Perhaps my favorite part of going on a cruise is the huge variety of dining experiences. Though many of the meals on board are covered in your cruise fare, not all of those delicious meals are complimentary.
Specialty restaurants on cruise ships are quite popular, however, the asking price can add up really fast. In order for guests to save a huge sum of cash on specialty restaurants, a dining package is often available.
The Royal Caribbean dining package is a convenient way to allow guests to delight themselves in several specialty restaurants at a discounted rate.
To learn more about the Royal Caribbean dining package, here are the important facts you must to know.
The Royal Caribbean Dining Package
Dining packages depend on your cruise ship and are typically offered before your trip through Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner site.
Dining packages usually offer:
- 3 Night Dining Package
- Unlimited Dining Package
- Chops + 1 Dining Package
Each specialty dining package comprises a particular size of meal at a fixed price. If you compare this to a specialty restaurant without a dining package, you’ll save a significant amount of cash.
The only limitation with dining packages is that you cannot have reservations on exact time or specific restaurant up until you board the ship. Basically, Royal Caribbean uses the dining packages to replenish reservations that were unsold at their restaurants to boarders as soon as they board the ship.
At present, you can get a 3 to 5-night dining package for a 7-night cruise. The average cost will be around $21 to $25 per night, depending on the length of the package you acquire.
Kids that are 6-12 years old can now dine at the Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants for only $10. While ages 5 and below can eat free! Your kids can get their very own menu — a collection of kid-friendly picks from the “grownups” menu.
It is best to reserve your dining package before sailing so that prices will be modified for kids once aboard.
The Royal Caribbean Complimentary Restaurants
The main dining room on every Royal Caribbean ships will provide a complimentary dinner every evening throughout the cruise. On selected days, breakfast and lunch are also offered in the main dining room. For a quicker choice like snacks and other covered meals, they are offered at the casual buffet, particularly at the Windjammer Cafe.
A few of the newer Royal Caribbean cruise ships have supplementary casual choices that are complimentary as well; such as the Park Café which serves sandwiches and salad stop that is available for breakfast, lunch, and late afternoon bites.
Below are the complimentary restaurants that are available on different ships.
- Boardwalk Dog House. They serve sausages, hot dogs, brats, and other delightful meats foods. Available on Radiance of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Splendour of the Seas.
- Boardwalk Donuts. They serve sumptuous donuts with freshly brewed coffee and specialty drinks. Available in Oasis class ships.
- Café Promenade. They serve snacks, Seattle’s Best Coffee, sandwiches, and pastries all through the day and night. Available on Voyager, Freedom, and Oasis class ships.
- Jade Sushi. They serve avant-garde Asian cuisine such as sushi, fried rice and a lot more. Available on Freedom and Voyager class ships.
- Park Café. They serve made to order paninis, salads, and freshly made sandwiches. Available on Radiance of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, and Oasis-class ships.
- Solarium Bistro. They serve healthy breakfast and lunch in Solarium aboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
- Sorrento’s Pizza. They serve genuine New York pizzeria. Indulge in their chorizo to Hawaiian to Pizza Florentine with classic cheese and pepperoni. Available in Oasis class, Freedom class, and Majesty of the Seas ships.
- Vitality Café. They serve healthy choices of fresh fruits, specialty wraps, yogurts, and smoothies. Available on Oasis class ships.
- Room service. Room Service is offered 24 hours a day. You can have breakfast in bed, or a cheesecake on the balcony, or a delightful dinner. This is complimentary except between midnight and 5 a.m. where a $3.95 service charge is applied.
Specialty Restaurants on the Royal Caribbean
In addition to the complimentary dining spots, there may be other restaurants on your ship that are not covered in your cruise fare. So, expect a supplementary cost on certain specialty restaurants aside from what you paid for the trip. All the specialty restaurants are open for dinner while some are open for lunch on selected sea days like Johnny Rockets, Sabor and Jamie’s Italian.
It is greatly suggested that you make reservations ahead of time during dinner. You can either book your reservation through the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean’s website or book while onboard the ship. This is important because it is frequently hard to get a seat to a specialty restaurant on Royal Caribbean, though it is not impossible, it is still best to secure your dinner seat.
Dress codes are not important to specialty restaurants on Royal Caribbean, so you can wear your casual clothes. Even if it is a formal night, formal attire is not required, although a lot of guests opt to wear their formal dresses.
Every specialty restaurant has specific dining staff so there are several waiters and waitresses at each restaurant. These staffs are not the same as the crew in the main dining room.
Basic Dining Package Guidelines and Caveats
Aside from the dining package you purchased, there are a few basic rules and limitations to what is included in the package as well as the additional costs.
- Boarders who acquire a dining package should wait to make a booking at any specialty restaurant before they board the ship.
- Royal Caribbean will create a courtesy dinner reservation for the boarder on day 1 or day 2 (may change while onboard).
- A single reservation should be used on the first or second night of the sailing.
- Specific specialty restaurants are omitted from all specialty dinner packages such as:
- Chef’s Table
- Izumi Hibachi
- Wine pairings dinners
- Mystery Dinner Theater
- A price cut of 40% off bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100 while dining in specialty restaurants.
- Children under 5 eat free. Children 6-12 are $10 per child and should order from the kid’s menu.
The Prices of Specialty Dining on Royal Caribbean
The specialty restaurants on Royal Caribbean mostly charge a flat rate. It is commonly known as the cover charge. For that rate, you can eat as much as you want. So, enjoy and indulge yourself in all the starters, mains, and desserts as this will be included in the rate.
However, there are some exemptions to this package. For example, the steakhouse Chops Grille, they charge an additional fee for every second main course you ordered. However, you can still enjoy their starters, sides, and desserts as much as you want for no additional fee. Another exempted dining spot is the Izumi Sushi. They are one of the only specialty restaurants on Royal Caribbean that is still priced à-la-carte.
One important thing to know is that beverages are not included in the dining package of the specialty restaurants. However, if you have the Royal Caribbean Deluxe Beverage Package, then your beverages are covered. If you don’t have that drink package, then you have to pay for the original price.
Note that the charges of the specialty restaurants differ by location and cruise. Here are some of the estimated prices (as of 2017) for most of the common venues. I suggest you check your Cruise Planner for most recent pricing.
- Chops Grille ($45-50 for dinner)
- Giovanni’s Table ($15 for lunch, $25 for dinner)
- Jamie’s Italian ($20 for lunch, $30 for dinner)
- Johnny Rockets ($6-7)
- Sabor Modern Mexican ($19 for lunch, $29 for dinner)
- Wonderland ($45-50 for dinner)
The Royal Caribbean will charge you for the reservation of the total prices of the dinner. If you withdraw the reservation (48 hours in advance), your money will be reimbursed. Booking prior to your cruise can at times save you money. Royal Caribbean will sometimes offer bargain Cruise Planner sales with 20-40% discount such as specialty dining.
For more insight into the Royal Caribbean Dining Package, and the various options, see the below video:
For a great review of the restaurants onboard the Royal Caribbean, see the below video. Ben & David give their take on their favorite and not-so-favorite RC restaurants.
Royal Caribbean Dining Package Tips
When you plan on having a cruise and would want to get the Royal Caribbean dining package, make sure to book your reservation for each meal before boarding the ship. Note also that these packages go fast so make reservations immediately.
Do not get a dining package for your kids that are 12 years old and below, but rather, dine with your kids and pay for them at the discounted kid’s rate. For restaurants who have an a la carte rating, the $35 credit for each boarder with a dining package can be shared, which means you can combine your credits together.
Check the prices of dining packages before your cruise, particularly when there’s a sale on Cruise Planner. Sometimes the rate of a dining package may drop to 20%-$40%.
Ways of Acquiring a Royal Caribbean Dining Package
If you are thinking of getting a specialty restaurant package, here are some ways to guarantee that you will have a remarkable dining experience once on the ship.
1. Choose a Dining Package
The Royal Caribbean presents various dining packages on their Cruise Planner site, so compare each offering and see which one of those you want the most. To simplify your dining package decision making, you should know how many specialty restaurants you would like to try.
If there are no specialty dining packages scheduled yet for your cruise, that means your sail date is scheduled too early. Just check the site from time to time for the availability of the dining package of your choice.
2. Select a Time for the First Meal
Once you’ve chosen your desired dining package, it is time to select a day and time for your first meal.
You must eat at one restaurant on either the first or second day of your cruise. The Cruise Planner site will let you choose the day and time to dine, but not the restaurant. Do not worry too much about the day and time you pick because you can always change it once you’re on the ship.
3. Refer to the Cruise Compass for Schedule of Events
Other than scheduling to dine at a specialty restaurant, you can also set a schedule for entertainment.
The Royal Caribbean does not announce a schedule of entertainment in advance, so, it is best to check for it on their site. Although the Compass is for a previous sailing, most of the schedule of events (particularly the evening shows) are most likely to be very similar from sailing to sailing.
Your objective is to track the showtimes, and then decide which restaurants you would like to eat and at what time. Planning this out before you board will save you time and less stress once you get on the ship.
4. Book Reservations Once on the Ship
Booking the restaurants on the boarding day and in advance will warrant you a huge arrangement of availability and convenience.
You can approach any specialty restaurant or Guest Services to book reservations for your dining package. Some of the Royal Caribbean ship stations arrange solely for those with dining packages to book their reservations faster.
Conclusion – Royal Caribbean Dining Package
Getting a Royal Caribbean dining package is worth it. It will undeniably save you a lot instead of dining at specialty restaurants and pay for the regular price. With dining packages, it will save you up to 40% off the regular price. Most specialty restaurants have prices that are between $35 to $50 per person so a dining package can really save you a lot of money.
The Royal Caribbean’s ship presents a wide range of tasty food is covered in your cruise fare. Specialty dining always offers a way to show and delight in diverse culinary choices. With a dining package, you can enjoy these culinary treats at a cheap rate.
Furthermore, a dining package is ideal for somebody who wishes to revel in a lot of specialty dining throughout the cruise. Either they are unfamiliar to these restaurants and want to try a few or all of them, or they can be a returnee who favors specialty dining, these dining packages are an excellent choice.