Royal Caribbean Restaurant: Chops Grille on Oasis

Royal Caribbean Restaurant: Chops Grille on Oasis

Chops Grille – an Oasis Dinner Review

Nestled in Central Park on deck 8 of Oasis of the Seas, Chops Grille, a Royal Caribbean signature restaurant, has been serving up steakhouse specialties for over ten years.

We sailed on Oasis in January and June of 2017 and had the good fortune of dining at Chops Grille on both sailings.

Chops Grille is located in Central Park on the Oasis with Royal Caribbean

Chops Grille is located in Central Park on the Oasis.

Chops Grille in Central Park aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.

A beautiful Central Park location.

As a hallmark restaurant aboard Royal Caribbean ships, Chops impresses diners with a menu featuring hand cut steaks and other entrees with a contemporary flair. In fact, from the appetizers to the desserts, Chops Grille will surprise guests with a mix of traditional and non-traditional fare. There are also some unexpected items — um, tater tots, anyone?!

Entrance to Chops Grille

Entrance to Chops Grille.

Chops Grille on Oasis

Make a reservation for Chops Grille.

With its prime location in Central Park, diners can select from indoor or outdoor seating.

Outdoor seating at Chops Grille.

Outdoor seating.

We had a voucher for a complimentary meal that required us to reserve a seating with the restaurant after embarkation. So, we stopped by Chops Grille after having lunch in the Windjammer and were still able to secure an early reservation for Tuesday evening — my birthday. Yay!

Celebrate a special occasion at Chops Grille.

Celebrating birthday at Chops Grille.

Restaurant Ambiance

Once inside the restaurant, the rich dark wood is complimented with jeweled tones in red and gold. Luxurious velvet padded chairs as well as banquettes encourage diners to sit and savor the ambiance during their multi-course meal.

Chops Grille has luxurious seating.

Luxurious seating.

Jewel tones add to the upscale feel at Chops Grille.

Jewel tones add to the upscale feel at Chops Grille.

Upon arrival, we were quickly seated at a lovely table. The restaurant was empty, however it quickly filled up as our meal progressed through its decadent stages. Of note, service was impeccable on both of our recent visits. We enjoyed that our selections were served as requested (well-done steak for my mom; vanilla ice cream instead of coconut for me) and that our beverages were quickly filled upon ordering.

Plush seating in Chops Grille

Our table.

A welcoming table setting awaits Royal Caribbean diners when entering the restaurant.

Chops Grille welcomes diners with a gorgeous table setting.

Welcoming table setting.

White table setting at Chops Grille.

White table setting.

The tablescape at Chops Grille.

Pretty tablescape.

Chops Grille Plate.

Chops Grille Plate.

Dinner Menu

As the signature steakhouse aboard the Oasis of the Seas, this Royal Caribbean restaurant specializes in the usual fare of beef, seafood, and chicken, as well as dry-aged steaks and Maine lobster for an additional up-charge. Seriously, you’ll do just as well sticking with the Filet Mignon or other dishes included with the cover charge.

Chops Grille Menu cover.

Menu Cover.

Soups, Salads, and Appetizers at Chops Grille.

Soups, Salads, and Appetizers.

Chops Grille Menu Items.

Chops Grille Menu Items.

We utilized our beverage packages to order drinks, and then our waiter began the meal with freshly baked bread and delicious whipped butter. A great meal always starts with memorable bread service!

Bread service at Chops Grille.

Bread service

For appetizers, three of us went with the Three Cheese Roasted Onion Soup blended with Melted Gruyere, Asiago, and Parmesan cheeses. My husband once again ordered the King Caesar. The soup was on point and the Caesar salad was “to die for”. Sorry, on both occasions, we dug in without taking pictures of our apps. 😉

My husband and son ordered the Filet Mignon, cooked to order — medium, for both of them. Both were extremely happy with their perfectly grilled, seasoned steaks. Both rated it as highly as the memorable filet mignon at Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian in Walt Disney World. For them, that’s saying this entree was exceptional.

Filet Mignon at Chops Grille.

Filet Mignon.

My mom likes her steak well-done and as you know chefs are usually appalled by this request. Still, the waiter suggested that her filet be butterflied and thus, it was presented as ordered. She also enjoyed her meal with her steak cooked as she prefers it. Kudos to Chops for their accommodating nature.

Butterflied Filet Mignon, well done at Chops Grille.

Butterflied Filet Mignon, well done.

I’m the picky eater of the group, thus I once again ordered the Roasted Organic Chicken Breast. Tender, moist, and flavorful (that truffled chicken jus is scrumptious!), this entree wasn’t at all boring to my finicky palate.

Roasted Organic Chicken Breast at Chops Grille.

Roasted Organic Chicken Breast.

Roasted Organic Chicken Breast at Chops Grille on Oasis.

Roasted Organic Chicken Breast.

Sides are served family style so we suggest discussing selections prior to ordering. We had Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Tater Tots, Salt Baked Potato, and Creamed Corn. We were pleased with all of these items. The Baked Potato was exceptionally good — probably because the waiter poured melted butter all over it right at the table!

Baked Potato at Chops Grille.

Baked Potato.

And with a dollop of sour cream!

Baked Potato with Sour Cream at Chops Grille.

Baked Potato with Sour Cream.

Everyone at our table raved about this baked potato. We decided that we’d have to try adding melted butter to our at-home versions. 😉

Salted Baked Potato at Chops Grille.

Salted Baked Potato.

Sides at Chops Grille.

Sharing the sides was fun!

Yes, we did get two mashed potatoes!

Tater Tots, mashed potatoes, and cream corn at Chops Grille.

Tater Tots, mashed potatoes, and cream corn.


I subbed vanilla ice cream in place of the coconut flavor with my Liquid Center Chocolate Cake. This dessert made me want to lick the plate. Every bite of caramelized banana and chocolate-y cake was amazing.

Liquid Center Chocolate Cake at Chops Grille.

Liquid Center Chocolate Cake .

My husband and son opted for the Red Velvet Cake. With moist cake and hefty helping of rich cheese frosting, this choice is a sweet finish to your meal. My 17-year old son rated it a 9 out of 10.

Red Velvet Cake at Chops Grille.

Red Velvet Cake.

The grand finale was a cheesecake dessert served for the occasion — my birthday — complete with singing waiters.

Huckleberry Cheesecake at Chops Grille.

Huckleberry Cheesecake.

Chops Grille Facts

  • Reservations are recommended for Chops Grille.
  • Dress is smart casual.
  • Cover charge (currently $42 on Oasis) includes gratuities.
  • Open for lunch on sea days.
  • Consider purchasing a specialty dining package.
  • Suite guests can look at menus while relaxing in the Suite Lounge.
Suite guests can peruse menus in the Lounge.

Menus are available for Suite guests in the lounge.

To make reservations, call your travel professional or use the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean’s website as this restaurant books up quickly.

Chops Grille, Royal Caribbean.

While the coverage charge has seen several increases in recent years, Chops Grille is certainly a voucher or dining package worthy pick. Even if we weren’t celebrating a special occasion, I’d pay out of pocket for this delightful and attentive meal.

Have you dined at Chops Grille on one of the Royal Caribbean ships? Share your favorite Chops Grille tips.










Cruise Activities for Teens: Discover Fun Outside the Teen Club

Cruise Activities for Teens: Discover Fun Outside the Teen Club

Five Cruise Activities for Teens

Having just recently gone on a cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas, I came to the realization on the first day that I did not want to spend much time in the teen club area or doing organized cruise activities for teens.

Oasis of the Seas with Royal Caribbean

Oasis of the Seas.

For one, at 17 1/2 I was one of the oldest at the first event in The Living Room. Also, I felt this cruise was just meant for me to enjoy some downtime and relax. I had just finished my Junior Year of high school with all of the stresses that entails — AP courses and exams, ACT exams, touring colleges, and so on. And I was TIRED and BURNED OUT.

The Living Room Teen Area on Oasis of the Seas

The Living Room space is for teens only!

On previous cruises, I had spent time participating in the organized teen activities from early in the day until 1:00AM, which is usually the ship’s curfew time for under 18 cruisers. Those were some good times and I’d recommend you give it a try. On this trip, I was still out late because there was so much to do on the Oasis that I kept busy even without stopping by the teen club. Flowrider, Comedy Shows, Stargazing, Miniature Golf, Rock Climbing, Diving Shows, and more kept me entertained on the ship.

The Rock Climbing Wall on Oasis is fun for all ages.

Try the Rock Climbing Wall!

This time, I wanted to have some fun on my own schedule. So without doing any teen activities, I found out very quickly how to have a good time on the cruise ship. The following list can also apply to those who are in that weird age gap (18-20) where you cannot be part of the teen group, nor can you take part in having a couple of drinks at the bars. For the casino, you’ll need to be 18 on all sailings, except Alaska where you’ll need to be 21. The adult night club requires proof of age (21) as well.

Teens will find activities like rock climbing on a cruise.

Find adventure aboard the Oasis.

So in no real order of importance, here are my five ways for older teens to have fun on a cruise ship.


There are plenty of shows to go see on board a cruise. Whether it’s a stomach cramping comedy show, a Broadway performance, or anything in between, there’s always a show going on for anyone’s taste. And the best part about it, they are all free. So, get some popcorn and enjoy the show.

Older teens should attend a comedy show in the Opal Theater on Oasis.

The adult comedy show in the Opal Theater on Oasis were hysterical!

The Come Fly With Me Show on Oasis of the Seas

Come Fly With Me Show.


Go to the bar. Don’t worry, all bars can make any mixed drink without alcohol (otherwise known as virgin). Got a hankering for a fruity drink? Go up to the bar and order a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri, Lava Flow, or any others you can think of. In my experience, the Lava Flow is certainly one to try. Delicious! I also enjoyed quite a few strawberry daiquiri mocktails. Look for mocktails on the bar menus for more options.

Strawberry Daiquri cocktails and mocktails on Oasis of the Seas.

Strawberry Daiquiri on Oasis. Teens can order it as a mocktail!

Get your favorite beverage at Starbucks and watch a sports game at On Air.

Grab a Starbucks beverage on Oasis of the Seas.

Starbucks Coffee on Oasis of the Seas.

Swimming and Other Activities

Most certainly, the cruise ship you will be on will have at least one swimming pool. So put on some swim trunks and cool off in the pool. Maybe you’ll be on a ship that has a slide or some other sort of water attraction, such as the FlowRider (simulated surfing) on the Royal Caribbean ships (Freedom class and higher) or the water slide (AquaDuck) on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

The FlowRider is a surf simulator on some Royal Caribbeanships.

Go surfing on the Oasis!

AquaDuck on the Disney Dream is fun for teens.

The AquaDuck on the Disney Dream is amazing.

I’ve been on Disney Magic but not since they installed the AquaDunk, a thrilling water slide. And, it looks like other cruise lines like Carnival have some cool slides too.

Carnival cruise ship with water slides.

Carnival Cruise ship with cool water slides.

If your ship offers rock climbing, ice skating, miniature golf, FlowRider, or ziplining, try them out!

Zipline across the Boardwalk area on Oasis.

Try ziplining on Oasis of the Seas.


On a cruise ship, there are no such thing as calories (it’s vacation!), so go exploring for some snacks. Whether it’s a small sandwich from a café, such as the Café Promenade on Royal Caribbean, or an ice cream cone that you can acquire from the free dispensers on most cruise lines, there’s always something you can find to eat.

Cafe Promenade sandwiches are great for a late night snack on the Oasis.

These sandwiches were delicious for a late night snack.

And don’t forget to try new foods. At dinner, order a new-to-you appetizer. Don’t like it; no problem. You can order a replacement or move on to the next course.


Tired of dealing with your peers, exams, a busy schedule? Then take the time on your cruise to relax and enjoy being away from reality. Go up on deck and enjoy soaking up the sun (just be sure to put on sunscreen). Take a nap in your stateroom. People watch. Read a book. The possibilities are endless.

A great time to find a quiet place on deck 15 aboard the Oasis is in the late morning while in port. We like to go ashore after enjoying a crowd-free morning on the ship.

Deck 15 on Oasis is a great place to read on late mornings in port.

Find a quiet place to read on the Oasis, deck 15.

Oasis had awesome fixed binoculars that worked well for looking at the moon at night. You’ll find them by using the port side stateroom corridor and heading forward (not aft) on Deck 14. I think there were signs pointing to the Observation Decks.

Deck 14 of Oasis has fixed binoculars.

Fixed Binoculars are mounted on the forward wings on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis, Deck 14.

Walk the upper decks and enjoy stargazing on Royal Caribbean's Oasis.

Full Moon lights up the sky on Oasis sailing.

I hope you found this short list to be helpful to you in some way. On your sailing, you’ll discover lots of cruise activities for teens.

Cruise Activities for Teens.

And as this is my first post on the blog, you can expect to hear more from me in the future. Have a great day and Bon Voyage!

Teens — share your favorite cruise activities. Parents — what do your teens like to do when cruising?

Reasons to Splurge on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Balcony Stateroom

Reasons to Splurge on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Balcony Stateroom

A Balcony Stateroom on Royal Caribbean

There are countless reasons to splurge on a Royal Caribbean Cruise. While a balcony stateroom is an added cost, having a private, outdoor ocean view may be worth busting the budget.

Balcony Stateroom with Royal Caribbean

It’s true that you can enjoy the ocean air and beautiful vistas from public decks on the ship. And if your main goal is a cost-effective vacation, then that’s definitely how you should cruise. Plus, there are times that your stateroom accommodations won’t seem as important. For instance, when we sailed the Mediterranean, we were away from the ship for many hours on once-in-a-lifetime visits to exotic locales. When we returned to the ship, we were too darn tired to care that our ocean view was courtesy of a simple window.

If you plan to spend a lot of time on the ship and have some extra funds, I recommend trying a balcony stateroom. Let’s take a look at some of our balcony experiences aboard Royal Caribbean ships!

Afternoon Nap

Take an afternoon nap while listening to the ocean.

Royal Caribbean Balcony Stateroom. Fresh ocean air.

The sound of the ocean is conducive to afternoon naps.

Connecting Balconies

When traveling with extended family, we always have our cabin steward open the partition between our balconies. This gives us extra room to visit. When arriving or leaving a port, you’ll find us out here enjoying the view.

Stateroom balcony partitions can be opened to allow families to enjoy a larger balcony.

Connecting balconies are great for families!


It’s always interesting to watch the goings-on at a port while a ship is preparing to depart. We love to watch the late arrivals running to the ship. The last minute mad dashers always make us laugh.

Watching people return to Royal Caribbean ship.

Watching people return to the ship.

Enjoying Coffee While Docking

There’s something wonderful about watching the ship dock in a new port while drinking coffee from a stateroom balcony.

Morning coffee on stateroom's balcony on Royal Caribbean cruise.

Enjoy your coffee looking at the sea!

Passenger on Royal Caribbean enjoys coffee on outdoor balcony while heading into a new port.

More coffee time while heading into port.

Morning Sunrise

Watching the sun rise with an entire day of vacation ahead is exhilarating.

A morning sunrise while cruising into port.

Good morning!

Read a Book

Retreat to your balcony and read a book. This is a lovely pastime before heading to dinner at Windjammer or Chops Grille!

There's plenty of time to read a book while cruising at sea.

Read a book


Yes, occasionally you’ll see other ships in the distance.

Watch for other ships from the comfort of our balcony on a Royal Caribbean ship.

A ship in the distance

Take Pictures

From the comfort of your private balcony, take beautiful photos of your Ports of Call.

From the Royal Caribbean's Jewel, a passenger enjoys the beautiful Mexican port view.

Enjoy a beautiful view while in port

Waving to Other Cruisers

Go ahead and wave! It’s fun to wave hello (and goodbye) to passengers on other ships. It’s as if you haven’t seen civilization in oh, a day or so.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships docking next to each other. Passengers waving hello.

Waving to passengers on a Celebrity ship.

We really make use of our balcony and find the added expense worth it for us. Morning, afternoon, and evening — the ambiance is truly special. It’s the first place I venture to in the morning and the last in the evening. Watching the moonlight dance across the ocean just before going to bed is quite magical. And then there’s the ocean air that revives the soul. Priceless.

These are just some of the reasons that we love to splurge on a balcony. We’ve sailed on Independence, Freedom, and Jewel. In January 2017, we spent our 25th anniversary aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas in a Grand Suite. We loved it so much, we returned with family in June 2017!

Have you sailed on Royal Caribbean? What’s your cruise line and stateroom of choice?

Top Five Reasons to Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas

Top Five Reasons to Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas

Top Five Reasons to Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas

We recently sailed aboard the Oasis of the Seas with Royal Caribbean International. If you’ve sailed on smaller ships with any cruise line, you’ll be amazed with the plethora of entertainment and dining options aboard the Oasis and Quantum class ships.

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

After last year’s Spring Break sailing with our family on the Freedom of the Seas in a balcony stateroom, we quickly booked the Oasis for our 25th anniversary celebration in January 2017. We had contemplated various destinations, including European, for our getaway but opted for a relaxing cruise in a Grand Suite.

Grand Suite Oasis

Grand Suite

We counted down the months until our Oasis sailing anticipating a restful vacation. And yes, we rested, relaxed, and left our cares ashore in Cape Canaveral. Surprisingly, we also got caught up in many of the activities offered on board this unique ship.

Beach Pool Chairs Oasis Royal Caribbean

Lounge Chairs at Beach Pool on Oasis

Here’s five reasons to book your next cruise on the Oasis:


On this voyage, we ate in the main dining room, Coastal Kitchen (for suite and Pinnacle guests), Johnny Rockets, Chops Grille, Park Cafe, Windjammer, and more. The variety of dining options provided an extra element to our vacation that made it seem like we were vacationing in a city such as Las Vegas rather than on a Caribbean-bound ship.

Chops Grille Oasis

Chops Grille

The good news – I had lost some pounds before our trip. The bad news – I gained half of it back via cheese omelets, French toast, croissants, cookies, ice cream, and delicious dinners. Oh, there were specialty drinks too; my favorites were the Lava Flow and Strawberry Daiquiri.

Adult Activities

Another aspect of the trip that was a pleasant surprise — the endless activities offered for adults. From sunup to sundown, we used our orange highlighter to mark the offerings on our Cruise Compass that we found interesting. Of course, we didn’t get to half of them; we still had in mind that this trip was for rejuvenating, preferably while reading a great book.

Oasis Breakfast

Breakfast and a good book to start the day!

The activities that we went to were all enjoyable. Some of these included Geography Trivia, Captain’s Corner, and the Majority Rules Game Show (our team of 4 won!).

Oasis Captain's Corner

Also, we spent time in the Suite Lounge where complimentary beverages were available.

Reserved Shows

As suite guests, we did not have to reserve entertainment times except for the adult comedy show due to the small venue, Comedy Live. Coming soon: we’ll share the benefits of being a suite guest!

The shows that are able to be reserved are offered throughout the week and easily reserved via Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner. We loved Oasis of Dreams, the diving show in the Aqua Theater located in the Boardwalk neighborhood. The combination of the outdoor venue, unique setting, and talented performers made for an entertaining performance.

Oasis Aqua Theater

Oasis Aqua Theater

Another favorite was the Frozen in Time ice skating spectacular in Studio B located in the Entertainment Place neighborhood. Growing up, I spent countless hours in a skating rink and can truly appreciate the difficulty of skating aboard a moving ship on a small ice surface.


I love to shop. Browse, buy, browse, browse, buy. It’s all good. 😉

Kate Spade store

Kate Spade store

While the weekly purse sale was a madhouse of women trying to snag a deal on designer bags (with one young man filming the chaos for his own amusement… LOL), it was fun to scoop up a deal on a Michael Kors purse.

Michael had fun picking out a Citizen watch.

Oasis of the Seas shopping

Shopping the Sales

Of course, we also got souvenirs (shirts, for example) and gifts for those we left at home. New cologne for the teen! Browsing through Tiffany, Kate Spade, and other stores was a pastime that added extra fun (and a little bit of exercise, right?!) to our cruise.

Solarium, Central Park, and Entertainment Place

After previously sailing on Freedom class ships and Jewel of the Seas, we were already fond of the solarium available to passengers ages 16 and older (previously 18+) due to the quiet space with cozy seating.

On Oasis, the Solarium is a double-deck hideaway with a variety of seating arrangements and cozy nooks for reading, socializing, and staring at the sea. One evening we went to a dance party, Twenty by Absolut, on the upper deck (Deck 16, Solarium Bar) of the Solarium. SeaPass cards were scanned for admittance. (If you know what the age limit is for this party, please let us know in the comments below!)

Solarium Oasis of the Seas

Relax in the Solarium

Central Park is an outdoor space with meandering pathways, tropical plants, romantic lighting, soothing cricket sounds, and lovely music.

Finally, Entertainment Place is home to fun venues such as Casino Royale, Jazz on 4, Comedy Live, Blaze, and Studio B.

Oasis Entertainment Place

Entertainment Place

Bon Voyage!

What’s your favorite cruise ship? Let us know in the comments below!

Cruise Line Splashdown: Royal Caribbean vs. Disney

Cruise Line Splashdown: Royal Caribbean vs. Disney

Royal Caribbean vs. Disney — Cruise Line Comparisons

Die-hard Disney fans and cruisers “Loyal to Royal” may have differing opinions on the cruise line that takes top marks for their family. Of course, there are plenty of Disney folks (myself included) that absolutely love to sail with both cruise lines. In planning any vacation, I think it’s most important to gather information and then design your trip according to your family’s personal interests and preferences. Of course, your vacation criteria can change from one journey to the next. I often get asked about whether I prefer Royal Caribbean vs. Disney.

Royal Caribbean vs. Disney Cruise Lines

So, let’s get to this splashdown…


Disney does it better with a personalized greeting upon entering the ship’s atrium.

Royal’s embarkation involves crossing the gangway onto an outdoor deck with no fanfare but the actual boarding process seems to have less lines.

Sail Away and Other Deck Parties

Disney has a better sail away party complete with Disney characters, dancing, and a ship’s horn that plays “When You Wish Upon A Star”. We never miss a sail away on Disney’s deck!

DCL Sail Away

Sail Away party

The Royal Caribbean sail away parties that I’ve seen had low attendance, thus we tend to enjoy sail away from our balcony.

On Disney, you’ll also get to deck out for Pirate Night and enjoy an outdoor buffet, entertainment under the stars, and fireworks.

Pirate themed buffet with Disney Cruise Line

Pirate themed buffet on Disney cruise ships

Yes, fireworks!

Disney Cruise Line's fireworks

Fireworks at Sea

Private Islands

Without a doubt, Disney wins hands down. Castaway Cay is a tropical paradise that is perfectly groomed before each ship’s arrival.

Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay Beach

Beach at Castaway Cay

I have not been to Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay (our ship skipped this port due to weather issues) but we’ve been to Labadee twice. While it’s heartwarming to help the local Haitian economy and Labadee certainly has some beautiful features and fun activities, this island adventure can not compare to the pristine surroundings at Castaway Cay.

And let’s just face it, Disney knows how to entertain kids — on land and at sea!

Swimming Lagoon at Castaway Cay's Family Beach

Fun in the swimming lagoon on Castaway Cay’s Family Beach

One of my favorite activities at Castaway Cay is bike riding down the immaculate and interesting path with fun props.

Disney's Castaway Cay has a pristine bike path to enjoy with the whole family or for a solo ride

Follow the fun Bike Path Signs on Castaway Cay

The Barefoot Beach area for suite guests was beautiful and relaxing at Labadee. Finding a lounge chair in the shade readily available was a huge plus for me.

Labadee Haiti is Royal Caribbean's private oasis. Barefoot Beach is an exclusive area for suite guest and those renting cabanas.

Barefoot Beach on Labadee is absolutely beautiful. Exclusive to suite guests and cabana rentals.


Royal Caribbean has more ships and thus, many more embarkation ports to choose from. You’ll also have your choice of itineraries across the globe.

A Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral paired with a Walt Disney World vacation is a convenient option for Disney fans looking for land and sea options. Disney Cruise Line also offers Adventures by Disney land/sea based itineraries for guests looking for upscale tours.

We sailed on the Disney Magic in the Mediterranean and thought it was a wonderful ship for such a port-intensive sailing. Why? We didn’t feel the need to come back after a long day of touring to stay up and do things on the ship. Yet, it was a comforting place to relax after hours spent traveling to magnificent sites such as Pompeii and Rome.

Disney Magic docked in Valletta, Malta

Disney Magic in Valletta, Malta


Disney wins for rotational dining. I really like dining in a different main dining room each night with the same waitstaff. Service has always been attentive!

Rotational dining on Disney Cruise Line means your waitstaff follows you to the different restaurants.

Rotational dining is delightful on Disney Cruise Line. Your waitstaff follows you to each different restaurant.

Royal Caribbean offers a MyTime Dining option — make a reservation or just show up for the next available table at the MTD dining room. The MTD is at the American Icon Grille aboard the Oasis. If you have to wait for a table, there is a lovely lobby and bar area. Service on the Oasis was excellent, however, we’ve had less than stellar service on other Royal Caribbean ships. Dining room service aboard Jewel and Independence was better than Freedom, but then it could have been an off-week.

Royal Caribbean’s new dining room menus seem to repeat the same offerings and the selections are very slim for picky eaters. Basically, it’s a chicken dish for me. I miss the linguini pasta option that was meatless. Sigh.

MyTime Dining on the Oasis allows flexibility for timing meals

Delicious meal in the dining room on the Oasis

Disney offers more room service options (a few snacks and beverages have an added fee) and soda fountains at no cost. Royal Caribbean used to charge $3.95 (gratuity included) for room service from midnight until 5:00AM, however a new policy was recently implemented. Royal Caribbean passengers will now pay $7.95 for all room service orders with the exception of continental breakfast which remains free. In addition, Grand Suite guests (and higher) will still get complimentary room service. For soda/pop drinkers, you’ll need to purchase a soda package, currently $8.50 per person per day. I do not like this change as I can’t see ordering cookies and hot cocoa for a bedtime snack at those prices!

Counter service options are more plentiful on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis and Freedom class ships versus Disney Cruise Line’s grab and go locations. Also, it seems easier to find late night munchies on Royal.

Oasis Breakfast

Breakfast and a good book to start the day!

You’ll usually find more ethnic food options on Royal Caribbean’s larger ships from specialty restaurants to buffet choices. So, if you are craving Mexican, for example, you’ll be able to find some awesome eats.

Recently, we had a delightful meal at Chop’s Grille on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis. On Disney, Palo boasts outstanding cuisine and service — it’s one of my favorite restaurants for brunch and dinner on land or at sea.

Brunch at Palo on Disney Cruise Line

Neither cruise line skimps on food and you certainly will not go hungry.

Animators Palate on the Disney Dream

Animator’s Palate on the Disney Dream is fun for the whole family

Buffet Dining

This is a toss up. The Windjammer on Royal Caribbean has a better setup and the atmosphere is much more relaxing. The buffet usually has longer hours as well making a stop by for a meal or snack easier.

The buffet restaurant on Royal Caribbean is called the Windjammer.

Windjammer on Oasis

With that being said, I enjoy being able to dine outside at Cabanas on the Disney ships. In addition, I’ve found a larger variety of food for picky eaters on the buffet with Disney Cruise Line.

Youth Activities

For the under high school set, Disney takes the trophy here. The outdoor water features for kids (especially toddlers) is a big hit on DCL. Plus, the youth activities while on Castaway Cay include treasure hunts and more!

Disney Youth Program

Making Flubber on Disney Cruise

For teens, Royal Caribbean wins. The teens get a trendy hang-out and nearly around the clock activities geared to various age groups. From dodgeball to ice skating to prom-like dances to scavenger hunts, the teens aren’t likely to be bored. Then they can also take part in all the sports activities throughout the ship as well. We’re lucky to see our teen for a meal each day!

Teens have their own space hang-out at the Living Room area and Fuel teen only nightclub on Oasis.

Teens have their own space hang-out at the Living Room area and Fuel teen only nightclub.


DCL’s Staterooms are family friendly and many have split bathrooms (one with a shower/tub and sink and the other with a toilet and sink) and room-dividing privacy curtains. Standard cabins have more square footage than those on Royal Caribbean. Plus, the staterooms on Royal’s newest ships have even less real estate per cabin.

Privacy Curtain in DCL Stateroom

DCL split bathroom

Vanity with sink and tub with shower

Royal Caribbean seems to have some larger balconies (look at the depth in the picture below), especially in the Freedom class ships.

Nice size balcony on Royal Caribbean's Freedom class ships

Divider open between staterooms on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom

Standard cabins on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships have some unique setups, including windows that look out onto the Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, and Central Park. However, the stateroom bathroom is small with a tiny shower. Shaving my legs in this tiny cylinder is no easy chore. 😉

If you are looking for suite accommodations, Royal Caribbean’s assortment of configurations and perks are quite attractive.

For the bedding quality including wonderful linens even in the standard staterooms, we vote for Disney.

Disney Dream Bedding

Decadent bedding includes Frette Linens aboard the Disney Dream


If you like Disney themed entertainment, book with DCL. You’ll enjoy character greetings, meals, deck parties, fireworks, and more. Look for feature films and shows featuring the Disney brand. Plus, there is a dedicated movie theater.

Disney characters aboard the Disney Magic cruise ship

Chip and Dale on the Disney Magic

If you like adult comedy, Broadway shows, and dancing, sail with Royal Caribbean.

Adult Activities

Royal wins. As a Disney fan, I truly love the shows and deck parties that Disney does best.

However, Royal offers more activities for adults around the clock — shopping, alcohol packages, gambling at the casino, several dancing venues, and more.

Oasis Entertainment Place

Entertainment Place


If you enjoy a good adrenaline surge, Royal Caribbean has you covered with rock climbing walls, ice skating, indoor skydiving, FlowRiders, and ziplines. Note that not all features are offered on every ship. Choose the ship that offers the amenities that are most important to your family.

Royal Caribbean ships offer fun activities like ziplining.

Ziplining on the Oasis

Disney offers a SWEET ride on the AquaDuck! Fun for the whole family, the Aqua Duck is a water coaster at sea with rafts to whisk riders through exciting drops and turns.

AquaDuck on the Disney Dream

Try out the AquaDuck

Both ships have the usual offerings of basketball, ping pong, shuffleboard, etc.


You’ll find Disney to have premium prices although more amenities are included in your initial fare.

Royal Caribbean offers less expensive fares, however you’ll pay extra for soda, room service, extra charge dining venues, late night “babysitting”, and more.

I would not hesitate to sail with either of these cruise lines. Disney Cruise Line exemplifies old world style and family friendly entertainment.

Disney Dream Atrium

Disney Dream’s atrium exudes old world style

Royal Caribbean is decked out in a flashier motif with a more “mall like” atmosphere that gives plenty of options for cruisers of all ages.

Royal Promenade on Oasis

Overall Service

We’ve encountered some outstanding, mediocre, and poor service on both cruise lines — Disney and Royal Caribbean — in various areas of the industry. I would not hesitate to sail with either cruise line but then, I love cruising and so does my family. It’s one of our favorite ways to travel with extended family! Are you ready to get packing?!

Note: All prices are subject to change.

What is your favorite cruise line? I’m always looking for recommendations and advice from fellow cruisers! 😉