loco Fresh is a complimentary and casual Mexican venue located on the pool deck of select Royal Caribbean ships. At El Loco Fresh you can build your own tacos with rice, beans, and a salsa/topping station. There are also cheese quesadillas and a nacho station available.

Other complimentary venues

Outside of the venues mentioned above, you can find more places to dine as a vegetarian or vegan on a Royal Caribbean ship. Venues like Cafe Promenade, Vitality Cafe, and Mini Bites offer small sandwiches, fruit and vegetable cups, and other snacks throughout the day. 

Best specialty dining for vegetarians and vegans

While the complimentary dining options available on Royal Caribbean are plentiful, specialty dining can be a nice way to enhance your cruise experience. Not all specialty dining restaurants offer the same amount of vegetarian/vegan options, though, but there are a few I feel are the best for those with dietary restrictions.


Izumi Sushi & Hibachi is a nice option for vegetarians and vegans due to how customizable the menu is. A vegetable roll is offered on the sushi menu, and if you talk to the sushi chef they will likely be able to customize another vegan or vegetarian roll for you.

Traditionally, the hibachi option includes egg and butter in the fried rice. The hibachi chef will ask guests if they have any dietary restrictions prior to cooking, so be sure to let the chef know what you can and cannot eat.

I’ve found that the vegetarian hibachi option has varied greatly by ship. On some ships, I was given just the fried rice and sauteed vegetables. On other ships, the chef cooked a tofu udon noodle dish in addition to the fried rice and vegetables.

Vegetarian appetizers include edamame beans and a ginger salad, and for dessert you can choose between mochi ice cream and crispy red bean sesame balls. The options are not labeled for dietary restrictions, so be sure to check whether the ginger salad dressing and sesame balls are vegan. The mochi ice cream contains dairy.

Jamie’s Italian and Giovanni’s Table/Kitchen

Royal Caribbean’s Italian specialty restaurants are one of the best specialty dining choices for vegetarians. Pasta and pizza are easy dishes to make vegetarian or vegan and Royal Caribbean’s Italian restaurants offer several options for those with dietary restrictions.

My favorite vegetarian Italian meal is the eggplant parmesan with penne pomodoro at Jamie’s Italian. The eggplant is not breaded, so there is no need for vegans to worry about the eggplant including eggs. The dish comes topped with cheese, but this could be removed for vegans.

In addition to pasta with marinara sauce, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen has an elaborate pizza menu which can be customized to fit dietary needs for both vegetarians and vegans.

Some pasta may be made with egg and sauce with cheese, so it’s a good idea to inquire about whether or not the pasta and marinara sauce at the Italian specialty restaurants are vegan. 


Royal Caribbean’s premiere sports bar is another great venue for vegetarians, and it has several dishes that can be customized for vegans as well.

Vegetarians can start their meal by snacking on Pile On Nachos, Playmakers Fries, Jalapeño Poppers, and the extra tall Crispy Onion Ring Tower. Vegans can request the fries without cheese and garlic sauce.

Both vegans and vegetarians can enjoy the Playmakers Impossible Burger. The plant-based burger is topped with lettuce, tomato, onion rings, and cajun mayonnaise on a brioche bun. While the burger patty is plant-based, vegans should order the burger without mayonnaise and check with the staff whether the bun and onion rings are vegan.

Johnny Rockets

Vegetarians and vegans will have no trouble dining at Johnny Rockets onboard as the menu features a vegan burger. The Streamliner burger is topped with caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mustard on a wheat bun.

Apparently the buns at Johnny Rockets are not vegan, so either double check with the waiter or order the burger without the bun if you are concerned.

The menu also features grilled cheese as well as fries and onion rings.

150 Central Park

Located within Central Park on Oasis-class ships, 150 Central Park is an elegant dining venue that sources local ingredients for its dishes. The venue features several vegetarian appetizers, such as Caesar salad and roasted organic beet salad. It also has a vegetarian entree of cauliflower “steak”.

Vegans can eat at 150 Central Park by making substitutions to the selections, such as asking for no cheese and no yogurt.

Specialty dining with less options for vegetarians and vegans

Some specialty restaurants onboard do not offer as many options for vegetarians and vegans on their menus, although dietary accommodations can likely be made upon request.

Restaurants such as Portside BBQ, Chops Grille, Sabor, Samba Grill, and Wonderland do not have any entrees that are vegetarian or vegan, although there are vegetarian/vegan side dishes available.

The best bet for dining at a specialty restaurant without any specific vegan/vegetarian main courses is to call or walk into the restaurant and ask if they are able to accommodate your dietary needs. The chef may be able to make something vegetarian or vegan for you to enjoy.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Perfect Day at CocoCay is one of the most frequented cruise ship ports in the Caribbean, and as it is a private destination, food and drinks are complimentary on the island (with the exception of the Coco Beach Club).

Chill Grill and Skipper’s Grill are the two best dining options for vegetarians and vegans at CocoCay. Both venues serve the same food in a buffet-style, and include a taco bar with rice, beans, and a salsa station, salads, a portobello and mozzarella sandwich, fresh fruit, dessert, and smaller side dishes like corn on the cob and french fries.

Snack Shack is another popular dining spot at CocoCay, but it’s menu is more limited for vegetarians and vegans, with salads, mozzarella sticks, and french fries available.

If you’re spending the day in the Coco Beach Club, you’ll have the opportunity to dine at the Coco Beach Club restaurant. This venue has more upscale offerings compared to the complimentary venues on the island.

The only entree available for vegetarians at the Coco Beach Club is a caesar salad, but Royal Caribbean states that “You’ll find gluten free and vegetarian options available at the Coco Beach Club as well as options to suit most dietary needs,” so it’s possible you are able to request a separate dish.

The appetizer spread will definitely be a favorite for vegetarians and vegans, though, as it features freshly made hummus, baba ganoush, vegetables, and pita. Desserts include exotic fruit salad, tropical fruit sorbet, and Bahamian rum soaked cake.


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

29 Nov 2021

Despite all of the changes over the years, the main dining room on any cruise ship is still an institution of the cruise experience.

What changes has Royal Caribbean made to eating on a cruise since restarting? | Royal Caribbean Blog

While the experience may not nearly be as formal as it once was, there are still plenty of faux pas' to avoid while dining there, and every guest should be aware of what they should or should not do while eating there.

Etiquette at the main dining room on a cruise ship is not all that different from a land-based restaurant, but there are a few nuances that first time cruisers may be unaware of before they step aboard.

Here is my list of 7 main dining room guidelines you should know, as well as one well-known supposed rule that I think you can disregard.

Dress appropriately

How to request your favorite foods be prepared in the main dining room on your Royal Caribbean cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

Dress codes do exist for the main dining room, although they are far less regimented as you might think.

While Royal Caribbean is fairly ambiguous on if shorts are allowed, there are some basics related to the dress codes that are usually enforced.

Each evening, the dining room will have a dress code.  Usually it is either casual or formal.  On some longer sailings, they can work in smart casual, which I admit I have trouble distinguishing from regular casual.

99 days of Harmony: Main Dining Room | Royal Caribbean Blog

First and foremost, respect the fact there are dress codes and as a courtesy to your fellow guests, observe the spirit of the dress code.

On casual nights, a collared shirt and slacks/jeans for men will suffice. Ladies can wear jeans and a blouse, dress, skirt, or pretty much anything else you might wear to somewhere that is not the beach or pool.

When it's formal night, you want to step it up just a little bit.  While there will be some people wearing tuxedos and ball gowns, most guests wear something a little nicer than the other nights. Jackets and ties for men are optional. 

The major things to avoid are swim wear, tank tops, or bare feet.

Be on time

How to not eat with strangers on a Royal Caribbean cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you are seated in traditional dining with an early or late seating, be on time for dinner.

The traditional dining rotations are prepared for guests to be on time and enjoy the same courses at roughly the same time so that the restaurant can turn over the tables for the next seating.

Not only does it delay ordering for others at your table if you're sharing one, but it also forces your waiters to rush you through your meal in order to get you in and out within the allotted timeframe.

If you booked My Time Dining, showing up at the wrong time from your reservation may mean you may not have a seat.

Avoid controversial topics with tablemates

Royal Caribbean working on new main dining room menu | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you are seated with other guests, you should feel free to strike up a conversation, but avoid the "third rail" of discussion: religion and politics.

Everyone has different viewpoints, and the last thing you want to do is get into a heated debate with people you don't know just to pass the time.

Instead, talk about what you did onboard that day, plans for the next day, the weather, favorite sport teams, and pretty much anything else that steers clear of an issue that could lead to yelling, anger, and awkward silences.

Be considerate to waiters

Odyssey of the Seas restaurants | Royal Caribbean Blog

This may seem obvious, but don't be rude to the wait staff.

Besides the general courtesy of learning to pronounce your waiter's name, keep in mind mistakes can happen. A forgotten drink, a missed ingredient, or even the wrong dish can happen. Waiters work long hours and have likely been serving other guests throughout the day.

If there is bigger issue that is not so easily overlooked, first try to take the issue politely up with the waiter. If that doesn't work, then ask to speak to the head waiter so they can address it.

The bottom line is you are far more likely to get any issue resolved while being polite, rather than being rude.

Be mindful of general table manners

Cruise FAQ: Dining | Royal Caribbean Blog

Good table manners are appropriate for all dining occasions, not just cruise ships.

Not only do good table manners reflect positively on you, it shows respect to your waiters and the people you dine with.

  • Don't eat with your hands
  • When ordering, it’s more gracious to say, “May I please have the…” rather than “Give me the…”
  • Don't talk with your mouth full
  • Don't twirl your napkin 

Take the after-dinner talk elsewhere

Mariner of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

This is something I think some may not think about, but the main dining room is on a schedule.  After you've had dessert, coffee, and anything else you ordered, you should work on moving away from the table so the wait staff can clear the table and prepare it for the next guests.

The easy clue to that dinner is over is after dessert when your waiter comes by to give you a rundown of what to expect the next day.

If you have a request for more food or drink, you should absolutely feel free to do so.  Just try not to linger while many other guests have already left the dining room. 

Going back to the idea of being courteous to the wait staff, they need to clear the table for the next meal.

Don't be wasteful

9 Questions you should always ask on a Royal Caribbean cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

And that one rule you can feel free to break? It's okay to try foods if you have no intention of finishing it, just don't abuse the food you can order.

Nearly all the food in the main dining room is included with your cruise fare, and that means you can order more than one appetizer, entree, or dessert. However, that is not carte blanche for wasting food.

Food waste is about being responsible. So it's okay to order two different dishes, but don't order something you know you won't actually eat.

Royal Caribbean working on new main dining room menu | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you are too full for dessert, or just want to nibble on an appetizer, it's okay to say you want to skip a particular course.

However, I do think once in a while it is perfectly fine to order something with the intention of trying it out. I think sampling new foods on a cruise ship is a great way to expand your palate, so tell your waiter you want to order a dish to give it a go. In that scenario, taking a bite and then leaving the rest is fine. You just want to avoid leaving a lot of food on your plates because you ordered too much for a more foolish reason.

Royal Caribbean Group CEO thinks crew will serve guests at the buffet permanently

02 Sep 2021

One of the big changes to cruise ships since Royal Caribbean restarted sailing likely is not going away.

Ever since the first Royal Caribbean ship restarted sailing, the buffets onboard moved from self-service to full-service, meaning crew members now serve guests instead of guests serving themselves.

The rule change was one of many new health protocols introduced to lower the chance of Covid-19 transmission between guests and crew members, and this rule may end up being a change that makes sense even beyond Covid.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain mentioned in a recent interview he thinks crew serving guest food at the buffets is just a better approach, in addition to protecting health.

"On board, the buffet, where it's now being served to you instead of you picking up the tongs yourself. And I suspect that for us, that will be a permanent feature, because independent of the health reasons, it's just better."

Mr. Fain said having crew there to serve keeps a closer eye on when refills are needed, so there is less waiting for guests, "What it means is the food ends up being a little bit fresher because we tend to have somebody right on it as the plate gets empty, they go one is another one of that."

He acknowledged that without the pandemic, it was not an idea they would have considered.

Early on in the pandemic, there was a great deal of concern buffets would not be available at all.  While fine dining is a major part of cruising, the buffet is a staple of the experience.

When ships restarted sailing again, the buffet was indeed there, but it had the crew members standing behind the buffet with the tongs in hand.

Drinks in the buffet are also served by the crew.  Crew members hand guests a cup of water, tea, or coffee instead of guests grabbing it themselves.

Guests now walk up to a buffet station, and ask the crew member to serve them a particular item.

Other health protocols implemented in the buffet include scanning SeaPass cards when going in and out of the venue to ensure there is not overcrowding, certain tables blocked off to ensure social distancing, and even signs on the floor to show passengers where to stand while in line for the buffet at a safe distance.

Royal Caribbean also added a reservation system for the Windjammer, where guests could optionally reserve a time in advance via the Royal Caribbean app, although that has not yet been necessary on any sailing so far.

While Mr. Fain did not address the subject of dinner in the buffet, it remains another top question among cruisers.

Currently, the Windjammer is only open for breakfast and lunch onboard.  It is not open for dinner.

The reason why the Windjammer remains closed for dinner is there are simply not enough people onboard the ship.  At dinner, specialty restaurants, the main dining room, and other complimentary dining venues all vying for guests.  With ships sailing with less than half a ship's normal capacity, Royal Caribbean decided to keep the Windjammer closed for dinner.

From what I've heard from Royal Caribbean, the Windjammer will remain closed for dinner until ships reach around 50-60% capacity again.

Dining with a picky eater on a Royal Caribbean cruise

14 Mar 2016

Personally, I love to eat on a Royal Caribbean cruise and indulge in the amazing variety of food offered onboard.  Royal Caribbean offers a lot to choose from and for someone that enjoys trying new foods, this is terrific.

What happens if you, or someone you are cruising with (such as a young child) is a picky eater and hates trying new foods?  

You might think this could ruin your trip, but it does not have to!

Here are some good tips for how to deal with the pickiest eaters on a Royal Caribbean cruise that I have found over the years.

Best place for kids: Windjammer buffet

Children are notoriously picky eaters, because they tend to judge food purely on its aesthetics instead of what it tastes like.  

You can try explaining to your kids how tasty broccoli really is, or just head to the "great equalizer at sea", the Windjammer.

The beauty of the Windjammer is the sheer variety of food offered.  

You will find the widest selection of food in the Windjammer, including some really basic foods, such as grilled meats, cheeses, fruit, pasta and more.

In fact, much of the food served in the Windjammer is based on the idea of creating it yourself, so the pasta has no sauce on it and the grilled chicken comes out bare.  There are plenty of sauces and toppings you can add right next to it, but for picky eaters, it is always best to keep foods simple and go from there.

In short, when it comes to appeasing a picky eater, you want as much choice as possible on your side.

Places offering picky eater-friendly choices

On any Royal Caribbean ship, you will find a lot of restaurants onboard that serve up food to guests. Each has their own menu and different options to choose from.

For picky eaters, we have found these Royal Caribbean restaurants offer a higher likelihood of making picky eaters happy.

Sorrento's Pizza

Any Royal Caribbean ship with a Royal Promenade or Royal Esplanade will offer a food that almost any picky eater can enjoy, Sorrento's Pizza.

While Sorrento's may not win any culinary awards for the pizza it offers, the pizza available here is always a hit with kids and picky eaters a like.

At any given time, guests can enjoy a few different varieties of pizza, but plain cheese and pepperoni pizza is almost always available.  And it's complimentary!

Wipeout Cafe

Royal Caribbean figured if kids are going to be spending a lot of time near the amazing onboard activities, such as the FlowRider, Rock Climbing Wall or Teen Club, then they should put somewhere to eat that appeals to them nearby.

Wipeout Cafe has hot dogs, burgers, fries and ice cream and not much else.  But for picky eaters, this must be heaven.

In terms of easy to please food that is nearby the pool decks, Wipeout Cafe is a great choice and usually features very short lines.

Main Dining Room

Royal Caribbean designed its main dining room to be able to accommodate thousands of guests and almost as many tastes.

Whether you are a super picky eater, have dietary restrictions or just do not like wet and dry foods touching, the staff at the main dining room is there to make your dining experience perfect.

Ask to speak to the head waiter and explain what you would like, even if it is not on the menu. With advanced notice, the chef can create something perfect that should satisfy the pickiest of eaters.

Johnny Rockets

For a small charge, picky eaters can do quite well at Johnny Rockets, where you will find classic American food prepared to your liking.

Burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, chicken sandwiches and more are available at Johnny Rockets and you really cannot beat the quality of food served here when it comes to this classic fare.

While the burgers, dogs and sandwiches served elsewhere onboard are complimentary, the quality of the food at Johnny Rockets is top-notch and always seems to hit the spot.

Get your picky eater involved in planning

When you have picky eaters in your group, one important step you can take to ensure a smoother dining process is involve them in the decision making.

Empowering them to help with planning not only helps alleviate anxiety about what they are about to eat, but it also helps get them onboard with the plans.

When planning where to eat, encourage your picky eaters to help with the planning and take a look at Royal Caribbean menus in advance.

After all, eating on a Royal Caribbean cruise is more than just about getting sustinance to fuel your body.  Dining is a big part of the cruise fun!

The secret menu: side dishes

Just because you have a picky eater does not mean you cannot eat at restaurants without burgers or hot dogs on the menu.

On this blog, we love to dine at Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants such as Giovanni's Table, Sabor, Chops Grille and more, but picky eaters may not be thrilled about the menu choices there.

An overlooked aspect of all these restaurants are the side dishes, which are often basic options that can easily be turned into entrees (especially for kids).

In most specialty restaurants, the side dishes can be ordered in as much quantity as you like, so picky eaters can use those options as a basic part of their meal without having to venture out to the main dishes on the menu.

We want to hear from you! What are your best tips for dining with picky eaters on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Leave a comment and share below!

The top decadent Royal Caribbean snacks

11 Feb 2016

When you are on a Royal Caribbean cruise, that means you are on vacation and splurging here and there is what makes being on vacation so much fun.

In addition to the terrific entertainment onboard and the ports you will visit, there are a lot of tasty snacks you can enjoy that just are not worth worrying about how many calories they have.  This is about enjoying your vacation!

Let us look at some of the most decadent snacks available to binge on during your Royal Caribbean cruise.

Sorrentos Pizza

There is no doubt that the pizza at Sorrentos will not win any awards, but sometimes you just need a slice of pizza and Sorrentos fits that requirement.

Sorrentos pizza comes in a few different varieties, depending on what they are cooking, and it is included in your cruise fare.

For most guests, grabbing a slice of pizza is the perfect pit stop as you move from one end of the ship to the other.  And after a night of partying, pizza really hits the spot!

Kummelweck Sandwich

A Royal Caribbean classic offering is the Kummelweck sandwich, which offers slices of seasoned slow-roasted beef, sliced to perfection that is available to guests at Park Cafe.

The Kummelweck sandwich was first offered on Oasis class ships, but Park Cafe has spread to other ships in the fleet since then.  It's also available on Quantum class ships at [email protected]

Guests are served a rare, thin cut of beef dipped in au jus accompanied by a secret sauce.

If it sounds mighty tasty, that is because it really is and something that is a must-try (at least a half dozen times) for any guest.

Dog House hot dog

When Royal Caribbean designed its Dog House hot dog offerings, they did not just settle on one style of dog.

The Seaplex Dog House and Boardwalk Dog House offers four kind of hot dogs:

  • Big apple: Chicken and apple
  • German: Thuringer (Pork - genuine old world style)
  • Smoke House: Smoked Bratwurst (pork - traditional spices)
  • Coney Island: Classic American all-beef Kosher hot dog

No matter which dog you pick and what sides you toss on them, it is a tasty quick snack that really "hits the spot."

Chips and salsa

There are two spots on Royal Caribbean that regularly serve up some great chips and salsa: Sabor and Rita's Cantina.

Regardless of which one you visit, be sure to enjoy the perfect finger food that is great for groups.  Bonus points if accompanied by a margarita!

There is an additional fee to dine at either restaurant, but when you are in the mood for a great Mexican snack, this is your best bet.

Johnny Rockets milkshake

Johnny Rockets has locations around the world, including Royal Caribbean cruise ships, and the chain has a reputation for amazing classic American food, including its milkshakes.

The milkshakes at Johnny Rockets are made with hand-dipped premium ice cream and are as good as they sound.

Milkshakes come in three flavors: vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.

There is an additional cost to the milkshakes, but it might be one of the best, inexpensive splurges available on your Royal Caribbean cruise.

Sandwiches from Cafe Promenade

It never ceases to amaze me how I will not feel hungry, but as soon as I walk by Cafe Promenade and see the amazing sandwiches waiting to be picked up, I instantly become famished.

Each day, Royal Caribbean offers a different variety of sandwiches, from wraps to shrimp rolls, to Greek salad rolls and more.

A visit to Cafe Promenade often begins with the words, "let me just see what they have..." and before you know it, you have a plate full of mini-sandwiches to enjoy.

What is your favorite snack that is worth every single calorie? Leave a comment and share with us!

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