A fun-filled trip to another country might be a great way to unwind. But it can also be quite tiring to travel around, especially if you prefer a more chill and relaxing holiday without having to explore and walk around excessively. If you are looking for a family-friendly vacation for bonding purposes or a mini getaway to spend quality time with your partner, Royal Caribbean might be the answer for you.

After spending four nights on Royal Caribbean Cruise trip to Penang and Phuket, we have compiled the ultimate cruise guide that includes the most scrumptious dining options, the best activities to join, and the best shows to watch. We have also included pro tips throughout the guide to maximise your enjoyment on a well-deserved holiday.

Pro Tip #1: Remember to download the Royal Caribbean App prior to your departure to preplan your itinerary, book shore excursions or make reservations (does not require the WiFi package to access the app). The App also lists out all the activities available for the day so that you can easily reference it during your sailing.

Our cruise trip

We booked the Spectrum of the Seas with the following route: Singapore – Penang – Phuket – Singapore. As we booked the cruise in advance, we were able to enjoy their 50% promotion, which resulted in the final cost of $800 per pax (after taxes) for a Balcony View Room. If you are traveling on a budget, the cheapest room starts from $299++ per pax, which is extremely affordable.

If you opt for the balcony view room, I highly recommend to order room service or just bring in food from the complimentary restaurants and enjoy your meal privately at the balcony. Unlike the restaurants on the upper deck, you enjoy full privacy while soaking in the magnificent sea views.

Pro Tip #2: Pack your essentials in a backpack on embarkation day as you will not receive your luggage until after 3-4pm. It is also the best time to visit the pools as not everyone will pack their swimwear with them.

However, if you did not purchase an upgrade to pick your own room, there is a chance of getting a room with an obstructed view from the lifeboats (which is what happened to us).

We also bought the WiFi package that cost about USD100 per device for the entire trip, the connection was superb except for a few glitches once in a while. It is probably a great excuse to save money by having a social media detox, but having the WiFi really makes everything more convenient, including communicating with your fellow cruise mates.

Pro Tip #3: Prebook your dining/beverage packages, WiFi packages etc in advance as you will enjoy early bird discounts.

Dining

One of the best parts about a cruise trip is the unlimited feasting. Be prepared to eat non-stop from day to night and even up till 2am for supper! Here are the main complimentary restaurants that we visited regularly:

Windjammer Marketplace

Windjammer Marketplace is the most popular dining area among the cruisers for breakfast, lunch and dinner as they offer a wide spread buffet of international cuisines. From classic breakfast staples like bacon, eggs, and pancakes to lunch and dinner favourites like grilled burgers and pastas, there is something to satisfy every taste bud.

You don’t have to worry about repetition either, as Windjammer Marketplace replaces their specials daily. For instance, we got a melt-in-the-mouth char siew on the day two, roasted pork on day three, and poached prawns freshly-caught from Phuket on day four.

There are also cook-to-order food stations for pasta and Chinese noodles.

Cafe @Two70

While there are less variety at this dining venue, Cafe @Two70 provides a more enjoyable dining experience. It’s a lot less crowded than Windjammer, and the floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views of the ocean while you are indulging in your meal. You can expect to find various pastries like croissants and sandwiches, and can also customise your own bagel with your favourite toppings during breakfast.

Sorrento Pizza

If you are looking to scavenge for late night supper snacks, this place is the ultimate supper venue loved by many cruisers as it is opened till 2am. Time to enjoy a slice of pizza at any time of the day or night.

Main Dining Area

For an elevated fine-dining experience on the cruise, head to the main dining area where you are served unlimited portions of a three-course meal — including a starter, entree, and dessert.

Relinquish local favourites like Pad Thai, Chinese-style noodles or indulge in familiar Western classics like prime rib and steak. The menu changes daily which allows you to get a taste of different dishes.

There are also options for you to upgrade to specialty dining like The Hotpot, Teppanyaki, Izumi Sushi, and more.

For coffee and snacks, you can visit SeaPlex Doghouse for some hotdogs, and Splashaway Cafe near the pool area for light bites and soft serve.

Beverage packages might be a great way to maximise your savings onboard, just make sure that the number of drinks you order can breakeven the cost of the package. We bought the Coffee Card at USD31 which included 15 specialty coffee ranging from flavoured lattes to hot chocolate and americano; we saved $30+ USD in total. The coffee card can also be shared among friends and family. There are various packages such as Cocktails and All-drinks Packages to look out for.

Pro Tip #4: Book the restaurants in advance. Being stuck in a line waiting to enter while you’re famished is probably a really bad idea.

Activities and entertainment

Aside from the casino and swimming pool, there are plenty of complimentary activities and entertainment available. Get in the hype while shouting for your winning number during the game of Royal Cash Bingo. We bought 3 games for USD39 which comes with a scratch card (There are other packages that cost USD49-69) and managed to win USD69 after splitting with 4 other winners for one of the game rounds.

Pro Tip #5: You might enjoy a discount for your second game if you are an early bird for the first game

There are several adult and kid-friendly activities like Flowrider, bumper car, rock-climbing, table tennis, archery, basketball, and soccer to keep you entertained for hours.

You might have already seen tons of videos online about the mainstream attractions, but there are also many underrated activities that are perfect for bonding such as the Brain Boggler trivial quiz, Guess the Song/Movie with Emojis, and Napkin Folding Class.

Learning how to fold napkin flowers to put on plates

Pro Tip #6: If you do not intend to disembark at the ports, make use of the opportunity to enjoy popular attractions like Flowrider to avoid the long queues.

To make the best out of your cruise vacation, you shouldn’t miss the evening performances which are remarkable and impressive. Some of the performances require reservations in advance such as The Silk Road which is an original live production performed by skill acrobatics.

Do note that the dining and entertainment choices mentioned in this article may be subject to availability depending on the ship.

Cruise facilities

If you are gym junkie, you have to check out the gym where you will get unblocked views of the ocean while sweating it out. You can also fully immerse in the ‘chill’ life by going for a relaxing spa or massage.

Royal Caribbean

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