Cruise Room Service

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By ,   January 21, 2016 ,   Food & Drinks

Cruise Room Service is one of the calling cards of cruising, together with the feeling of abundance. One of the greatest perks while on board is the ability to have food delivered to your cabin, at any time of the day - a small luxury existing only on the high seas. It's so nice to be able to pick up the phone and order a leisurely breakfast on your balcony or a tasteful cheese plate, just because.

The following review is integrated with Cruise Ship Dining Options and Best Cruise Lines and Ships for Cruise Ship Dining.

What is cruise room service?

Cruise room service is an amenity allowing passengers to order food to be delivered right to their staterooms. Menus are generally provided in cabin. Types of food available for cruise room service vary from line to line, sometimes from ship to ship, or even from cabin to cabin, depending on the stateroom category. 

Standard items include such things like fruit, pastries, bagels, eggs and omelets, toast and hash browns for breakfast, as well as anytime items like sandwiches, salads, pizza, cookies and drinks. Room service is most often used by people who wish to order breakfast in bed or enjoy late-night snacks.

  • All mainstream cruise lines provide room service. You are less likely to find it on smaller vessels, particularly expedition and river ships. 
  • Some cruise lines offer 24/7 service. Others serve only between certain hours.
  • Room service on cruise ships can be ordered by dialing a dedicated room service number or the front desk. It's common to order via menu cards for room service breakfast. Passengers use such cards to check off the items they want to order and choose delivery times. At night cruisers hang the completed menu cards on the outside handles of cabin doors. The crew collects the cards, and the food is delivered the following morning at the specified time.
  • Generally, you can't order room service from the main dining room or the alternative restaurants, unless you or your cabinmate is ill. However, more upscale lines, or more upscale rooms on mainstream cruise ships, allow passengers to order from these menus for in-cabin dining.
  • Tipping the person who brings your room service order is not required, but is generally considered polite. Whether your cruise line asks its guests to pay for gratuities by a charge to their onboard account or via the traditional cash-in-envelopes system, tips are not included in these. Tips comprise a big part of the income of the service staff. Keep this fact in mind when you decide how much to tip your cruise room service waiter.
  • Your room service items will show up on a tray with all necessary dishes and silverware. When you are finished eating, leave everything on the desk or coffee table in your cabin, and someone will later collect it. Leaving dirty items outside your door, in the hallway, is both unsanitary and dangerous - the hallways are narrow, and the guests passing by can easily stumble.

What is the cost of cruise room service?

For a lot of cruisers, few things are as indulgent as room service. Getting your favorite foods catered to you as you lounge about practically screams “I’m on vacation!”. It’s a luxury that travelers are used to paying small markups for. However, on some cruises, room service is free for all meals. A gratuity for the crew member delivering the meal is suggested of course, (though optional), otherwise you only may have to pay an additional charge when ordering during late-night hours.

The cost of cruise ship room service depends on cruise line policy. No-fee service policies apply to lines with limited menus. Other lines only charge for delivery between late-night hours. Still others charge only for certain items, ordinarily hot dishes. Meanwhile, there are cruise lines that charge for each order, regardless of the chosen items or time of day. 

NOTE: Following is our UP-TO-DATE Information about in-room dining on major cruise lines

Cruise Room Service on Major Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruise Line
  • Carnival Cruise Line is currently offering plenty of choices for stateroom dining. A pilot program, originally on Carnival Imagination, Carnival Pride and Carnival Conquest in 2015, has been expanded fleet-wide. It made premium items available for up to US$6. These include such offerings like shrimp, chicken wings, quesadillas, cheesesteaks, pizza. 
  • Carnival Cruise Line joined Norwegian which also charges a flat US$7.95 per order and Royal Caribbean which charges for some items.
  • However, Carnival premium items, including sushi on cruise ships with a Bonsai dining venue, are offered in addition to such that remain complimentary. A wide range of items aboard Carnival Cruise Line's ships are still available at no charge, such as three salad choices, seven different hot and cold sandwiches, three desserts, eight beverages, and a Continental breakfast menu.
  • According to the line, the expanded room service menu was designed to broaden and upgrade the culinary choices available for in-room delivery. A wide range of complimentary choices was still available, and the new fee-based options were simply intended to create greater choice and variety.
  • Carnival Cruise Menus
  • Carnival Cruise Alcohol Policy
Celebrity Cruises
  • 24-hour in-stateroom dining is available.
  • The service is complimentary, except when ordered between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. when there is a US$4.95 fee per order.
  • For Suite guests, room service is complimentary 24 hours a day.
  • Celebrity Cruises Alcohol Policy
Costa Cruises
  • All ships of the line provide breakfast service in cabin for an additional cost.
  • Snacks may be ordered 24 hours a day with a phone call - provided for an extra charge.
  • A service charge of 15% is payable on orders of wine and drinks.
  • Costa Cruises Alcohol Policy
Crystal Cruises
  • All staterooms and suites feature 24-hour complimentary in-room dining service.
Cunard 
Disney Cruise Line
  • Disney cruise room service is complimentary, included in the price of the cruise.
  • Gratuity is not included.
  • An additional fee is added to guest's stateroom for certain wines, beverages, beverage packages and snacks.
  • Disney Cruise Menus
  • Disney Cruise Alcohol Policy
Fred Olsen
  • A cabin service menu operates aboard all ships of the line between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. each day, offering light snacks.
  • In-cabin sandwiches and snacks are included in cruise price.
  • Beverages are available 24 hours a day (not included).
Holland America
  • The line provides complimentary 24-hour room service - "In-Room Dining is a phone call away".
  • Guests may have an early dinner on their verandah before evening shore excursions.
  • Holland America Alcohol Policy
MSC Cruises
  • 24-hour room service may bring guests everything from full meals to a combination of appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, desserts, fruit, snacks and cheese they prefer.
  • Additional charge may apply.
  • There is a very limited menu of complimentary items and a fancier one with items at extra cost.
  • MSC Cruises Alcohol Policy
Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian has introduced an enhanced room service menu with an expanded selection for breakfast and a wider variety of options available 24 hours.
  • Individual items remain available on a complimentary basis.
  • However, a convenience charge of up to US$7.95 is added to each order placed.
  • Continental breakfast, morning coffee and orders placed by passengers sailing in The Haven do not attract a charge. 
  • NCL Alcohol Policy
Oceania Cruises
  • Complimentary room service is available 24 hours a day.
  • Guests may enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner on their private veranda, as they take in spectacular seascapes.
P&O Cruises
  • Most room service items are free of charge but there are some exceptions to this.
  • On ms Adonia is only available between 7:00 a.m. (6:00 a.m. on selected port days) and 11:00 p.m. 
  • P&O Cruises Alcohol Policy
Princess Cruises
  • The complimentary room service menu includes salads, sandwiches, a selection of hot dishes, delicacies from the pastry shop, plus iced tea, milk and coffee, available 24-hours a day.
  • Princess Cruises Alcohol Policy
Regent Seven Seas
  • Offered around the clock, all-included - guests may select from an extensive room service menu.
  • The wait staff will promptly serve the order in the comfort of guest's suite.
  • During normal dining hours, passengers may also order from the Compass Rose menu - it changes daily and features Continental, kosher, Canyon Ranch SpaClub and vegetarian cuisines.
  • Dinners are graciously served course-by-course.
Royal Caribbean
  • Room service is available any time of the day or night, but late night service charge of US$3.95 applies.
  • Royal Caribbean International experimented with fees on a limited range of foods (most from the menu at Michael’s Genuine Pub).
  • The vast majority of line’s room service menu items are still free when delivered between 5:00 a.m. and midnight. 
  • Beginning December 2016, the new Royal Caribbean room service menu includes a mix of Continental (free) and a la carte breakfast items, as well as sample dishes from the specialty restaurants onboard, which passengers pay for.
  • Royal Caribbean Menus
  • Royal Caribbean Alcohol Policy
Saga Cruises
  • 24-hour included in the fares.
  • Guests can have a meal, snack, refreshments brought to their stateroom at any time, for no extra charge.
Seabourn
  • A varied menu is available around the clock for service in guests' suites, all included.
  • Passengers may order dinner from The Restaurant menu and have their meal served, course by course, in their suite or on the veranda.
Silversea
  • During dinner hours, In Suite Dining course-by-course is available on selections from The Restaurant.
  • According to the line "Room service is always complimentary and always an option". 
Thomson Cruises
  • Guests may find a room service menu in line's Life Onboard magazine available in cabin.
  • They can order 24 hours a day.
  • The bill will be added to their onboard account.
TUI Cruises
  • On Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 4 the line offers as part of their Diamond Service an exclusive snack and beverage service in all staterooms, operated 24 hours from ship's Diamond Bar.
  • No additional service costs are added.
  • On Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2 no room service is currently offered.
  • Around the clock the opportunity to eat something is available at The Cliff 24 - Grill (Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2, on Deck 11) and Day & Night - Bistro (Mein Schiff 3 - Mein Schiff 6, on Deck 5).
  • Information for Mein Schiff 5 (launched on January 15, 2016) and Mein Schiff 6 (to be launched in 2017) will be soon available.
Windstar
  • Room service menu is included in cruise fare, and available 24 hours.

More and more, lines are showering their top-paying customers with complimentary perks, while those in lower classes end up paying more. What's the situation today? Stop dreaming for a moment and think about your bill when you order from the cruise room service menu.