What is Included in a Royal Caribbean Cruise Fare: What You Need To Know Before You Book

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Filed Under: Cruise 101

Planning a cruise vacation can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to choosing the right cruise line for your needs and budget. In this article we are going to look at what is included in a Royal Caribbean Cruise. 

We’ll guide you through what is and isn’t included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare, helping you plan your budget accordingly. 

There is so much to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but not all of it is included in the price, so it’s essential to know exactly what’s covered in the cruise fare and what might cost extra.

When you book a Royal Caribbean cruise, you’re paying for more than just a ticket to sail.

The fare includes your stateroom accommodation, most meals and many non-alcoholic beverages, onboard entertainment, and a wide range of activities that cater to different interests and age groups. 

However, items like specialty dining experiences, alcoholic drinks, spa treatments, shore excursions, and Wi-Fi access all come with an extra charge

Key Points To Be Aware Of

  • Your Cruise fare includes your stateroom accommodation, most meals and non-alcoholic drinks, onboard activities, and entertainment.
  • Some services, such as specialty dining, alcoholic beverages, and spa treatments, are not included and come at an extra cost.
  • Gratuities payable to service staff on board are not included unless you pre-pay the gratuities in advance.
  • Being well-informed about what is included in a Royal Caribbean cruise helps in planning and budgeting for an enjoyable vacation.

I’ve been cruising with Royal Caribbean for over 30 years and I know firsthand what it’s like to get an unexpected charge on your SeaPass account.

So we are going to detail every single thing that is included so that you can plan your budget. Here’s what we are going to cover:-

What is Included in the Royal Caribbean Cruise Fare?

Your Cruise Accommodation / Stateroom

Five friends sharing a drink in a Standard Balcony room on Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas.
Our friends on our Vision of the Seas Cruise in February 2023

Your cruise fare includes your accommodation in a stateroom of the selected category that you booked. 

Each stateroom category varies in size, layout, view, and perks.

For example, standard interior staterooms come without a view, while suites may come with floor-to-ceiling windows and a large balcony.

Obviously, the price you pay for your cruise fare has a bearing on the price of your cruise. The lowest cost will be for a standard Interior room. Whereas if you pick something like the AquaTheater Suite, the Ultimate Family Suite, or the Royal Loft Suite, be prepared for a much larger fare. 

Choosing a Suite does come with some additional benefits though, so depending on your budget it may be an intelligent choice.

Meals and Drinks

A slice of Chocolate Cake served in on a white plate with Toffee Sauce used as a decoration
Yes Delicious Desserts Like This Are Provided As Part of Your Cruise Fare

The Royal Caribbean cruise fare includes most meals and drinks. Trust me, you will not go hungry as you will have access to food literally 24 hours a day.

You can enjoy dining in the main dining room, buffet, and some alternative restaurants without any additional cost.

Complimentary dining options include the Windjammer Café, Sorrento’s Pizzeria, Cafe Promenade, Park Cafe (You must try the Roast Beef Sandwich, it is awesome), and the Solarium Bistro. 

Non-bottled water, juice, iced tea, hot chocolate, and some coffees and teas are also included in the cruise fare.

However, specialty dining experiences like Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, and Izumi are only available for an additional charge.

Certain venues like Playmakers Bar may also offer food items on an “a la carté” basis that is not included in your cruise fare either.  

Alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic cocktails, bottled water, sparkling water, specialty coffees and teas, and fresh-squeezed juices are also not included in the cruise fare. 

You can choose to purchase these individually as you go through the cruise, or you can have a more “all-inclusive” experience and purchase a beverage package in advance. 

Examples of the beverage packages available include the Deluxe Beverage Package (most alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks); the Refreshment Package (most non-alcoholic drinks and coffees); and the Classic Soda Package (Soft drinks only).

Entertainment

Ice Skating performers during the 365 Ice Skating show on Wonder of the Seas
The 365 Ice Skating Show on Wonder of the Seas is Outstanding!

On a Royal Caribbean cruise, you will never be bored. There is a huge amount of entertainment options which are all covered in the cost of your Royal Caribbean cruise. Live shows, movies, music, and game shows all come at no additional cost. 

Keep in mind that some entertainment options may require a reservation and offer limited seating capacity. However in our experience, even if you forget to reserve the shows in advance, you will still be able to see them without any great difficulty as there is always a “stand by” line available.

Onboard Activities

Cruise Entertainer running a Cruisa Trivia game on Wonder of the Seas as guest contestants watch
Cruise Trivia Is Never Far Away on a Royal Caribbean Cruise

Alongside the entertainment, Royal Caribbean also provides a never-ending list of included activities onboard. 

Your cruise fare includes access to most onboard activities like pools and fitness centers. The fare even includes access to specialist activities like zip lines, surf simulators, and rock climbing. 

You will also be able to indulge in diverse activities like laser tag, escape rooms, mini golf, and trivia contests at no additional cost.

Be aware that just like your favorite theme park, some onboard activities may have age, height, weight, or health restrictions and may require a waiver or a reservation.  Got to love those lawyers, right? LOL

Is Perfect Day At CocoCay Included in the Price of the Cruise?

The Waterslide tower at the entrance to CocoCay private island
You Cannot Miss the Waterpark on Cococay – But You Have To Pay Extra To Go Down Those Slides!

YES. If your cruise itinerary includes a stop at Cococay, then this is included in the cost of your cruise.

However, and this is a big one – that fancy waterslide tower complex that you can see dominating the island is NOT. You have to pay extra to access the water park. It’s not cheap either!

There are also some “exclusive” areas and beach facilities on Cococay that require payment of an additional fee. 

Food is also provided free of charge on Cococay with the exception of one paid food venue.

Standard beach loungers are also provided as part of your cruise fare. Be aware that local staff will try to guide you to “the best lounger”, but they will be expecting a gratuity as a thank you.

What is Not Included On A Royal Caribbean Cruise?

As explained above, Royal Caribbean offers a wide range of amenities and activities included in your cruise fare, but there are certain experiences that come at an additional cost. 

In this section, we’ll cover some of these extra-charge items and services, such as specialty dining, shore excursions, spa and salon services, and internet access.

Specialty Dining is Not Included in Your Cruise Fare

Although your cruise fare covers a variety of dining options, such as the Main Dining Room and casual eateries onboard, you might want to indulge in something different one evening.

This is where Royal Caribbean’s Specialty Dining Restaurants come in. 

These “upscale” restaurants often offer gourmet cuisine and exclusive menus, but they come at an additional fee. The fee will vary depending on the restaurant. Expect to pay anything from $30 upwards per person depending on whether you are having lunch or dinner. 

Here’s a list of the specialty restaurants you will find onboard Royal Caribbean ships. The larger the ship, the more options there will be:-

  • 150 Central Park
  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Hooked Seafood
  • Jamie’s Italian
  • Johnny Rockets (Not the Express Venues)
  • Sabor
  • Samba Grill
  • The Mason Jar
  • Wonderland

You will also find some restaurants or bar venues on board that offer “A la carté” menu options. These are individually priced food items.

  • Fish & Ships
  • Izumi Sushi 
  • Izumi Hibachi/Teppanyaki 
  • Johnny Rockets Express
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade 
  • Portside BBQ 

If you do decide to pay the extra for specialty dining, you will need to make reservations early, as the restaurants can fill up quickly!

Shore Excursions Are Not Included In the Price

Friends posing for a photo with the Grand Piton of St Lucia in the background
A Shore Excursion to See the St Lucia Pitons Is a Must Do!

This probably goes without saying but cruise port shore excursions are not included in the price of your cruise.

Spa and Salon Services Are An Additional Fee

Relaxation is a crucial part of any vacation, but spa and salon services onboard are not included in the cruise fare.

Room Service Can Come With an Additional Service Fee

The only 100% complimentary room service is for delivery of a continental breakfast to your cabin. Any other requests will have a room service delivery fee added of $7.95. You will also be expected to give a tip (gratuity) to the member of staff as well.

Internet Access

Laptop computer on a cruise lounger
Internet Access Is NOT Included on a Royal Caribbean Cruise

Staying connected during your cruise vacation is essential for many travelers. However, internet access is not part of your cruise fare.

If Internet access is important to you, you’ll need to purchase Wi-Fi separately or as part of a package.

Royal Caribbean offers various pricing options, ranging from single-day passes to unlimited access. The price for access is always higher once you get on board, so always check for any promotions or offers leading up to your cruise.

Now You Know What Is Included IN A Royal Caribbean Cruise

There you have it, you now know what is included in every Royal Caribbean Cruise.

Be aware that Royal Caribbean cruise fares vary wildly depending on the ship you are sailing on, the itinerary and the time of year. You can save a lot of money by following these tips when searching for a cruise:

  • Compare prices across different websites
  • Book in advance for better deals
  • Take advantage of discounts, promotions, and offers
  • Sometimes longer cruises offer better “per day” value

Once onboard make sure to read the cruise compass and cruise planner every day to find out what entertainment and activity options are available.  This will help you make the most of your cruise experience. You can also find that information available in the Royal Caribbean App.

Thank you for you taking the time to read this article and hope it’s been helpful. We have other articles on Speciality Dining and what drinks are free on Royal Caribbean which I am sure will be useful as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What standard amenities can be found in Royal Caribbean staterooms?

All rooms come with a minimum of two separate beds which can be joined together to creat a king-sized bed.

You will also have a television, telephone, private bathroom, and air conditioning.

Higher categories, like balcony staterooms and suites, will have additional features, including a seating area, larger bathrooms, and private balconies.

Essentials, such as bedding and towels, are all included.

Are meals included at all onboard restaurants?

Most meals onboard are included in the price of your Royal Caribbean cruise. You’ll have access to various complimentary dining options, such as the main dining room, buffet, and casual eateries.

However, specialty dining venues, like Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, and Izumi, require an additional fee or purchase of a specialty dining package.

Do Royal Caribbean cruises include shore excursions?

The Port Area at St Kitts
The Port Area at St Kitts

While Royal Caribbean offers a wide range of exciting shore excursions, these are not included in the cruise price.

Shore excursions are optional and come in a variety of packages designed to suit different interests and budgets.

To get the most out of your ports of call, you can pre-book excursions online or onboard your ship, but keep in mind that costs can vary depending on the activity and destination.

You may also find you can save a lot of money by booking shore excursion directly with the operators or other third-party websites.

What are the options for Royal Caribbean drink packages?

 Close up of a Chocolate Martini drink
This Amazing Chocolate Martini Will Cost About $14 Plus a Gratuity

Royal Caribbean offers several drink package options to suit your preferences. These include:

  1. Refreshment Package: Features unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, such as premium coffees, teas, bottled water, and non-alcoholic cocktails.
  2. Classic Soda Package: Unlimited access to soft drinks and fountain sodas.
  3. Royal Caribbean’s Deluxe Beverage Package: Covers a wide selection of beverages, including beers, wines, spirits, cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks.

Please note that drink packages come at an additional cost and the actual cost varies from ship to ship.

Are gratuities and service charges included in the cruise price?

Gratuities and service charges are not included in the initially quoted cruise price.

Most Royal Caribbean cruises automatically apply daily gratuities to your onboard account, covering the services provided by your stateroom attendant and dining room staff.

However, you have the option to prepay gratuities or adjust the amounts before the end of your cruise.

Additional gratuities may also be given directly to any service provider if you believe they provided exceptional service.

Is the use of pools, hot tubs, and fitness centers free on Royal Caribbean ships?

Royal Caribbean ships typically offer complimentary access to pools, hot tubs, and fitness centers on all its cruise ships.  However, on some ships, there will be areas marked off for Suite guests only.

Be aware that certain spa facilities, fitness classes, and personal trainers may require an additional payment.

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AUTHOR

Alan took his first cruise in 1991 and has been cruising ever since. When he is not writing articles for CruiseNonstop.com you'll find him either on a cruise ship (he's the guy in the kilt), or on the golf course!

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