In December 2015 my family and I took a 3-day cruise from Miami to Bahamas and back on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas. You can read my review of our experience here if you are interested. If you are just here for my 10 tips that’s cool too, read on.
Please keep in mind that some of these tips will be specific to Majesty of the Seas, but others will likely apply to all of the ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet. If you have been on other ships, or have other “insider tips” to share then please join the conversation, help your fellow traveller out, and post them in the comments section below.
Alright, enough small talk. You are really here for the tips, so here they are:
- Seriously consider buying one of the all-inclusive drink packages. Considering that a beer is $6.25, a mixed drink is $11, and wine is $8 or $12 per glass, you do not have to be raging alcoholic to rack up $57 a day in drink charges (the daily cost of the package I had). By way of example… if you drank 2 beers and 2 margaritas while at the pool ALL DAY, a beer with lunch, and 2 glasses of wine with dinner you would spend about $64.75.
- Consider your room location carefully. We were late in booking, and were looking for a bargain. This came back to haunt us. Our room (2035) was right next to a crew-only area. Every time a crew member went through the door it slammed shut… all night. The last night, I swear they were having a demolition derby with the luggage carts until about 1:00a. I am not usually super picky when it comes to rooms when on vacation since you just sleep in them, but since I want to sleep I will be more careful next time.
- Don’t buy the soft drink package for your kids. There is a Coke Freestyle machine located in Sorrento’s Pizza on deck 12. Your kids will love it if you opt them into the unlimited soft drinks package. That being said, the freestyle machine is turned on using a special cup that comes as part of the adult drink packages. If you opt for one of those packages let your kids have the Coke cup while you stick to the adult beverage buffet. Why would you waste room on Coke when there is unlimited beer to be drinking?
- Eat well at dinner, or bring extra money. There is no food available on the ship after the dinner buffet in Windjammer closes. Let me re-phrase that, there is no FREE food available. OK, to be fair, you can get slices of pizza in Sorrento’s all night, but after a few days you will want some more choices. You can always pay to get a burger in Johnny Rockets, but I don’t feel like I should have to pay for a late night snack. My wife and I went looking for nachos, a burger, or some sort of “bar food” for 4th meal and struck out.
- Visit the Viking’s Crown for peace and quiet. The Viking’s Crown lounge on deck 14 at the very back of the ship was a nice, quiet place to just hang out. We went there each night, and even though the ship was full there were always plenty of places to sit.
- Snag pool towels for Cocoa Cay. The pool towel and the beach towel appeared to be the same. However, when you get your beach towel they record it, and it if it does not come back you get charged $35. When we used the pool they did not record me taking the pool towels. Next time I’ll grab the pool towels the afternoon before we get to Cocoa Cay and just use those. We can then skip the towel line before heading to the beach, and will not run the risk of getting charged $35 for a missing towel.
- Check the hours on the rock climbing wall. If the rock climbing wall is a big selling point for you booking with Royal Caribbean then be advised that on our trip it was only open a few hours per day. Make sure you know when it is open so you can maximize your time there.
- For a peaceful breakfast visit the Starlight Dining Room. If you want a quiet breakfast where you are not fighting for a place to sit and elbow room at the buffet, go to the Deck 4 breakfast in the Starlight Dining Room. It is not open as long, but there is plenty of seating, it is quiet, and they have Eggs Benedict (my favorite).
- Tip the bartenders. I noticed that most of people that had the drink package were not tipping the bartenders. I found that tipping them $1 or so per drink got you that extra special service. This may come in the form of getting served quicker at the bar, a little extra tequila in that Margarita, are just that good feeling you get when you are generous to another person. $1 may not sound like much, but if everyone did it, it would huge for the bartenders.
- Tip the pool attendants. There are some pool attendants that will come around and get your drink order, go to the bar, get the drink, and bring it back to you. A great service when you are in that over-the-top lazy mode while on vacation. I noticed that if I tipped them a buck or two in cash they came around more frequently, and always stopped to check on us as they worked their way around the pool area.
There you have it. My 10 tips for sailing with Royal Caribbean. Do you have tips to share? If so, add them to the comments. I’d love to hear them.