Skip to Content

Cruising in Asia With an American Cruise Line (Differences in Food, Entertainment and More)

I’ve recently disembarked a cruise on the biggest American cruise ship ever designed for the Chinese market.

We sailed from Singapore to Tokyo and although I’ve cruised plenty of times in the past in America or Europe this trip surprised me in every way possible.

From the ship – to the passengers – the entertainment – to the destinations – it was completely different to what I’m used to. 

I have cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past and have always enjoyed the experience. When I saw that they were sailing in Asia, I thought that this would be the perfect way to give a trip like this a go.

The reviews of this ship were considerably worse than others in the Royal Caribbean fleet, but I was ready for anything and I wanted to find out why the reviews were so bad...

Boarding And Getting On The Ship Was Easy

We boarded the ship in Singapore and despite the fact that there were lots of different nationalities boarding with different visa requirements it actually didn’t take as long as I expected.

They did take and keep our passports which is very common on Asia cruises. We had copies of our passports and our driving licenses with us to use as I.D. – so it wasn’t a problem for us.

I’d already checked in online pre-cruise. Because I’m from the UK I didn’t need any visas for the places that we were visiting.

Spectrum of the Seas was built in 2019 and can hold almost 5,000 people at maximum capacity.

I’d learn later that the most popular common nationality onboard was Singaporean. This does make sense and it explains a lot of things that happened on the cruise. 

Walking onto the ship was such an exciting feeling. I took a cruise a couple of years ago onboard Anthem of the Seas – which is the sister ship to this one, meaning that they have the same base design.

Spectrum is like Anthem’s Chinese cousin and I was excited to see what differences there would be. 

emma cruises profile picture
I took a wonderful cruise on Anthem of the Seas to Norway

I immediately noticed that all of the signs were in English and Mandarin as we headed off to our muster station.

This is where we would meet in an emergency and it was a very quick process as we’d already watched the safety videos on the app pre-cruise.

Find out more about cruise ship Muster Drills in the post below:

What is a Muster Drill on a Cruise? Everything You Need to Know (REVIEW of Traditional and Virtual Muster Drills)

First Impressions Of The Ship

Pre-cruise I bought myself a soda package that meant that I could have unlimited soda throughout the cruise.

One big difference between this cruise and others was the Japanese Coke that had a mystery ingredient that they kept trying to feed me.

There aren’t any self-serve soda machines on this ship which is a shame, as they have them on other ships.

I collected my bottle that you normally use for these machines from Main Street anyway – If I’ve paid for it you can bet I’m going to take it home! 

Main Street really is the heart of the ship, it stretches most of the length and is lined with restaurants and bars.

On “Anthem” there is an included pizza restaurant here called Sorrento’s – but on Spectrum that was nowhere to be seen.

It turns out that Sorrento’s had been moved up and into the buffet because of the culture around walking and eating in Asia.

In the UK or the U.S. it’s totally normal to grab a slice of pizza and stand or walk while eating it, but in places like Japan, it’s considered very rude. 

There were lots of interesting differences like this that I discovered as the cruise went along. 

I was getting pretty hungry and I decided to head up to the buffet. All of the food in there is included in the cruise fare and it’s open almost all of the time. 

I really didn’t know what to expect from the food when I walked in, with so much variety in the nationalities onboard it seemed like an impossible task to keep everybody fed and happy.

I loved the big bright open space and although it felt busy it didn’t feel overwhelming.

The buffet is always busy on the first day as the dining rooms usually aren’t open for lunch and boarding a cruise understandably makes everybody hungry! 

I grabbed myself an odd combination of noodles rice and vegetables – and it was exactly what I needed. The hole in my stomach was perfectly rice and noodle-shaped it seemed. 

This is a rare meal that I didn’t have ketchup on but there was a ketchup station called “Ketchup Please” which I thought was cute. 

Up on deck 14 we decided to have a look around the outside spaces. There was nobody in the pool, probably because it was too hot. I could have had 200 sun loungers to myself if I wanted to.

At one end there was a very impressive kid’s splash area with a normal swimming pool next to it.

Beyond that was a really nice inside pool and a little further was a solarium which I explored the next day. I spent a lot of time there.

At the other end of the ship was the sports court that included a surf simulator, skydive simulator and a massive Bumper Car arena inside. 

I noticed the big pod on top of the ship, it was on a long arm and it was called “The North Star.” I went in this on Anthem of the Seas and hoped that I’d have time to do it on this itinerary too.

We did have a busy cruise planned with excursions in most ports but I also hoped I’d have a chance to relax as the jet lag was proving more difficult than I’m used to.

Going east always seems more tricky to adjust to, and it wasn’t until day 5 that I managed to sleep through the night completely. Not that it mattered though, cruises are great places for naps. 

The sky as we sailed away from Singapore was very creepy looking, I could actually see the rain far away and it was so warm even though it might not look it. I hoped that we would have calm seas for the cruise as we did have 5 full days at sea. 

Sailing from Singapore, Spectrum of the Seas
Sailing away from Singapore

Heading back down and to our cabin we discovered a piece of paper with two full pages about the documents, landing cards and customs forms we would need for each port. Nothing was difficult, it was just quite a lot! 

Below is my full video that’s just about the ports we visited. The places we visited on this cruise were the best places I’ve ever been to – no doubt. Fascinating.

The experience on the ship was the most interesting cruise I’ve ever been on too. 

Avoiding the “Coke Plus”

I discovered what is called coke plus and I think it’s my duty to let you know about it.

We went Two70 at the back of the ship. it is a huge lounge with incredible glass windows and they have a cafe here where we would sometimes get lunch.

I went to the bar and asked for a Coke Zero, the waiter gave me a Coke Plus and I thought nothing of it.

As I had bought a Wi-Fi package so I could work on the cruise I thought I’d just google “Coke Plus – wouldn’t it be funny if it was some kind of laxative Coke? – well, IT WAS! 

Coke Plus, Spectrum of the Seas

A news story popped up that said ‘Japan is losing its mind and its bowels over a new health drink’.

It tasted bizarre, kind of dusty and it’s safe to say I didn’t drink it. I’m so glad I had the internet and googled it – or who knows what could have happened.

I’m sure drinking one or two is totally fine – but on a cruise I drink five or ten sodas a day – so that doesn’t bear thinking about!

Exploring The Ship Further

Wandering back through the ship I noticed a big difference from the American version of the ship, Anthem. On this ship the main dining room was open and I could look down at people eating.

On Anthem the main dining rooms were quite dark and tucked away so I thought this was a great change. A change that got me thinking about dinner… 

I logged onto the Royal Caribbeans app the way I have on Royal Caribbean cruises in the past and noticed that I couldn’t book dinner which I thought was odd.

I had “My Time” dining which is flexible but usually you book it on your phone. No problem I thought, I’ll just phone the number and book a couple of nights until I get into a routine and know what I want to do.

A lot of people with the flexible dining did seem to just book the same time every day anyway. 

They answered straight away and it was easy to book, just a bit weird that it wasn’t as easy as on the other cruises. 

We headed to the main dining room for dinner and were seated on the second level. 

The menu wasn’t really anything too different from a cruise you’d find in America or Europe. There were the same cruise classics and all of the food we had was good.

The service was friendly and we were in and out within an hour which is what I like.

I did hope that I’d be able to try some new foods and new dishes as I’d come all this way, but I knew that Royal Caribbean have a different theme each day for their food so I’d have to wait until tomorrow to see what the theme would be. 

I did go to the main dining room on UK night actually, which I enjoyed being so far from home. 

The ship really didn’t feel too busy and I suspected it may not be full. That’s pretty normal for a cruise of this length and in this part of the world.

It isn’t really a cruise you can take your kids on for the week or one you can invite your friends on for the weekend so it tends to be people with more time to spare.

I did find out that 400 people were taking this 12-night cruise, then staying on for the next 12 nights too – 24 in total! Some even longer I’m sure…

Bad Reviews

I was feeling pretty confused about the bad reviews I’d read. There are lots of 1 and 2-star reviews for this ship and I wanted to find out why.

I think a lot of it is that people book this cruise expecting it to be exactly the same as in America – which it of course isn’t.

Some of the complaints are about the other guests, which is what it is – and a few complaints were just so ridiculous

I can’t take them too seriously, like one that said:

The Laundry bag is just a PAPER bag not cloth.

They gave the cruise 1 star – but I can’t imagine that ruining my cruise!

It’s worth remembering that upset people are far more likely to make the effort to review something, so it usually skews worse than it is if they surveyed everybody.

I did wonder if I might encounter any of the problems that the complaints had mentioned though. 

A Different Passenger Demographic And Cultural Differences Onboard

There were older people on this cruise, but mostly it was just adults with some kids and teenagers. It seemed like a real mix.

I definitely had heard other Brits, Americans and Australians around – plus a lot of people speaking languages I couldn’t identify from afar. 

I did wonder how a cruise line could cater entertainment-wise to such a diverse crowd and I was excited to see a show or two in the theatre – but I decided to call it a night after a quick lap of the top deck.

There was still so much of the ship that I hadn’t seen but I knew I had 12 nights to explore. 

I missed breakfast completely the next day because of my jet lag but most days, I would get myself to the buffet for my usual bread and bananas.

It’s still really bizarre to me that a doughnut is considered a breakfast food but apparently it is – and who am I to judge? I had plenty on this cruise.  

The buffet breakfast included a “full English,” and all the usual continental bits and bobs – but the difference was that there were also lots of options for things that I did not recognise.

There was so much watermelon too – my goodness people just had plates and plates of watermelon!

I definitely think this was a healthier cruise than normal, I say having eaten doughnuts for breakfast most days… 

Towards the back of the buffet is a speciality restaurant called “The Hot Pot,” I didn’t ever go there for dinner, but they would open up the space for the rest of the day and I always found it quieter down there so I’d often wander down and sit there. 

Sea days are the perfect way to explore a cruise ship and I set out to see some of the places I’d not found yet.

Starting inside I found the casino which was surprisingly popular during the cruise, I didn’t expect it to be for some reason – but it was. I also found the shopping area and had a look around the shops.

On cruises, because of tax reasons, the shops can only be open when at sea, so sea days and evenings are great times for that.

I couldn’t read a lot of the things in the shops and they did have things like Skin Whitening Creams – which I’m definitely not used to seeing on European or American royal Caribbean cruises.

It was interesting to see the locals inside the ship buying skin whitening cream to try and look paler – whilst us Brits on the top deck trying to get a tan.

They did also sell heart pills here – no idea what they do – but if anybody needs a heart pill, let me know. 

Above the shops was a Robot Bartender. I didn’t want to pay the robot to make me a drink, but I did watch it make a couple for others.

It’s pretty cool to see – but I of course would prefer a nice pub or a lounge that didn’t cost extra.

They actually changed the pub that was downstairs on the American version of this ship to a tea and coffee venue called “Leaf and Bean.”

I did miss the pub, but even more, I missed the automatic soda machines – especially when I was constantly nervous about getting given the scary Coke Plus! 

Onboard Activities

Looking at the daily schedule on the app I saw that laser tag was happening in the Sportsplex.

I saw it the day before as a Bumper Car arena so I wanted to see how they changed the space. They also do sports competitions and things in there too – so the space is well used. 

Laser tag is chargeable and you do need closed-toe shoes to play. I preferred to watch from the top level and up there there were other games like ping pong and Xbox.

Favourite Places Onboard

We decided to head to “Two70” for lunch. This is an area at the back of the ship where you can get salads, sandwiches and cookies!

It was a great option when we came back from an excursion too late for the buffet lunch but too early for dinner. 

Here too you could get water, fruit punch, lemonade and sometimes other things – always free of charge.

This was the same in the buffet and water is always free in the main dining room on Royal Caribbean cruises.

All the drinks in the bars cost money though and you can either buy a drinks package or just pay as you go

Everything on a cruise is charged to your cruise card and it comes off your real card at the end automatically.

The app was great for checking our spend as we went and overall I think this is one of the best Apps in the industry. I wish it worked for booking things though. 

After lunch, we found one of my favourite places onboard, the solarium. It was always very easy to find our way around the ship because they had 3D models that helped me to visualise and understand which way to go, I wish every cruise ship had them.

The adult-only area in the Solarium had amazing views on three sides. I think the middle restaurant in there is for people who have a suite or something, but I usually just came here to get a drink and to sit in one of the comfortable chairs.

We could always get a seat in here even on the sea days and during the evenings there would be so few people here. If you wanted to have all the pools to yourself you could and the lifeguard would be your personal guard. 

Royal Caribbean have lifeguards the whole time that the pools are open, even if nobody is in there.

I did feel bad for them just standing and staring at an empty pool, but I’m pretty sure they work on rotation. It isn’t just one person’s job to look after the pool all day – or so I hope! 

By the outside pool they did show funny videos of cats and dogs and all kinds of things.

They actually showed one TV show which was a weird collection of “funny” accidents and I am putting that one in quotes because funny accidents aren’t really a thing – but anyway, they showed a ship from Norwegian Cruise Line crashing into a pier!

That one did make me laugh. I’m sure Royal Caribbean just bought the whole show though, they didn’t do that on purpose, but either still, quite funny to show the competition doing something bad. 

It was at least 30c (86f) every day of our cruise and the humidity did get up to 80%. The air conditioning on the ship was fantastic and I don’t know if I’ve ever appreciated it more! 


It was time for our first trivia of the cruise. There would usually be at least 5 or 6 themed trivia’s a day plus more gameshows. They’d normally happen in what was called the schooner bar which is a Royal Caribbean staple or the music hall. 

The Music Hall

My main memory of the music hall onboard Anthem of the Seas was that it smelt really bad. It smelt like sick all the time – but I’m happy to report that Spectrum’s smelt great -and I’m sure they’ve cleaned up Anthems by now! 

The music hall is spread over two floors with a bar on the top and the bottom. They’d have live music here in the evening and my cabin was right above this room. 

The service was always good here, we very rarely had to queue at a bar and the waiters would come round and offer us replacement drinks pretty fast each time. 

I don’t know why but pre-cruise I didn’t think that this would be a party cruise – perhaps because we had so many places to visit and I found them all so interesting. But there were plenty of people up late partying in places like the music hall.

They even had a country night one night -which I thought was funny. It made me wonder if on cruises out of Texas, they have a Singapore party! I doubt it but it’s a funny idea. 

We did various types of trivia throughout the cruise and I didn’t always do well but I always learnt something. 

Models of Food At The Speciality Restaurants

We decided to check out “Sorrento’s Pizza” for dinner, I didn’t want to pay any extra for speciality meals during the cruise.

One thing that I did like about the speciality restaurants that I’d never seen on a ship before was that they had mocked up dishes outside the restaurant so you can see what you’ll get before you order! 

Models of food on offer in Speciality Restaurants
Models of food on offer in Speciality Restaurants

This is the dream, I wish every restaurant did this and I wish every menu had photos that I could look at.

I suppose they don’t do that because they might want to change it and some people would say ‘Excuse me the photo has 3 carrots I only have 2’ but still – I thought this was cool and probably a cultural difference. 

Get To The Shows Early!

Another difference was that everybody on the cruise seemed organised and early to things.

I showed up to the theatre 15 minutes before show time which is usually plenty of time and I could only find a seat perching right at the back.

My view was actually pretty good given how far back we were but it taught me that I needed to be earlier next time. 

The theatre itself is huge and split over two levels. The seats were very comfortable, they had cup holders and there weren’t too many pillars and posts in the way. 

The show that we watched was a production show team song and dance and they of course played a song from “The Greatest Showman.”

I think every cruise I’ve been on since 2018 has played a song from that film and now I just wait to see what day of the cruise it’ll come up. On this cruise, it was day 2 – which was pretty fast! 

The singers and dancers were all fantastic and I was looking forward to seeing more of them later in the cruise. I’d heard about a superhero show in the theatre and I also wanted to see the show in Two70. 

The show in Two70 was the only show that we had to book a space for and my phone still wouldn’t let me book anything so I went to reception to book.

As it was the evening there was no queue, and I also booked a trip on “The North Star” for later in the cruise. 

The North Star does free little trips on port days and extended chargeable rides on sea days. If you’ve watched my videos before you’ll probably be able to guess which I picked and it was the free one of course! 

Cruise Ship Excursions

Nha Trang in Vietnam was our first and only tender port – which I was happy about.

Tender ports are where you use the ship’s lifeboat to get to land and although they can be fun it does slow things down always having to wait for a tender.

We had a Royal Caribbean excursion booked though so we were given a time to meet in the theatre and priority tender boat tickets.

In total, I took three cruise line excursions on this cruise, one in Vietnam and two in Japan. In the other ports in Hong Kong and another port in Japan, we decided to do something a little more D.I.Y. 

After our day in Nha Trang there was a surprise waiting for us in the buffet, even if you had 100 guesses I’m sure that you’d never guess it!

It was a Giant Panda, dancing. Because well, why not? There was a bear too who is the mascot of the port we visited called Kumomoto, the bear is called Kumamon which is adorable.

Panda figures on the back of the ship – and our mascot, Captain Hudson

I wish my town had a bear mascot, I suppose we do have Captain Hudson!

That actually wasn’t my favourite buffet surprise though, on a couple of occasions a chocolate fountain would appear with marshmallows – and that’s my kind of ideal dessert. I also liked the main dining room meringues. 

Pandas were definitely a theme on this cruise, there were also these panda figures at the back of the ship where there was a giraffe onboard Anthem of the Seas.

It’s actually a big pink bear on Quantum. It’s so funny that it’s somebody’s job to come up with these things, I love it.

Also at the back of the ship was an area which is kind of redundant now, it originally started popping up on Royal Caribbean ships in 2018 and the idea was that you would go in here, put on a VR headset and jump on the trampolines. 

That does sound like a lot of fun, but I do get motion-sick so I don’t think that would work very well for me. Royal Caribbean has since started to remove the trampolines and the domes are used for other games, like beanbag toss. 

Shuffleboard was also quite popular on this cruise. (That’s the UK “quite” not the American “quite”) It was always so nice to see everybody enjoying themselves.

The ship really didn’t feel crowded at all and I found out that there were just over 3000 people onboard, in theory, the ship could have fitted another 1000 people. I imagine that it would have been a much busier cruise if that was the case. 

It wasn’t until the balloon drop party later in the cruise that I realised how many people were on the ship. It definitely felt like a more luxurious experience because of the reduced capacity, you’d normally have to pay a lot for this space per person.

It’s quite normal for cruises in this part of the world to be sailing at reduced capacity due to the smaller amount of kids who would usually fill up the 3rd and 4th spots in cabins.

Our cruise had only 254 children onboard meaning – that most of the extra beds were empty. 

Heading back into the ship we decided to stop at the hot dog stand for lunch, there weren’t any vegetarian options here which is a shame but they just have a couple of different types of hot dogs that you can order. 

It was here that I made a little bit of a mistake – I say mistake, it wasn’t my fault and I think many other people would do what I did.

I had a soda package on this cruise and on Anthem of the Seas there were two drinks machines here so I could get soda anytime which I loved. 

The man working at the hot dog stand asked me if I wanted a drink and as I could see Coke Zero behind him, I asked for one.

It was only when he started to ring it up that I realised my mistake, THESE cans of Coke Zero weren’t included in my soda package. When I realised that I said no thank you, I walked to another bar to get one which is included.

There are often drinks package quirks like that so if somebody tries to charge you for something you’re not expecting, make sure you ask what’s going on! 

In the middle of the ship by the Robot Bartender, they would often have sales and the audience onboard this cruise went wild for it.

I’ve never seen anything like it on a cruise before, it was as If everybody had never seen a hat or a scarf, great business for Royal Caribbean I’m sure and great fun for me to watch. 

The captain did also come down to this area to have photos taken with the guests which was nice and I really liked how everybody was just allowed to use their own phones to take the photos.

Sometimes a cruise line will organise something like this, take the photos with a professional photographer and not let you take your own, so you have to buy them.

I thought this idea was brilliant, but the queue was long. The captain was a popular man. 

Main Dining Room Food

We decided to head to the main dining room for dinner and we were seated on the bottom level which was cool.

Again the food was good and the service was quick. I did read one review pre-cruise that said

I normally take pictures of most dishes I eat, but they were simply too ugly and weren’t worth the effort.

Spectrum of the Seas Cruise Review

I don’t think the meals looked ugly, I’ll let you decide. I care a lot more about the taste than the look anyway. 

The vegetarian options were always marked clearly on the menu and we could look at the menus ahead of time on the App. I always knew what I wanted before I sat down.

During the cruise, I think we sat in each different section of the main dining room, on the top, bottom and both sides.

This was because we had freestyle dining where we didn’t have a fixed dining time, this meant that we didn’t have a fixed table or fixed waiters.

I much prefer it like that I like to meet different people and see different views. Sometimes we had a view out the windows, sometimes a view of anybody else. 

At the start of the cruise, I did phone to book my meals but I noticed that they never checked and were always able to seat us straight away so I started to just show up and it was never a problem we were always seated without having to wait.

I never saw any queues for the main dining rooms, maybe due to the reduced capacity and we even managed to get seated at 6 pm a couple of days even though officially the “My Time” dining didn’t start until 6.45. 

I was missing one food though and that was cookies. Usually, they are in the cafe in the main street or they have these big bowls in the buffet, but I hadn’t found any.

I made it my mission to try and find a cookie the next day, Royal Caribbean cookies are always good so I didn’t want to miss them. It was like a scavenger hunt, but with cookies. 

Shows Onboard

A little later in the evening, I went to see the superhero show called Effectors and I was sat just behind a pole which provided me with lots of entertainment.

The pole was right in the middle of the walkway so in theory people should have gone into the row from the other end. They never did they always tried to squeeze around the pole – I’d say that they were successful around 50% of the time. It wasn’t a big space.

Some people did really try to fit though, breathing in and holding their breath. Great entertainment for me and for whoever else they sat with usually. 

The show was good and we also watched the Australian Beatles. It was a bit bizarre to be in Asia, listening to an Australian band sing the Beatles but they were great.

The audience loved it and I even got my phone out to use as a torch. There are definitely two types of people on a cruise, those who shine the torches and those who don’t.

I’m definitely on team Shine the Torch, I’m happy to participate as long as I’m in the dark, nobody can see me and I don’t have to stand up. I think that’s my comfort zone for audience participation. 

They do have cup holders in the theatre and we were always able to get a drink before the show started as there were waiters wandering around.

We saw a show in Two70 called “SilkRoad” and although if was entertaining, if there was a story it was totally lost on me.

I had no idea what was going on. Still there was plenty of interesting costume and set pieces to look at and I enjoyed watching the screens at the back. 

I don’t think the shows were as impressive as the ones I saw on Anthem of the Seas, that one had more acrobatics but every singer and dancer was fantastic.

It definitely was entertaining, just very different from what I expected. There wasn’t really any spoken word, there were some songs but sometimes it would just be the Oo’s and Arh’s of the songs without ever getting to the lyrics. They ‘sang’ one Katy Perry song with just the Arh’s, but never any words. It was odd. 

After the show finished we headed to the balloon drop. This was the busiest I ever saw the ship.

I stood in my spot for about 20 minutes before the drop to try and get some good footage but there were so many people behind me literally leaning over me to film and resting their arms on my shoulders trying to push me out of the way. There was no sense of personal space at all.

There were some really rude guests on this cruise – but that’s not Royal Caribbean’s fault.

As my mum would say “Good manners cost nothing” – but some of these people could afford “nothing” I guess. 

There were guests everywhere and I didn’t manage to get any good footage.

Different Nationalities Enjoyed Different Entertainment

This is the reality of cruising sometimes, and I don’t want to pretend that on a cruise everybody has a front-row seat at every event. If something is popular and everybody wants to go, it’s going to be busy.

It never felt this busy on the cruise again, and it was really interesting to see where the different people that came went during the rest of the cruise and how it really was split by nationality.

If you wanted to find somebody from England, you’d go to Trivia. If you wanted to find somebody from Singapore, you’d go to the Karaoke bar…which for some reason they had taken the bar out of! 

If you tried to take the bar out of the Karaoke bar on an American cruise line there would be outrage – but it was always very popular and there were so many good singers. 

On this cruise, I’d usually find the most Americans and Canadians when it was Bingo time in the Music Hall. It turns out that 60 million people play bingo every year in the States, so that makes sense.

I think a lot of Brits play it too – but I didn’t play during the cruise. You can often win cruises as prizes during Bingo on cruises, which is kinda funny – to win a cruise to come back and play more Bingo!

At karaoke, the guests of course sang in whatever language they wanted but around the ship the announcements were made only in English and English very much was the default. 

The top nationalities of guests were Singaporeans most of whom speak English, followed by Americans and Australians. Next up was China and the UK.

Less than 10% of the people on the cruise were from China even though the signs were in Mandarin. I suppose they thought that it wasn’t worth doing the announcements in anything but English.

What languages the announcements are in on cruises depends very much on who’s on the cruise. I’ve taken cruises with Italian cruise lines where they’ve announced things in 5 or 6 languages. 

I took a really cheap cruise on Costa Smeralda. All the announcements were in multiple languages. Found I what I thought of that in this video:

I was hoping that everybody who was on board could read the sign that says “Please refrain from letting your children in the pool right after eating.” The sign explained that it takes 5 hours to clean the pool after every sickness incident and you could just tell that this sign was written for a reason following somebody being sick in the pool. 

Cruise Ship Cookies

I did manage to find the cookies but they were slightly hidden away. They were in a place called”Cafe la Patisserie” which is a speciality cafe where things cost extra.

It was like Royal Caribbean had combined this with the Cafe Promenade which is the free version on most other ships.

You could buy macaroons or pastries but most importantly to me, there were the normal free cookie jars on top of the counter and we could order any anytime we wanted.

I do worry that people missed out on these though because they were inside a paid-for venue, I probably wouldn’t have found them if it wasn’t for my cookie-hunting skills. 

This cruise actually wasn’t too expensive but even still, I wanted to make sure that I got the most out of the money that I did spend, and that meant eating lots of included cookies. 

In total for this cruise for 12 nights, I paid £1819.92 – which is a little over $2200. It was more than my usual £100 per person per night budget – but this was for an obstructed view balcony cabin, not an inside cabin.

I was happy with that price given that I didn’t book it particularly far in advance or last minute, and given that it was such a bucket list trip for me.

The flights from the UK did cost far more than the cruise and I spent a lot more on this cruise than I would usually. I’m normally pretty good at coming off a cruise with a £0 bill. 

What Did My Cruise Cost?

  • The £1819.92 ($2200) was my cruise fare based on two people sharing the cabin. This included daily gratuities.
  • My soda package cost £115.80 ($140) which I thought was well worth it.
  • The WiFi came in at £274.56 ($333) for two devices. Royal Caribbean refunded us three days of Wi-Fi charges because when we were sailing near China, the Wi-Fi wouldn’t work.
  • Three Cruise Line excursions came in at a total of £309.92 ($377)

They wouldn’t say why the Wi-Fi wouldn’t work, but I think we can deduce that China and Starlink, which are the company that run Royal Caribbean Wi-Fi are not friends. 

Interestingly though even on those three days without WiFi, Whatsapp and Facebook worked, kind of. I couldn’t send an email, but I could send a video on WhatsApp – all very odd but it was okay.

The rest of the time the internet was great and I could use my regular phone when we were in ports in most of the countries that we visited at no extra cost because of the plan that I’m on. It’s always worth checking that. 

Find out more about using your phone without ending up with a large bill here:

Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Using Your Phone on a Cruise – (Beginners Guide)

It certainly wasn’t a cheap cruise and I do usually like to do things on a budget -but this is why I do things on a budget. I like to save money on things that don’t matter to me much, like my obstructed-view cabin, so that I can spend that money on the things that I care about, like seeing the countries I visit.

The excursions were worth the money to me, and I will never forget the places we went to and the things we saw on this amazing cruise.

Find out more about that cabin, and whether obstructed view cabins might suit you here:

Before You Go

Find out more about booking obstructed view cabins, and whether they offer good value for money here:

The Truth About Obstructed View Cabins – (Photo Examples & How to Find One)

When I sailed on Spectrum’s sister ship Anthem of the Seas I went in the sky diving simulator! Find out how I got on here:

I Went Skydiving on a Cruise Ship: Royal’s iFly- Review, Free Tickets, and FAQs

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.