Food is an important aspect of any vacation — for many, it even tops the priority list. And when you cruise with Royal Caribbean there are so many opportunities to dig into incredible meals — especially if you’re sailing on an Oasis Class or Royal Amplified ship. From global flavors at complimentary fan-favorites across the fleet — like Windjammer, Café Promenade and the Main Dining Room — to elevated fare served at specialty restaurants, every bite onboard a Royal Caribbean ship is just as impressive as the record-breaking slides, spectacular shows, and game-changing family experiences that make these thrill-filled vacations so unforgettable.
First things first — if you’re new to cruising, one thing to remember is that there are two kinds of restaurants onboard: complimentary and specialty. Complimentary restaurants are completely covered by your cruise fare, no matter what time of day you choose to drop in for a bite. All Royal Caribbean cruise ships serve complimentary dining in the Main Dining Room, Café Promenade and Windjammer Café or Windjammer Marketplace (the name varies depending on which ship you’re sailing on, but the dining experience is the same). On some ships, you’ll also get to enjoy spots like Sorrento’s Pizza, Solarium Bistro and Park Café free of charge, and that’s not even scratching the surface of all the choices you have.
Specialty dining, like the contemporary American steakhouse Chops Grille, Izumi Japanese Cuisine, and Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, serve guests for an additional charge unless you purchase a specialty dining package, but more on that later. If you’re not sure which restaurants on your sailing are complimentary and which are considered specialty dining, take a look at your Cruise Compass once you’ve checked into your stateroom.
No matter what kinds of new discoveries you have scheduled on your itinerary, the ideal way to start any day is with something delicious. Without a doubt, Windjammer is one of the best places to have breakfast onboard, and it’s available on all Royal Caribbean ships. Solarium Bistro, another buffet-style option, is a good adults-only alternative that’s available on select cruise ships. You’ll find all your favorite breakfast items at these complimentary dining options, from just-pressed fruit juices, healthy yogurt and fresh-baked pastries to eggs cooked any way you want, in a casual self-serve setting.
The Main Dining Room is also a great choice for complimentary breakfast that’s available fleet wide — in the morning it offers a buffet filled with classic hot and cold dishes, plus an a la carte menu. For an additional charge, you can start your day with unlimited bubbly by taking part in the Sip, Tour, Brunch. And if you’re cruising in a Sky or Star Class suite, you can enjoy complimentary breakfast at the exclusive Coastal Kitchen, open only to suites guests and Pinnacle Club-level members of the Crown & Anchor Society. Want in on a little-known secret? Though it’s a specialty restaurant, Johnny Rockets serves a classic American breakfast free of charge on Oasis, Allure, Harmony and Symphony of the Seas.
Somewhere in between your morning surf lesson on the FlowRider surf simulator and your intergalactic laser tag face-off in Battle for Planet Z, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Fortunately, there are plenty of places onboard for you to refuel.
If you’re craving something hearty and rustic, you can dig into your favorite family-style Italian comfort food either at Giovanni’s Table or at Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver. Each one of these hits-the-spot specialty restaurants is available on select ships across the Royal Caribbean cruises. If you’re in the mood for a taste of New England, Hooked Seafood serves up freshly-caught goodness, like lobster rolls and the already-famous Messy Fish Sandwich, on Symphony and Navigator. If you want to catch your favorite sports match or follow up lunch with round of Skee-ball or Connect Four, head to Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade for icy-cold brews, burgers, wings and more on Symphony, Navigator and Mariner of the Seas — just make sure to save room for the colossal four-scoop Touchdown Sundae, served in a mini football helmet. Just finishing it is a victory in and of itself.
On the complimentary side, Windjammer, Solarium Bistro and the Main Dining Room are all great lunch options where you’ll find lots of delicious variety. And if you want to keep lunch on the lighter side, Vitality Café offers healthy specialty wraps, fresh fruit and yogurt, and all kinds of wellness-inspired smoothies to power up your day.
There are so many epic things to see and do on a Royal Caribbean cruise, it’s easy to find yourself racing from one thrilling activity to the next. Don’t want to take time out to sit down and savor a meal? No problem — Royal Caribbean makes it easy for you to still enjoy fantastic flavor on the go as you zip between decks and attractions.
The delicious stone-baked pizza at Sorrento’s is a portable guest favorite, and the roast beef Kummelweck sandwich at Park Café has achieved legendary status among cruisers. And guess what? Both restaurants are included in your cruise fare. You’ll find six creative variations of the best gourmet hot dogs you’ve ever tasted at the complimentary Boardwalk Dog House, and if you’re cruising on Symphony or Navigator of the Seas, don’t miss out on the crazy good burritos, tacos, chips and guacamole at El Loco Fresh. Although it may seem like specialty dining, the insanely delicious Mexican fare served quick and easy at this hot spot comes at no extra charge. Feel free to go back for seconds — or thirds.
An extra special occasion — or travel buddy — calls for an extra special dining experience. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary, planning to propose, or just want to dial your family dinner up a notch, Royal Caribbean has several specialty restaurants that bump up the wow-factor and go above and beyond in every way.
Steakhouse classics like succulent lobster and perfectly grilled cuts of prime meat at Chops Grille — available on most ships fleet wide — will impress even the most discerning palates, while the whimsical décor and avant-garde dishes at Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine on Symphony, Harmony and Quantum Class ships will blow your mind and woo your plus-one. Each of these specialty restaurants is a perfect choice if you’re looking to take your date night to the next level.
At Izumi, fresh hand-rolled sushi and exotic Asian-inspired dishes will transport you to the Far East. On Oasis Class ships, it even offers hibachi-style seating where you can watch talented chefs prepare your meal right in front of you. And for the ultimate VIP dinner, head to Chef’s Table and indulge in a five-course gourmet feast and wine pairing prepared and presented by the ship’s Chef de Cuisine and an expert sommelier in an intimate setting. Perfect for foodies, this unforgettable specialty dining experience is a bucket list must for many seasoned cruisers, and you’ll find it on most of the fleet.
Of course, dinner in the Main Dining Room is always an exceptional affair accompanied by dedicated service and personalized touches — and it’s completely complimentary on every ship. If you are celebrating something or want to surprise someone with a special treat, just speak to the staff and they’ll be happy to help make your dinner even more memorable. And if you want an occasion to get dressed to the nines, make sure to dine in on Formal Night.
Little ones can be hard to please, especially if they’re picky eaters. And while many of them might want to make a bee-line for the walls of sweets at Sugar Beach or the complimentary soft-serve ice cream offered daily on the pool deck, there are lots of dining options serving snacks yummy enough to tempt them into noshing on something more substantial.
Johnny Rockets is always a great choice if you’re cruising with children, because who can say no to specialty milkshakes, burgers and golden waffle fries? Windjammer is also a great go-to, with its self-serve buffet-style setup and endless number of choices at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even the Main Dining Room offers a kid’s dinner menu with crowd-pleasing finger-foods like crispy chicken tenders, fresh-baked pizza and juicy burgers — not to mention decadent desserts.
Is your stomach rumbling yet? Regardless of what kind of food or setting you’re in the mood for, you’ll never be short on opportunities to treat yourself when it comes to dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise. And you can get in on all the flavorful action with a beverage or specialty dining package — keep reading for more information on those.