Royal Caribbean Cruise Review — Ships, Destinations, Dining, and More

Full Disclosure: We may receive financial compensation when you click on links and are approved for credit card products from our advertising partners. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. We appreciate your support!

Royal Caribbean is a large cruise line offering mega-ship cruises throughout the globe. The company has been on the cutting edge of the cruise industry since it launched in 1969. Since then, they continue to push the boundaries of cruise ship size and amenities, offering lots of “firsts” including the first rock climbing, ice skating, and surfing at sea.

Today, Royal Caribbean has 26 ships sailing to hundreds of destinations every day. If you’ve never cruised before, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find on a Royal Caribbean ship. If you are a cruising veteran, you probably look to Royal Caribbean for some of the biggest and most innovative ships at sea.

Basic Information

Name: Royal Caribbean International

Parent Company: Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (also owns Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, and Silversea Cruises)

Number of Ships: 26 (2 more will be added by 2021)

Destinations: 300+

Loyalty Program: Crown & Anchor Society

Credit Card: Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® Card

Ships

Royal Caribbean features a fleet of 26 cruise ships.

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Empress of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Jewel of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

Two additional ships will be added in the coming years: Odyssey of the Seas will debut in November 2020 and Wonder of the Seas is coming in 2021.

Odyssey of the Seas
Odyssey of the Seas. Image Credit: Royal Caribbean

Departure Ports

Royal Caribbean sails to more than 300 destinations around the world from 37 departure ports.

  Departure Ports
North America and the Caribbean
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Asia and the Pacific
Middle EastDubai, United Arab Emirates
EuropeRome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Southampton, EnglandStockholm, SwedenTarragona, SpainVenice, Italy

Private Ports/Islands

Owning a private island or beach resort is a common thing among large cruise lines and is something many passengers have come to expect.

The Royal Caribbean “Perfect Day Island Collection” consists of 1 current location and 1 in the works.

  1. Coco Cay: Located in the Bahamas, this destination features the largest freshwater pool in the Bahamas and the tallest waterslide in North America. You’ll also find a swim-up bar, wave pool, zip line, beaches, a kid’s area, and more.
  2. Lelepa: Located on the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, this destination is scheduled to open in 2022.
CocoCay
CocoCay is Royal Caribbean’s private destination in the Bahamas. A second private location is slated to open on the island of Vanuatu in 2022. Image Credit: Royal Caribbean

Hot Tip: You can earn points and miles each time you set sail if you book your cruise with one of these credit cards.

Onboard Activities

There is so much to do on a cruise ship!

Royal Caribbean offers much of what you would expect to find on a cruise ship including pools, a casino, themed parties, Broadway-style shows, youth programs, and art auctions.

Royal Caribbean water slide
You’ll find so much to do on a Royal Caribbean ship — including some amazing water slides! Image Credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is also an industry leader in offering some of the most unique and interesting experiences at sea. Next time you’re on a Royal Caribbean cruise keep your eye out for some of these activities (not all activities are offered on every ship):

  • Arcade
  • Archery
  • Bumper cars
  • Carousel
  • Central Park
  • Cooking classes
  • Dance classes
  • Escape Rooms
  • Fencing
  • Flow Rider
  • H20 Zone Water Park
  • Ice Skating
  • Karaoke
  • Laser Tag
  • Mini Golf
  • Mystery dinner theater
  • Outdoor movies
  • Ripcord By iFly
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Scuba certification
  • Sky Pad bungee trampoline
  • Spanish classes
  • Table tennis
  • Tidal Wave boomerang slide
  • Trapeze school
  • Waterslides: Typhoon, Cyclone, The Blaster, Riptide, Supercell
  • Zip Line

Formal Nights

Royal Caribbean still offers formal nights on their cruises. Most cruises will have 1-4 formal nights which can vary by ship and itinerary.

  • 3-5 night cruises: 1 formal night
  • 6-10 night cruises: 2 formal nights
  • 11-14 night cruises: 3 formal nights
  • 15+ night cruises: 3-4 formal nights

Dress on formal nights can include suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses or evening gowns. On formal nights, many of the restaurants require formal dress.

If you don’t want to dress up, that’s fine, too. Just stick to the buffet or some of the more casual spots for dinner.

Dining & Beverages

Like most cruise lines, Royal Caribbean offers both complimentary dining that’s included in your cruise fare and specialty dining that has either a flat fee or à la carte pricing.

Sorrento's Pizza
Sorrento’s Pizza is one of the many complimentary dining options on Royal Caribbean ships. Image Credit: Royal Caribbean

Complimentary Dining

There are lots of dining options that will always be included in the price of your cruise, so you can eat every meal on your ship without paying an extra dime. The following locations are always complimentary, however, not all of these options are offered on every ship.

  • Cafe Promenade
  • Coastal Kitchen
  • Dog House
  • El Loco Fresh
  • Main dining room
  • Mini Bites
  • Noodle Bar
  • Park Cafe
  • Sichuan Red
  • Solarium Bistro Restaurant
  • Sorrento’s Pizza
  • Splashaway Cafe
  • The Cafe @ Two70
  • Vitality Cafe
  • Windjammer Buffet

Hot Tip: Beverages like wine, beer, cocktails, and even soda will usually cost extra even at the complimentary restaurants. You can purchase a beverage package when you book your cruise or once you get on board. There are different drink package options available including ones that include alcoholic beverages, soda-only packages, and water bottle packages.

Specialty Dining

You’ll also find restaurants on every Royal Caribbean ship that come with additional charges — either a per person fee or à la carte menu pricing.

The following dining options will cost extra over what you pay for your cruise.

  • 150 Central Park
  • Cafe Latte-Tudes
  • Chef’s Table
  • Chops Grille
  • Coffee and Tea Shop
  • Cupcake Cupboard
  • Fish & Ships
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Hooked Seafood
  • Izumi Hibachi and Sushi
  • Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Johnny Rockets Express
  • La Patisserie
  • Portside BBQ
  • Room Service
  • Sabor
  • Samba Grill
  • Starbucks
  • Sugar Beach
  • Test
  • Teppanyaki
  • Wonderland

If you would like to try out some of the specialty restaurants, you can purchase a dining package ahead of time or once you are on board the ship. You’ll be able to choose between a 3-restaurant package or an unlimited package.

Hot Tip: How about specialty dining for free? Look out for deals when you book your cruise. Lots of websites offer perks like free specialty dining when you book with them. Be sure to check out our guide to the best websites to book a cruise to get you started.

Bars and Beverages

There are plenty of places on Royal Caribbean ships to kick back and relax with your favorite beverage. Bars and lounges offer à la carte pricing or you can use your beverage package.

Here are the bars and lounges you may find on your Royal Caribbean ship (not all locations are offered on every ship)

  • Bionic Bar
  • Boleros
  • Champagne Bar
  • Dazzles
  • Diamond Club
  • English Pub
  • North Star Bar
  • Playmakers Bar & Arcade
  • Pool Bar
  • R Bar
  • Rising Tide Bar
  • Sand Bar
  • Schooner Bar
  • Solarium Bar
  • Suite Lounge
  • The Bamboo Room
  • The Lime and Coconut
  • Trellis Bar
  • Two70 Bar
  • Wipe Out Bar

If you would prefer to pay for your drinks upfront, you can choose one of Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages:

Deluxe Beverage Package: $63-$89 per day

  • Unlimited soda and Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola souvenir cup
  • Non-alcoholic cocktails
  • Bottled water
  • Coffee and tea
  • Freshly squeezed juice
  • Cocktails, spirits, and liquor
  • Beer
  • Wine by the glass

Refreshment Package: $29-$38 per day

  • Unlimited soda and Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola souvenir cup
  • Non-alcoholic cocktails
  • Bottled water
  • Coffee and tea
  • Freshly squeezed juice

Classic Soda Package: $12.99-$15 per day

  • Unlimited soda and Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages
  • Coca-Cola souvenir cup

Hot Tip: The drinking age onboard any Royal Caribbean ship is 21+ on sailings from North America and 18+ on sailings from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Accommodations

There are so many different types of rooms you can book on your Royal Caribbean cruise. They offer 4 basic types of room — interior, oceanview, balcony, or suite — but there are many different types of rooms among those categories.

No matter what room category you choose, you’ll enjoy the following amenities:

  • Flat-screen TV
  • Drawer and closet space
  • Hair Dryer
  • Safe

Royal Caribbean offers a few unique room categories as well:

Virtual Balcony StateroomsThese rooms are available on select ships (including every interior room on Quantum of the Seas). They feature an 80-inch screen that gives you a virtual ocean view via a live camera outside of the ship.

Virtual Balcony Stateroom
The Virtual Balcony Staterooms on select Royal Caribbean ships feature an 80-inch screen that displays a live feed from outside the ship. Image Credit: Royal Caribbean

Unique Interior View Rooms or Balconies — These rooms have a window or a balcony, but the view isn’t of the ocean! These rooms look out on the action inside the ship like The Royal Promenade or Central Park.

Royal Suite Class — This is a category of rooms that offer the highest level of luxury. You’ll not only enjoy fantastic accommodations but amazing experiences as well. These rooms offer 3 tiers of luxury — Sea Class, Sky Class, and the most luxurious, Star Class.

The Ultimate Family Suite — This one-of-a-kind room at sea is only available on Symphony of the Seas. It features 2 stories of the ultimate in family luxury including a balcony with jacuzzi, private game room, in-suite slide, and tons of other VIP perks!

Ultimate Family Suite on the Symphony of the Seas
The Ultimate Family Suite on the Symphony of the Seas has everything a family could dream of for a luxury vacation on the seas. Image Credit: Royal Caribbean

Hot Tip: Tight budget? Why not pay for part or all of your cruise with points and miles! 

Crown & Anchor Society

Royal Caribbean offers a loyalty program called the Crown & Anchor Society.

After you’ve sailed with Royal Caribbean once, you’ll be automatically enrolled as a member of the Crown & Anchor Society. As a member you’ll earn 1 Cruise Point for every night you sail. Your points are doubled if you book a suite!

There are 6 tiers of membership in the Crown & Anchor Society:

  • Gold: 3+ Cruise Points
  • Platinum: 30+ Cruise Points
  • Emerald: 55+ Cruise Points
  • Diamond: 80+ Cruise Points
  • Diamond Plus: 175+ Cruise Points
  • Pinnacle Club: 700+ Cruise Points

Benefits vary by membership tier and can include things like discounts on close-in sailings, priority check-in, private departure area, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points, perks with MGM Resorts International, and free or discounted cruises.

Hot Tip: Make sure you’re prepared — check out our printable cruise packing list before you set sail.

Final Thoughts

Cruising is a great way to spend your vacation and Royal Caribbean offers some of the biggest and best ships around.

On a Royal Caribbean cruise, you’ll enjoy onboard activities like waterslides, zip-lining, bumper cars, and rock climbing. You’ll be able to dine at one of many included restaurants, or you can choose a specialty restaurant like Giovanni’s Table, Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, or Johnny Rockets.

After a long day at sea, you’ll rest comfortably in your stateroom, whether you choose a Virtual Balcony room or opt for luxury in a Royal Class Suite. Plus you’ll earn perks and bonuses each time you cruise as a member of the Crown & Anchor Society.

Royal Caribbean offers cruises to over 300 destinations, so no matter what part of the world you want to visit, chances are you can get there on a cruise.


Frequently asked questions

What is the best ship on Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean’s biggest and best ship is Symphony of the Seas, which is currently the largest cruise ship in the world. It can hold up to 6,680 passengers and 2,200 crew members.

How much are drink packages on Royal Caribbean?

On Royal Caribbean you can get a Deluxe Beverage Package, including alcohol, for $63-$89 per day. You can get the Refreshment Package, including soda, coffee, mocktails, juices, and water for $29-$38 per day. Or you can get a soda-only package for $12.99-$15 per day.

What is Royal Caribbean's newest ship?

The newest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet is currently Symphony of the Seas. However, there are 2 new ships debuting over the next 2 years: Odyssey of the Seas will launch in Fall of 2020 and Wonder of the Seas will debut in 2021.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. Linda Ryan March 18, 2020

    I find it very unethical that Royal Caribbean refuses to give a refund to its customers who cancelled their cruise a few days prior to the President’s mandate to close the cruise excursions due to the Coronavirus. As a concerned patron whose doctor said not to travel at this time we canceled the trip. We will not be able to make the trip later and will lose our money. I feel the company should honor the refund for all customers who canceled because of the virus. The customer service agents I have talked with have advised this decision is coming from the top CEO’s and no exceptions or changes will be made. I find this very disheartening especially considering the circumstances under which all involved had to change plans and lose money to protect the safety of their family and others.

    Reply

    • Hi Linda,

      Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done about this. Next time, we’d recommend waiting as long as possible so the cancellation window aligns with your cancellation date. These companies always try to push these policies and dates in their best interest.

      Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. Click here to see a list of advertisers that we work with.