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Why the cliche about cruise ships is totally wrong

25 Jan 2021

Have you ever heard this cliché about cruise ships: "Cruises are for the newly wed and nearly dead"?

I have too, and it is completely wrong.

This line is often repeated as reason enough not to go on a cruise, because it infers why would you want to be associated with something that only those types of people do.

Unfortunately, clichés like this tend to permeate in our society because they are catchy and work well to quickly label something we are unfamiliar with.

That vision of what a cruise is, is very much incorrect, because a great multitude of people enjoy cruise vacations.  Here is why that cliché is totally wrong.

If you asked someone who went on a Royal Caribbean cruise what sort of people are onboard, they would tell you there are families, seniors, college kids, baby boomers and more.

The saying that cruises are filled with retirees and young couples simply is not true.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Global Passenger Report, the average age of cruise passenger was 46.7 years old in 2019.

That average does not mean cruises are filled with just people in their 40s either.  The wide range of ages, skewed by children and senior citizens means you get a good mix of ages onboard.

During the peak summer season, Royal Caribbean can have as many as 1,000 kids onboard a given sailing.

In addition, Royal Caribbean designs its cruise ships to have a wide appeal so that it does not skew heavily in one direction.

Each new ship has more space dedicated to children's programming, with expansive Adventure Ocean programs that feature supervised childcare.

Then you have mini-golf, water slides, rock climbing walls, bumper cars and more to attract, just about anyone.

Cruise ships have night clubs, Broadway shows, and comedians that ensure there is great evening entertainment.

Will I be bored?

Maybe the prospect of going on a cruise ship with retirees does not bother you as much as the fear you might not have enough to do and feel trapped and bored? Likely not.

Cruises are way more than sitting around all day in a lounge chair inbetween trips to the buffet.

At the heart of a cruise vacation is the opportunity to visit some amazing places around the world. Don't forget that your ship will stop at different ports of call, where you can get off the ship and explore. That could be a beach day, visiting a cultural site, going shopping, or taking a scenic tour.

Back onboard, Royal Caribbean offers onboard surfing, ice skating, sky diving, climbing, and golfing. 

Every evening there are live musical acts, including piano singers, guitarists, classical groups and more. Don't forget about the comedy shows, musical revues, and featured acts that Royal Caribbean regularly mixes in.

Each day of your cruise you get a daily newspaper, known as a Cruise Compass, which lists all of the activities. If you are concerned there is not enough to do, read a past Cruise Compass to see just how much is going on onboard.

Cruises are too structured

Someone who has never been on a cruise may think that the experience is more like a military operation, with designated times and rules that everyone must follow.

Cruises have changed from the "old days" of sailing.  While there are still set dining times, shows, and even dress codes, all of those are optional, and Royal Caribbean provides a great deal of alternative options to consider.

Every Royal Caribbean ship has a variety of dining choices that are in addition to the main dining room. 

The dress codes you hear about apply to the main dining room, and if you want to stay in your bathing suit and grab food at the Windjammer buffet before hanging out with your friends, you can do that.

Read moreWhy is there formal night on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

Even if you do decide to go to the main dining room, you absolutely do not need to wear a tuxedo or ballgown. Royal Caribbean's dress codes are quite vague and relaxed, so you can wear something more appropriate for a nice evening out at home, rather than a scene from Titanic.

The unwritten rules of going on a cruise

21 Jan 2021

From sports, to your workplace, to school, there are always unwritten rules that everyone kind of knows about and should follow.

The same is true about going on a cruise ship, and these rules are not necessarily written down anywhere, but they are the social norms many guests follow.

Many of these rules are based on "common sense" or courtesies extended through much of society these days.

If you are going on a cruise, these unspoken rules are things you should definitely be aware of before doing something you might regret later.

Don't cut the buffet line

The Windjammer buffet does not have defined lanes, or entry and exit points.  But that does not mean you can drop in ahead of others as you see fit.

When you approach a buffet station, the courteous thing to do is start at one of the ends and let others who are there before you pick their food first.

The key is not interrupting the flow of the line, and being respectful of other guests who have been waiting for their food too.

Speaking of the buffet, always get a new plate whenever you go back up.

Don't save a pool chair indefinitely

The pool deck tends to be more of a "wild west" in terms of reserving space, but the right thing to do is not hoard chairs if you are not using them.

A contentious issue is how long one can reserve a deck chair near the pool while it is unoccupied. 

You may hear the term "chair hogs" thrown around, which refers to people who throw their belongings on a chair in order to reserve it for the day.  While that may not sound bad, often someone will get up early in the morning to do this, many hours before the people who they reserved the chairs for actually show up.

It is easy to fall into, "if I don't do what they're doing, I won't get a chair either" mentality, but I prefer to not contribute to the problem.

The respectful thing to do is reserve chairs as long as they are actively needed. Certainly everyone steps away now and again, but locking up chairs for the day hours before they will be needed is a faux-pas.

Remember your neighbor can probably hear you

Stateroom cabins are not soundproof, so it is important to be respectful of noise levels from your room.

Whether you are playing the television too loud, yelling at your kids, or "frolicking" with a loved one, keep in mind there is a good chance the people on either side of your room can hear it.

This applies to balconies as well, as noise can easily bleed over into other people's balconies and even rooms.

You should tip the crew

While gratuity is technically optional in the academic sense of the word, it is compulsory on Royal Caribbean cruises.

Just like dining at a restaurant, the crew members work on tips and your cruise fare does not cover their services.

Royal Caribbean charges an automatic gratuity that covers your stateroom attendant and waiters. This is a daily charge you can pre-pay or have take out on each night of the cruise.

Royal Caribbean allows guests to remove the automatic gratuity if they would rather pay these same crew members in cash, and not as a cost savings mechanism.

Be punctual with shore excursions

They say, "punctuality is the politeness of kings" and it applies to shore excursions too.

Often tours you go on will have time to explore on your own, and if you are late, you are holding up the entire group.

Be mindful of your time and do your best to ensure you are back when everyone agrees to return.

Don't use your hands to pick up food

There are salad tongs at each buffet station for a reason, so don't use your hands.

Not only is using your hands to pick up food bad manners, it is putting others health at risk when it comes to cross contamination. Germs can easily be spread from hands to food surfaces.

I know those bread rolls are hard to grab with the tongs, but it is still a must do.

Let people out of an elevator first

When you are waiting for an elevator, let people who are in the elevator get out before trying to get in.

If you don't, you are going to cause a log jam in the elevator doors between trying to get in while others try to get out.

Not only is letting others out of the elevator first courteous, it also speeds things up all around.

Be kind to crew members

The crew members work on the ship, but that does not mean they are your servants.

Show the crew courtesy and listen to their instructions.  It is easy sometimes to get caught up in frustrations or aggravation while on vacation, but it is crucial for guests to always remember that crew are there to help, not to get yelled at.

Being kind means following their directions, thanking them for little things, and even pausing to talk to them about where they are from or what they love about their job. Most crew members are happy to chat and share things with guests, and being polite to them usually helps make their days great.

No cursing

Regardless of where you are from, or who you are with, you should always watch your language and avoid profanity.

Royal Caribbean is a family cruise line, and you should avoid any cursing, inappropriate comments, or insulting words out of respect for your fellow cruisers.

9 Questions you should always ask on a Royal Caribbean cruise

07 Jan 2021

No matter how many cruises you have been on, maximizing your cruise experience is important to everyone.

In order to have the best time possible, there are some important times you should speak to a travel agent, crew member, or even your own family to talk about an issue that can either improve your cruise, or prevent a problem from occurring.

One of the biggest mistakes someone on a cruise ship will make is not saying something if they encounter a problem.  No one wants to be a bother, but the crew members are there to make your vacation as seamless as possible.

1. Can I have my food without that?

Whether you have a food allergy or simply do not like a particular ingredient, always ask the crew member if you can have your meal made without it.

Crew members in the main dining room, Windjammer buffet, or any other dining venue are happy to adjust ingredients to make sure it is to your liking. Food allergies are a major reason many people need a dish adjusted, but you can also ask for changes out of personal preference.

If you want extra cheese, no onions, or sauce on the side, you should absolutely let the crew member taking your order know how you like your food.

It is a good idea if you have a food allergy to speak to the head waiter on the first day of the cruise to ensure the chef can prepare your meal exactly the way you need it, without a delay. 

Once you speak with him or her, you can convey any special requests you may have and get it in place for the rest of your cruise.

You can also send an e-mail request to [email protected]; please include in the e-mail the guests' names, booking number, ship name and sail date.  It's best to make requests like this at least 90 days in advance of your sailing.

Read more25 must-read Royal Caribbean dining secrets

2. Is there a better price?

Just because you booked your cruise, shore excursion or drink package does not mean you are done getting the best price out there.

Prices change, and Royal Caribbean allows a great deal of flexibility in rebooking under the lower price.

Whenever a new sale is announced, it is a good idea to ask your travel agent if the cruise you have booked is any cheaper.  In most countries, you can rebook your cruise at the lower price with no penalty up until final payment date.

Under the Cruise with Confidence program, Royal Caribbean has extended the ability to re-price cruises even after final payment with an expanded Best Price Guarantee program. For the time being, you can reprice your cruise all the way up to 48 hours before it sails if there is a price drop.

The prices of cruise add-ons, like ship wifi, beverage packages, excursions, and specialty dining packages can vary quite a lot.  You can easily cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item if you find a better price later.

Read moreHow far in advance should I book a cruise to get the best price?

3. What else is open right now?

When it is time to eat any meal, do not assume your choices are only the main dining room or Windjammer.

Royal Caribbean's cruise ships offer a lot of dining choices, and you should always look at the full breadth of choices for where you can dine at for any meal.

Embarkation day is the perfect time to put this plan into action.  Nearly everyone goes to the Windjammer after they get on the cruise ship, but you can also get food at places like Park Cafe, Cafe Promenade or even a specialty restaurant.

If your ship has Solarium Bistro, this is a vastly underrated complimentary restaurant available for all meals on Oasis and Quantum Class ships.

Johnny Rockets is complimentary for breakfast on Oasis Class ships, and has a fee for lunch and dinner on all ships.

Consult the Cruise Compass for a list of which restaurants are open before you head to the "usual spot".  You can save time and maybe even find something else equally good to enjoy.

Read moreThe 25 BEST Royal Caribbean tips, tricks & hidden secrets!

4. Can I come back later?

No one likes waiting in line, so if you run into a line of people, you should determine if you really need to wait right now.

Sometimes you have no choice to wait in line, such as for a show, but if you run into a line of people waiting for the main dining room, guest services, water slides, or ordering drinks at a bar, you might want to reconsider.

Just like deciding where to eat, you may find it advantageous to come back again later when the line is shorter, or to a different venue entirely.

If you are a suite guest, avoid lines at Guest Services by speaking to the suite concierge.

Long line for the dining room? Grab a drink at a nearby bar until the line diminishes.

Water slide line backed up? Come back closer to dinner time or right when they open in the morning.

Waiting in a line is not completely avoidable, but there are many times when lines can be circumvented by thinking about alternate options.

Read moreHow to avoid the most irritating lines on a Royal Caribbean cruise

5. Am I wasting money right now?

No one wants to waste money on vacation, so it is important to think about what you are buying to ensure you are staying within your budget.

Royal Caribbean is a business after all, and they have some well-thought out ways to get you to spend more money.  When you purchase an unlimited dining package, The Key, or a drink package, you want to make sure you are getting your money's worth out of them.

Before you purchase an add-on, consider your habits and realistically how you think you will take advantage of it. Does it make more sense to buy a 3-night dining package instead of the unlimited dining package? Would you be better off checking your email at free/low cost wifi spots in the islands you are visiting rather than a wifi package?

If you do go ahead with the purchase, think about how to best maximize the value.  Don't skip meals with the dining packages, visit the concierge lounge each night if you are staying in a suite, go to all the limited access opportunities if you bought The Key.

Not fully taking advantage of what you are paying for will end up costing you in the long run, so be certain you are getting all the value from what you spent.

Read moreHow to maximize the value of a cruise ship suite

6. Do I have all the documentation for this cruise?

A common rookie mistake is not checking that you have all the right documentation for a cruise.

If you don't have a passport, be sure to get one. If you do have a passport, double check the expiration date that it will not expire before your cruise ends.

Make sure you booked the cruise under your legal name, which matches what your passport has listed.

Not only should you ask this question, but ask it well in advance of your cruise. All too often, people dig out their passports or birth certificates only to realize it is too late to change things.

Read moreDo you need a passport for a cruise?

7. Will we enjoy this shore excursion?

You might already be in the practice of asking this question, especially if you’ve got kids. When you book a shore excursion, think about everyone in your group and if they will actually enjoy the tour you are going to book.

If someone has mobility issues, will this tour be an issue for that person to get around? Does the excursion you booked that includes lunch have something your children will actually eat? Is your fear of heights going to prevent you from enjoying the zip line?

There are a lot of great tours to choose from, so be sure to double check that it is truly a good fit and you and your family are up to the challenges or demands it may have.

This is especially true of younger children, where there are age restrictions. Just because your child is old enough, does not mean they are necessarily ready to tackle the tour and the last thing you want to do is have a meltdown or crying fit. Some tours could be too intimidating, or physically demanding for the kids, so be realistic about what you book.

A good strategy might be to look for a YouTube video of that tour (or something similar) before your trip to get a sense of if it will be a good fit. You do not want to try to push them to try something that could ruin both of your experiences.

Read moreA complete guide to picking the perfect shore excursions

8. Can you help me with this problem?

Perhaps the most important question you can ask onboard is how to get a problem you are encountering fixed.

If something is disappointing you, or not as expected, you should seek out a crew member to remedy the problem.

Whether it is a broken fixture in your stateroom, another guest causing a problem, or a medical concern, don't just suck it up and let it ruin your cruise.

Instead, speak up and ask a crew member politely how they can assist in getting this problem resolved. 

Crew members are there to make your cruise fantastic, and they will do what they can to address your concerns. Even if you think there probably is no chance they can do something, you never know the lengths crew will go to enhance your trip.

Read moreThe top crew members to find if you have a problem onboard your cruise

9. How are you?

This may seem trivial, but you should absolutely feel free to strike up a conversation with a crew member.

Crew members work very hard, and they are also very friendly and great to talk to (provided they are not super busy with their duties at the moment).

If you are at a bar, or walking out of your stateroom, or at dinner, ask the crew member nearby who is your waiter, attendant or officer about themselves and how long they have worked for the cruise line.  Perhaps ask them for advice on what they like to do in the ports you will be visiting on a cruise.  Crew members are knowledgeable, helpful, and can be a great resource.

Asking someone how they are doing is not limited to crew members, so be sure to also be as friendly to your fellow guests. You never know what new friends you can make on a cruise.

Read more10 of our favorite Royal Caribbean crew members

4 great itineraries (and 1 to avoid) for a first cruise vacation

06 Jan 2021

Where should your first Royal Caribbean cruise go if you are a first time cruiser?

There are so many different itineraries out there, it can be daunting to pick the right sailing for someone who is brand new to cruising. Between the different destinations, ships, and prices to consider, it can be a bit overwhelming.

The good news is there are rarely any bad itinerary choices for a cruise, regardless of if it is your first or fiftieth sailing. All of Royal Caribbean's cruises are welcoming to all experiences, and more often people that are new to cruising make up the majority of guests onboard.

Choosing where your ship goes is not as critical as it may seem, since the ship you sail on is equally as intriguing as the ports you visit. While cruise ships used to be glorified floating hotels in the past, today the ship you sail on is as big a draw as the ports of call you will visit.

In order to make the choice a bit simpler for someone brand new to cruising, here are a few good choices for a first cruise and one mistake to avoid.

Perfect Day at CocoCay cruise

If all else fails, pick a cruise with a stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay for your first cruise.

CocoCay is Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas, and it was recently enhanced in 2019 to offer a crowd-pleasing experience to all.  There are beaches to enjoy, a giant pool to lounge in, water park to check out, and lots of excursions, cabanas and more to enjoy.

Similar to how Royal Caribbean designs its cruise ships, CocoCay is filled with plenty so that there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Read more10 things you didn't know about Perfect Day at CocoCay

Many Caribbean and Bahamas sailings will stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay, so you have a good chance of finding a cruise that goes here.  If you pick a short sailing (3 or 4 nights), almost certainly CocoCay will be the stop you make.  Longer sailings will feature it as part of a list of stops.

CocoCay is a fantastic choice for any sailing, and you should lean towards picking any cruise that goes here.

Read more: Do's and Don'ts of Perfect Day at CocoCay

Western Caribbean

A cruise to the Western Caribbean means visiting places in Mexico and Central America, and this means a good mix of culture, history and food.

Cruises to Mexico have always been popular, and because there is so much to do in this region, it makes it a great place for first time cruisers.

Many Western Caribbean ports are well-known for their snorkeling and scuba options (especially Cozumel and Belize), and you will find lots of tours that can take you to see Mayan ruins, swim with dolphins and more.

The Western Caribbean is also the best place in the Caribbean to find all-inclusive resort options, where you can pay one price and enjoy access to unlimited food and drink, as well as the resort's facilities. These are a big hit with families for the value they provide.  

Read moreThings to do in Cozumel on your Royal Caribbean cruise

Eastern Caribbean

If you love the beach, then you will love an Eastern Caribbean cruise.

The beaches in the Eastern Caribbean are beautiful, and you will find the picturesque white sand and light blue waters so many people dream about in the Virgin Islands and destinations beyond.

Your Eastern Caribbean cruise may also include a stop at Royal Caribbean's other private destination, Labadee.  Labadee may not offer all the whiz-bang choices that CocoCay does, but it makes up for it in a classic and relaxing beach day. 

If you enjoy more than just laying around the beach, Labadee has a giant zip line, alpine coaster and excursions to book too.

The Eastern Caribbean is also known for great shopping, as well as where you can visit Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Read moreDo's & Don'ts of Labadee

Round trip Alaska

While a warm Caribbean sailing usually draws the attention of first time cruisers, an Alaska cruise is not to be overlooked either.

Alaska is worthy of visiting for just about anyone, and a cruise is a great way to see The Last Frontier.

If you do decide to go on an Alaska cruise, be sure to book a round trip cruise, as opposed to one that begins in one port and ends in another.  

Round trip cruises are easier to plan, and they sail from Seattle (instead of an international flight to Canada).  These sailings are also on larger and newer cruise ships, which are more welcoming to new cruisers.

Read more6 mistakes & 3 things we did right on our Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska

Avoid long cruises

If there is one itinerary to avoid, it would be a cruise longer than 7-nights in duration, such as a repositioning cruise.

These cruises are intriguing, but they may simply be a bit too overwhelming for a first time cruiser.  

Once your sailing gets beyond 7-nights, you start to rack up a lot of sea days and first time cruisers would be best served with a sailing that has a good mix of sea days and port days, rather than a heavy dose of just one.

Repositioning sailings (cruises that begin in one port and end in another) are fun for established cruisers, but the many sea days and logistics in planning getting to and home from the cruise make it not recommended for a first sailing.

The other issue with any cruise longer than 7-nights is they are prohibited by the U.S. government for the time being.

Save these cruises for once you have a couple of other cruises under your belt.

Read moreRepositioning cruises 2021 & 2022

How do you get a free Royal Caribbean cruise?

05 Jan 2021

Believe it or not, you can get a free Royal Caribbean cruise. For reals.

Free cruise offers always sound suspicious, and with good reason. There are plenty of scams on the internet that promise free cruises, but there are also some sanctioned ways to get a free cruise.

What constitutes "free"? Essentially, an offer to not pay anything more for the cruise fare (other than perhaps taxes and fees).  That is not to say you may not have to spend money elsewhere in order to qualify for a free cruise.

In addition, a free cruise means you will still have to pay for cruise add-on costs, such as gratuities, shore excursions, drinks, etc. Plus there are other travel expenses that may be required to get you to and from the cruise.

Here is what you need (in addition to a little bit of luck) to snag a free cruise.

Casino offers

If you gamble enough in the casino on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you can qualify for a free cruise (as well as other offers and discounts).

Casino Royale recognizes its top spenders, much like Crown and Anchor Society gives rewards to people who cruise the most.

If you can spend enough in the casino on a few cruises to qualify for entry into the program, free cruises are one of the perks regularly offered to members.

The best way to get into Casino Royale as a member is to speak to the casino host once you get on a cruise and ask to be tracked in order to join the program.

Organize a group

If you cruise with enough friends or family, you could get a free cruise for yourself too.

Typically a group can be created if 16 full-fare guests in eight staterooms are booked with the same travel agent. If so, you can qualify to be the tour leader (sometimes called tour conductor) and create a group.

By creating a group with the Royal Caribbean groups department, the tour leader can earn a percentage of the cost of all the rooms that can be redeemed towards the cost of your cruise fare.

The amount of credit you get depends on what your friends or family book.  The more they spend on the rooms, the more you get in tour conductor credits.

You could also just pocket the money or apply it in other ways to the cruise.  

Being a tour conductor is one of the best ways to spend as little as possible and get a free cruise among all of the methods outlined in this post.

Read moreHow to get cheap cruise deals

Credit card points

Depending on the credit card you have, there may be an option to pay down the cost of a cruise or even earn a free sailing.

The Royal Caribbean credit card is the simplest way to earn free cruises. Spend enough on your credit card to earn points, and with enough points saved, you can redeem the points for a free cruise.

Other credit cards partner with various outlets to provide ways to redeem their points for travel, including cruises.

Using credit card points to redeem a free cruise is rarely a great value in terms of credit card point strategies, but it is an option for anyone with a lot of points.

Read moreHow to book a cruise with your credit card reward points


On some rare occasions, there are actually free cruises offered in contests.  

Royal Caribbean will infrequently offer a contest for a free cruise, but they are few and far between.

More commonly, you may find local radio stations or car dealerships offering a free cruise from time to time.

The bottom line is contest to offer free cruises are very rare, but they do exist. It is very important to be leery of any free offer, especially offers you see on social media. Double check the entity offering is legitimate and not a copycat information collecting scam.

Mobile games

There is a free game you can play on your computer or mobile device called MyVegas, which from time to time offers free cruises and onboard credit.

Playing MyVegas means choosing between different games, such as blackjack or slots, and winning points that go towards your profile.The games reward you for getting to the next level.

If you play the game regularly and earn enough points, you can actually cash out the points for special offers, including free cruises or onboard credits. MyVegas offers these kind of offers for other cruise lines as well, including MSC or Norwegian Cruise Line.

The availability of a free Royal Caribbean cruise will vary and is not always available as an option.

Read more5 Royal Caribbean things you had no idea existed


Bingo - Royal Caribbean Discussion - Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean gives away cruises as part of the grand prize in some bingo games on a ship.

Instead of a cash prize, passengers can compete to win a free cruise sailing if they were to win bingo.

There are terms and conditions to which sailings and ships apply to the free cruise, but is indeed free cruise fare for at least two passengers for a sailing you can pick.

Why you shouldn't fly to your cruise the same day it begins

11 Sep 2020

One of the most common mistakes a first time cruiser will make is to fly on the day of your cruise.

Booking a flight for the same day your cruise begins seems like it would not be a problem, but it could result in missing your cruise vacation completely.

Tempting fate

While most flights are going to be on time and without incident, travel delays do occur with some frequency and if you end up on the wrong side of a delay, it could create a giant fiasco.

Even though you are able to board your Royal Caribbean cruise in the early afternoon (and later arrival times could be coming soon), planning to fly in the same day your cruise departs is just too risky.

Having a tight schedule of landing, collecting your luggage, and then getting to the port leaves little wiggle room for any kind of delay.

Flight delays or cancellations, bad weather near your house, car breakdowns and a variety of other unforeseen possibilities can wreak havoc on your schedule.

Also consider how airlines have severely cut back on the number of flights they offer due to weaker demand for air travel, and you leave yourself few choices if your flight is delayed.

If your delayed travel plans cause you to miss embarkation of the cruise ship, you either have to pay to meet the ship at its next port of call, or simply give up on the trip completely with no refund for missing it.

Royal Caribbean (nor any cruise line) will not refund your money if you miss the cruise due to a travel delay.  Trip insurance might pick up some of the tab, but it will not allow you to actually go on the cruise vacation you planned and dreamed about.

Fly in a day early

The way around this potential travel nightmare is to fly into the city your cruise departs from at least one day ahead of time.

Flying in on the day of your cruise is just too risky. Even if you manage to arrive with no travel delays, you are just plain lucky because airline delays are too common an occurence.

What you should do instead is plan to fly in at least one day early.  Not only will arriving a day or two before your cruise departs provide more than enough buffer for travel delays not to impact your cruise vacation, it will also start your vacation a little earlier.

In addition, flying in early means significantly less stress for everyone. The last thing you want to do is start your vacation worrying every minute until you arrive in your embarkation port that a travel delay could appear. Just the lingering thought of a delay is enough to make your vacation anything but relaxing.

What to do if you have to fly the same day

Some people may not be able to do fly in early, due to work schedules or crippling high airfare prices. If you have no choice but to fly in the same day, make sure you take a few critical steps (including packing plenty of patience).

Try to book the first flight of the day.  Ideally, you want a flight where the plane is already at the airport from the night before, so there are no potential delays related to your aircraft coming from somewhere else. This may mean a super early flight, but early morning flights have less delays since storms tend to occur later in the day and your plane is ready for passengers.

You should also consider buying your airfare through Royal Caribbean.  The Air2Sea program offers guests assistance related to travel disruptuons.  The Air2Sea team can provide air re-accommodation, or hotel and ground transportation if needed. The Emergency Travel team will work with you to find accommodations on the next available flight. In some instances, same day viable flight options may not be available, and in those instances Air2Sea will accommodate you to the next available port where you may legally join the ship.

What is the worst Royal Caribbean ship?

21 Aug 2020

Many first time cruisers are eager to learn about the best Royal Caribbean ship to sail on, so a common question asked is which cruise ships should be avoided.

The notion of a "worst Royal Caribbean ship" may make sense in a way, because so many other aspects of life we gauged by best versus worst.  However, when it comes to Royal Caribbean ships, the answer is not so straight forward.

If you are trying to determine the ships to avoid, it has less to do with an inherit flaw or problem with the ship, and more to do with what you want in a cruise ship.

Finding the best cruise ship for you

The simple answer is there is no single worst Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the fleet, because each cruise ship offers a different experience that caters to specific styles of cruising.

Just like a vacation to the Grand Canyon or Chicago may appeal to certain people as an amazing trip while others cringe at the idea, cruise ships come in different sizes and with different amenities to carry a certain appeal.

When you pick the right Royal Caribbean cruise ship to sail on, it is a question of what do you want the ship to have onboard, and is the ship you are considering have that.

A very common mistake first time cruisers make is not understanding the features and amenities each ship offers guests, and booking a ship primarily based on price because they assume the ships are all the same.

So the question really is, "what is the worst Royal Caribbean ship for you?".

What the ship offers and doesn't offer

The key to finding the right ship for you is to do a little research into what makes each ship unique, and if that ship has the features, activities, and signature entertainment you want in a ship.

With about 26 ships in the fleet, Royal Caribbean has customized each vessel to make it stand out just a bit from the rest. Water slides, production shows, public spaces and dining choices are just some of the ways a cruise ship can differentiate itself.

While first time cruisers may not know exactly what they want in a ship before stepping foot onboard, there are certain expectations guests come with based on commercial advertising, as well as stories from friends and family.

Before booking a cruise vacation, you will want to check out the special features available on that vessel, as well as what it lacks.

Here is a guide for the major considerations most cruiser seem to care the most about:

  • Which pool deck activities does it offer? (water slides, pools, outdoor features)
  • Which specialty restaurants are available onboard?
  • Does the ship have the newest thrill attractions?
  • Does the ship have a nursery for children under 36 months old?
  • Which things to do for families and kids are available?

These are starting points, but are a good example of the subjective concerns you may have when choosing the right ship.

How to learn what a ship offers

Through the power of the internet, it is pretty easy to get a good idea of what is available to do on any Royal Caribbean ship.

The top starting points for learning about any Royal Caribbean ship is past Cruise Compasses, YouTube videos, and a good travel agent.

Royal Caribbean distributes on its ships a daily guide to activities and things to do in something called a Cruise Compass. Reading a past Cruise Compass provides a ballpark idea of expectations since sailings on a particular ship do not change that much from week to week in terms of the activities or entertainment offered. There will be some discrepancies, like perhaps the movie selection or comedian, but you will get a general idea of what to expect.

Royal Caribbean announces entertainment line up for Ovation of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Watching a YouTube video allows anyone to visualize the flow of a cruise ship, and get a good understanding of what is onboard. There are tons of videos that feature walkthroughs, reviews, and good breakdowns of ships. YouTube blends entertainment, information, and day dreaming together seamlessly and it is so easy to browse and learn about Royal Caribbean ships, port stops, and nearly everything onboard.

If you are still a little unsure which ship might be best, leveraging a good travel agent is a tried-and-true strategy. A good travel agent that specializes in cruising can really help make your first Royal Caribbean cruise a big success.  They will help navigate you throughout the whole booking process and be your guide to what makes the most sense for your family. They can answer most questions, and help get you the best price.

Should I go on a small cruise ship?

20 Radiance Class cruise ship tips and secrets | Royal Caribbean Blog

Often I get questions from someone that has only sailed on Royal Caribbean's newest and biggest ships, and wants to know if going on a small ship will be a bad experience.

Every size of cruise ship offers a little different kind of experience, and smaller ships definitely rely more on the "classic cruise experience", which means focusing on spending time relaxing by the pool, in your cabin, or in public areas.

Unlike big ships that pack tons of activities and things to do, smaller ships are about just being onboard and enjoying the weather, or perhaps spending more time on shore.

Friday Photos | Royal Caribbean Blog

In fact, a good reason to choose a smaller ship is for the boutique itineraries you can't always get with Royal Caribbean.

The areas you will notice quickly a difference in moving to a smaller ship is less top deck signature activities, less specialty restaurants, and less wide-open spaces.

My best advice is to try out a small ship after you get a few "big ships" under your belt, and try to pick an itinerary where you will spend a lot of time in port to reduce the need to rely on what's offered onboard.

Tips for picking a great ship

The right ship for you will depend on what you like and don't like, but I want to provide some basic tips to remember when choosing.

  • The newest and recently refurbished cruise ships are always safe choices for most families. Royal Caribbean has put its latest and greatest innovations and offerings on these ships, and are generally good starting points for new cruisers.
  • Don't book a cruise purely based on price. You can find a deal on just about any Royal Caribbean ship, so avoid the temptation to book whatever is the cheapest ship sailing.
  • Size is not everything when it comes to ships. Bigger ships offer more space for whizz-bang amenities, but smaller ships offer a more intimate and classic cruising experience.  
  • Where your ship sails to is an important factor, so be sure to weigh what each port of call offers and the appeal of different itineraries.

What's the difference between cruise lines?

17 Aug 2020

While this blog focuses on Royal Caribbean, you might be wondering what makes this cruise line from others and what the major differences are between each one.

There are a number of cruise lines to choose from, and each cruise line offers their own style and approach to what a cruise vacation is all about.

Types of cruise lines

Before you can pick one cruise line, you should know there are a few categories of cruise lines to consider.

Just like there are different types of automobiles (compacts, luxury, SUVs, et al), there are different types of cruise lines that target different demographics and prices.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney and Norwegian are just a few of the mass-market cruise lines that appeal to all ages, and offer contemporary pricing that is affordable by most people. These cruise lines will see a good mix of ages, and offer activities and things to do for the young and old, and will sail to destinations around the world, although primarily focus on the major cruise markets, such as the Caribbean or Europe.

Premium cruise lines offer an elevated experience, and tend to offer a "plussed" version of what the mass-market cruise lines have onboard. Princess, Celebrity, Holland America or Oceania are good examples of these types of cruise lines, and they are still generally large ships with upgraded amenities. In addition, they may offer longer and/or more varied itineraries.

Luxury cruise lines offer a more intimate cruise experience on substantially smaller vessels that focus on the individual experience. These cruise lines are all about offering a personalized experience on ships that do not rely on whizzbang features.  This includes SilverSea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and others. Some luxury cruise lines are known as expedition lines, which means they offer luxurious cruises to far off destinations that most cruise lines could never go to due to ship size or distance.

There are still other cruise lines that straddle the line between these major categories. The major differences between each of these cruise lines is primarily price, size of the ships, and where it sails.

How to pick a cruise line

When picking between the cruise lines, you want to determine what they offer (and don't offer) to ensure it matches with what you want in a vacation.

While it is true that most cruise lines have more in common than not, there are some substantial differences when it comes to the onboard experience overall. Cruise lines may market themselves as offering something for everyone, but each line has its own strengths that can sway the decision depending on the person.

The decision of which cruise line to pick usually boils down to three major factors: price, where it sails, and what the ship offers.

Picking a cruise line is less important as picking the right ship for you.  Most cruise lines have quite a few ships in their fleet, and they are not carbon copies of each other.

If you take Royal Caribbean International for example, they have 26 ships in their fleet that are of various sizes and pricing and stateroom options that run the gamut of choices. Whether you are cruising as a family, looking for an empty nester getaway or spring break college vacation, there is something to be found for each group.

Ultimately, each cruise line has its own DNA to its approach to cruising.  Disney Cruise Line will offer a heavy focus on family cruising and incorporation of the brand's library of films. Carnival Cruise Line is about offering a party at sea. Celebrity Cruise Line likes to offer an upscale experience to contemporary cruising. Norwegian Cruise Line bucks the trend of cruise tradition and takes a freestyle approach to their vacations.

If you are looking for cruise ships that pack a lot into the onboard experience, where the ship is the destination, then the mainstream cruise lines and premium cruise lines are great choices.

If you are looking to splurge and want to see the world at the same time, a luxury cruise line will take you there and personalize the trip along the way.

Which cruise line should I choose?

First and foremost, determine your budget, as no choice will matter if you cannot afford it.

If you are new to cruising and do not know what to expect, a mainstream cruise line is usually a good starting point. There is enough variety between the ships in the major cruise lines to cater to most needs. If you have kids, this is where you want to be.

If you like the finer things in life, and are willing to pay for them, a luxury cruise line will offer the kind of pampering and exotic destinations that will be sure to impress friends back at the country club.

Think of the premium cruise lines as a mix of fun things to do on the ship, along with an upgraded experience. 

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer.  Cruises are an exciting adventure, and you will find your preferred approach to it and which cruise line works best. It is rare to make a terrible decision in cruise line, so embrace the opportunity and give a couple a try.

Royal Caribbean FAQ

13 Aug 2020

If you have a Royal Caribbean cruise booked, or are thinking of booking one, then you probably have a lot of questions.  

Even the most seasoned cruisers will have a query or two, so I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about Royal Caribbean.

Hopefully these will save you time later and put your mind at ease with what to expect on your cruise.

Booking a cruise

When should I book a cruise?

If you want to get the best possible price on your cruise, then you should try to book as soon as you can.

Ideally, you can take advantage of lower prices by booking a cruise 12, 18 or even 24 months in advance so that you can find the best cabin selection and lowest prices.

Once a sailing is open for booking, you may reserve a cabin at any point all the way until the week of the sailing.  Of course, capacity is limited and options will dwindle while prices rise over time.

How do I get the best deal on a cruise?

There are a few good strategies for getting the best price on a cruise and spend less overall.

Cruising on the cheap means looking beyond the obvious choices for a cruise. Here are a few good ways to save money:

I also recommend working with a good travel agent to not only find the best pricing, but to help answer common questions and concerns. A good travel agent should cost you nothing to use, and they are very helpful in scenarios you never even imagined.

The ships

Which is the best Royal Caribbean cruise ship?

While this is a common question, the best cruise ship depends on what you want and like for your cruise.

Each ship offers different activities, amenities, entertainment and special features. The key is finding the ship that offers the right combination of these that appeal to you, while also sailing to the places you would like to visit.

Some important considerations you should look at in any ship is what it offers in:

  • Kids Programming
  • Signature activities (waterslides, Broadway shows, thrill attractions, open spaces, et al)
  • Where it is sailing

What are the different classes of Royal Caribbean ships?

Royal Caribbean categorizes its cruise ships into classes, similar to auto manufacturers creating different models of cars.

There are eight different Royal Caribbean ship classes, and within each class there can be a differentiating options and add-ons that make ships different from each other.

The Oasis Class ships are the largest ships in the world, while the Quantum Class offer some of the latest innovations with a large size as well.

The Freedom and Voyager Class ships are a generation older, but are still large cruise ships that have recently been upgraded as part of the Royal Amplified program.

The Radiance and Vision Class ships combine a small size with many activities that have been added over the years. These are stylish ships that offer a refined and fun cruise atmosphere.

Majesty & Empress of the Seas are the oldest ships in the fleet, but they offer a more intimate setting than other larger classes.


What should I pack for my Royal Caribbean cruise?

We all know that feeling... you are getting ready for your vacation, but you cannot shake that feeling that you are forgetting something.

You should begin with personal items that you will need during your cruise, such as medications and prescription medicine.  It is a good idea to pack extra medicine in case of a travel delay getting home.

Onboard the ship, you will need not outfits and clothes for time onboard, on shore, in the pool, and out for dinner. If you are cruising to the Caribbean, Mexico or other warm weather destinations, bring a hat for protection from the sun. If your cruise vacation will take you to Alaska, Canada & New England or Northern Europe, be sure to pack a jacket and several sweaters.

Be sure to pack a bathing suit, but you will not need towels as you can borrow them from the cruise line anytime you want.

What are dress codes?

The dress code rules for Royal Caribbean provide dress suggestions for the three types of dress codes onboard: casual, smart casual and formal.

  • Casual: You’re on vacation – relax! Jeans, polos, sundresses and blouses are all the right amount of laid back. Please keep swimwear to the Pool Deck. Shorts are welcomed for breakfast and lunch.
  • Smart Casual: Think of this as a step up from your typical dinner wear. Dress to impress with collared shirts, dresses, skirts and blouses, or pantsuits. Jackets, sports coats and blazers are snazzy and welcomed. 
  • Formal: Make it a night out in your best black-tie look – suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses or evening gowns. There can be 1-3 formal nights during a sailing and is at the ship’s discretion.

In practice, dress codes are infrequently enforced by the main dining room staff. 

If you are asking does everyone dress up to that extent, the answer is a resounding no. If you walk the Royal Promenade or around the Centrum of a Royal Caribbean ship around dinner time on formal night, you will spot plenty of people dressed to these specifications, but many opt for a more casual (but still dressed up) approach. Collared shirts with no jacket or tie for men, or blouses and skirts or leggings for ladies is common as well.

There can be 1-3 formal nights during a sailing and is at the ship’s discretion.


What dining options are included on my cruise?

Every Royal Caribbean ship offers a combination of complimentary and extra-cost dining choices. Keep in mind there is a great variety of complimentary dining choices that will cost you nothing extra.

Full meals for breakfast, lunch (on sea days) and dinner are available in the main dining room, as well as the Windjammer buffet.  Depending on the ship, there are also complimentary grab-and-go dining choices you can go to for a snack or even a meal.

You also have the choice of specialty restaurants that cost extra, but offer different cuisines and atmosphere not available elsewhere on the ship.

What if I have special dietary requirements?

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

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

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

For any and all dietary requests, contact your travel agent or Certified Vacation Planner and request that the remark be noted in your reservation details. If you made your reservation online at you may add your request to the "update personal information." section. You may also send an e-mail request to [email protected]; please include in the e-mail the guests' names, booking number, ship name and sail date. E-mails will receive an automated response. 


What drinks are included with my cruise?

Royal Caribbean provides all its guests on all its cruise ships a few different drinks throughout the day that are included in your cruise fare.   These drinks include

  • tap water
  • milk
  • tea
  • coffee (regular and decaf)
  • lemonade
  • iced tea
  • flavored waters
  • juices (at breakfast and not fresh squeezed)
  • Hot chocolate (via instant packets)

These drinks are available throughout your cruise at a number of locations, so there will always be somewhere to get something to drink for free.

Other beverages, such as beer, wine, soda, espresso and bottled water cost extra.

Is a Royal Caribbean drink package worth it?

A very popular choice for guests who want to enjoy unlimited extra-cost beverages for a fixed cost is to buy a drink package.

There is no denying that a drink package has the potential to save money, but it depends on how you maximize its value.

If you can drink enough every day of the cruise, want to sample a wide variety of beverages, and like the convenience it offers, then a Royal Caribbean drink package is definitely worth it.

You do not need to get a drink package, but for many guests, the ability to lock in the price of a drink package and enjoy unlimited drinks without concern of spending too much is a very popular incentive.


What is included in my cruise fare?

A cruise remains a really good vacation value, especially when you factor in meals and entertainment.  Over the years, Royal Caribbean has realized some of its guests prefer to add onto the core experience, and began offering more options to tack onto their vacation.

Your cruse fare includes some basics:

  • Entertainment & Nightlife
    • Broadway shows
    • Live music and comedy shows
    • Aqua shows and ice-skating shows
    • Parades and parties on the Royal Promenade
    • Comedy and live jazz club
    • Nightclubs, karaoke and sing-along piano bars
    • Lounge games and contests, such as trivia, Battle of the Sexes and more
  • Signature Activities
    • FlowRider® surf simulator
    • Rock Climbing Wall
    • Quantum Class
      • RipCord® by iFLY® skydiving simulator
      • North Star observation capsule
      • SeaPlex play space with bumper cars, roller skating, trapeze school, video games and more
    • Oasis Class
      • Zip Line
    • Multi-level waterslides and slides on select ships
  • Meals, beverages & room service
    • Main dining room
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in various venues throughout each ship
    • Windjammer casual buffet on every ship, open for every meal
    • Variety of juices, teas, coffees, soft drinks and water throughout the ship and with meals
  • Kids & Teens
    • Adventure Ocean Youth Program
    • DreamWorks Experience
    • Fuel teen club
    • Teen lounge area with movies, games and live DJ
  • Fitness Center & Sports Activities
    • State-of-the-art fitness center
    • Table tennis
    • Full-size basketball and sports court
    • Group fitness classes, such as sunrise stretch, fab abs, dancing, meditation and more
    • Seminars on topics like weight loss, reflexology, stargazing and more
    • Deck Games — Volleyball, pool games, tug of war and other active challenges
    • Running / jogging track
  • Pools & Outdoor amenities
    • Outdoor poolside movies
    • Adults-only Solarium
    • Multiple whirlpools
    • Traditional swimming pools plus beach ambience areas and sports zones
    • H2O Zone and Splashaway Bay for kids

Royal Caribbean cruises are not all inclusive, but you can certainly go your entire cruise without spending anything extra.  

Royal Caribbean has designed its ships to be "modular", where you can choose to add certain extras if you prefer.

Are shows included on Royal Caribbean?

The stage shows, and so much of the live entertainment onboard, is included with your cruise fare.

Royal Caribbean is known for its Broadway shows, as well as original productions found in various theaters around the ship. These are all included in your cruise fare.

Other activities and events, such as trivia, game shows and dance classes are also included.

Sometimes Royal Caribbean may offer an experience or backstage tour that costs extra, but these are not required to experience the performances.

Important rules

What you aren't allowed to bring onboard

You should be aware there are some important rules about what you cannot bring on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

For the safety and well-being of all guests, certain items are prohibited from being brought onboard.

Prohibited items that may not be brought on your cruise include:

  • Firearms & Ammunition, including realistic replicas.
  • Sharp Objects, including all knives and scissors. (Note: Personal grooming items such as safety razors are allowed. Scissors with blade length less than 4 inches are allowed.)
  • Illegal Drugs & Substances
  • CBD Oil / CBD Products
  • Candles, Incense, Coffee Makers, Clothes Irons, Travel Steamers & Hot Plates. (Items that generate heat or produce an open flame. This includes heating pads, clothing irons, hotplates, candles, incense and any other item that may create a fire hazard. NOTE: The only exception to this policy are curling irons and hair straighteners. Matches and normal lighteners are allowed onboard. However ""torch lighters"" and novelty lighters that look like guns are not allowed onboard. Torch lighters emit a powerful concentrated flame, and therefore are prohibited.
  • Hoverboards
  • Martial Arts, Self Defense, and Sports Gear, including handcuffs, pepper spray, night sticks.
  • Flammable Liquids and Explosives, including lighter fluid and fireworks.
  • Hookahs & Water Hookah Pipes.
  • HAM Radios
  • Baby Monitors
  • Electrical Extension Cords
  • Dangerous Chemicals, including bleach and paint.
  • Perishable Food & Meat Products
  • Alcoholic Beverages (except two bottles of wine on embarkation day)

These and other similar items will be confiscated upon being found. Alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, flammable liquids, explosives, and dangerous chemicals will not be returned.

You cannot share drink packages

Let me be perfectly clear: it is absolutely forbidden to share the Royal Caribbean drink package benefits with anyone else. Period.

Royal Caribbean warns that guests who share a drink with someone who does not have a drink package can risk having their drink package benefits revoked with no refund.  

The package is intended for only the guest who buys the package.  If you want to buy a drink for someone else, you can do so and pay for it individually along side your drink package transaction.


What's available for kids on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

The heart of Royal Caribbean offerings for kids is the Adventure Ocean program, which offers supervised programming for children of nearly any age.

Nurseries are available on most ships for toddlers 6 months to 36 months old, where parents can drop children off throughout the day and evening. Use of the nursery comes at an hourly charge. Young children can enjoy soft play areas and age-appropriate toys, as well as cribs and cots for napping or sleeping.

For children 3 years old through 11 years old, Adventure Ocean is available for no additional cost every day of your cruise. There's a lot for kids to do here and the programs specialize for each age group.  It's a mix of learning, play time and socializing.

Kids are checked in and out by parents and it's fully supervised by Royal Caribbean staff. The requirement for children to participate is to be at least 3 years old and be fully potty trained.  There are after hours programs offered as well in Adventure Ocean for an hourly fee if parents want their kids to have supervision later into the evening.

The teens club is for older kids through 17 years old, which is about empowering teens to do their own thing but still offer activities and fun events to help introduce everyone.

There are teen-only spots onboard the ship where they can come and go as they please. Each day there are teen only events planned in the Cruise Planner, where teens can have dedicated time to enjoy special activities. 


Is internet access available on Royal Caribbean?

All Royal Caribbean ships offer internet at sea access for an additional cost.

Royal Caribbean calls its internet service "Voom", and it relies on satellite technology for staying connected.

Depending on the ship, the actual speeds and performance will vary. On Oasis and Quantum class ships, you can easily stream video from services like Hulu or Netflix, or engage in Facetime and Skype video calls.

Some other ships, notably Royal Caribbean ships that spend time outside the United States, the speeds may not be quite as fast, but fleetwide, the Voom service is significantly better than onboard internet available through other cruise lines.

How much does WiFi cost?

The cost of a Wi-Fi internet package varies depending on the number of devices and the service package purchased. 

Royal Caribbean offers unlimited plans that can be purchased onboard the ship or pre-purchased prior to the cruise. 

Without a doubt, you will save money by pre-purchasing your Voom internet package via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.

Prices begin at $15.99 per device, per day for 1 device on the Surf (slower) access plan, and $19.99 per device, per day for 1 device on the Surf & Stream (faster) access plan.

Still have a question?

If you still have a question, or are unsure about something mentioned here, be sure to ask a question on our message boards!

What drinks are included with your Royal Caribbean cruise?

11 Aug 2020

When you book a Royal Caribbean cruise, it includes certain drinks that will cost you nothing extra.

There is so much to see and do onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise, and for a lot of guests, dining is a big part of that activity.

Even if you aren't a foodie you still will be eating quite a few meals onboard and that has some folks wondering which drinks are included and which drinks cost extra.  Here is a quick guide to what you need to know about the drinks on a Royal Caribbean ship.

What Royal Caribbean includes for free

Coffee included

Royal Caribbean provides all its guests on all its cruise ships a few different drinks throughout the day that are included in your cruise fare.   These drinks include

  • tap water
  • milk
  • tea
  • coffee (regular and decaf)
  • lemonade
  • iced tea
  • flavored waters
  • juices (at breakfast and not fresh squeezed)
  • Hot chocolate (via instant packets)
Flavored waters

These drinks are available throughout your cruise at a number of locations, so there will always be somewhere to get something to drink for free.

More importantly, you should feel confident these included beverages cover the basics, so if you don't want to spend extra for other beverages, these will keep you not only hydrated, but satisfied.

At any of Royal Caribbean's restaurants, you'll be able to order from these drinks included with your cruise fare. Some of the grab-and-go locations may not have them all.

Iced tea

There's no limit to these drinks and all of them on this list are free.

What costs extra

Alternatively, guests may purchase other beverages for an additional cost during the cruise.

This list is essentially anything else available onboard, including

  • soda
  • beer
  • wine
  • liquor
  • cocktails
  • premium coffee and tea, such as Starbucks
  • bottled water (still or sparkling)
  • fresh squeezed juice

For all of these drinks, you may purchase each drink individually or purchase a beverage package that will give you either a set allotment of beverages or unlimited access onboard to them.

Where to get premium beverages for free

During your cruise, there are opportunities to get drinks that would otherwise cost extra for free.  If you keep an eye on your Cruise Compass, you should see many, if not all, of these opportunities on your next cruise.

Crown and Anchor members with level Diamond or above

Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members will get free alcoholic drinks before dinner.  Since this post is aimed at first time cruisers, that is probably not you, but it is something to keep in mind for the future.

Welcome Back Parties

If you are at least a Gold member or above in Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society, there are welcome back parties held, where wine and cocktails are served for free.

Art Auctions

There will be regularly held art auctions onboard your cruise and as a means of enticing guests to attend, there is complimentary champagne available.

Suite Guests ( excluding Junior Suites)

Guests that are staying in a suite will have access to free drinks in the Concierge Lounge.

What drinks are included if I'm staying in a suite?

 Suite Concierge

If you are staying in a Grand Suite or above, you'll have access to complimentary drinks in the Suite Lounge during their operating hours.

On Oasis and Quantum Class ships, there is complimentary beers and wine in the Suite Lounge from 11am to 11pm. During their happy hour in the evening, a wider selection of alcohol becomes available.

Other ship classes have free drinks at their happy around, around 4-8pm each day.

The free drinks are limited to when you are in the Suite Lounge only.

Are drinks free while I am playing at the casino?

Casino on Royal Caribbean

Drinks are not free in the casino on Royal Caribbean ships unless you reach a certain level of the Casino Royale customer loyalty program.

If you are in Prime, Signature and Masters level of Casino Royale, then you can enjoy complimentary drinks while in the casino during operating hours.

Is soda free on Royal Caribbean cruises?

No, soda is not free on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

You can either buy sodas individually by the can, or get them as part of your drink package benefits.

A can of soda should cost you $3.25 per can before gratuity.

Are the drinks included enough for me?

Cafe Promenade menu on Wonder of the Seas

The amount of drinks Royal Caribbean includes with your cruise fare are enough to keep you hydrated and likely satisfied during your cruise.

The area where you would need to spend extra for drinks would be alcohol, soft drinks, or juices. Depending on your personal preferences, this may or may not matter.

Some people are content with what Royal Caribbean includes, while others specifically seek out drink packages in order to indulge while onboard. Many people see going on a cruise and alcoholic beverages as interlinked experiences.

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