New Reservation Function in Cruise Planner for Kids Specialty Dining!

Filed under: Ports/Activities

Booking kids into specialty dining on ships “the right way” has long been a challenge for parents and can sometimes add a little unnecessary pre-cruise stress. Whether to book BEFORE a sailing or to add kids to a reservation once on board is probably one of the more frequent questions we get!

Let’s use a family of four, 2 kids, 2 parents, as an example.

Photo: Royal Caribbean

Photo: Royal Caribbean

If this family wanted to book a meal in a specialty restaurant in the Cruise Planner, they had two options:

  • Option 1: Pay for all four family members to dine in the restaurant at adult pricing and then visit Guest Relations once onboard to receive an On Board Credit for the difference between adult and child prices

  • Option 2: Make the reservation for 2 adults online then add the 2 children once on board

Don’t worry, you’ll get the meal you’ve been planning for and will be accommodated with top notch service and hospitality either way. But the process can even be confusing and misleading from Royal Caribbean as well, and parents get confused and stressed, especially if they haven’t sailed before.

On the website it states:

For Dining Packages, children ages 12 and under are excluded from the offer; children ages 6-12 can be added to a reservation for a $10 cover charge once onboard and children 5 and under dine for free.

While in the Cruise Planner app, it instructs parents to purchase for all guests that will be dining then they can receive an onboard credit for the difference between the adult price and child price once onboard. Kids must order from the kids menu. And kids are excluded from dining packages.


So we think it’s fair to say this can get a little confusing for parents and it can be a bit cumbersome to pay for a family of four upfront then have to do the legwork on your vacation to make sure you get your On Board Credit. A few Pina Coladas in on a nice sea day and I just might let them keep that money.

So we were delighted when one of our members discovered some new pricing added to the cruise planner for their 2022 sailing on Oasis of the Seas. They have now included the option to pay for, and include in your reservation, any children in your party that will be dining with you.

The price offered still amounts to the $10/meal that is charged for children so I am assuming they will still order from the children’s menu (I’ve reached out to Royal Caribbean to confirm).

I believe the cruise line likely sees this as a win/win in that they’re better prepared with accurate head counts for seating before you arrive and you don’t have to spend your vacation time at Guest Services, though they are very friendly if you do have to make a visit!

I imagine there will still be small issues that will arise like “what if I only want my child to attend two specialty dinners with us and the rest of the nights they’ll be at the kids club?” In such a case I would suspect you may still need to work out the details onboard. But if your child will be dining in the specialty restaurants with you each night, this is a nice way to keep things clear and efficient.