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Best things to do on Royal Caribbean while there is limited capacity onboard

In:
18 Aug 2021

An unintentional benefit for anyone that goes on a cruise during Royal Caribbean's restart process is significantly less passengers onboard, which means lines are pretty much non-existent.

Having short or non-existent lines is not just a nice experience in general, it opens up new opportunities for experiences and things to do that you might not have considered doing while ships were sailing full. Or, it means you can go back and do a favorite activity without concern of having to wait around.

While Royal Caribbean's ships were always designed to manage crowds well, having less than half the ship full makes sailings happening now the best time to take advantage of the short lines.

If you have a cruise booked for summer or fall 2021, here are are some things to do on your Royal Caribbean cruise while the cruise line is limiting capacity.

FlowRider

One of the lowest capacity attractions on any Royal Caribbean cruise ship is the surf simulator because it can only handle one passenger at a time.

In normal times, this means just one guest gets to ride, and a long line usually accumulates, especially on sea days.

But with lower capacity, I have observed very short lines for the FlowRider. In fact, most times there is no line at all.

Not only does this mean less of a wait, it means you can get back on the FlowRider quicker and get better at it. Just like your parents always told you, practice makes perfect, and the more times you can hop on your surf board, the quicker you can master surfing.

Eat at Playmakers

I really like Playmakers sports bar menu, but it always tended to have slow food service before the cruise industry shutdown.

On the ships that have restarted sailing with Playmakers, the service has been quite snappy thanks to far less demand for the venue.

With less guests to wait on, the food gets served faster, and I have found myself stopping in for a bite with far more frequency (especially while the Windjammer is closed for dinner).

If you find yourself at Playmakers, order the nachos and the campfire cookie.

Thrill waterpark

What's the best part about a water park? Water slides. What's the worst part of a water park? Waiting in line for water slides.

With ships visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay at minimal capacity, Thrill Waterpark is wide open and there are barely any lines, at any time of the day.

This is the perfect time to get in as many water slide runs in as you can physically handle.  Realistically, the only hindrance will be how many flights of stairs you can handle. With no lines, there is no downtime to wait, and you will quickly find running up stairs quite the workout.

Ditto for the water slides on any cruise ship.

Zip line

Similar to the FlowRider, the zip line has a pretty low capacity and is usually a popular activity to do onboard.

When you sign up for the zip line, the most time is consumed getting geared up with the proper harness.  Once you are harnessed up, you can ride pretty quickly.

Since there is much less demand, the crew members will usually let you get right back in line for another ride once you have your harness.

Casino table games

I enjoy stopping by the casino for a few hands of blackjack, or putting my money on red at the roulette table, but getting a spot is usually tough (especially in the evenings).

With lower capacity, the casino table games are pretty much wide open to stop by and test your luck.

Keep in mind the casino is limiting the amount of guests that can sit at a table (4 per table at last check), but even with reduced capacity at the tables, there just aren't enough other guests to hog up all the spaces.

Hang out at the pool

If you have ever been on a cruise before, there is one area that is synonymous with crowding and that is the pool deck on a sea day.

Now a days, you can sleep in, roll up to the pool deck after lunch, and find plenty of loungers right by the pool. You might even find a spare casita or couch to lay on.

If you have cruised a lot, you may have conditioned yourself to simply overlook the pool deck after mid-morning because of crowds, but you can now easily grab a chair by the pool with little issue.

Windjammer for breakfast

Perhaps no other venue is as busy as the Windjammer buffet on a sea day morning. Everyone sleeps in just a little bit, and then descends upon the Windjammer for their coffee, pancakes, bacon, and eggs.

Ordinarily, it might be a good idea to seek out other alternatives for breakfast, but with limited capacity, breakfast in the Windjammer is a breeze.

Even if you roll in at the 9am hour, you will find an easy go of getting your favorites, including the omelet station.

Bumper cars

If your kids are like mine, they will not only want to ride the bumper cars on Royal Caribbean's Quantum Class ships, but do it again and again.

Usually the line makes it a "one and done" experience, but with limited capacity, this might be the best time to get in as many rides as the kids can handle.

Limited capacity or not, I will be able to "tolerate" any line a whole lot more with the new Playmakers location in the SeaPlex on Odyssey of the Seas.

Which Royal Caribbean ships have water slides?

In:
16 Apr 2021

Among the many fun activities you can do on a cruise ship, water slides are a fan favorite.  So which ships offer a wet plummet onboard?

Until recently, Royal Caribbean did not offer water slides, but they have been adding water slides to their ships steadily.

If having a water slide on your cruise is important to you, here is a guide to which ships offer slides.

Types of water slides

Royal Caribbean offers a few different types of water slides across its fleet.

Over the years, Royal Caribbean has experimented with new slides in addition to rolling out tried and true favorites.

The Perfect Storm

The most common combination of water slides on any Royal Caribbean ship is what the cruise line calls The Perfect Storm.

Two racer slides, Cyclone and Typhoon, offer a fast ride side-by-side to a water splash down.

Supercell is the name of the large bowl shaped slide, where you enter large saucer section to see how many times you can go around before exiting down to the end.

Tidal Wave

Tidal Wave is the first boomerang-style slide, and allows you to go on a raft up a near vertical wall to achieve a feeling of near weightlessness, before sliding back down for a giant splash.

Blaster

Royal Caribbean's first aqua coaster, The Blaster, is the longest water slide at sea.  

You ride in a raft down more than 800 feet of dips, turns and straightaways, with some portions even extending over the side of the ship.

Riptide

A headfirst mat slide, Riptide takes you on an exhilarating journey down translucent tubes with views (if you can keep your eyes open).

Kids slides

There are a few different types of water slides specifically for younger children available on some Royal Caribbean ships.

Splashaway Bay is Royal Caribbean's aqua park, and offers usually two kids of water slides for kids.

One is a short slide that goes directly down, and the other is an enclosed tube slide that swirls around a couple times.

On Royal Caribbean's Radiance Class ships, there is a single water slide for children on the back of the ship. This is an open air slide that swirls around before the exit.

Royal Caribbean ships with water slides

All water slides on Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are complimentary to use when they are open.

Water slides have set hours published in the Cruise Compass, and are usually open during most of the day.

Adventure of the Seas

  • Perfect Storm (Cyclone and Typhoon)
  • Splashaway Bay

Brilliance of the Seas

  • Kids water slide

Freedom of the Seas

  • Perfect Storm (Cyclone and Typhoon)
  • Splashaway Bay

Harmony of the Seas

  • Perfect Storm (Cyclone, Typhoon & Supercell)
  • Splashaway Bay

Independence of the Seas

  • Perfect Storm (Cyclone and Typhoon)
  • Splashaway Bay

Jewel of the Seas

  • Kids water slide

Liberty of the Seas

  • Perfect Storm (Cyclone and Typhoon)
  • Tidal Wave
  • Splashaway Bay

Mariner of the Seas

  • Perfect Storm (Cyclone and Typhoon)
  • Splashaway Bay

Navigator of the Seas

  • Blaster
  • Riptide

Oasis of the Seas

  • Perfect Storm (Cyclone, Typhoon & Supercell)
  • Splashaway Bay

Radiance of the Seas

  • Kids water slide

Serenade of the Seas

  • Kids water slide

Symphony of the Seas

  • Perfect Storm (Cyclone, Typhoon & Supercell)
  • Splashaway Bay

Perfect Day at Cococay

Royal Caribbean's private island in The Bahamas offers a few different water slide options to enjoy.

At CocoCay, you will find complimentary water slides that anyone can enjoy, as well as water slides that cost extra.

Complimentary slides

There are two areas where kids can enjoy water slides for no additional cost at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Splashaway Bay and Captain Jill's Galleon both have small slides that are suitable for most ages.

These slides are generally best for younger children.  

Thrill Waterpark

The water slides that will get your attention quickly are all located in Thrill Waterpark.

Thrill Waterpark has a per-person cost for access to all the slides throughout the day. Royal Caribbean sells day passes for access to the water park. Only full day passes are available, with no half day passes offered any longer.

The exact cost of admission to Thrill Waterpark varies from sailing to sailing, so you will need to consult the Cruise Planner website for exact pricing.

Daredevil’s Tower 

The big thrills are at Daredevil's Tower, where you will find seven slides to choose from, including twin Dueling Demons drop slides and the duo of Manta Raycers; the high-speed, fully vertical Screeching Serpent; the coiling Green Mamba; and the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak – the tallest waterslide in North America.

There are also a few smaller slides as well.

Family Tower

If you want to experience slides together, the Family Tower offers slides perfect to be shared.

Six multi-rider slides area available, including The Twister, a winding tube slide for two sharing a raft; The Slingshot, a zero-gravity slide for four; and the four-lane Splash Speedway racing slides.

Adventure Pool

For younger kids, Adventure Pool offers an obstacle course of lily pads, a rock-climbing wall and swing ropes to bounce, climb and swing to their heart’s content.

Labadee

Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private destination in Haiti, does not have a water park, but does have a single slide you can purchase rides on to enjoy during your day.

The Dragon's Splash Waterslide is an almost 300-foot slide that drops you into an 18-foot splash zone.  

The cost is $24 for one ride.

Water slides tips & advice

  • Water slides are open on embarkation day, so bring your bathing suit in your carry-on luggage so you can take advantage of lower lines.
  • Want to go faster on any of these slides? Bating suit materials and rash guards slow you down, so the less material in contact with the slide, the faster you will go.
  • At Perfect Day at CocoCay, life guards will ask you to remove rash guards when going down slides on Daredevil's Peak.
  • When your ship is in port is a great time to enjoy the water slides with less of a wait.
  • Many times there are multiple lines for slides, but guests can stand together blocking the way. Politely ask to move past them if you do not see the end of your line.

50 things everyone should do on a Royal Caribbean cruise at least once

In:
23 Oct 2020

There are so many great things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and I have narrowed down the list to 50 things you have to do at least once.

Whether it is check out a signature activity, eat at your favorite restaurant onboard, or lay out in the sun, there are so many choices of what you can do on a cruise, but odds are you have not done everything yet.

A cruise is what you make of it, and while you can nap and sit by the pool for the entire cruise, here are the top picks of the 50 best things to do on a cruise.

Visit Perfect Day at CocoCay

Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas is so impressive that you need to take a cruise that brings you to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

There is a ton to do, including spending the day at the beach, pool, water park and more.

It is a big hit with families, and a must-visit port that never gets old.

Order breakfast in bed

Room service is available on all cruise ships for a modest fee, so one morning arrange to have breakfast delivered to your room.

Whether you choose to eat it on your balcony or in your bed, it is a fun way to start your day!

Ride the Ultimate Abyss

The Ultimate Abyss is more than 150 feet above sea level and offers side-by-side slides that send guests down 10 decks at a rate of 9 miles per hour. Launching onto the ride from a glass platform, guests can take one last look at the Boardwalk 10 decks below before climbing onto a customized mat and taking the plunge into the depths of the daunting slides.

Rides on the Ultimate Abyss are included with your cruise fare, so you will have plenty of opportunity to scream down the slide, over and over again.

Take a zip line ride

On Oasis Class ships, you can zip line 9 decks above the Boardwalk on a path that measures 82 feet from start to finish.

It is a really experience and completely free!

Challenge the family to mini-golf

Another fantastic complimentary activity is mini-golf, which is available on a lot of Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

You can play on the green as often as you like, while enjoying some beautiful views of the ocean that surrounds you.  No reservations are required, just show up and grab a putter and ball. 

Be sure to try out night time mini golf one evening to mix things up.

Enjoy a spa treatment

Sometimes you just have to treat yourself, and a treatment at the Vitality Spa is the perfect splurge.

Massages, facials, and even acupuncture are available to purchase and a great way to take your relaxation to the next level.

Spa treatments have an additional cost, but it is something you should try at least once.

See a show in the AquaTheater

The AquaTheater is arguably one of the top entertainment venues on any Royal Caribbean ship, because it offers some of the very best shows the cruise has developed.

The AquaTheater features two 10-meter high platforms and the hydraulic-floored pool, the largest and deepest freshwater pool at sea, below serves as podiums for high-diving, hair-raising aerobatics that AquaTheater audiences have come to love.

Available on the Oasis Class ships, there is a different show on each vessel. Regardless of which ship you sail on, this is an experience unlike anything else at sea.

Watch a Broadway show

Speaking of fantastic entertainment, Royal Caribbean offers full Broadway shows on select cruise ships that cost absolutely nothing extra to see!

Select Royal Caribbean ships offer Tony Award-winning shows that are the exact show you would have seen on The Great White Way.

See the ship from the North Star

Royal Caribbean has been pushing the envelope for years in terms of what a cruise ship can include and North Star is another example of "they can put that on a cruise ship?".

North Star is an observation pod that is attached to a giant arm on top of Quantum and Quantum Ultra Class ships.  North Star will allow passengers to go up in the sky above the cruise ship 300 feet above the sea.

Climb the rock wall

Perhaps no other onboard activity put Royal Caribbean "on the map" quite as much as the rock climbing wall did. When Royal Caribbean introduced the first rock climbing wall, the guest feedback was so positive that rock climbing walls were added to other ships in the fleet and have become a staple of any Royal Caribbean ship going forward.

The rock climbing walls come in different sizes, but they all offer different tracks that allow for different experience levels.  It is usually open most of the day for kids and adults to enjoy.  Royal Caribbean provides all the safety equipment that you will need, including helmets, harnesses and shoes.  You just need to bring a pair of socks.

Win a game of trivia

One of my favorite sea day activities is to play trivia on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, and the feeling you get when you finally win a game is a terrific thrill.

There are usually a few different trivia games offered each day of the cruise, and the topics range from general trivia to music, sports, visual or movie trivia.

There is no cost to participate, and the satisfaction of winning is worth the challenge.

Ride the carousel

In the Boardwalk neighborhood, guests young and old can enjoy a ride on a classic carousel that is sure to bring a smile to anyone's face. The carousel on Symphony of the Seas is hand-crafted and especially designed by Carousel Works for Royal Caribbean and is one-of-a-kind.

Inspired by turn-of-the-century carousels that were found in the northeastern United States, Symphony of the Seas' carousel is a classic attraction that is as beautiful in design as it is enjoyable to ride.

Have a drink in the Viking Crown Lounge

The Viking Crown Lounge is a signature location on any Royal Caribbean cruise ship, and you must enjoy at least one beverage while taking in the view.

Whether in day or night, the views of the pool deck and surrounding area are always worth the elevator ride up to see it.

Dine at the Chef's Table

Chef's Table offers a guided private Epicurean five-course experience with an upgraded menu and wine tasting to a limited number of guests. 

It is one of Royal Caribbean's most well-respected offerings and a must-do for any foodie.

Try to surf on the FlowRider

If you ever wanted to learn to surf, Mariner of the Seas has a Flowrider surf simulator on the back of the ship you can try. The FlowRider is a simulator that sends water a very high speed across a small area that mimics what it is like to surf on the ocean.

Guests can surf until they fall off the board, but the staff is pretty good at challenging the talented guests in an effort to improve their skills and increase the likelihood of falling off.

Wander around Central Park

Central Park is one of the prettiest and impressive areas on an Oasis class ship, and you must take the time to explore it.

It is an immense area in the middle of the ship that offers a lush park for guests to enjoy with tropical plants, trees and walkways.

Central Park is the perfect quiet place onboard to "get away" and just relax as the world goes by.

Have a drink on the Rising Tide Bar

There is something undeniably cool about a bar that moves between decks, and on Oasis class ships, the Rising Tide bar does just that.

The Rising Tide Bar continuously moves between the Royal Promenade and Central Park, offering some great views while you enjoy your favorite cocktail.

There's just something very cool about being on a bar that moves through the air and with a drink in hand, it's a great place to watch all those people that are watching you.

Chill out by the pool

There might not be any more classic cruise experience than spending your day at the pool on a cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean designed their pools to be fun, relaxing and most of all refreshing experiences.  Whether you are there for the ambiance, the cooling effect or the activities, time at the pool is a great idea.

In addition to splashing and lounging, you will find various events, such as the belly flop competition or crew vs. guests pool games.

Race down the water slides

Water slides are something guests of all ages can enjoy, and Royal Caribbean has steadily been adding water slides to new and existing ships.

The Perfect Storm water slides are included in your cruise fare, and a very fun family activity.  As you slide down any of the slides, you will twist and turn three decks into a splashy finish.

Watch a movie by the pool

Royal Caribbean regularly shows movies on the pool movie screen during the day and evening.

These movies are a combination of classics and new releases, and come with no cost.  You can opt to pull up a chair, or hop in the pool or hot tub to enjoy the movie.

Eat at Izumi Hibachi

Specialty dining is a great way to "plus" your cruise, and my favorite is Izumi Hibachi.

On ships that offer hibachi, you get to experience fun for the whole family that include authentic flavors, the freshest ingredients and impeccable presentation.

If you choose to eat at one specialty restaurant, Izumi is a solid choice.

Challenge yourself to the Escape Room

If I am on a Royal Caribbean ship with an escape room that I have not tried yet, then it becomes a must-do activity.

Escape rooms challenge your brain and teamwork skills by attempting to solve the clues and escape before time on the clock runs out.

Whether you are already a fan of the escape room trend or just eager to try this challenge for the first time, I think you will enjoy the thrill of trying to beat the escape room on select Royal Caribbean ships.

Watch the game from Playmakers

While Playmakers Sports Bar costs money to order food or drink, watching a game on one of their many television screens is totally complimentary.

Sports fans will love catching their favorite team playing on game day from the comfort of a table at Playmakers. Heck, you can play a round or two of Jenga or Connect Four in-between innings!

Try a few cocktails at the Bamboo Room

Royal Caribbean calls the Bamboo Room a "laid back Polynesian watering hole with a throwback vibe and kitschy-cool craft cocktails". 

Some of the most creative and unique drinks you will find on any Royal Caribbean cruise ship are available at the Bamboo Room, making it totally worth a visit.

Find the stowaway piano player

One of the best not-so-well-known entertainment options that Royal Caribbean has recently added is the "stowaway" piano player.

The idea is there is a piano player with a far-out piano that will move around the ship and perform for guests but encouraging guests to not report him.  

The piano is no ordinary piano.  It has hidden compartments and functions and can dispense various things, such as lollipops for kids or appear to overheat because of "intense" piano playing.

Try the food at Wonderland

Some guests may be quick to group all of Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants together as offering similar experiences, but there is one restaurant that breaks the mold.

Wonderland was introduced on Royal Caribbean's Quantum class ships and has quickly become a favorite for its whimsical, over-the-top experience it offers alongside some really good food.

For guests looking to try something different and bring a bit of "show" into their meals, Wonderland is a superb choice and it promises to be a dining experience you will be talking about for a while.

The Quest

For the adults only, make plans to watch the Crazy Quest on your cruise.  Assuming you have a good sense of humor, the Crazy Quest is an adult scavenger hunt that involves guests going to great lengths to complete a number of physical challenges.

Having seen the Quest many times, it is safe to say no two Crazy Quest shows are the same and there is no telling exactly what you will witness.  It is wild, intense and provides some great late-night entertainment.

Sing along at the Schooner Bar

I would wager to say that the Schooner Bar is a staple of any Royal Caribbean experience because there is always something going on here.

Whether you pronounce it "shooner" or "skooner", we can all agree the Schooner Bar is home to fun trivia, live music and great people.

Get there early, because seats go quickly for the fun evening piano sing-alongs.

Have lunch in the main dining room

On sea days, Royal Caribbean opens the main dining room for lunch and offers a combination of seated waiter service along with a fantastic salad bar.

The lunch menu changes every day that it is open, so keep an eye on it for a great alternative to the buffet for lunch.

Rent a cabana

If your cruise visits Perfect Day at CocoCay or Labadee, my favorite splurge is to rent a cabana.

Getting a cabana means you get to enjoy a mix of privacy, luxury and excellent service. 

Try a cooking class

Sushi making, cupcake decorating, or guacamole making classes are a lot of fun and taste great too!

Watch the sunset

Being out in the ocean, catching a sunset is a gorgeous event that should be done every cruise, but definitely at least once.

The spectacle of the sun setting is amazing, with the many colors in the sky and reflections in the ocean. Be sure to bring a camera to try to capture the splendor of it all

See the Love & Marriage game show

Royal Caribbean has some very fun shows onboard its ships, and one of my favorite shows has to be the Love and Marriage game show.  

Most Royal Caribbean cruise directors that I have heard talk about the show, describe it as being similar to the The Newlywed Game television show.

Based loosely on "The Newly Wed game," Royal Caribbean's version involves three couples trying to prove they know their spouse the best.  It is a quiz of memory and how well one spouse thinks they know the other.

What makes the show fun is when one spouse is very wrong or a spouse reveals something embarrassing about themselves.  The cruise director certainly plays a part in encouraging the couples to be honest and then poking fun at the answers. 

Take a nap in the Solarium

The only thing better than spending time in the adults-only pool area is to take a nap there!

The Solarium is one of the most relaxing areas of the cruise ship, and it tends to be somewhat (if not fully) enclosed.  In addition, it has padded lounge chairs that are just perfect for an afternoon nap.

Go for a night swim

Anyone can swim during the day but on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but I love to put on my bathing suit late after the sun goes down and hop in the pool.  

Night swims are a great experience and with the new giant movie screens near the pools on most Royal Caribbean ships, it's fun to take in a classic film while being in the water.  It is a great family activity and the perfect way to end a fun day.

Catch a performance in the Pub

Almost every evening, the British pub is home to a talented singer who plays the kind of bar songs we have all come to enjoy over the years.

Pubs are available on most ships (Radiance Class and larger), and I love the type of music played.  The tunes in the pub will range from oldies, to '90s, and to decades in-between. Basically, these are songs you likely know all the words to and likely have heard in many bars before.

Go ice skating

Cruise ships that have an ice skating rink in Studio B allow guests to put on a pair of ice skates and hit the ice rink during their cruise

Check the Cruise Compass for open skate sessions during your sailing.  Royal Caribbean will provide you with complimentary ice skate and safety equipment rentals.  Just be sure to pack long pants and socks.

Ice cream on the pool deck

Did you know there is a self-serve ice cream station at the pool deck with unlimited soft serve ice cream? Grab a cone at your leisure, because very likely you will be having quite a few of these on your cruise.

Dance in a party on the Promenade

You will find deck parties galore on Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  From the 70's Dancing in the Street Party, to the Hush! Silent Party, to the sail away parties, there are many opportunities to dance the night away.

Watch the belly flop competition

In terms of spectacles, you cannot top the belly flop competition in the main pool.

As the name implies, it is a competition of wills, determination and iron guts.  You might cringe, laugh or applaud, but it is the kind of show that everyone needs to see once.

Let the kids run wild in Splashaway Bay

Got kids? If so, expect them to want to spend a lot of time at Splashaway Bay aquatic adventure park.

Splashway Bay has plenty of splashing, with fountains, buckets, sprays and even slides for kids to enjoy to their heart's content.  Splashaway Bay was built to be a focal point of the pool area, and offer yet another improvement on what the cruise line has been known for in the past.

Like all the pool deck fun, Splashaway Bay has no cost to use, and is certain to be a very popular spot with your kids.

Free breakfast in Johnny Rockets

On Oasis class ships, Johnny Rockets is open for breakfast and it is included in your cruise fare. During breakfast, you will find classic American fare (just like the other meals), including pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, eggs, French toast and more.

Besides the price tag, Johnny Rockets is often a less crowded spot for breakfast, so if you need a break from breakfast in the Windjammer, head over to the Boardwalk and start your morning there.

Watch the ship's wake

Taking a cruise is such a relaxing and wonderful way to enjoy a vacation, and regardless of which ship you happen to be on, take a walk on the outside promenade deck at least once to enjoy the view of the ship's wake from the aft of the ship.

This vantage point is quite beautiful and calming, and you might find yourself spending more time here than you thought. Since most guests do not make it over here, it is one of the more secluded spots on a Royal Caribbean ship.

On Oasis-class ships, Royal Caribbean even added chairs for guests to enjoy and watch the wake as their ship moves to the next adventure.

Try the escargot (seriously)

In case you did not know, escargot are cooked snails and they are a delicacy and available each evening in the main dining room.  And yes, most people probably make a face when they first read about it, but it has become a cruising classic and you ought to give it a whirl at least once.

Most fans of escargot will tell you that it is not nearly as bad as you think, and the fact they are cooked in plenty of garlic and butter means you can barely taste them.  Eat it with bread and you may not even recognize the former terrestrial pulmonate gastropod molluscs.

Wake up for sunrise

If you have a balcony room booked, be sure to muster the strength to wake up one morning and watch the sunrise from the comfort of your balcony.

Make a point to grab a cup of coffee and try for a sunrise.

Join in the sailaway party

Your Royal Caribbean cruise really begins when the muster drill is over and the ship drops its lines and leaves port to head to the first stop.  To celebrate this moment, Royal Caribbean offers a sailaway party at the pool deck and invites all guests to join.

The sailaway party involves dancing, music and drinks and is something worth trying at least once.

Take a behind-the-scenes tour

Royal Caribbean offers an all access tour for guests to join, where they can peek behind the proverbial curtain and see how their massive and impressive cruise ships function.

Guests are escorted through a number of critical areas of the ship, including the galley, bridge and engine room.  It is a fun way to take a glimpse of what it takes to keep a ship functioning, and even get those nagging questions you have always wondered about finally answered.

The All Access Tour is available to purchase through the Cruise Planner prior to the cruise.

Have a Kummelweck sandwich

On cruise ships that have a Park Cafe location, be sure to stop in and try their Kummelweck roast beef sandwich

These sandwiches are just amazing and no trip to Central Park is complete without one of these tasty (and complimentary) snacks.

Enjoy live music by the pool

Imagine this: the sun is shinning, with a cloud or two passing by as the warm Caribbean breeze brushes past your cheek.  You have a colorful cocktail in your hand, as the band is playing "Red Red Wine" close your eyes.  That epitomizes the perfect moment on a Royal Caribbean cruise!

The live music on a Royal Caribbean cruise is among the best hidden secrets.  Royal Caribbean's dedication to live music has become something I always look forward to and enjoying the live band at the pool is just the icing on an incredible cake.

Spend a holiday on a cruise

Lastly, you should try to book a cruise over a major holiday, such as July 4th, New Years Eve or Thanksgiving.

Celebrating a holiday on a cruise is a great way not only to have a lot of fun, but change up what you usually do to celebrate.

Royal Caribbean gets into the spirit of the major holidays, and you will not be short-changed by the fact you are on a cruise ship.

The top three holidays to try on a cruise at least once are Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Years Eve. Each is a lot of fun onboard!

Top 14 best free things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
16 Oct 2020

Royal Caribbean cruises offer a lot of activities and things to do, and a great many are available at no extra cost.

The value of a cruise means you can enjoy amazing entertainment, family-friendly activities, and plenty to eat while onboard. While there are some extras that have a surcharge, you will still find a lot of great options that are totally complimentary.

Regardless of your vacation budget, these activities made the top list of fun and worthwhile things to do on a cruise that will cost you absolutely nothing extra!

See a Broadway show

Royal Caribbean is well-known for its onboard entertainment, including full-length Broadway shows that cost nothing extra to see.

Select Royal Caribbean ships offer Tony Award-winning shows that are the exact show you would have seen on The Great White Way, and included in your cruise fare.

The musicals available on Royal Caribbean include Mama Mia, Hairspray, Grease and more!

On Royal Caribbean ships that allow for entertainment reservations, guests may reserve tickets in advance for the Broadway shows via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.

There  is no cost to making advanced reservations, and you certainly could wait to get a seat onboard if you so choose.

Watch a movie

Throughout the day and evening, Royal Caribbean will show a mix of movie classics and new releases on its pool deck cinema screens.

These movie screens are giant, and you can pull up a chair from just about anywhere on the pool deck to watch it with your family. Many cruisers opt to stay in the pool and watch the movie while floating.

On Radiance Class ships, there is actually a dedicated movie theater with movies throughout the day.

Mini-golf

Most Royal Caribbean cruise ships offer a mini-golf course that is a fun family adventure at any time.

The courses are available to play day or night, and there is no cost to play. Just grab a club and a ball, and you can enjoy this over and over again.  Keeping score is up to you.

During the course of the cruise, there may even be a mini-golf competition held among guests.

Climb the rock wall

One of the signature onboard activities that Royal Caribbean has become well-known for is the rock climbing wall.  Since the first rock climbing wall debuted on a Royal Caribbean ship, the experience has spread to every other ship in the fleet making it a favorite among guests.

The 30-foot rock wall offers different tracks for various experience levels and is open for most of the day.  

It's open to kids and adults and Royal Caribbean provides all the safety equipment that you will need, including helmets, harnesses and shoes.  You just need to bring a pair of socks.

Go down a slide

One of the newer additions to Royal Caribbean's array of activities are the water slides.

Over the last few years, Royal Caribbean added water slides to many different cruise ships in order to plus the family activities offered onboard.

There are racer slides, as well as champagne bowl slides.  Liberty of the Seas even offers a family raft slide.

On the Oasis Class cruise ships, there is the Ultimate Abyss dry slide, where you can ride down in a mat over 100 feet.

Virtual reality bungee jump

Combine virtual reality and a bungee experience and you get the SkyPad.

The SkyPad straps guests into bungee chords, where you can bounce up and down with an optional VR helmet on to provide the sensation of moving through an augmented reality world.

Drop the kids off at Adventure Ocean

Did you know supervised children's programming is not only available on Royal Caribbean but included in your cruise fare?

Up until 10pm, there is no additional cost for Adventure Ocean.  The programming is included in the cruise fare.

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.

Note that there is an hourly fee if your children are left in Adventure Ocean after 10pm, as well as a fee for the nursery.

Go ice skating

On Royal Caribbean ships that have an ice skating rink, guests can put on a pair of ice skates and hit the ice rink during their sailing.

Check the Cruise Compass for open skate sessions during your sailing.  Royal Caribbean will provide you with complimentary ice skate and safety equipment rentals.  Just be sure to pack long pants and socks.

See a show in the AquaTheater

While Broadway shows are classic entertainment, Royal Caribbean has created its own brand of spectacle with its AquaTheater.

Designed for Oasis Class ships, the AquaTheater has two 10-meter high platforms and a hydraulic-floored pool below.

On select evenings, you can enjoy performances held in the AquaTheater that combine music, dance, acrobatics and high-dives. It is something you have to see to believe.

Take a ride on the carousel

Guests of any age (that means you) can enjoy a ride on the carousel in the Boardwalk for no additional cost.

The carousel is just plain fun for kids and adults. Eighteen figures are suspended from stainless steel poles along with one ADA accessible chariot are rideable.

Be sure to also check out the carousel at night because like the fairs of the past, nighttime is when these rides really shine when they are all lit up.

Try surfing

You can try your hand at surfing on the FlowRider surf simulator.

Royal Caribbean offers guests the choice of stand-up surfing, as well as boogie-boarding sessions.

You can ride the FlowRider for free as many times as you like during the course of your cruise, you just need to wait in line for a turn.

Sky dive

The Quantum Class ships offers every guest one time in the  iFly by RipCord "indoor" skydiving simulator.

RipCord by iFly is a skydiving simulator that will be a first for cruise ships.  Rather than descend from 10,000 feet in the sky, RipCord allows guests to get the sensation of skydiving without the incredible risk.

Set in a recirculating indoor vertical wind tunnel, guests can feel like they're falling from the heavens in a safe environment.  You wear the gear and goggles as if you were jumping out of an airplane, so it's as authentic an experience as you can get without the airplane.  Trained instructors are with you the whole time in a totally controlled environment.

Try the zip line

On Oasis class ships, guests can soar 9 decks above the Boardwalk neighborhood, stretching 82 feet from end to end.

Passengers must be at least 52" tall to participate and weigh a maximum of 275 pound, also must at least weigh 75 pounds.

The zip line is free and guests must sign a waiver.

Enjoy most of Perfect Day at CocoCay

Royal Caribbean's private island destination of Perfect Day at CocoCay was recently refurbished and there is a surprising amount of complimentary activities.

In addition to the classic beach day experience, Royal Caribbean has added the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, the shipwrecked Captain Jill’s Galleon loaded with slides and water cannons, the biggest ever Splashaway Bay aqua park yet, and new sports courts on South Beach.

The beach experience at Perfect Day at CocoCay has not been overlooked, with enhanced Chill Island and South Beach, both offering plenty of free beach chairs and beachside activities.

On top of all of that, there are lots of free food that you can enjoy all day long without any extra costs.

The things I haven't done on a Royal Caribbean cruise yet

In:
18 Aug 2020

One of the things I love about Royal Caribbean is how there is always something new and different to try. Even after dozens and dozens of cruises, I have yet to tackle everything to do.

Royal Caribbean offers so many activities and things to do onboard that the notion of being bored on a cruise is simply ridiculous. If anything, there is an overwhelming (in a good way) variety of activities.

Here is a look at the things I have not yet gotten around to trying yet on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Rock climbing wall

The fact I have not done the rock climbing wall is truly bizarre because I really want to try it, but just have not managed to make it happen.

A few times I actually planned to give it a try, but the wall was not open for guests to climb.  One time the wall was open, but it was so hot that the crew member warned me against trying due to the wall being too hot at the time.

I hope to finally give it a try at some point, as it looks like a lot of fun and a great challenge.

FlowRider

While I would love to be able to be one of those people that hops on the FlowRider surf simulator and impress everyone with my mad skills, unfortunately my lack of physical coordination makes this less appealing.

I love to watch people try to surf on the FlowRider, but the truth is I am very concerned about falling hard on a part of my body not accustomed to taking a lot of weight and hurting myself.  It is a bit of an irrational fear considering how many people have no issues, but it still lingers in my mind.

If I were to try the FlowRider, I think I would do the boogie board option at the very least, since that seems to be far less impactful when wiping out.

Attend the art auction

Before I ever took my first Royal Caribbean cruise, I heard warnings from other cruisers about the art auction and issues others have encountered.

First and foremost, I am not much of an art person.  Second, the concept is not terribly appealing.  And third, there are plenty of reported issues with the art dealer to scare me off.

Someday I would like to sit in for a few minutes and observe, but I have no burning desire to check it out anytime soon.

Volunteered for a game show

Whether it is the Love and Marriage, The Quest, Battle of the Sexes or any of the other game shows Royal Caribbean produces on its ships, I have never been a volunteer for them.

While fun to watch, I am a bit too shy to give these shows a try myself out of fear of embarrassment. I also derive much more satisfaction from watching others, than doing it myself.

Out of everything on this list, this might be the last thing I ever tackle because of my personality.  

Laser tag

Like the rock climbing wall, I have not tried laser tag on a Royal Caribbean ship out of primarily bad timing on my part.

Laser tag is held in Studio B at select times, and I think I am usually doing something else during those times. In addition, I seem to recall laser tag being held on port days while the ship is in port.

I absolutely want to try laser tag, and my kids do too, so I think this will happen sooner than later.

Cupcake Class

The cupcake decorating class is an onboard activity that I hear a lot of positive comments about, so I think I would not mind giving it a try.

Like laser tag, I think my kids would really enjoy this too, so perhaps it is something we can try on a sea day to change things up.  

Karaoke

Like so many other people, it is one thing to sing to yourself in the car or shower, but singing in front of a crowd is a completely different proposition.

As an observer, there are three kind of people who usually volunteer for karaoke: really good singers, really bad singers that do not know they are bad, and really bad singers who go up for a laugh.

I would fall into that last category, but I admit I have a bit of stage fright going up there to sing a song I know I am not going to do very well. At some point I think I could muster the nerve to get up on stage to belt out a tune, but who knows when that will occur.

Sailed on some Royal Caribbean ships

I would be remiss if I did not mention that I have not sailed on every Royal Caribbean ship yet.

There are so many ships to choose from, and I have not yet managed to get onboard all of them. Here are the ones I am missing:

  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas
  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Empress of the Seas

I would love to sail on each of these ships at some point, so it is just a matter of scheduling, as well as ensuring these ships are close enough to make a trip practical (sorry, China and Australia cruises).

Stayed in a Star Class suite

While I have stayed in a many different suites, I have yet to experience the very top tier suite experience on Royal Caribbean.

The Star Class suites are on Oasis and Quantum class ships, and the reason I have yet to give them a try is the price tag.  

I have done plenty of Junior Suites, Grand Suites and Owner Suites, but never booked my own Star Class room.  I have been inside of these palatial staterooms, but was never the person who slept every night in that room.

At some point, I really want to give it a try to see how it compares, especially for the opportunity to have access to a Royal Genie. I just need to find a Star Class room that does not so closely resemble the price of a new car.

What is something you haven't done on Royal Caribbean yet?

Now that I have shared my list, what are the things you have yet to try on a Royal Caribbean cruise? What is at the top of your must-do list? Share your thoughts in our comments!

All the things I'm missing the most while not on a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
12 Apr 2020

It is hard to believe, but it has been over a year since the last Royal Caribbean ship departed for a cruise, and like so many others, I am missing the experience of being onboard.  

With this "extended dry dock" that we are all stuck in, here are 11 things I miss when I am not on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Embarkation day lunch

In my mind, the cruise truly begins when we get onboard the first day and head up to the Windjammer for our first meal onboard.

There is something about being in the Windjammer, seeing the smiling faces of the staff welcoming us (and of course washing our hands), that makes it feel like we are "home".

Perhaps it has to do with the fact the morning of the cruise is filled with anticipation, energy and excitement, so sitting down in the Windjammer is the first opportunity to soak it all in.

The excellent housekeeping service

Every time I go on a cruise, I think I found the best stateroom attendant ever, and then I meet my new attendant who does such a great job too.

The housekeeping staff works incredibly hard to not only keep your room and hallways clean, but they have a smile and love to chat with us.

Some staff make it a personal mission to create a rapport with my two daughters, who are usually shy around people they do not know.  I enjoy seeing if each morning our stateroom attendant can crack a smile from them.  

Of course, the towel animals they leave on select nights in our room are always a hit with the kids.

Not having to think about making meals

My wife's favorite part of the cruise is not having to plan meals for the week, do food shopping, or preparing anything in terms of what we are going to eat.

Going on a cruise is an escape from many things, including some responsibilities and not having to cook, clean or prep is such a relief for parents.

My family really enjoys being able to get food from a variety of places, and I welcome the toughest decision being which restaurant to eat dinner at on any given evening.

Waking up and immediately going to the pool

To me, nothing says "vacation" like waking up and immediately getting ready to spend the day by the pool.

Sea days are a quintessential cruise experience, and I especially relish the second day of the cruise when it is a sea day, and we head to the pool to spend a few hours (or more) while onboard.

Rather than getting the kids ready for school, or thinking about what errands and work needs to be done, the only concern is who needs to apply sunscreen.

Getting dressed up each evening

Call me old fashioned, but I really enjoy getting dressed up each evening.

There is something about the pomp and circumstance of dressing to impress, and taking photos around the ship, that I really enjoy about being on a cruise.

Just like eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, I think getting dressed up every evening is something that screams to me, "cruise mode" and is a good reminder I am somewhere very fun.

Plus, the photos we get from on a cruise are what adorns most of the walls of our home.

The amazing Adventure Ocean staff

As a parent, there is no sweeter sound than when Adventure Ocean opens its door to my children.

I love my kids, but the opportunity to drop my kids off at an incredibly well-run and supervised area is such a treat for both parents and kids.

My kids love it, because it is a few hours to play, make new friends, and see which counselors are their favorites.

As a parent, I relish the time alone with my wife to enjoy dinner and a show with just the two of us. 

In these days of shelter in place, I have found a brand new appreciation for the talent and patience the Adventure Ocean staff fosters.

Disconnecting from the world news

Even though I always buy an internet package onboard, I really like not being as connected with the daily news from at home.

When you are at home, the 24/7 news cycle is part of your day.  I try to balance the need to be informed with my own desire to not let it make me crazy, but on a cruise ship, I feel I really get to escape the daily grind of who said what, what might happen, and more.

In light of the current situation, an escape from the latest breaking news (that supersedes the breaking news from an hour ago) sounds like a dream to me.

Meeting new people

The fun people on a cruise is part of what makes cruising so fun, and I really enjoy being at a bar, pool or excursion and making a new acquaintance and sharing a laugh.

Everyone on a cruise is metaphorically "in the same boat," and we are all meeting a bunch of strangers that are sharing the same vacation. I think this notion fosters a sense of comradery among cruisers, and it usually leads to more open conversations at a bar or restaurant.

While I do not actively walk around saying hello to people like I am running for public office, I do enjoy the occasional chat in an elevator, or off-hand remark somewhere onboard.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

I have plenty of favorite ports of call, but the big changes Royal Caribbean made to its private island in the Bahamas has cemented Perfect Day at CocoCay as something I really miss more than ever right now.

Royal Caribbean sought out to create paradise and a private island destination second-to-none, and they succeeded with flying colors.

Whether I am in Oasis Lagoon, going down a water slide with my kids in Thrill Waterpark, or exploring Coco Beach Club with my wife, I miss any and all of what CocoCay offers and it is somewhere I would not mind going back over and over again to enjoy.

The shows

Royal Caribbean is known as one of the best cruise lines for entertainment. Production shows, comedians, live music and more are just part of the repertoire that Royal Caribbean puts out on its ships.

I miss being able to see a full-length Broadway show, catch the pub singer or laugh at the adult comedy show.  I miss being at the pool and hearing a steel drum band play classic reggae tunes, or spot the stowaway piano player in an elevator.  I even miss going to the club experience and remembering that I am not in my 20's anymore and questioning why the music has to be so darn loud.

The Wash Your Hands song

I guess being stuck at home this long has truly effected me, because I actually miss the "Wash Your Hands" song that is played continuously on embarkation day in your stateroom.

I also miss the clever Windjammer greeters who have created their own renditions of reminding guests to wash their hands sung to famous songs.

What do you miss the most?

While you are sitting at home and reading this post, what places, experiences or things to do onboard do you miss the most? Share what you are yearning for the most in our comments!

Video: 8 must-do Royal Caribbean can't-miss activities!

In:
14 Jan 2020

Of all the things you can do on a Royal Caribbean, I have a list of the top activities that everyone should try out!

Royal Caribbean offers a lot for its guests to enjoy, and with all those choices, I handpicked the very best can't-miss things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise!

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What is something you think everyone needs to do at least once on a cruise?

Video: 10 awesome FREE things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

In:
12 Dec 2019

Royal Caribbean packs its cruise ships with so many fun things to do, and many have no additional cost to enjoy.

In this video, we have a look at some of my favorite things to do on a Royal Caribbean ship that is included with your cruise fare.

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What is your favorite free activity on a Royal Caribbean ship?

15 Free Things to Do on Mariner of the Seas

In:
28 Oct 2019

Following more than $100 million in upgrades to Mariner of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has packed a ton of activities for families to enjoy onboard this revamped cruise ship.  From dining, things to do, experiences and more, Mariner of the Seas offers plenty across fifteen decks.

Here is a look at some great things to try onboard Mariner of the Seas that are fun and totally free to enjoy.  That means a great vacation that saves you money! Hopefully, you can enjoy all 15 of these activities on your Mariner of the Seas cruise.

1. Go ice skating

Mariner of the Seas has an ice skating rink in Studio B where one of the ship's best shows is performed during your cruise (more on that later), but guests can also don a pair of ice skates and hit the ice rink too!

Check the Cruise Compass for open skate sessions during your sailing.  Royal Caribbean will provide you with complimentary ice skate and safety equipment rentals.  Just be sure to pack long pants and socks.

2. Bounce on the Sky Pad

Guests can hit up the Sky pad, which is a virtual bungee trampoline experience.  After being hooked up to bungee chords, you put on a virtual reality visor and explore a virtual world while bouncing up and down on a giant trampoline!

There are three different games to try, including being transported to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages, and also can be enjoyed without virtual reality headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.

3. Plunge down the water slides

The Perfect Storm is a duo of racing water slides called Cyclone and Typhoon that are a very popular option for many to enjoy high-speed thrills. 

4. Watch the Crazy Quest

For the adults only, make plans to watch the Crazy Quest on your cruise.  Assuming you have a good sense of humor, the Crazy Quest is an adult scavenger hunt that involves guests going to great lengths to complete a number of physical challenges.

Having seen the Quest many times, it is safe to say no two Crazy Quest shows are the same and there is no telling exactly what you will witness.  It is wild, intense and provides some great late-night entertainment.

5. Go surfing

If you ever wanted to learn to surf, Mariner of the Seas has a Flowrider surf simulator on the back of the ship you can try. The FlowRider is a simulator that sends water a very high speed across a small area that mimics what it is like to surf on the ocean.

Guests can surf until they fall off the board, but the staff is pretty good at challenging the talented guests in an effort to improve their skills and increase the likelihood of falling off.

6. Challenge your friends to laser tag

A recent addition to Mariner of the Seas is a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience in Studio B, where friends and family can team up to play “Battle for Planet Z.”

7. Climb to the top of the wall

A signature Royal Caribbean activity is the rock climbing wall. Located at the back of the ship, you can try climbing to the top of the wall and ringing a bell before rappelling down.

This is a great personal challenge that also has the added benefit of providing some fantastic views of the ocean from 200 feet above the ocean. Don't worry about safety, because you are harnessed in at all times.

8. Hit the mini-golf course

Families will love the updated mini-golf course at the front of the ship. Mariner Dunes on Deck 13 allows for as many rounds of complimentary golf as you like.

It is a creative course, with plenty of obstacles and even faux water hazards!

9. Eat ice cream!

Did you know there is a self-serve ice cream station at the pool deck with unlimited soft serve ice cream? Grab a cone at your leisure, because very likely you will be having quite a few of these on your cruise.

10. Check out the ice skating show

Studio B is home to one of the production shows on Mariner of the Seas, "Ice Under The Big Top" and is a must-see show.

This ice skating performance combines acrobatics, skill and finesse to bring guests an engaging show. Ice skating shows on Royal Caribbean are well-worth seeing, so be sure to arrive to Studio B at least 15-20 minutes early to grab a seat.

11. Catch a game at Playmakers

While Playmakers Sports Bar costs money to order food or drink, watching a game on one of their many television screens is totally complimentary.

Sports fans will love catching their favorite team playing on game day from the comfort of a table at Playmakers. Heck, you can play a round or two of Jenga or Connect Four in-between innings!

12. Join the party!

You will find deck parties galore on Mariner of the Seas.  From the 70's Dancing in the Street Party, to the Hush! Silent Party, to the sail away parties, there are many opportunities to dance the night away.

13. Catch a movie by the pool

What is better than seeing a recent blockbuster film? How about while swimming in a pool!

A 220-square foot movie screen is located at the pool deck, and there are movies each night to enjoy either from in a pool or hot tub, or just from one of the lounge chairs nearby.

14. Play in a game show

If you are the competitive type, or just enjoy watching others try their best, then catch one of the many games shows onboard.

  • Finish That Lyric game show: Guests listen to a bit of a popular song and then must fill in the lyrics that come next once the music stops.
  • X versus Y game show: It is the battle of the sexes type game show, which pits men versus women in an adult-oriented contest.
  • Love and Marriage game show: See which married couple knows their spouse best in a test of memory and compatibility.

15. Belly Flop Competition

Humans naturally drawn to see who is the best at anything, including who can make the biggest splash in the pool.  This popular contest is something you have to see to believe.

What is your favorite thing to do on Mariner of the Seas? Have you sailed and tried one of these? Share with us your top picks in the comments below!

8 things I MUST do on every Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
16 Sep 2019

After a few Royal Caribbean cruises, everyone seems to have their own "traditions" that we do on each and every sailing. These cruise habits are part of what keep us coming back again and again.

Here are a few must-do things that you just have to try on your next cruise too!

8. Eat at the Windjammer on embarkation day

It's not a cruise unless we get to the port a little before noon and get onboard so I can have my first meal in the legendary Windjammer buffet.

Every since my first cruise, I have always had the first meal onboard the ship at the Windjammer, and I think having my first meal here that cements that feeling inside of "I'm really on a Royal Caribbean cruise again".  For me, it is that moment when I sit down with my plate full of food and a big smile comes across my face.

And oh yea, there is lots of good food to be enjoyed here as well!

7. Go for a night swim

Anyone can swim during the day but on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but I love to put on my bathing suit late after the sun goes down and hop in the pool.  

Night swims are a great experience and with the new giant movie screens near the pools on most Royal Caribbean ships, it's fun to take in a classic film while being in the water.  It is a great family activity and the perfect way to end a fun day.

6. Watch the shore excursion channel loop through a few times

This may be just something silly I do but I really love to watch the shore excursion channel in my stateroom when we're laying around.  There's something about the super market jazz music playing in the background or the monotone voice over descriptions that I just like watching it. 

This guilty pleasure is centered around the idea of watching this channel to get an idea of what to expect in the ports of call we are going to visit but I find the channel strangely memorizing and I'm not afraid to admit it!

5. Catch a performance in the Pub

Of all the live entertainment on a Royal Caribbean ship, my favorite evening activity is to sing along to my favorite bar hits in the Pub onboard.

Pubs are available on most ships (Radiance Class and larger), and I love the type of music played.  The tunes in the pub will range from oldies, to '90s, and to decades inbetween. Basically, these are songs you likely know all the words to and likely have heard in many bars before.

While many cruisers equally enjoy the live music in the Schooner Bar at night, the acoustic guitar melodies of the pub are my personal favorite.

4. Sit by the pool while the live band plays

Picture this: a sunny day with maybe just a few clouds passing by, sitting in a lounge chair at the pool deck with an optional drink of the day in your hand and the band playing "Red Red Wine" as you take a sip and close your eyes.  That is the perfect moment on a Royal Caribbean cruise for me.

The live music on a Royal Caribbean cruise is among the best hidden secrets.  Royal Caribbean's dedication to live music has become something I always look forward to and enjoying the live band at the pool is just the icing on an incredible cake.

3. Read the Cruise Compass from cover to cover

When we get back to the stateroom after a great dinner, the first thing I look for is the next day's Cruise Compass newsletter waiting for me on the bed.

Each evening your stateroom attendant will leave the Cruise Compass on your bed (with perhaps a towel animal surprise too) for you to read and I love reading everything inside.  To me, this is the New York Times of cruising and it's just one of those cruising traditions that I love to do.  Sure, I get a sense of what activities are coming up the next day (Michael Jackson line dancing classes anyone?) but it's also fun to just immerse myself in everything going on around the ship.

2. Try the escape room

If I am on a Royal Caribbean ship with an escape room that I have not tried yet, then it becomes a must-do activity.

Escape rooms challenge your brain and teamwork skills by attempting to solve the clues and escape before time on the clock runs out.

Whether you are already a fan of the escape room trend or just eager to try this challenge for the first time, I think you will enjoy the thrill of trying to beat the escape room on select Royal Caribbean ships.

1. Share a photo of the fun with family back home

There is nothing wrong with a little humble brag, and I try to take time on every cruise to take a family selfie and share it with my family who could not join us on the sailing.

Showing folks at home all the fun we are having is a two-pronged strategy. First, it shows off all the fun we are having and offers a chance to gloat just a little.  More importantly, my hope is those same people seeing the photo will be inclined to join us on our next cruise!

Your favorites

Did any of my favorite must-do's make your list?  Share with us your favorite Royal Caribbean traditions in the comments below!

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