Royal Caribbean Making a Big Onboard Change

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Taking a cruise means a lot of excess. Most people aboard a Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get Royal Caribbean Group Report (or a Carnival (CCL) – Get Carnival Corporation Report or Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) – Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report for that matter) ship spend their vacations eating too much, drinking too much, and staying up too late.

That makes sense, because when you pay for a cruise, you’re getting a lot of food and activities included for free (most beverages are extra) and most people get grabbed by fear of missing out (FOMO). 

Nobody needs a visit to the Windjammer Buffet or Sorrento’s Pizza after they already had dinner but a lot of people do.

The same can be said for shows. You don’t need to see everyone offered, but you don’t pay any less if you opt to skip the late-night comedian or miss the show in the Aqua Theater. 

And, of course, if you get an unlimited drink package, well, what’s one more beer, glass of wine, shot or mixed drink when it’s all included?   

All that excess can lead to some rough, or at least, groggy mornings. That can make finding a cup of coffee essential and good coffee has not been a major feature on Royal Caribbean ships. 

Now, the company has expanded its partnership with Starbucks and that means that in at least one location onboard, passengers will be able to get a decent cup of joe — and some of them won’t even have to pay for it.

Image source: Starbucks.

Royal Caribbean Makes a Bigger Starbucks Deal

Many Royal Caribbean ships have standalone Starbucks kiosks or cafes in addition to the cruise line’s own Cafe Promenade coffee shops. 

Both the Starbucks locations and Cafe Promenade serve a collection of espresso-based beverages, frozen drinks and other cafe staples, but only Cafe Promenade takes a Royal Caribbean drink package.

At the moment, that means that anyone with a drink package who wants a latte, a cappuccino, or any other fancy coffee drink without paying extra must order from Cafe Promenade which offers Seattle’s Best coffee, not Starbucks.

Never mind that the giant coffee chain owns Seattle’s Best, it’s not the same as getting your drink made with official  Starbucks coffee.

Doing that requires going to the actual onboard Starbucks shop and paying an additional fee. That’s something that always has irked many people buying an unlimited drinks package and now, the cruise line has taken a big step to fix it.

Where Can You Get Starbucks on Royal Caribbean Ships?

Aboard the new Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has rolled out a big change to its coffee program, reported Matt Hochberg of the Royal Caribbean Blog, which is not affiliated with Royal Caribbean.

“If you order a latte or macchiato at Cafe Promenade on Wonder of the Seas, you will get a Starbucks beverage and soon all the Cafe Promenade’s in the fleet will too,” Hochberg reported.

Royal Caribbean Vice President Food & Beverage Linken D’Souza told Hochberg that “the licensing agreement with their supplier allows Royal Caribbean to offer Starbucks branded drinks at Cafe Promenade, but also continue offering Starbucks drinks at the kiosk.”

Why does this matter? Because people who have a drink package can now get one made with Starbuck coffee at Cafe Promenade.

As that chain rolls out to the rest of the fleet it should be — not a game changer — but a nice addition to people paying for a drink package. 

Royal Caribbean has not said what coffee it would offer as its free coffee for customers who don’t have a drink package. That’s likely to stay as Seattle’s Best, but that has not been confirmed, nor has the timeline for these changes.

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