Cruising has always been a luxurious way to vacation and Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas took luxury to a whole new level. This is one of the newest ships for Royal Caribbean and it really is beautiful. Our family review of Spectrum of the Seas is detailed for families, but this review isn’t everything that we experienced but some of our highlights.
This is a brand new ship that only launched in Spring 2019 and is part of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Ultra-Class ship, in fact, it is Royal Caribbean’s first Quantum Ultra-Class ship. The Spectrum of the seas was designed with Royal Caribbean’s Chinese and Asian guests in mind. This doesn’t mean that others won’t find it just as beautiful or enjoyable as our Asian friends.
Join us for our family review of Spectrum of the seas for kids and adults and see what this ship really has to offer!
Why I love cruising with kids
First, let me tell you why I love cruises with my kids! I can sum it up in one word, FREEDOM! Cruises offer kids clubs for all ages and babysitters for babies and toddlers.
This means that parents can have total FREEDOM anytime they want. We all know that going on vacation with kids is not the best way to rest. But when you cruise, you can have it all!
They can play all day in the kids’ clubs while you rest by the pool, go to the gym or spa, grab a drink and have a real uninterrupted conversation! I’m telling you it’s the best.
We’ll talk later about the kids’ clubs and how to make the most of your time.
The spectrum of the Seas booking
The easiest way to book your cruise to sail on the Spectrum of the Seas is on Royal Caribbean’s website. It is very easy and they walk you through it step by step.
I’ll give you a few quick tips about the booking process.
I always like to book an oceanview room when I’m traveling with my kids. These rooms usually are bigger than the interior rooms. But are not as expensive as a balcony room. Having a family of more than 4 people can be a challenge on a cruise.
If you are prone to seasickness, pick a room that is mid-ship, it tends to move less than the front and back which means you are less likely to wake up in the middle of the night sick.
My last tip about booking is to make sure you study the deck plans of the ship. If you want to spend a lot of time at the pool, you will want to be midship, if you want to be close to the kid’s clubs you will want to be forward. Find what is important to you and pick a room that is close to it.
The spectrum of the Seas is a massive ship! There are 16 decks on the spectrum of the seas. How many passengers are on the ship? The spectrum of the seas can hold 4,246 to 5,343 passengers. It is big!
Cruise Deck Plans is a great website that maps out every deck on the Spectrum of the Seas. Take a look to help you plan your cruise.
Planning shore excursions tips
If this is your first time cruising, you might find this portion of your trip stressful. You thought you booked an all-inclusive-family cruise. Then you find out you have to pay extra for excursions and you look at the prices, and I agree it seems outrageous. This can definitely add some additional stress if you hadn’t anticipated it. That’s what we are here for!
A shore excursion is an activity/tour that takes place when the boat stops at a port. You can book shore excursions through Royal Caribbean or plan something on your own. Booking on your own can save you money and time. We recommend finding what you want to do through Klook and book in advance to save money.
The question isn’t should you get off the boat at each port (you definitely should), but what should you do when you get off.
Much of the stress and hassle can be eliminated by planning things early. Some excursions book up quickly through the cruise line, so make sure if there is something you want to do at a port to book it early.
Most cruises do NOT include shore excursions in their prices. Your all-inclusive price includes your room, activities on the boat, and all meals at included restaurants.
You can save lots of money by booking things to do at the port city on your own. There are benefits and downsides to both reserving through Royal Caribbean and doing it on your own.
Benefits of booking shore excursions through Royal Carribean
#1 on the list for me is Saftey. By this I mean that I know for Royal Carribean to offer a tour through a company, the company needs to have a good reputation with no or few serious accidents.
Royal Caribbean reviews each of the partner companies offer the excursion. They also have to offer proper equipment for the activities they are providing, ie, harnesses, snorkel or scuba gear, etc…
This helps give me a little peace of mind if I am doing something like zip-lining in the rain forest or swimming through grottos or caves.
Also, Royal Caribbean has arranged transportation to and from the excursion location. This is so much safer than trying to find a taxi on my own or driving in a foreign country.
#2 on my list for benefits of booking your shore excursion through Royal Carribean is the convenience. The booking process can be done online before you leave home, or you can plan while on board. Both ways are easy.
Also, partnered excursions providers will have the closes spots for pick up at the port. Making the disembarking process easier as well.
If you are traveling to a country where they don’t speak English you might find it difficult to coordinate your own tour. By booking through Royal Carribean you know that there will be someone there that you can communicate with. On our last cruise, they offered tours in Chinese, English, and Japanese.
Royal Caribbean wants you to book a shore excursion with them, this is how they make more money. So they make it very easy from start to finish to book everything through them.
The boat won’t leave without you
#3 this is the last benefit but maybe one of the most important. When booking your shore excursion through Royal Carribean, they guarantee you will not miss your cruise ship in the event your tour is delayed in returning.
The cruise line coordinates with trusted, local guides and private transport to build the day around the ship’s own schedule. If you were to get stuck in a traffic jam or heaven forbid something bad happened, Royal Carribean guarantees the boat will not leave without you.
This always gives me peace of mind. Especially if I’m relying on public transportation or finding a taxi to get me back in time.
Benefits of booking and coordinate your own shore excursions
#1 Cost! If you are on a tight budget or didn’t anticipate the additional cost for excursions, you can save quite a bit of money by finding, scheduling, and booking an excursion on your own. We still recommend using a well-known tour provider coordinator like Klook. This way you have know they have been vetted.
You will probably notice that the prices for an excursion will be about 25-40% more expensive than what you can find on your own. But those don’t come with the guarantee of Royal Carribean waiting for you in case of a delay in getting back to the boat. So make sure to give yourself enough time to get back to the boat after your activities end.
Some ports are convenient for shopping or public transportation, while others can be quite far. For example on the cruise, we took, we left out of Shanghai China. The port is quite far from the city with little or no public transportation close. If you happen to leave from Shanghai, feel free to check out some of the things we were able to do in Shanghai for the day.
But when we got to our first port of Osaka, the subway stop was super close to the port. (We walked to the station in less than 5 minutes). Making it easy and cheap to get around and to do our own excursion.
If your port of call is not close to the main city or does not have easy access to transportation, I recommend booking a tour or excursion with Royal Caribbean or someone else who will pick you up. This way they pick you up close to the port.
#2 Sometimes the cruise doesn’t offer what you want to do or see. If that is the case, book something on your own. Then you have a lot more flexibility.
The other benefit of booking on your own is that you can get off the boat whenever is easiest for you. I would not suggest trying to get off the boat when you first dock. The lines are long and it can take a long time.
If you wait an hour after docking, there won’t be as many lines to get off and you’ll fly through immigration, etc. This flexibility only comes if you arrange your own shore excursions.
Make the most of your time
#3 You can move faster on your own. You might want to do two things while you are at a port but the cruise only offers 1 and it’s a full day. These tours are planned for large groups who move slow. You can move much faster when you’re on your own. Which means you can see and do more!
By looking outside of Royal Caribbean you might be able to find shorter tours or excursions to be able to do multiple things. Maybe it is snorkeling or ziplining in the morning, and shopping then dining out in the afternoon and evening.
Whatever you choose to do make the most of your time and enjoy your day at the port city.
How did we book our excursions?
We have been on a few cruises as a family. But we have always cruised to Central America. In the past, we have always booked our shore excursions through the cruise line and we have always enjoyed them.
However this time, we were traveling to Japan which is quite different than Mexico and much safer. We did not book our excursions through the cruise line this time.
We decided to do things on our own for a few reasons. The biggest reason being we have a 2-year-old who will not hold still for more than a minute. We did not want to be roped into an 8-hour tour with a cranky toddler.
Also, the excursions in Japan were extremely expensive through Royal Caribbean. Especially when you consider that we had to buy 5 tickets for everything.
The last reason we choose to book on our own is that we knew Japan is a safe country. And public transportation would be easy and safe to use. There were a few things we missed since we were on ou own, but we still had a blast in all the cities we visited.
How to prepare for your cruise
I can’t say this enough, download the Royal Caribbean app before your cruise! Once you have created an account with them (you probably did this while purchasing your tickets), you will be able to sign into the app.
The app is great! It has the deck plans of your ship, all of the onboard activities with times, and tons more info. I used it before our cruise to look at shore excursions and to find the locations of things we would want to do so we could start enjoying our cruise from the second we got on the boat.
Royal Caribbean check-in
Royal Caribbean tries to make it as easy as possible to check-in. A few days before your cruise, they will send you an email to do a pre-check-in. Take the time to do this, it is worth it.
In this process, they have you pick your estimated arrival time for check-in. I wish I could say this helped lower the crowds when we arrived, but everyone is so excited to get on the ship that most people try to arrive as early as the cruise line will allow.
During the pre-check-in process, you can add your credit card onto your Sea Pass card. I would suggest doing this for adults. Then you can leave your purse/wallet in your cabin safe while you are on the boat.
Depending on your Port of Entry and Port of calls you might be required to have additional documentation at check-in. When you go through the pre-check-in, they will tell you what documents you need to have on hand. We were required to have extra copies of our passports. This was used when entering Japan.
Royal Caribbean will keep your passports after you clear immigration at your port of entry. They will give them back to you the night before your cruise ends.
The check-in process for us was slow and even though we had completed the pre-check-in. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to make this faster. Our recommendation would be to arrive towards the end of the boarding times.
What is the best time to arrive for check-in?
The lines will be shorter as most are already on the boat, but don’t worry the boat won’t leave without you as long as you arrive on time to the port. For example, our arrival time was 12:00-2:00. We’d advise arriving around 1:30 when lines for that time group are getting shorter.
Your cabins will most likely not be ready for you until after 2:00 or 3:00. So if you arrive before they are ready, you can still get on the boat, just not into your room. We got on the boat early and went straight to the Windjammer for lunch.
What to expect at check-in
Stay calm in the lines and know that you will get through them eventually. Once it is your turn, they will make sure you have all the proper documentation and check you in for the cruise.
They will give you a Sea Pass card for each person in your group. Put these in a safe place, these cards are everything on the boat. If you added a credit card to your Sea Pass, you can use it anywhere on the boat for purchases. It is also your room key and kids need it to get in and out of the clubs.
After you are checked-in, you still have to go through immigration. This means another line. Be patient, you’re almost there.
After immigration, the cruise line will collect your passports and you can head onto the boat to start your cruise.
What to do on the Spectrum of the Seas?
When I try to tell people that I love cruises, I often hear “but don’t you get bored on the boat after a few days”? Let me tell you, we were on the Spectrum of the Seas for 8 days and we never ran out of things to do!
There are so many activities happening all the time on the boat. Royal Caribean does a great job of having multiple activities happening for all different types of tastes and activity levels.
Let’s begin with some of the fixed activities or features that don’t change even when the itinerary changes, for example; the flow rider or sky trampolines.
Flow Rider – surf experience
The Spectrum of the Seas is not alone in having a FlowRider on the ship but it is still one of the top things to do when you think of cruising. Who doesn’t want their picture at the back of the cruise ship, as you stand up and surf for the first time?
Flowrider is a surf simulator. It pumps 100,000 liters of water towards you, creating a wave. Seating is available for friends and family to watch you.
We didn’t get to this awesome feature on this cruise since our kids are too little to participate, but it does look like a ton of fun!
Restrictions to ride: 1.32 meters (4Feet 3 inches) to ride kneeling or like a boogie board. 1.47 meters (4 feet 8 inches) to stand up and surf. It is a great activity for teens on the cruise and for adults looking to practice surfing or try it for the first time.
Ripcord by iFly – Skydiving simulator
Here is your chance to really fly. Experience true free-fall conditions, just like a real skydive. You will enjoy skydiving in this awesome wind tunnel.
The time it takes for each skydive is like falling through the air from 12,000 to 3,000 feet! The rush and feeling of freefalling are incredible. Unfortunately, we ran out of time on our cruise before we could do this.
However, a tip about riding a skydiving simulator. Keep your chin up, your instructor will probably go over this, but remember to do it!. With your chin up, you will be able to keep your body in the right position, and this will prevent the wind from pushing you all over the place.
Also, remember to always relax and have fun!
Restrictions for flyers: Must be 3 years old, weigh less than 103 kg (227 pounds) if shorter than 6’ or less than 93 kg (200 Pounds) if 6’ and taller.
Sky Pad: Bungie Trampoline and VR
This was one of our kid’s favorite things to do on the cruise. Our 7 year old couldn’t get enough of the Bungie Trampoline. To jump on this trampoline, you put on a bungee trampoline harness and is then hooked to several bungee ropes attached to the ship. (Yes it is safe)!
Once you are strapped into the harness they determine the number of bungees (based on your weight) to make sure that you are able to enjoy additional bounce and safety.
After the initial few test jumps, you can start to see how high you can jump. As soon as our 7-year-old girl got the hang of it, she started to do backflips.
I was up next, and let me tell you that I am not a gymnast by any means. I exercise daily but I don’t think I could do a straight summersault if my life depended on it. The bungees make you bounce so much higher, and I was timid at first just trying to get the feel for the extra bounce. It’s awesome!
With the Sky Pad at the back or the Aft of the boat, you get to take in the view looking out over the wake of the ship as it cruises.
After a few jumps, I too tried to do a flip. The first one was slow but I was able to do it. The second was much better and it was surprisingly so easy! The bungees help to take your trampoline experience to a new and exciting level.
Sky Pad with VR: We were a little disappointed when we found out that the VR experience that is normally offered on the boat was not available. I believe it was in repair or something, but we were told that you play games like Candy Crush or a futuristic traveling game.
Restrictions: To jump on the sky pad you have to be at least 5 years old. If you want to use VR you have to be at least 7 years old. You must weigh between 20-240 pounds.
**When leaving out of China or Singapore the Sky Pad is an additional fee. Double-check the app for additional information.
What bumper cars on a boat? Yes, everyone was so excited about this. When you are booking a cruise, it’s a good idea to check out what the different ships have to offer. Every boat has different onboard activities.
We were so excited when we saw that Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas has bumper cars. How awesome is this?! And guess what? They didn’t disappoint.
The bumper cars are held in the Sea Plex Court (on the 15th deck). They use the same court that is used for basketball, ice skating, and other activities. It’s actually amazing to watch the court transform into so many different things.
If the seas are too rough the will not have the bumper cars available. Luckily the morning that we had scheduled for our family, we didn’t experience rough waters or sea.
Check your app for the days and times when the bumper cars will be available. I would suggest arriving as soon as they open because the lines can get long!
My kids and I would probably put this near the top or at the top of our favorite things to do on the Spectrum of the Seas. The only complaint that our 7-year-old has was that she was not able to drive alone. You have to be 8 years old to drive without an adult.
Restrictions: Must be 5 years old and 107 cm (3 feet 5 inches) tall to ride with a guardian or 8 years and 122 cm (4 feet) tall to ride alone
***Some of the activities that leave out of China or Singapore have additional fees associated with them. The Bumper Cars did not have additional fees. You could schedule a time on the app but no fees.
The SeaPlex – Indoor activities
This is one of the largest indoor activities space at sea on any cruise ship. The SeaPlex is where you can play basketball, soccer, volleyball, and ride bumper cars (as we have already talked about). There are a couple of other things I want to feature for you that happen in the SeaPlex.
Laser Tag @ the SeaPlex
Just like the bumper cars they clear the SeaPlex from other activities and make way for another fun activity. Royal Caribbean sets up a large blow-up maze, make the room dark, add some lasers to really set the stage for laser tag.
From the outside looking at the blowup laser tag sitting on the SeaPlex floor. I was initially concerned that it looked small, but when I got inside with my kids it was perfect.
When it’s time to get started the workers give you a laser tag vest and gun. After a short safety and instructional video and you are separated into two teams. Then you enter the maze-like room.
This was set up as good as fixed laser tag rooms that I have played in. There were places to hide, windows to shot other players from, room to run. It was a blast not only for my kids but I had a great time too.
Parent Tip: Our 6/7-year-old struggled a little with the gun, but still had fun. It is a little dark but our kids were not scared at all. If you have slightly older kids they will love this activity.
You will need to make reservations for this. There was also a fee for this on our cruise. I believe the cost was $10USD per person. It is well worth the extra fee.
The pools on the spectrum of the seas
The spectrum of the seas has 2 pools and a splash pad area for toddlers. One pool is indoor and the other is outside with the splash pad. My kids were most excited to play in splash pad areas.
Unfortunately, we went on a cruise in November in northern Asia so it was too cold to swim outside. The first day the kids did brave the splash areas and they said the water was warm but the wind was too cold to play.
The indoor pool was nice but it was smaller. The kids enjoyed playing in the area at the end of the where there are lounge chairs built into the pool. They turned these into “slides” and had a blast.
There are 5 hot tubs on the Spectrum of the Seas. Four of them are easily accessible and can be used by families. The 5th hot tub is in the solarium which we did not have access to because we are not Gold members with Royal Caribbean.
But the 4 hot tubs were more than enough. They were never full and we enjoyed each of them several times. Two of them are inside and two are outside.
One of our favorite memories is sitting in the hot tub outside under the stars while watching a movie by the pool. It was awesome!
Parent tip- They do have life jackets easily available for your little ones that don’t know how to swim. Our 2-year-old used them every time we went to the pool.
What Beverage Packages are available on Spectrum of the Seas?
The Spectrum of the seas offers 3 beverage packages. We had the Refreshment package on all our tickets. You can enjoy unlimited drinks from the Bionic Bar with the 2 higher packages.
The Classic Soda Package only includes soda and juice, and the soda options are limited on the cruise to Coke, Diet-Coke, and Sprite. It excludes coffee, tea, and any non-alcoholic cocktails or smoothies.
The Refreshment Package includes premium coffees and teas, bottled water, fresh-squeezed juices, non-alcoholic cocktails, and fountain soda.
The Delux Package includes everything in the refreshment package plus beer and alcoholic cocktails.
|Deluxe||$63 – $70|
**Prices are shown in price per day.
Are the beverage packages worth it?
Yes, they are overpriced, but it is also your vacation. My recommendation is to pick one of the beverage packages before you arrive at the cruise.
You will get an email from Royal Caribbean a week or two before your departure. They will offer drink packages at a small discount. Take advantage and book early. This will save you money off the prices above.
If you are going to drink more than 2 drinks a day, the package is worth it. Individual drinks and sodas are expensive without the package.
Is there internet on Spectrum of the Seas?
Yes, there is internet on Spectrum of the Seas. If you plan on purchasing the internet while on the ship, you can combine your drink and internet packages for a small saving.
No matter which package you choose, always pre-purchase the internet and drink package before the cruise to save yourself money!
Royal Caribbean offers VOOM internet and tiered plans. This a lower version of the internet that is great for emails, web browsing, and posting to social media.
- One device: $9.99 per day
- Two devices: $16.99 per day
- Three devices: $23.99 per day
- Four devices: $27.99 per day
- Five devices: $31.99 per day
VOOM Surf & Stream
If you can’t let your favorite Netflix show go or need to facetime a loved one, then this is the internet you will need. Buying before your cruise can save you some money.
- One device: $12.99 per day
- Two devices: $22.99 per day
- Three devices: $31.99 per day
- Four devices: $39.99 per day
- Five devices: $41.99 per day
They offer internet on one device for $15.00USD per day. The Classic Soda package is $9.99 per day. When you combine them the Classic Soda and Internet package becomes $21.00USD per day. Saving you $4.00 per day.
Tips: Buy your drink package and internet packages before you get on board. Opt for the Refreshment package over the classic soda package, even for the kids. If you intend to drink alcohol on the cruise, then opt for the deluxe package for yourself.
Was the internet on the ship fast?
For the internet, we opted for the VOOM Surf and Stream version on 3 devices. We both still have jobs and even on vacation we both still keep on emails.
Since we had internet service on both of our phones we could easily communicate with each other on the boat. Making it easy to do separate things and still find each other quickly.
The spectrum of the seas internet was great! It was better than a lot of hotels that I have stayed in. The streaming service was FAST, my kids were able to watch Netflix and of course YouTube. We were even able to Facetime family without any issues.
We never had any problems with it dropping service. The internet worked great everywhere on the boat. I would highly recommend it if you’d like to stay connected to the outside world. I was very impressed.
Bionic Bar – Robot drink bar for adults and kids
A few days into the cruise we discovered the Bionic Bar and we were kicking ourselves that we missed it for the first couple of days.
The bionic Bar is not only a bar but a work of art. The bar features 30 different spirits that are suspended from the ceiling. The 2 robots or robotic arms use the spirits and 21 different mixers. You can create almost any drink you can think of.
They do offer a limited selection of non-alcoholic options, but still enough to make my kids want to go back for more.
Take your SeaPass card to pay for your drink. You will order your drink on an iPad system. Many of your common or popular mixed drinks are preloaded and it’s just a simple click, but where is the fun in that?
This is about experiencing technology. Pick your beverage of choice spirit or soda. Then you get to add your mixes. They have everything from fresh mint, limes, and lemons to other flavored mixes.
The system will help with your measurements. You will pick the desired amount of each item. It will show you how close you are to fill your cup. Once you feel like you have the magic mix, hit mix and then sit back and watch.
For the kids: Our kids loved to make s virgin Shirley Temple. They would pick Sprite as the base, then add a lemon, and grenadine syrup.
If you’ve had too many margaritas or looking for a low-calorie option for a drink. Come to the Bionic Bar. One of my favorite drinks in the evening was soda water mixed with lemon-lime and a little bit of a flavored syrup like orange or grenadine.
Kids Clubs – Adventure Ocean
Adventure Ocean is the kids club or youth club. Its a place where kids can go to play, do crafts, have parties, play games, and have a pajama movie night. Royal Caribbean has done a really good job of becoming my top choice of cruise lines for kids.
The Adventure Ocean break up kids into 3 age groups with 3 different rooms to be able to do more age-appropriate activities.
Aquanauts, as they call them, are kids ages 3 to 5 years. They do need to be potty-trained to be able to stay and play.
Explorers are kids age 6 to 8 years old and Voyager are kids age 9 to 11.
For our cruise, they did not open the Voyager and combined the Voyager and Aquanauts together. They said that their either were not enough kids on the cruise for 2 groups.
Our 10-year-old was disappointed because she wanted to do some of the crafts and science experiments that are only offered in the voyager group. Actually, we were all a little disappointed by this. `
What you need to know about Ocean Adventure – Kids Club
Location: Located at the front of the deck 12.
Time: On days at Sea- Adventure Ocean opens at 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Then from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, and then again from 7:00 -10:00 pm. (This varies by itinerary)
When the ship is at the port, the Club is open for the entire duration that you are at port. This way if you have an activity or your kids don’t want to come off the ship, they can stay and play.
What about lunch? They will take the kids to lunch. At our one day in Kobe, Japan our 7-year-old didn’t want to get off the boat because she had made a friend. They wanted to stay and play together. We asked about lunch and they informed us how they take them to the WindJammer.
What were some of the activities that they do in the Adventure Ocean Club?
Each day they have a theme and they play games, do crafts, and activities all based on the theme. Our kids’ favorite theme was circus day. They played circus games, face painting, and some other crafts related to a circus. They were so happy after spending a full day in the kids club.
Indoor kids play area
There is an indoor kids play area next to the Tots Nursery and below the Adventure Ocean club. This is a place that parents with young kids can come together and play.
Parents are required to stay in this area, but it allows your kids to get some of their energy out.
Infants and Baby-Sitting
The spectrum of the Seas does have a Tots Nursery. Your kids need to be 6 months or older. There are cribs, toys, mats, etc… for the little ones to play.
We tried to drop our 2 and a half-year-old off at the Tot Nursery. She was the only one there on the day we dropped off, and she is very social. It was a struggle for her to leave mom and dad. Since she had such a hard time the first day, we didn’t leave her again.
The tots area did not work out well for her. Since she is 2 and a half, she needs to be with older kids so that she can play. But she didn’t meet the age requirements so they had her with the babies.
This is a paid service. It is $6.00USD per hour, per child. Located on Deck 11, just below the Adventure Ocean Club. Making it easy to drop off all your kids and keep them close by.
My thoughts on the kids club
As I preached earlier, kid’s clubs are the best in the world. It gives the whole family a chance to really branch out and enjoy their time. It gives parents a chance to relax and recharge.
When the kid’s clubs on the spectrum of the seas were open, they were great. Our kids loved being there and never wanted to leave.
My only issue with the kid’s clubs was that they had strange times that they were closed. They would close in the middle of the day which made it difficult if we wanted to do something during those times. But this does vary fo reach itinerary so it might not be an issue when you sail with them.
In the end, I would still say that the spectrum of the seas is one of the best boats for kid-friendly cruises.
The spectrum of the Seas Restaurants
Dining on a cruise ship is and can be just as exciting as all the activities and places you visit. I would have to say that all of the cruises that I have been on the food ranks somewhere from above-average delicious, to incredible!
This includes the normal dining and buffets that are included in your cruise package, but also the specialty restaurants that have an additional fee if you eat there.
Food Restaurants that are Free or that are included in your cruise on the Spectrum of the Seas.
The Windjammer Cafe is where you will find yourself multiple times throughout the day. It is open for almost 24 hours and is a buffet style for casual dining.
The Windjammer offers a wide variety of foods from around the world and will have a specialty area for the day.
Since our cruise left out of Shanghai, one day they offered specialty Chinese noodles. Then one of the days was actually Thanksgiving day while we were on the cruise, and they offered turkey and all the fixings.
The Windjammer is most likely where you will have breakfast and possibly lunch. You too can have dinner here if you like but there are many other options available.
The Windjammer even offers a gluten-free section of food, salads and fruits galore, and plenty of desserts.
The food in the Windjammer is surprisingly really good. Especially for a buffet. I appreciated the large salad bar, it had everything we needed to make a great salad. Oh, and the dessert selection is endless!
The Main Dining Room
Want to try world-class food that doesn’t cost you any extra with your cruise. This is “Fine Dining” at its best. The Main Dining Room’s decor is as world-class as the entrees, appetizers and endless desserts.
Yes, I said end-less. Tip for first-time cruisers, you can order more than one dessert. Actually you can order more than one entree as well.
If you can’t decide between the daily special or the filet mignon order them both.
For the Main Dining Room, you will have what is called “My Time Dining.” You will get to pick when you would like to have dinner. Normally there are two sessions and earlier or later sessions.
The early session is between 5:30 -7:00 and the later is usually around 7:00 or 7:30 pm. Times might vary depending on the cruise itinerary.
The food in the main dining room is great, but the service can be slow. So I’d advise dining here while your kids are in the kid’s clubs.
Other “Free” Restaurants to discover
TheCafe @ TWO70:
I wished we would have looked for this cafe earlier on our cruise. This cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offered a few more healthy options are available in this cafe. For breakfast, they had berries and yogurt. In the Windjammer, they do not have any berries.
For lunch and dinner, you can get a wrap, hot-pressed panini or sandwich, or customize a delicious salad. This was actually some of my favorite food. For the more health-conscious person, make this your go-to place to eat.
I also love the views from this cafe. It is located at the back of the boat and has floor to ceiling windows watching out the back. It’s stunning to eat your lunch and watch the water as you sail through the open ocean.
Location: Located at the aft of deck 5
Located directly next to and part of the Windjammer. Sorrento’s makes it easy to grab a couple of slices of pizza for the kids and then head to the buffet to get your food. They offer all different types of New York-Style Pizza.
The pizza was delicious! My kids loved it and so did I, we stopped by multiple times for quick slice.
Location: Next to the WindJammer on deck 14
Dog House Food Truck – Hotdogs, Brats, & Sausages
Need a snack or just want something quick for the day. Swing by the Dog House and create your own Hot Dog or Brat. Add a number of toppings, plus they have chicken nuggets that are great for the kids.
Location: Located at the Aft of the SeaPlex on Deck 15.
This small cafe serves snacks during the day. They usually offer a variety of snacks, desserts, and sometimes frozen yogurt. They also have fun swing chairs that our kids loved.
Location: By the outdoor pool on deck 14.
Additional Restaurants on Spectrum of the Seas that are extra money
These additional restaurants are available for lunch and dinner. The additional cost will vary by the restaurant but it will cost you about $15 -$50USD per person to dine in one of these specialty restaurants. These restaurants can enhance your cruising experience.
These can be great places to celebrate an anniversary, birthday, promotion, or just to try something a little different.
Let me preface that my overall experience with Spectrum of the Sea’s for-fee restaurants did not meet my expectations for what the additional costs were.
We did sign up for a discounted package on the first day of our cruise to save some money. We knew we wanted to try a couple of the restaurants while we were on the ship. Luckily Royal Caribbean offered a package deal. We took the 4 restaurant package for around $200USD.
Teppanyaki Restaurant Review
I will start with our family’s favorite, Teppanyaki Grill. The chef prepares traditional Japanese dishes tableside. The chef is usually pretty animated and skilled with knives, spatulas, and tossing food into your mouth.
This makes dinner not only delicious but fun for the family, and with having young kids its nice to have additional entertainment besides cell phones. The kids eat for free and the two adults were part of the package deal.
We ordered a mixture of steak, chicken, and shrimp. All meal comes with fried rice and vegetables. The food was really good but very similar to what you would find at a teppanyaki restaurant almost anywhere. I would recommend this over all the other restaurants for entertainment and experience. If I had to give it a star rating, I would give it 4 out of 5 Stars.
Chops Grille Steakhouse Review
Who doesn’t love a top-notch steak while on vacation? If you are looking for a western option this is perfect. Chops Grille’s menu also includes fish, lamb, pork, and chicken. The ambiance is more upscale and although they state smart casual as the dress code, I would recommend dressing a little nicer. Definitely not formal but something in-between.
I got the filet mignon and my husband got the ribeye steaks. The had a petite steak for the kids or a hamburger, plus mac and cheese. The kids loved the mac and cheese.
Here is where the reviews of the restaurants start to go downhill. The steaks to us were just average. I had steak earlier in the Main Dining Room a couple of days before and it tasted similar to what I had in the Main Dining Room and not worth paying for the extra.
We had just had Kobe Beef Steak in Kobe, Japan the day before. If you have never had Kobe Beef and the Spectrum of the Seas is stopping in Kobe or Osaka, Japan. I highly recommend finding a kobe beef restaurant.
It was one of my favorite and the best experiences of the cruise. Learn more about Kobe, Japan here. So save your money at Chops and go find a Kobe Beef restaurant.
If you are not stopping in Kobe and looking for a nice steak, Chops would be perfect for you.
Prices: The price is $35 per person on most ships. On Oasis-class ships, the cost is $39 per person. Lunch costs $19 per person for adults and $10 per child
Wonderland’s Da Dong Review
Wonderland is a culinary art and creative dining concept. This was a mix of childhood Alice in Wonderland mixed with world-renown Chinese chef Dong Zhenxian. Most known for his delicious roast duck dish. This mix of food art and the somewhat excentric ambiance of Alice in Wonderland very interesting.
Now you have to remember that Spectrum of the Seas is designed and built for the Chinese market, but that doesn’t mean that my western pallet can’t have an opinion on the food and experience.
Let me say this restaurant did an excellent job in the presentation, 5 out of stars! Each course was presented in a unique and fun way. The kids loved painting the invisible menus and the covered smoked avocado.
So now the taste of the food. Remember, I am not a seafood fan. This restaurant was not for me. I really enjoyed the fun atmosphere but I could not eat the food. Most dishes were served with seafood of some sort.
My favorite thing at this restaurant was the ice plant salad served with a peanut butter dressing. It was amazing! If you’ve never had an ice plant, go to the store and look for it. It’s the strangest thing, the leaves appear to have ice on them and they are crunchy like ice as you eat it. So yummy.
Everything else at the restaurant had me wishing I had ordered a kids meal. They do serve a good kids meal. It includes a hamburger, noodles, and french fries.
Overall if you do not like Chinese food, I would skip this restaurant, I enjoyed the other paid restaurants more.
Other “For-Fee” Restaurants that are available on the Spectrum of the seas
Izumi Japanese Restaurant: We did not have a chance to try this restaurant. It was never very busy so you do not need reservations if you’d like to try it.
Costs: This restaurant is a la carte pricing; an additional $3 Lunch fee and $5 Dinner fee for tips.
Jamie’s Italian: This restaurant offers Italian cuisine by Jamie Oliver. It is a casual sit down restaurant. Check prices on board, it is priced per person.
Sichuan Road: You can enjoy a traditional Sichuan feast at this restaurant. It is also a la carte pricing.
Hot Pot: This restaurant is located in the back of the Windjammer and does not require reservations. Check prices once you are on the boat.
We did not have a chance to try any of these restaurants so I cannot leave a review on how they taste or the experiences they have to offer.
Our family review of the Spectrum of the Seas
Overall the Spectrum of the Seas is an awesome ship with so much to offer I couldn’t even write about all of it. I think this is the perfect boat for adults and kids.
The kid’s clubs have lots to offer to help your kids enjoy their time too. The SeaPlex is also another awesome place for your kids to hang out and play. Make sure to take advantage of the extra activities here.
This luxurious ship is also a heaven for adults. The spa is so peaceful, there’s a place to grab a dink everywhere you look, and the shows at night are spectacular. I think I could spend weeks on this boat and never get bored.
We hope that you have enjoyed and found value in our family review of Spectrum of the Seas. I would recommend this cruise for young couples looking for a great cultural trip. It would be a great cruise without kids as well as with kids.
Would I recommend the Spectrum of the Seas to other families? Yes! It is a great boat, I would advise you though to pay attention to your ports of call. The stops in Japan were not ideal for a family. Our kids preferred to stay on the boat (which was good for us too).
That being said I would still take my kids back on the Spectrum of the Seas no matter where it is stopping because it is that spectacular!