wonderland cuisine crispy mac cheese fries
wonderland cuisine crispy mac cheese fries


Cruising with kids? Never fear — there are plenty of options on a cruise for finicky eaters.

Published on July 19, 2019

The best part of a family vacation is all the new experiences you share together. But sometimes that same excitement doesn’t apply to mealtime, where new foods can be a challenge for the littlest travelers. On a cruise, there are so many choices for delicious dining that every meal can be easy — even with a picky eater in tow. From finger foods made with fresh ingredients and wholesome, healthy dishes tailored to any diet, to whimsical sweet treats and decadent desserts — you name it, Royal Caribbean has it.

Pro-tip for parents: kids age 5 and under eat free at all specialty restaurants.



When you’re on vacation with your family, it can be tough to find a casual, no-fuss restaurant that caters to everyone in the group. Windjammer is the perfect spot for just that. Every cruise ship in the fleet has one, and they all offer complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner in a laid back self-serve buffet-style setting kids love. In the mornings, you’ll find stations heaped with traditional breakfast options like eggs, bacon, yogurt, fresh fruit and cereal, plus dishes from around the world, like Italian rope sausage, sugar-dusted Berliners, and southern-style fried chicken and waffles. On some ships, there’s even a made-to-order omelet station. There is also plenty of choices for the little ones, including traditional pancakes and waffles.

Come lunchtime, the restaurant offers a broader variety including familiar favorites like burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and salads, and international dishes that rotate on a daily basis. And during dinner, Windjammer adds a special themed global station to the mix — think Mongolian, Mediterranean, Caribbean and more. Just make sure to save room for dessert. From a flavorful assortment of ice cream and fluffy cakes, to fresh-baked cookies and flaky pastries, the spread at Windjammer’s dessert station is guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Windjammer is also a great choice if you’re traveling with someone who’s vegetarian or gluten-intolerant. Signs above each food station indicate whether they satisfy a specific dietary need, and you can always make a special request to the restaurant’s staff. And while every Windjammer offers window seating with beautiful sea views, you can also take food to go if you’d rather enjoy your meal on the pool deck, in your stateroom, or on the move in between activities. The dress code is casual, but make sure to wear shoes and a cover-up if you’re in a bathing suit.


Like Windjammer, the Main Dining Room is another fleetwide complimentary dining option that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with lots of variety to choose from. While most cruises host a formal night that allows guests the option to get glammed up, the usual attire when having dinner in the Main Dining Room is resort casual — that means sun dresses, nice slacks, blouses and collared shirts. Breakfast and lunch allow for more relaxed attire. With its sophisticated décor and personalized wait service, the atmosphere in the Main Dining Room is more upscale than the casual vibes you’ll experience at Windjammer, but it’s still a family-friendly dining option for anyone traveling with small kids.

Breakfast and lunch in the Main Dining Room both offer the choice between a self-serve buffet of classic hot and cold dishes and à la carte menu items. The dinner menu features a rotating assortment of global selections and classic staples that don’t change, all of which are completely customizable to suit your preferences or dietary needs. And for little ones, a kids’ menu highlights easy-to-eat comfort foods like chicken tenders, burgers, pizza, spaghetti and more.

You don’t need to make a reservation if you’re having breakfast or lunch in the Main Dining Room. If you plan to have dinner there, you’ll have two options when you book your cruise: traditional dining, where you’re assigned a seating time every night of your vacation, and My Time Dining, which allows you to walk in at whatever time works with your schedule — though you’re still welcome to make a reservation if you plan on coming in during peak hours.



Café Promenade is another casual complimentary option available on all Oasis Class ships, as well as Quantum, Freedom and Voyager Class ships. Open 24 hours every day, it steals the title of ‘most convenient’ snack-spot onboard. Whether you feel like indulging in breakfast pastries with your morning cup of coffee, light sandwiches at lunch, a sweet treat or a glass of your go-to wine, you can count on Café Promenade to cater to every craving, no matter what time of day.


At Johnny Rockets, you can treat yourself and your little ones to rich handspun milkshakes, perfectly grilled burgers, and crispy golden waffle fries served with an extra dose of quintessential Americana. This iconic retro-inspired diner is the perfect place to stop in with the kids for a quick bite and a side of nostalgia. Johnny Rockets has a modest cover charge for lunch and dinner, and offers complimentary breakfast on Allure, Harmony, Oasis and Symphony of the Seas.


Sometimes, nothing beats the classic simplicity of a well-made pizza — and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Sorrento’s. This popular onboard eatery elevates every slice to delicious new heights. Baked in a stone oven and topped with the freshest ingredients, the pies at Sorrento’s hit the spot whether you’re stopping by for a quick snack with your little ones in between onboard thrills, or satisfying late-night cravings after an evening spent dancing at Boleros or Club Twenty while the kids are having a blast at Adventure Ocean. And while pizza is certainly the star attraction at Sorrento’s, you’ll also find a variety of antipasti, salads and desserts — all complimentary, of course.


All Oasis Class ships have a complimentary Park Café — you’ll also find it on some Radiance and Vision Class ships. In the mornings, Park Café serves cereal, sweet treats and some hot dishes. It’s also the only restaurant onboard with a full bagel station. But the real star of the show at Park Cafe is the legendary Kummelweck. Featuring two slices of roast beef, slow roasted for 12 hours and placed on a fresh baked roll, this lunchtime sandwich has become something of a fan favorite. The restaurant also serves healthy made-to-order salads, fresh-pressed panini and deli classics.


If you think this is your average hot dog stand, think again. A favorite among cruisers, The Dog House is all about making lip-smacking gourmet sausages packed with flavor and inspired by different places around the world — like “The Sicilian,” made with pork, garlic, oregano and Italian spices in a parmesan and cheddar baguette, “The Big Apple,” a chicken sausage blended with juicy bits of apple, and the bestselling “Wünderdog,” made in the traditional Austrian style with 100% delicate veal. This quick and easy casual spot available on selected ships is a favorite grab-and-go dining option that’s popular among little kids, teenagers and adults. Dog House serves up specialty hot dogs and sides like sauerkraut, sautéed onions and potato salad every day for lunch and dinner, and it’s all included in your cruise fare.


As far as grab-and-go dining options are concerned, El Loco Fresh is a proven hit among kids. True to its name, the all-new El Loco Fresh serves up insanely delicious Mexican fare like savory beef burritos, flavor-filled fish tacos, tasty carnitas and cheesy quesadillas — not to mention classic mole sauce, creamy and refreshing guacamole and a salsa bar that caters to all levels of spice lovers. Open daily for lunch on Symphony and Navigator of the Seas, El Loco Fresh is a great complimentary option for explorers of all ages.



Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade doesn’t just deliver on delicious food kids will love — it also offers endless hours of entertainment for adventurers in every age group. The à la carte menu spotlights game day classics like buffalo wings, sliders and the signature Playmakers Burger, which adults can pair with icy cold domestic and international drafts. Kid-friendly options off the Pee Wee menu include cornflake-breaded chicken tenders and a juicy all-beef Home Run Hamburger that’s the perfect size for little hands and smaller appetites. For dessert, kids can dig in to the Campfire Cookie — a warm homemade chocolate chip delight topped with gooey melted marshmallow and rich Nutella — or the massive perfect-for-sharing Touchdown Sundae, served in a mini football helmet. Once you and your squad are done chowing down, the whole family can get their game on in the arcade with a round of Skee-ball, Connect 4, Ms. Pacman or Super Mario Racing — the list goes on.


If you’re in the mood for homemade flavors inspired by the Mediterranean, it doesn’t get better than the two Italian dining concepts Royal Caribbean has brought to life onboard: Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver and Giovanni’s Table. Helmed by one of Britain’s most famous celebrity chefs, Jamie’s Italian serves Tuscan-inspired dishes on Harmony and Symphony of the Seas, the Royal Amplified Mariner and Navigator of the Seas, and Quantum Class ships, while Giovanni’s Table spotlights rustic trattoria-style classics on Oasis and Allure of the Seas, all Voyager and Radiance Class ships, plus several others across the fleet. Both are smart casual specialty restaurants that offer hearty Italian comfort food like lasagna, bruschetta and homemade focaccia, antipasti and salads, and a delicious selection of pasta often served family-style so that it’s perfect for sharing. If you’re dining with a group at Jamie’s Italian, you should definitely order the Famous Plank — a shareable app loaded with cured meats, artisanal cheeses and tart pickles.



If you happen to be cruising onboard Symphony of the Seas or the amplified Navigator of the Seas and you have a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely want to check out Sugar Beach on the Boardwalk. Stocked from floor to ceiling with all kinds of creative confections and indulgent ice creams, this new addition to the Royal Caribbean roster of edible delights is a can’t miss stop for a decadent pick-me-up. In this colorful candy oasis, both children and adults can treat themselves to tasty sweets priced by the ounce or per piece. The shop also regularly hosts family-friendly activities, like cupcake decorating classes.

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