Your long awaited Royal Caribbean cruise vacation is finally on the horizon and you are as excited as a startup that has just landed their first client in the last six months. Hurray!! Happy for you. So, we want you to have an unforgettable cruise by being prepared so you can spend more time enjoying the voyage. There are Royal Caribbean cruise tips which can help you out below.
Whether this will be your first cruise ever, your first cruise with RCCL or your 10th cruise with them, you are guaranteed to leave with some handy travel tips and tricks that will help you enjoy your cruise a whole lot better. Another major cruise line is Carnival Cruise Line and we have 100 Carnival Cruise Tips for you to read right here.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below will earn us a commission if any purchases are made.
So without much further ado, here are 50 Royal Caribbean Cruise tips and tricks guaranteed to help you get a better cruising experience.
Embarkation and Debarkation Tips
Embarking and Disembarking the Royal Caribbean cruise ship is an important part of the experience. It can often be stressful but these tips can make it smoother so that you can get to your vacation happier and quicker.
1. Don’t be Held Back on Arrival
Royal Caribbean requires you to do an online check-in, at least three days before your published sail date. This is for a good reason as it ensures that proper documentation is done with the authorities, in good time allowing you a faster onboarding. You will only receive your boarding pass once you have completed the online check-in successfully.
2. Meet Your Luggage Back Home on Debarkation Day
Who likes trailing along their suitcases for an entire day? Not us, that’s for sure. Have your luggage taken directly to the airport on the day of debarkation at a cost. You won’t be stuck dragging your luggage everywhere and will only meet it back home when you land. This is possible for an afternoon to evening flights only.
Get all your cruise accessories before your cruise vacation by clicking here.
3. Arrive at Your Port of Embarkation a Day or Two Earlier
This point cannot be emphasized enough. It is not uncommon or unheard of to get flight delays, traffic, or accidents during the day of embarkation. To avoid missing the ship’s departure from unforeseen trip delays. Arrive at the port of embarkation at least a day or two prior to the sail date.
Besides most ports of embarkation are touristic destinations themselves, start your vacation early by touring their historical sites and enjoying their cultural diversities.
4. Benefits for Arriving Early and Being Among the First Onboard
There are many benefits of being among the first people on board, such as getting time to explore the entire ship and figuring out where everything is at before the crowds build up.
Get an early dive in the pool, or be the first to enjoy the activities on board such as Flowrider surfing, without the queues. On some ships like Anthem of the seas, ride the North Star on embarkation day just after the rooms open there will be little to no queues at that time.
5. Carry Your Carryon on Embarkation Day
Pack your swimsuit, swimming gear, travel documents and some personal effects in your carry-on on embarkation day. It will be long before you get your luggage or access to your stateroom, so carry some fun items in your carry on to start enjoying your vacation immediately you are on board as you await your room to be ready.
Find good travel carry on bags from Amazon right here.
6. Get Through Screening Like a Breeze
A neat trick to get through screening hustle free is to empty everything in your pockets into your carry-on bag. Another trick is to put all metallic items in your pockets such as coins, keys in a Ziploc bag for faster screening.
7. Create a Cruise Vacation Fund
Have you been planning to go on a cruise for ages and just can’t seem to afford it? A neat trick si to start a vacation fund and set a certain amount to be deducted from your paycheck and put into your vacation fund.
8. Less is Always More
Don’t pack your whole wardrobe. Pack weather friendly clothing/attire according to your cruise itinerary, for warm cruises pack light clothing and for cooler climates ensure to carry sweaters and a jacket.
Carry a sweater or jacket even for the warm weather cruises, for those chilly sea nights. Ladies a shawl or pashmina scarf is great, for covering yourself with during the evening shows, and while on deck to protect you from the chilly wind. Also, carry several swimsuits or swim trunks, to ensure you always have a dry one ready.
9. Don’t Miss a Moment of Relaxation
The whole point of a cruise is to relax, don’t get bogged down with planning, purchasing activities and paperwork once onboard.
Save yourself paperwork, stress, long queues, and money by using cruise planner to pre-purchase and pre-book everything you need on the cruise. Sign waivers for activities such as Flowrider and zip lining three days prior to the sail date to get all the paperwork out of the way so that you can enjoy your cruise immediately, once on board.
10. First Things First
Once on board make a quick stop to the dining room preferably on embarkation day and check your table location, if you don’t like where your table is located request for a change then.
The sooner you do this the better chances you have of getting your table location changed. While at the dining room seize that moment to confirm your special dietary needs with the head waiter.
Cost Saving Cruise Tips
We want you to save as much money possible before and during your Royal Caribbean cruise. No matter what ship you’re on there is a way to save money. We also have an entire section dedicated to saving money on Cruise Hive.
11. Book Your Cruise Early
The most assured way to save money on your Royal Caribbean Cruise is to book your cruise as early as possible. Booking early allows you to get the best stateroom and the best prices. Don’t worry about missing out on better price deals along the way. RCCL assures that with their price guarantee, they will honor a lower price deal and refund you the excess when prices drop. Note: Check with your cruise if your location gets this benefit.
12. Invest in Royal Caribbean Dining and Drink Packages
Are you planning to dine at the specialty restaurants, or do you consume a lot of beverages, soft or alcoholic? Then take advantage of the cruise line’s dining and drink packages. It offers dining and drinks packages at a one cover price for a variety of specialty dining packages or unlimited drink packages.
Since the Royal Caribbean has a strict no soda, water or alcoholic beverage on board policy, if you consume a lot of drinks then book the beverage package early before boarding to get discounts of up to $10 per person per day on drinks.
Find more details about Royal Caribbean Drink Packages in our dedicated guide.
However, these packages will only save you money if you are intending to use them to the fullest. So plan accordingly, by using the menu to identify the meals you are interested in and factor in what times and how many drinks you plan on drinking excluding shore excursion days.
13. Pick an Embarkation Port Close to Your Home
That way you can drive to it and save on airfares which add on to your total cruise costs. Since Royal Caribbean offers cruises from ports like New York, Baltimore, Galveston, New Orleans and San Juan, pick the port nearest to you and drive to the port on embarkation day.
14. Book Your Next Cruise While Still on the Cruise
Royal Caribbean offers a reward if you book a future cruise while on their cruises. These rewards include onboard credit and future fare discounts.
15. Book Off-Peak Cruises
A time old tested cruise fare saving tip is to book a cruise during off-peak seasons. Do not book cruises over holidays or when schools are closed. Research on the lowest cruise seasons and book your cruises then, for example, in the months of February, May, September, and October.
16. Pick an Inside Cabin
So sure you won’t have a balcony view, but how much time will you be spending in that room anyway? Chances are you will only use it for sleeping. The benefit of the innermost, lower cabins is that they have less sway and are more comfortable for people prone to seasickness. On that seasickness note, get green apples from the buffet or the dining room, they help.
17. Save on Shore Excursions
If you are familiar with the port of excursion, save yourself the expensive shore excursions offered by the cruise ship and venture out on your own. Alternatively, book your shore excursions through an independent tour company but ensure it is a recognized and reputable tour company. The larger it is the better the perks.
Cruise Line Beverage Tips
Here are some tips regarding Dining and Drink on your Royal Caribbean cruise ship. when it comes to Alcohol we have a detailed guide for all the major cruise lines.
18. The Drink Package Covers Specialty Restaurants as Well
Royal Caribbean’s drink package covers drinks included in the specialty restaurants as well. There may be exclusions but a majority of beers, cocktails, and liquors can be taken at the specialty restaurants at no extra cost as they are covered in your drink package. As an added bonus you also get to sample specialty beverages offered only in these restaurants.
19. No Non-Alcoholic Drinks, Beer or Liquor Allowed Onboard
Liquor, beer, and non-alcoholic drinks are not permitted onboard the cruise ships on embarkation day and if found they are confiscated and not returned. If you bring in alcoholic drinks from the shore, they will be held for you and returned the last day of the cruise.
But don’t worry the cruise ship does offer free drinks throughout your vacation including coffee/decaffeinated coffee, tea/ice tea, tap water, milk, chocolate milk, lemonade, flavored waters, and juices at breakfast (not fresh juice).
20. Wine and Champagne are Allowed Onboard
Two 750ml bottles of wine or champagne are allowed onboard per stateroom. Royal Caribbean doesn’t have a corkage fee, so enjoy your wine to the fullest. In case you are taking back to back trips, you are allowed to carry additional two bottles per trip. They will hold them for you and release them to you at the beginning of each trip.
21. Choose Your Drink Package Accordingly
Choose your drink package accordingly, if you don’t consume a lot of alcohol, you can purchase the soft drinks package instead of the alcohol beverage package. This way, anytime you need an alcohol beverage you can buy it individually instead of incurring extra charges daily for the unconsumed alcoholic beverage.
Also, keep your coca cola souvenir glass that comes with the soft drink packages safely. You will have to part with at least $5 for another. Mind you the Coca-Cola soda machines don’t work without the cup.
22. Go for Breakfast at Jonny Rockets, it is Free!!
If you want to have a peaceful breakfast, try Johnny Rocket’s, avoid the crowded Windjammer buffet breakfast. The hustle of getting a table and moving up and down from your table to the buffet.
23. The Main Dining Room is Underrated
Try breakfast and lunch in the main dining room, for a leisurely-pleasant-meal-atmosphere. Avoid the herd of people at the Windjammer and enjoy a delicious breakfast in the dining room.
Most people don’t seem to know that there is an option to have breakfast in the dining room. Alternatively, just order-in breakfast, it’s the only free room service offered by the Royal Caribbean. The breakfast is however strictly continental, you pay extra for items not on the menu.
24. Buy a Specialty Dining Package
You save money on the specialty dining package. Pay one low price for your meals at these restaurants as opposed paying higher prices when you walk into them.
Pre-book this specialty dining package to get a nice table location for you and your family, avoid missing out, these venues get booked out fast. Sample up to 5 specialty restaurants and save up to 40% on food prices compared to purchasing meals at the specialty restaurants individually.
Take advantage of these package’s promotion on the first two nights of the cruise, it will allow you to sample and determine which meals you prefer.
Try out the most liked drinks and meals like the famous labadoozie cocktail drink, escargot, the sabor’s guacamole and savory bites.
25. Are You a Hopeless Romantic?
Royal Caribbean is perfect for honeymooners. If you want to get romantic on your cruise, plan a date night and surprise your favorite person with an elegant dinner at central park or chops grille. You can also take the carousel ride together on the boardwalk.
26. Choose Your Preferred Dinner Time
To avoid the dinner rush, go to dinner early before 6 p.m or late, after 8 p.m. (off-peak hours). Choose my time dining and go for dinner when you are ready, without rushing.
Consider my family time dining option. This option will get your kids seated and served within 40minutes and later taken to the adventure ocean, to allow you and your partner to have a quiet leisurely dinner.
27. The DreamWorks Experience
Book a DreamWorks character meal for your kids and let them have fun dining with dream work film’s cartoon characters such as Kung Fu Panda, Alex and the penguins from Madagascar, and Shrek. Take plenty of fun photos with these characters.
28. Get in Touch Pre-Cruise for Your Special Dietary Needs
If you have special diet needs, just let the Royal Caribbean team know in advance, by emailing them or by visiting them on the day of embarkation to let them know what you prefer and they will update your personal file if it wasn’t already.
29. Fancy a Free Specialty Meal?
To help you make up your mind on which specialty restaurants to visit. The cruise line offers you complimentary food samples from its specialty restaurants in a bid to get you to book specialty dinners. Be on the lookout for those and enjoy free delicious meals. Also, eat cheaper meals at the specialty venues during lunch hour as opposed to dinner time.
30. All You Can Eat Buffet
Eat as much as you want for free at the Windjammer. The food quality at the Windjammer is really good and offers a wide variety of foods that suit even the picky eaters. You can eat there any time of the day. Also look out for the cooking stations at Windjammer, to get a variety of custom-made fresh dishes.
31. Book Mystery Dining and Other Fun Dining Events
If you are looking for extra fun dining experience try booking a dining event. These events include the likes of the chef’s table experience, mystery dining, romantic dinners or group dinners.
Enjoy outside dining as well, Royals ships have outside dining spots for an outdoor dining option. Carry your food and dine at these spots, while enjoying the ocean view and breeze.
32. Bring Back Food From Port Visits
You can bring food back from your port visit. Have you been dying to try foreign cuisines, a special type of cheese, baked treat or chocolate carry it back to the ship and enjoy it there or carry it back home. Excercise caution, however, and read the laws on carrying back home certain food items especially if you are a US resident.
Royal Caribbean Stateroom Cabin Tips
Your Royal Caribbean stateroom is going to be a major part of the cruising experience so it’s important to stay organized and keep your things stored away nicely. it will also be easier for the steward to clean your room. Online there can be all kinds of travel items for your cabin.
33. Pack a Laundry Bag
Carry a laundry bag to store your dirty laundry. Though the cruise line offers dry-cleaning services at $30 a bag, if you are going on a short cruise and don’t feel like spending on laundry, carry a laundry bag to avoid mixing your clean clothes with your dirty and wet clothes. On that point, carry pegs as well to hold your clothes in place when hanging them out on the balcony to dry.
34. Pack a Shoe Organizer
Cabins are usually small rooms with minimal storage space. Carry a shoe organizer and hang it over your bathroom door, to give you extra storage room and help you pack your staff somewhere you can easily see. This will save you the stress and time of looking for things in the morning.
Show organizers for your cruise are a popular thing, Buy yours here.
Family Cruising Tips
Royal Caribbean is the perfect cruise line for the entire family. All the ships offer a wide range of onboard features for relaxation and a thrill. Here is some advice when cruising with kids.
35. Everything Child-Care
Enjoy quiet times away from the kids while onboard by getting babysitter services. These services are charged at $19 per hour for up to 3 kids within a family.
If not interested in babysitting services, try the kid’s playrooms for the young ones. These rooms are beautifully designed with lots of toys and a parent sitting area so you can watch your kid play.
Another tip is to take your kids to the adventure ocean on the first day. This will help them make friends on the cruise and also help you figure out which activities they like so that you can plan accordingly.
Port and Excursion Cruise Tips
Royal Caribbean ships sail to some of the best destinations you could think of including ports in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. We hope these tips will be of help when that time comes.
36. Book Royal Caribbean’s Shore Excursions
If you are a newbie cruiser and aren’t familiar with a port of destination, book shore excursions through your cruise ship, they know the best places and you won’t get lost or in trouble with port authority over proper documentation.
37. Pre-book Your Shore Excursions
Pre-book shore excursions and get discounted deals. Don’t wait until you are onboard to book shore excursions, they are very expensive and the most interesting ones might already be fully booked.
38. Pack Shore Friendly Items
Pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes for shore excursions. Or invest in a pair of good inner soles for your walking shoes. Carry water shoes as well, especially if you will be visiting Labadie, which tends to be a bit rocky. Wear wide-brimmed hats, shades and plenty of water-resistant sunscreen protection when exploring the shore. You can find plenty of travel wear and gear from Amazon.
Activities and Entertainment Tips
39. Learn to Surf in a Controlled Environment
There are many fun activities aboard RCCL ships including state of the art Flow rider surfing simulation. Learn or enjoy surfing while being trained by live professionals on the surf simulation wonder called flow rider that gives you a surreal surf experience. Enjoy zip lining as well, across the ship and in some instances over the ocean.
40. To Get the Best Seats for Shows, Arrive Early
Royal Caribbean has a lot of outside shows and performances such as comedy, musical performances and large screen movies. Always book these events in advance to get the best seats and arrive early as well to get the good seats.
In some cruise ships, the first few rows near the stage are bound to get wet, from water splashes. For shows that you are not so sure about, choose a strategic place near an exit, so that you can have an early escape, but most often than not, you won’t need to leave before a show is over.
41. Pre-Book Spa Services and Attend the Spa Raffle Draw
Sign up for the spa raffle tickets on the first day of the cruise and don’t forget to go for the draw, most people forget and you never know, you might win a spa package.
Book a spa pass in advance to enjoy the spa anytime you want while on the cruise, booking on board will be more expensive.
42. Take Advantage of Onboard Activities on Port Days
Spa facilities and other onboard activities like zip lining, Flowrider surfing, car bumper or the hot tub are usually booked out on sea days. To get cheaper deals and your preferred times whether early or late evening, try visiting the spa and other facilities on port days.To avoid queuing go to guest services, the spa or other facilities very early or late in the day.
43. Don’t Underestimate the Fun of Watching the Parade
Try watching the parade, it can be a fun event for you and your family or friends. Go at least 30-45 minutes early to this event, to get the best seats.
44. Don’t Pre-Purchase the Internet Package
If you think that carrying walkie-talkies is a ridiculous thing then invest in the Royal Caribbean Cruise’s internet package and chat with your family members or friends using Wi-Fi.
Enjoy their fast internet dubbed VOOM. There are several ways to save on Royal’s internet costs and it involves not pre-purchasing the VOOM internet deal.
To save on the internet package skip buying it before the cruise, the first and or the second day of the cruise. Chances are you will be too busy and engaged in all the fun activities that you won’t even need the internet. Buy the internet from the third day onwards and save yourself two whole days’ worth of unused internet charges.
Royal Caribbean Gratuity Tips
We could put together hundreds of articles just on cruise gratuities but that would be tricky! For now, here is some important advice on this ever debated topic.
45. Tip Generously and Receive Royal Treatment
Get to know your room attendant from the onset and tip them well and they will go to great lengths to ensure you get whatever you need. If residing in a suite visit the concierge upon arriving and get well acquainted with him, you will get fast and great services.
While Royal Caribbean adds gratuity charges to your fare (about $14.50-17.50), these cater for waiters and room attendants only. Remember to include a tip for the bartenders and other crew staff who make your stay memorable and enjoyable.
Note the name or badge number of your waiters and crew members in order to recognize them in the feedback survey at the end of the cruise.
You can recommend and recognize a crew member who made your stay exceptional by visiting the guest services or putting a tip in the gratuity envelope in your room and commenting on the comment card provided as well.
Safety Tips for the Cruise Ship
46. Invest in Travel Insurance
Since accidents are usually unforeseen and you never know what could happen in the future it’s a good thing to be prepared, by investing in travel insurance. The Royal Caribbean has a protection cover that covers trip cancellations, lost luggage, medical and emergency evacuations.
A good tip, however, is to consider independent travel insurance, they are more comprehensive in their coverage.
47. Pack a Hand Sanitizer
RCCL boasts of some of the largest ships on the oceans, there are many people on them and hence a heightened risk of contracting a disease from coming into contact with shared surfaces. Therefore, stay safe by carrying a hand sanitizer and sanitizing regularly and especially before eating.
Even More Royal Caribbean Advice
Here are even more Royal Caribbean cruise tips to make sure you have the best vacation possible. Take advantage of them for smooth sailing and relaxation.
48. Extra Quiet Places to Hang
Enjoy secret quiet spots on the ship like the observation deck at the end of deck 14 right next to the runner’s track. It is equipped with lounge chairs, where you can relax and have a nice view of the ocean, read a book or have a private conversation.
For a more peaceful and tranquil experience go for the adult only pool or the solarium. It’s quieter there, without the noise of the kids having fun and the music common in other pool decks.
49. Smart Packing
Consider the list of activities you are interested in and read their requirements so that you can pack accordingly and can have the right attires e.g. if you intend to do ice skating, you need to carry socks and long pants to be let into the ice rink.
50. Additional Items to Pack
Carry a power strip, to keep your electronic items charged as most cabins only have a single power outlet. Carry an alarm clock preferably with a nightlight if you have an inner cabin, it will help you get up in good time and not miss any of your activities. The light will help you move around the cabin at night when it is dark.
Carry Ziploc bags they come in handy when carrying snacks away from the buffet, keeping your items dry, large ones can act as laundry bags and much more.
There you have it, folks, a thorough list of tips and tricks for a Royal Caribbean Cruise. Though this is not an exhaustive list, you are welcome to add more or search for more tips and tricks. These tips are guaranteed to help you derive the most out of your cruise experience.
The most important tip however especially for newbies is not to try to do everything on a cruise ship and take time to enjoy and savor the experience. A good tip is to indulge in the highlighted activities in your daily cruise newspaper. They are carefully selected to give you a more than memorable cruise experience.
Also Read: 100 Things You Can Pack For A Cruise
When all is said and done, remember to relax and have a good time, after all that’s the whole point of a cruise vacation. Happy cruising.