There’s practically an endless list of reasons why a Royal Caribbean cruise makes a great vacation for all ages and types of travelers. You have your choice of incredible experiences to choose from—think: thrills like skydiving and surfing—as well as flavors from all over and amazing shows and live music. Plus, you can pick from more than 25 action-packed ships and 240-plus destinations.
Now, where do you start? We’ve tapped the experts who know cruising best, from crew members and captains to the heads of entertainment and dining. They come from nearly every corner of the world and have experienced every ship and hundreds of destinations. They have the insider tips to match so that you can make the most of everything that’ll be at your fingertips.
Here are the top travel tips for a Royal Caribbean cruise from the experts themselves:
Every Royal Caribbean ship has a lineup of full-scale entertainment everyone in the family can enjoy—several even have shows across four “stages,” the air, ice, water and theater. There are deck-defying acrobatics, slacklining, high diving and more by Olympic-level performers at AquaTheater; ice skaters at Studio B, and the list goes on. For the inside scoop on all things entertainment—like the best seats in the house—we tapped head of entertainment Nick Weir and former Royal Caribbean acrobat Sydney Brown.
Q: Any inside tips on how to make the most of the vast entertainment lineup and the time you have on board?
Nick: Having the Royal Caribbean mobile app handy certainly helps because it puts the shows and daily activities right in your pocket. You can easily plan out your days, and that’s always something I recommend our guests do in the morning. Whether you’re new to cruising or a veteran, there’s just so much cool stuff going on—you don’t want to miss a thing.
I also have to mention our matinee performances. You can watch some shows during the day to then have more flexibility at night to catch other shows, see our late-night comedians or watch your home team at Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.
Read the full Q&A about entertainment with Nick here.
Q: Any advice for guests hitting an AquaTheater show?
Sydney: To catch the best views of a show at the AquaTheater, found on Oasis Class ships like Wonder and Allure of the Seas, sit in the center and about four to seven rows back—and make sure to get there 20 to 25 minutes before the show begins to get those good seats. We also really feed off the audience, so we love when you are loud!
Hear more about Sydney’s story and what it takes to be a cruise ship performer here.
From New England-inspired seafood spots to Italian trattorias and Japanese sushi and hibachi, there’s a variety of food from around the world at your fingertips, hundreds of cocktails and wines, and even zero-proof drinks. Since many of the most memorable moments on vacation happen while breaking bread, we turned to Linken D’Souza, head of food and beverage, and Captain Sindre Borsheim for their favorite eats and top tips.
Q: What are your inside tips for making the most of your dining experience on a cruise?
Linken: It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Folks want to experience it all on Day One, but there is plenty of time to make sure you get to taste everything because we have a wide variety for every palate. One thing I would recommend though: Pick out a specialty restaurant you want to try before you get on board and make reservations to go there for lunch. You’ll get to experience most of the menu for a special price.
Pro tip: If you’re traveling with kids, look into My Time Dining. You can have dinner in the Main Dining Room at a time that’s good for you and the kids.
Learn more about Linken’s one-of-a-kind role and many of the dining experiences his team has dreamt up here.
Q: Do you have any favorite meals?
Captain Sindre: While the curry at Windjammer Marketplace is my favorite dish, the specialty restaurants really are something else. I had the pleasure of trying our Italian trattoria, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, which can be found on Wonder and Odyssey of the Seas, and it was spectacular. I highly recommend it.
See more of Captain Sindre’s tips for cruising on Odyssey here.
From Alaska to Australia, the Caribbean and beyond, you can explore as many as 240 destinations in 61 countries on a Royal Caribbean cruise. For inspiration, First Officer Lovisa Forssberg and Chief Officer of Safety Heather Beasley tell us about their favorite places.
Q: You’ve been all over the globe with Royal Caribbean. What are some of your favorite spots?
First Officer Lovisa: Ketchikan, Alaska; Sydney and Singapore are three of my favorite places. After several years at sea, I’m still amazed by the idea that you can travel to so many places on a cruise ship. You can go to sleep after a day exploring one country and wake up in another—and in my case, I get to drive us there. I’m waiting for all of it to feel mundane, but after over 10 years I’m still amazed by every sunset.
Learn more about how First Officer Lovisa navigated the maritime industry as a woman here.
Chief Officer Heather: That is such a tough one since I’ve sailed to many amazing places. If I had to pick, I’d say, Venice, Italy, a historic and beautiful city that’s hard not to love. Santorini, Greece, is another favorite for its incredible views, which look like straight off a Mediterranean postcard. Also, Cozumel, Mexico, for its great food, snorkeling and shopping. I even like to go to Cozumel for vacation.
Chief Officer of Safety Heather shares her journey from cadet to her current position here.
The thrills for kids and adults run the gamut, from resort pools and high-speed waterslides to the RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator and the FlowRider surf simulator. How do you make the most of every adventure on board? Nick Weir and crew ambassador Stephen Burke have a few ideas for you, whether you’re eyeing Ovation of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas or any other ship.
Q: What are some of your favorite experiences?
Stephen: RipCord by iFly on Quantum Class and Quantum Ultra Class ships, like Ovation and Odyssey of the Seas, stands out because nowhere else can you sky dive at sea—especially with a view like this! As a performer myself, I also love to watch the live entertainment going on around the ship. We have incredibly talented performers and entertainers from across the globe.
See Stephen’s tips to have the adventure of a lifetime in Alaska here.
Q: What are the best experiences for families with kids?
Nick: Our dedicated kids program, Adventure Ocean, has fantastic, interactive activities brought to life by our experienced team. Kids can let their imaginations run the show and chart their own adventures. And teens have exclusive hangout areas, too. They have everything from the latest music, games and movies to their own outdoor deck.
Then there’s the lineup of sports, from rock climbing to ice skating, to surfing on the FlowRider surf simulator on ships like Wonder, Allure, Odyssey, Mariner and Navigator of the Seas. Plus, there’s fun in the form of escape rooms, kids aqua parks and a totally unique experience like Virtual Adventure Zone, the first fully immersive 4D VR experience at sea, on Odyssey.
Pro tip: Families can indulge in the Ultimate Family Suite, a two-story suite that has room for the whole gang, as well as tons of surprises. There’s an in-suite slide, a whirlpool, a movie room and even a karaoke area, to name a few.
Ready to try out these expert tips as told by Royal Caribbean’s crew members? Look for your next vacation and browse the cruises you have to choose from here.