The best part of a family vacation is all the new experiences you share together. But sometimes that same excitement doesn’t apply to mealtime, where new foods can be a challenge for the littlest travelers. On a cruise, there are so many choices for delicious dining that every meal can be easy — even with a picky eater in tow. From finger foods made with fresh ingredients and wholesome, healthy dishes tailored to any diet, to whimsical sweet treats and decadent desserts — you name it, Royal Caribbean has it.
Pro-tip for parents: kids age 5 and under eat free at all specialty restaurants.
When you’re on vacation with your family, it can be tough to find a casual, no-fuss restaurant that caters to everyone in the group. Windjammer is the perfect spot for just that. Every cruise ship in the fleet has one, and they all offer complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner in a laid back self-serve buffet-style setting kids love. In the mornings, you’ll find stations heaped with traditional breakfast options like eggs, bacon, yogurt, fresh fruit and cereal, plus dishes from around the world, like Italian rope sausage, sugar-dusted Berliners, and southern-style fried chicken and waffles. On some ships, there’s even a made-to-order omelet station. There is also plenty of choices for the little ones, including traditional pancakes and waffles.
Come lunchtime, the restaurant offers a broader variety including familiar favorites like burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and salads, and international dishes that rotate on a daily basis. And during dinner, Windjammer adds a special themed global station to the mix — think Mongolian, Mediterranean, Caribbean and more. Just make sure to save room for dessert. From a flavorful assortment of ice cream and fluffy cakes, to fresh-baked cookies and flaky pastries, the spread at Windjammer’s dessert station is guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Windjammer is also a great choice if you’re traveling with someone who’s vegetarian or gluten-intolerant. Signs above each food station indicate whether they satisfy a specific dietary need, and you can always make a special request to the restaurant’s staff. And while every Windjammer offers window seating with beautiful sea views, you can also take food to go if you’d rather enjoy your meal on the pool deck, in your stateroom, or on the move in between activities. The dress code is casual, but make sure to wear shoes and a cover-up if you’re in a bathing suit.
Like Windjammer, the Main Dining Room is another fleetwide complimentary dining option that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with lots of variety to choose from. While most cruises host a formal night that allows guests the option to get glammed up, the usual attire when having dinner in the Main Dining Room is resort casual — that means sun dresses, nice slacks, blouses and collared shirts. Breakfast and lunch allow for more relaxed attire. With its sophisticated décor and personalized wait service, the atmosphere in the Main Dining Room is more upscale than the casual vibes you’ll experience at Windjammer, but it’s still a family-friendly dining option for anyone traveling with small kids.
Breakfast and lunch in the Main Dining Room both offer the choice between a self-serve buffet of classic hot and cold dishes and à la carte menu items. The dinner menu features a rotating assortment of global selections and classic staples that don’t change, all of which are completely customizable to suit your preferences or dietary needs. And for little ones, a kids’ menu highlights easy-to-eat comfort foods like chicken tenders, burgers, pizza, spaghetti and more.
You don’t need to make a reservation if you’re having breakfast or lunch in the Main Dining Room. If you plan to have dinner there, you’ll have two options when you book your cruise: traditional dining, where you’re assigned a seating time every night of your vacation, and My Time Dining, which allows you to walk in at whatever time works with your schedule — though you’re still welcome to make a reservation if you plan on coming in during peak hours.