Do I want a roast beef sandwich or a slice of fresh made pizza, popcorn shrimp and fries or a salad made to my specifications?
This is the largest cruise ship at sea—when full, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas can carry 6,296 guests and a crew of 2,165. So it makes sense there’d be more dining options. That includes nine specialty restaurants that range from a $4.95 burger and shake at Johnny Rocket’s to an 8-course tasting menu–$35 a person at 150 Central Park, to a 14 seat wine pairing dinner ($75 a person) Kids eat free at the seafood shack while parents who opt to take their kids to Chops Grille for steaks will be encouraged to book early. There’s also Giovanni’s Table where Italian food is served family style and Izumi Asian Cuisine for sushi and other Japanese inspired dishes—all at an extra charge.
There are of course plenty of places to get free food all day and all night—including the Park Café in the Central Park area where I had the best roast beef sandwich I’ve had in a while and where, like in any city—albeit a floating one—I could opt to sit outside in the fresh air and watch the people go by.
Royal Caribbean VP of Food and Beverage Frank Weber reports that there are 25 food service areas, 37 bars 28 galleys and 1075 people cooking and cleaning up for the crowd.
Because the ship is only half full, it is hard to tell what it will be like when everyone is looking for a cup of coffee, a burger or a donut or a drink at the same time. The good news is the way the ship is designed with different “neighborhoods” each with several dining options you have many more choices than on a traditional ship. And if you are the kind of traveler who wants to know you have your dinner (and show) reservations in place, you can do that ahead. Interactive signs all over the ship will make it easier to figure out where to go eat-what’s open and how crowded. You won’t go hungry!
Royal Caribbean executives point out that while there are many dining options that require extra money—whether for a cupcake, a cappuccino or ice cream—there are others on the ship that are free. “We have never had as many extra charge opportunities,” said Royal Caribbean President Adam Goldstein. “If there wasn’t a charge, they wouldn’t exist.” Yet he added in a roundtable with the media on board that this ship represents “the most we have ever offered as a brand” that does not cost extra.
Typically, as many as 25 percent of Royal Caribbean guests opt for specialty restaurants. But there have never been so many to choose from—at so many price points
It’s up to the guest to figure out if they can and want to opt into the extra charge dining venues just like they weigh the decision whether to go to the spa, the casino, on pricey shore excursions. Families beware: Those extra charges can add up quick!