What’s included… and what’s not! (Food)

When cruising with a new cruise line you never really know what to expect. Having gone on 3 Carnival cruises we typically know what is included. On Norwegian we were shocked at how many of the activities required an additional charge. When we booked Royal Caribbean we picked the cruise based on the ship and its amenities but the website is quite vague on what is included in the price you pay. This article outlines venues that are complimentary (and semi-complimentary).

Complimentary Food Venues

The Wind Jammer Buffet – Deck 15

This buffet is located on Deck 15 aft (back). It is 100% complimentary and well stocked. The Wind Jammer includes a buffet on the port and starboard (right and left) but they both have the same food items. The menu changes daily but they always have certain foods (burgers, hotdogs, fruit, etc). One of the benefits of having the buffet available on both sides is that it allows the staff to close one side at a time when turning over the menus. Therefore if you arrive between meals, food is still available. This is similar to Carnival’s buffet.  However, the Wind Jammer is not open 24 hours. If  you are looking for a midnight snack you have to head down to deck 5.

Wipeout Café – Deck 15

This little cafe is located next to the sports court. We didn’t discover this complimentary restaurant until later in the cruise. It basically has all the food that the kids (and myself) love… pizza, hot dogs, burger, fries, and sandwiches.

Here is another tidbit of information that I didn’t know until after the cruise…  The Wipeout Cafe is an omelette station until 11:00am!

Park Cafe – Deck 8

This little cafe is located in Central Park. It includes a salad bar and bistro. We didn’t discover this hidden spot until the last day of our cruise mostly because it is quite an expensive part of the ship. This is the only complimentary venue in Central Park.

Boardwalk Dog House – Deck 6

Just as you enter the boardwalk you will pass by a small little hot dog joint. If you like hot dogs then this is the place to visit. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of hot dogs! They also have all the fixins’. 

Sorrento’s Pizza – Deck 5

Sorrento’s was my favourite venue on the who ship. Complimentary pizza served fresh between 7am and 3am. Yes, you read that right. It was only closed for 4 hours a day. They always had the classic cheese, pepperoni, or veggie available. Then they also rotated between a chicken and another supreme which didn’t interest me so I can’t comment on those.  But the cheese and pepperoni were awesome!  And you could ask for as many pieces as you desire. The line was rarely long but even with a line out the door it still moved steady. I don’t think I ever waited more than 5 minutes for pizza.  They also offered salads and complimentary flavoured water. In the rare occasion that you got the munchies after 3:00am, you could head across the street to Cafe Promenade.

Cafe Promenade – Deck 5

Café Promenade offered complimentary food items 24 hours a day.  In the morning you could get pastries and in the afternoon they include sandwiches. The menu didn’t seem to change from day to day but the items were delicious.

For those with the Refreshment Beverage Package or Deluxe Breakfast Package you could also order any beverage free of charge.  For me, this meant I could have my large chai latte with extra chai every morning! Unfortunately I didn’t realize this until a few days into the cruise.

Semi-Complimentary Venues

How can a venue be semi-complimentary? This is what I was wondering when we were on the the cruise. The answer is simple. You cannot go at any time of day and order anything on the menu. The following venues offer the following:

  • complimentary food items at certain times of the day
  • certain food items at an additional cost

Main Dining Room – Deck 3-5

This dining room spans 3 levels of the ship. Each level has a different name and when you book your dining option you will be assigned a level based on your selections. When you are ready to eat (or at your specified time) you line up at the appropriate door.  The main dining room offers complimentary breakfast (with buffet option), lunch, and dinner.

If you enjoy being served, you can eat at the main dining room for every meal without having to pay a penny. However, you can also order specialty items above the general menu such as beverages and some dinner options. If items are not included they will have a price next to them in the featured section.

Solarium Bistro – Deck 15

During the day, guests can enjoy a catered breakfast or lunch up in the Solarium Bistro. The Solarium is the adult-only area of the ship so all guests in the bistro must be 13 yeas or older.   In the evenings, however, the Bistro becomes a paid venue with a cover charge. 

We had the opportunity to dine at the Solarium Bistro one night without paying the cover.  We had a show booked and there were no seats available in the Main Dining Room so they kindly referred us to the Solarium Bistro. While we were not impressed with the service up there, the steak was probably the best we had all week!

Johnny Rockets – Deck 6

This is a popular burger joint with a cover charge, but there a few ways that you can eat here without paying extra.

  • Breakfasts are complimentary to everyone.
  • Those who book a stateroom with a balcony get a complimentary dinner for up to 4 at Johnny Rockets. 

We ate here one evening. It was the worst burger I had all week. It was basically a rock hard hockey puck that tasked like leather. The onion rings were good and so was Tavis’ milkshake but I am so glad we didn’t pay for our burgers!