Regular cruise cabin on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship (RCL) – Get the Royal Caribbean Group report The cruise packs everything you need into about 180 square feet. You get two single beds that can be combined into what the cruise line calls a “royal king”. There are two small bedside tables, a well-designed wardrobe/closet, a small table with chairs and a sofa or comfy chair. You also get a small bathroom with a sink, toilet and shower that looks like the launch tube of a water slide.
After dozens of voyages, a regular cabin, or a balcony cabin (same interior with a small exterior balcony, usually with two chairs and a table) is more than enough for me. As a solo traveler, or even when my teenage son was with us, the log cabin served our needs as it was really just a place to sleep and change.
However, during my Freedom of the Seas May 13-16, I booked the casino promotion with Junior Suite. Before I set sail, this was added to the “Deluxe Suite” (a modest bid through the RoyalUp program, which allows passengers to sometimes bid to upgrade their room).
This was my first trip in a suite, and despite the short three-day sailing time, I plan to make the most of it.
The feel of a Royal Caribbean suite
Freedom of the Seas does not have some of the suite-related perks you get on larger ships. For example, it doesn’t have a coastal kitchen—a specialty restaurant dedicated to suite passengers—or a suite-only pool like the new Wonder of the Seas offer.
However, as a suite passenger, I was able to use a dedicated line for suite passengers and Pinnacle tier (the highest tier) loyalty program members to check in an hour earlier than planned.
Essentially, with no one in line ahead of me and even having to show my passport, SeaPass (ticket) and negative covid test, I was on the boat within minutes. This got me on board at about 11:30 – too early to get to my room, but plenty of time for a bite to eat at the Windjammer buffet and first drink at the solarium (adults only) pool (vodka cranberry) .
At 1pm, I headed to my suite and my SeaPass (credit card-like key) was waiting at my door. As soon as I walked in, I was both moved and reluctant. The ‘big suite’ is much larger than a regular cottage, it has a bar (water, cookies and a bowl of fruit awaits me) but the bedroom area is not a separate room. In its place is a bed with privacy curtains.
It’s not a problem since I’ve traveled alone, but if I’m traveling with friends or my son, I’m not sure if curtains provide much privacy. However, the bathroom dwarfs the average cruise ship cabin bathroom. It has a full tub with a shower instead of a regular shower (although the walls of the tub are very high and getting in and out is a challenge). There is also shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the bathroom which is a huge improvement over the shampoo/shower gel you get in a normal cabin.
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My suite was on deck 10 and also had a double balcony with two lounge chairs on one side and two chairs and a small table on the other.
What is suite life like on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?
Suite passengers get some extra perks than regular passengers. You have access to a dedicated lounge with free happy hour drinks and a small buffet of hot and cold appetizers. Continental breakfast and premium coffee machines for espresso, cappuccino and other specialty coffees are also available in the morning.
The lounge also has a concierge staff who can handle things like show or dinner reservations. This was a valuable perk as Ava, the Freedom Suite concierge, helped me book a reservation for 7 people at Giovanni’s, an Italian specialty restaurant, and arranged a table for the same group at the main dining room each of the next two nights Tables (did we group our bookings before travelling).
Apart from the fact that the concierge service and happy hour drinks are free, the lounge is not much different from the diamond lounge (which I can use on any cruise as a diamond loyalty member). It has slightly better chairs but is across from the Diamond Lounge on the 14th floor (a lovely area with great views).
The food seems to be the same as the Loyalty Lounge offered. However, as a suite guest, I can also have breakfast at Chops, the Royal Caribbean Steakhouse. This is a nice perk as the menu is similar to what is offered in the main restaurant, but with higher quality food than the buffet (much better bacon).
Is the Royal Caribbean Deluxe Suite worth it?
As a solo traveler who already has access to the Diamond Lounge, staying in a suite seems indulgent for no reason. Both the expedited boarding process and the concierge are very welcome, but I’m pretty sure the Diamond Lounge concierge can do much of the same (although suite passengers may get a little bit of priority).
I can also see that some people really like bigger rooms – especially when they’re traveling with a partner and kids. For me, however, the extra space is wasted, and while I appreciate bigger bathrooms and better amenities, I usually remember to bring shampoo and conditioner from home (since I drive to the port and don’t have to deal with airline restrictions) liquid).
Likewise, some people love balconies and see double-sized balconies as an added bonus. For me it’s a waste of facility as I’m glad there is no balcony as the only time I use it is for taking pictures.
It certainly feels special to have a suite, but it’s not something I’d be willing to spend a fortune on unless I have more people in the room. It’s definitely an elevated experience (on a boat with a coastal galley, that might make the added expense worth it).
I’d love to buy a suite through casino promotions or RoyalUp deals, but I’m unlikely to pay extra for a suite (though I can see why having one is a huge bonus for a cruiser that lacks loyalty and doesn’t travel solo).