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Fear not: Royal Caribbean CEO declares cruise line won't charge for pizza to delight of fans

17 Aug 2023

Fear not, Royal Caribbean won't be charging you for pizza on your next cruise.

Sorrento's on Allure

A customer survey made its way around the internet that posed the question if people would consider paying extra for the pizza that is currently free onboard.

Cruise fans erupted in an avalanche of condemnation that the cruise line would even consider charging cruise ship passengers for pizza.

The controversy reached Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley's desk, as he took to social media to calm concern over such a change.

How it all started

Sorrento's Pizza

Last week, a RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader shared a copy of an email survey he received from Royal Caribbean asking about many topics, including opinions on making the free pizza an extra charge item.

Royal Caribbean surveys are a commonly used tool for the company to evaluate and get feedback on all aspects of its operations.  However, the question of charging for pizza was something new, since the Sorrento's Pizza onboard has always been a complimentary option.

Email survey

The question on the survey was, "If Sorrento's Pizza was offered for a fee, would you still dine there?".

It then asked if changing Sorrento's from complimentary to an extra cost venue would stop them from cruising with Royal Caribbean, "How would Sorrento's Pizza being offered for a fee impact your likelihood to choose Royal Caribbean in future?"

As word spread about this question, a lot of cruise fans began to worry that charging for pizza was a step on the slippery slope of higher cruise costs.

Pizza and beer

In fact, it seemed many people were more upset with the precedent it sets, rather than actually paying for the food.

Dawn Thompson's comment on social media exemplified many people's thoughts ont he matter, "I understand cruise ships lost a lot of money during Covid, but trying to make up all that money at once by putting an up charge on everything! They will lose their base and limit the amount of new customers and lose more!"

"We are not charging for pizza"

Michael Bayley

Mr. Bayley posted on his Facebook page an update that addressed the pizza survey and to assure guests there will not be a change.

He first explained how the survey question came to be, "A couple of weeks ago we conducted one of frequent small group guest surveys. As usual we asked questions on this n that!  Including customer thoughts on $ charges for Pizza!   The question was posted with the result that many emails and comments were sent! "

According to him, 80% of the respondents said they were against Royal Caribbean charging for pizza onboard its cruise ships.

"The survey said 80 per cent of guests were opposed, 20 per cent of guests said they would still go for Pizza with a charge."

Bayley Pizza quote

He also said about a quarter of the people would consider changing other cruise lines if Royal Caribbean began charging for pizza.

Most importantly, Mr. Bayley assured cruisers the free pizza isn't going anywhere, "To calm all our Pizza lovers don’t worry we are not charging for Pizza."

A relief to cruise fans

Royal Promenade on Adventure of the Seas

For many cruise fans, this update was a welcome sigh of relief.

Nancy Bridges posted, "Thank you for listening, Michael."

Tracey Garner added, "Thank you for listening to your loyal customers! It is very much appreciated!"

Mike Barngrover joked, "That's a relief Michael. I did not want to move my cruises to Carnival."

Russel Lomas suggested working on the surveys so they aren't as easily misconstrued, "You may want to think about how the question was worded in the survey so that in future people to do not get into an uproar on social media about issues or questions like this."

Cruise fans complaints flood social media regarding Royal Caribbean potentially charging for pizza on cruise ships

16 Aug 2023

Don't mess with the pizza is the message Royal Caribbean cruise fans are saying loudly back to the cruise line.

Sorrento's Pizza on Harmony of the Seas

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean CEO says pizza will remain free

In the days since it became public that Royal Caribbean asked select customers what they think about paying extra for the pizza that is currently complimentary from Sorrento's pizza.

The question was part of a survey that wanted to get customer feedback about many aspects of the cruise experience, but this particular question struck a nerve with so many of our readers and viewers.

"Charge for pizza? If that happens I’m out, that’s the last straw," is what Scott North wrote after reading about the question, and his sentiment was shared among many other readers.

Email survey

The survey wanted to know if Royal Caribbean decided to charge for pizza, would people still pay for it and would it impact their choice in cruising with Royal Caribbean.

While nothing has actually changed in terms of the price of pizza on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the very notion of thinking of charging for something as basic as a slice of pizza on a cruise has so many readers up in arms.

Over 300 Facebook comments along with 600 YouTube comments illustrate a growing frustration with potentially higher prices to cruise.

The principle of the change

Utopia aerial

Most readers seem to be upset about the direction Royal Caribbean seems to be headed in, rather than actually paying extra for pizza.

"Charging for pizza?? This is starting to get out of hand," is what Andy Pope wrote and a lot of people seem to agree that they see the slippery slope of adding more costs to an already expensive cruise cost.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog YouTube viewer MikeyAtTheBar is also worried about what charging for pizza leads to, "Were they to start charging for Sorrento's and were it to be successful, what's next? How many other things could they start charging for? Shows? Water slides? Windjammer? MDR? It's a slippery slope."

Twitter user @Williamson_KB posted this meme as a way to poke fun at the idea of charging for pizza.

Cruise meme for charing

Dawn Thompson understands the bigger picture, but thinks the cut backs since cruising restarted in 2021 is getting out of hand, "I understand cruise ships lost a lot of money during Covid, but trying to make up all that money at once by putting an up charge on everything! They will lose their base and limit the amount of new customers and lose more!"

What Dawn is referring to is something a lot of readers pointed to as well in their comments. In 2023, Royal Caribbean introduced a new main dining room menu that reduced the amount of options on the menu and limited each passenger to one lobster.


They also changed cabin service for non-suites from twice a day to once a day, which came after increasing automatic crew member gratuities in 2022.

Andy Januse doesn't like the direction either, "I am Loyal to Royal but lately they way they are nickel and diming everyone to death is really leaving a sour taste in my mouth and might even make me consider switching lines altogether."

Looking at other lines

MSC World Europa

Many people that commented on the survey question questioned their choice in cruise line.

"I am a Diamond member and after September cruise I’ll be Diamond Plus.I have started for the first time in my life looking at other cruise lines like NCL, where some sales offer for free a lot of the things Royal Caribbean charges for," is what Theodore Jones wrote.  "Too much nickel and dimming and I’ll be out."

"I'll take my 3-5 cruises a year to another line. Enough of this silliness," wrote Matt Bender.

Marc Razz Sr. is also considering other options, "RCCL seems like the are pushing us loyal clients to try other companies. As MSC is attempting to make a splash in tristate area, this may be my final straw."

Highest cruise prices yet

Royal Caribbean logo on the side of the ship

Then there's the comments by Royal Caribbean Group executives to Wall Street that they want to raise prices even higher.

Royal Caribbean has always charged extra for certain add-ons, like drinks or shore excursions, but the possibility of charging for pizza comes at a time when the price for a cruise is already on the rise.

While Royal Caribbean Group is still saddled with billions of dollars of debt that it took out in the form of loans since 2020, it is slowly beginning to pay those loans back thanks to higher cruise fares.

Royal Caribbean ship at sea

In short, people in 2023 are paying more for their cruises than in 2019, which was the previous high water mark for cruise revenue.

The company disclosed cruise rates were up 17% in the second quarter compared to 2019.

Capacity overall was at 105% and net yields up 12.9% comparted to 2019 numbers.

Jason Liberty on TV

After releasing the earnings, Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty told CNBC he thinks prices will go even higher in talking about the value gap between a cruise and land vacation.

"In the earlier part of this year, that value gap was somewhere around 45%. And today, we've closed that value gap by about ten percentage points, so we still think there's a lot of runway that is still there to close," he said. 

"We always want to be as competitive as we possibly can be, but of course, we want that gap to be much smaller."

"We were able to close that gap to about 10-15 points pre-covid, we think there's a lot of opportunity for us to close that gap even further."

Royal Caribbean surveys passengers about charging for pizza, adding axe throwing to ships and more

10 Aug 2023

Royal Caribbean wants to know if a planetarium, obstacle course, or a change in the food they charge for are things its passengers might want on a future cruise ship.

Sorrentos Pizza

Like many companies, Royal Caribbean will send surveys to its customers to not only get feedback on what their past experience was like, but to also see what people think about changes.

A survey sent to select cruisers this week hinted at some possible ideas the cruise line has and wants to know what its loyal cruisers think.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Michael Dorgan shared some of the questions he received in a post-cruise survey form that went beyond just asking him what his last cruise was like.

To be clear, nothing has changed or announced by Royal Caribbean. These are just questions to select cruisers sent via email survey.

The survey started to drill down in the dining and asking about Sorrento's, which is the complimentary pizza restaurant found on most Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

The question posed was, "If Sorrento's Pizza was offered for a fee, would you still dine there?".

Email survey

Sorrento's pizza is a staple of the food included on a Royal Caribbean cruise. It has a near cult-like following among avid cruisers who like it especially late at night. More importantly, charging for the pizza would remove effectively the only complimentary late-night food available on Royal Caribbean ships.

It then asked if changing Sorrento's from complimentary to an extra cost venue would stop them from cruising with Royal Caribbean, "How would Sorrento's Pizza being offered for a fee impact your likelihood to choose Royal Caribbean in future?"

Email survey

Then the survey moved toward new restaurant concepts, and in particular seafood restaurants, and what style of restaurant would a guest want to see on future ships.


Options included Greek, Cajun, Peruvian, British, Caribbean, New England style, surf & turf, or sushi. 

Royal Caribbean already has a New England seafood specialty restaurant with Hooked, and sushi on many of its ships with Izumi.

Another question on the survey was about the cruise line's specialty dining packages, and would the person buy it or not, and how they rated the dining package on past cruises.

Email survey

Lastly, the survey asked how much interest there would be in new kinds of experiences on future cruise ships. It listed axe throwing, go-karts, an indoor playground, pickleball court, roller coaster, obstacle course, or a planetarium.

Asking about new experiences to offer onboard is no surprise. Cruise ships have made a name for themselves over the last 30 years by continuously adding "I can't believe they put that on a cruise ship" experiences. Royal Caribbean is arguably the most synonymous with adding whizz-bang activities to its ships.

Bolt roller coaster

All of the ideas would be new to Royal Caribbean, but not necessarily the cruise industry. Norwegian Cruise Line has go-karts on some of its newer ships, and Carnival added a roller coaster to its Excel Class ships.

How realistic is it for these changes to occur?

Slice of pizza

Will Royal Caribbean actually start charging for pizza? Or add a planetarium to the next new cruise ship? No one really knows.

Historically, Royal Caribbean has used surveys to to test out all sorts of ideas, many of which never see the light of day as a change.

Royal Caribbean main dining room

On the other hand, sometimes surveys are indeed precursors to a new addition. In November 2022, Royal Caribbean used surveys extensively leading up to a main dining room menu change in 2023.

It's impossible to know what the future holds. The cruise industry is always evolving, but at this point, surveys should be used as "food for thought", rather than confirmation of anything the line may do.

Reader reaction

If the Royal Caribbean Blog community is any indication, charging for the same pizza that used to be at no cost is not something anyone wants to see, and many see it indicative of a larger set of cut backs and changes over the last few years.

The same survey made it to some other readers, who took to our message boards to voice their opinions.

"Charging for Sorrento’s pizza would be a relatively small thing I guess, but it would frustrate me," said teddy.

Pizza being sliced

ChessE4 sees a real problem with charging for pizza, "Charging for Sorrentos would be the beginning of the end for me. It would be like charging extra for dessert."

Al Miller seemed frustrated at the pattern of increased cost to cruise, "Record earnings! Best quarter ever! You hear this and you think "Whew!" Maybe now they can stop the death by a thousand cuts that is killing my desire to book anything new. Nope! Let's see how fast and how far they can gut the core experience."

JimnKathy hope the survey is merely the line dipping their toe in the water, "I'd like to think these survey questions are merely being test-marketed to gauge guest response...hopefully the RCL marketing/finance folks hear the responses loud and clear."

Spotted: Is Labadee closer to reopening?

16 Jan 2022

The rumor mill has been swirling lately with the unconfirmed possibility that Royal Caribbean's other private destination may reopen.

Royal Caribbean Blog - Unofficial blog about Royal Caribbean cruises

Labadee, a private destination in northwest Haiti, has been shutdown since cruises stopped in 2020. While Perfect Day at Cococay has reopened, Labadee has not and there has not been a great deal of detail as to why or when it might resume.

Up until now, scheduled visits to Labadee have been routinely cancelled and replaced with visits to other ports.

There are two new pieces of very circumstantial evidence that point to Labadee possibly welcoming guests back again sooner than later.

Friday Photos | Royal Caribbean Blog

First, Harmony of the Seas is scheduled to visit there next week when she sails on January 23, 2022. 

According to the Royal Caribbean app, Harmony is scheduled to visit Labadee on Day 5 of the sailing during her 5-night Western Caribbean cruise.

Of course, itineraries can change at any time.

Someone also shared a post on Facebook, claiming that the visit to Labadee is scheduled and that a "test cruise" is headed there on January 27th.

The other thing we spotted is Royal Caribbean is actively hiring for Labadee, posting on social media an opening for a Shore Excursions Manager to work in Labadee.

Royal Caribbean has made no announcement either way about Labadee reopening or not. 

Thus far, the only public comments have been made in emails to guests on booked sailings that have had to have their itinerary revised.

Labadee is a 260-acre private destination that Royal Caribbean has operated since 1986, and was visited by both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises ships.

Challenges for Labadee

Labadee Guide & Tips | Royal Caribbean Blog

The exact reason why Royal Caribbean has not resumed visiting Labadee is not entirely clear.

Haiti has dealt with the assassination of its president, as well as a major earthquake.

The U.S. State Department lists Haiti as having a level 4 warning not to visit, which is the highest level of warning to avoid travel.

Should you expect cruises to visit Labadee?

Anthem of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Labadee | Royal Caribbean Blog

It's still too early to tell what to expect for Labadee and when ships will visit there again.

Certainly ancillary evidence after months of little to no updates or information is a step in the right direction, but we still lack Royal Caribbean's confirmation.

For now, we will keep an eye on the situation and share any updates if the situation changes.

Royal Caribbean registers new trademarks for possible Southern United States restaurant

12 Oct 2021

A trio of new trademarks registered by Royal Caribbean could point to a new dining concept for a Southern cuisine restaurant.

Fall off the bone" BBQ Ribs recipe from Royal Caribbean | Royal Caribbean Blog

On October 5, Royal Caribbean registered three trademarks that seem to evoke a Southern motif:

  • Mason Jar
  • Savannah's Table
  • Palmetto Room

Savannah is a prominent Southern city, located in Southeast Georgia on the Atlantic Ocean. The palmetto tree is on the flag for South Carolina. Mason jars are widely used in the south, and used for canning, preserving, or storing food. In fact, southerners commonly refer to any glass storage vessel used for these purposes generically as a Mason jar.

All three of the trademarks simply state the trademark is "intended to cover the category of cruise ship services."

The new trademarks line up with surveys sent to cruise passengers in September 2021 asking them their opinion of a new restaurant based around the concept of "southern hospitality."

The classic BBQ restaurant idea was sent in an email survey and described as offering smoked brisket, rubs, fried chicken and plenty of appetizers, sides and desserts.

In the survey, Savannah's Table, The Mason Jar, and Palmetto Room were all listed as possible names for this new BBQ restaurant.

It is worth noting that Royal Caribbean regularly trademarks names and not all trademarks end up becoming actual venues.

Quite often Royal Caribbean trademarks words and phrases with little to no detail on how it may or may not be used.

Video: Royal Caribbean debuts its first Barbecue Restaurant on Oasis of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

If a southern BBQ restaurant becomes a reality, it would be the second BBQ restaurant concept for Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean first introduced a BBQ venue on Oasis of the Seas during her 2019 amplification known as Portside BBQ.

Portside BBQ is priced a la carte, with a menu of tender brisket, pulled pork, chicken, beef ribs, burnt ends and even turkey legs. In addition, there's sides like homestyle cornbread and irresistible mac & cheese.

Currently, Portside BBQ is only available on Oasis of the Seas. There were plans to add it to Allure of the Seas, but Allure had her amplification cancelled in 2020.

Royal Caribbean trademarks "America's Cruise Line"

01 Apr 2021

Royal Caribbean wants to be your hometown cruise line.

The cruise giant registered a new trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the phrase "America's Cruise Line".

The new registration was created on March 27, 2021, and contains a description that seems to indicate it is related to computer software.

Computer software for use with travel, namely, for searching databases of entertainment information, and organizing, planning and scheduling of entertainment activities, containing information about casinos, restaurants, bars and hotels, for making reservations and bookings for restaurants, transportation and entertainment events and activities, for viewing available entertainment activities and planning and scheduling of entertainment activities, for viewing and tracking details of travel charges and purchases, containing maps and location information and providing directions thereto, to authenticate users of online chat rooms for social networking; Downloadable software for use with travel, namely, software for obtaining boarding passes, for searching databases of entertainment information, and organizing, planning and scheduling of entertainment activities, containing information about casinos, restaurants, bars and hotels, for making reservations and bookings for restaurants, transportation, spa, excursions, and entertainment events and activities, for viewing available entertainment activities and planning and scheduling of activities, for viewing and tracking details of travel charges and purchases, containing maps and location information and providing directions thereto, and to authenticate users of online chat rooms, for social networking

If the description does not provide a great deal of insight into what the intended use of this trademark is, you should not be surprised.

Update: In a twist, it appears Carnival recently used this phrase and perhaps Royal Caribbean jumped at the opportunity to coin the term.

Last week, Carnival Cruise Line CEO Christine Duffy said in a video, "I've always said Carnival Cruise Line is America's cruise line."

Other companies that have famously referred to themselves as America's favorite include:

  • "America's Team" - Dallas Cowboys
  • “America's Airline to the World” - Pan American Airlines
  • "America's Hometown" - Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • "America Runs on Dunkin" - Dunkin Donuts

Quite often Royal Caribbean trademarks words and phrases with little to no detail on how it may or may not be used.

In fact, it is common for a trademark to be filed but never actually reach the consumer for many reasons.

Ship names, new products, and concepts related to cruising are just some of the use cases for a new trademark.

In April 2020, Royal Caribbean registered a name for its own brand of face mask, as well as "make ship happen" slogan.  Thus far, none of these have been used.

However, they did trademark other names that ended up being used, such as the tracelet and emuster.

Royal Caribbean teases update coming is "the news we've all been waiting for"

16 Mar 2021

Royal Caribbean says something big could be announced on Wednesday.

Travel agents received an email about a new webinar scheduled for Wednesday with "some hot off the press updates."

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed, told travel agents to attend a webinar that strongly hints at a big announcement.

"I guarantee this is a session you will not want to miss out on - I'd say this is the news we've all been waiting for!"

The invitation did not disclose what the topic or scope of the announcement could be, but the wording is very clear that it is significant.

There are plenty of possible topics this webinar could tackle, including an update on when test cruises might start, revenue sailing restart plans, new health protocols, ship deployments, and more.

UPDATE: A new email from Ms. Freed points to a new homeport for Royal Caribbean.

It is unknown if Royal Caribbean's decision to redeploy Mariner of the Seas beginning in October 2021 has anything to do with the announcement.

It has long been speculated that the first Royal Caribbean ships to restart sailings in North America are likely to be short sailings to the Bahamas, and Mariner of the Seas has offered those types of cruises.

Moreover, if there is any connection between the newly redeployed Mariner sailings and restarting cruises, Royal Caribbean can get around the problem of having to figure out a way around needing to maintain a reduced capacity without canceling certain reservations and not others. 

Stay tuned to for details on anything Royal Caribbean announces.

Royal Caribbean trademarks 15 names for possible cruise ship venues

15 Jan 2021

Royal Caribbean has started off 2021 getting busy at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Royal Caribbean Group filed 15 different trademark registrations with the PTO for names that sound like they might be used for cruise ship venue names.

Trademark registrations are notoriously vague, and rarely give much insight into what they may be used for onboard a cruise ship, but it can sometimes tip Royal Caribbean's hand in what they have planned.

All of these trademarks were filed on January 11, 2021.

Go Green

Filed under: Cruise ship services

Absolute Zero

Filed under: Cruise ship services


Filed under: Cruise ship services; Restaurant and bar services


Filed under: Cruise ship services

Roosevelt's Table

Filed under: Cruise ship services

Royal Dueling Pianos

Filed under: Cruise ship services

Royal Suite Club

Filed under: Cruise ship services

Cloud 17

Filed under: Cruise ship services; Providing recreational facilities in the nature of an adults-only pool area onboard a cruise ship

Lou's Jazz Club

Filed under: Cruise ship services

Playaway Park

Filed under: Cruise ship services


Filed under: Cruise ship services

The Overlook

Filed under: Cruise ship services

The Lemon Post

Filed under: Bar services

The Yard

Filed under: Cruise ship services

Salty Sip

Filed under: Cruise ship services

Why do these trademarks matter?

If you are curious what might be next for Royal Caribbean, trademark filings are a good hint of what the cruise line may be thinking.

While a lot of trademarks get filed but never used, some do end up being the names of new venues, services or even cruise ships.

It can be argued that a trademark is filed when an idea reaches a point that there is a tangible chance the project may become a reality.  

Reading the trademarks rarely provide much insight into what the cruise line has planned, but these are important first steps for something new to become a reality.

Anyone looking at these registrations should remember that they are filed on behalf of the Royal Caribbean Group, which means these registrations could be intended for a sister cruise line brand, and not necessarily Royal Caribbean International.

With new cruise ships under construction, and other projects around the world in various stages of development, there is always a chance the dreamers at Royal Caribbean are ready to move from concept to reality, and locking in a name is part of that process.

What's your prediction?

Now is your chance to show us how much you (think you) know! Share your predictions what these trademarks will be used for on a cruise ship or private island in the future!

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas heads for 24 day drydock

06 Jan 2015

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas is headed to drydock to begin her 24-day ship-wide refurbishment tomorrow.

The ship is headed to Freeport, Bahamas to have work done on the ship that will consist of cleaning up the entire ship as well as add new facilities and options for guests.

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has announced a list of changes coming to Freedom of the Seas. Royal Caribbean has been tight lipped on what exactly will change on Freedom of the Seas, but it's safe to say the major propulsion problem that has been plaguing the ship will be fixed.

Some of the work has already begun on the ship even before it left for dry dock.  Carpeting and other areas of the ship were quietly worked on during a quick 2-night cruise that ended today.

A lot of carpeting starting to get ripped up on #FreedomOfTheSeas in preparation for her refurbishment

A photo posted by Royal Caribbean (@royalcaribbeanblog) on

Many Royal Caribbean fans have been speculating on other changes coming based on what other Royal Caribbean ships have had as well as information crew members on Freedom of the Seas have told passengers that they've heard.

Rumors are generally regarding new specialty restaurants coming to Freedom of the Seas, including potentially Giovanni's Table, Izumi and Sabor Modern Mexican.  There's also rumors of a new Diamond Member lounge and Concierge lounge.

VIDEO: Royal Caribbean hotel manager discusses Quantum of the Seas rumors

07 Mar 2013

On our cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas last week, Hotel Manager Michael Rasmussen discussed briefly the new Quantum of the Seas cruise ship that Royal Caribbean is developing and addressed some of the rumors floating out there.

What features do you think Quantum of the Seas will have and what amenities do you want on the new cruise ship?

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