Royal Caribbean’s ships offer so many things to do, you might feel tempted to even skip port shore excursions! As many longtime cruise fans will tell you, “sea days” (days when the ship is sailing between ports) can be the best part of your cruise vacation because you can enjoy everything on the ship at your own pace.
If you’re planning to take a cruise on Royal Caribbean, you should know that it offers something for everyone – from kids to teens to active adults and even grandparents. No one of any age can feel bored aboard a Royal Caribbean ship with so many activities to choose from, whatever your taste in fun.
If you’re new to cruising, or haven’t sailed with Royal Caribbean yet, here’s a preview of the many things you can enjoy while sailing with this cruise line.
One thing to note is that the list below represents the things you can do across the cruise line. Unfortunately, not all the features listed are available on every Royal Caribbean ship. Don’t worry, however. You can ask your travel agent or call the cruise line to see which ships offer the features you want. (If you want the most options, then we suggest sailing the newest and largest ships in the fleet.)
We’ve broken down this list into broad groups to help you decide in advance which of the many cruise experiences you absolutely don’t want to miss…
Thrills: Get Your Adrenaline Pumping!
There’s no better way to kick off your cruise than to kick workday worries to the curb with some high-energy fun. You can skydive, zipline, rock climb, soar above the ship, ride standing waves… and more. What other type of travel offers so many options?
Plunge down a waterslide
If you can’t remember the last time you felt exhilarated, you owe it to yourself to enjoy one of Royal Caribbean’s waterslides. They are a fun way to get wet while on the ship while also getting a shot of adrenaline. You’ll find them across the fleet, with larger ships having more options.
Want to stay dry? Check out the Ultimate Abyss on the cruise line’s largest Oasis-class ships. While not a waterslide, it still takes you plunging down ten stories, making it the tallest slide at sea.
Skydive without an airplane
If you’re attracted by the adrenaline rush of skydiving, but not sure if you want to jump out of an airplane, try RipCord by iFly on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships. This skydiving simulator lets you experience the excitement of defying gravity, safely floating on air within a wind tunnel on the deck of your ship. Don’t worry, you’ll have an instructor with you the entire time. There is a charge for this activity, however.
Go rock climbing
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, you can strap in and go vertical – as high as 40 feet above deck. This complimentary activity will give you boasting rights when you tell your friends that your vacation had you climbing the wall in the middle of the ocean. While kids will love it, there’s no rule that adults can’t climb too!
Polish your surfing skills on FlowRider
Royal Caribbean’s popular surfing simulator allows guests to experience what it’s like to ride a wave… without having to plunge into the ocean. You simply “surf” on a thin layer of fast-moving water. FlowRider supports both traditional surfing and boogie board style surfing. Surfing on a FlowRider is complimentary with your fare. For an additional fee, you can also book private surfing lessons. Just keep in mind that the lines can be long during primetime in the middle of a day at sea.
Zipline across the ship
Imagine flying across the ship, suspended from a zipline ten decks up. You can do it on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class vessels such as Harmony of the Seas. Strap in and soar across the ship. It’s an unforgettable experience you can’t replicate anywhere else.
Ride the North Star
If you’re sailing aboard one of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class ships, make sure you experience this unique attraction. The North Star observation pod extends upwards and over the side of the ship so passengers can take in a 360-degree view from 300 feet in the air. If you’re scared of heights, then it’s not for you.
Fun: Sing, Shop, Skate – and More!
Being on a cruise means feeling carefree. Sing your heart out, shop ‘til you drop, glide across the ice.
Indulge in some retail therapy
Royal Caribbean’s Royal Promenades are one of the things fans love about this cruise line. Aboard a Royal Caribbean vessel, you’ll find a wide range of shopping options here, including souvenirs, fine jewelry, fashion, luxury watches and beauty items including names like TAG Heuer, Hublot, BVLGARI, and more. No need to bring cash. You can put everything on your room keycard and pay at the end of the trip.
Join in a piano sing-along
The Schooner Bar, one of the Royal Caribbean signature venues found on every ship, offers a relaxed, nautical vibe along with a piano. Enjoy your favorite beverage as you enjoy the piano music playing well-known songs that are universally loved.
Sing your heart out in karaoke
One of the nice things about a cruise is that you don’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself. After all, once the cruise is over you won’t likely see these people again. So let your talent shine onstage. Karaoke is available at different spots, such as Spotlight Karaoke on Oasis of the Seas. Grab a mic and show off your vocal chops, singing one of your favorite hit songs.
Twirl and glide across the ice
One of the many ways Royal Caribbean offers passengers more than they is expect is by doing things that seem impossible on a cruise ship. In this case, how about a shipboard ice-skating rink? Everyone from kids to grownups can strap on a pair of skates and glide (or wobble) across the ice. There are also ice shows put on by the entertainment staff. Be sure to bring long pants.
Try your luck in the casino
Gambling on the cruise ship is one of the most popular activities. All your favorite games are available (slots, craps, roulette, blackjack, etc.), plus some that you may not be used to seeing in a casino like coin pusher machines and “skill crane” type machines that can win you money.
Casinos are open normally when the ship is sailing from port to port, and can get pretty busy in the evenings.
Explore the art around the ship
One unique thing about Royal Caribbean is that the cruise line loves to place art around the ship. Every stairwell that you travel will have art pieces. There’s also art lining the walls near the elevator lobbies as you head to the cabin. And then there is just art sprinkled around. Take a few moments to appreciate these touches as there are some definitely unique pieces you won’t see anywhere else.
Relax: Ways to Unwind
A Royal Caribbean cruise lets you enjoy the best of both worlds – fast-paced fun and/or slowing down to savor some quiet time.
Enjoy some private romantic time
Order room service so the two of you can have meal together on your stateroom balcony. Toast each other as you watch the sun rise or set. (If you opted for shipboard accommodations without a balcony, Royal Caribbean ships offer plenty of spots where you can lounge on the pool deck with great views.)
If you’re in the mood for some laid-back fun, a game of shuffleboard gives you something fun to do with friends, family and fellow cruisers without taxing your muscles or energy level. It’s a perfect way to wind down, especially if you’ve been engaging in high-energy activities all day. Plus, it’s about as classic a cruise ship activity as you will ever see. You’ll see the courts painted with boxes nearby holding the equipment.
Relax at the spa
If you crave relaxation, Royal Caribbean’s spas have you covered. Enjoy a massage or pamper yourself with a facial or mani-pedi. The menu of spa services also includes wraps, teeth-whitening, hair-styling, and makeup. Just know that there are extra charges for spa services. Still, the relaxation can be well worth the cost.
Grab a towel and head for the pool
As you would expect, every Royal Caribbean ship offers swimming pools, and usually we’re talking multiple options. Choose the pool that suits your style.
The main pool, open to all cruisers of all ages, enables the whole family to relax together. Kids’ pools provide splashing and spraying fun for children. The Solarium, open to adults, offers a quieter vibe – plus this pool is typically covered giving a warmer option if it’s chilly out.
No matter which pool you pick, you can soak up some sun or relax in the shade while sipping your favorite beverage.
Let the kids go wild in Splashaway Bay
We mentioned it in passing above, but Splashaway Bay on Royal Caribbean is a can’t-miss if you have kids. Instead of a pool, it’s an entire splash pad with water spraying everywhere, slides, interactive water features and more. If you have a kid that can’t swim yet, it’s the perfect place for them to get wet while you relax (or join in the fun).
Eat: Food, glorious food!
With so many delicious options to choose from, your only problem will be deciding which spot to eat at first.
Dine on gourmet Italian fare at Jaime’s Italian
With a menu of Tuscan specialties designed by famed chef Jaime Oliver, Jaime’s Italian is a favorite dining venue among Royal Caribbean fans. Start with the Meat Plank, the shareable appetizer piled with mortadella, salami, prosciutto, pickles and cheeses. Then choose from fresh pasta, fish and seafood dishes, chicken, or burgers.
Taste a little of everything at the Windjammer
Royal Caribbean’s buffet — Windjammer — enables you to sample all your favorites, plus try some tempting dishes. Breakfast offerings include a selection of everything from omelets to bacon to French toast, pastries, and more. Lunchtime options range from sandwiches, salads, and soups to fresh-pressed paninis and various carving stations. For dinner, you can eat just about anything you can imagine, including salads, burgers, dogs, tacos, chicken, and beef dishes. Don’t forget to save room for the dessert, which include a number of options.
Get some sushi at Izumi
Fans of Japanese cuisine can enjoy expertly prepared, impeccably presented sushi and sashimi, as well as a wide variety of Asian-inspired appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Just know that like many restaurants outside the buffet and main dining room, there is an extra charge.
Savor the taste of the sea at Hooked Seafood
Choose from a menu of New England-style seafood classic dishes including crab cakes, crab claws, lobster rolls, plus raw-bar favorites like just-shucked oysters.
Chow down on Italian favorites Giovanni’s Table
Even if your cruise doesn’t sail anywhere near the boot-shaped peninsula, you can satisfy your craving for fresh pastas, and braised meats and classic Italian dishes (lamb, chicken, shrimp, and veal) at this upscale Italian spot. One tip — try it for lunch for a cheaper price than what’s charged at dinner.
Dine in elegance at 150 Central Park
Available on Oasis-class ships, 150 Central Park serves farm-to-ship cuisine using carefully sourced ingredients to create handcrafted gourmet experience. Dishes include halibut, duck, lobster, veal, and more.
Let your taste buds experience Wonderland
In the mood for a culinary adventure? Take your taste buds down the rabbit hole to enjoy magical elixirs and sensory surprises. Wonderland is an Alice in Wonderland-inspired restaurant, right down to the menu you have to paint to reveal its contents. Meanwhile the entrees served also have a unique take on what you eat. Consider it one of the most memorable meals you’ll ever eat.
Grab a slice of pizza at Sorrento’s
Sometimes you just want a slice of pizza. Sorrento’s serves up pies around the clock. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic cheese or pepperoni pizza or want to try one of the daily specialty toppings like chorizo or Hawaiian-style pizza, Sorrento’s will satisfy your cravings for pizza in a casual setting for lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack.
Compete: So Many Ways to Challenge Yourself
On a Royal Caribbean ship, you can choose from the latest game trends or go old-school to compete with others and prove who is the best.
Get in a game of mini-golf
Playing mini-golf is a great way to have fun with family members and/or friends. Shipboard mini-golf means you get to enjoy an ocean view while you play! It’s completely free and the good news is that the courses don’t usually get too crowded. It’s something you can play anytime, day or night.
Test your wits in an escape room
Are you up to a brainteasing challenge? Can you and your team solve the clues and escape before the clock runs out? Whether you’re already a fan of the escape room trend or eager to try this participatory challenge for the first time, you’ll have a blast racing against the clock to find clues so you can solve the escape room puzzle on many Royal Caribbean ships. The “Apollo 18” escape room, for example, gives you an hour to figure of the clues to launch the rocket… and is set in a control room that looks straight out of the 1960s (pictured above).
Play video games
Ok, maybe you don’t think about playing video games on vacation. But on the ships there are arcades with all sorts of games – from air hockey to skill cranes to shooting games. Royal Caribbean’s onboard video arcades vary from ship to ship, but they all offer the lure of parent-free fun amidst flashing lights. Of course, parents can play too.
Try your skill in trivia and sports
If you love a little competition, then surprisingly a cruise ship can scratch that itch. Royal Caribbean puts on lots of games where you can test yourself against others. This includes trivia covering all sorts of topics from famous logos to flags of the world. As well, sports contests like free-throw competitions and soccer skills are also happening during the cruise.
Entertainment: Enjoy the Show
There’s something magical about watching a live performance; something you can’t get from streaming your favorite show or movie at home. Royal Caribbean gives guests a wide range of choices for experiencing the special enchantment that takes place when you’re in the audience, watching talent performers on the stage.
Enjoy world-class entertainment at a Broadway at Sea production
Royal Caribbean offers Tony award-winning Broadway shows. Recent productions offered onboard include Hairspray, Mamma Mia, Cats, and Grease. If you love razzle-dazzle shows with world-class performers singing and dancing with the full panoply of professional costumes, lighting, and sets, a voyage aboard a Royal Caribbean ship is your ticket to great entertainment. Best of all, these shows are free to watch.
Be amazed at the skills of Aqua Theater performers
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class vessels feature the Aqua Theater, unique performance spaces where two 30-foot diving platforms flank the deepest pool at sea. Watch in awe as aerialists, acrobats, and high divers perform amazing feats as the ship sails. There is simply no other cruise line that has anything like this.
Listen to live music
Royal Caribbean’s live music venues feature world-class musicians performing a wide range of sounds, from cover bands and acoustic to Latin and live jazz. You can take in a live concert every night of your cruise. They perform at venues around the ship in the evening, adding a nice soundtrack to the evening of entertainment.
Laugh your stress away with some comedy
If you like comedy, you can laugh and enjoy yourself at sea. Just about any cruise will have a comedian. Sometimes they perform in a small venue and sometimes they are headliners in the main theater. No matter, the comedians will help put you in a good mood, with performers that have appeared on major broadcasts and venues.
Toast the official start of your cruise at the sail-away party
Aboard every trip to the Caribbean is the sail-away party. To celebrate the moment your ship leaves port, Royal Caribbean hosts a party at the pool deck. All guests are invited to enjoy the festivities, which include drinks, dancing, and music. Don’t miss the fun, especially if you’re cruising for the first time.
Drink: I’ll Toast to That!
Quench your thirst, learn about wines, enjoy the way your favorite drink tastes accompanied by ocean air.
Root for your favorite team at Playmakers
If your favorite team is playing during your cruise, you can watch the action at Playmakers. Quaff your favorite brew while snacking on Playmakers’ menu of sports bar favorites like burgers and wings. If you’re traveling during football season, then there is no better place to be. People come here to group up to root for their favorite teams while watching the game.
Let a robot bartender serve you at the Bionic Bar
In a cool twist on traditional drink service, many Royal Caribbean ships have the Bionic Bar. Here, you order your favorite cocktail via an iPad, then have it prepared and served to you by robots. It’s a mix of mixology and technology as your perfectly prepared drink is put together by a robotic arm.
Take a mini-tour of the ship from your bar stool
It’s perhaps the most unique bar on any cruise ship anywhere. The Rising Tide Bar on Oasis-class ships is an elevator bar, gliding slowly up from the Royal Promenade on deck 5 to Central Park on deck 8. Don’t worry, you haven’t had too much to drink. The bar really is moving.
Have a fruity cocktail from The Bamboo Room
A tiki-inspired bar with all sorts of fruity concoctions? The Bamboo Room isn’t on every ship, but is a favorite for those that enjoy a tropical feeling. Step in and be transported back to mid-century when tiki bars were all the rage. It’s lively (especially near the action of the bar), but also offers spots to sit and enjoy the company of others in a cozy atmosphere where you don’t have to yell to be heard.
Enjoy poolside beverages at Lime and Coconut
Perhaps the most popular bar on any Royal Caribbean ship will be Lime and Coconut. On the ships, this is the poolside bar. Here you can get all the fruity tropical concoctions you’re dreaming about, all with barely having to leave your sun lounger.
Let Loose: Show Off a Little
You’re on vacation, so loosen up. Move your body on the dance floor, let your inner pop (or rock, or country) star cut loose on stage, put on your fanciest duds and/or a playful costume.
Enjoy an evening of elegance with formal nights
If the elegance of cruising’s past makes you feel you were born too late, you’ll love this opportunity to wear your finest attire. Formal nights happen on each cruise and are perfect to get all dressed up and have a romantic evening. Be sure to take a photo so you can show all your friends back home how amazing you look on this special evening at sea.
Wear a fantastic costume at theme nights
If you like to dress up but prefer a more playful atmosphere, you’ll enjoy Royal Caribbean’s theme nights. These festive evenings vary from voyage to voyage. Your cruise might offer ‘70s Disco Night, White Out, Caribbean Night, Country & Western, Latin or a Sock Hop. Don’t worry, you don’t have to dress up to enjoy the theme parties.
Play (or just watch) interactive game shows
Watch – or participate in – one of Royal Caribbean’s shipboard game shows, based loosely on TV classic shows. Love and Marriage (like The Newlywed Game) lets contestants try to win by showing how well they know their spouse. Other game shows offered onboard include Battle of the Sexes and the adults-only Quest scavenger hunt.
More on sailing Royal Caribbean:
- Complete Guide to Sailing Royal Caribbean (What It’s Like)
- Worth It? Complete Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Drink Package
- 15+ Royal Caribbean Tips, Tricks, and Things to Know